Historical Fiction

#BlogTour & #Excerpt
The Summer House Party by Caro Fraser
@carofraser @HoZ_Books

Synopsis:

In the gloriously hot summer of 1936, a group of people meet at a country house party. Within three years, the country will be engulfed in war, but for now time stands still as they sip champagne on the lawn, engaging in casual flirtations and carefree conversation. Then a shocking death puts an end to their revelry, changing everything in an instant.

For all of them, that summer house party will be a turning point. The mistakes made during that fateful weekend will change their lives forever.

Excerpt:

1     

     It was an afternoon in late August, and Daniel Ranscombe was travelling on the 4.49 train from Waterloo to Surrey. The train drew to a creaking halt just outside the sleepy village of Staplow, and settled with a hiss of steam into the summer silence. Dan gazed out of the window at a field of mournful-eyed cows twitching their tails at flies. Half-remembered lines of poetry from school slipped into his mind, something about a train stopped at a country station… No one left and no one came on the bare platform – tee tum tee something Adlestrop … and willows, willow-herb and grass, and meadowsweet, and hay- cocks high… He tried to string the verses together – he had known them by heart once – but his lazy mind wasn’t up to it. He stretched his legs out, closed his eyes, and contemplated in his mind the coming house party, which was being hosted by his godmother, Sonia, and her husband Henry Haddon, the renowned artist. The prospect of spending ten days at the fag end of summer enjoying the comforts of a fine country house was more than agreeable, especially as there would be other young people there, in the shape of Sonia’s niece, Meg, and Paul and Diana Latimer, to keep things lively. Meg he had yet to meet, though he had heard a few things about her from both Paul and Diana. The Latimers were the son and daughter of old friends of the Haddons, and Dan knew them well. Diana was a regular on the London social scene, and she and Dan flirted with one another whenever their paths crossed, though more as a matter of course than with any genuine conviction. Diana’s older brother, Paul, had been Dan’s senior by three years at Eton, and then at Cambridge, and Dan had certain misgivings – misgivings which he freely admitted were born out of envy and resentment – about meeting him again.

     It seemed he was constantly being made aware of Paul’s achievements, which markedly eclipsed Dan’s so far unspectacular headway in the world. Paul had been a veritable hero to Dan at school – athletic, brainy, captain of the First XV and head of house, friendly and decent, full of charm and self-confidence. When Dan had encountered him again at Cambridge the school- boy charm had begun to wear a trifle thin – the self-confidence was turning into self-importance, and the bluff affability had taken on a somewhat patronising quality – but there was no doubt that Paul’s star continued to burn with undimmed lustre. He had a reputation as a fine oar, an excellent bat, and a debater of such formidable skill that a career in Parliament was confidently predicted. Not that Paul had much need of a career. His parents had died while he and Diana were still in their teens, and to come into that much money at so young an age – well, it just seemed damnably unfair to add wealth to such a store of talent. Dan was acutely resentful of Paul’s ability to spend half the year climbing mountains and crossing deserts, and generally leading the life of the English gentleman adventurer, and the other half idling in his club and studying the stock market. Lucky blighter. He would probably arrive at Woodbourne House by car, with a ton of luggage and a manservant. Dan’s own luggage consisted of one suitcase containing his dress suit, the few decent shirts and ties he possessed, flannels and a blazer, underwear, pyjamas, shaving kit and toothbrush. It was all he could afford, and it would have to do.

     Dan himself had come down from Cambridge two years ago with a degree in modern languages and, unwilling to follow his father into the diplomatic service, had taken a job as a reporter on the London Graphic. Despite his innate laziness he had been surprised to discover that he was, even with the minimum of effort, quite a good journalist. Now, a year later, he had graduated to being the Graphic’s arts correspondent. It wasn’t a job that brought him a great deal of money.

     Dan contemplated the cows as they ripped up soft mouthfuls of cud, and wondered how much he would have to tip the Woodbourne House servants. That kind of thing could bleed a man dry. Not a consideration which would worry Paul Latimer – but then, nothing much worried Paul, favourite of the gods.

     The train gave a creak and chugged slowly into life. Dan rummaged in his pocket for his cigarettes. As he pulled them out, the stout matron sitting opposite raised her eyes from her knitting and gave him a reproving glance. He returned them to his pocket and glanced at his wristwatch. Only ten more minutes till they reached Malton where, his godmother had informed him, her niece Margaret would meet him.

     As the train slid into a tunnel, Dan contemplated his reflection in the carriage window. Aware of his own good looks since the age of twelve, he had yet to become bored by them. The face that looked back at him was handsome, the features nicely chiselled, the mouth sensitive and not too full, eyes blue and soulful. If the old bird hadn’t been present, he might have practiced his charming, crooked grin, but he made do instead with passing his fingers through the waves of his thick blond hair and giving his reflection a final admiring glance before the train slid back into sunlight. He hoped there would be a few decent girls at the house party.

     Dan was the only passenger to alight at Melton. He saw a little two-seater Austin parked next to the fence by the road, a girl in a short-sleeved blouse and linen trousers leaning against its bonnet. She waved when she saw Dan, and he carried his case over to the car. So this was Meg. Neither Paul nor Diana had mentioned quite how attractive she was. She had long, curling chestnut hair and dark eyes flecked with green, delicately arched brows and lightly tanned skin, and a very pretty figure. His hopes had been fulfilled. At least one looker on the premises.

     ‘You must be Daniel. I’m Meg Slater,’ she said.

     Dan smiled and shook her hand. ‘Please, call me Dan. Good to meet you at last. I’ve heard a lot about you from Paul and Diana.’

     ‘Nice things, I hope. Here, chuck your bag in the back.’ She got into the car and settled herself behind the wheel. Dan guessed from the intentness of her gaze and the set of her body that she hadn’t been driving for long.

About the Author:

 

Caro Fraser is the author of the bestselling Caper Court novels, based on her own experiences as a lawyer. She is the daughter of bestselling Flashman author George MacDonald Fraser.


Thank you to Caro Fraser and Head of Zeus for providing me with an extract for my blog today! It was truly an honour to participate!

This novel is available now!

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

                                          

For more information on Caro Fraser visit her website at: caro-fraser.co.uk 

or follow her on Twitter at: @carofraser

#BookReview
The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley
@lucindariley @AtriaBooks

#BookReview The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley @lucindariley @AtriaBooksTitle: The Shadow Sister

Author: Lucinda Riley

Series: The Seven Sisters #3

Published by: Atria Books on November 3, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 513

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Atria Books, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

Travel through the lush English countryside and explore the magnificent estates of the British aristocracy in this next spellbinding love story in The Seven Sisters series by #1 internationally bestselling author Lucinda Riley.

Star D’Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father—the elusive billionaire, affectionately called Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted from across the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to her true heritage, and Star nervously decides to follow hers, which leads her to an antiquarian bookshop in London, and the start of a whole new world.

A hundred years earlier, headstrong and independent Flora MacNichol vows she will never marry. She is happy and secure in her home in England’s picturesque Lake District—just a stone’s throw away from the residence of her childhood idol, Beatrix Potter—when machinations lead her to London, and the home of one of Edwardian society’s most notorious society hostesses, Alice Keppel. Flora is torn between passionate love and her duty to her family, but finds herself a pawn in a larger game. That is, until a meeting with a mysterious gentleman unveils the answers that Flora has been searching for her whole life…

As Star learns more of Flora’s incredible journey, she too goes on a voyage of discovery, finally stepping out of the shadow of her sister and opening herself up to the possibility of love.

The Shadow Sister is the third in the sweeping Seven Sisters series, “soaked in glamour and romance” (Daily Mail) and perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and the novels of Kate Morton.


Review:

Atmospheric, absorbing and incredibly descriptive!

In this third instalment of The Seven Sisters we delve into the life of Star, a young woman who is yearning for a little independence from her sister CeCe and who discovers on her journey to find her parentage that she loves the simple things in life, taking care of others, dusty bookshops and small-town country living.

The story, itself, is exceptionally compelling and is filled with drama, familial dynamics, emotion, self discovery, secrets, love, loss, duty, courage, heartbreak and passion; as well as an intriguing look at the influential, glamorous, and regal figures of the Edwardian period. The characters are unique, flawed, multifaceted, lovable, and eccentric. And the prose is remarkably well-turned and eloquent.

This truly is a beautifully written novel that grabs you from the very start and does a wonderful job of blending historical facts with compelling and believable fiction. It is certainly a book for book lovers and even though I have loved all The Seven Sisters books so far, I think this one might just be my favourite. If you haven’t read this series yet, you really should!

 

This book is available now.

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

                                          

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Atria Books, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland, and after an early career as an actress in film, theatre and television, wrote her first book aged twenty-four. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages and sold over ten million copies worldwide. She is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author.

Lucinda’s novels include The Seven Sisters, a seven-book series telling the story of adopted sisters and based allegorically on the mythology of the famous star constellation. The first three books, The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister, and The Shadow Sister have all been No.1 bestsellers across Europe, and the rights to a multi-season TV series have already been optioned by a Hollywood production company.

To read about the inspiration behind The Seven Sisters series, please visit thesevensistersseries.com

When not writing, travelling or running around after her children, she loves reading books that she hasn’t written with a glass or two of Provençal rosé!

#BookReview
The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence
by Alyssa Palombo
@AlyssInWnderlnd @StMartinsPress

#BookReview The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence by Alyssa Palombo @AlyssInWnderlnd @StMartinsPressTitle: The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence

Author: Alyssa Palombo

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on April 25, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.

Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence―most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici―become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.


Book Rating: 8/10

This is an intriguing interpretation about the life of Simonetta Cattaneo, a young, intelligent girl who became known as the “Most Beautiful Woman of Florence” and who developed a close, intimate relationship with the famous Renaissance painter, Sandro Botticelli.

It is a story about familial responsibilities, duty, strength, coming-of-age, friendship, art, passion, desire, loss and love.

Simonetta was a feminist ahead of her time who understood quickly that her beauty was both a gift and a curse, and who ultimately longed and strived in her regrettably short life to be known and loved for her knowledge and mind instead.

The prose is smooth and fluid, and the storyline takes us back to the mid-to-late 1400s to the city of Florence when politics, learning and the liberal arts were revered and who you knew was certainly more important than what you knew.

This certainly is a well written, vivid, rich story, and even though there is not much known about Simonetta’s life and the events that led up to Botticelli’s immortalization of her in his famous painting, Palombo has done a remarkable job of taking those historical facts and surrounding them with fiction that is passionate, alluring and incredibly captivating.

 

This novel is due to be published on April 25, 2017.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Alyssa Palombo

Alyssa Palombo is a writer living and working in Buffalo, NY. She attended Canisius College in Buffalo, where she majored in English and creative writing with a minor in music. She's a classically trained mezzo-soprano who also dabbles in playing piano. When not writing, she can usually be found reading, hanging out and laughing way too hard at nonsensical inside jokes with friends, traveling (or dreaming of her next travel destination), or at a concert. She's a metalhead and a self-proclaimed French fry connoisseur.

Alyssa Palombo is an author of two historical novels, The Violinist of Venice and The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, both out now from St. Martin’s Griffin. She's represented by Brianne Johnson of Writer’s House.

#BookReview
The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley
@lucindariley

#BookReview The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley @lucindarileyTitle: The Storm Sister

Author: Lucinda Riley

Series: The Seven Sisters #2

Published by: Atria Books on March 22, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 501

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

Ally D’Aplièse is about to compete in one of the world’s most perilous yacht races, when she hears the news of her adoptive father’s sudden, mysterious death. Rushing back to meet her five sisters at their family home, she discovers that her father – an elusive billionaire affectionately known to his daughters as Pa Salt – has left each of them a tantalising clue to their true heritage.

Ally has also recently embarked on a deeply passionate love affair that will change her destiny forever. But with her life now turned upside down, Ally decides to leave the open seas and follow the trail that her father left her, which leads her to the icy beauty of Norway…

There, Ally begins to discover her roots – and how her story is inextricably bound to that of a young unknown singer, Anna Landvik, who lived there over 100 years before, and sang in the first performance of Grieg’s iconic music set to Ibsen’s play ‘Peer Gynt’. As Ally learns more about Anna, she also begins to question who her father, Pa Salt, really was. And why is the seventh sister missing?

Following the bestselling The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister is the second book in Lucinda Riley’s spellbinding series based loosely on the mythology surrounding the famous star constellation.


Review:

Fascinating, enchanting and bittersweet!

This story is predominantly set in Norway during the late 1800s, as well as present day, and is told from two different perspectives, Ally, a young sailor who journeys to Scandinavia to unravel the mystery surrounding her ancestry after suffering heartbreaking tragedies; and Anna a country girl with an angelic voice that at times was not only a blessing but a curse.

The story, itself, is a dramatic tale filled with family, love, loss, grief, introspection, and new beginnings; as well as a comprehensive look into the composition of music and the art of sailing. 

The prose is lyrical, fluid and vividly descriptive. The characters are complex, intriguing, sympathetic and real. And the plot is written in a back and forth, past/present, style that captivates and engages you as it sweeps you along through the highs and lows of both Ally and Anna’s life.

This once again is another large novel by Riley, with over 700 pages, but it is so remarkably researched and well written that before you know it the story is finished and you’re yearning for more. I absolutely loved this story and even though it can be read as a standalone novel I strongly recommend you read The Seven Sisters (Book #1) first.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                          

 

About Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland, and after an early career as an actress in film, theatre and television, wrote her first book aged twenty-four. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages and sold over ten million copies worldwide. She is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author.

Lucinda’s novels include The Seven Sisters, a seven-book series telling the story of adopted sisters and based allegorically on the mythology of the famous star constellation. The first three books, The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister, and The Shadow Sister have all been No.1 bestsellers across Europe, and the rights to a multi-season TV series have already been optioned by a Hollywood production company.

To read about the inspiration behind The Seven Sisters series, please visit thesevensistersseries.com

When not writing, travelling or running around after her children, she loves reading books that she hasn’t written with a glass or two of Provençal rosé!

#BookReview
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
by Lisa See @Lisa_See @ScribnerBooks

#BookReview The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See @Lisa_See @ScribnerBooksTitle: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

Author: Lisa See

Published by: Scribner on March 21, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Scribner, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple.

Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives.

In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city.

After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.

A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters.


Review:

Atmospheric, evocative, and remarkably researched!

This story is predominantly set in a mountainous village in rural China where the Akha subsist off the tea tree leaves that grace the landscape and are governed by the ancient superstitions, traditions and spirituality passed down from generation to generation.

The prose is descriptive and precise. The characters are genuine, strong, intelligent and hardworking. And the story has two distinct plots; one involving the coming-of-age, independence, perseverance and success of Li-Yan as she bravely follows her aspirations beyond the confines of her home; and the other which details the struggles and difficulties faced by her daughter, Haley, being raised by adoptive parents of a different race, culture and country than that of her ancestry. 

I would have to say that although I found the history of tea production and insight into the ethnic minorities of China incredibly fascinating and enjoyable in this novel the ending felt just a little bit rushed. I would definitely have appreciated and welcomed a few more pages dedicated to the climactic mother-daughter reunion at the end.

However, overall this book is well written, engrossing and well worth the read.

 

This book is due to be published on March 21, 2017.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoBook DepositoryB&NKobo

 

 

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

 

About Lisa See

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of The Island of Sea Women, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneSnow Flower and the Secret FanPeony in LoveShanghai GirlsChina Dolls, and Dreams of Joy, which debuted at #1. She is also the author of On Gold Mountain, which tells the story of her Chinese American family’s settlement in Los Angeles. See was the recipient of the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Association of Southern California and the History Maker’s Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was also named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.

#BookReview
The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron
@KCambronAuthor @ThomasNelson

#BookReview The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron @KCambronAuthor @ThomasNelsonTitle: The Illusionist's Apprentice

Author: Kristy Cambron

Published by: Thomas Nelson on March 7, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 368

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Thomas Nelson, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Harry Houdni’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. 

Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.


Review:

This is a compelling tale about magic, jealousy, love, loss, greed, revenge, secrets and murder.

The story is set in Boston in the mid-to-late 1920s shortly after the death of the renowned Harry Houdini and at a time when variety entertainment, including defy-defying feats, tricks and illusions were all the rage.

There are two main memorable characters in this novel; Jenny “Wren”, a young Houdini protégé, famed in her own right and struggling with a dark past, an abundance of secrets, and a reluctance to trust; and Elliot, a FBI agent with a case to solve that not only involves a victim who momentarily comes back from the dead, but a list of suspects for whom deception is an art and a woman who may even steal his heart.

The writing is vivid and descriptive. The supporting characters are multi-layered, quirky and flawed. And the plot is unique and skillfully constructed with a good use of dialogue, banter and a past/present style that creates suspense and gives understanding and depth to the storyline.

Overall this is an extremely enjoyable, engaging read that does a remarkable job of interweaving historical facts, fiction, and mystery and I highly recommend it.

 

This novel is due to be published on March 7, 2017. 

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoBook DepositoryKoboB&N,

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kristy Cambron

KRISTY CAMBRON is an award-winning author of Christian fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She is a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at ministry events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations.

Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation, working in partnership with such companies as the Disney Institute, IBM/Kenexa, and Gallup. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

The most important thing? Jesus is everything— let her tell you about Him sometime.

#BookReview
The Dressmaker’s Dowry by Meredith Jaeger
@Meredith_Jaeger @WmMorrowBks

#BookReview The Dressmaker’s Dowry by Meredith Jaeger @Meredith_Jaeger @WmMorrowBksTitle: The Dressmaker's Dowry

Author: Meredith Jaeger

Published by: William Morrow on February 7, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: William Morrow, Edelweiss

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

For readers of Lucinda Riley, Sarah Jio, or Susan Meissner, this gripping historical debut novel tells the story of two women: one, an immigrant seamstress who disappears from San Francisco’s gritty streets in 1876, and the other, a young woman in present day who must delve into the secrets of her husband’s wealthy family only to discover that she and the missing dressmaker might be connected in unexpected ways

An exquisite ring, passed down through generations, connects two women who learn that love is a choice, and forgiveness is the key to freedom…

San Francisco: 1876

Immigrant dressmakers Hannelore Schaeffer and Margaret O’Brien struggle to provide food for their siblings, while mending delicate clothing for the city’s most affluent ladies. When wealthy Lucas Havensworth enters the shop, Hanna’s future is altered forever. With Margaret’s encouragement and the power of a borrowed green dress, Hanna dares to see herself as worthy of him. Then Margaret disappears, and Hanna turns to Lucas. Braving the gritty streets of the Barbary Coast and daring to enter the mansions of Nob Hill, Hanna stumbles upon Margaret’s fate, forcing her to make a devastating decision…one that will echo through the generations.

San Francisco: Present Day

In her elegant Marina apartment overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, Sarah Havensworth struggles to complete the novel she quit her job for. Afraid to tell her husband of her writer’s block, Sarah is also hiding a darker secret—one that has haunted her for 14 years. Then a news headline from 1876 sparks inspiration: Missing Dressmakers Believed to be Murdered. Compelled to discover what happened to Hannelore and Margaret, Sarah returns to her roots as a journalist. Will her beautiful heirloom engagement ring uncover a connection to Hanna Schaeffer?


Review:

Intriguing, thought-provoking and heartwarming!

This story is told from two different perspectives. One is that of Sarah, a young woman who stumbles upon an unsolved mystery from the 1870s while working on her thesis. And the other is Hanna, a young woman struggling to survive and raise her siblings in a time when women had no rights and few options.

It is, ultimately, a story about loneliness, loss, injustice, determination, strength, tragedy, guilt, and love.

The writing is smooth. The characters are strong, multi-layered, and fascinating. And the multiple plots quickly unravel into a engrossing mystery that not only manages to intertwine all the subplots, but also ends with a little surprise.

Overall this is a wonderful debut novel and I look forward to reading more from Jaeger in the future.

 

This book is due to be published on February 7, 2017.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoKoboBook DepositoryB&N

 

 

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

 

About Meredith Jaeger

Meredith is a USA Today Bestselling Author. She is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was raised by a Swiss father and an American mother. She is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Her own engagement ring, which is an heirloom from 1903, inspired her to write her debut novel The Dressmaker’s Dowry. She wrote it on weekends while working for a San Francisco startup.

Meredith finds the immigrant experience a rich part of the fabric of American history. Her second novel, Boardwalk Summer, will be published in June 2018. Meredith lives outside San Francisco with her husband, their rambunctious toddler and spoiled English bulldog, where she now writes full time.

Photo credit: Erika Pino Photography

#BookReview & #BlogTour
Chasing Shadows by T.A. Williams
@TAWilliamsBooks @canelo_co

#BookReview & #BlogTour Chasing Shadows by T.A. Williams @TAWilliamsBooks @canelo_coTitle: Chasing Shadows

Author: T.A. Williams

Published by: Canelo on January 16, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Fiction

Pages: 272

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Canelo, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Amy had it all – money, brains and beauty. And then the accident happened.

The Present Day: Left blind and without her family, Amy feels she needs to get away. On a trip along the Camino, she is accompanied by the mysterious and troubled Luke. Having been set up to help Amy by a mutual friend, Luke finds he is also running from his past…

1314: A Templar Knight, Luc, is also running. He meets the wife of a former comrade, now blinded in a terrifying attack: Aimee. Taking her under his wing, they must journey together through a dangerous world.

As they travel through the stunning scenery of Northern Spain, this couple, so very like Luke and Amy, emerge from the shadows of time carrying a treasure of inestimable value.


Review:

Heartwarming, clever and incredibly intriguing!

In this latest novel by Williams he diverts from his usual genre of contemporary romance with a touch of history and instead gives us an historical time-slip piece full of mystery, facts, friendship, relationship dynamics, and of course a little love. 

The writing is vividly described, well researched, and remarkably eloquent. The characters in both time periods are troubled, strong and endearing. And the plot is a captivating, sometimes dangerous journey from the beautiful countryside of the South of France, over the rugged mountainous Somport Pass, to the Galicia region of Spain and the tomb of St. James.

T. A. Williams wrote one of my favourite books last year, What Happens at the Beach…, and once again he has written a novel that shows his extraordinary talent as a writer and his passion for history in a tale that sweeps you away to another time and place and leaves you yearning to travel.

 

This book is available now. 

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoKobo

 

 

Thank you to Canelo and T. A. Williams for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

About T.A. Williams

T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.

 

#BookReview
The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams
@bcwilliamsbooks @WmMorrowBks

#BookReview The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams @bcwilliamsbooks @WmMorrowBksTitle: The Wicked City

Author: Beatriz Williams

Published by: William Morrow on January 17, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 292

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: William Morrow, Edelweiss

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams recreates the New York City of A Certain Age in this deliciously spicy adventure that mixes past and present and centers on a Jazz Age love triangle involving a rugged Prohibition agent, a saucy redheaded flapper, and a debonair Princetonian from a wealthy family.

When she discovers her husband cheating, Ella Hawthorne impulsively moves out of their SoHo loft and into a small apartment in an old Greenwich Village building. Her surprisingly attractive new neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement at night. Tenants have reported strange noises after midnight—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano—even though the space has been empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the place hid a speakeasy.

In 1924, Geneva “Gin” Kelly, a smart-mouthed flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway known as the Christopher Club. Caught up in a raid, Gin becomes entangled with Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather Duke Kelly, one of Appalachia’s most notorious bootleggers.

Headstrong and independent, Gin is no weak-kneed fool. So how can she be falling in love with the taciturn, straight-arrow Revenue agent when she’s got Princeton boy Billy Marshall, the dashing son of society doyenne Theresa Marshall, begging to make an honest woman of her? While anything goes in the Roaring Twenties, Gin’s adventures will shake proper Manhattan society to its foundations, exposing secrets that shock even this free-spirited redhead—secrets that will echo from Park Avenue to the hollers of her Southern hometown.

As Ella discovers more about the basement speakeasy, she becomes inspired by the spirit of her exuberant predecessor, and decides to live with abandon in the wicked city too. . . . 


Review:

Once again Beatriz Williams sweeps us away into another time and place with a storyline full of deception, lies, adultery, jealousy, love, loss, passion and murder.

The story is told from two different perspectives. Gin, a young, strong-minded woman who enjoys her independence and the love of more than one man in New York City in the Roaring Twenties when prohibition, jazz, and speakeasies are the norm.  And Ella, an intelligent, inquisitive woman who is determined to move forward after discovering her husband’s infidelity in the Big Apple metropolis of the late 1990s.

The prose is exquisite and vividly described. The characters are flawed, multi-faceted, and intriguing. And the plot is a fast-paced, complex, fascinating tale with lots of twists, turns, action and suspense that will keep you engaged until the very end.

What more can I say, I really enjoyed this novel and I can’t help but highly recommend it.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out my review of her previous novel, A Certain Age, you can find it HERE.

 

This novel is due to be published on January 17, 2016. 

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoKoboB&N

 

 

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

 

About Beatriz Williams

Beatriz Williams is the New York Times bestselling author of A Hundred Summers, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, Along the Infinite Sea, A Certain Age, and several other works of historical fiction. A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA in Finance from Columbia University, Beatriz worked as a communications and corporate strategy consultant in New York and London before she turned her attention to writing novels that combine her passion for history with an obsessive devotion to voice and characterization. Beatriz’s books have won numerous awards, have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and appear regularly in bestseller lists around the world.

Born in Seattle, Washington, Beatriz now lives near the Connecticut shore with her husband and four children, where she divides her time between writing and laundry.

#BookReview
The Fire By Night by Teresa Messineo

#BookReview The Fire By Night by Teresa MessineoTitle: The Fire by Night

Author: Teresa Messineo

Published by: William Morrow on January 17, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: William Morrow, Edelweiss

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A powerful and evocative debut novel about two American military nurses during World War II that illuminates the unsung heroism of women who risked their lives in the fight—a riveting saga of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival combining the grit and selflessness of Band of Brothers with the emotional resonance of The Nightingale.

In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo singlehandedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school.

Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.

When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time. 


Review:

Incredibly moving, hauntingly realistic and exceptionally captivating!

This is an impactful story that is told from two different perspectives. Jo, an American nurse whose compassion and strength are tested near the front lines of the western front. And Kay, Jo’s friend and fellow nurse who must endure horrific conditions and extreme brutality after being taken as a POW by the Japanese in the Pacific.

This is story about war, strength, bravery, hope, loss, injustice, love, and survival.

The prose is poetic. The imagery is remarkably descriptive. The characters are young, dedicated, damaged and disheartened. And the plot uses alternating points-of-view, and a back-and-forth style to give depth and understanding to all the personalities, relationships, and situations within it.

Overall, I would have to say I found this story to be profound and heartbreaking and a real reminder of just how indomitable the human spirit can truly be.

.

This novel is due to be published on January 17, 2017.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoKoboBook DepositoryB&N

 

 

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

 

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