General Fiction

#BookReview & #BlogTour
The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen
@Lesley_Allen_

#BookReview & #BlogTour The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen @Lesley_Allen_Title: The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir

Author: Lesley Allen

Published by: Bonnier Zaffre on November 3, 2016

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 344

Format: Paperback

Source: Bonnier Zaffre

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Biddy Weir is a shy young loner. Abandoned by her mother as a baby, and with a father who’s not quite equipped for the challenges of modern parenting, Biddy lives in her own little world, happy to pass her time painting by the sea and watching the birds go by.

With no friends, no schoolbag, and, worst of all, no mother, Biddy is branded a ‘Bloody Weirdo’ by the most popular girl in her primary school.

What follows is a heart-breaking tale of bullying and redemption, of falling down and of starting again, and of one woman’s battle to learn to love herself for who she is.

Set in a fictional seaside town in Northern Ireland, the novel is a stark illustration of the extent to which bullying can affect us all, beyond just the victim and perpetrator.

Spare, dark and often unrelenting, The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir is a story with universal appeal, which ultimately affirms the value of being different.


Review:

Haunting, heartbreakingly poignant, and exceptionally thought-provoking!

This is an incredibly intriguing novel that delves into the emotional and physical suffering experienced when targeted, ostracized and bullied from an early age, and reminds us how hostile, cruel and passive children can sometimes be.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The main character, Biddy, is multi-layered, unique, wounded, naive, and endearing. And the plot is thoroughly captivating and engrossing as it sweeps you along through the highs and lows of Biddy’s life effortlessly.

This is, ultimately, a deeply moving, remarkable story about loneliness, torment, injustice, diffidence, family, friendship, and self-love that will make you cry; make you smile; and will resonate with you long after the final page has been turned.

 

This novel is due to be published in paperback on November 3, 2016. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

 

And what does a “Writing Day” look like for Leslie Allen?

My dream average writing day would go something like this: rise at seven to a glorious, gently warm, blue-sky day, preferably on a Greek Island. A sea view would be good. I’d do a few yoga stretches out on the terrace to the sound of the goats softly bleating on the hill behind, followed by a healthy breakfast of my own homemade muesli with peaches from my neighbour’s orchard, local honey, and fresh yoghurt made by the goat herder who lives down the road. After a cup of green tea, I’d retire to my zen-zone office – whitewashed walls, blue shuttered windows that overlook the matching blue Aegean, a simple wooden writing desk that once belonged to a famous Greek author, and a chair specially made for me by the local (very handsome) carpenter. I’d bash out a few hundred words, hell, let’s make it 1,000, before breaking for a jog on the beach…

The reality is somewhat different. I do rise at seven, but I live in Northern Ireland, so the warm, blue-sky day thing only happens twice a year. Three times if we’re lucky. In my head I’m a yoga girl – but I tried it once, and my dodgy knees couldn’t hack it. I like the idea of muesli but I just can’t do currants, and green tea makes me gag. My office at the top of the house is a tip – well, not quite a tip, but it hasn’t been painted since I moved here two years ago, and still serves as the ‘if you don’t know where to put it dump it in there’ room. The desk is ugly and bulky, and the chair used to belong to my ex-husband. I get wind just sitting in it. And I can’t jog the length of myself.

As for the 1,000 words – when I do get full days to dedicate to writing (which are rare in between juggling work as a freelance copywriter & press officer, being a single mum, keeping a feral cat in line, trying to learn the words ‘sorry, I can’t do that today, I’m writing’, and cleaning toilets – the curse of the procrastinator) they usually do flow with relative ease. But, basically, no day in my life is average, never mind a writing one. I’m going to hold onto that dream writing day on my Greek island though, as I know for a fact that dreams really can come true. As I type this at my ugly desk, sitting in the chair that gives me wind, the most beautiful thing in the world (apart, of course, from my daughter – just in case she reads this!) is propped up right beside my laptop: my very own copy of my very own book. It took a while, but that dream came true, so why not the Greek one! In the meantime, I’m happy with my lot. I have a book, I have the tools to write another one, and I even have a sea view. It’s more of a grey-green than a deep blue one, but I love it.

It’s probably time to buy a new chair, though.

 

Thank you to twenty7 – Bonnier Zaffre and Lesley Allen for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. It was a real pleasure and honour to read.

 

About Lesley Allen

Lesley Allen lives in Bangor, County Down. She is a freelance copywriter and the press officer and assistant programme developer for Open House Festival. Lesley is previous recipient of the James Kilfedder Memorial Bursary, and two Support for the Individual Artist Art’s Council Awards. She was named as one of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s 2016 Artist Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) recipients for literature. She will be using the award to complete her second book.

 

And for more information on other titles available from twenty7, Bonnier Zaffre visit them at:

twenty7books.co.uk or on Twitter at: @BonnierZaffre

 

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#BookReview #Blog Tour #Giveaway
Moondance by Diane Chandler @Dchandlerauthor @Blackbird_Bks

#BookReview #Blog Tour #Giveaway Moondance by Diane Chandler @Dchandlerauthor @Blackbird_BksTitle: Moondance

Author: Diane Chandler

Published by: Blackbird Digital Books on October 31, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Blackbird Digital Books

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

IVF could create a baby but could it also destroy a marriage?

Cat has always been in control of her life. Happily married to Dom, but flying high as a political lobbyist, she dismisses his desire to start a family … until she herself is ready.

But what if it is then too late?

Complex and selfish, intelligent and open, if she is to succeed in having that elusive child, Cat must battle through gruelling fertility treatment and the emotional strain it places on her marriage. By her side, Dom, easygoing and ever the optimist, finds that he too risks being run ragged by their journey.

Both are forced to come to terms with their longing for a baby against the blitz on a relationship tested like never before.

Bittersweet, at times funny, and always emotionally raw, this is by far the most moving and honest novel you’ll ever read about IVF and its impact on a marriage.


Review:

Insightful, poignant, and profoundly touching!

This is an incredibly intriguing novel that delves into the emotional, physical and mental anguish experienced by those suffering infertility and the hardships and struggles involved in the process of IVF. 

The prose is clear and precise. The characters are consumed, self-involved, troubled, and real. And the plot is written in a back and forth, past/present, style that gives a wonderful depth and appreciation to all the relationships and personalities in it.

Overall, this, ultimately, is a thought-provoking, moving novel about familial relationships, friendship, love, loss, jealousy, guilt, and the importance of support and communication.

 

This novel is due to be published on November 1, 2016. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

 

 

Thank you to Blackbird Books and Diane Chandler for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. It was a real honour and pleasure to read.

 

About Diane Chandler

Diane Chandler worked first as a political lobbyist in Brussels, and then at the European Commission for several years, where she managed overseas aid programmes in Ukraine just after the fall of communism. Ukraine became the subject for her first novel The Road To Donetsk. Moondance, her second novel, about a high-flying career woman battling with gruelling fertility treatment, was informed by her personal experience of the emotional and physical impact of IVF. Diane lives in west London and is available for interviews, events and feature-writing commissions.

 

And for more information on other titles available from Blackbird Books visit them at:

blackbird-books.com or on Twitter at: @Blackbird_Bks

 

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#BookReview
Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand
@elinhilderbrand @littlebrown

#BookReview Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand @elinhilderbrand @littlebrownTitle: Winter Storms

Author: Elin Hilderbrand

Series: Winter #3

Published by: Little Brown and Company on October 4, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 246

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Little Brown and Company, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

Gather under the mistletoe for one last round of caroling with the Quinn family in this heartwarming conclusion to Elin Hilderbrand’s bestselling Winter Street Trilogy. 

Some of the stormy weather of the past few seasons seems to have finally lifted for the Quinns. After a year apart, and an ill-fated affair with the Winter Street Inn’s old Santa Claus, Mitzi has returned to rule the roost; Patrick is about to be released from prison; Kevin has a successful new business and is finally ready to tie the knot with Isabelle; and best of all, there’s hopeful news about Bart, who has been captured by enemy forces in Afghanistan. 

That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few dark clouds on the horizon. Kelley has recently survived a health scare; Jennifer can’t quite shake her addiction to the drugs she used as a crutch while Patrick was in jail; and Ava still can’t decide between the two lovers that she’s been juggling with limited success. However, if there’s one holiday that brings the Quinn family together to give thanks for the good times, it’s Christmas. And this year promises to be a celebration unlike any other as the Quinns prepare to host Kevin and Isabelle’s wedding at the inn. But as the special day approaches, a historic once-in-a-century blizzard bears down on Nantucket, threatening to keep the Quinns away from the place–and the people–they love most. Before the snow clears, the Quinns will have to survive enough upheavals to send anyone running for the spiked eggnog, in this touching novel that proves that when the holidays roll around, you can always go home again. 


Review:

It’s hard to believe that this is the final instalment of the Quinns’ saga.

This novel starts off where the last one, Winter Street, left off and this time around we get to experience and live a whole year with the gang.

The prose is smooth and precise. The characters are charming, flawed, entertaining and real. And the plot is a whirlwind of ups and downs, highs and lows, weddings, long-awaited reunions, struggles with addiction, exciting endeavours, grim diagnoses, and new loves.

This truly is a bittersweet novel. On the one hand it’s a lovely, satisfying end to an endearing trilogy, but on the other it really is a little sad to know it’s done.

If you haven’t read any of the other books in the Winter Street series, you’re truly missing out. And if you haven’t already had a chance to read my review for Winter Stroll (Winter Street #2), be sure to check it out HERE.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

 

Thank you to Little, Brown and Company for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand is a mother of three, an avid runner, reader, and traveler, and the author of twenty-three novels. She grew up outside Philadelphia, and has lived on Nantucket for more than twenty years.

#BookReview & #BlogTour
Dark Water by Sara Bailey
@baileysara

#BookReview & #BlogTour Dark Water by Sara Bailey @baileysaraTitle: Dark Water

Author: Sara Bailey

Published by: Nightingale Editions on October 3, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 288

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Nightingale Editions

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A deeply poignant coming-of-age thriller

When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney to care for her father after a heart attack, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from. Still haunted by the disappearance of her blood-sister, Anastasia – who vanished during a daredevil swimming incident – Helena must carefully navigate the island that made her, and the old faces that still ask: what really happened that night by the wrecks?

An intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession, from debut novelist Sara Bailey.


Review:

Chilling, haunting, and deeply moving!

This is a gripping novel that demonstrates the enduring mental and emotional anguish that can be caused by friendship, familial dynamics, loss, guilt, grief, jealousy, and loneliness, and emphasizes the importance of closure and forgiveness.

The prose is beautiful and clear. The characters are consumed, damaged, troubled, and real. The setting is vividly described, with the island of Orkney being a character itself with its dreariness and isolation. And the plot is meticulous, clever, mysterious, melancholic, and exceptionally riveting.

This truly is a gripping, thought-provoking, emotional novel that is incredibly captivating and intriguing from the very start. It would definitely be a wonderful addition to book clubs everywhere and I highly recommend it.

 

This novel is due to be published on October 3, 2016. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

 

Thank you to Nightingale Editions for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sara Bailey

Dr Sara Bailey is a writer, consultant and lecturer who has been working with authors and screenwriters for many years, in Richmond-upon-Thames, Winchester and Southampton. She has a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from Bangor University.

Her first book was published by Bloomsbury in 2013, Writing the Horror Movie, which she co-authored whilst hiding behind a cushion. Recently she has returned to her home of Orkney, the setting of her debut novel, Dark Water.

 

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#BookReview
The Confectioner’s Tale by Laura Madeleine
@esthercrumpet

#BookReview The Confectioner’s Tale by Laura Madeleine @esthercrumpetTitle: The Confectioner's Tale

Author: Laura Madeleine

Published by: Thomas Dunne Books on September 20, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

What secrets are hiding in the heart of Paris?

At the famous Patisserie Clermont in Paris, 1909, a chance encounter with the owner’s daughter has given one young man a glimpse into a life he never knew existed: of sweet cream and melted chocolate, golden caramel and powdered sugar, of pastry light as air.

But it is not just the art of confectionery that holds him captive, and soon a forbidden love affair begins.

Almost eighty years later, an academic discovers a hidden photograph of her grandfather as a young man with two people she has never seen before. Scrawled on the back of the picture are the words ‘Forgive me’. Unable to resist the mystery behind it, she begins to unravel the story of two star-crossed lovers and one irrevocable betrayal.

Take a moment to savour an evocative, bittersweet love story that echoes through the decades – perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Victoria Hislop. 


Review:

Mesmerizing, heartwarming, and incredibly clever!

This story is set in two time periods, Paris in the early 1900s and Cambridge in the late 1980s, and is told from alternating points of view. Guillaume, a hardworking labourer who meets and falls in love with the privileged daughter of a famous pâtissier. And Petra, a young student, who endeavours to solve an age-old mystery plaguing the memory of her beloved grandfather, a famous journalist.

The writing is exceptionally descriptive and atmospheric. The characters are loyal, determined, and strong. And the plot, although simple in nature, flows effortlessly between time periods and enraptures you with not only drama, emotion, mystery, and romance, but with the inner workings of the finest pastries imaginable.

This is truly an intriguing mix of family dynamics, secrets, treachery, and enduring love and is a commendable debut novel.

 

This book is due to be published on September 20, 2016.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Laura Madeleine

Laura Madeleine is the author of The Confectioner’s Tale, Where the Wild Cherries Grow (2018, US) and The Secrets Between Us.

After a childhood spent acting professionally and training at a theatre school, Laura changed her mind, and went to study English Literature at Newnham College, Cambridge. She now writes fiction, as well as recipes, and was formerly the resident cake baker for Domestic Sluttery. She lives in Bristol, but can often be found visiting her family in Devon and getting up to mischief with her sister, fantasy author Lucy Hounsom

#BookReview
Ganga Jamuna by Sunita Lad Bhamray

#BookReview Ganga Jamuna by Sunita Lad BhamrayTitle: Ganga Jamuna

Author: Sunita Lad Bhamray

Published by: Kitaab International Pte Ltd on 2016

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 150

Format: eBook

Source: Authoright

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A zealous single mother must travel from her home in Nepal to Singapore in order to access an experimental surgery that could save her conjoined twins in this empowering novel of love and survival. 

Abani has so far lived a life of quiet resolve. Admired by strangers for her striking beauty and soft-spoken demeanour, she has pressed on without complaint through the challenges life has thrown at her growing up in a poor family. After she learns she is pregnant with conjoined twins, Abani faces an even greater trial: the only hope she has of saving the lives of both her children is a revolutionary new surgery performed exclusively in Singapore. With only the few supplies she can carry – and the advice and support of her friends – Abani begins the impossible passage across the Indian continent: a mother’s mission to save her unborn children.


 Review:

“The young paediatric assistant, who was around, moved closer and within minutes he removed the blankets that covered the infants. Once the blankets were removed, they awakened and began to move their limbs about peculiarly. Their heads remained fastened to each other and the spectacle before her was devoid of normalcy. As she watched, she could hear Dr. Prasad’s voice in the background that slowly began to fade. “They are doing well. What I wanted to tell you the other day is that conjoined twins are rare.”

This is a poignant story that takes us on a journey of Abani’s life, from her first love as a young girl, through loss, heartbreak, single motherhood, and raising conjoined twins.

The characters are strong, courageous and resilient. The plot is unique and interesting. And the writing is atmospheric and descriptive, although I did find there were some instances when the syntax slightly disrupted the fluidity.

Overall, however, this is a bittersweet novel that introduces us to the emotional, physical, and medical difficulties involved with the birth of conjoined twins, and it certainly reminds us that life is truly a blessing.

 

This novel is available now.

To purchase this novel, please visit your favourite retailer or the following link.

Amazon  

 

 

Thank you to Authoright for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sunita Lad Bhamray

Sunita Lad Bhamray is an author and educator living in Singapore with her husband and two children. After earning her graduate degree and enjoying a long and rewarding career teaching internationally, Lad Bhamray now devotes her time to writing. Ganga Jamuna is her third book; her first, Triumphs on the Turf, released in 2011, was about horse racing in India. It was followed by Grandma Lim’s Persimmons, a storybook for children, in 2013.

#BookReview
Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand
@elinhilderbrand @littlebrown

#BookReview Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand @elinhilderbrand @littlebrownTitle: Winter Stroll

Author: Elin Hilderbrand

Series: Winter #2

Published by: Little Brown and Company on October 13, 2015

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 263

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

“Happy Holidays 2015! It has been a rough year for the Quinns, but I would like to start by saying thank you for all of the well wishes and positive missives sent our way.” 

Another Christmas on Nantucket finds Winter Street Inn owner Kelley Quinn reflecting on the past year as he writes a holiday letter to friends and family. Though the year has had its share of misfortune and worry, the Quinns have much to celebrate. Kelley, now single, at least is on better terms with his first wife Margaret, who is using her celebrity to lure customers to the inn in record numbers. Their son Kevin has a beautiful new baby, Genevieve, with the Inn’s French housekeeper, Isabelle; and their daughter, Ava, is finally dating a nice guy–her devoted colleague, Scott. 

Now the Quinns are looking forward to celebrating Genevieve’s baptism, welcoming Isabelle to the family, and enjoying the cheer of Nantucket’s traditional Christmas Stroll. But just when a peaceful family gathering seems within reach, Kelley’s estranged second wife, Mitzi, shows up on the island after souring on her relationship with the inn’s former Santa Claus. Soon Kelley isn’t the only Quinn entertaining a surprise guest from Christmases past as lovers old and new gather beneath the mistletoe. With jealousy, passion, and eggnog consumption at an all-time high, it’s going to take a whole lot more than a Christmas miracle to get the Quinns–and the inn–through the holidays intact.


Review:

 The Quinns are back!

It’s been one year since we left the Quinns, and in this second novel in the Winter series we head back to Nantucket to see how the gang is faring.

It is a heartwarming story full of grief, jealousy, old loves, new loves, addiction, and the importance of family.

The writing is clear and fluent. The characters are well developed, endearing, and multi-layered. And the plot is engaging and entertaining, with an ending that has just the right amount of intrigue to leave you anticipating what comes next.

It was great to see the story and characters from Winter Street back and more developed in this novel. And although you could read it as a standalone, I think the curiosity and fascination left behind from the first novel was a large contributor to the appeal and enjoyment of this one.

If you haven’t read the first novel in the series, Winter Street, I would highly recommend reading it first, and be sure to look out for the third and final novel in the series, Winter Storms, due out this fall.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/Indigo

 

 

About Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand is a mother of three, an avid runner, reader, and traveler, and the author of twenty-three novels. She grew up outside Philadelphia, and has lived on Nantucket for more than twenty years.

#BookReview
The Fortunate Brother by Donna Morrissey

#BookReview The Fortunate Brother by Donna MorrisseyTitle: The Fortunate Brother

Author: Donna Morrissey

Series: Sylvanus Now #3

Published by: Viking on September 6, 2016

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 260

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

A powerful tale of a family reeling from the tragic loss of a son, while facing a mysterious murder on their doorstep–told by one of Canada’s most beloved voices. 

After being uprooted from their fishing outport, the Now family is further devastated by the tragic loss of their eldest son, Chris, who died working on an Alberta oil rig. Kyle Now is still mourning his older brother when the murder of a local bully changes everything. The victim’s blood is found on the family’s pier, and suspicion falls first on an alienated wife, and then finally on the troubled Now family.

But behind this new turmoil, Chris’s death continues to plague the family. Father Sylvanus Now drowns his sorrow in a bottle, while mother Addie is facing breast cancer. And the children fight their own battles as the tension persists between Kyle and his sister, Sylvie, over her role in their brother’s death.

A cast of vivid characters surrounds the Now family, some intriguing, others comical–all masterfully crafted. As the murder mystery unfolds, other deeper secrets are revealed. Wise in the ways of the heart, The Fortunate Brother is a moving family drama from beloved storyteller Donna Morrissey.


Review:

Intriguing, poignant, and deeply moving!

This story is steeped in the rugged history, hardships, landscape, dialogue, and culture that is unique to Newfoundland. 

The writing is smooth and flawless.  The characters are grounded, raw, hardy and loyal. And the plot has a nice mix of suspense, tragedy, and emotion.

It is, ultimately, a murder-mystery that takes us on a subtle journey through loss, love, grief, guilt, perseverance, community dynamics, and family relationships.

This is definitely a well written, character-driven novel, by a respected Canadian author, that shouldn’t be missed.

 

This book is due to be published on September 6, 2016.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Chapters/IndigoAmazon Canada

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Penguin Random House Canada, for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Donna Morrissey

Donna Morrissey has written six nationally bestselling novels. She has received awards in Canada, the U.S., and England. Her novel Sylvanus Now was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and she was nominated for a Gemini for best writing for the film Clothesline Patch. Her fiction has been translated into several different languages. Born and raised in Newfoundland, she now lives in Halifax.

Photo by Bridgette Morrissey

#BookReview
Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell
@JulietBlackwell

#BookReview Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell @JulietBlackwellTitle: Letters from Paris

Author: Juliet Blackwell

Published by: Berkley Publishing on September 6, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 360

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Berkley Publishing, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Keycomes the story of a mysterious work of art and the woman inspired to uncover its history in the City of Light.

After surviving the accident that took her mother’s life, Claire Broussard worked hard to escape her small Louisiana hometown. But these days she feels something lacking. Abruptly leaving her lucrative job in Chicago, Claire returns home to care for her ailing grandmother. There, she unearths a beautiful sculpture that her great-grandfather sent home from Paris after World War II.

At her grandmother’s urging, Claire travels to Paris to track down the centuries old mask-making atelier where the sculpture, known only as “L’inconnue”—or the Unknown Woman—was created. With the help of a passionate sculptor, Claire discovers a cache of letters that offer insight into the life of the Belle Epoque woman immortalized in the work of art.

As Claire uncovers the unknown woman’s tragic fate, she begins to discover secrets—and a new love—of her own.


Review:

Intelligent, mysterious, and heartwarming!

This story is set in the City of Lights and takes us on a journey into the lives of three main characters. Claire, a young woman who decides to travel to Paris after her grandmother’s death to uncover the history and identity of an unexplainable piece of art; Armand, a brooding Frenchman who is trying to survive his own tragedies while also continuing the family legacy of mould making; and Sabine, a young woman who lived over one hundred years ago, who finds herself entangled in a complicated relationship as an artist’s model.

The writing is well done. The characters are interesting, sympathetic, and strong. And the plot, although a touch slow in the early part of the novel, quickly evolves into a fascinating story that not only manages to intertwine all the subplots nicely, but also ends with a sweet surprise.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. It truly is an intriguing mix of mystery interspersed with a romantic guidebook of the most iconic and memorable must-sees of Paris, including historical landmarks, art, lifestyle, and of course food.

 

This book is due to be published on September 6, 2016.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Juliet Blackwell

Juliet Blackwell is the New York Times bestselling author of Letters from Paris and The Paris Key. She also writes the Witchcraft Mystery series and the Haunted Home Renovation series. As Hailey Lind, Blackwell wrote the Agatha-nominated Art Lover's Mystery series. A former anthropologist, social worker, and professional artist, Juliet is a California native who has spent time in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France.

#BookReview
The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews
@mkayandrews

#BookReview The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews @mkayandrewsTitle: The Weekenders

Author: Mary Kay Andrews

Published by: St. Martin's Press on May 17, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 464

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends-and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.

So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens…in a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.

Told with Mary Kay Andrews’ trademark blend of humor and warmth, and with characters and a setting that you can’t help but fall for, The Weekenders is the perfect summer escape.


Review:

Engaging, mysterious, and romantic.

This is an intriguing story full of deception, secrets, adultery, murder, and love.

The characters are multilayered, introspective, and a good mix of those you love and those you love to hate. The prose is clear and precise. And the plot is full of suspense, romance and a multitude of twists and turns that will keep you captivated until the very end.

This really is a perfect summer read that will have you not only contemplating the idea of revenge and retribution, but will also have you dreaming of beaches, wharfs, and sea salt air.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

About Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews is the pen name of American writer Kathy Hogan Trocheck, based in Atlanta, who has authored a number of best-selling books under the Andrews pen name since 2002.

Trochek graduated from the University of Georgia with a journalism degree in 1976. She worked as a reporter at a number of papers, and spent 11 years as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before leaving to write fiction full-time in 1991. She published ten mystery novels under her own name between 1992 and 2000, and switched to the Andrews pen name in 2002 to author Savannah Blues, which marked a change in her style to more Southern-flavored themes.

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