Format: Paperback

#BookReview Good Material by Dolly Alderton @PenguinRandomCA #GoodMaterial #DollyAlderton #PenguinReads

#BookReview Good Material by Dolly Alderton @PenguinRandomCA #GoodMaterial #DollyAlderton #PenguinReads Title: Good Material

Author: Dolly Alderton

Published by: Doubleday Canada on Jan. 30, 2024

Genres: Contemporary Romance, General Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: Paperback

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

From the bestselling author of Ghosts and Everything I Know About Love: a story of heartbreak and friendship and how to survive both.

Andy’s story wasn’t meant to turn out this way. Living out of a suitcase in his best friends’ spare room, waiting for his career as a stand-up comedian to finally take off, he struggles to process the life-ruining end of his relationship with the only woman he’s ever truly loved.

As he tries to solve the seemingly unsolvable mystery of his broken relationship, he contends with career catastrophe, social media paranoia, a rapidly dwindling friendship group and the growing suspicion that, at 35, he really should have figured this all out by now.

Andy has a lot to learn, not least his ex-girlfriend’s side of the story.

Warm, wise, funny and achingly relatable, Dolly Alderton’s highly-anticipated second novel is about the mystery of what draws us together – and what pulls us apart – the pain of really growing up, and the stories we tell about our lives.


Review:

Witty, tender, and authentic!

Good Material is a snappy, insightful tale that takes you into the life of the disillusioned, thirty-five-year-old comedian Andy as he struggles to juggle a lacklustre career, life as a single thirtysomething, a sudden end to a relationship he thought was going well, the intricacies of dating younger women, and a friend group that all seem to have their stuff together and are getting married and having babies.

The writing is genuine and direct. The characters are lonely, quirky, and adrift. And the plot is a lighthearted, touching blend of life, love, introspection, friendship, self-depreciating humour, awkward situations, sweet moments, dating woes, misunderstandings, intimacy, and moving on.

Overall, Good Material is a layered, astute, clever tale by Alderton that is the first novel I’ve read by this author, but certainly won’t be my last.

 

This novel is available now.

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

        

 

 

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

 

About Dolly Alderton

DOLLY ALDERTON is an award-winning author, screenwriter and journalist based in London. She is a columnist for The Sunday Times Style and has also written for GQ, Red, Marie Claire and Grazia. She is the former co-host and co-creator of the podcast The High Low. Her first book, Everything I Know About Love, became a top five Sunday Times best-seller in its first week of publication, won a National Book Award (UK) for Autobiography of the Year and was made into a BBC One TV Series. Ghosts, her first novel, was published in 2021. Dear Dolly, a collection of her agony aunt columns from the Sunday Times Style magazine, was published in 2022 and was also a Sunday Times best-seller.

Photo by Alexandra Cameron.

#BookReview This Could Be Us by Kennedy Ryan @HBGCanada @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForever2024 #KennedyRyan #ThisCouldBeUs #SkylandSeries #HBGCanada

#BookReview This Could Be Us by Kennedy Ryan @HBGCanada @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForever2024 #KennedyRyan #ThisCouldBeUs #SkylandSeries #HBGCanada Title: This Could Be Us

Author: Kennedy Ryan

Series: Skyland #2

Published by: Forever on Mar. 5, 2024

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 416

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: HBG Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

Soledad Barnes has her life all planned out. Because, of course, she does. She plans everything. She designs everything. She fixes everything. She’s a domestic goddess who’s never met a party she couldn’t host or a charge she couldn’t lead. The one with all the answers and the perfect vinaigrette for that summer salad. But none of her varied talents can save her when catastrophe strikes, and the life she built with the man who was supposed to be her forever, goes poof in a cloud of betrayal and disillusion.

But there is no time to pout or sulk, or even grieve the life she lost. She’s too busy keeping a roof over her daughters’ heads and food on the table. And in the process of saving them all, Soledad rediscovers herself. From the ashes of a life burned to the ground, something bold and new can rise.

But then an unlikely man enters the picture—the forbidden one, the one she shouldn’t want but can’t seem to resist. She’s lost it all before and refuses to repeat her mistakes. Can she trust him? Can she trust herself?

After all she’s lost . . .and found . . .can she be brave enough to make room for what could be?


Review:

Evocative, affecting, and heartfelt!

This Could Be Us is a heartwarming, touching tale that takes you into the life of Soledad Barnes, a mother of three daughters who must learn how to take risks, be true to herself, follow her heart, and try not to lose sight of her own wants, needs, and dreams after her husband is arrested for a white-collar crime.

The writing is genuine and sincere. The characters are flawed, compassionate, and endearing, And the plot is an absorbing tale about life, loss, heartbreak, forgiveness, family, courage, happiness, self-love, female friendships and new beginnings.

Overall, This Could Be Us is an uplifting, emotive, alluring addition to the Skyland series by Kennedy, and as always, after I finish any of her novels, I’m already looking forward to reading whatever she publishes next.

 

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 & Forever for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kennedy Ryan

A RITA® and Audie® Award winner, USA Today bestselling author Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish, and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts. Kennedy and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, TIME, O magazine, and many others. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.

#BookReview The Air He Breathes by Brittainy Cherry @SourcebooksCasa #BrittainyCherry #TheAirHeBreathes #ElementsSeries #SourcebooksCasa

#BookReview The Air He Breathes by Brittainy Cherry @SourcebooksCasa #BrittainyCherry #TheAirHeBreathes #ElementsSeries #SourcebooksCasa Title: The Air He Breathes

Author: Brittainy Cherry

Series: Elements #1

Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca on Mar. 19, 2024

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 336

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Book Rating: 9/10

I was warned about Tristan Cole.

“Stay away from him,” people said. “He’s cruel. He’s cold. He’s damaged.”

It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster. But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me.

We were both empty. We were both looking for something else. Something more. We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays.

Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.


Review:

Hopeful, passionate, and heart-wrenching!

The Air He Breathes is an angsty, emotional tale that takes you into the lives of Tristan Cole, a young widower still struggling to find a reason to go on after losing his wife and son in a tragic accident, and Elizabeth, a newly widowed mother of a little girl who is still grappling herself with the sudden loss of her husband and with the all-consuming grief that is preventing her from moving on.

The writing is smooth and tender. The characters are multi-layered, scarred, and lonely. And the plot, including all the subplots, skillfully intertwines and unravels into a touching tale about life, love, guilt, grief, family, secrets, mistakes, friendship, happiness, self-discovery, obsession, deception, relationship dynamics, mental health, new beginnings, and the day-to-day struggles of dealing with extreme loss.

Overall, The Air He Breathes is a beautiful mix of hope, heart, tragedy, and healing that is not only a heartrending, emotive, lovely novel by Cherry but one which I don’t think anyone could possibly read and not be absorbed and thoroughly moved.

 

This novel is available now.

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

     

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Brittainy Cherry

Brittainy Cherry is an acclaimed author known for her emotionally gripping novels that resonate with readers seeking profound, heartrending stories. With an impressive body of work and a dedicated fan base, she continues to captivate readers with her unique storytelling.

#BookReview Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle @RebeccaASerle @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA #ExpirationDates #RebeccaSerle #SimonSchusterCA #Gifted

#BookReview Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle @RebeccaASerle @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA #ExpirationDates #RebeccaSerle #SimonSchusterCA #Gifted Title: Expiration Dates

Author: Rebecca Serle

Published by: Atria Books on Mar. 19, 2024

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 272

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Being single is like playing the lottery. There’s always the chance that with one piece of paper you could win it all.

From the New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years and One Italian Summer comes the romance that will define a generation.

Daphne Bell believes the universe has a plan for her. Every time she meets a new man , she receives a slip of paper with his name and a number on it—the exact amount of time they will be together. The papers told her she’d spend three days with Martin in Paris; five weeks with Noah in San Francisco; and three months with Hugo, her ex-boyfriend turned best friend. Daphne has been receiving the numbered papers for over twenty years, always wondering when there might be one without an expiration. Finally, the night of a blind date at her favorite Los Angeles restaurant, there’s only a Jake.

But as Jake and Daphne’s story unfolds, Daphne finds herself doubting the paper’s prediction, and wrestling with what it means to be both committed and truthful. Because Daphne knows things Jake doesn’t, information that—if he found out—would break his heart.

Told with her signature warmth and insight into matters of the heart, Rebecca Serle has finally set her sights on romantic love. The result is a gripping, emotional, passionate, and (yes) heartbreaking novel about what it means to be single, what it means to find love, and ultimately how we define each of them for ourselves. Expiration Dates is the one fans have been waiting for.


Review:

Pensive, fresh, and romantic!

Expiration Dates is a charged, tender tale that takes you into the life of Daphne Bell, a young woman with a big secret who, after so long believing in fate and the mysterious papers she always receives that tell her exactly how long her relationships will last, thinks she may have finally found the one when the latest slip of paper has no end date, only a name.

The prose is heartfelt and immersive. The characters are flawed, troubled, and genuine. And the plot is an absorbing tale about life, loss, love, grief, friendship, family, relationship dynamics, introspection, hope, happiness, and romance, all interwoven with a thread of the supernatural.

Overall, Expiration Dates is a compelling, heartwarming, optimistic tale by Serle that does a beautiful job of reminding us to always live life to the fullest and surround ourselves with those we love.

 

This book 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 gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Rebecca Serle

Rebecca Serle is the New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years, The Dinner List, and the young adult novels The Edge of Falling and When You Were Mine. Serle also developed the hit TV adaptation Famous in Love, based on her YA series of the same name. She is a graduate of USC and The New School and lives in Los Angeles.

Photo by Ann Molen.

#BookReview The Neighbor Wager by Crystal Kaswell @entangledpub @angelamelamud #TheNeighborWager #CrystalKaswell

#BookReview The Neighbor Wager by Crystal Kaswell @entangledpub @angelamelamud #TheNeighborWager #CrystalKaswell Title: The Neighbor Wager

Author: Crystal Kaswell

Published by: Entangled Publishing on Feb. 20, 2024

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Angela Melamud, Entangled Publishing

Book Rating: 7.5/10

Meet River. He used to be the nerd next door…only now he’s all grown up, got a sleeve of tattoos, and women seem to like him. A lot.

Even Lexi, the girl of River’s teenaged dreams, all bubbly sweetness—never noticed him. Until now.

There’s only one problem. They’re not meant for each other.

Now it’s up to Deanna, the super pragmatic, algorithm-fueled brains behind the new dating app Meetcute to make sure they realize it.

River might be certain he knows true love when he sees it, but Deanna knows differently, and the future of her company is riding on it. All she has to do is prove to him that what he’s feeling for Lexi isn’t love. Not even close.

…even if it means making him fall for Deanna, instead.

Challenge accepted.


Review:

Spirited, enticing, and fun!

The Neighbor Wager is a lighthearted, engaging tale featuring the hardworking Deanna Huntington who, after working extremely hard to get her new dating app off the ground, is determined to do whatever it takes to prove her algorithms are correct, even if it means showing the boy next door who has always had a crush on her younger sister that she might actually be his better match after all.

The prose is amusing and sweet. The characters are intelligent, resolute, and confident. And the plot is a flirty, entertaining blend of life, love, friendship, chemistry, attraction, tricky situations, self-discovery, family, happiness, and romance.

Overall, The Neighbor Wager is a charming, humorous, sassy tale by Kaswell that is a contemporary twist on the classic “Sabrina” tale.

 

This novel is available now!

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

 

       

 

 

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

 

About Crystal Kaswell

Crystal Kaswell writes fun, sexy new adult romances. She loves writing flawed, three-dimensional characters who deal with real problems.

Her weaknesses include dark chocolate, homemade chai lattes, TV marathons, and men with full-sleeves tattoos. She is a diehard defender of pop-punk music, the present tense, and Katniss Everdeen.

#BookReview The Woman with No Name by Audrey Blake @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheWomanWithNoName #AudreyBlake #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview The Woman with No Name by Audrey Blake @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheWomanWithNoName #AudreyBlake #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: The Woman with No Name

Author: Audrey Blake

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Mar. 12, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 9/10

She’ll light the fire of resistance―but she may get burned…

1942. Though she survived the bomb that destroyed her home, Yvonne Rudellat’s life is over. She’s estranged from her husband, her daughter is busy with war work, and Yvonne―older, diminutive, overlooked―has lost all purpose. Until she’s offered a chance to remake herself entirely…

The war has taken a turn for the worse, and the men in charge are desperate. So, when Yvonne is recruited as Britain’s first female sabotage agent, expectations are low. But her tenacity, ability to go unnoticed, and aptitude for explosives set her apart. Soon enough she arrives in occupied France with a new identity, ready to set the Nazi regime ablaze.

But there are adversaries on all sides. As Yvonne becomes infamous as the nameless, unstoppable woman who burns the enemy at every turn, she realizes she may lose herself to the urgent needs of the cause…

Based on a true story, The Woman With No Name is a gripping story of secrets, spies, and the women behind the Resistance, from USA Today bestselling author Audrey Blake.


Review:

Inspiring, fascinating, and compelling!

The Woman With No Name is an intriguing, adventurous tale that takes you into the life of Yvonne Rudellat, a French mother living in London, who signs on as the first woman to endure the British SOE agent training so she can be sent to France to help the French resistance in any way she can with her extensive knowledge and expertise in explosives.

The prose is vivid and tense. The characters are vulnerable, resourceful, and courageous. And the plot, set in France during the early 1940s, is a moving tale about life, love, bravery, strength, heartbreak, loss, guilt, grief, loyalty, espionage, grit, determination, and survival.

Overall, The Woman With No Name is a wonderful blend of harrowing facts and engrossing fiction. It is a fast-paced, memorable, thrilling tale that does a lovely job of highlighting humanity’s ability to be selflessly heroic under even the direst, most horrific of circumstances.

This novel is available now.

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

             

 

 

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

 

About Audrey Blake

Audrey Blake has a split personality-because she is the creative alter ego of Regina Sirois and Jaima Fixsen, two authors who met online in a survivor style writing contest. They live 1500 miles apart, but both are prairie girls: Jaima hails from Alberta, Canada, and Regina from the wheat fields of Kansas. Both are addicted to history, words, and stories of redoubtable women, and agree that their friendship, better and longer lasting than any other prize, is proof that good things happen in this random, crazy universe.

#BookReview It Takes a Rake by Anna Bennett @_AnnaBennett @smpromance #ItTakesARake #AnnaBennett #RoguesToLovers #SMPRomance #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview It Takes a Rake by Anna Bennett @_AnnaBennett @smpromance #ItTakesARake #AnnaBennett #RoguesToLovers #SMPRomance #SMPInfluencers Title: It Takes a Rake

Author: Anna Bennett

Series: Rogues to Lovers #3

Published by: St. Martin's Paperbacks on Jan. 23, 2024

Genres: Historical Romance

Pages: 310

Format: Paperback

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8/10

She’s about to face her biggest challenge yet…

Since she was a girl, Miss Kitty Beckett has been adept at finding trouble: sneaking brandy, running away, and getting under the skin of the boy who, like her, was an apprentice to an architect. Now Kitty’s a talented heiress who can take a dry building plan and breathe life into it with her pencils and paints. Also? She can spot a rake at a hundred yards—and she won’t be tricked or charmed into marriage. Certainly not by a man who might interfere with her dreams. When Bellehaven Bay announces its first ever architectural design contest, she vows to win—with a little help from her childhood rival.

Turning her buttoned-up nemesis into a certified rake.

Leo Lockland, a hardworking architect with a gift for numbers, has returned home after a few years in London, and he has secrets. The biggest? He’s been in love with Kitty since they were both apprentices. She refuses to give her heart to any man, but Leo’s determined to beat the odds—even if it means learning how to be a rake. Fortunately, Kitty’s willing to tutor him in the nuances of fashion, flirtation, and seduction in exchange for his help with the contest. But the whole plan would fall apart if she knew how he felt, so he’ll have to be very convincing.

Let the lessons begin…

Leo proves to be a surprisingly quick study in the ballroom, on the beach, and in the bedchamber. Before long, he’s softening Kitty’s hard edges with his wicked words and kissing his way past all her defenses. Perhaps she’s a bit too skilled at teaching, because her lessons are threatening to backfire, putting her closely guarded heart in grave danger…


Review:

Playful, passionate, and charming!

It Takes a Rake is an enticing, heartwarming tale that sweeps you away to Bellhaven Bay and into the life of Leo Lockland who, after spending a few years away honing his architectural skills in London, returns home only to find the reluctant to marry Miss Kitty Beckett still as beautiful as ever and willing to offer up her services to turn him into a rake while still unaware of just how much he actually wants her.

The prose is amusing and light. The characters are loyal, supportive, and endearing. And the plot is an enchanting tale full of life, love, friendship, familial drama, societal expectations, scheming behaviour, tricky situations, desire, and delectable romance.

Overall, It Takes a Rake is a cosy, alluring, tender tale by Bennett that’s a delightful indulgence and a wonderful addition to the Rogues to Lovers series.

 

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

Thank you to SMP Romance – St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Anna Bennett

Anna Bennett (she/her) is the award-winning author of the Debutante Diaries and Wayward Wallflowers series. Her dream of writing romance began during a semester in London, where she fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. Now Anna's living happily-ever-after in Maryland with her family, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen.

Photo Credit: Anna Bennett

#BookReview The Black Crescent by Jane Johnson @JaneJohnsonBakr @SimonSchusterCA #TheBlackCrescent #JaneJohnson #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Black Crescent by Jane Johnson @JaneJohnsonBakr @SimonSchusterCA #TheBlackCrescent #JaneJohnson #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Black Crescent

Author: Jane Johnson

Published by: Simon & Schuster on Mar. 5, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A captivating historical novel set in post-war Casablanca about a young man marked by djinns who must decide where his loyalties lie as the fight for Moroccan independence erupts.

Hamou Badi is born in a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains with the markings of the zouhry on his hands. In Morocco, the zouhry is a figure of legend, a child of both humans and djinns, capable of finding treasure, lost objects, and even water in the worst of droughts. But when young Hamou finds the body of a murdered woman, his life is forever changed.

Haunted by this unsolved murder and driven by the desire to do good in the world, Hamou leaves his village for Casablanca to become an officer of the law under the French Protectorate.

But Casablanca is not the shining beacon of modernity he was expecting. The forcible exile of Morocco’s sultan by the French sparks a nationalist uprising led by violent dissident groups, none so fearsome as the Black Crescent. Torn between his heritage and his employers, Hamou will be caught in the crossfire.

The lines between right and wrong, past and future, the old world and the new, are not as clear as the magical lines on his palms. And as the danger grows, Hamou is forced to choose between all he knows and all he loves.


Review:

Complex, evocative, and moving!

The Black Crescent is a compelling, gritty tale that sweeps you away to Morocco in the mid-1950s and into the life of Hamou Badi, a young man from the small village of Tiziane who, after discovering a murdered woman on his way home as a young boy, decides to train as a police officer in Casablanca to try to do some good in a country that is unfortunately full of unrest and upheaval and where simmering anger, questions of loyalty, and ongoing tension due to the French occupation is quickly coming to a violent head.

The prose is rich and smooth. The characters are kind, strong, and resilient. And the plot is a vivid, suspenseful tale filled with life, loss, friendship, family, folklore, religion, morality, self-identity, patriotism, survival, politics, romance, murder, and culture.

Overall, The Black Crescent is a thought-provoking, informative, atmospheric tale by Johnson that reminds us that often the choices we make have far-reaching consequences and has just the right amount of intrigue, colourful history, magic, culture, moral dilemmas, and heart-tugging emotion to be exceptionally pleasing to lovers, like myself, of the historical fiction genre.

 

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 gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jane Johnson

Jane Johnson is from Cornwall and has worked in the book industry for over 20 years, as a bookseller, publisher and writer. She is responsible for the publishing of many major authors, including George RR Martin.

In 2005 she was in Morocco researching the story of a distant family member who was abducted from a Cornish church in 1625 by Barbary pirates and sold into slavery in North Africa, when a near-fatal climbing incident caused her to rethink her future. She returned home, gave up her office job in London, and moved to Morocco. She married her own ‘Berber pirate’ and now they split their time between Cornwall and a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. She still works, remotely, as Fiction Publishing Director for HarperCollins.

#BookReview The Berlin Letters by Katherine Reay @uplitreads #TheBerlinLetters #KatherineReay #gifted #uplitreads

#BookReview The Berlin Letters by Katherine Reay @uplitreads #TheBerlinLetters #KatherineReay #gifted #uplitreads Title: The Berlin Letters

Author: Katherine Reay

Published by: Harper Muse on Mar. 5, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback

Source: Uplit Reads

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Bestselling author Katherine Reay returns with an unforgettable tale of the Cold War and a CIA code breaker who risks everything to free her father from an East German prison.

From the time she was a young girl, Luisa Voekler has loved solving puzzles and cracking codes. Brilliant and logical, she’s expected to quickly climb the career ladder at the CIA. But while her coworkers have moved on to thrilling Cold War assignments—especially in the exhilarating era of the late 1980s—Luisa’s work remains stuck in the past decoding messages from World War II.

Journalist Haris Voekler grew up a proud East Berliner. But as his eyes open to the realities of postwar East Germany, he realizes that the Soviet promises of a better future are not coming to fruition. After the Berlin Wall goes up, Haris finds himself separated from his young daughter and all alone after his wife dies. There’s only one way to reach his family—by sending coded letters to his father-in-law who lives on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

When Luisa Voekler discovers a secret cache of letters written by the father she has long presumed dead, she learns the truth about her grandfather’s work, her father’s identity, and why she has never progressed in her career. With little more than a rudimentary plan and hope, she journeys to Berlin and risks everything to free her father and get him out of East Berlin alive.

As Luisa and Haris take turns telling their stories, events speed toward one of the twentieth century’s most dramatic moments—the fall of the Berlin Wall and that night’s promise of freedom, truth, and reconciliation for those who lived, for twenty-eight years, behind the bleak shadow of the Iron Curtain’s most iconic symbol.


Review:

Gritty, intense, and informative!

The Berlin Letters is an edgy, insightful tale set between 1961 and 1989 that takes you into the life of Luisa Voekler, a CIA cryptographer living in DC who, after finding a pile of encrypted letters after her grandfather passes away, learns there’s more to her family’s history in Berlin before and after the wall was erected than she ever could have imagined. And though she has always been told that her parents were killed in an accident when she was young, she suddenly uncovers that her father is actually still alive and being held in a Stasi prison.

The prose is rich and expressive. The characters are troubled, inquisitive, and brave. And the plot, told in a past/present, back-and-forth style, is a tightly crafted, intriguing tale of life, loss, secrets, sacrifice, war, loyalty, passion, heartbreak, corruption, treachery, familial drama, politics, and repression.

Overall, The Berlin Letters is a compelling, absorbing, perceptive tale by Reay that not only satisfied and entertained me but did a wonderful job of opening my eyes to a dark time in history I lived through as a child but barely understood.

 

This novel is available now.

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

         

 

 

Thank you to Uplit Reads for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Katherine Reay

Katherine Reay is a writer, wife, mom, continually rehabbing runner, compulsive vacuumist and a horrific navigator…

She graduated from Northwestern University and earned an MS in Marketing from Northwestern as well. She then worked in marketing and development before returning to graduate school for a Masters of Theological Studies. Moves to Texas, England, Ireland and Washington left that degree unfinished as Katherine spent her time unpacking, raising kids, volunteering, writing, and exploring new storylines and new cities.

The Reay family (with a great sense of permanency) now resides outside Chicago, and Katherine pursues writing with more focus. She writes character-driven stories and non-fiction that focuses upon examining the past and how it influences our present experiences.

#BookReview The Girls We Sent Away by Meagan Church @mchurchwriter @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheGirlsWeSentAway #MeaganChurch #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview The Girls We Sent Away by Meagan Church @mchurchwriter @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheGirlsWeSentAway #MeaganChurch #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: The Girls We Sent Away

Author: Meagan Church

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Mar. 5, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 9/10

A searing book club read for fans of Ellen Marie Wiseman and The Girls with No Names set in the Baby Scoop Era of 1960s and the women of a certain condition swept up in a dark history.

It’s the 1960s and Lorraine Delford has it all – an upstanding family, a perfect boyfriend, and a white picket fence home in North Carolina. Yet every time she looks through her father’s telescope, she dreams of the stars. It’s ambitious, but Lorraine has always been exceptional. 

But when this darling girl-next-door gets pregnant, she’s forced to learn firsthand the realities that keep women grounded.  To hide their daughter’s secret shame, the Delfords send Lorraine to a maternity home for wayward girls. But this is no safe haven – it’s a house with dark secrets and suffocating rules. And as Lorraine begins to piece together a new vision for her life, she must decide if she can fight against the powers that aim to take her child or submit to the rules of a society she once admired.

Powerful and affecting, The Girls We Sent Away is a timely novel that explores autonomy, belonging, and a quest for agency when the illusions of life-as-you-know-it fall away.


Review:

Touching, emotional, and compelling!

The Girls We Sent Away is an absorbing, moving tale set in North Carolina during the 1960s that takes you into the life of high school senior Lorraine Delford who, after falling for the charms of the boy she is confident she will marry, finds herself pregnant, alone, and sent by her parents to a home for wayward girls until she has delivered her child and had it adopted out regardless of any wishes of her own she may have.

The prose is sentimental and rich. The characters are vulnerable, strong, and brave. And the plot is a tender, captivating blend of life, loss, secrets, dreams, surprises, grief, heartbreak, family, friendship, and motherhood.

Overall, The Girls We Sent Away is a compassionate, enlightening, hopeful tale by Church inspired by real-life events that is a haunting reminder of all those women who were shamed, coerced, and unimaginably suffered in these types of institutions for way too many years.

 

This novel is available now.

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

         

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Meagan Church

Meagan Church is the author of The Last Carolina Girl and The Girls We Sent Away. She writes to tell grounded stories that explore the complexity of human nature. Her historical fiction chronicles the plight and fight of unheard voices of the past. After receiving a B.A. in English from Indiana University, Meagan built a career as a storyteller and freelance writer for brands, blogs and organizations. A Midwesterner by birth, she now lives in North Carolina with her high school sweetheart, three children and a plethora of pets.