Historical Fiction

#BookReview The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers @redhookbooks @HBGCanada @BookSparks #TheLadiesoftheSecretCircus #ConstanceSayers #SPRC2021 #SpringBookScope

#BookReview The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers @redhookbooks @HBGCanada @BookSparks #TheLadiesoftheSecretCircus #ConstanceSayers #SPRC2021 #SpringBookScope Title: The Ladies of the Secret Circus

Author: Constance Sayers

Published by: Redhook Books on Mar. 17, 2020

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 448

Format: Hardcover

Source: HBG Canada, BookSparks

Book Rating: 8/10

Paris, 1925: To enter the Secret Circus is to enter a world of wonder-a world where women tame magnificent beasts, carousels take you back in time, and trapeze artists float across the sky. But each daring feat has a cost. Bound to her family’s strange and magical circus, it’s the only world Cecile Cabot knows-until she meets a charismatic young painter and embarks on a passionate love affair that could cost her everything.

Virginia, 2005: Lara Barnes is on top of the world-until her fiancé disappears on their wedding day. Desperate, her search for answers unexpectedly leads to her great-grandmother’s journals and sweeps her into the story of a dark circus and a generational curse that has been claiming payment from the women in her family for generations.


Review:

Rich, compelling, and mystical!

The Ladies of the Secret Circus transports you from present-day Virginia to 1920s Paris as it immerses you into the multi-generational, circus-owning Cabot family and all the powerful emotions, tragic memories, dark magic, fantastical elements, and long-buried secrets that swirl around them.

The prose is dark and mysterious. The characters are multi-layered, vulnerable, cursed, and troubled. And the plot told from alternating timelines is an ominous tale full of familial drama, heartache, tension, obsession, death, revenge, jealousy, sacrifice, sibling rivalry, and violence.

Overall, The Ladies of the Secret Circus is a spellbinding, atmospheric, romantic tale by Sayers that captivated me from the very first page and ultimately left me satisfied and highly entertained.

 

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 and BookSparks for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Constance Sayers

Constance Sayers is the author of A Witch in Time and The Ladies of the Secret Circus which will be published on March 23, 2021, from Redhook (Hachette Book Group).

A finalist for Alternating Current’s 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Prose, her short stories have appeared in Souvenir and Amazing Graces: Yet Another Collection of Fiction by Washington Area Women as well as The Sky is a Free Country. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

She received her master of arts in English from George Mason University and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She attended The Bread Loaf Writers Conference where she studied with Charles Baxter and Lauren Groff. A media executive, she’s twice been named one of the “Top 100 Media People in America” by Folio and included in their list of “Top Women in Media.”

She lives outside of Washington DC. Like her character in The Ladies of the Secret Circus, she was the host of a radio show from midnight to six.

Photo by Julie Ann Pixler.

#BookReview The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin @MadelineMMartin @HTPBooks @Bookclubbish #HTPBooks #TheLastBookshopinLondon #MadelineMartin #Bookclubbish

#BookReview The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin @MadelineMMartin @HTPBooks @Bookclubbish #HTPBooks #TheLastBookshopinLondon #MadelineMartin #Bookclubbish Title: The Last Bookshop in London

Author: Madeline Martin

Published by: Hanover Square Press on Apr. 6, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harlequin Trade Publishing

Book Rating: 10/10

Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature.

August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in the heart of London.

Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war.


Review:

Poignant, affecting, and beautifully written!

The Last Bookshop in London is an engaging, moving tale set during WWII that follows Grace Bennett, a young woman who heads to London in the fall of 1939 in the hopes of a better life and a glamourous career only to find herself employed in a dusty bookshop and war being declared.

The writing is seamless and smooth. The characters are brave, resilient, and supportive. And the plot is an absorbing tale of life, loss, family, heartbreak, friendship, self-discovery, community, determination, tragedy, survival, and love.

As some of you may already know, I’m originally from Coventry, a city heavily bombed during the war. And as my dad was born in 1937, I grew up hearing how a bomb exploded in his backyard 30 ft from the house, leaving a crater two garden widths wide, and how he would count the number of new houses missing each morning on his way to school. But as that generation ages and memories start to fade, these stories are so important in reminding us how much novels helped and continue to help people cope with devastating circumstances and unimaginable losses, as well as how the strength, courage, selflessness, and sacrifices of that generation enabled us the lives we lead today. I loved The Last Bookshop in London, and I hope everyone who enjoys historical fiction picks this one up.

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

Thank you to Madeline Martin & HTP Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Madeline Martin

Madeline Martin is a USA Today bestselling author of historical romance and historical fiction novels with strong heroines and tons of high-action plot twists! Her books have finaled in the Holt Medallion award and National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.

She lives in sunny Florida with Mr. Awesome (a man who truly deserves such a great name) and two wonderfully magical girls, known collectively as “the minions.”

She enjoys working out (really to support my love of Nutella and wine), travelling and doing fun kid-like things with the minions.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview After Alice Fell by Kim Taylor Blakemore @AmazonPub @LUAuthors #AfterAliceFell #KimTaylorBlakemore

#BookReview After Alice Fell by Kim Taylor Blakemore @AmazonPub @LUAuthors #AfterAliceFell #KimTaylorBlakemore Title: After Alice Fell

Author: Kim Taylor Blakemore

Published by: Lake Union Publishing on Mar. 1, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 288

Format: Paperback

Source: Amazon Publishing

Book Rating: 8/10

Until she discovers the truth of her sister’s death, no one will rest in peace.

New Hampshire, 1865. Marion Abbott is summoned to Brawders House asylum to collect the body of her sister, Alice. She’d been found dead after falling four stories from a steep-pitched roof. Officially: an accident. Confidentially: suicide. But Marion believes a third option: murder.

Returning to her family home to stay with her brother and his second wife, the recently widowed Marion is expected to quiet her feelings of guilt and grief—to let go of the dead and embrace the living. But that’s not easy in this house full of haunting memories.

Just when the search for the truth seems hopeless, a stranger approaches Marion with chilling words: I saw her fall.

Now Marion is more determined than ever to find out what happened that night at Brawders, and why. With no one she can trust, Marion may risk her own life to uncover the secrets buried with Alice in the family plot.


Review:

Gritty, immersive, and haunting!

After Alice Fell is a sinister, historical thriller set in New Hampshire during 1865 that takes you into the life of Marion Abbott, a young woman determined to discover what really happened to her sister Alice at Brawders House, the local asylum, and prove once and for all that her sister didn’t commit suicide but was actually murdered.

The writing is atmospheric and eerie. The characters are tormented, insistent, and resourceful. And the plot is a taut, twisty, evocative tale rife with desperation, manipulation, abuse, familial dynamics, deviance, greed, jealousy, and murder.

Overall, After Alice Fell is a dark, engrossing, well-written tale by Kim Taylor Blakemore that does a wonderful job of highlighting the struggles and hardships of life at the end of the civil war, and reminds us of some of the unimaginable, horrific practices deemed appropriate treatments at that time for those considered to be mentally defective.

 

This novel is available now.

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

         

 

 

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

About Kim Taylor Blakemore

Kim Taylor Blakemore is the author of the historical mysteries THE COMPANION and AFTER ALICE FELL (March 2021). Publishers Weekly calls The Companion a "captivating tale of psychological suspense."

Other novels include BOWERY GIRL a NYPL Best Reads for Teens; and CISSY FUNK, a Willa Literary Award winner for Best YA Novel.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers and Historical Novel Society. She and her family reside in the Pacific Northwest, and she loves the rain. Truly.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

  

#BookReview When We Were Young by Jaclyn Goldis @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForeverPub #ReadForever2021 #JaclynGoldis #WhenWeWereYoung

#BookReview When We Were Young by Jaclyn Goldis @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForeverPub #ReadForever2021 #JaclynGoldis #WhenWeWereYoung Title: When We Were Young

Author: Jaclyn Goldis

Published by: Forever on Feb. 16, 2021

Genres: Women's Fiction, Historical Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 8/10

Three generations of women come together in this page-turning debut full of family secrets, heart-wrenching drama, and the promise of second chances.

Corfu, 1942: To sixteen-year-old Sarah Batis, the Nazis are a distant danger—of far greater threat is the opposing needs of her heart and her people. Tradition demands that Sarah marry a Jewish man. Only Sarah has fallen in love with a fisherman outside their community. And when the Nazis invade, Sarah must watch from afar as her family is taken away. . .

Corfu, 2004: Sarah’s daughter, Bea, has built a happy life with a steadfast husband and two independent daughters. Their summers on the Greek island with the Winn family appear idyllic, especially the love that blossoms between Bea’s daughter Joey and Leo Winn. But there is a secret threatening their beach paradise.

Florida, 2019: Joey is only days away from marrying the nice Jewish man her family adores. The arrival of Leo, Joey’s first love, sends her reeling. Even after fifteen years, the attraction between them burns bright—but Leo isn’t looking for a happy reunion. He’s there to reveal why he really broke up with her during their last summer together.

Weddings have a way of bringing out the best—and worst—in those you love the most. And as the revelations of her family flood to the surface, what Joey learns will either bring them closer together . . . or tear them apart forever.


Review:

Captivating, poignant, and nostalgic!

When We Were Young is a heart-wrenching, affecting tale that takes you on a journey into the lives of three main characters. Sarah, a young Jewish girl who can never quite forgive after her love for a fisherman saves her life but not her family during the Nazis invasion of Corfu; Bea, an uninhibited mother of two who loves spending summers with family friends while simultaneously hiding a secret that could possibly destroy them all; and Joey, a woman whose life becomes completely upheaved when the love of her life suddenly reappears a few days before her upcoming nuptials to another man.

The prose is emotive and smooth. The characters are confused, troubled, and heartbroken. And the plot using a past/present, back-and-forth style intertwines and unravels effortlessly into a touching tale of familial dynamics, drama, emotion, secrets, love, loss, duty, heartbreak, passion, tradition, and self-discovery.

Overall, When We Were Young is a sentimental, heartfelt, promising debut by Goldis that does a wonderful job of highlighting the complex ties that bind families together and reminds us that happy-ever-after endings rarely resemble those we read about in fairytales.

 

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

Thank you to Forever and Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jaclyn Goldis

Jaclyn Goldis is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and NYU Law. She practiced trust and estate law at a large Chicago law firm for seven years before leaving her job to travel the world and write novels. After culling her possessions into only what would fit in a backpack, she traveled for over a year until settling in Tel Aviv, where she can often be found writing from cafés near the beach. She loves to hear from readers.

#BookReview Cathedral by Ben Hopkins @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #Cathedral #BenHopkins

#BookReview Cathedral by Ben Hopkins @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #Cathedral #BenHopkins Title: Cathedral

Author: Ben Hopkins

Published by: Europa Editions on Jan. 21, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 624

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A thoroughly immersive read and a remarkable feat of imagination, Cathedral tells a sweeping story about obsession, mysticism, art, and earthly desire in gripping prose. It deftly combines historical fiction and a tale of adventure and intrigue.

At the center of this story is the Cathedral. Its design and construction in the 12th and 13th centuries in the town of Hagenburg unites a vast array of unforgettable characters whose fortunes are inseparable from the shifting political factions and economic interests vying for supremacy. Around this narrative center, Ben Hopkins has constructed his own monumental edifice, a novel that is rich with the vicissitudes of mercantilism, politics, religion, and human enterprise.

Fans of Umberto Eco, Hilary Mantel, and Ken Follett will delight at the atmosphere, the beautiful prose, and the vivid characters of Ben Hopkins’s Cathedral.


Review:

Vivid, immersive, and fascinating!

Cathedral is a rich, compelling tale set in Hagenburg, Germany during the twelfth and thirteenth century that takes you into the lives of ship merchants, stonecutters, Jewish moneylenders, architects, pirates, priests, architects, sovereigns, and builders as they struggle for riches, stature, and survival.

The writing is sharp and alluring. The characters are bold, driven, and ruthless. And the plot is a sweeping tale of harsh living, unexpected friendships, domestic contentions, desires, debauchery, degradation, vanity, corruption, sacrifices, treachery, and entangled relationships, all set to the backdrop of the reconstruction of a mammoth cathedral, and the ongoing discord between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire.

Overall, Cathedral is an absorbing, dramatic, enthralling saga by Hopkins that is quite a hefty endeavour at just over 600 pages, but with its short chapters, beautiful prose, vibrant characters, and lush descriptions this is one meaty, medieval tale that, in my opinion, is definitely worth the effort.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Ben Hopkins

Ben Hopkins is a screenwriter, film-maker and novelist. He has lived in London and Istanbul and now lives in Berlin. His films include features and shorts, fiction and documentary, and have won awards at festivals such as Berlin, Locarno, Antalya and Toronto Hot Docs. Cathedral is his first novel.

#BookReview The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry @ambroseparry @blackthornbks @PGCBooks #TheArtofDying #RavenFisherSimpsonSeries #AmbroseParry

#BookReview The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry @ambroseparry @blackthornbks @PGCBooks #TheArtofDying #RavenFisherSimpsonSeries #AmbroseParry Title: The Art of Dying

Author: Ambrose Parry

Series: Raven Fisher and Simpson #2

Published by: Black Thorn Books on Mar. 18, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

Edinburgh, 1849. Hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. And a whispering campaign seeks to paint Dr James Simpson, pioneer of medical chloroform, as a murderer.

Determined to clear Simpson’s name, his protege Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher must plunge into Edinburgh’s deadliest streets and find out who or what is behind the deaths. Soon they discover that the cause of the deaths has evaded detection purely because it is so unthinkable.


Review:

Absorbing, informative, and remarkably atmospheric!

The Art of Dying is a rich, alluring tale that takes us back to Victorian Edinburgh and into the life of Will Raven, a young doctor returning from travelling aboard to accept the position of assistant to Dr James Simpson, a doctor infamous for using chloroform while treating patients. But when multiple people start to die, and others begin to question Dr Simpson’s abilities, Will, along with the help of the woman he let get away, Sarah Fisher, will have to quickly uncover what’s actually plaguing the city before Dr Simpson’s reputation is completely and irreversibly shattered.

The prose is smooth and authentic. The characters are steadfast, inquisitive, and clever. And the plot is a riveting, suspenseful tale of life, loss, duty, friendship, corruption, manipulation, deception, violence, murder, and the evolution and procedures of early medicine, especially in the field of obstetrics.

Overall, The Art of Dying is a beautifully written, mysterious, fascinating tale that grabbed me from the very start and did such an exceptional job of blending historical facts with compelling fiction I can honestly say I was enthralled, surprised, and thoroughly impressed.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                  

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Ambrose Parry

Ambrose Parry is a pseudonym for a collaboration between Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. The couple are married and live in Scotland. Chris Brookmyre is the international bestselling and multi-award-winning author of over twenty novels. Dr Marisa Haetzman is a consultant anaesthetist of twenty years' experience, whose research for her Master's degree in the History of Medicine uncovered the material upon which this series, which begun with The Way of All Flesh, is based. The Way of all Flesh was longlisted for both the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award and the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year.

#BookReview Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig @WmMorrowBooks #BandofSisters #LaurenWillig

#BookReview Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig @WmMorrowBooks #BandofSisters #LaurenWillig Title: Band of Sisters

Author: Lauren Willig

Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks on Mar. 2, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 528

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: William Morrow

Book Rating: 10/10

A group of young women from Smith College risk their lives in France at the height of World War I in this sweeping novel based on a true story—a skillful blend of Call the Midwife and The Alice Network—from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig.

A scholarship girl from Brooklyn, Kate Moran thought she found a place among Smith’s Mayflower descendants, only to have her illusions dashed the summer after graduation. When charismatic alumna Betsy Rutherford delivers a rousing speech at the Smith College Club in April of 1917, looking for volunteers to help French civilians decimated by the German war machine, Kate is too busy earning her living to even think of taking up the call. But when her former best friend Emmeline Van Alden reaches out and begs her to take the place of a girl who had to drop out, Kate reluctantly agrees to join the new Smith College Relief Unit.

Four months later, Kate and seventeen other Smithies, including two trailblazing female doctors, set sail for France. The volunteers are armed with money, supplies, and good intentions—all of which immediately go astray. The chateau that was to be their headquarters is a half-burnt ruin. The villagers they meet are in desperate straits: women and children huddling in damp cellars, their crops destroyed and their wells poisoned. 

Despite constant shelling from the Germans, French bureaucracy, and the threat of being ousted by the British army, the Smith volunteers bring welcome aid—and hope—to the region. But can they survive their own differences? As they cope with the hardships and terrors of the war, Kate and her colleagues find themselves navigating old rivalries and new betrayals which threaten the very existence of the Unit.

With the Germans threatening to break through the lines, can the Smith Unit pull together and be truly a band of sisters?  


Review:

Poignant, affecting, and incredibly immersive!

Band of Sisters is an absorbing, stirring tale set in German-Occupied France during WWI that follows seventeen young American women from Smith College as they embark on a mission that doesn’t quite go as smoothly as planned, to befriend and use their own unique skillsets to provide relief, food, medical care, and education to the villagers whose lives have been decimated by war.

The prose is seamless and vivid. The characters are courageous, driven, and resilient. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel into a sweeping saga of life, loss, secrets, insecurities, self-discovery, heartbreak, determination, survival, tragedy, and friendship.

Overall, Band of Sisters is a rich, evocative, beautifully written novel by Willig that grabs you from the very first page and is sure to be a big hit with book clubs and historical fiction fans everywhere. I absolutely devoured it, and it is hands down one of my favourite reads of the year!

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

Thank you to William Morrow for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Lauren Willig

Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of nineteen works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and chosen for the American Library Association's annual list of the best genre fiction. After graduating from Yale University, she embarked on a PhD in History at Harvard before leaving academia to acquire a JD at Harvard Law while authoring her "Pink Carnation" series of Napoleonic-set novels. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview The Things We Leave Unfinished by Rebecca Yarros @entangledpub @angelamelamud #TheThingsWeLeaveUnfinished #RebeccaYarros

#BookReview The Things We Leave Unfinished by Rebecca Yarros @entangledpub @angelamelamud #TheThingsWeLeaveUnfinished #RebeccaYarros Title: The Things We Leave Unfinished

Author: Rebecca Yarros

Published by: Entangled Publishing on Feb. 23, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback

Source: Entangled Publishing, Angela Melamud

Book Rating: 10/10

Twenty-eight-year-old Georgia Stanton has to start over after she gave up almost everything in a brutal divorce—the New York house, the friends, and her pride. Now back home at her late great-grandmother’s estate in Colorado, she finds herself face-to-face with Noah Harrison, the bestselling author of a million books where the cover is always people nearly kissing. He’s just as arrogant in person as in interviews, and she’ll be damned if the good-looking writer of love stories thinks he’s the one to finish her grandmother’s final novel…even if the publisher swears he’s the perfect fit.

Noah is at the pinnacle of his career. With book and movie deals galore, there isn’t much the “golden boy” of modern fiction hasn’t accomplished. But he can’t walk away from what might be the best book of the century—the one his idol, Scarlett Stanton, left unfinished. Coming up with a fitting ending for the legendary author is one thing, but dealing with her beautiful, stubborn, cynical great-granddaughter, Georgia, is quite another.

But as they read Scarlett’s words in both the manuscript and her box of letters, they start to realize why Scarlett never finished the book—it’s based on her real-life romance with a World War II pilot, and the ending isn’t a happy one. Georgia knows all too well that love never works out, and while the chemistry and connection between her and Noah is undeniable, she’s as determined as ever to learn from her great-grandmother’s mistakes—even if it means destroying Noah’s career.


Review:

Captivating, poignant, and incredibly romantic!

The Things We Leave Unfinished is an absorbing tale set in England during the early 1940s, as well as present-day Colorado, and is told from two different perspectives; Scarlett, a young officer in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force who loves to tells stories and unexpectedly finds the love of her life in a tall, handsome American pilot, and Georgia, the newly divorced, great-granddaughter of a famous author who after her passing struggles to allow her final, uncompleted manuscript and life story to be finished and published.

The writing is passionate and moving. The characters are independent, hesitant, and stubborn. And the plot, using a story within a story, sweeps you away into an engaging, touching, heartfelt tale about life, loss, friendship, family, heartbreak, tragedy, forgiveness, war, and the magic of love.

I don’t even know how to express how much I loved The Things We Leave Unfinished. It blew me away. It’s an evocative, enchanting, immersive, beautifully written tale by Yarros that I absolutely devoured, highly recommend, and will undoubtedly be one of the books on the top of my favourite reads list for 2021!

This book is available now. 

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

            

 

 

Thank you to Entangled Publishing and Angela Melamud for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

About Rebecca Yarros

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She's a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores. When she's not writing, she's tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they're currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.

Photo by KATIE MARIE SENIORS

#BookReview The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner @SusanMeissner @uplitreads @BerkleyPub #TheNatureofFragileThings #SusanMeissner #UplitReads #gifted

#BookReview The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner @SusanMeissner @uplitreads @BerkleyPub #TheNatureofFragileThings #SusanMeissner #UplitReads #gifted Title: The Nature of Fragile Things

Author: Susan Meissner

Published by: Berkley Books on Feb. 2, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: Hardcover

Source: Uplit Reads

Book Rating: 10/10

April 18, 1906: A massive earthquake rocks San Francisco just before daybreak, igniting a devouring inferno. Lives are lost, lives are shattered, but some rise from the ashes forever changed.

Sophie Whalen is a young Irish immigrant so desperate to get out of a New York tenement that she answers a mail-order bride ad and agrees to marry a man she knows nothing about. San Francisco widower Martin Hocking proves to be as aloof as he is mesmerizingly handsome. Sophie quickly develops deep affection for Kat, Martin’s silent five-year-old daughter, but Martin’s odd behavior leaves her with the uneasy feeling that something about her newfound situation isn’t right.

Then one early-spring evening, a stranger at the door sets in motion a transforming chain of events. Sophie discovers hidden ties to two other women. The first, pretty and pregnant, is standing on her doorstep. The second is hundreds of miles away in the American Southwest, grieving the loss of everything she once loved.

The fates of these three women intertwine on the eve of the devastating earthquake, thrusting them onto a perilous journey that will test their resiliency and resolve and, ultimately, their belief that love can overcome fear.

From the acclaimed author of The Last Year of the War and As Bright as Heaven comes a gripping novel about the bonds of friendship and mother love, and the power of female solidarity.


Review:

Rich, tortuous, and absorbing!

The Nature of Fragile Things is a captivating, mysterious tale set during 1906 that takes you into the life of Sophie Whalen, a young, Irish Immigrant who after answering a newspaper ad for a bride travels from New York to San Francisco to become the wife of widower Martin Hocking and the mother to his five-year-old daughter Kat. But things aren’t as straightforward as they first appeared, and as an earthquake destroys the very foundation of the city and fires rage for days, malicious actions will be hidden, long-buried secrets will finally be uncovered, and unexpected, unbreakable friendships will be forged.

The prose is vivid and expressive. The characters are brave, resourceful, and dependable. And the plot is an enigmatic tale full of twists, turns, surprises, deception, betrayal, danger, family, friendship, life, loss, heartbreak, bigotry, and survival.

Overall, The Nature of Fragile Things is a skillfully crafted, perfectly plotted tale by Meissner that highlights once again her ability to write immersive, atmospheric, beautifully written novels that are moving and unforgettable.

 

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 providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Susan Meissner

Susan Meissner is a USA Today bestselling novelist with more than half a million books in print in fifteen languages. Her critically acclaimed works of historical fiction have been named to numerous lists including Publishers Weekly’s annual roster of 100 best books, Library Reads Top Picks, Real Simple annual tally of best books, Goodreads Readers’ Choice awards, Booklist’s Top Ten, and Book of the Month.

She attended Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and is a former managing editor of a weekly newspaper. Susan’s expertise as a storyteller and her thoroughly researched topics make her a favorite author of book clubs everywhere. Her engaging and warm speaking style appeal to all manner of women’s groups, literary organizations, libraries and learning institutions, and service clubs.

When she is not working on a new novel, she enjoys teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, spending time with her family, music, reading great books, and travelling.

Photo courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah @RaincoastBooks @StMartinsPress #TheFourWinds #KristinHannah

#BookReview The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah @RaincoastBooks @StMartinsPress #TheFourWinds #KristinHannah Title: The Four Winds

Author: Kristin Hannah

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Feb. 2, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 464

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Raincoast Books

Book Rating: 10/10

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes an epic novel of love and heroism and hope, set against the backdrop of one of America’s most defining eras—the Great Depression.

Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.

In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.


Review:

Gritty, insightful, and incredibly atmospheric!

The Four Winds is an intriguing tale that sweeps you away to Dalhart, Texas during the 1920s – 1930s, when the country is reeling from the great depression and the townsfolk of West Texas must decide to continue to struggle to maintain their livelihoods, identities, and health through the relentless heat, devastating wind storms, and catastrophic droughts or relocate to the lushness of California where water is plentiful, the land is fertile, but survival may be just as difficult or worse.

The prose is poetic and lyrical. The main characters are strong, resilient, and hardworking. And the plot is an enthralling, emotional saga filled with life, loss, self-discovery, motherhood, familial drama, social stratification, poverty, tragedy, discrimination, inequality, heartbreak, courage, romance, and friendship.

Overall, The Four Winds is another exquisitely written, exceptionally detailed, beautiful novel by Hannah that I absolutely adored, and is undoubtedly going to be a big hit with historical fiction fans and book clubs everywhere.

This novel is available now.

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

           

 

 

Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kristin Hannah

KRISTIN HANNAH is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty novels, including The Nightingale, The Great Alone, and The Four Winds. A former lawyer turned writer, she lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.

Photo by Kevin Lynch.

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