Genre: Historical Fiction

#BookReview The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister @theladygreer @Sourcebooks #TheArcticFury #GreerMacallister

#BookReview The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister @theladygreer @Sourcebooks #TheArcticFury #GreerMacallister Title: The Arctic Fury

Author: Greer Macallister

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Dec. 1, 2020

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 407

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 9/10

In early 1853, experienced California Trail guide Virginia Reeve is summoned to Boston by a mysterious benefactor who offers her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: lead a party of 12 women into the wild, hazardous Arctic to search for the lost Franklin Expedition. It’s an extraordinary request, but the party is made up of extraordinary women. Each brings her own strengths and skills to the expedition- and her own unsettling secrets. A year and a half later, back in Boston, Virginia is on trial when not all of the women return. Told in alternating timelines that follow both the sensational murder trial in Boston and the dangerous, deadly progress of the women’s expedition into the frozen North, this heart-pounding story will hold readers rapt as a chorus of voices answer the trial’s all-consuming question: what happened out there on the ice?


Review:

Captivating, atmospheric, and immersive!

The Arctic Fury is an emotive, absorbing novel set in the mid-1850s that sweeps you back-and-forth between a Boston courtroom where Virginia Reeve is on trial for the kidnapping and murder of socialite Caprice Collins, one of twelve women who embarked on a northern expedition to find the missing Sir John Franklin, and the icy, cold, Arctic where friendships were formed, life was lost, secrets surfaced, and past tragedies haunted.

The writing is vivid and expressive. The plot is well crafted and uses a past-present style to create tension, suspense and emotion as it unravels all the histories, personalities, and relationships within it. And the characters are unique, troubled, and scarred; with the setting, the arctic wilderness, being a character itself with its harsh weather, isolation, and physical challenges.

Overall, The Arctic Fury, loosely based on real-life events, is an intense, unique, gripping novel that reminds us that survival of any form takes unimaginable sacrifice, strength, courage, and often ethical and moral dilemmas.

This book is available now. 

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

              

 

 

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

 

About Greer Macallister

Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister is a novelist, poet and playwright who earned her MFA in creative writing from American University. Her debut novel THE MAGICIAN'S LIE was a USA Today bestseller, an Indie Next pick, and a Target Book Club selection. Her novels GIRL IN DISGUISE (“a rip-roaring, fast-paced treat to read” - Booklist) and WOMAN 99 (“a nail biter that makes you want to stand up and cheer” - Kate Quinn) were inspired by pioneering 19th-century private detective Kate Warne and fearless journalist Nellie Bly, respectively. Her next book, THE ARCTIC FURY, is forthcoming from Sourcebooks in December 2020. A regular contributor to Writer Unboxed and the Chicago Review of Books, she lives with her family in Washington, DC.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview The Forgotten Sister by Nicola Cornick @NicolaCornick @HarlequinBooks @Bookclubbish #TheForgottenSister #NicolaCornick #Bookclubbish #HTPBooks

#BookReview The Forgotten Sister by Nicola Cornick @NicolaCornick @HarlequinBooks @Bookclubbish #TheForgottenSister #NicolaCornick #Bookclubbish #HTPBooks Title: The Forgotten Sister

Author: Nicola Cornick

Published by: Graydon House on Nov. 10, 2020

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harlequin Books

Book Rating: 8.5/10

In the tradition of the spellbinding historical novels of Philippa Gregory and Kate Morton comes a stunning story based on a real-life Tudor mystery, and of a curse that echoes through the centuries and shapes two women’s destinies…

1560: Amy Robsart is trapped in a loveless marriage to Robert Dudley, a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Surrounded by enemies and with nowhere left to turn, Amy hatches a desperate scheme to escape—one with devastating consequences that will echo through the centuries…

Present Day: When Lizzie Kingdom is forced to withdraw from the public eye in a blaze of scandal, it seems her life is over. But she’s about to encounter a young man, Johnny Robsart, whose fate will interlace with hers in the most unexpected of ways. For Johnny is certain that Lizzie is linked to a terrible secret dating back to Tudor times. If Lizzie is brave enough to go in search of the truth, then what she discovers will change the course of their lives forever.


Review:

Engaging, mysterious, and immersive!

The Forgotten Sister is an intriguing time-slip novel set in England during both the sixteenth century as well as present-day and is told from two different perspectives, Amy Robsart, the wife of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester whose untimely death is laced with suspicion and doubt, and Lizzie Kingdom, a young star who after getting mixed up in a scandal where history seems to be repeating itself uses her psychometric abilities to uncover what truly happened.

The writing is eloquent and smooth. The characters are complex, troubled, and endearing. And the plot using a past/present, back-and-forth style captivates and entertains as it sweeps you away into a suspenseful tale of life, loss, love, familial responsibility, duty, honour, betrayal, friendship, passion, mystery, and a silver of the supernatural.

Overall, The Forgotten Sister is another well-paced, creative, entertaining novel by Cornick that does a wonderful job of interweaving a satisfying blend of historical facts, compelling fiction, budding romance, and a touch of magic.

 

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

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

 

About Nicola Cornick

International bestselling author Nicola Cornick writes romantic historical mysteries and witty and passionate Regency romance. She studied History at London and Oxford and was awarded a distinction for her dissertation on historical heroes. It was a tough study but someone had to do it. Nicola has a “double life” as a writer and guide at the stunning 17th century hunting lodge, Ashdown House. Nicola lives near Oxford and loves reading, writing, history, music, wildlife, travel and walking her dog. She also loves hearing from her readers and chatting to them on her blog.

#BookReview The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson @JaneJohnsonBakr @SimonSchusterCA #TheSeaGate #JaneJohnson

#BookReview The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson @JaneJohnsonBakr @SimonSchusterCA #TheSeaGate #JaneJohnson Title: The Sea Gate

Author: Jane Johnson

Published by: Simon & Schuster on Nov. 17, 2020

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

A broken family, a house of secrets—an entrancing tale of love and courage set during the Second World War.

After Rebecca’s mother dies, she must sort through her empty flat and come to terms with her loss. As she goes through her mother’s mail, she finds a handwritten envelope. In it is a letter that will change her life forever.

Olivia, her mother’s elderly cousin, needs help to save her beloved home. Rebecca immediately goes to visit Olivia in Cornwall only to find a house full of secrets—treasures in the attic and a mysterious tunnel leading from the cellar to the sea, and Olivia, nowhere to be found.

As it turns out, the old woman is stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her house is made habitable again. Rebecca sets to work restoring the home to its former glory, but as she peels back the layers of paint and grime, she uncovers even more buried secrets—secrets from a time when the Second World War was raging, when Olivia was a young woman, and when both romance and danger lurked around every corner…

A sweeping and utterly spellbinding tale of a young woman’s courage in the face of war and the lengths to which she’ll go to protect those she loves against the most unexpected of enemies.


Review:

Rich, mysterious, and incredibly absorbing!

The Sea Gate is an alluring, dual-timeline tale set in Cornwall during WWII, as well as present-day, that is told from two perspectives; Olivia, a young girl struggling to survive in a world driven by insecurity and fear and ravaged by war, and Becky, a young woman who unexpectedly stumbles across a slew of long-buried family secrets and an offensive parrot after travelling to the home of her mother’s 90-year-old cousin to help fix it up and prepare it for her return.

The prose is vivid and expressive. The characters are resilient, brave, and determined. And the plot, along with all the seamlessly intertwined subplots, is an impressive blend of drama, emotion, family, secrets, mystique, love, loss, courage, passion, heartbreak, and self-discovery.

Overall, The Sea Gate is an evocative, immersive, moving tale that sweeps you away to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the personalities, feelings, and lives of the characters you never want it to end. It is undoubtedly one of my favourite novels of the year and another fine example of Johnson’s extraordinary ability to write exceptionally memorable storylines.

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 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 Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten @EAlpsten_Author @StMartinsPress #Tsarina #EllenAlpsten

#BookReview Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten @EAlpsten_Author @StMartinsPress #Tsarina #EllenAlpsten Title: Tsarina

Author: Ellen Alpsten

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Nov. 10, 2020

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 496

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8.5/10

St. Petersburg, 1725. Peter the Great lies dying in his magnificent Winter Palace. The weakness and treachery of his only son has driven his father to an appalling act of cruelty and left the empire without an heir. Russia risks falling into chaos. Into the void steps the woman who has been by his side for decades: his second wife, Catherine Alexeyevna, as ambitious, ruthless and passionate as Peter himself.

Born into devastating poverty, Catherine used her extraordinary beauty and shrewd intelligence to ingratiate herself with Peter’s powerful generals, finally seducing the Tsar himself. But even amongst the splendor and opulence of her new life—the lavish feasts, glittering jewels, and candle-lit hours in Peter’s bedchamber—she knows the peril of her position. Peter’s attentions are fickle and his rages powerful; his first wife is condemned to a prison cell, her lover impaled alive in Red Square. And now Catherine faces the ultimate test: can she keep the Tsar’s death a secret as she plays a lethal game to destroy her enemies and take the Crown for herself?

From the sensuous pleasures of a decadent aristocracy, to the incense-filled rites of the Orthodox Church and the terror of Peter’s torture chambers, the intoxicating and dangerous world of Imperial Russia is brought to vivid life. Tsarina is the story of one remarkable woman whose bid for power would transform the Russian Empire.”


Review:

Fascinating, insightful, and engaging!

Tsarina is an intriguing interpretation of the rags-to-riches, extraordinary life of Marta Helena Skowrońska (Catherine I of Russia), who started life as the illegitimate child of a peasant and was subsequently sold into slavery, widowed, and sexually violated before becoming the mistress of Peter the Great, and later his wife and successor to the Russian throne, holding the title of Empress of Russia until her untimely death in 1727.

The prose is vivid and rich. The characters are bold, remorseless, and well-drawn. And the plot is an absorbing, sweeping saga of all the hopes, fears, sacrifices, struggles, treachery and entangled relationships found in one of the most powerful families to ever rule the Russian Empire.

Tsarina is, ultimately, a story about life, loss, love, politics, power, war, corruption, greed, riches, fervour, desires, sacrifice, savagery, violence, and murder. It’s a perceptive, alluring, compelling tale by Alpsten that does a beautiful job of highlighting her impressive research and considerable knowledge into the infamous Romanov family, especially those who reigned in the late seventeenth, early eighteenth century and their undeniable influence on Russian history.

 

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 Ellen Alpsten

ELLEN ALPSTEN was born and raised in the Kenyan highlands. Upon graduating from L'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, she worked as a news anchor for Bloomberg TV London. Whilst working gruesome night shifts on breakfast TV, she started to write in earnest, every day, after work and a nap. Today, Ellen works as an author and as a journalist for international publications such as Vogue, Standpoint and CN Traveller. She lives in London with her husband, three sons and a moody fox red Labrador. Tsarina is her debut novel.

Photograph by Andreas Stirnberg.

#BookReview The Winter Secret by Lulu Taylor @MissLuluTaylor @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheWinterSecret #LuluTaylor

#BookReview The Winter Secret by Lulu Taylor @MissLuluTaylor @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheWinterSecret #LuluTaylor Title: The Winter Secret

Author: Lulu Taylor

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Nov. 2, 2020

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction

Pages: 544

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

The Winter Secret is a thrilling mystery from Lulu Taylor, top ten bestselling author of The Snow Rose and Her Frozen Heart.

‘My dear boy, the place is cursed. It always has been and it always will be . . .’

Buttercup Redmain has a life of pampered luxury, living in beautiful Charcombe Park. Her older husband, Charles Redmain, is wealthy and successful and proud of the house he has painstakingly restored, once owned by a famous ancestor. Buttercup is surrounded by people who make her life delightfully easy. But the one thing she really wants seems impossible.

There are other discomforting realities: her husband’s ex-wife Ingrid still lives nearby although Buttercup has never met her. And it soon becomes clear that all the people who make Buttercup’s life so carefree are also watching her every move. Does she actually live in a comfortable but inescapable cage? And what is the real story of her husband’s previous marriage?

In the late 1940s, Xenia Arkadyoff lived in Charcombe Park with her father, a Russian prince, and her mother, a famous film star. Life seemed charmed, full of glamour and beauty. But behind the glittering facade lay pain, betrayal, and the truth about the woman Xenia spent her life protecting.

Now Charcombe Park is calling back people who were once part of its story, and the secrets that have stayed long hidden are bubbling inexorably to the surface . . .


Review:

Gripping, menacing, and addictive!

The Winter Secret is an unsettling, pacey, atmospheric novel about love, life, loss, secrets, power, control, friendship, family, jealousy, and tragedy.

There are two main memorable characters, Xenia, a young girl in the late 1940s whose life is anything but glamourous when her mother’s starlet lifestyle leads to a neverending rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows. And Buttercup, the present-day Mrs. Redmain whose life is pristine and wonderful until the cracks begin to appear and everything is not quite as perfect as it originally seemed.

The writing is eloquent and descriptive. The characterization is well done with a cast of characters that are distressed, vulnerable, and sympathetic, and a setting, Charcombe Park, that is a character itself with its history, grandeur, isolation, and multitude of secrets. And the plot uses a past/present, back-and-forth style to create tension and suspense as it quickly unravels all the personalities, relationships, behaviours, and motivations within it.

Overall, The Winter Secret is a clever, haunting, absorbing novel that swept me away to a country estate marred by both cruelty and love and immersed me in a story rife with deception and obsession.

 

This novel is available now.

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

             

 

 

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

 

About Lulu Taylor

Lulu Taylor moved around the world as a child before her family settled in the Oxfordshire countryside. She studied English at Oxford University and had a successful career in publishing before becoming a writer. Her first novel, Heiresses was published in 2007 and nominated for the RNA Readers' Choice award. It was followed by Midnight Girls, Beautiful Creatures, Outrageous Fortune, The Winter Folly, The Snow Angel, The Winter Children, and The Snow Rose. She lives in Dorset, England, with her husband and two children.

Photograph by Alicia Clarke.

#BookReview The Forgotten Daughter by Joanna Goodman @joannagoodman @HarperPerennial #TheForgottenDaughter #JoannaGoodman #HarperPerennial #OliveInfluencer

#BookReview The Forgotten Daughter by Joanna Goodman @joannagoodman @HarperPerennial #TheForgottenDaughter #JoannaGoodman #HarperPerennial #OliveInfluencer Title: The Forgotten Daughter

Author: Joanna Goodman

Published by: Harper Paperbacks on Oct. 27, 2020

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harper Perennial

Book Rating: 8.5/10

From the author of the bestselling novel The Home for Unwanted Girls, comes another compulsively readable story of love and suspense, following the lives of two women reckoning with their pasts and the choices that will define their futures.

1992: French-Canadian factions renew Quebec’s fight to gain independence, and wild, beautiful Véronique Fortin, daughter of a radical separatist convicted of kidnapping and murdering a prominent politician in 1970, has embraced her father’s cause. So it is a surprise when she falls for James Phénix, a journalist of French-Canadian heritage who opposes Quebec separatism. Their love affair is as passionate as it is turbulent, as they negotiate a constant struggle between love and morals.

At the same time, James’s older sister, Elodie Phénix, one of the Duplessis Orphans, becomes involved with a coalition demanding justice and reparations for their suffering in the 1950s when Quebec’s orphanages were converted to mental hospitals, a heinous political act of Premier Maurice Duplessis which affected 5,000 children.

Véronique is the only person Elodie can rely on as she fights for retribution, reliving her trauma, while Elodie becomes a sisterly presence for Véronique, who continues to struggle with her family’s legacy.

The Forgotten Daughter is a moving portrait of true love, familial bonds, and persistence in the face of injustice. As each character is pushed to their moral brink, they will discover exactly which lines they’ll cross—and just how far they’ll go for what they believe in.


Review:

Emotive, absorbing, and informative!

The Forgotten Daughter is a charged, fascinating tale that takes us to Quebec, Canada during the 1990s when the October Crisis of 1970 involving the FLQ separatists has not been forgotten, the desire for independence and sovereignty is still a passionate and inflammatory cause, and one of the most horrendous political and religious scandals in Canadian history, the institutionalization of orphans as mentally ill in order to receive increased subsidization still requires some form of justice and restitution to be imposed.

The prose is fluid and evocative. The characters are raw, troubled, scarred, and genuine. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel into a tumultuous, gritty tale of life, love, loss, fervour, family, secrets, deception, introspection, corruption, turmoil, violence, and political upheaval.

Overall, The Forgotten Daughter is an atmospheric, gritty, intricate novel by Goodman that does a remarkable job of highlighting her incredible passion and knowledge into this one province’s ongoing struggle for cultural identity over national unity.

 

This novel is available now.

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

               

 

 

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

 

About Joanna Goodman

Joanna Goodman’s #1 Bestselling Historical Fiction novel, The Home for Unwanted Girls was released April 17, 2018 to wide critical acclaim.

Joanna is the author of four previous novels, including The Finishing School, You Made Me Love You and Harmony. Her stories have appeared in The Fiddlehead, The Ottawa Citizen, B & A Fiction, Event, The New Quarterly, and White Wall Review.

Originally from Montreal, Joanna now lives in Toronto with her husband and two children, and is at work on her sixth novel. She is also the owner of a well-known Toronto linen store, Au Lit Fine Linens.

#BlogTour #PromoPost A Painter in Penang by Clare Flynn @clarefly @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #APainterInPenang

#BlogTour #PromoPost A Painter in Penang by Clare Flynn @clarefly @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #APainterInPenang

#BlogTour #PromoPost A Painter in Penang by Clare Flynn @clarefly @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #APainterInPenang Title: A Painter in Penang

Author: Clare Flynn

Series: Penang #3

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 337

Sixteen-year-old Jasmine Barrington hates everything about living in Kenya and longs to return to the island of Penang in British colonial Malaya where she was born. Expulsion from her Nairobi convent school offers a welcome escape – the chance to stay with her parents’ friends, Mary and Reggie Hyde-Underwood on their Penang rubber estate.

But this is 1948 and communist insurgents are embarking on a reign of terror in what becomes the Malayan Emergency. Jasmine unearths a shocking secret as her own life is put in danger. Throughout the turmoil, her one constant is her passion for painting.

From the international best-selling and award-winning author of The Pearl of Penang, this is a dramatic coming of age story, set against the backdrop of a tropical paradise torn apart by civil war.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

 

 

Thank you to Clare Flynn for being featured on my blog today!

 

About Clare Flynn

Historical novelist Clare Flynn is a former global marketing director and business owner. She now lives in Eastbourne on the south coast of England and most of her time these days is spent writing her novels – when she's not gazing out of her windows at the sea.

Clare is the author of eleven novels and a short story collection. Her books deal with displacement – her characters are wrenched away from their comfortable existences and forced to face new challenges – often in outposts of an empire which largely disappeared after WW2.

Her latest novel, Prisoner From Penang, was published on 17th April 2020. It is set in South East Asia during the Japanese occupation in World War Two.

Clare's novels often feature places she knows well and she does extensive research to build the period and geographic flavour of her books. A Greater World - 1920s Australia; Kurinji Flowers – pre-Independence India; Letters from a Patchwork Quilt – nineteenth century industrial England and the USA; The Green Ribbons – the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century in rural England, The Chalky Sea - World War II England (and Canada) and its sequels The Alien Corn and The Frozen River - post WW2 Canada. She has also published a collection of short stories - both historical and contemporary, A Fine Pair of Shoes and Other Stories.

Fluent in Italian, she loves spending time in Italy. In her spare time she likes to quilt, paint and travel as often and as widely as possible. She is an active member of the Historical Novel Society, the Romantic Novelists Association, The Society of Authors, NINC and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Get a free copy of Clare's exclusive short story collection, A Fine Pair of Shoes, at www.clareflynn.co.uk.

 

#BookReview Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #Shadowplay #JosephOConnor

#BookReview Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #Shadowplay #JosephOConnor Title: Shadowplay

Author: Joseph O'Connor

Published by: Europa Editions on Jun. 26, 2020

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 310

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

Shadowplay by New York Times best-selling author, Joseph O’Connor, is set during the golden age of West End theater in a London shaken by the crimes of Jack the Ripper.

Henry Irving is Victorian London’s most celebrated actor and theater impresario. He has introduced groundbreaking ideas to the theater, bringing to the stage performances that are spectacular, shocking, and always entertaining. When Irving decides to open his own London theater with the goal of making it the greatest playhouse on earth, he hires a young Dublin clerk harboring literary ambitions by the name of Bram Stoker to manage it. As Irving’s theater grows in reputation and financial solvency, he lures to his company of mummers the century’s most beloved actress, the dazzlingly talented leading lady Ellen Terry, who nightly casts a spell not only on her audiences but also on Stoker and Irving both.

Bram Stoker’s extraordinary experiences at the Lyceum Theatre, his early morning walks on the streets of a London terrorized by a serial killer, his long, tempestuous relationship with Irving, and the closeness he finds with Ellen Terry, inspire him to write DRACULA, the most iconic and best-selling supernatural tale ever published.

A magnificent portrait both of lamp-lit London and of lives and loves enacted on the stage, Shadowplay’s rich prose, incomparable storytelling, and vivid characters will linger in readers’ hearts and minds for many years.


Review:

Immersive, evocative, and colourful!

Shadowplay is a beautiful, powerful, alluring interpretation that sweeps you away to London in the late 1800s and into the life of Bram Stroker, from his employment as manager of the Lyceum Theatre, his tumultuous relationships with both his employer, Henry Irving and the celebrated actress Ellen Terry, to his ultimately writing the infamous Dracula.

The prose is expressive and eloquent. The characters are exceptionally drawn, complex, and authentic. And the plot set to the backdrop of a city terrorized by Jack the Ripper and using an intriguing mixture of narration, letters, diary entries, and transcripts is an exceptionally absorbing tale of life, loss, loneliness, loyalty, friendship, desires, aspirations, heartache, drama, and love in all its different forms.

Overall, Shadowplay is a vivid, pensive, compelling story by O’Connor that does a remarkable job of highlighting his considerable knowledge and impressive research into these renowned historical figures whose lives and contribution to the dramatic and literary worlds are often unknown or unfortunately long forgotten.

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 Joseph O'Connor

Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin. He is the author of the novels Cowboys and Indians (short-listed for the Whitbread Prize), Desperadoes , The Salesman , Inishowen , Star of the Sea and Redemption Falls , as well as a number of bestselling works of non-fiction.

He was recently voted ‘Irish Writer of the Decade’ by the readers of Hot Press magazine. He broadcasts a popular weekly radio diary on RTE’s Drivetime With Mary Wilson and writes regularly for The Guardian Review and The Sunday Independent. In 2009 he was the Harman Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Baruch College, the City University of New York.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview The Paris Secret by Natasha Lester @Natasha_Lester @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #Forever20 #NatashaLester #TheParisSecret

#BookReview The Paris Secret by Natasha Lester @Natasha_Lester @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #Forever20 #NatashaLester #TheParisSecret Title: The Paris Secret

Author: Natasha Lester

Published by: Forever on Sep. 15, 2020

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 496

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 10/10

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Orphan comes an unforgettable historical novel about a secret collection of Dior gowns that ties back to the first female pilots of WWII and a heartbreaking story of love and sacrifice.

England, 1939: The Penrose sisters couldn’t be more different. Skye is a daring and brash pilot, and Liberty the one to defy her at every turn. Even if women aren’t allowed in the Royal Air Force, Skye is determined to help the war effort. She’s thrilled when it reunites her with her childhood soulmate, Nicholas. She’s less thrilled to learn Nicholas is now engaged to an enigmatic Frenchwoman named Margaux Jourdan.

Paris, 1947: Designer Christian Dior unveils his glamorous first collection to a world weary of war and grief. He names his debut fragrance Miss Dior in tribute to his beloved sister Catherine, who forged a friendship with Skye and Margaux through her work with the French Resistance.

Present Day: Fashion conservator Kat Jourdan discovers a priceless collection of Dior gowns in her grandmother’s vacant cottage. As she delves into the mystery of their origin, Kat begins to doubt everything she thought she knew about her beloved grandmother.


Review:

Evocative, rich, and absorbing!

The Paris Secret is an alluring, highly affecting tale predominantly set in England during WWII, as well as 2012, that takes you into the lives of two main characters; Skye Penrose, a young flier who through grit and determination becomes one of the first woman pilots for the Air Transport Auxillary during the war; and Kat Jourdan, a young fashion conservator who unwittingly unravels a family history littered with secrets, heartbreak, and heroism when she stumbles across a closet full of vintage Dior dresses in her mother’s Cornwall cottage.

The prose is charged and emotive. The characters are courageous, multilayered, and strong. And the plot, including all the subplots, unravel and intertwine seamlessly into a sublime saga of life, loss, family, tragedy, expectations, sacrifice, secrets, self-discovery, friendship, enduring love, fashion, and an insightful look at the important roles and contributions that women had and made during the war.

Overall, The Paris Secret is an exceptionally atmospheric, beautifully written, impactful novel that sweeps you away to another time and place and immerses you into the lives of such enticing characters you can’t help but be thoroughly moved and engrossed. It is no surprise that Natasha Lester has quickly become one of my all-time favourite authors with The Paris Orphan being one of my must-read novels for 2019 and now The Paris Secret being on the top of that list for 2020.

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 Natasha Lester

Natasha Lester is a USA Today, internationally best-selling author. Prior to writing, she worked as a marketing executive for L’Oreal, managing the Maybelline brand, before returning to university to study creative writing.

Her first historical novel, the bestselling A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald, was published in 2016. This was followed by Her Mother’s Secret in 2017 and The Paris Seamstress in 2018. The French Photographer is her latest book (note: this will be published as The Paris Orphan in North America in September 2019).

Natasha's books have been published in the US, the UK, Australia and throughout Europe. She lives in Perth, Western Australia with her 3 children and loves travelling, Paris, vintage fashion and, of course, books.

Photograph courtesy of Goodreads Author Page.

#BookReview The Paris Children by Gloria Goldreich @Sourcebooks #TheParisChildren #GloriaGoldreich

#BookReview The Paris Children by Gloria Goldreich @Sourcebooks #TheParisChildren #GloriaGoldreich Title: The Paris Children

Author: Gloria Goldreich

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Sep. 1, 2020

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 9/10

Inspired by the true story of one woman’s fight to survive during the 20th century’s darkest hour

Paris, 1935. A dark shadow falls over Europe as Adolf Hitler’s regime gains momentum, leaving the city of Paris on the brink of occupation. Young Madeleine Levy—granddaughter of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish World War I hero—steps bravely into a new wave of resistance and becomes the guardian of lost children.

When Madeleine meets a small girl in a tattered coat with the hollow look of one forced to live a nightmare—a young Jewish refugee from Germany named Anna—she knows that she cannot stand idly by. Paris is full of children like Anna—frightened and starving, innocent casualties of a war barely begun. Madeleine offers them comfort and strength while working with other members of the resistance to smuggle them into safer territories. But as the Paris she loves is transformed into a theater of tension and hatred, many people are tempted to abandon the cause—and the country. And amidst the impending horror and doubt, Madeleine’s relationship with Claude, a young Jewish Resistance fighter, as passionate about saving vulnerable children as she is, deepens. With a questionable future ahead of them, all Madeleine can do is continue fighting and hope that her spirit—and the nation’s—won’t be broken.

A remarkable, paranoramic novel, The Paris Children is a story of love and tragedy that illuminates the power of hope and courage in the face of adversity.


Review:

Absorbing, haunting, and deeply moving!

The Paris Children is a compelling, immersive, beautifully written tale set in France between 1935 and 1943 that takes you into the lives of the Levy family, especially Madeleine, a young Jewish woman who spent the majority of the war helping to hide and save as many Jewish children as possible.

The prose is authentic and perceptive. The characters are selfless, brave, and vulnerable. And the plot is a rich, poignant tale of life, loss, love, friendship, family, perseverance, survival, betrayal, courage, sacrifice, Jewish traditions, war, and the important role played by the Jewish scouts in the French Resistance.

Overall, The Paris Children is a beautiful blend of horrifying facts and evocative fiction. It’s a pensive, affecting, powerful tale by Goldreich that highlights humanities incredible ability to love and still be kind, compassionate, and resilient even in the face of unimaginable evil.

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 Gloria Goldreich

Gloria Goldreich graduated from Brandeis University and did graduate work in Jewish history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She was a coordinator in the Department of Jewish Education at National Hadassah and served as Public Relations Director of the Baruch College of the City University of New York.

While still an undergraduate at Brandeis, she was a winner of the Seventeen magazine short story contest where her first nationally published work appeared. Subsequently, her short fiction and critical essays have appeared in Commentary, McCalls, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, Mademoiselle, Ms., Chatelaine, Hadassah Magazine and numerous other magazines and journals. Her work has been widely anthologized and translated.

She is the author of a series of children's books on women in the professions entitled What Can She Be? She has also written novels for young adults, Ten Traditional Jewish Stories, and she edited a prize-winning anthology A Treasury of Jewish Literature.

Her novel, Leah's Journey won the National Jewish Book Award for fiction in 1979, and her second novel Four Days won the Federation Arts and Letters Award. Her other novels include Promised Land, This Burning Harvest, Leah's Children, West to Eden, Mothers, Years of Dreams and That Year of Our War. Her books have been selections of the Book of the Month Club, the Literary Guild and the Troll Book Club.

She has lectured throughout the United States and in Canada.

Gloria Goldreich is married to an attorney and is the mother of two daughters and a son, and the grandmother of six grandchildren.

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