Format: Paperback

#BookReview
Be My Guest by Priya Basil
@canongatebooks @PGCBooks

#BookReview Be My Guest by Priya Basil @canongatebooks @PGCBooksTitle: Be My Guest

Author: Priya Basil

Published by: Canongate Books Ltd on November 15, 2019

Genres: Non Fiction

Pages: 128

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A meditation on the meaning and limits of hospitality today, from the shortlisted author of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.

The dinner table, among friends, is where the best conversations take place⁠—talk about the world, religion, politics, culture and cooking. In the same way, Be My Guest is a conversation about all those things, mediated through the medium of shared food.

We live in a world where some have too much and others not enough, where immigrants and refugees are both welcomed and vilified, and where most of us spend less and less time cooking and eating together. Priya Basil invites us to explore the meaning and limits of hospitality today, and in doing so makes a passionate plea for a kinder, more welcoming realization that we have more in common than divides us.


Review:

Eloquent, pensive, and rich!

Be My Guest is a beautifully written, candid story by Basil that explores the power of being hospitable and the diverse customs and traditions that people use around the world to invite, include, accept, nourish, and share with others.

The writing is informative and moving. And the novel is a generous, welcoming tale that delves into the true meaning of hospitality and emphasizes that the dinner table should not only be a place for nourishment but a place for unification regardless of political ideologies, religion, skin colour, or socioeconomic status.

Overall, I would have to say that Be My Guest is, ultimately, a genuine, impassioned, humourous reminder that breaking bread with family, friends, strangers, and even the diverse community at large is not only good for the body and mind but also a conscientious, important salve for the heart and soul.

 

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 Priya Basil

Priya grew up in Kenya, returning to the UK to study English Literature at the University of Bristol. She had a career in advertising before becoming a full-time writer. In 2010 Priya, and the journalist Matthias Fredrich-Auf der Horst, initiated Authors for Peace. It is intended to be a platform from which writers can actively use literature in different ways to promote peace. The first event by Authors for Peace took place on 21 September 2010, the UN's International Day of Peace. With the support of the International Literature Festival Berlin, Priya hosted a 24hour-live-online-reading by 80 authors from all over the world. The authors read from their work in a gesture of solidarity with those who are oppressed or caught in conflict. Priya lives in London and Berlin.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview
Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens
@aeskens @mulhollandbooks @HBGCanada

#BookReview Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens @aeskens @mulhollandbooks @HBGCanadaTitle: Nothing More Dangerous

Author: Allen Eskens

Published by: Mulholland Books on November 12, 2019

Genres: General Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: HBG Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In a small town where loyalty to family and to “your people” carries the weight of a sacred oath, defying those unspoken rules can be a deadly proposition.

After fifteen years of growing up in the Ozark hills with his widowed mother, high-school freshman Boady Sanden is beyond ready to move on. He dreams of glass towers and cityscapes, driven by his desire to be anywhere other than Jessup, Missouri. The new kid at St. Ignatius High School, if he isn’t being pushed around, he is being completely ignored. Even his beloved woods, his playground as a child and his sanctuary as he grew older, seem to be closing in on him, suffocating him.

Then Thomas Elgin moves in across the road, and Boady’s life begins to twist and turn. Coming to know the Elgins-a black family settling into a community where notions of “us” and “them” carry the weight of history-forces Boady to rethink his understanding of the world he’s taken for granted. Secrets hidden in plain sight begin to unfold: the mother who wraps herself in the loss of her husband, the neighbor who carries the wounds of a mysterious past that he holds close, the quiet boss who is fighting his own hidden battle.

But the biggest secret of all is the disappearance of Lida Poe, the African-American woman who keeps the books at the local plastics factory. Word has it that Ms. Poe left town, along with a hundred thousand dollars of company money. Although Boady has never met the missing woman, he discovers that the threads of her life are woven into the deepest fabric of his world.

As the mystery of her fate plays out, Boady begins to see the stark lines of race and class that both bind and divide this small town, and he is forced to choose sides.


Review:

Impactful, atmospheric, and hauntingly realistic!

In this latest novel by Eskens, Nothing More Dangerous, he transports us to Jessup, Missouri, a small, midwestern town that suddenly finds itself turned upside down when an unsolved case of embezzlement, a missing, young, African-American employee, depressing economics, and a strong underlying racist mentality tests and unearths all the hidden, longstanding alliances, relationships, and friendships within it.

The prose is gritty and descriptive. The characters are vulnerable, raw, and impulsive. And the plot is an immersive journey of life, loss, poverty, coming-of-age, familial drama, friendship, courage, morality, loyalty, community, self-preservation, racism, and violence.

Overall, Nothing More Dangerous is a sincere, pensive, ominous tale that not only highlights the ugliness and weakness of group mentality and the ease with which it allows one to behave with ignorance, intolerance, and even participate in the most unforgivable of crimes, but also reminds us that kindness and compassion is the base of humanity that should ultimately transcend skin colour and socioeconomic status.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                          

 

 

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

 

About Allen Eskens

Allen Eskens is the USA Today-bestselling author of The Life We Bury, The Guise of Another, The Heavens May Fall, the Deep Dark Descending and The Shadows We Hide. He is the recipient of the Barry Award, Rosebud Award, Minnesota Book Award, and the Silver Falchion Award and has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, Thriller Award, and Anthony Award. His work had been published in 21 languages and his debut novel, The Life We Bury is being developed for a feature film.

Allen lives with his wife, Joely, in greater Minnesota and is represented by Amy Cloughley of Kimberley Cameron and Associates, and is published by both Seventh Street Books and Mulholland/Little Brown.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
@lisajewelluk @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell @lisajewelluk @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Family Upstairs

Author: Lisa Jewell

Published by: Atria Books on November 5, 2019

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and Watching You comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.


Review:

Creepy, dark, and unsettling!

The Family Upstairs is a well-crafted, gritty novel that takes you into the lives of the Lamb family, specifically Lucy, a mother of two scrounging to make ends meet, Harry, a middle-aged man with a chilling, childhood story to tell, and Libby Jones, a young woman who suddenly finds herself the inheritor of a Chelsea mansion with a wicked past.

The writing is intense and intricate. The characters are troubled, vulnerable, and deceptive. And the plot told from multiple perspectives and alternating between timelines quickly unfolds into a complex story full of mind games, manipulation, obsession, jealousy, abuse, unforeseen twists, well-timed surprises, violence, and pure evil.

Overall, The Family Upstairs is a disturbing, gripping, eerie tale by Jewell that once again highlights that when it comes to writing menacing, intelligent, tortuous, psychological thrillers she’s one of the best.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell is the internationally bestselling author of sixteen novels, including the New York Times bestseller Then She Was Gone, as well as I Found You, The Girls in the Garden, and The House We Grew Up In. In total, her novels have sold more than two million copies across the English-speaking world and her work has also been translated into sixteen languages so far. Lisa lives in London with her husband and their two daughters.

Photograph by Andrew Whitton.

#BookReview
The Bromance Book Club
by Lyssa Kay Adams @lyssakayadams @BerkleyPub @PenguinRandomCA

#BookReview The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams @lyssakayadams @BerkleyPub @PenguinRandomCATitle: The Bromance Book Club

Author: Lyssa Kay Adams

Published by: Berkley on November 5, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.


Review:

Quirky, humorous, and refreshing!

The Bromance Book Club is a lighthearted, charming read that takes us into the life of Gavin Scott, a successful, professional baseball player who after learning his wife wants a divorce decides to do whatever it takes to win her back, including taking advice from his friends, fellow teammates, and the seventh Earl of Latford.

The prose is playful and fun. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are amusing, bawdy, and engaging. And the plot told from alternating POVs is a sweet, flirty tale full of tricky situations, tender moments, hilarious mishaps, friendship, family, miscommunication, self-discovery, determination, and a little steamy, regency romance.

Overall, The Bromance Book Club is an alluring, easy, spicy read by Adams that has characters you can’t help but root for and a storyline that is highly entertaining.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                          

 

 

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

 

About Lyssa Kay Adams

Lyssa Kay Adams is the pen name of an award-winning journalist who gave up the world of telling true stories to pen emotional romances. She’s also a diehard Detroit Tigers fan who will occasionally cheer for the Red Sox because her husband is from Boston.

Lyssa lives in Michigan with her family and an anxiety-ridden Maltese who steals food and buries it around the house and who will undoubtedly be a character in a future book.

Things Lyssa loves: Baseball pants, mashed potatoes, and that little clicking sound that scissors make on the cutting table at fabric stores.

Things she doesn’t love: Mean people, melting ice cream cones, and finding food in her underwear drawer.

Photography courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview
The Poppy Wife by Caroline Scott
@WmMorrowBooks @HarperCollinsCa #ThePoppyWife

#BookReview The Poppy Wife by Caroline Scott @WmMorrowBooks @HarperCollinsCa #ThePoppyWifeTitle: The Poppy Wife

Author: Caroline Scott

Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks on November 5, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 448

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: HarperCollins Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In the tradition of Jennifer Robson and Hazel Gaynor, this unforgettable debut novel is a sweeping tale of forbidden love, profound loss, and the startling truth of the broken families left behind in the wake of World War I.

1921. Survivors of the Great War are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis is still missing. Francis is presumed to have been killed in action, but Edie knows he is alive.

Harry, Francis’s brother, was there the day Francis went missing in Ypres. And like Edie, he’s hopeful Francis is living somewhere in France, lost and confused. Hired by grieving families in need of closure, Harry returns to the Western Front to photograph soldiers’ graves. As he travels through France gathering news for British wives and mothers, he searches for evidence his own brother is still alive.

When Edie receives a mysterious photograph that she believes was taken by Francis, she is more certain than ever he isn’t dead. Edie embarks on her own journey in the hope of finding some trace of her husband. Is he truly gone, or could he still be alive? And if he is, why hasn’t he come home?

As Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to the truth about Francis and, as they do, are soon faced with the life-changing impact of the answers they discover.

An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history—those years after the war that were filled with the unknown—The Poppy Wife tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins in battle-scarred France; and the even greater number of men and women hoping to find them again.


Review:

Poignant, insightful, and profoundly moving!

The Poppy Wife is predominantly set in the French countryside during 1921, as well as 1917, and is told from two different perspectives. Edie, a young British wife who after receiving a picture of her missing husband journeys to France to find him, dead or alive, and discover his fate wherever he may be, and Harry, the youngest of three brothers who endeavours to help his sister-in-law and others find some form of closure even while his own experiences and memories of war still plague and haunt him day and night.

The prose is poetic, expressive, and stunningly vivid. The characters are damaged, determined, and courageous. And the plot is a heartrending, utterly absorbing tale about life, love, loneliness, familial relationships, heartbreak, war, loss, grief, guilt, hope, loyalty, and survival.

Overall, The Poppy Wife is a beautifully written, exceptionally atmospheric novel that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the personalities, feelings, and lives of the characters you can’t help but be affected. It is without a doubt one of my favourite novels of the year that reminds us of the horrific consequences of war and the thousands of nameless men who still remain scattered underneath a savage battlefield. It’s emotive, powerful and as Kipling so iconically stated, “lest we forget.”

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Caroline Scott

After completing a PhD in History, at the University of Durham, Caroline Scott worked as a researcher in Belgium and France. She has a particular interest in the experience of women during the First World War, in the challenges faced by the returning soldier, and in the development of tourism and pilgrimage in the former conflict zones. Caroline lives in southwest France and is now writing historical fiction for Simon & Schuster UK and William Morrow.

#BookReview
The Christmas Party by Karen Swan
@KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview The Christmas Party by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillanTitle: The Christmas Party

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on November 1, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 474

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The Christmas Party is a delicious, page-turning story of romance, family and secrets, by the Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Swan.

When Declan Lorne, the last remaining knight in Ireland, dies suddenly, an ancient title passes with him. But his estate on Ireland’s rugged south-west coast is left to his three daughters. The two eldest, Ottie and Pip, inherit in line with expectations, but to everyone’s surprise – and dismay – it is the errant baby of the family, Willow, who gets the castle.

Why her? Something unknown – something terrible – made her turn her back on her family three years earlier, escaping to Dublin and vowing never to return. So when Willow quickly announces she is selling up, her revenge seems sweet and the once-close sisters are pushed to breaking point: in desperation, Pip risks everything to secure her own future, and Ottie makes a decision that will ruin lives. It’s each woman for herself.

Before moving in, Connor Shaye, the prospective new owner, negotiates throwing a lavish party at the castle just days before Christmas – his hello, their goodbye. But as their secrets begin to catch up with them, Ottie, Willow and Pip are forced to ask themselves which is harder: stepping into the future, or letting go of the past?


Review:

Beguiling, quaint, and heartwarmingly festive!

The Christmas Party is an alluring, heartfelt story that sweeps you away to the beautiful, rugged coastline of southwest Ireland in winter and immerses you into the lives of the Lorne family as they endure a great loss, accept the things they cannot change, confront the past, repair strained relationships, take chances, and embrace the future.

The prose is evocative and well turned. The characters are distressed, vulnerable, genuine, and troubled. And the story is an engaging tale about life, loss, love, grief, familial drama, community, friendship, forgiveness, nostalgia, duty, and romance.

Overall, The Christmas Party is another lovely, absorbing, magical treat by Swan that reminds us to always live life to the fullest and surround ourselves with those we love.

 

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 Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

#BookReview
This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman
@katebateman @smpromance

#BookReview This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman @katebateman @smpromanceTitle: This Earl of Mine

Author: Kate Bateman

Series: Bow Street Bachelors #1

Published by: St. Martin's Press on October 29, 2019

Genres: Historical Romance

Pages: 336

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

The first book in a new Regency romance series, an heiress and a rogue accidentally end up in a secret marriage of convenience.

In a desperate bid to keep her fortune out of her cousin’s hands, shipping heiress Georgiana Caversteed marries a condemned criminal in Newgate prison. The scoundrel’s first kiss is shockingly heated, but Georgie never expects to see her husband again. Until she spots him across a crowded ballroom. Notorious rogue Benedict Wylde never expected a wife. He was in Newgate undercover, working for Bow Street. To keep their marriage of convenience a secret, Wylde courts Georgie in public, but the more time they spend together, the more their attraction sparks. Could an heiress with the world at her feet find happiness with a penniless rake? Kate Bateman’s This Earl of Mine is a delightful start to the Bow Street Bachelors series, with witty banter, dynamic characters, and swoon-worthy romance.


Review:

Scandalous, seductive, and entertaining!

This Earl is Mine is set in London during 1816 and features the intelligent, wealthy, independent Georgiana Caversteed and the dashingly handsome, womanizer Benedict Wylde as they navigate undeniable attraction, a wedding of convenience with unexpected consequences, and an undercover mission of national security.

The prose is authentic and amusing. The characters are passionate, creative, and mischievous. And the plot is a humorous, mysterious mix of scoundrel behaviour, familial drama, Georgian customs and traditions, desire, yearning, gossip, tricky situations, danger, and romance.

This Earl is Mine is witty, adventurous, engaging, and delightfully steamy. It’s the first book in The Bow Street Bachelors series by Bateman, and if historical romance is a genre you enjoy, then this novel will certainly not disappoint.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                          

 

 

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

 

About Kate Bateman

Kate Bateman, (also writing as K. C. Bateman), is the #1 bestselling author of Regency, Victorian, and Renaissance historical romance. Her Renaissance romp, The Devil To Pay, is a Romance Writer’s of America 2019 RITA® Finalist and her Regency-set A Counterfeit Heart (Secrets & Spies series) won the 2018 Book Buyer’s Best contest for Best Historical Romance.
Kate wrote her first historical romance in response to a $1 bet with her husband who rashly claimed she’d ‘never finish the thing.’ She gleefully proved him wrong. Her books feature her favourite intelligent heroines, (badasses in bodices!) wickedly inappropriate banter, and heroes you want to both strangle and kiss.
When not travelling to exotic locations ‘for research’, Kate leads a not-so-secret double life as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several TV shows in the UK, each of which has up to 2.5 million viewers. Before writing romance, Kate was director and valuer at her own UK Auction House, Batemans in Stamford, Lincolnshire. She currently splits her time between Illinois and her native England and writes despite three inexhaustible children and that husband . . . who still owes her that dollar.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview
Stealing Kisses in the Snow by Jo McNally
@JoMcNallyAuthor @HarlequinBooks

#BookReview Stealing Kisses in the Snow by Jo McNally @JoMcNallyAuthor @HarlequinBooksTitle: Stealing Kisses in the Snow

Author: Jo McNally

Series: Rendezvous Falls #2

Published by: Harlequin Books on October 29, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harlequin Books

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

It’s Christmas in Rendezvous Falls and love’s waiting to be unwrapped…

Single mom Piper Montgomery’s plate is full. Between her two adorable kids, two jobs and a fixer-upper house, she’s so busy she can hardly see straight. But when rugged biker Logan Taggart strolls into the inn where she’s working, she can’t help but stare. He has bad boy written all over him. And with two kids relying on her, that’s the last thing she needs this Christmas.

Rendezvous Falls is nothing but a pit stop for Logan. Once his grandmother is back on her feet and ready to reclaim the inn, Logan can get back on the road. It’s where he belongs, even if his grandmother’s matchmaking book club try to convince him otherwise. Still, there’s something about beautiful spitfire Piper that makes him wonder if family and forever might just be what he needs after all.

But as the holidays draw ever closer, so do Piper and Logan. Could these polar opposites find that all they want this Christmas is each other


Review:

Heartfelt, jolly, and sweet!

Stealing Kisses in the Snow is an amusing, tender tale that takes us back to Rendezvous Falls and into the life of the hardworking, kindhearted Piper Montgomery as she meanders through all sorts of highs and lows, from losing her husband, raising two kids alone, grieving in-laws, unexpectedly running the inn, and an undeniable attraction to Iris’s mysterious, yet devilishly handsome grandson who suddenly arrives to lend a hand.

The prose is effortless and light. The characters are focused, independent, and lonely. And the plot is an alluring tale about loss, life, love, grit, family, friendship, community, wintery shenanigans, self-discovery, moving on, and finding that special place to call home.

Overall, Stealing Kisses in the Snow is another charming, uplifting, entertaining tale by McNally that is perfect for anyone who enjoys a holiday romance that’s not only heartwarming but also funny.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                        

 

 

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

 

About Jo McNally

Jo McNally lives in coastal North Carolina with 100 pounds of dog and 200 pounds of husband – her slice of the bed is very small. When she's not writing or reading romance novels (or clinging to the edge of the bed...), she can often be found on the back porch sipping wine with friends, listening to great music. If the weather is absolutely perfect, she'll occasionally join her husband on the golf course, where she always feels far more competitive than her actual skill-level would suggest.

Photograph by Jo McNally.

#BookReview
Right after the Weather by Carol Anshaw
@carolanshaw @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Right after the Weather by Carol Anshaw @carolanshaw @SimonSchusterCATitle: Right after the Weather

Author: Carol Anshaw

Published by: Atria Books on October 1, 2019

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The author of the “graceful and compassionate” (People) New York Times bestseller Carry the One presents a new and long-awaited novel exploring what happens when untested people are put to a hard test, and in its aftermath, find themselves in a newly uncertain world.

It’s the fall of 2016. Cate, a set designer in her early forties, lives and works in Chicago’s theater community. She has stayed too long at the fair and knows it’s time to get past her prolonged adolescence and stop taking handouts from her parents. She has a firm plan to get solvent and settled in a serious relationship. She has tentatively started something new even as she’s haunted by an old, going-nowhere affair. Her ex-husband, recently booted from his most recent marriage, is currently camped out in Cate’s spare bedroom, in thrall to online conspiracy theories, and she’s not sure how to help him. Her best friend Neale, a yoga instructor, lives nearby with her son and is Cate’s model for what serious adulthood looks like.

Only a few blocks away, but in a parallel universe we find Nathan and Irene—casual sociopaths, drug addicts, and small-time criminals. Their world and Cate’s intersect the day she comes into Neale’s kitchen to find these strangers assaulting her friend. Forced to take fast, spontaneous action, Cate does something she’s never even considered. She now also knows the violence she is capable of, as does everyone else in her life, and overnight, their world has changed. Anshaw’s flawed, sympathetic, and uncannily familiar characters grapple with their altered relationships and identities against the backdrop of the new Trump presidency and a country waking to a different understanding of itself. Eloquent, moving, and beautifully observed, Right after the Weather is the work of a master of exquisite prose and a wry and compassionate student of the human condition writing at the height of her considerable powers.


Review:

Slow burning, sobering, and forlorn!

Right after the Weather is an affecting, perceptive novel that takes us into the life of Cate, a middle-aged, lesbian, set designer whose life is riddled with disappointment and multiple, complex relationships that are strained and never fully satisfying.

The prose is edgy and raw. The characters are multilayered, frustrated, and dissatisfied. And the somber plot is a reflective tale with a side of violence that’s full of life, loss, infidelity, forbidden love, familial dynamics, friendship, assault, and the instability caused by the 2016 US election.

I have to admit this was a really hard one for me. There is no doubt that Anshaw can write and write beautifully about how hard, gritty, and even depressive life can truly be. And even though I am confident that some readers will absolutely love the tragic gloominess of Right after the Weather, unfortunately for me I couldn’t quite connect with the characters and the story was a little too dispiriting to enjoy it as much as I would have liked.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Carol Anshaw

Carol Anshaw is an American novelist and short story writer. Her books include Carry the One, Lucky in the Corner, Seven Moves and Aquamarine. Her stories have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories in 1994, 1998, and 2012. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts (1992). She has won a National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, an NEA Grant, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, a Carl Sandburg Award and Society of Midland Authors Award. Her newest novel, Right after the Weather, is forthcoming in October from Simon & Schuster.

Anshaw is also a painter. She divides her time between Chicago and Amsterdam.

Photography courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview
The Summer Queen by Margaret Pemberton
@PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview The Summer Queen by Margaret Pemberton @PGCBooks @panmacmillanTitle: The Summer Queen

Author: Margaret Pemberton

Published by: Pan Macmillan on September 3, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 512

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The Summer Queen is an evocative and grand historical novel from Margaret Pemberton, the bestselling author of A Season of Secrets and Beneath the Cypress Tree.

August 1879, Osborne House. Queen Victoria has occupied the British throne for over forty years. Bringing together her extended family from across Europe offers a chance for old alliances to be strengthened and new unions to be forged.

May Teck, daughter of a Duke and Princess, is constantly reminded that she lacks the pedigree to be a true royal. Considering herself an outsider, she finds comfort in meeting two kindred spirits at Osborne; creating a bond with them that she thinks will last forever.

Alicky lives in the shadow of her older siblings and has never recovered from the death of her mother. Until she meets Nicky, heir to the Russian throne, who sweeps her off to his homeland where life will never be the same again.

And then there is Willy, destined to be the future Kaiser of Germany. Suffering from a birth defect, he’s always kept his true feelings locked away and all the world sees is the bombastic persona he projects. As shifting forces of power send warning ripples across Europe, an unavoidable war looms on the horizon . . .


Review:

Fascinating, complex, and compelling!

The Summer Queen is an informative, immersive story set in the UK and Europe from the late 1870s until 1918 that tells the story of Queen Victoria’s descendants, primarily three of her grandchildren; May Teck, an educated, Serene Highness who after living a life of exclusion and heartbreak ultimately becomes Queen Mary; Alicky of Hesse, a shy, religious young woman whose enduring love for Nicky Romanov leads her to become Empress Alexandra; and Willy of Prussia, the Queen’s oldest grandchild who after his father’s death becomes Kaiser Wilhelm, the last emperor to rule Germany.

The prose is vivid and perceptive. The characters are multilayered, stalwart, and resilient. And the plot is a sweeping saga that gives us a unique view into the struggles, sacrifices, hopes, fears, politics, and entangled relationships of the most powerful monarchy of the time.

The Summer Queen is, ultimately, a story about life, love, loss, politics, perseverance, power, war, and sacrifice. It’s an exceptionally well written, rich, thoroughly absorbing story by Pemberton that does a remarkable job of highlighting her considerable research and impressive knowledge into the royalty that existed and ruled the British Empire during this exceptionally important period in European history.

 

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 Pemberton

Margaret A. Hudson was born on 10 April 1943 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, UK, of German extraction. She was daughter of Kathleen (Ramsden), an artist, and George Arthur Hudson, an architect. Married with Londoner Mike Pemberton, they have five grown children, today she lives with her husband and four small dogs in Whitstable, Kent. Apart from writing, her passions are tango, travel, English history and the English countryside.

Published since 1975, she is a bestselling romance writer as Margaret Pemberton, and under the pseudonyms Carris Carlisle; Maggie Hudson and Rebecca Dean. Having travelled extensively, her novels are set in different parts of the world. She was the fifteenth elected Chairman of the Romantic Novelists' Association (1989-1991), she has also served on the Crime Writers' Association Committee.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

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