Historical Fiction

#BookReview The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson @katethompson380 @HBGCanada @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForever2024 #KateThompson #TheWartimeBookClub #HBGCanada

#BookReview The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson @katethompson380 @HBGCanada @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForever2024 #KateThompson #TheWartimeBookClub #HBGCanada Title: The Wartime Book Club

Author: Kate Thompson

Published by: Forever on Apr. 9, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 512

Format: Paperback

Source: HBG Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

Inspired by true events, The Wartime Book Club is an unforgettable story of everyday bravery and resistance, full of romance, drama, and camaraderie and a tribute to the joy of reading and the power of books in our darkest hour.

The Isle of Jersey was once a warm and neighborly community, but in 1943, German soldiers patrol the cobbled streets, imposing a harsh rule.
 
Nazis have ordered Grace La Mottée, the island’s only librarian, to destroy books that threaten the new regime. Instead, she hides the stories away in secret. Along with her headstrong best friend, she wants to fight back. So she forms the Wartime Book Club: a lifeline, offering fearful islanders the joy and escapism of reading.
 
But as the occupation drags on, the women’s quiet acts of bravery become more perilous – and more important – than ever before. And when tensions turn to violence, they are forced to face the true, terrible cost of resistance . . .
 
Based on astonishing real events, The Wartime Book Club is a love letter to the power of books in the darkest of times – as well as a moving page-turner that brings to life the remarkable, untold story of an island at war.


Review:

Rich, absorbing, and sincere!

The Wartime Book Club is a poignant, immersive tale set on the Isle of Jersey during 1943 that takes you into the lives of Grace La Mottée, a resilient, kindhearted librarian and her best friend and local postal worker Beatrice Gold as they do whatever they can to entertain, protect, and fight back against the Nazi Germans who invade and occupy their homeland during WWII.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are brave, tormented, and determined. And the plot is an exceptionally touching tale about life, loss, family, secrets, separation, desperation, tragedy, survival, love, the horrors of war, and the power of literature.

Overall, The Wartime Book Club is a moving, emotional, beautifully written tale by Thompson inspired by real-life events that reminds us that survival of any kind often involves heartbreaking choices, moral dilemmas, action, spirit, extreme loss, and beyond all else, unimaginable courage and sacrifice.

 

This novel is available now.

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

       

 

 

Thank you to HBG Canada & Forever for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kate Thompson

Kate Thompson was born in London and worked as a journalist for women's magazines and national newspapers before becoming a novelist. Over the past ten years, Kate has written twelve fiction and nonfiction titles, three of which have made the Sunday Times top ten bestseller list. She now lives in Sunbury with her husband, two sons, and two rescued Lurcher dogs, Ted and Saphhie.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview The Celestial Wife by Leslie Howard @SimonSchusterCA #TheCelestialWife #LeslieHoward #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Celestial Wife by Leslie Howard @SimonSchusterCA #TheCelestialWife #LeslieHoward #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Celestial Wife

Author: Leslie Howard

Published by: Simon & Schuster Canada on Apr. 9, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

A young fundamentalist Mormon girl facing a forced marriage escapes her strict, polygamist community and comes of age in the tumultuous 1960s in this captivating novel inspired by shockingly true events.

Keep sweet no matter what, for this is the way to be lifted up
Keep sweet with every breath, for it is a matter of life or death

1964. Fifteen-year-old Daisy Shoemaker dreams of life beyond her small, isolated fundamentalist Mormon community of Redemption on the Canada—US border—despite Bishop Thorsen’s warning that the outside world is full of sin. According to the Principle, the only way to enter the celestial kingdom is through plural marriage. While the boys are taught to work in the lucrative sawmill that supports their enclave, Daisy and her best friend, Brighten, are instructed to keep sweet and wait for Placement—the day the bishop will choose a husband for them. But Daisy wants to be more than a sister-wife and a mother. So when she is placed with a man forty years her senior, she makes the daring decision to flee Redemption.

Years later, Daisy has a job and a group of trustworthy friends. Emboldened by the ideas of the feminist and counterculture movements, she is freer than she has ever been…until Brighten reaches out with a cry for help and Daisy’s past comes hurtling back. But to save the women she left behind, Daisy must risk her newfound independence and return to Redemption, where hellfire surely awaits.

For readers of Emma Cline’s The Girls and Ami McKay’s The Virgin Cure comes an arresting coming-of-age novel about a fearless young girl’s fight for freedom at a time of great historic change.


Review:

Intense, heart-tugging, and intriguing!

The Celestial Wife is a gripping, emotional tale that sweeps you away to a fundamentalist FLDS community in Redemption, British Columbia and into the life of Daisy Shoemaker, a fifteen-year-old girl who, after being married off as a sister-wife to the middle-aged Bishop of the sect, escapes to find and start a new life outside the compound until she must head back no matter the danger to herself to do whatever she can to save the best friend and mother she left behind.

The writing is crisp and expressive. The characters are vulnerable, determined, and scarred. And the plot is a compelling, hopeful tale of life, loss, secrets, resilience, abuse, friendship, revelations, childhood trauma, self-identification, and freedom.

Overall, The Celestial Wife is an eerie, fascinating, moving tale by Howard that does a beautiful job of reminding us of all the emotional, psychological, and physical effects caused by long-term manipulation, control, indoctrination, and deviant ideologies.

 

This novel is available now.

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

             

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Leslie Howard

Leslie Howard is the instant bestselling author of The Brideship Wife. She grew up in British Columbia and developed a passion for the province’s history. She divides her time between Vancouver and Penticton, where she and her husband grow cider apples.

Photograph by Bopomo Pictures.

#BookReview The Lost Letters of Aisling by Cynthia Ellingsen @FireflyDist @AmazonPub #TheLostLettersOfAisling #CynthiaEllingsen #LakeUnion #FireflyDist

#BookReview The Lost Letters of Aisling by Cynthia Ellingsen @FireflyDist @AmazonPub #TheLostLettersOfAisling #CynthiaEllingsen #LakeUnion #FireflyDist Title: The Lost Letters of Aisling

Author: Cynthia Ellingsen

Published by: Lake Union Publishing on Apr. 1, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 302

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Firefly Distributed Lines

Book Rating: 9/10

A woman faces the past she fled in a heart-stirring novel about unforgettable love and indomitable courage by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Lighthouse Keeper.

Rainey’s grandmother makes a startling Take me home. To Ireland, the country she fled post–World War II. Though they’re inseparably close, Rainey knows few of her grandmother’s secrets. Until they arrive at Aisling—the majestic estate on the southern coast of Ireland where her grandmother was raised—and Rainey discovers a collection of seventy-year-old letters in a trunk.

Dublin, 1945. The Germans surrender, celebrants crowd the streets, and fourteen-year-old Evie meets her best friend, the spirited Harding McGovern. Years on, they are more like sisters when rumors begin that Harding works in the black market trade—a source of wealth that could give her a dream life in America but could also cause great danger. Evie is uncertain of the truth but will stand by Harding, whatever the cost.

As Rainey uses the letters to reunite her grandmother with the past, what unfolds is a never-forgotten story of family, friendship, and love, and the healing that comes from letting go of secrets.


Review:

Captivating, rich, and absorbing!

The Lost Letters of Aisling is predominantly set in Ireland during the early 1950s, as well as present day, and is told from two different perspectives. Rainey, a young woman who journeys to Ireland to honour her grandmother’s wishes to return to her homeland to finally confront the past, and Evie, a young woman whose platonic love for her best friend will ultimately change her destiny and life forever.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are troubled, determined, and endearing. And the plot is a moving tale about life, loss, love, emotion, betrayal, family, friendship, heartbreak, guilt, grief, hope, and regret.

Overall, The Lost Letters of Aisling is a heartwarming, alluring, compelling tale by Ellingsen that highlights the enduring passion, loyalty and power of love and is a wonderful choice for anyone who enjoys a dual timeline story with both a sliver of mystery and a touch of romance.

 

This novel is available now.

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

      

 

 

Thank you to Firefly Distributed Lines for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Cynthia Ellingsen

Cynthia Ellingsen is the Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Starlight Cove series. The Lost Letters of Aisling is her tenth novel. A Michigan native, Cynthia has lived in Los Angeles and Chicago. Currently, she lives in Lexington, KY with her family and two sassy but charming Siamese cats.

#BookReview The Secret Keeper by Genevieve Graham @GenGrahamAuthor @SimonSchusterCA #TheSecretKeeper #GenevieveGraham #CanadianHistory

#BookReview The Secret Keeper by Genevieve Graham @GenGrahamAuthor @SimonSchusterCA #TheSecretKeeper #GenevieveGraham #CanadianHistory Title: The Secret Keeper

Author: Genevieve Graham

Published by: Simon & Schuster Canada on Apr. 2, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 448

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

From USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author Genevieve Graham comes a gripping World War II novel about two sisters who join the war effort—one as a codebreaker and the other as a pilot—and the secrets that threaten to tear them apart. Perfect for fans of The Rose Code and The Nightingale .

Twin sisters Dot and Dash Wilson share many things, and while they are practically inseparable, they are nothing alike. Dot is fascinated by books, puzzles, and Morse code, a language taught to both girls by their father, a WWI veteran. Dash’s days are filled with fixing engines, dancing with friends, and dreaming of flying airplanes. Almost always at their side is their best friend Gus—until war breaks out and he enlists in the army, deploying to an unknown front.

Determined to do their duty, both girls join the WRENS, Dash as a mechanic and Dot as a typist. Before long, Dot’s fixation on patterns and numbers takes her from HMCS Coverdale , a covert listening and codebreaking station working with Bletchley Park in England, to Camp X, a top-secret spy school. But when personal tragedy strikes the family, Dot’s oath of secrecy causes a rift between the sisters.

Eager to leave her pain behind, Dash jumps at the opportunity to train as a pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary, where she risks her life to ferry aircraft and troops across the battlefields of Europe. Meanwhile Dot is drawn into the Allies’ preparations for D-Day. But Dot’s loyalties are put to the test once more when someone close to her goes missing in Nazi-occupied territory. With everyone’s eyes on Operation Overlord, Dot must use every skill at her disposal to save those she loves before it’s too late.

Inspired by the real-life stories of women in World War II, The Secret Keeper is an extraordinary novel about the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood and the light of courage during the darkest of nights.


Review:

Immersive, evocative, and affecting!

The Secret Keeper is a rich, alluring tale predominantly set in Canada during WWII that follows two sisters, Dash, a thrill seeker who enlists as a WREN working as a mechanic before she receives her dream posting as a pilot for the ATA in England, and Dot, a whiz with puzzles and codes that once enlisted is recruited to hold an invaluable position at Camp X, a top-secret spy school.

The prose is vivid and smooth. The characters are dependable, courageous, and resilient. And the plot is a moving tale of life, loss, secrets, self-discovery, determination, hope, loyalty, survival, friendship, sisterhood, war, love, and Canadian history.

Overall, The Secret Keeper is an emotive, rich, absorbing tale by Graham inspired by real-life stories that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the feelings, lives, and personalities of the characters you can’t help but be enthralled and fully invested from start to finish.

This novel is available now.

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

             

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Genevieve Graham

Genevieve Graham is the #1 bestselling author of The Forgotten Home Child, Tides of Honour, Promises to Keep, Come from Away, and At the Mountain’s Edge. She is passionate about breathing life back into Canadian history through tales of love and adventure. She lives near Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Photo by Bryghton Towns.

 

#BookReview Clear by Carys Davies @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA #CarysDavies #Clear #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Clear by Carys Davies @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA #CarysDavies #Clear #SimonSchusterCA Title: Clear

Author: Carys Davies

Published by: Scribner on Apr. 2, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA

Pages: 208

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

A stunning, exquisite novel from an award-winning writer about a minister dispatched to a remote island off of Scotland to “clear” the last remaining inhabitant, who has no intention of leaving—an unforgettable tale of resilience, change, and hope.

John, an impoverished Scottish minister, has accepted a job evicting the lone remaining occupant of an island north of Scotland—Ivar, who has been living alone for decades, with only the animals and the sea for company. Though his wife, Mary, has serious misgivings about the errand, he decides to go anyway, setting in motion a chain of events that neither he nor Mary could have predicted.

Shortly after John reaches the island, he falls down a cliff and is found, unconscious and badly injured, by Ivar who takes him home and tends to his wounds. The two men do not speak a common language, but as John builds a dictionary of Ivar’s world, they learn to communicate and, as Ivar sees himself for the first time in decades reflected through the eyes of another person, they build a fragile, unusual connection.

Unfolding in the 1840s in the final stages of the infamous Scottish Clearances—which saw whole communities of the rural poor driven off the land in a relentless program of forced evictions—this singular, beautiful, deeply surprising novel explores the differences and connections between us, the way history shapes our deepest convictions, and how the human spirit can survive despite all odds. Moving and unpredictable, sensitive and spellbinding, Clear is a profound and pleasurable read.


Review:

Poignant, immersive, and affecting!

Clear is a raw, vivid tale that sweeps you away to 1840s Scotland and into the life of John Ferguson, a young minister who, after recently breaking away from an established church and in desperate need of money, agrees to travel to an isolated island for a landowner to expel the last remaining inhabitant living there. But things don’t turn out exactly as planned, and after sustaining an injury shortly after his arrival he awakes to find himself not only at the mercy of this larger-than-life man who speaks a language he doesn’t understand but forming an unlikely friendship that will test everything he ever knew about love and himself.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are kind, vulnerable, and strong. And the plot is an exceptionally tender tale about life, loss, friendship, strength, language, isolation, loneliness, self-discovery, revelations, belonging, and love.

Overall, Clear is a powerful, pensive, well-written story by Davies where the space between the words resonates as loudly as the words themselves and is a beautiful reminder that to love and be loved is truly one of humanity’s most fundamental needs.

 

This novel is available now.

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

        

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Carys Davies

Carys Davies’s debut novel West was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize, runner-up for the Society of Authors’ McKitterick Prize, and winner of the Wales Book of the Year for Fiction. She is also the author of The Mission House, which was The Sunday Times (London) 2020 Novel of the Year, and two collections of short stories, Some New Ambush and The Redemption of Galen Pike, which won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. Her other awards include the Royal Society of Literature’s V.S. Pritchett Prize, the Society of Authors’ Olive Cook Short Story Award, and a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. Born in Wales, she lived and worked for twelve years in New York and Chicago, and now lives in Edinburgh. Clear is her most recent novel.

#BookReview Death on the Lusitania by R. L. Graham @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #DeathOnTheLusitania #RLGraham #PGCBooks

#BookReview Death on the Lusitania by R. L. Graham @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #DeathOnTheLusitania #RLGraham #PGCBooks Title: Death on the Lusitania

Author: R. L. Graham

Series: Patrick Gallagher #1

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Apr. 2, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 400

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

Welcome on board the Lusitania’s final voyage . . .

New York, 1915. RMS Lusitania, one of the world’s most luxurious trans-Atlantic liners, departs for Liverpool and war-torn Europe. Among those on board is Patrick Gallagher, a civil servant in Her Majesty’s government tasked with discreetly escorting a British diplomat back to England in relation to charges of suspected treason.

When a fellow passenger, Jimmy Dowrich, is found shot to death in his cabin, the captain asks Gallagher to investigate. Knowing something of the man’s past, Gallagher realizes that the problem will not be simple; and also, the body was discovered in a locked cabin with the key inside and no gun to be found.

Gallagher believes that one of his fellow passengers is a deadly killer. But many of those on board are harbouring secrets of their own, and his questioning reveals that several had a motive for ending Dowrich’s life. He fears that the killer could strike again to protect their true reasons for being on board and all the while, the ship sails on towards Europe, where deadly submarines patrol the war zone . . .


Review:

Mysterious, captivating, and atmospheric!

Death on the Lusitania is an Agatha Christie-like murder mystery set during 1915 on the infamous HMS Lusitania that features the savvy Patrick Gallagher who, when shortly after departure from New York, one of the travellers winds up dead in a locked cabin with no murder weapon in sight, endeavours to a find the murderer onboard amongst a passenger list riddled with secrets, deception, and ulterior motives.

The prose is descriptive and light. The characters are multi-layered, intriguing, and secretive. And the plot is a well-paced, locked-door style whodunit full of red herrings, suspects, amateur sleuthing, deduction, danger and, of course, a touch of the unexpected.

Overall, Death on the Lusitania is the first book in the Patrick Gallagher series, and if you love historical mysteries, this one won’t disappoint. It’s an entertaining, cosy, satisfying debut by the writing duo of Graham, and I can only hope, even with the tragic loss of one half of this dynamic team, that there is still more to come.

 

This novel is available now.

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

         

 

  

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About R. L. Graham

R. L. Graham is a husband-and-wife team of historians and writers with a broad range of interests in many periods of history, including the belle époque and the tumultuous years leading up to the First World War and the post-war re-ordering of the world.

They are very much drawn to the shadowy world of crime, espionage and political intrigue. They are particularly fascinated by historical mysteries: things which have happened but have no apparent explanation. Originally from Canada, they now live in a small village in Devon. Marilyn Livingstone, one half of R. L. Graham, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer while this book was being written. She passed away in September 2023.

#BookReview The Woman with No Name by Audrey Blake @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheWomanWithNoName #AudreyBlake #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview The Woman with No Name by Audrey Blake @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheWomanWithNoName #AudreyBlake #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: The Woman with No Name

Author: Audrey Blake

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Mar. 12, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 9/10

She’ll light the fire of resistance―but she may get burned…

1942. Though she survived the bomb that destroyed her home, Yvonne Rudellat’s life is over. She’s estranged from her husband, her daughter is busy with war work, and Yvonne―older, diminutive, overlooked―has lost all purpose. Until she’s offered a chance to remake herself entirely…

The war has taken a turn for the worse, and the men in charge are desperate. So, when Yvonne is recruited as Britain’s first female sabotage agent, expectations are low. But her tenacity, ability to go unnoticed, and aptitude for explosives set her apart. Soon enough she arrives in occupied France with a new identity, ready to set the Nazi regime ablaze.

But there are adversaries on all sides. As Yvonne becomes infamous as the nameless, unstoppable woman who burns the enemy at every turn, she realizes she may lose herself to the urgent needs of the cause…

Based on a true story, The Woman With No Name is a gripping story of secrets, spies, and the women behind the Resistance, from USA Today bestselling author Audrey Blake.


Review:

Inspiring, fascinating, and compelling!

The Woman With No Name is an intriguing, adventurous tale that takes you into the life of Yvonne Rudellat, a French mother living in London, who signs on as the first woman to endure the British SOE agent training so she can be sent to France to help the French resistance in any way she can with her extensive knowledge and expertise in explosives.

The prose is vivid and tense. The characters are vulnerable, resourceful, and courageous. And the plot, set in France during the early 1940s, is a moving tale about life, love, bravery, strength, heartbreak, loss, guilt, grief, loyalty, espionage, grit, determination, and survival.

Overall, The Woman With No Name is a wonderful blend of harrowing facts and engrossing fiction. It is a fast-paced, memorable, thrilling tale that does a lovely job of highlighting humanity’s ability to be selflessly heroic under even the direst, most horrific of circumstances.

This novel is available now.

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

             

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Audrey Blake

Audrey Blake has a split personality-because she is the creative alter ego of Regina Sirois and Jaima Fixsen, two authors who met online in a survivor style writing contest. They live 1500 miles apart, but both are prairie girls: Jaima hails from Alberta, Canada, and Regina from the wheat fields of Kansas. Both are addicted to history, words, and stories of redoubtable women, and agree that their friendship, better and longer lasting than any other prize, is proof that good things happen in this random, crazy universe.

#BookReview The Black Crescent by Jane Johnson @JaneJohnsonBakr @SimonSchusterCA #TheBlackCrescent #JaneJohnson #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Black Crescent by Jane Johnson @JaneJohnsonBakr @SimonSchusterCA #TheBlackCrescent #JaneJohnson #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Black Crescent

Author: Jane Johnson

Published by: Simon & Schuster on Mar. 5, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A captivating historical novel set in post-war Casablanca about a young man marked by djinns who must decide where his loyalties lie as the fight for Moroccan independence erupts.

Hamou Badi is born in a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains with the markings of the zouhry on his hands. In Morocco, the zouhry is a figure of legend, a child of both humans and djinns, capable of finding treasure, lost objects, and even water in the worst of droughts. But when young Hamou finds the body of a murdered woman, his life is forever changed.

Haunted by this unsolved murder and driven by the desire to do good in the world, Hamou leaves his village for Casablanca to become an officer of the law under the French Protectorate.

But Casablanca is not the shining beacon of modernity he was expecting. The forcible exile of Morocco’s sultan by the French sparks a nationalist uprising led by violent dissident groups, none so fearsome as the Black Crescent. Torn between his heritage and his employers, Hamou will be caught in the crossfire.

The lines between right and wrong, past and future, the old world and the new, are not as clear as the magical lines on his palms. And as the danger grows, Hamou is forced to choose between all he knows and all he loves.


Review:

Complex, evocative, and moving!

The Black Crescent is a compelling, gritty tale that sweeps you away to Morocco in the mid-1950s and into the life of Hamou Badi, a young man from the small village of Tiziane who, after discovering a murdered woman on his way home as a young boy, decides to train as a police officer in Casablanca to try to do some good in a country that is unfortunately full of unrest and upheaval and where simmering anger, questions of loyalty, and ongoing tension due to the French occupation is quickly coming to a violent head.

The prose is rich and smooth. The characters are kind, strong, and resilient. And the plot is a vivid, suspenseful tale filled with life, loss, friendship, family, folklore, religion, morality, self-identity, patriotism, survival, politics, romance, murder, and culture.

Overall, The Black Crescent is a thought-provoking, informative, atmospheric tale by Johnson that reminds us that often the choices we make have far-reaching consequences and has just the right amount of intrigue, colourful history, magic, culture, moral dilemmas, and heart-tugging emotion to be exceptionally pleasing to lovers, like myself, of the historical fiction genre.

 

This novel is available now.

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

       

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jane Johnson

Jane Johnson is from Cornwall and has worked in the book industry for over 20 years, as a bookseller, publisher and writer. She is responsible for the publishing of many major authors, including George RR Martin.

In 2005 she was in Morocco researching the story of a distant family member who was abducted from a Cornish church in 1625 by Barbary pirates and sold into slavery in North Africa, when a near-fatal climbing incident caused her to rethink her future. She returned home, gave up her office job in London, and moved to Morocco. She married her own ‘Berber pirate’ and now they split their time between Cornwall and a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. She still works, remotely, as Fiction Publishing Director for HarperCollins.

#BookReview The Berlin Letters by Katherine Reay @uplitreads #TheBerlinLetters #KatherineReay #gifted #uplitreads

#BookReview The Berlin Letters by Katherine Reay @uplitreads #TheBerlinLetters #KatherineReay #gifted #uplitreads Title: The Berlin Letters

Author: Katherine Reay

Published by: Harper Muse on Mar. 5, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback

Source: Uplit Reads

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Bestselling author Katherine Reay returns with an unforgettable tale of the Cold War and a CIA code breaker who risks everything to free her father from an East German prison.

From the time she was a young girl, Luisa Voekler has loved solving puzzles and cracking codes. Brilliant and logical, she’s expected to quickly climb the career ladder at the CIA. But while her coworkers have moved on to thrilling Cold War assignments—especially in the exhilarating era of the late 1980s—Luisa’s work remains stuck in the past decoding messages from World War II.

Journalist Haris Voekler grew up a proud East Berliner. But as his eyes open to the realities of postwar East Germany, he realizes that the Soviet promises of a better future are not coming to fruition. After the Berlin Wall goes up, Haris finds himself separated from his young daughter and all alone after his wife dies. There’s only one way to reach his family—by sending coded letters to his father-in-law who lives on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

When Luisa Voekler discovers a secret cache of letters written by the father she has long presumed dead, she learns the truth about her grandfather’s work, her father’s identity, and why she has never progressed in her career. With little more than a rudimentary plan and hope, she journeys to Berlin and risks everything to free her father and get him out of East Berlin alive.

As Luisa and Haris take turns telling their stories, events speed toward one of the twentieth century’s most dramatic moments—the fall of the Berlin Wall and that night’s promise of freedom, truth, and reconciliation for those who lived, for twenty-eight years, behind the bleak shadow of the Iron Curtain’s most iconic symbol.


Review:

Gritty, intense, and informative!

The Berlin Letters is an edgy, insightful tale set between 1961 and 1989 that takes you into the life of Luisa Voekler, a CIA cryptographer living in DC who, after finding a pile of encrypted letters after her grandfather passes away, learns there’s more to her family’s history in Berlin before and after the wall was erected than she ever could have imagined. And though she has always been told that her parents were killed in an accident when she was young, she suddenly uncovers that her father is actually still alive and being held in a Stasi prison.

The prose is rich and expressive. The characters are troubled, inquisitive, and brave. And the plot, told in a past/present, back-and-forth style, is a tightly crafted, intriguing tale of life, loss, secrets, sacrifice, war, loyalty, passion, heartbreak, corruption, treachery, familial drama, politics, and repression.

Overall, The Berlin Letters is a compelling, absorbing, perceptive tale by Reay that not only satisfied and entertained me but did a wonderful job of opening my eyes to a dark time in history I lived through as a child but barely understood.

 

This novel is available now.

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

         

 

 

Thank you to Uplit Reads for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Katherine Reay

Katherine Reay is a writer, wife, mom, continually rehabbing runner, compulsive vacuumist and a horrific navigator…

She graduated from Northwestern University and earned an MS in Marketing from Northwestern as well. She then worked in marketing and development before returning to graduate school for a Masters of Theological Studies. Moves to Texas, England, Ireland and Washington left that degree unfinished as Katherine spent her time unpacking, raising kids, volunteering, writing, and exploring new storylines and new cities.

The Reay family (with a great sense of permanency) now resides outside Chicago, and Katherine pursues writing with more focus. She writes character-driven stories and non-fiction that focuses upon examining the past and how it influences our present experiences.

#BookReview The Girls We Sent Away by Meagan Church @mchurchwriter @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheGirlsWeSentAway #MeaganChurch #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview The Girls We Sent Away by Meagan Church @mchurchwriter @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheGirlsWeSentAway #MeaganChurch #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: The Girls We Sent Away

Author: Meagan Church

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Mar. 5, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 9/10

A searing book club read for fans of Ellen Marie Wiseman and The Girls with No Names set in the Baby Scoop Era of 1960s and the women of a certain condition swept up in a dark history.

It’s the 1960s and Lorraine Delford has it all – an upstanding family, a perfect boyfriend, and a white picket fence home in North Carolina. Yet every time she looks through her father’s telescope, she dreams of the stars. It’s ambitious, but Lorraine has always been exceptional. 

But when this darling girl-next-door gets pregnant, she’s forced to learn firsthand the realities that keep women grounded.  To hide their daughter’s secret shame, the Delfords send Lorraine to a maternity home for wayward girls. But this is no safe haven – it’s a house with dark secrets and suffocating rules. And as Lorraine begins to piece together a new vision for her life, she must decide if she can fight against the powers that aim to take her child or submit to the rules of a society she once admired.

Powerful and affecting, The Girls We Sent Away is a timely novel that explores autonomy, belonging, and a quest for agency when the illusions of life-as-you-know-it fall away.


Review:

Touching, emotional, and compelling!

The Girls We Sent Away is an absorbing, moving tale set in North Carolina during the 1960s that takes you into the life of high school senior Lorraine Delford who, after falling for the charms of the boy she is confident she will marry, finds herself pregnant, alone, and sent by her parents to a home for wayward girls until she has delivered her child and had it adopted out regardless of any wishes of her own she may have.

The prose is sentimental and rich. The characters are vulnerable, strong, and brave. And the plot is a tender, captivating blend of life, loss, secrets, dreams, surprises, grief, heartbreak, family, friendship, and motherhood.

Overall, The Girls We Sent Away is a compassionate, enlightening, hopeful tale by Church inspired by real-life events that is a haunting reminder of all those women who were shamed, coerced, and unimaginably suffered in these types of institutions for way too many years.

 

This novel is available now.

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

         

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Meagan Church

Meagan Church is the author of The Last Carolina Girl and The Girls We Sent Away. She writes to tell grounded stories that explore the complexity of human nature. Her historical fiction chronicles the plight and fight of unheard voices of the past. After receiving a B.A. in English from Indiana University, Meagan built a career as a storyteller and freelance writer for brands, blogs and organizations. A Midwesterner by birth, she now lives in North Carolina with her high school sweetheart, three children and a plethora of pets.