Source: Harlequin Trade Publishing

#BookReview The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin @MadelineMMartin @HTPBooks @Bookclubbish #HTPBooks #TheLastBookshopinLondon #MadelineMartin #Bookclubbish

#BookReview The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin @MadelineMMartin @HTPBooks @Bookclubbish #HTPBooks #TheLastBookshopinLondon #MadelineMartin #Bookclubbish Title: The Last Bookshop in London

Author: Madeline Martin

Published by: Hanover Square Press on Apr. 6, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harlequin Trade Publishing

Book Rating: 10/10

Inspired by the true World War II history of the few bookshops to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love and the enduring power of literature.

August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in the heart of London.

Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war.


Review:

Poignant, affecting, and beautifully written!

The Last Bookshop in London is an engaging, moving tale set during WWII that follows Grace Bennett, a young woman who heads to London in the fall of 1939 in the hopes of a better life and a glamourous career only to find herself employed in a dusty bookshop and war being declared.

The writing is seamless and smooth. The characters are brave, resilient, and supportive. And the plot is an absorbing tale of life, loss, family, heartbreak, friendship, self-discovery, community, determination, tragedy, survival, and love.

As some of you may already know, I’m originally from Coventry, a city heavily bombed during the war. And as my dad was born in 1937, I grew up hearing how a bomb exploded in his backyard 30 ft from the house, leaving a crater two garden widths wide, and how he would count the number of new houses missing each morning on his way to school. But as that generation ages and memories start to fade, these stories are so important in reminding us how much novels helped and continue to help people cope with devastating circumstances and unimaginable losses, as well as how the strength, courage, selflessness, and sacrifices of that generation enabled us the lives we lead today. I loved The Last Bookshop in London, and I hope everyone who enjoys historical fiction picks this one up.

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

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

 

About Madeline Martin

Madeline Martin is a USA Today bestselling author of historical romance and historical fiction novels with strong heroines and tons of high-action plot twists! Her books have finaled in the Holt Medallion award and National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.

She lives in sunny Florida with Mr. Awesome (a man who truly deserves such a great name) and two wonderfully magical girls, known collectively as “the minions.”

She enjoys working out (really to support my love of Nutella and wine), travelling and doing fun kid-like things with the minions.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview The Diplomat’s Wife by Pam Jenoff @PamJenoff @HarlequinBooks @Bookclubbish #TheDiplomatsWife #PamJenoff #Bookclubbish #HTPBooks

#BookReview The Diplomat’s Wife by Pam Jenoff @PamJenoff @HarlequinBooks @Bookclubbish #TheDiplomatsWife #PamJenoff #Bookclubbish #HTPBooks Title: The Diplomat's Wife

Author: Pam Jenoff

Series: The Kommandant's Girl #2

Published by: Park Row on Nov. 24, 2020

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback

Source: Harlequin Trade Publishing

Book Rating: 8.5/10

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale and The Lost Girls of Paris comes a tale of sacrifice and heartbreak in the aftermath of WWII

How have I been lucky enough to come here, to be alive, when so many others are not? I should have died… But I am here.

1945. Having survived the brutality of a Nazi prison camp, Marta Nederman is lucky to have escaped with her life. Recovering from the horror, she meets Paul, an American soldier who gives her hope of a happier future. But their plans to meet in London are dashed when Paul’s plane crashes.

Devastated and pregnant, Marta marries Simon, a caring British diplomat, and glimpses the joy that home and family can bring. But her happiness is threatened when she learns of a Communist spy in British intelligence, and that the one person who can expose the traitor is connected to her past.


Review:

Moving, enthralling, and intense!

The Diplomat’s Wife is the thrilling, absorbing sequel to The Kommandant’s Girl set at the end of WWII that takes you into the life of Marta Nederman, a Polish resistance fighter who after being liberated from Dachau meets a handsome American soldier, travels to London on a borrowed visa, marries a British Diplomat, and then returns to Poland two years later on a mission that will ultimately change her life forever.

The prose is rich and vivid. The characters are brave, vulnerable, and strong. And the plot is a compelling blend of life, loss, secrets, surprises, heartbreak, betrayal, survival, danger, friendship, and romance.

Overall, The Diplomat’s Wife is a passionate, riveting, action-packed tale by Jenoff that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the personalities, feelings, and lives of the characters within it that you can’t help but be fully absorbed and invested.

 

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 Pam Jenoff

Pam Jenoff is the author of several books of historical fiction, including the NYT bestseller The Orphan's Tale. She holds a degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a degree in history from Cambridge, and she received her JD from UPenn. Her novels are inspired by her experiences working at the Pentagon and as a diplomat for the State Department handling Holocaust issues in Poland. She lives with her husband and 3 children near Philadelphia, where she teaches law.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#PromoPost The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton @KJHAuthor @HarlequinBooks @Bookclubbish #TheLastWife #KarenHamilton

#PromoPost The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton @KJHAuthor @HarlequinBooks @Bookclubbish #TheLastWife #KarenHamilton Title: The Last Wife

Author: Karen Hamilton

Published by: Graydon House on Jul. 7, 2020

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Harlequin Trade Publishing

From the internationally bestselling author of The Perfect Girlfriend.

Two women. A dying wish. And a web of lies that will bring their world crashing down.

Two women. A dying wish. And a web of lies that will bring their world crashing down.

Nina and Marie were best friends—until Nina was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before she died, Nina asked Marie to fulfill her final wishes.

But her mistake was in thinking Marie was someone she could trust.

What Nina didn’t know was that Marie always wanted her beautiful life, and that Marie has an agenda of her own. She’ll do anything to get what she wants.

Marie thinks she can keep her promise to her friend’s family on her own terms. But what she doesn’t know is that Nina was hiding explosive secrets of her own…

 

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing for providing me with a copy.

 

About Karen Hamilton

Karen Hamilton caught the travel bug after an early childhood spent abroad (Angola, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Belgium, and Italy) and having worked as cabin crew for a major airline.
In 2006, she and her husband put down roots in Hampshire UK and four years ago, she later gave up flying to raise their three sons and concentrate on her writing.
In 2009, she decided to 'become a writer.'

The Perfect Girlfriend was her first novel (released March 2018).

#BlogTour #BookReview #Excerpt The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz @BrendaJanowitz @HarlequinBooks @BookClubbish #TheGraceKellyDress

#BlogTour #BookReview #Excerpt The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz @BrendaJanowitz @HarlequinBooks @BookClubbish #TheGraceKellyDress Title: The Grace Kelly Dress

Author: Brenda Janowitz

Published by: Graydon House Books on Mar. 3, 2020

Genres: Women's Fiction, Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harlequin Trade Publishing

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Two years after Grace Kelly’s royal wedding, her iconic dress is still all the rage in Paris—and one replica, and the secrets it carries, will inspire three generations of women to forge their own paths in life and in love.

Paris, 1958: Rose, a seamstress at a fashionable atelier, has been entrusted with sewing a Grace Kelly—look-alike gown for a wealthy bride-to-be. But when, against better judgment, she finds herself falling in love with the bride’s handsome brother, Rose must make an impossible choice, one that could put all she’s worked for at risk: love, security and of course, the dress.

Sixty years later, tech CEO Rachel, who goes by the childhood nickname “Rocky,” has inherited the dress for her upcoming wedding in New York City. But there’s just one problem: Rocky doesn’t want to wear it. A family heirloom dating back to the 1950s, the dress just isn’t her. Rocky knows this admission will break her mother Joan’s heart. But what she doesn’t know is why Joan insists on the dress—or the heartbreaking secret that changed her mother’s life decades before, as she herself prepared to wear it.

As the lives of these three women come together in surprising ways, the revelation of the dress’s history collides with long-buried family heartaches. And in the lead-up to Rocky’s wedding, they’ll have to confront the past before they can embrace the beautiful possibilities of the future.


Review:

Sentimental, heartfelt, and enchanting!

The Grace Kelly Dress is a sweet, captivating tale that takes you on a journey into the lives of three main characters. Rose, a young Paris seamstress employed by the esteemed Madame Michel in the late 1950s to handcraft dresses fashioned after the one worn by Princess Grace; Joan, a college student at NYCU in the 1980s who is struggling with the loss of her sister and a new engagement; and Rocky, an independent, tech CEO whose modern-day, upcoming nuptials are marred by the pressure to wear the family’s heirloom gown.

The prose is well turned and intriguing. The characters are resolute, independent, and multilayered. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel into a charming tale of familial dynamics, drama, emotion, secrets, love, loss, duty, heartbreak, introspection, passion, and tradition.

Overall, The Grace Kelly Dress is a nostalgic, absorbing, uplifting tale by Janowitz that highlights the complex ties that bind us as a family and reminds us that happy-ever-afters come in all different forms but rarely resemble those found in fairytales.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                   

 

 

 

EXCERPT:

The mother of the bride, as a bride herself
Long Island, 1982

She loved the dress. She loved the veil that went with it, too, though she wasn’t sure if it could be salvaged. It was showing signs of age, its edges curling and tinged with brown. But that wouldn’t dull her excitement.

Today was the day she would be trying on her mother’s wedding dress. Even though Joanie had tried it on countless times as a child—it was a favorite rainy-day activity with her mother—today felt different. She was engaged, just like she’d dreamed about ever since she could remember. When she tried the dress on this time, it was for keeps. She was completely in love with the dress.

“Let me help you get it on,” Joanie’s mother said, her French accent coming through. It was always more pronounced when she was feeling emotional. With her American friends, Joanie noticed, her mother always tried to sound “American,” softening her accent and using American expressions. But when they were alone, she could be herself. Let her guard down. Joanie knew exactly who her mother was, and she loved her for it.

Her mother handed Joanie a pair of white cotton gloves and then put on her own set. The first step in trying the dress on, always, so that the oils in their hands wouldn’t defile the fabric. She laid the large box on her bed and nodded her head at her husband, her signal to give them privacy. The door closed to Joanie’s childhood bedroom, and she and her mother were alone.

The white cotton gloves were cool and smooth on her skin. Joanie opened the box slowly. So slowly. It was sealed with a special plastic that was supposed to keep it airtight so that the dress would not oxidize and turn yellow. She and her mother laughed as they struggled to set the dress free. The last time she tried the dress on was the summer before her sister died. It was after Michele’s death that her mother brought the dress into the city so that it might be cleaned properly and preserved for just this day. At the time, Joanie hadn’t understood the connection between her sister’s sudden death and her mother’s tight grip on family heirlooms, but now, a year into her psychology degree at NYC University, she understood. It was so hard to hold on to things that were important to you, things that mattered, and preserving her wedding dress, this memory, was her mother’s way of taking control of something. It was something she could save.

The dress was just as beautiful as she’d remembered. Crafted from rose point lace, the same lace used on Grace Kelly’s iconic wedding dress, it was delicate and classic and chic and a million other things Joanie couldn’t even articulate.

“Go on,” her mother said, holding the first part of the dress—the bodice with the attached underbodice, skirt support, and slip—out for her to take. As a child, it had thrilled Joanie to no end that the wedding dress her mother wore was actually made up of four separate pieces. It was like a secret that a bride could have on her special day, something that no one else knew.

“I couldn’t,” Joanie said, hands at her side. Knowing how carefully preserved the dress had been, what the dress had meant to her mother, it was hard for Joanie to touch it. She didn’t want to get it dirty, sully its memory. “It’s just so beautiful.”

“It’s yours now,” her mother said, smiling warmly. “The dress belongs to you. Put it on.”

Joanie kicked off her ballerina flats, and her mother helped her ease the bodice on. Joanie stood at attention as her mother snapped the skirt into place, and wrapped the cummerbund around her waist. Joanie held her hands high above her head, not wanting to get in the way of her mother’s expert hands, hands that knew exactly where to go, fingers that knew exactly what to do.

“You ready in there, Birdie?” her father yelled from the hallway, impatient, his French accent just as strong as the day he left France. Joanie always loved how her father had a special nickname for her mother. When they first married, he would call her mother GracieBird, a nickname of Grace Kelly’s, because of the Grace Kelly–inspired wedding gown she wore on their wedding day. Eventually, it was shortened to Bird, and then over time, it became Birdie. What would Joanie’s fiancé call her?

Joanie inspected her reflection in the mirror. Her shoulder-length blond hair, recently permed, looked messy. Her pink eye shadow, which had always seemed so grown-up on her sister, made her appear tired and puffy-eyed. But the dress? The dress was perfect.

Her mother opened the door slowly, and her father’s face came into view. His expression softened as he saw his daughter in the wedding dress. She walked out into the hallway, towards him, and she could see a tear forming in the corner of his eye.

She turned to her mother, about to tell her that Daddy was crying, when she saw that her mother, too, had teared up. Joanie couldn’t help it—seeing her mother and father cry, she began to cry as well. She could never keep a dry eye when someone else was crying, least of all her parents, ex-pats from Europe who hardly ever cried.

Michele’s presence floated in the air like a haze, but no one would say it. No one dared mention that she would have worn the dress first. Should have worn the dress first.

“And look at us,” her mother said, her hands reaching out and grabbing for her husband and daughter. “All of us crying like little babies.”

All three embraced—carefully, of course, so as not to ruin the dress.

Her father kissed the top of her head. “Give us a twirl.”

Joanie obliged. The dress moved gracefully as she spun. Joanie curtsied, and her father gently took her hand and kissed it.

“I know what you’re thinking,” her mother said, her voice a song.

“What?” Joanie asked absentmindedly, while staring at her reflection in the mirror. She knew the first thing she’d change—the sleeves. The dress needed big, voluminous sleeves, just like Princess Diana had worn on her wedding day.

“Or I should say who you’re thinking about,” her mother said, a gentle tease.

“Who?” Joanie asked, under her breath, twirling from side to side in front of the mirror, watching the dress move.

“Your fiancé,” her mother said, furrowing her brow. “Remember him?”

“For sure,” Joanie said, spinning around to face her mother. “My fiancé. Yes. I knew that. And, yes. I was.” But the truth was, she had completely forgotten.

 

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

 

About Brenda Janowitz

Brenda Janowitz is the author of five novels, including The Dinner Party and Recipe for a Happy Life. She is the Books Correspondent for PopSugar. Brenda's work has also appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Salon, Redbook, and the New York Post. She lives in New York.

Photograph by Cristina Calvi.

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