Genre: Historical Fiction

#BookReview
Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati
@akaSaraDonati @BerkleyPub @PenguinRandomCA

#BookReview Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati @akaSaraDonati @BerkleyPub @PenguinRandomCATitle: Where the Light Enters

Author: Sara Donati

Series: The Gilded Hour #2

Published by: Berkley Books on September 10, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 672

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

From the international bestselling author of The Gilded Hourcomes Sara Donati’s enthralling epic about two trailblazing female doctors in nineteenth-century New York

Obstetrician Dr. Sophie Savard returns home to the achingly familiar rhythms of Manhattan in the early spring of 1884 to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. With the help of Dr. Anna Savard, her dearest friend, cousin, and fellow physician she plans to continue her work aiding the disadvantaged women society would rather forget.

As Sophie sets out to construct a new life for herself, Anna’s husband, Detective-Sergeant Jack Mezzanotte calls on them both to consult on two new cases: the wife of a prominent banker has disappeared into thin air, and the corpse of a young woman is found with baffling wounds that suggest a killer is on the loose. In New York it seems that the advancement of women has brought out the worst in some men. Unable to ignore the plight of New York’s less fortunate, these intrepid cousins draw on all resources to protect their patients.


Review:

Multilayered, fascinating, and incredibly absorbing!

Where the Light Enters is a gritty, compelling tale set in New York City in the mid-1880s at a time when the island was bustling, female doctors were still discounted and frowned upon, reproduction and childbirth still had high mortality rates, and women looking for help with unwanted pregnancies had little or nowhere to go.

There are two main memorable characters in this novel; Dr. Sophie Savard, a young multi-ethnic obstetrician who returns to the United States to open a scholarship program and home for girls looking to study medicine after her husband succumbs to Consumption; and Dr. Anna Mezzanotte, a young surgeon who spends her days operating on those less fortunate and helping her detective husband Jack as he hunts for a serial killer who preys on women seeking an abortion.

The prose is eloquent and rich. The characters are strong, independent, intelligent, and genuine. And the plot using an intriguing mixture of narration, letters, newspaper articles, and reports immerses you in a riveting, suspenseful tale of familial dynamics, duty, friendship, passion, loss, love, sexism, violence, murder, and the roles and struggles faced by female physicians in early medicine.

Where the Light Enters is once again another hefty novel by Donati, with just under 700 pages, but it is so remarkably atmospheric and beautifully written that before you know it the story is finished and you’re yearning for more.

 

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

 

About Sara Donati

Sara Donati is the pen name of Rosina Lippi, a former academic and tenured university professor. Since 2000 she has been writing fiction full-time, haunting the intersection where history and storytelling meet, wallowing in nineteenth-century newspapers, magazines, street maps, and academic historical research. She is the internationally bestselling author of the Wilderness series (Into the Wilderness, Dawn on a Distant Shore, Lake in the Clouds, Fire Along the Sky, Queen of Swords, and The Endless Forest) as well as The Gilded Hour, the first in a new series following the descendants of characters from the Wilderness series. She lives between the Cascades and Puget Sound with her husband, daughter, Jimmy Dean (a Havanese), and Max and Bella (the cats).

Photograph courtesy of penguinrandomhouse.com

#BookReview
The Last Train to London
by Meg Waite Clayton @megwclayton @HarperCollinsCa

#BookReview The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton @megwclayton @HarperCollinsCaTitle: The Last Train to London

Author: Meg Waite Clayton

Published by: Harper on September 10, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 464

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: HarperCollins Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Exilesconjures her best novel yet, a pre-World War II-era story with the emotional resonance of Orphan Train and All the Light We Cannot See, centering on the Kindertransports that carried thousands of children out of Nazi-occupied Europe—and one brave woman who helped them escape to safety.

In 1936, the Nazi are little more than loud, brutish bores to fifteen-year old Stephan Neuman, the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family and budding playwright whose playground extends from Vienna’s streets to its intricate underground tunnels. Stephan’s best friend and companion is the brilliant Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. But the two adolescents’ carefree innocence is shattered when the Nazis’ take control.

There is hope in the darkness, though. Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance, risks her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany to the nations that will take them. It is a mission that becomes even more dangerous after the Anschluss—Hitler’s annexation of Austria—as, across Europe, countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape.

Tante Truus, as she is known, is determined to save as many children as she can. After Britain passes a measure to take in at-risk child refugees from the German Reich, she dares to approach Adolf Eichmann, the man who would later help devise the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” in a race against time to bring children like Stephan, his young brother Walter, and Žofie-Helene on a perilous journey to an uncertain future abroad.


Review:

Haunting, heartwrenching, and heroic!

The Last Train to London is a compelling, emotional interpretation of the life of Geertruida Wijsmuller, a Dutch Christian who as part of the Kindertransport rescue efforts helped transport close to 10,000 predominantly Jewish children out of Nazi-occupied European cities to the UK for safety just prior to the breakout of WWII.

The prose is tense and expressive. The characters are vulnerable, innocent, and courageous. And the plot, set in Austria during the late 1930s, is an exceptionally moving tale about life, love, strength, bravery, familial relationships, heartbreak, loss, guilt, grief, injustice, malice, hope, and survival.

Overall, The Last Train to London is a beautiful blend of harrowing facts and evocative fiction. It’s a powerful, pensive, affecting tale that highlights humanities ability to not only be excessively evil but incredibly selfless.

 

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 Meg Waite Clayton

Meg Waite Clayton is a New York Times bestselling author of the forthcoming THE LAST TRAIN TO LONDON (HarperCollins, Sept 10, 2019), the #1 Amazon fiction bestseller BEAUTIFUL EXILES, the Langum-Prize honored national bestseller THE RACE FOR PARIS -- recommended reading by Glamour Magazine and the BBC, and an Indie Next Booksellers' pick -- and THE WEDNESDAY SISTERS, one of Entertainment Weekly's "25 Essential Best Friend Novels" of all time. Her THE LANGUAGE OF LIGHT was a finalist for the Bellwether Prize (now PEN/Bellwether Prize), and she's written essays for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Runner's World, Writer's Digest and lots of other swanky publications she never imagined she might!

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview
The Paris Orphan by Natasha Lester
@Natasha_Lester @GrandCentralPub @HBGCanada

#BookReview The Paris Orphan by Natasha Lester @Natasha_Lester @GrandCentralPub @HBGCanadaTitle: The Paris Orphan

Author: Natasha Lester

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on September 3, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 480

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: HBG Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

An American soldier and an enterprising photographer brave occupied France during World War II to help give a little girl the one thing she’s never had–a family–in this gripping historical fiction from the internationally bestselling author of The Paris Seamstress.
 
New York City/Paris, 1942: When American model Jessica May arrives in Europe to cover the war as a photojournalist for Vogue, most of the soldiers are determined to make her life as difficult as possible. But three friendships change that. Journalist Martha Gellhorn encourages Jess to bend the rules. Captain Dan Hallworth keeps her safe in dangerous places so she can capture the stories that truly matter. And most important of all, the love of a little orphan named Victorine gives Jess strength to do the impossible. But her success will come at a price…
 
France, 2005: Decades after World War II, D’Arcy Hallworth arrives at a beautiful chateau to curate a collection of famous wartime photos by a reclusive artist. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, but D’Arcy has no idea that this job will uncover decades of secrets that, once revealed, will change everything she thought she knew about her mother, Victorine, and alter D’Arcy’s life forever.

Review:

Poignant, heartbreaking, and enthralling!

The Paris Orphan is an absorbing, emotive tale predominantly set in France during 1942, as well as 2005, that is told primarily from two different perspectives; Jessica May, a young model turned photojournalist who journeys to Europe to document the real dangers, consequences, and atrocities of war; and Darcy Hallworth, a young art handler who inadvertently stumbles upon a family history littered with secrets and sacrifices while preparing a collection of photographs for an Australian exhibit.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are brave, resilient, and determined. And the plot, along with all the seamlessly intertwined subplots, is an impressive blend of drama, mystique, emotion, secrets, love, loss, courage, passion, heartbreak, as well as an insightful look at the struggles faced by female correspondents during WWII, and the importance of friendships.

Overall, The Paris Orphan is a wonderful blend of historical facts and alluring fiction that transports you 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 without a doubt one of my favourite novels of the year and is another fine example of Lester’s extraordinary talent as a remarkable researcher and memorable storyteller.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

Thank you to HBG Canada 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 Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
@esmacneal @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal @esmacneal @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Doll Factory

Author: Elizabeth Macneal

Published by: Simon & Schuster on August 13, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 386

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The Doll Factory, the debut novel by Elizabeth Macneal, is an intoxicating story of art, obsession and possession.

London. 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning.

When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love.

But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . .


Review:

Gothic, evocative, and eerie!

The Doll Factory is a riveting, gritty tale set in London in the mid-1800s at a time when the city was bustling, scavenging was prevalent, respectability meant everything, The Great Exhibition was a structural marvel, and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was redefining visual art.

There are three main memorable characters in this novel; Iris Whittle, a young red-headed girl who dreams of becoming an artist and unconsciously catches the eye of many; Silas Reed, a strange fellow with a morbid fascination with taxidermy and a macabre, obsessive nature; and Albie, a young guttersnipe who spends his days traipsing the streets for a shilling and dreaming of a mouth full of pearly whites.

The prose is ominous and rich. The supporting characters are multilayered, flawed, and believable. And the plot is an insightful, compelling tale of familial responsibilities, strength, duty, coming-of-age, art, friendship, passion, desire, obsession, loss, love, survival, and the roles of women in Victorian England.

Overall, The Doll Factory is an intense, creative, menacing read by Macneal that does a beautiful job of interweaving historical facts and compelling fiction into a sinister, suspenseful mystery that is deliciously atmospheric and highly entertaining.

 

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 Elizabeth Macneal

Elizabeth Macneal was born in Edinburgh and now lives in East London. She is a writer and potter and works from a small studio at the bottom of her garden. She read English Literature at Oxford University, before working in the City for several years. In 2017, she completed the Creative Writing MA at UEA in 2017 where she was awarded the Malcolm Bradbury scholarship.

The Doll Factory, Elizabeth's debut novel, won the Caledonia Noel Award 2018. It will be published in twenty-eight languages and TV rights have sold to Buccaneer Media.

Photography by Mat Smith.

#BookReview
The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel
@kristinharmel @GalleryBooks @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel @kristinharmel @GalleryBooks @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Winemaker's Wife

Author: Kristin Harmel

Published by: Gallery Books on August 13, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Champagne, 1940: Inès has just married Michel, the owner of storied champagne house Maison Chauveau, when the Germans invade. As the danger mounts, Michel turns his back on his marriage to begin hiding munitions for the Résistance. Inès fears they’ll be exposed, but for Céline, half-Jewish wife of Chauveau’s chef de cave, the risk is even greater—rumors abound of Jews being shipped east to an unspeakable fate.

When Céline recklessly follows her heart in one desperate bid for happiness, and Inès makes a dangerous mistake with a Nazi collaborator, they risk the lives of those they love—and the champagne house that ties them together.

New York, 2019: Liv Kent has just lost everything when her eccentric French grandmother shows up unannounced, insisting on a trip to France. But the older woman has an ulterior motive—and a tragic, decades-old story to share. When past and present finally collide, Liv finds herself on a road to salvation that leads right to the caves of the Maison Chauveau.


Review:

Informative, beautiful, and tragic!

The Winemaker’s Wife is a stirring, immersive story set in France during the early 1940s, as well present day, that is told primarily from three different perspectives; Inès Chauveau, a young wife who after feeling neglected and misunderstood naively makes choices that have far-reaching, life-changing consequences; Céline Laurent, the half-Jewish wife of Chauveau’s winemaker who lives in constant fear of the advancing Germans except when deep within the vineyard caves where she finds solace, hope, contentment, and love; and Liv Kent, a recently divorced American who journeys to France at the request of her grandmother only to uncover a family history that’s littered with secrets, betrayals, and sacrifices.

The prose is preceptive, vivid, and sincere. The characters are courageous, vulnerable, and resilient. And the plot is a heartrending tale that gives us a unique view into the struggles, sacrifices, horrors, and bravery of those who lived and survived in the Champagne region during this heinous time in history.

The Winemaker’s Wife is, ultimately, a story about life, love, loss, deception, determination, perseverance, resistance efforts, intricacies of winemaking, and the importance of forgiveness. It’s pensive, moving, and thoroughly absorbing and a fantastic choice for historical fiction fans and book clubs everywhere.

 

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 Kristin Harmel

Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of THE ROOM ON RUE AMELIE, THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING, THE LIFE INTENDED, WHEN WE MEET AGAIN, and several other novels. Her latest, THE WINEMAKER'S WIFE, is coming in August 2019 from Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster. A former reporter for PEOPLE magazine, Kristin has also freelanced for many other publications, including American Baby, Men’s Health, Glamour, Woman’s Day, Travel + Leisure, and more.

Kristin grew up in Peabody, Mass.; Worthington, Ohio; and St. Petersburg, Fla., and she graduated with a degree in journalism (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Florida. After spending time living in Paris, she now lives in Orlando, Fla., with her husband and young son.

Photograph by Phil Art Studio, Reims, France.

#BookReview #GoodreadsGiveaways
Dragonfly by Leila Meacham
@LeilaMeacham @GrandCentralPub @HBGCanada @goodreads

#BookReview #GoodreadsGiveaways Dragonfly by Leila Meacham @LeilaMeacham @GrandCentralPub @HBGCanada @goodreadsTitle: Dragonfly

Author: Leila Meacham

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on July 9, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 576

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Grand Central Publishing, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

At the height of WWII, five idealistic young Americans receive a mysterious letter from the OSS, asking them if they are willing to fight for their country. The men and women from very different backgrounds–a Texan athlete with German roots, an upper-crust son of a French mother and a wealthy businessman, a dirt-poor Midwestern fly fisherman, an orphaned fashion designer, and a ravishingly beautiful female fencer from Princeton — all answer the call of duty, but each for a secret reason of his or her own. They bond immediately, in a group code-named DRAGONFLY.

Soon after their training, they are dropped behind enemy lines and take up their false identities, isolated from one another except for a secret drop-box, but in close contact with the powerful Nazi elite who have Paris under siege.

Thus begins a dramatic and riveting cat-and-mouse game, as the young Americans seek to stay under the radar until a fatal misstep leads to the capture and the firing-squad execution of one of their team. But…is everything as it seems, or is this one more elaborate act of spycraft?


Review:

Poignant, absorbing, and incredibly affecting!

Dragonfly is an immersive, suspenseful tale set in Nazi-Occupied Paris during WWII that follows five young American spies as they use their own unique skillsets to infiltrate, befriend, and acquire special intelligence from the enemy to aid Resistance and Allied Forces.

The prose is eloquent and polished. The characters are driven, courageous, and resilient. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel into a sweeping saga of life, loss, family, self-discovery, heartbreak, betrayal, determination, isolation, survival, tragedy, and friendship.

Overall, Dragonfly is an evocative, rich, beautifully written novel by Meacham that grabs you from the very first page, and is sure to be a big hit with book clubs and historical fiction fans everywhere. I absolutely devoured it, and it is hands down one of my favourite reads of the year!

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Leila Meacham

Leila Meacham is a writer and former teacher who lives in San Antonio, Texas. She is the author of the bestselling novels Roses, Somerset and Tumbleweeds.

Photograph by Marie Langmore/Langmore Photography.

#BookReview
Between the Orange Groves
by Nadia Marks @Nadia_Marks
@panmacmillan @PGCBooks

#BookReview Between the Orange Groves by Nadia Marks @Nadia_Marks @panmacmillan @PGCBooksTitle: Between the Orange Groves

Author: Nadia Marks

Published by: Pan Macmillan on July 2, 2019

Genres: Women's Fiction, Historical Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In a small village, set among the wild mountains of Cyprus, two families of different faiths share a seemingly unbreakable friendship based on mutual respect and deep affection. Mothers and daughters share their daily secrets, fathers and sons support each other as they live their lives between the fragrant pine trees and orange groves. It’s here that two boys, Lambros and Orhan, grow up side by side, as close as brothers. Their lives are inextricably linked, but as their fortunes shift and time passes, an unforgivable act of betrayal takes place, setting in motion a chain of events that tears the two friends and their entire families apart…

Many decades later and now an old man living in London, Lambros decides to share his painful memories with his daughter Stella; transporting her back to an island brimming with passion and at its heart a scandal that still haunts those involved. Is it too late for forgiveness? Or can the next generation embark on a journey of their own to help mend the damage done all those years ago?

From Nadia Marks, the bestselling author of Among the Lemon Trees and Secrets Under the Sun, comes Between the Orange Groves, a moving tale of desire, burning secrets and forbidden love.


Review:

Captivating, informative, and picturesque!

Between the Orange Groves is set in the idyllic island of Cyprus and takes us into the lives of two main families who despite religious differences are the best of friends and are as close as close can be until one day desire and lust causes a rift that will change their lives forever.

The prose is smooth and fluid. The characters are multi-layered, alluring, and regretful. And the plot, written in a back and forth, past/present style is a delightful mix of life, loss, culture, religion, familial dynamics, deception, betrayal, and forbidden love.

Overall, Between the Orange Groves is a heartwarming, nostalgic, intriguing tale that highlights the unique political landscape of Cyprus over the years, and reminds us of the importance of forgiveness and the enduring power of friendship.

 

This book 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 Nadia Marks

Nadia Marks (ne Kitromilides,) was born in Cyprus, but grew up in London. An ex creative director and associate editor on a number of leading British women’s magazines, she is now a novelist and works as a freelance writer for several national and international publications. She has written for the Guardian, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Express, the Independent, the Royal Photographic Society Journal, Psychologies, In Style magazine and others. For Europe and abroad she has contributed to Italian Vanity Fair, Brazilian Vogue, Greek and Australian Marie Claire, to the biggest Greek Sunday newspaper Vima, and the glossy Greek Cypriot lifestyle magazines Omikron and Must.

#BookReview
The Runaway Daughter by Joanna Rees
@joannareesbooks @PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview The Runaway Daughter by Joanna Rees @joannareesbooks @PGCBooks @panmacmillanTitle: The Runaway Daughter

Author: Joanna Rees

Series: A Stitch in Time #1

Published by: Pan Macmillan on July 2, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 496

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

The first novel in a dazzling and sweeping historical trilogy from bestselling author Joanna Rees.

It’s 1926 and Anna Darton is on the run from a terrible crime. Alone and scared in London, salvation comes in the form of Nancy, a sassy American dancer at the notorious nightclub, The Zip. Re-inventing herself as Vita Casey, Anna becomes part of the line-up and is thrown into a hedonistic world of dancing, parties, flapper girls and fashion.

When she meets the dashing Archie Fenwick, Vita buries her guilty conscience and believes him when he says he will love her no matter what. But unbeknown to Vita, her secret past is fast catching up on her, and when the people closest to her start getting hurt, she is forced to confront her past or risk losing everything she holds dear.


Review:

Glamorous, absorbing, and incredibly atmospheric!

The Runaway Daughter is an immersive, alluring tale that takes you into the life of Anna Darton, a determined, naive, resilient, young woman who suddenly finds herself alone, overwhelmed, and on the run from a past filled with cruelty, dominance, and violence.

The prose is fluid and expressive. The characters are well drawn, authentic, and intriguing. And the story sweeps you away to the bustling city of London during the 1920s when extravagance and self-indulgence were rampant, and women were cutting their hair, shortening their skirts, getting their groove on, and gaining some independence.

Overall, I would have to say that The Runaway Daughter is a smashing tale by Rees that has just the right amount of drama, romance, and suspense to be a pleasing, entertaining read for historical fiction lovers everywhere.

 

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 Joanna Rees

Joanna Rees, aka Josie Lloyd and Jo Rees, is a bestselling writer of twelve novels, including rom-coms, blockbusters and big- hearted adventures such as Come Together, Platinum and A Twist of Fate.The Runaway Daughter, published in August 2019, is the first in The Stitch in Time trilogy set in the 1920s and following the fortune of budding fashion designer and girl-about-town, Vita Casey. The second part, The Hidden Wife is out in 2020.Based in Brighton, Joanna is married to the author Emlyn Rees with whom she has three daughters. They have co-written seven novels, including the Sunday Times number one bestseller Come Together, which was translated into twenty-seven languages and made into a film. They have written three bestselling parodies of their favourite children’s books, including We’re Going On A Bar Hunt and The Teenager Who Came To Tea as well as a light-hearted activity book encouraging people to stop being addicted to their technology called Switch It Off.

Photograph from www.curtisbrown.co.uk.

#BookReview
The Woman in the White Kimono
by Ana Johns @author_AnaJohns @HarperCollinsCa @SavvyReader #SavvyReadathon

#BookReview The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns @author_AnaJohns @HarperCollinsCa @SavvyReader #SavvyReadathonTitle: The Woman in the White Kimono

Author: Ana Johns

Published by: Park Row on May 28, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: HarperCollins Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Oceans and decades apart, two women are inextricably bound by the secrets between them.

Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage to the son of her father’s business associate would secure her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community, but Naoko has fallen for another man—an American sailor, a gaijin—and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.

America, present day. Tori Kovac, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation—one that calls into question everything she understood about him, her family and herself. Setting out to learn the truth behind the letter, Tori’s journey leads her halfway around the world to a remote seaside village in Japan, where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.

In breathtaking prose and inspired by true stories from a devastating and little-known era in Japanese and American history, The Woman in the White Kimono illuminates a searing portrait of one woman torn between her culture and her heart, and another woman on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.


Review:

Poignant, beautiful, and incredibly heartwrenching!

The Woman in the White Kimono is predominantly set in Japan during the late 1950s, as well as present day, and is told from two different perspectives; Tori, a young journalist who journeys to Japan after her father’s death to unravel the secrets of his past and to find the family he may have left behind, and Naoko, a young Japanese girl whose forbidden love for an American soldier will change her life forever.

The prose is vivid and expressive. The characters are multi-layered, vulnerable, and resilient. And the plot is a profoundly moving tale about life, love, familial relationships, heartbreak, loss, guilt, grief, desperation, courage, hope, and regret.

Overall, The Woman in the White Kimono is the perfect blend of historical facts, evocative fiction, and palpable emotion. It’s a bittersweet, tender, affecting tale that will not only make you smile, make you cry, but resonate with you long after the final page has been read.

 

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 as a prize during the #savvyreadthon.

 

About Ana Johns

Ana Johns studied broadcast journalism and worked over twenty-years in the creative arts field, as both a creative director and business owner before turning her hand to fiction. THE WOMAN in the WHITE KIMONO, an instant Globe and Mail & Toronto Star bestseller & BBC Radio2 Book Club Pick, is her first historical fiction.

Photograph by Ana Johns.

#BookReview
Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand
@elinhilderbrand @littlebrown

#BookReview Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand @elinhilderbrand @littlebrownTitle: Summer of '69

Author: Elin Hilderbrand

Published by: Little Brown and Company on June 18, 2019

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

Pages: 432

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Little Brown and Company, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century! It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket: but this year Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, a nursing student, is caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests, a passion which takes her to Martha’s Vineyard with her best friend, Mary Jo Kopechne. Only son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother who is hiding some secrets of her own. As the summer heats up, Teddy Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, a man flies to the moon, and Jessie experiences some sinking and flying herself, as she grows into her own body and mind.

In her first “historical novel,” rich with the details of an era that shaped both a country and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again proves her title as queen of the summer novel.


Review:

Relevant, vivid, and absorbing!

Summer of ’69 is a nostalgic, domestic tale that takes us back to the idyllic island of Nantucket during a year when Vietnam was still raging, and Apollo 11 was finally going to put men on the moon, and into the lives of the blended Foley-Levin family as they navigate a summer of revelations, change, and new additions.

The writing is expressive and polished. The characters are genuine, troubled, and sympathetic. And the spirited plot is a delightful mix of summer fun, heartbreak, coming-of-age, secrets, wartime worries, adultery, racial segregation, women’s rights, and fresh starts.

Overall, Summer of ’69 is once again a beguiling, heartfelt, must-read summer tale by Hilderbrand that highlights the power of family and reminds us that even though we’ve come so far, in some respects we still have a long way to go.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                           

 

 

Thank you to Little, Brown and Company for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand is a mother of three, an avid runner, reader, and traveler, and the author of twenty-three novels. She grew up outside Philadelphia, and has lived on Nantucket for more than twenty years.

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