Historical Fiction

#BookReview
The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
@lucindariley

#BookReview The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley @lucindarileyTitle: The Seven Sisters

Author: Lucinda Riley

Series: The Seven Sisters #1

Published by: Atria Books on May 5, 2015

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

Pages: 463

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings.

Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to complete his vision. Izabela—passionate and longing to see the world—convinces her father to allow her to accompany him and his family to Europe before she is married. There, at Paul Landowski’s studio and in the heady, vibrant cafes of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.

In this sweeping, epic tale of love and loss—the first in a unique, spellbinding series of seven novels—Lucinda Riley showcases her storytelling talent like never before.


Review:

Intriguing, heartwarming, and incredibly captivating!

This is the first book in “The Seven Sisters” series and boy is it a good one.

This is the story of Maia, a young woman who embarks on a journey to discover her parentage and ancestry after recently suffering the loss of her beloved, adoptive father. 

It is predominantly set in Rio, Brazil during both the late 1920s, as well as present day, and is told from two perspectives, Maia and Maia’s maternal great-grandmother, Izabela.

The story, itself, is a sweeping saga filled with self discovery, family, loss, determination, strength, grief, heartbreak, happiness, and everlasting love; as well as an in-depth look into the culture, history and landmarks of Rio, complete with the construction of the iconic Christ the Redeemer and the boom and subsequent demise of the coffee industry.

The prose is precise, poetic, and exquisitely descriptive. And the characters are multi-faceted, genuine, empathetic, and engaging. 

I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first about the size of this novel, but don’t be daunted. This is truly a powerful, fascinating story that will make you cry, make you smile and will have you mesmerized from start to finish.

I can honestly say that after reading this novel, The Storm Sister (Book #2) available now, and The Shadow Sister (Book #3) releasing soon, will be jumping to the top of your “to read” pile.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from the following links. You won’t be disappointed.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

 

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 Witches of New York by Ami McKay
@SideshowAmi

#BookReview The Witches of New York by Ami McKay @SideshowAmiTitle: The Witches of New York

Author: Ami McKay

Published by: Vintage Books Canada on July 4, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 504

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The beloved, bestselling author of The Birth House and The Virgin Cure is back with her most beguiling novel yet, luring us deep inside the lives of a trio of remarkable young women navigating the glitz and grotesqueries of Gilded-Age New York by any means possible, including witchcraft… 

The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom (‘Moth’ from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it’s finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and “gardien de sorts” (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan’s high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions–and in guarding the secrets of their clients. 

All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment. Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor’s apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind? 

Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches’ tug-of-war over what’s best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force. 

As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they’re confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?


Review:

Dark, fascinating, and incredibly atmospheric!

This story is set in New York City in the early 1880s, a time when building and bridge development was rampant, immigration was ongoing, and the Statue of Liberty was still only a torch-bearing arm displayed in Madison Square Park. However, it was also a time of religious condemnation, fear of the unknown, and a time when cruel and barbaric behaviour towards women who didn’t conform to what society deemed norm was still acceptable.

The writing is elegant and vividly descriptive. The three main characters, Adelaide, Eleanor, and Beatrice, are strong, bold, and independent. And the plot is a creative, dark, mysterious ride of historical tidbits, mystical occurrences, friendship, murder, witchcraft, and love.

This definitely is an enjoyable read that sweeps you away to another place and reminds you of some of the hardships and struggles of a different time. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read anything else by Ami McKay, I highly recommend “The Virgin Cure” still today one of my all-time favourites.

 

This novel is due to be published on October 25, 2016. 

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

 

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

 

About Ami McKay

Ami McKay’s debut novel, The Birth House was a # 1 bestseller in Canada, winner of three CBA Libris Awards, nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and a book club favourite around the world.

Her new novel. The Virgin Cure, is inspired by the life of her great- great grandmother, Dr. Sarah Fonda Mackintosh, a female physician in nineteenth century New York. Born and raised in Indiana, Ami now lives in Nova Scotia.

#BookReview
The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa
@ArmandoCorrea @AtriaBooks

#BookReview The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa @ArmandoCorrea @AtriaBooksTitle: The German Girl

Author: Armando Lucas Correa

Published by: Atria Books on October 18, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 360

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Atria Books, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A stunningly ambitious and beautiful debut novel, perfect for fans of Sarah’s Key and All the Light We Cannot See, the story of a twelve-year-old girl’s harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion.

In 1939 before everything changed, Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. Her family moved in Berlin’s highest social circles, admired by friends and neighbors. Eleven-year-old Hannah was often taken by her mother for an afternoon treat at the tea room of the beautiful Adlon Hotel, both dressed in their finest clothes. She spent her afternoons at the park with her best friend Leo Martin. But, in an instant, that sunlit world vanished. Now the streets of Berlin are draped with red, white, and black flags; their fine possessions are hauled away, and they are no longer welcome in the places that once felt like home. The two friends make a pact: come what may, they promise to have a future together.

As Hannah and Leo’s families desperately begin to search for a means of escape, a glimmer of hope appears when they discover the Saint Louis, a transatlantic liner that can give Jews safe passage to Cuba. After a frantic search to obtain visas, the Rosenthals and the Martins depart from Hamburg on the luxurious passenger liner bound for Havana. Life aboard the ship is a welcome respite from the gloom of Berlin—filled with masquerade balls, dancing, and exquisite meals every night.

As the passengers gain renewed hope for a bright future ahead, love between Hannah and Leo blossoms. But soon reports from the outside world began to filter in, and dark news overshadows the celebratory atmosphere on the ship; the governments of Cuba, the United States, and Canada are denying the passengers of the St. Louis admittance to their countries, forcing them to return to Europe as it descends into the Second World War. The ship that had seemed their salvation seems likely to become their death sentence.

After four days anchored at bay, only a handful of passengers are allowed to disembark onto Cuban soil, and Hannah and Leo must face the grim reality that they could be torn apart. Their future is unknown, and their only choice will have an impact in generations to come.

Decades later in New York City on her eleventh birthday, Anna Rosen receives a mysterious envelope from Hannah, a great-aunt she has never met but who raised her deceased father. In an attempt to piece together her father’s mysterious past, Anna and her mother travel to Havana to meet Hannah, who is turning eighty-seven years old. Hannah reveals old family ties, recounts her journey aboard the Saint Louis and, for the first time, reveals what happened to her father and Leo. Bringing together the pain of the past with the mysteries of the present, Hannah gives young Anna a sense of their shared histories, forever intertwining their lives, honoring those they loved and cruelly lost.


Review:

Poignant, realistic, and incredibly impactful!

The German Girl is a novel that reminds us of the persecution and maltreatment of the Jewish people during the war and the enduring effects experienced by both the survivors and their progeny.

It is a deeply moving story, told from two differing perspectives, about familial relationships, friendship, loss, injustice, guilt, grief, survival, solace, and love.

The prose is clear and fluid. The settings are vividly described. And the characters are strong, resilient, empathetic, and multi-layered. 

Overall, The German Girl is truly a heartbreaking, powerful story that I promise you won’t soon forget.

 

This book is due to be published on October 18, 2016.

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

         

 

 

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

 

About Armando Lucas Correa

Armando Lucas Correa is an award-winning journalist, editor, author, and the recipient of several awards from the National Association of Hispanic Publications and the Society of Professional Journalism. He is the author of the international bestseller The German Girl, which is now being published in thirteen languages. He lives in New York City with his partner and their three children.

Photograph by Héctor O. Torres.

#BookReview
The Spider and the Stone by Glen Craney
@glencraney

#BookReview The Spider and the Stone by Glen Craney  @glencraneyTitle: The Spider and the Stone

Author: Glen Craney

Published by: Brigid's Fire Press on January 1, 2014

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: eBook

Source: Glen Craney

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

As the 14th century dawns, Scotland’s survival hangs by a spider’s thread. While the Scot clans scrap over their empty throne, the brutal Edward Longshanks of England invades the weakened northern kingdom, scheming to annex it to his realm. But one Lanark lad stands in the Plantagenet monarch’s path.

2015 Chaucer Award First Place Category Historical Fiction 
Foreword Reviews Book-of-the-Year Finalist in HF 
2015 B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree 

The beleaguered Scots cherish him as their “Good Sir James.” In England, his slashing raids deep into Yorkshire and Northumbria wreak such terror that he is branded the Black Douglas with a reward placed on his head.

As a boy, James falls in love with the ravishing Isabelle MacDuff, whose clan for centuries has inaugurated Scottish monarchs on the hallowed Stone of Destiny. But his world is upturned when he befriends
Robert Bruce, a bitter enemy of the MacDuffs. Forced to choose between love and clan loyalty, James and Isabelle make fateful decisions that will draw the opposing armies to the bloody field of Bannockburn.

Isabelle will crown a king. James will carry a king’s heart. Both now take their rightful places with Robert Bruce, Rob Roy, and William Wallace in the pantheon of Scot heroes.

Here is the story of Scotland’s War of Independence and the remarkable events that followed the execution of Wallace, whose legend was portrayed in the movie Braveheart. This thrilling epic leads us to the miraculous Stone of Destiny, to the famous Spider in the Cave, to the excommunicated Knights Templar, to the suppressed Culdee Church, and to the unprecedented Declaration of Arbroath, the stirring oath document that inspired the American Declaration of Independence four hundred years later.

The Spider and the Stone is the unforgettable saga of the star-crossed love, religious intrigue, and heroic sacrifice that saved Scotland during its time of greatest peril.


Review:

Informative, captivating, and extraordinarily descriptive.

This story recounts the difficulties and hardships Scotland underwent in her search for Freedom, and immerses you in a time when clans routinely switched allegiances between the Scottish Crown, William Wallace and the British Empire.

The writing is well done and exceptionally descriptive with vivid battle scenes and horrific violence. The main characters are true Scotsman; strong, stubborn, fascinating, and relentless in their quest for rights and justice. And the plot is a roller coaster road of turbulent times, bloody battles and cruel Plantagenet kings.

This novel is remarkably researched with a good mix of factual historical data, legends, and theories. I especially like the authors views surrounding the mysterious love life of James Douglas, the friendship between Black Douglas and Robert the Bruce, and ultimately the demise of a brilliant war monger.

 

This novel is available now.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

For more information on Glen Craney, visit his website at: glencraney.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @glencraney

 

 

Thank you to Glen Craney, the author, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It was a pleasure to read.

#BookReview
Bolshoi Confidential by Simon Morrison
@simonm1

#BookReview Bolshoi Confidential by Simon Morrison @simonm1Title: Bolshoi Confidential

Author: Simon Morrison

Published by: Knopf Canada on October 11, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In this enthralling, definitive new history of the Bolshoi Ballet, sensational performances onstage compete with political machinations backstage.

On January 17, 2013, a hooded assailant hurled acid into the face of the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, making international headlines. A lead soloist, enraged by institutional power struggles, later confessed to masterminding the crime. The scandal, though shocking, is not an anomaly in the turbulent and tormented yet magnificent history of the Bolshoi. Renowned music historian Simon Morrison reveals the ballet as a crucible of art and politics, beginning with the disreputable inception of the theatre in 1776 and proceeding through the era of imperial rule, the chaos of revolution, the oppressive Soviet years, and the recent $680 million renovation project. Drawing on exclusive archival research, Morrison creates a richly detailed tableau of the centuries-long war between world-class art and life-threatening politics that has defined this storied institution. As Morrison makes clear, as Russia goes, so goes the Bolshoi Ballet.


Review:

This is a remarkably researched, sophisticated story of the tumultuous history of the iconic Bolshoi.

It is a journey through its 240-year history, complete with an in-depth look into the scandals, corruption, damage, destruction, violence, and restorations that it has endured over the years, as well as an introduction to the characters that have played an important role its enduring successes and failures, including Tsars, politicians, dancers, directors, composers and choreographers.

This is, ultimately, an expository story about the creation and production of one of the most beautiful art forms the world has ever known, complete with the shady and gritty underworld that plagues its backstage.

Overall, this novel is incredibly descriptive, effortlessly fluid, and highly fascinating.

 

This book is due to be published on October 11, 2016. 

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoBook Depository

 

For more information on Simon Morrison, visit his website at: princeton.edu/~simonm

or follow him on Twitter at: @simonm1

 

 

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

#BookReview
Mata Hari’s Last Dance by Michelle Moran

#BookReview Mata Hari’s Last Dance by Michelle MoranTitle: Mata Hari's Last Dance

Author: Michelle Moran

Published by: Touchstone on July 19, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 272

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From the international bestselling author of Rebel Queen and Nefertiti comes a captivating novel about the infamous Mata Hari, exotic dancer, adored courtesan, and, possibly, relentless spy.

Paris, 1917. The notorious dancer Mata Hari sits in a cold cell awaiting freedom…or death. Alone and despondent, Mata Hari is as confused as the rest of the world about the charges she’s been arrested on: treason leading to the deaths of thousands of French soldiers.

As Mata Hari waits for her fate to be decided, she relays the story of her life to a reporter who is allowed to visit her in prison. Beginning with her carefree childhood, Mata Hari recounts her father’s cruel abandonment of her family as well her calamitous marriage to a military officer. Taken to the island of Java, Mata Hari refuses to be ruled by her abusive husband and instead learns to dance, paving the way to her stardom as Europe’s most infamous dancer.

From exotic Indian temples and glamorous Parisian theatres to stark German barracks in war-torn Europe, international bestselling author Michelle Moran who “expertly balances fact and fiction” (Associated Press) brings to vibrant life the famed world of Mata Hari: dancer, courtesan, and possibly, spy.


Review:

This is a fascinating and engaging story about the life of Mata Hari, the famous dancer, courtesan, who was tried and convicted by the French for being a double agent during WWI, and was subsequently executed for treason by firing squad in 1917.

It is told in first-person narration, and it takes us through a life filled with abandonment, abuse, poverty, riches, love, loss, and wartime.

Mata Hari lived in a time when respectable woman were meant to be demure and obedient and she was certainly nothing of the sort. She appeared to be extremely independent and passionate, but one wonders if this was simply a facade for loneliness and naiveté.

I have to admit that I knew very little about Mata Hari when I started this book, and I found her story to be extremely captivating and intriguing.  It certainly leaves you questioning whether she was truly a spy or whether she merely got caught up in all the glitz and glamour and, ultimately, chose the wrong paramours.

The writing is poetic and the story flows effortlessly from page to page. 

I really enjoyed this story and I highly recommend it.

 

This novel is available now.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/Indigo

 

 

About Michelle Moran

Michelle Moran is the international bestselling author of seven historical novels. A native of southern California, she attended Pomona College, then earned a Masters Degree from the Claremont Graduate University. During her six years as a public high school teacher she used her summers to travel around the world, and it was her experiences as a volunteer on archaeological digs that inspired her to write historical fiction.

In 2012 Michelle was married in India, inspiring her seventh book, Rebel Queen, which is set in the East. Her hobbies include hiking, traveling, and archaeology. She is also fascinated by archaeogenetics, particularly since her children's heritages are so mixed. But above all these things Michelle is passionate about reading and can often be found with her nose in a good book. A frequent traveler, she currently resides with her husband, son, and daughter in the US. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

#BookReview
Monsoon Summer by Julia Gregson
@JuliaGregsonUK

#BookReview Monsoon Summer by Julia Gregson @JuliaGregsonUKTitle: Monsoon Summer

Author: Julia Gregson

Published by: Touchstone on August 9, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 464

Format: eBook

Source: Touchstone, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

By the award-winning author of East of the Sun, an epic love story moving from England to India, about the forbidden love between a young Indian doctor and an English midwife.

Oxfordshire, 1947. Kit Smallwood, hiding a painful secret and exhausted from nursing soldiers during the Second World War, escapes to Wickam Farm where her friend is setting up a charity sending midwives to the Moonstone Home in South India.

Then Kit meets Anto, an Indian doctor finishing his medical training at Oxford. But Kit’s light skinned mother is in fact Anglo-Indian with secrets of her own, and Anto is everything she does not want for her daughter.

Despite the threat of estrangement, Kit is excited for the future, hungry for adventure, and deeply in love. She and Anto secretly marry and set off for South India—where Kit plans to run the maternity hospital she’s helped from afar. 

But Kit’s life in India does not turn out as she imagined. Anto’s large, traditional family wanted him to marry an Indian bride and find it hard to accept Kit. Their relationship under immense strain, Kit’s job is also fraught with tension as they both face a newly independent India, where riots have left millions dead and there is deep-rooted suspicion of the English. In a rapidly changing world, Kit’s naiveté is to land her in a frightening and dangerous situation…

Based on true accounts of European midwives in India, Monsoon Summer is a powerful story of secrets, the nature of home, the comforts and frustrations of family, and how far we’ll go to be with those we love. 


Review:

This is an intelligent and compelling story that I won’t soon forget.

It is the story of Kit, a young, British nurse who falls in love with a charismatic, Indian doctor, Anto, and travels with him to India, where she hopes to not only be a worthy wife, but also establish a reputable midwifery for those in need.

The story is predominantly set in India during the late 1940s, when the country had newly acquired independence and their separation from British rule caused inner turmoil and a widespread rebuke of the British people as a whole.

This is, ultimately, a story about familial dynamics, racism, deception, self discovery, determination, strength, loss, and love.

The prose is clear, precise, and remarkably descriptive. And the characters are empathetic, engaging, and multifaceted. 

This is truly an interesting story that is intriguing from the beginning to the very end.

 

This book is due to be published on August 9, 2016. 

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

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

 

About Julia Gregson

Julia Gregson was born in London and had a travelling childhood. Educated at 13 schools, in the U.K. and abroad, she began writing in Australia.
Her first novel, 'The Water Horse,' was runner up in the Waverton Good Read Award.
Her second book, 'East of the Sun', was chosen for the Richard and Judy Book Club and became a Sunday Times best seller, and an international success, translated into 21 languages.
It won Romantic novel of the Year and the Prince Maurice Prize for Literary Love stories.
Her first published short story won the Ryman's Literary Review Prize.
Previously a journalist, for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Times, Good Housekeeping, and Rolling Stone in the U.S.A. she is married and lives in the Wye Valley. She has one daughter and four stepchildren.

#BookReview
The Sugar Planter’s Daughter by Sharon Maas
@sharon_maas

#BookReview The Sugar Planter’s Daughter by Sharon Maas @sharon_maasTitle: The Sugar Planter's Daughter

Author: Sharon Maas

Published by: Bookouture on July 22, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 328

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Bookouture, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A breathtaking and unforgettable story of a woman torn between her family and the man she loves. 

1912, British Guiana, South America: Winnie Cox is about to marry George Quint, the love of her life. Born into a life of luxury and privilege on her father’s sugar plantation, Winnie has turned against her family by choosing to be with George – a poor black postman from the slums. 

Winnie may be living in poverty, but she’s got what sister Johanna doesn’t have: a loving husband and a beautiful family. And despite Johanna running her family’s sugar plantation, Winnie will always be their mother’s favourite daughter, a bitter pill for Johanna to swallow. 

Then Winnie’s son falls ill and she must travel to Venezuela desperate for a cure. With her sister away, Johanna finds herself increasingly drawn to George. But he only has eyes for Winnie. Johanna, stung by the rejection and the fragile state of her own marriage, is out for revenge – no matter how devastating the consequences.


Review:

Heartbreaking, poignant, and intriguing.

This is the story of Winnie, a fearless, courageous, white woman who chooses to leave the comfort and security of her family’s sugar plantation to do the unthinkable and marry George, a charismatic, strong, good-natured, dark-skinned man from the ghettos of Georgetown.

The story is set in British Guiana during the early 1900s, and is told by differing perspectives that carry you along through the ups and down’s of Winnie’s life flawlessly.

This is, ultimately, a story about strength, loss, jealousy, courage, racial inequality, and true enduring love.

The prose is clear and precise. And the characters are multifaceted, empathetic, and in some cases cunning.

This truly is a powerful story that will fascinate and engross you from the very beginning until the very end.

 

This book is due to be published on July 22, 2016. 

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

For more information on Sharon Maas, visit her website at: sharonmaas.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @sharon_maas

 

 

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

#BookReview
The Lie by Helen Dunmore

#BookReview The Lie by Helen DunmoreTitle: The Lie

Author: Helen Dunmore

Published by: Windmill Books on May 8, 2014

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Set during and just after the First World War, The Lie is an enthralling, heart-wrenching novel of love, memory and devastating loss by one of the UK’s most acclaimed storytellers.

Cornwall, 1920, early spring.
A young man stands on a headland, looking out to sea. He is back from the war, homeless and without family. Behind him lie the mud, barbed-wire entanglements and terror of the trenches. Behind him is also the most intense relationship of his life.

Daniel has survived, but the horror and passion of the past seem more real than the quiet fields around him. He is about to step into the unknown. But will he ever be able to escape the terrible, unforeseen consequences of a lie?


Review:

Extremely compelling, poignant, and hauntingly realistic!

This is a novel that reminds us of the considerable physical and psychological horrors of war and their effects on both the soldiers themselves and the loved ones they left behind.

It is a subtle, but deeply moving story about familial relationships, friendship, loss, guilt, grief, survival and ultimately love.

The writing is clear and precise. The prose is beautiful and poetic. The settings are vividly described. And the characters are strong and multifaceted, especially Daniel, who is resilient, damaged, lonely, and empathetic. 

This truly is a powerful, heartbreaking story that I won’t soon forget.

 

 

About Helen Dunmore

Helen Dunmore is the author of twelve books, including The Greatcoat, The Betrayal, a New York Times Editors’ Choice; The Siege, a best seller and finalist for the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award; and A Spell of Winter, winner of the Orange Prize.

Helen Dunmore (1952 – 2017)

#BookReview
A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams
@bcwilliamsbooks

#BookReview A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams @bcwilliamsbooksTitle: A Certain Age

Author: Beatriz Williams

Published by: William Morrow on June 28, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 327

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: William Morrow, Edelweiss

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The bestselling author of A Hundred Summers, brings the Roaring Twenties brilliantly to life in this enchanting and compulsively readable tale of intrigue, romance, and scandal in New York Society, brimming with lush atmosphere, striking characters, and irresistible charm.

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband. 

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingénue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.

Full of the glamour, wit and delicious twists that are the hallmarks of Beatriz Williams’ fiction and alternating between Sophie’s spirited voice and Theresa’s vibrant timbre, A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York.


Review:

This is a riveting tale of passion, adultery, jealousy, love, loss, war, and murder.

The story is set in New York City, in the prosperous banking days of the early 1920s, complete with lustful indulgences, free-flowing gin, and copious amounts of cigarettes.

It is told from two differing perspectives. Theresa, a wealthy middle-aged woman, who enjoys her life as a married socialite, but at the same time is obsessed with her younger lover. And Sophie, a mother-less young woman, who yearns for more independence and freedom, and yet finds herself courted and betrothed to a gentleman almost 20-years her senior.

The writing is elegant and descriptive. The characters are glamorous, multi-faceted and flawed. And the plot is fast-paced, creative, and unique, with a past/present style, that gives depth, understanding, and suspense to the story line.

This is an extremely engaging story that will captivate you from the opening extract right through to the final page, and I highly recommend it for book club enthusiasts and historical fiction lovers everywhere.

 

This novel is due to be published on June 28, 2016. 

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

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.

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