Women’s Fiction

#BookReview Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy @christi_clancy @StMartinsPress #ShoulderSeason #ChristinaClancy #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy @christi_clancy @StMartinsPress #ShoulderSeason #ChristinaClancy #SMPInfluencers Title: Shoulder Season

Author: Christina Clancy

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Jul. 6, 2021

Genres: General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8/10

The small town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is an unlikely location for a Playboy Resort, and nineteen-year old Sherri Taylor is an unlikely bunny. Growing up in neighboring East Troy, Sherri plays the organ at the local church and has never felt comfortable in her own skin. But when her parents die in quick succession, she leaves the only home she’s ever known for the chance to be part of a glamorous slice of history. In the winter of 1981, in a costume two sizes too small, her toes pinched by towering stilettos, Sherri joins the daughters of dairy farmers and factory workers for the defining experience of her life.

Living in the “bunny hutch”—Playboy’s version of a college dorm, surrounded by a twelve-foot high barbed-wire fence (to keep the men out, and the girls in)—Sherri gets her education in the joys of sisterhood, the thrill of financial independence, the magic of first love, and the heady effects of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But as spring gives way to summer, Sherri finds herself caught up in a romantic triangle––and the tragedy that ensues will haunt her for the next forty years of her life.

Shoulder Season follows Sherri from her fledgling days as a bunny, when she tries to reinvent herself before she even knows who she is, to the woman she becomes years later. From the Midwestern prairie to the California desert, from Wisconsin lakes to the Pacific Ocean, this is a story of what happens when small town life is sprinkled with stardust, and what we lose—and gain—when we leave home. It’s about the brief but intoxicating experiences of our youth, and how they have the power to shape the rest of our lives. With a heroine to root for and a narrative to get lost in, Shoulder Season is a sexy, evocative tale, drenched in longing and desire, that captures a fleeting moment in American history with nostalgia and heart.


Review:

Engaging, dramatic, and informative!

Shoulder Season is an absorbing, intriguing tale that takes us to East Troy, Wisconsin during the 1980s when The Lake Geneva Playboy Club was the place to be, girls were excited for more than just marriage, and Sherri Taylor would quickly change from a naive, small-town girl to a bunny whose eyes would be opened wide to a world of sex, drugs, fortune, and fame.

The writing is vivid and expressive. The characters are young, impressionable, and impulsive. And the plot takes us from the 1980s to the present day and tells the story of a life filled with loss, love, loneliness, grief, coming-of-age, friendship, discontent, insecurity, and sexual awakening.

Overall, Shoulder Season is a captivating, candid, heartbreaking tale by Clancy that isn’t exceptionally exhilarating but is nevertheless an insightful tale that takes us back to a different era and does a wonderful job of reminding us that everyone who enters our lives, no matter how briefly, impacts, shapes, and defines it.

 

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

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

 

About Christina Clancy

CHRISTINA CLANCY is the author of The Second Home. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Sun Magazine and in various literary journals, including Glimmer Train, Pleiades and Hobart. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and lives in Madison, WI with her family.

Photo by James Bartelt.

#BookReview Catch the Rabbit by Lana Bastašić @PGCBooks @picadorbooks #CatchtheRabbit #LanaBastasic

#BookReview Catch the Rabbit by Lana Bastašić @PGCBooks @picadorbooks #CatchtheRabbit #LanaBastasic Title: Catch the Rabbit

Author: Lana Bastašić

Published by: Picador on May 27, 2021

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 272

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 7.5/10

A moving story about loss, forgetting and female friendship: two women on a road trip across Bosnia head towards a lost brother and a collision with the lies they’ve told themselves about where they’re from.

Sara hasn’t seen or heard from Lejla in years. She’s comfortable with her life in Dublin, with her partner, their avocado plant, and their naturist neighbour. But when Lejla calls and demands she come home to Bosnia, Sara finds that she can’t say no.

What begins as a road trip becomes a journey through the past, as the two women set off to find Armin, Lejla’s brother who disappeared towards the end of the Bosnian War. Presumed dead by everyone else, only Lejla and Sara believed Armin was still alive.

Confronted with the limits of memory, Sara is forced to reconsider the things she thought she understood as a girl: the best friend she loved, the first experiences they shared, but also the social and religious lines that separated them, that brought them such different lives.

In Catch the Rabbit, Lana Bastašic tells the story of how we place the ones we love on pedestals, and then wait for them to fall off, how loss marks us indelibly, and how the traumas of war echo down the years.


Review:

Frank, pensive, and melancholic!

Catch the Rabbit is a dark, gritty, nostalgic novel that takes us into the life of Sara, a young woman who is more than content with her current life in Dublin and how she’s managed to reinvent herself after growing up in Bosnia during the 1990s, until her childhood best friend, Lejla contacts her out of the blue after more than a decade to ask her to drive from Mostar to Vienna in order to find her brother who has been missing for more than twenty years, and whose disappearance has had a lasting impact on both of their lives.

The prose is perceptive and expressive. The characters are scarred, multilayered, and self-absorbed. And the plot, using a past-present style, is a reflective tale about life, loss, tragedy, family, friendship, coming-of-age, shared experiences, differing perspectives, and elusive memories, all interwoven with an undercurrent of the ongoing dread and tension experienced by those who must live and grow up in war zones.

Overall, Catch the Rabbit is a poignant, weighty, toxic tale by Bastašić that delves into all the messiness of life and highlights all the enduring psychological and emotional ties that exist between friends.

 

This novel is available now.

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

           

 

 

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

 

About Lana Bastašić

Lana Bastašic is a Yugoslavborn writer. She has published two collections of short stories and one of poetry. Catch the Rabbit, her debut novel, was published in 2018 in Belgrade and was shortlisted for the NIN Award. Her short stories have been included in major regional anthologies and have won numerous awards throughout former Yugoslavia. She lives and works in Barcelona.

#BookReview The Rehearsals by Annette Christie @MsAnnetteMC @littlebrown @HBGCanada #TheRehearsals #AnnetteChristie

#BookReview The Rehearsals by Annette Christie @MsAnnetteMC @littlebrown @HBGCanada #TheRehearsals #AnnetteChristie Title: The Rehearsals

Author: Annette Christie

Published by: Little Brown and Company on Jul. 13, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: Hardcover

Source: Forever, HBG Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

Have you ever made a life-changing decision and then wondered if you made the right one…? A clever, captivating and bittersweet story of what might have been. Perfect for the fans of Jojo Moyes and Marian Keyes.

When Liv and Nate walked up the aisle, Liv knew she was marrying the one, her soul mate and her best friend.

Six years later, it feels like routine and friendship is all they have left in common. What happened to the fun, the excitement, the lust, the love?

In the closing moments of 1999, Liv and Nate decide to go their separate ways, but at the last minute, Liv wavers. Should she stay or should she go?

Over the next twenty years we follow the parallel stories to discover if Liv’s life, heart and future have been better with Nate… Or without him?


Review:

Creative, thought-provoking, and delightfully optimistic!

The Rehearsals is a moving, time-loop tale that takes you into the lives of Megan and Tom, as after a disastrous rehearsal day, when difficult families, long-buried secrets, and thoughts of what-if leave them tired, confused, heartbroken, and calling the whole thing off fate magically intervenes leaving them reliving that same day over and over again in order to change, forgive and potentially rekindle the love they once shared.

The writing is sensitive and sincere. The characters are flawed, genuine, and weary. And the multi-layered plot is a heartfelt, absorbing tale about life, love, family, friendship, secrets, betrayal, compassion, romance, happiness, destiny, and second chances.

Overall, The Rehearsals is an emotional, pensive, brilliant debut by Christie that reminds us that life is complicated, things happen for a reason, secrets always have a way of coming to light, often the choices we make have far-reaching consequences, and love is, ultimately, always worth fighting for.

 

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

 

About Annette Christie

Annette Christie is a Canadian-American hybrid with a BFA in Theatre and a history of very odd jobs. Her writing has been published in HelloGiggles and The Guardian, and the back of her head is featured prominently in the film Mean Girls. She currently resides in Alberta with her husband and two children.

Photo courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky @BarbaraDelinsky @StMartinsPress #AWeekattheShore #BarbaraDelinsky #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky @BarbaraDelinsky @StMartinsPress #AWeekattheShore #BarbaraDelinsky #SMPInfluencers Title: A Week at the Shore

Author: Barbara Delinsky

Published by: St. Martin's Press on May 19, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8/10

In her new bestseller, New York Times bestselling Barbara Delinsky explores how lives and relationships are forever changed when three sisters reunite at their family Rhode Island beach house.

One phone call is all it takes to lure real estate photographer Mallory Aldiss back to her family Rhode Island beach home. It’s been twenty years since she’s been gone—running from the scandal that destroyed her parents’ marriage, drove her and her two sisters apart, and crushed her relationship with her first love. But going home is fraught with emotional baggage—memories, mysteries and secrets abound.

Mal’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Joy, has never been to the place where Mal’s life was shaped and is desperate to go. Fatherless, she craves family and especially wants to spend time with the grandfather she barely knows.

In just seven watershed days on the Rhode Island coast three women will test the bonds of sisterhood, friendship and family, and discover the role that love and memory plays in defining their lives.


Review:

Heartwarming, sentimental, and sweet!

A Week at the Shore is an intimate, moving tale that sweeps you away to the beautiful Rhode Island coast in summer and immerses you into the lives of the Aldiss sisters, Mallory, Anne, and Margo, as they confront the past, accept the things they cannot change, take chances, repair fractured relationships, and embrace the future.

The prose is emotive and fluid. The characters are troubled, stubborn, and compassionate. And the plot is a tender tale about life, loss, love, forgiveness, secrets, responsibilities, familial drama, parenthood, friendship, hope, ageing parents, and second-chance romance.

Overall, I found A Week at the Shore to be another heartwarming, uplifting, nostalgic tale by Delinsky, complete with strong female characters, a heartfelt storyline, and an insightful look into the complex, unbreakable ties that bind us as family. 

 

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

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

 

About Barbara Delinsky

Barbara Delinsky is the author of such New York Times bestselling books as Before and Again and Sweet Salt Air. She has been published in twenty-eight languages worldwide. A lifelong New Englander, Delinsky earned a B.A. in psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in sociology at Boston College. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, more books than she'll ever be able to read, two tennis racquets, and enough electronic devices to keep in close touch with her children and their families.

Photo by Kerry Brett.

#BookReview The Summer Sisters by Sara Richardson @SaraR_Books @ReadForeverPub @GrandCentralPub #ReadForever #Forever2021 #SaraRichardson #TheSummerSisters #JuniperSprings

#BookReview The Summer Sisters by Sara Richardson @SaraR_Books @ReadForeverPub @GrandCentralPub #ReadForever #Forever2021 #SaraRichardson #TheSummerSisters #JuniperSprings Title: The Summer Sisters

Author: Sara Richardson

Series: Juniper Springs #2

Published by: Forever on Jul. 6, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 10/10

Fans of Lori Foster and Maisey Yates won’t be able to put down this heartwarming, multi-generational story about three sisters’ search to reunite their family and the love they find along the way.

The Buchanan sisters share everything—including their inherited Juniper Inn. But when their mother won’t let go of a decades-long feud with their Aunt Sassy to attend the inn’s grands re-opening, the sisters decide a family reunion is long overdue.

Youngest sister Rose is determined to put together an extravagant celebration. Only she needs to convince a certain surly hardware store owner to help finish the inn’s renovations.

After a heartbreaking end to her marriage, Dahlia and her kids are just starting to rebuild their lives. Dahlia’s even considering opening herself up to love again, but will that upset the stability she’s worked so hard to give her children?

Sassy McGrath has never stopped missing her sister, Lillian, and though they’ve both been too stubborn to reconcile, some shocking news might finally change everything. As family bonds are tested, will these two very different generations of women find the strength to believe in themselves and each other?


Review:

Quaint, uplifting, and delightfully addictive!

In this second novel in the Juniper Springs series, The Summer Sisters, we head back to the idyllic Colorado mountains and into the lives of the Buchanan sisters as they navigate the ups and downs of relocating, renovating their beloved Juniper Inn, smoothing old familial grudges, fresh opportunities, and blossoming new love interests.

The writing is expressive and fluid. The characters are genuine, reliable, and compassionate. And the plot, including all the subplots, is an immersive, enchanting tale about life, love, family, determination, kindness, forgiveness, self-discovery, contentment, friendship, and romance.

As some of you may remember, Home for the Holidays was one of my top reads for 2020, so when I heard Richardson would be writing a second book for the wonderful characters in Juniper Springs, I was beyond ecstatic, and she didn’t disappoint. The Summer Sisters is another thoughtful, emotive, beautiful tale with a lot of heart, hope, humour, and happiness that I am happy to say I absolutely devoured and is certainly one of my top reads of 2021.

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

 

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

 

About Sara Richardson

Sara Richardson grew up chasing adventure in Colorado’s rugged mountains. She’s climbed to the top of a 14,000 foot peak at midnight, swum through Class IV rapids, completed her wilderness first-aid certification, and spent seven days at a time tromping through the wilderness with a thirty-pound backpack strapped to her shoulders.

Eventually Sara did the responsible thing and got an education in writing and journalism. After a brief stint in the corporate writing world, she stopped ignoring the voices in her head and started writing fiction. Now she uses her experience as a mountain adventure guide to write stories that incorporate adventure with romance. Sara lives and plays in Colorado, still indulging her adventurous spirit, with her saint of a husband and two young sons.

#BookReview The Promise by Lucy Diamond @LDiamondAuthor @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #ThePromise #LucyDiamond

#BookReview The Promise by Lucy Diamond @LDiamondAuthor @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #ThePromise #LucyDiamond Title: The Promise

Author: Lucy Diamond

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Jun. 29, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 480

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

The Promise is an unforgettable story about finding love, hope and joy in even the darkest moments, by the Sunday Times bestseller Lucy Diamond, author of The Secrets of Happiness.

When faced with the sudden death of his brother, Dan’s mission is clear. He puts together a project to help pick up the pieces and support his grieving sister-in-law Zoe, plus her young children. This is Dan’s promise – to ensure his family’s happiness and to try and live up to the man his brother was.

But tying up loose ends brings a shocking secret to light, and calls into question everything Dan knew about his older brother. With more than just his promise on the line, Dan is faced with an ultimatum: Should he tell the truth and risk his family’s fragile happiness, or will his brother’s secrets end up becoming his own?


Review:

Touching, sweet, and poignant!

The Promise is a tender, moving tale that immerses you into the lives of the Sheppard family as they navigate the shock, heartache, sorrow, tears, guilt, regret, and shattering secrets that come to life after the sudden death of Patrick, their perfect husband, father, brother and son.

The prose is heartfelt and immersive. The characters are flawed, devastated, and torn. And the plot is an absorbing tale about life, loss, family, secrets, relationship dynamics, introspection, redemption, moving on, taking chances, and finding happiness.

Overall, The Promise is a captivating, hopeful, slightly mysterious tale by Diamond that could have been slighter shorter but was nevertheless a lovely, somewhat solemn reminder of all the messy, emotional, complicated ups and downs associated with unimaginable loss and grief uniquely told predominately from a male perspective.

 

This novel is available now.

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

          

 

 

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

 

About Lucy Diamond

Lucy Diamond lives in Bath, England with her husband and their three children. She has penned numerous bestselling novels, including The House of New Beginnings, The Secrets of Happiness, Summer at Shell Cottage, and The Year of Taking Chances.

#BookReview The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews @mkayandrews @StMartinsPress #TheNewcomer #MaryKayAndrews #StMartinsPress

#BookReview The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews @mkayandrews @StMartinsPress #TheNewcomer #MaryKayAndrews #StMartinsPress Title: The Newcomer

Author: Mary Kay Andrews

Published by: St. Martin's Press on May 4, 2021

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 448

Format: Hardcover

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8/10

In trouble and on the run…

After she discovers her sister Tanya dead on the floor of her fashionable New York City townhouse, Letty Carnahan is certain she knows who did it: Tanya’s ex; sleazy real estate entrepreneur Evan Wingfield. Even in the grip of grief and panic Letty heeds her late sister’s warnings: “If anything bad happens to me–it’s Evan. Promise me you’ll take Maya and run. Promise me.”

With a trunkful of emotional baggage…

So Letty grabs her sister’s Mercedes and hits the road with her wailing four-year-old niece Maya. Letty is determined to out-run Evan and the law, but run to where? Tanya, a woman with a past shrouded in secrets, left behind a “go-bag” of cash and a big honking diamond ring–but only one clue: a faded magazine story about a sleepy mom-and-pop motel in a Florida beach town with the improbable name of Treasure Island. She sheds her old life and checks into an uncertain future at The Murmuring Surf Motel.

The No Vacancy sign is flashing & the sharks are circling…

And that’s the good news. Because The Surf, as the regulars call it, is the winter home of a close-knit flock of retirees and snowbirds who regard this odd-duck newcomer with suspicion and down-right hostility. As Letty settles into the motel’s former storage room, she tries to heal Maya’s heartache and unravel the key to her sister’s shady past, all while dodging the attention of the owner’s dangerously attractive son Joe, who just happens to be a local police detective. Can Letty find romance as well as a room at the inn–or will Joe betray her secrets and put her behind bars? With danger closing in, it’s a race to find the truth and right the wrongs of the past.


Review:

Heartwarming, mysterious, and colourful!

The Newcomer is an offbeat, intriguing tale that takes us into the life of thirty-three-year-old Letty Carnahan, who after discovering her sister Tanya’s murdered body and a magazine clipping featuring the Murmuring Surf Motel, flees with her four-year-old niece from NY to the west coast of Florida, where unbeknownst to her Tanya’s past unsavoury friendships, secrets, behaviour, and acquaintances will finally come to light.

The prose is amusing and light. The characters are multilayered, quirky, and endearing. And the plot is an engaging tale of familial drama, loss, grief, deception, theft, murder, kindness, suspicious personalities, taking chances, community, happiness, and love.

Overall, The Newcomer is a humorous, action-packed, entertaining tale by Andrews, and even though it’s not my favourite novel by this author, I still think it’s a satisfying, enjoyable pick for any summer day you’re planning to spend at the beach.

 

This novel is available now.

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

 

           

 

 

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

 

About Mary Kay Andrews

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

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

#BookReview Seven Days in June by Tia Williams @TiaW_Writes @GrandCentralPub #SevenDaysinJune #TiaWilliams #GrandCentralPub

#BookReview Seven Days in June by Tia Williams @TiaW_Writes @GrandCentralPub #SevenDaysinJune #TiaWilliams #GrandCentralPub Title: Seven Days in June

Author: Tia Williams

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Jun. 1, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: Hardcover

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 9/10

Seven days to fall in love, fifteen years to forget and seven days to get it all back again… From the author of The Perfect Find, this is a witty, romantic, and sexy-as-hell new novel of two writers and their second chance at love.

Brooklynite Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer, who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning literary author who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York.

When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their past buried traumas, but the eyebrows of New York’s Black literati. What no one knows is that twenty years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. They may be pretending that everything is fine now, but they can’t deny their chemistry-or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books ever since.

Over the next seven days in the middle of a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect, but Eva’s not sure how she can trust the man who broke her heart, and she needs to get him out of New York so that her life can return to normal. But before Shane disappears again, there are a few questions she needs answered. . .

With its keen observations of Black life and the condition of modern motherhood, as well as the consequences of motherless-ness, Seven Days in June is by turns humorous, warm and deeply sensual.


Review:

Humorous, romantic, and gritty!

Seven Days in June is an emotional, all-consuming, character-driven, second-chance romance that takes you on a journey into the lives of Eva Mercy and Shane Hall, two tormented and tortured souls who spent seven days as teens finding comfort and solace in each other’s arms, and who now fifteen years later must discover if what they had was real, unconditional love that’s still worth fighting for.

The prose is rich and polished. The characters are consumed, damaged, and sincere. And the plot using flashbacks and told from alternating POVs intertwines and unravels effortlessly into a complex, absorbing tale of life, love, friendship, family, addiction, introspection, palpable emotion, undeniable chemistry, motherhood, childhood trauma, chronic pain, and the ups and downs of life as a writer.

Overall, Seven Days in June is a raw, fresh, unforgettable tale by Williams that is the perfect blend of heart, hope, humour, and heat and is undoubtedly one of the must-read novels for summer 2021.

This book is available now.

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

            

 

 

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

 

About Tia Williams

Tia Williams had a fifteen-year career as a beauty editor for magazines including Elle, Glamour, and Essence. In 2004, she pioneered the beauty blog industry with Shake Your Beauty. She wrote the bestselling novel, The Accidental Diva, and penned two YA novels: It Chicks, and Sixteen Candles. Her award-winning novel, The Perfect Find, will be adapted into a Netflix film starring Gabrielle Union. Tia is currently an Editorial Director at Estée Lauder Companies, and lives with her daughter and husband in Brooklyn.

Photo courtesy of grandcentralpublishing.com.

#BookReview Secrets at Bletchley Park by Margaret Dickinson @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #SecretsatBletchleyPark #MargaretDickinson

#BookReview Secrets at Bletchley Park by Margaret Dickinson @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #SecretsatBletchleyPark #MargaretDickinson Title: Secrets at Bletchley Park

Author: Margaret Dickinson

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Jun. 15, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 560

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

In Secrets at Bletchley Park by Margaret Dickinson, two young women from very different backgrounds meet in the Second World War and are plunged into a life where security and discretion are paramount. But both have secrets of their own to hide.

In 1929, life for ten-year-old Mattie Price, born and raised in the back streets of Sheffield, is tough. With a petty thief for a father and a mother who turns to the bottle to cope with her husband”s brutish ways, it is left to the young girl and her brother, Joe, to feed and care for their three younger siblings. But Mattie has others rooting for her too. The Spencer family, who live at the top of the same street, and Mattie”s teachers recognize that the girl is clever beyond her years and they, and Joe, are determined that she shall have the opportunity in life she deserves.

Victoria Hamilton, living in the opulence of London”s Kensington, has all the material possessions that a young girl could want. But her mother, Grace, a widow from the Great War, is cold and distant, making no secret of the fact that she never wanted a child. Grace lives her life in the social whirl of upper-class society, leaving Victoria in the care of her governess and the servants. At eleven years old, Victoria is sent to boarding school where, for the first time in her young life, she is able to make friends of her own age. Mattie and Victoria are both set on a path that will bring them together at Bletchley Park in May 1940. An unlikely friendship between the two young women is born and together they will face the rest of the war keeping the nation”s secrets and helping to win the fight. They can tell no one, not even their families, about their work or even where they are. But keeping secrets is second nature to both of them.


Review:

Captivating, sentimental, and cosy!

Secrets at Bletchley Park is a heartwarming, uplifting tale that takes you into the lives of two main characters who come from completely different backgrounds but whose shared work at Bletchley Park during WWII makes them the unlikeliest but best of friends. Victoria Hamilton, a young girl who has all the things money can buy but lacks the love she so desperately desires, and Mattie Price, a girl from an impoverished, broken background who blossoms under the support and kindness of those who surround her.

The writing is sweet and tender. The characters are intelligent, helpful, and kind. And the plot is an engaging tale of life, loss, love, family, secrets, heartbreak, community, romance, and the power of friendship.

Overall, Secrets at Bletchley Park is a charming, compelling, nostalgic tale by Dickinson that I think is a lovely choice for anyone looking to be swept away into a heartfelt storyline with rich characterization.

 

This novel is available now.

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

           

 

 

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

 

About Margaret Dickinson

Born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, Margaret Dickinson moved to the coast at the age of seven and so began her love for the sea and the Lincolnshire landscape. Her ambition to be a writer began early and she had her first novel published at the age of twenty-five. This was followed by many further titles including Plough the Furrow, Sow the Seed and Reap the Harvest, which make up her Lincolnshire Fleethaven Trilogy. She is also the author of Fairfield Hall, Jenny's War and The Clippie Girls. Margaret is a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller.

Photo courtesy of Author's Facebook Page.

#BookReview Haven Point by Virginia Hume @virginiahume @RaincoastBooks @StMartinsPress #HavenPoint #VirginiaHume

#BookReview Haven Point by Virginia Hume @virginiahume @RaincoastBooks @StMartinsPress #HavenPoint #VirginiaHume Title: Haven Point

Author: Virginia Hume

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Jun. 8, 2021

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Raincoast Books

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A sweeping debut novel about the generations of a family that spends summers in a seaside enclave on Maine’s rocky coastline, for fans of Elin Hilderbrand, Beatriz Williams, and Sarah Blake.

1944: Maren Larsen is a blonde beauty from a small Minnesota farming town, determined to do her part to help the war effort––and to see the world beyond her family’s cornfields. As a cadet nurse at Walter Reed Medical Center, she’s swept off her feet by Dr. Oliver Demarest, a handsome Boston Brahmin whose family spends summers in an insular community on the rocky coast of Maine.

1970: As the nation grapples with the ongoing conflict in Vietnam, Oliver and Maren are grappling with their fiercely independent seventeen-year-old daughter, Annie, who has fallen for a young man they don’t approve of. Before the summer is over a terrible tragedy will strike the Demarests––and in the aftermath, Annie vows never to return to Haven Point.

2008: Annie’s daughter, Skye, has arrived in Maine to help scatter her mother’s ashes. Maren knows that her granddaughter inherited Annie’s view of Haven Point: despite the wild beauty and quaint customs, the regattas and clambakes and sing-alongs, she finds the place––and the people––snobbish and petty. But Maren also knows that Annie never told Skye the whole truth about what happened during that fateful summer.

Over seven decades of a changing America, through wars and storms, betrayals and reconciliations, Virginia Hume’s Haven Point explores what it means to belong to a place, and to a family, which holds as tightly to its traditions as it does its secrets.


Review:

Tragic, nuanced, and moving!

Haven Point is a heartfelt, alluring story that immerses you into the lives of the Larsen family, especially three women, and all the secrets, smiles, tears, wounds, compassion, misery, and strength that has surrounded them through the years.

The prose is fluid and expressive. The characters are wounded, stubborn, and secretive. And the plot is a tender tale about life, loss, love, grief, forgiveness, familial drama, friendship, courage, hope, romance, and the unbreakable ties that bind us as family.

Overall, Haven Point is an immersive, compelling, multi-generational family saga by Hume that reminds us that life is a combination of all the complicated, messy, challenging, heartbreaking moments, as well as all the wonderful, special, lovely times that happen in-between.

 

This book 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 Virginia Hume

Virginia Hume is a freelance writer and editor. Her early career was spent in politics and public affairs. She lives outside Washington, D.C. with her husband, their daughters, and an under-groomed bichon named Chester.

Photo by David Baratz.

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