Genre: Historical Fiction

#BookReview Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain @D_Chamberlain @StMartinsPress

#BookReview Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain @D_Chamberlain @StMartinsPress Title: Big Lies in a Small Town

Author: Diane Chamberlain

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Jan. 14, 2020

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

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 9/10

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small-town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?


Review:

Mysterious, engaging, and thoroughly absorbing!

Big Lies in a Small Town is a pensive, suspenseful tale that sweeps you away to Edenton, North Carolina during 1939, as well as 2018, and into the lives of Anna Dale and Morgan Christopher, two troubled, talented, young women whose strength, compassion, perseverance, and artistic abilities will be extremely tested by a small town with a history brimming with secrets, tension, prejudices, narrow-minded mentality, and violence.

The writing is seamless and descriptive. The characters are intelligent, multilayered, and creative. And the plot, alternating between timelines, unravels and intertwines into a sweeping saga of life, loss, family, self-discovery, expectations, friendship, heartbreak, addiction, mental illness, discrimination, jealousy, and the beautiful, intricate details involved in the process of creating and restoring artwork.

Overall, Big Lies in a Small Town is thought-provoking, alluring, and incredibly intriguing and with its rich characterization and impeccably detailed storyline, it’s another stunning example of why Diane Chamberlain is one of my all-time favourite authors.

This novel is available now.

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

                

 

 

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

 

About Diane Chamberlain

Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 25 novels published in more than twenty languages. Some of her most popular books include Necessary Lies, The Silent Sister, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, and The Keeper of the Light Trilogy. Diane likes to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and friends. Although the thematic focus of her books often revolves around family, love, compassion and forgiveness, her stories usually feature a combination of drama, mystery, secrets and intrigue. Diane's background in psychology has given her a keen interest in understanding the way people tick, as well as the background necessary to create her realistic characters.

Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and spent her summers at the Jersey Shore. She also lived for many years in San Diego and northern Virginia before making North Carolina her home.

Diane received her bachelor's and master's degrees in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, Diane worked in hospitals in San Diego and Washington, D.C. before opening a private psychotherapy practice in Alexandria Virginia specializing in adolescents. All the while Diane was writing on the side. Her first book, Private Relations was published in 1989 and it earned the RITA award for Best Single Title Contemporary Novel.
Diane lives with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her sheltie, Cole. She has three stepdaughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren. She's currently at work on her next novel.

#BookReview Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner @jenniferweiner @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner @jenniferweiner @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA Title: Mrs. Everything

Author: Jennifer Weiner

Published by: Atria Books on Jun. 11, 2019

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

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes, comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history—and herstory—as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives.


Review:

Raw, timely, and emotional!

Mrs. Everything is a sophisticated, multilayered story that follows two sisters from Detroit, Jo, the smart, sporty one, and Bethie, the beautiful, delicate one, as they struggle to understand, accept, support, unite, and show compassion for each other in a life littered with tragedy, abuse, and weighty expectations.

The writing is honest and impassioned. The characters are genuine, troubled, and sympathetic. And the plot takes us from the 1950s to 2016 and tells the story of two lives filled with loss, love, loneliness, grief, inequity, friction, discontent, insecurity, drugs, sexual awakening and familial drama all played out in a time of considerable social and political upheaval.

Overall, Mrs. Everything is an insightful, moving, at times heartbreaking tale that highlights the power of family and reminds us that everyone who enters our life shapes and defines it, and even though the rights and equalities for women have 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 Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of sixteen books, including Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and, most recently, Mrs. Everything. A graduate of Princeton University and contributor to the New York Times Opinion section, she lives with her family in Philadelphia.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BlogTour #BookReview The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey @iona_grey @StMartinsPress #TheGlitteringHour

#BlogTour #BookReview The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey @iona_grey @StMartinsPress #TheGlitteringHour Title: The Glittering Hour

Author: Iona Grey

Published by: Thomas Dunne Books on Dec. 10, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 480

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 10/10

An unforgettable historical about true love found and lost and the secrets we keep from one another from an award-winning author

Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing. Her life is a whirl of parties and drinking, pursued by the press and staying on just the right side of scandal, all while running from the life her parents would choose for her.

Lawrence Weston is a penniless painter who stumbles into Selina’s orbit one night and can never let her go even while knowing someone of her stature could never end up with someone of his. Except Selina falls hard for Lawrence, envisioning a life of true happiness. But when tragedy strikes, Selina finds herself choosing what’s safe over what’s right.

Spanning two decades and a seismic shift in British history as World War II approaches, Iona Grey’s The Glittering Hour is an epic novel of passion, heartache and loss.


Review:

Mesmerizing, enthralling, and incredibly moving!

The Glittering Hour is set in London and the English countryside during 1925, as well as 1936, and is told from two different perspectives. Selina, a young woman in her prime who often finds herself and her friends gracing the pages of the gossip rags for their outrageous behaviour and antics, and Alice Carew, Selina’s nine-year-old daughter who after being relegated to her grandparents country home while her parents are abroad embarks on a treasure hunt to discover all her mother’s secrets.

The prose is eloquent and vivid. The characters are creative, intelligent, and rebellious. And the plot, including all the subplots, unravel and intertwine into a sweeping saga of life, loss, family, expectations, sacrifice, self-discovery, friendship, heartbreak, romance, forbidden love, and the special bonds shared between a mother and daughter.

Overall, The Glittering Hour is a bittersweet, beautifully expressive, exceptionally affecting story by Grey that illuminates the enduring passion and power of unconditional love and reminds us that life should always be lived to the fullest. It’s immersive, vibrant, and utterly heartwrenching in spots, and is without a doubt one of my favourite reads of the year. 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or 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 Iona Grey

Iona Grey has a degree in English Literature and Language from Manchester University, an obsession with history and an enduring fascination with the lives of women in the twentieth century. She lives in the rural North West of England with her husband and three daughters. She is the award-winning author of Letters to the Lost, and her new book The Glittering Hour is on sale October 17 2019 (UK) and December 10, 2019 (US).

#BookReview The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley @lucindariley @panmacmillan

#BookReview The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley @lucindariley @panmacmillan Title: The Sun Sister

Author: Lucinda Riley

Series: The Seven Sisters #6

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Oct. 31, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 848

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Pan Macmillan, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

The Sun Sister is the sixth epic story in the Seven Sisters series by the number one international bestseller Lucinda Riley.

To the outside world, Electra D’Apliese seems as though she is the woman who has everything: as one of the world’s top models, she is beautiful, rich and famous. But beneath the veneer, and fuelled by the pressure of the life she leads, Electra’s already tenuous control over her mental state has been rocked by the death of her father, Pa Salt, the elusive billionaire who adopted his six daughters as babies from around the globe. Struggling to cope, she turns to alcohol and drugs to ease the pain, and as those around her fear for her health, Electra receives a letter from a complete stranger who claims to be her grandmother . . .

In 1943, Celia Arundel arrives in Nairobi, Kenya, to join her new husband on his family coffee plantation. After a sheltered upbringing in England, she is astounded and horrified by the antics of her fellow ex-pats in the infamous Happy Valley set. Then Bertie, her husband, brings home the daughter of the Chieftain of the local Maasai tribe to live under his protection due to kidnap threats from a neighbouring tribe, and a strange bond begins to form between them . . .


Review:

Informative, expressive, and engaging!

The Sun Sister, the sixth instalment in The Seven Sisters series, is set during the 1930s through to 2008 and sweeps you back and forth between the bustling streets of NYC to the beautiful plains of Kenya as Electra, the youngest, most discontent D‘Apliese sets out on a journey with the help of some new friends to overcome her addictions and unravel her parentage.

The prose is sincere and descriptive. The characters are multilayered, vulnerable, and lonely. And the absorbing, heartfelt plot is an incredibly moving tale of fame, fortune, substance abuse, familial drama, self-discovery, love, loss, grief, friendship, racial segregation, courage, hope, as well as a little insight into life in Kenya during its colonialism by Great Britain.

Overall, The Sun Sister is another epic saga by Riley at just over 800 pages, but with a timely, astute, present tale and a fascinating, immersive, past tale the pages seem to turn themselves. It is truly hard to believe that this series is close to its end, and I think for every reader whether they’ve been a die-hard fan and read them all or merely a part-time connoisseur whose been swept away by only one or two the fact that there is only one more left to come is truly bittersweet.

 

This book is available now in the UK (US/CAN May 19, 2020).

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

                 

 

 

Thank you to Pan Macmillan for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland, and after an early career as an actress in film, theatre and television, wrote her first book aged twenty-four. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages and sold over ten million copies worldwide. She is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author.

Lucinda’s novels include The Seven Sisters, a seven-book series telling the story of adopted sisters and based allegorically on the mythology of the famous star constellation. The first three books, The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister, and The Shadow Sister have all been No.1 bestsellers across Europe, and the rights to a multi-season TV series have already been optioned by a Hollywood production company.

To read about the inspiration behind The Seven Sisters series, please visit thesevensistersseries.com

When not writing, travelling or running around after her children, she loves reading books that she hasn’t written with a glass or two of Provençal rosé!

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

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

Author: Caroline Scott

Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks on Nov. 5, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 448

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: HarperCollins Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

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

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

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

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

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

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


Review:

Poignant, insightful, and profoundly moving!

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

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

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

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Caroline Scott

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

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

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

Author: Margaret Pemberton

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Sep. 3, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 512

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

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

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

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

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

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


Review:

Fascinating, complex, and compelling!

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

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

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

This novel is available now.

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

                   

 

 

 

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

 

About Margaret Pemberton

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

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

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

Author: Sara Donati

Series: The Gilded Hour #2

Published by: Berkley Books on Sep. 10, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 672

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

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 @HarperCollinsCa Title: The Last Train to London

Author: Meg Waite Clayton

Published by: Harper on Sep. 10, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 464

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: HarperCollins Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

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 @HBGCanada Title: The Paris Orphan

Author: Natasha Lester

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Sep. 3, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 480

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: HBG Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

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 @SimonSchusterCA Title: The Doll Factory

Author: Elizabeth Macneal

Published by: Simon & Schuster on Aug. 13, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 386

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

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.

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