Source: HarperCollins Canada

#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 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
Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle
@KimberlySBelle @parkrowbooks @HarperCollinsCa

#BookReview Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle @KimberlySBelle @parkrowbooks @HarperCollinsCaTitle: Dear Wife

Author: Kimberly Belle

Published by: Park Row on June 25, 2019

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: HarperCollins Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Beth Murphy is on the run…

For nearly a year, Beth has been planning for this day. A day some people might call any other Wednesday, but Beth prefers to see it as her new beginning–one with a new look, new name and new city. Beth has given her plan significant thought because one small slip and her violent husband will find her.

Sabine Hardison is missing…

A couple of hundred miles away, Jeffrey returns home from a work trip to find his wife, Sabine, is missing. Wherever she is, she’s taken almost nothing with her. Her abandoned car is the only evidence the police have, and all signs point to foul play.

As the police search for leads, the case becomes more and more convoluted. Sabine’s carefully laid plans for her future indicate trouble at home and a husband who would be better off with her gone. The detective on the case will stop at nothing to find out what happened and bring this missing woman home. Where is Sabine? And who is Beth? The only thing that’s certain is that someone is lying and the truth won’t stay buried for long.


Review:

Well crafted, menacing, and delightfully unnerving!

Dear Wife is a suspenseful, riveting thrill ride that delves into the emotional and psychological damage caused by domestic abuse and highlights just how easily dominance, manipulation and intimidation can be masked as love.

The writing is tight and intense. The characters are resolute, secretive, and apprehensive. And the plot, told from three different POVs, builds steadily as it twists, turns, and unravels all the behaviours, motivations, relationships, and personalities within it.

Dear Wife is, ultimately, a story of obsession, deception, desperation, survival, violence, and murder. It’s creepy, shocking, unputdownable, and without a doubt one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read this year.

 

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 Kimberly Belle

Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of five novels, including the forthcoming domestic suspense, Dear Wife (June 2019). Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller, and her work has been translated into a dozen languages. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Photo @mrwattson

#BookReview
Cemetery Road by Greg Iles
@GregIles @WmMorrowBks @HarperCollinsCa

#BookReview Cemetery Road by Greg Iles @GregIles @WmMorrowBks  @HarperCollinsCaTitle: Cemetery Road

Author: Greg Iles

Published by: William Morrow on March 5, 2019

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 590

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: HarperCollins Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Natchez Burning trilogy returns with an electrifying tale of friendship, betrayal, and shattering secrets that threaten to destroy a small Mississippi town.

When Marshall McEwan left his hometown at age eighteen, he vowed never to return. The trauma that drove him away ultimately spurred him to become one of the most successful journalists in Washington D.C. But just as the political chaos in the nation’s capital lifts him to new heights, Marshall is forced to return home in spite of his boyhood vow.

His father is dying, his mother is struggling to keep the family newspaper from failing, and the town is in the midst of an economic rebirth that might be built upon crimes that reach into the state capitol—and perhaps even to Washington. More disturbing still, Marshall’s high school sweetheart, Jet, has married into the family of Max Matheson, patriarch of one of the families that rule Bienville through a shadow organization called the Bienville Poker Club.

When archeologist Buck McKibben is murdered at a construction site, Bienville is thrown into chaos. The ensuing homicide investigation is soon derailed by a second crime that rocks the community to its core. Power broker Max Matheson’s wife has been shot dead in her own bed, and the only other person in it at the time was her husband, Max. Stranger still, Max demands that his daughter-on-law, Jet, defend him in court.

As a journalist, Marshall knows all too well how the corrosive power of money and politics can sabotage investigations. Without telling a soul, he joins forces with Jet, who has lived for fifteen years at the heart of Max Matheson’s family, and begins digging into both murders. With Jet walking the dangerous road of an inside informer, they soon uncover a web of criminal schemes that undergird the town’s recent success. But these crimes pale in comparison to the secret at the heart of the Matheson family. When those who have remained silent for years dare to speak to Marshall, pressure begins to build like water against a crumbling dam.

Marshall loses friends, family members, and finally even Jet, for no one in Bienville seems willing to endure the reckoning that the Poker Club has long deserved. And by the time Marshall grasps the long-buried truth, he would give almost anything not to have to face it.


Review:

Ominous, pacey, and tragic!

Cemetery Road is a gritty, engrossing novel about life in Bienville, Mississippi, a small town struggling with socioeconomic depression, corruption, murder, scheming politicians, and powerful, rich, white businessmen with no scruples.

The prose is descriptive and tight. The characters are tormented, scarred, and complex. And the plot is a rollercoaster ride of twists, turns, deception, allegiances, revelations, greed, power, violence, infidelity, integrity, heartbreak, and grief.

Overall, I would have to say that Cemetery Road is a dark, meticulous, deliciously suspenseful thriller that’s classic Iles with its journalistic backdrop, long-buried secrets, southern mentality, and complicated familial dynamics.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                       

 

 

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

 

About Greg Iles

Greg Iles was born in Germany in 1960. He grew up in Natchez, Mississippi, and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1983. He was active in a band called "Frankly Scarlet", but quit after realizing that the touring lifestyle was not conducive with his family life. Once no longer busy with the band, he turned his attention to writing.

Greg's novels have been translated into various languages and are published in more than 20 countries. In addition to his popular novels, he wrote the original script for the movie 24 Hours (later renamed Trapped).

When not writing, Greg spends some of his time playing music. He's a member of "The Rock Bottom Remainders", which includes other authors (Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Stephen King, Scott Turow, Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount, Jr., Matt Groening, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, and James McBride).

Greg still lives in Natchez, Mississippi, with his wife and has three children.

#BookReview
The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
@KJHAuthor @HarperCollinsCa

#BookReview The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton @KJHAuthor @HarperCollinsCaTitle: The Perfect Girlfriend

Author: Karen Hamilton

Published by: Graydon House on December 31, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: HarperCollins Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Juliette loves Nate. She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.

The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back. She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…


Review:

Slow burning, guileful, and chilling!

The Perfect Girlfriend is a complex, compelling, psychological thriller that takes you into the life of the determined, consumed Juliette as she embarks on a relentless journey to win back the heart of her ex-boyfriend at any cost.

The prose is tight and intense. The characters are self-absorbed, crafty, and deliciously unlikable. And the plot, using flashbacks to the past and told through a first-person, unreliable narrator, builds steadily and is full of unforeseen twists, well-timed surprises, mind games, fixation, vengeance, cunning manipulation, and life in the airlines.

Overall, The Perfect Girlfriend is a unique, sharp, disturbingly addictive tale that is a fantastic debut for Hamilton and a scary reminder just how quickly life can spiral out of control when driven by obsession and revenge.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

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 is her first novel (released March 2018).

#BookReview
Tangerine by Christine Mangan
@HarperCollinsCa

#BookReview Tangerine by Christine Mangan @HarperCollinsCaTitle: Tangerine

Author: Christine Mangan

Published by: Ecco on March 27, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: HarperCollins Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.

But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.

Tangerine is a sharp dagger of a book—a debut so tightly wound, so replete with exotic imagery and charm, so full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, it will leave you absolutely breathless.


Review:

Chilling, atmospheric, and ominous!

Tangerine is a well-paced, psychological thriller set in Tangier, Morocco that is told from two different perspectives. Alice, a wealthy, fragile, young woman with a history of tragedy and a husband and new home she’s not entirely comfortable or content with. And Lucy, a dangerous, manipulative young lady who seems to lack a conscience and be driven by an unhealthy, violent obsession.

The writing is taut and vividly descriptive. The characters are complex, flawed, and highly unstable. And the plot, using alternating chapters, does a superb job of building tension and unease as it subtly unravels and intertwines an intricate web of lies, secrets, pretense, desperation, infatuation, violence, and murder.

Overall, Tangerine is a fantastic debut for Mangan that transports you to another time and place and reminds you that some friendships are not only toxic but often deadly.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Christine Mangan

Christine Mangan has her PhD in English from University College Dublin, where her thesis focused on 18th-century Gothic literature, and an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Southern Maine. Tangerine is her first novel.

#BookReview
The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard
@janetbeardauthor @HarperCollinsCa

#BookReview The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard @janetbeardauthor @HarperCollinsCaTitle: The Atomic City Girls

Author: Janet Beard

Published by: William Morrow on February 6, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 353

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: HarperCollins Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In the bestselling tradition of Hidden Figures and The Wives of Los Alamos, comes a riveting novel of the everyday women who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II

“What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here.”

In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, 24-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war, but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.

The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission: to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers.

When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.


Review:

Atmospheric, authentic, and immersive!

The Atomic City Girls is a fascinating story that sweeps you away to Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the mid-1940s when WWII was raging on the battlefields of Europe, and back home the American government was funding a top-secret project that would triumphantly and tragically have a resounding effect on the entire world for years to come.

The prose is captivating and vividly described. The four main characters June, Sam, Cici, and Joe are unique, hardworking, and patriotic. And the plot, interspersed with real-life photos, is a compelling story about life, love, friendship, self-discovery, segregation, survival, tragedy, war, romance, uranium enrichment, nuclear weapons, and morality.

Overall, The Atomic City Girls is a well-written, exceptionally researched novel that does a remarkable job of highlighting Beard’s incredible knowledge into a period and historical event that is often forgotten or overlooked.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Janet Beard

Born and raised in East Tennessee, Janet Beard moved to New York to study screenwriting at NYU and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from The New School. Her first novel, Beneath the Pines, was published in 2008, and her follow-up, The Atomic City Girls will be published in 2018. Janet has lived and worked in Australia, England, Boston, and Columbus, Ohio, where she is currently teaching writing, raising a daughter, and working on a new novel.

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