Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

#BookReview
Foe by Iain Reid
@reid_iain @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Foe by Iain Reid @reid_iain @SimonSchusterCATitle: Foe

Author: Iain Reid

Published by Simon & Schuster on August 7, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 224

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A taut, psychological mind-bender from the bestselling author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things.

We don’t get visitors. Not out here. We never have.

Junior and Hen are a quiet married couple. They live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with surprising news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm…very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Hen won’t have a chance to miss him at all, because she won’t be left alone—not even for a moment. Hen will have company. Familiar company.

Foe examines the nature of domestic relationships, self-determination, and what it means to be (or not to be) a person. An eerily entrancing page-turner, it churns with unease and suspense from the first words to its shocking finale.


Review:

Unique, reflective, and mystifying!

Foe is a dark, tense, disconcerting thriller that delves into the intricate and dynamic relationship between a husband and wife and has you quickly questioning how well do you really know someone.

The prose is edgy and tight. The characters are multilayered, inhibited, and anxious. And the plot is a skillfully paced, rapidly unraveling journey about life, love, marriage, loneliness, isolation, manipulation, dreams, desires, deception, futuristic endeavours, and the intense attraction of adventure.

Foe at its core is a twisty, darkly comedic, exceptionally clever tale that has an otherworldly, or should I say an OuterMore quality to it that will leave you contemplating whether humanity can truly be technologically replicated and whether predictive processing, perception and expectation, influences reality more than we consciously believe. It’s riveting, entertaining, and certainly worth a read or two.

 

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 Iain Reid

Iain Reid is the author of two critically acclaimed, award-winning books of nonfiction. A recipient of the prestigious RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award, Reid has written for a variety of publications throughout North America, including The New Yorker. His debut novel, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, was an international bestseller, and was translated into more than a dozen languages. Oscar-winner Charlie Kaufman is writing and directing a film adaptation. Foe is Reid's second novel.

Photograph by Lucas Tingle.

 

#BookReview
Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce
@ajpearcewrites @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce @ajpearcewrites @SimonSchusterCATitle: Dear Mrs. Bird

Author: A.J. Pearce

Published by Scribner on July 3, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A charming, irresistible debut novel set in London during World War II about an adventurous young woman who becomes a secret advice columnist—a warm, funny, and enormously moving story for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Lilac Girls.

London 1940, bombs are falling. Emmy Lake is Doing Her Bit for the war effort, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent seem suddenly achievable. But the job turns out to be typist to the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down.

Mrs Bird is very clear: Any letters containing Unpleasantness—must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant letters from women who are lonely, may have Gone Too Far with the wrong men and found themselves in trouble, or who can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding. As the German planes make their nightly raids, and London picks up the smoldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write letters back to the women of all ages who have spilled out their troubles.

Prepare to fall head over heels with Emmy and her best friend, Bunty, who are spirited and gutsy, even in the face of events that bring a terrible blow. As the bombs continue to fall, the irrepressible Emmy keeps writing, and readers are transformed by AJ Pearce’s hilarious, heartwarming, and enormously moving tale of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and ordinary people in extraordinary times.


Review:

Spirited, poignant, and moving!

Dear Mrs. Bird is an intriguing tale that takes you back to the streets of London during WWII and into the life of Emmeline Lake a cheery, optimistic, young woman who after finding herself inadvertently working on the advice column for Woman’s Friend magazine takes it upon herself to begin secretly doling out guidance to those on the home front seeking advice for “inappropriate topics”.

The prose is comical and light. The characters are plucky, sympathetic, and real. And the plot is an engaging, perfectly paced tale about life, loss, self-discovery, friendship, tragedy, heartbreak, uncertainty, hilarious misunderstandings, good intentions, meddling, and the realities of war. 

Overall, Dear Mrs. Bird is a delightfully heartwarming, wonderful debut for Pearce that does an exceptional job of highlighting the incredible impact war had on the personal lives of those it touched both at home and away and the significant roles and contribution of women during those dark times.

 

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 A.J. Pearce

AJ Pearce grew up in Hampshire and studied at the University of Sussex. A chance discovery of a 1939 women's magazine became the inspiration for her ever-growing collection and her first novel Dear Mrs Bird. She now lives and writes in the south of England.

#BookReview #20BooksofSummer
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
@Backmanland @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview #20BooksofSummer Beartown by Fredrik Backman @Backmanland @SimonSchusterCATitle: Beartown

Author: Fredrik Backman

Series: Beartown #1

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on April 25, 2017

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 415

Format: Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Overeturns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.


Review:

Gritty, insightful, and profoundly moving!

Beartown is an immersive, dark, riveting story that delves into the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of competitive sports on the youth that play them and highlights the ugliness and weaknesses of group mentality and the ease with which it allows one to turn the other way, ignore, overlook or cover-up even the most heinous of crimes.

The prose is dark and immersive. The exceptionally memorable, timely plot is a journey of life, loss, coming-of-age, familial drama, friendship, courage, morality, loyalty, sexuality, community, politics, and the culture of hockey. The characters are familiar, consumed, and raw. And the setting, Beartown is a character itself with its isolation, social strife, class division, and depressing economics.

Backman has an uncanny ability to write powerful, perfectly crafted, atmospheric novels that remind us that to be human is to be flawed and that even though we often forget strength, compassion, and kindness is the base of humanity and Beartown is no exception. It will make you think, it will make you cry, and it will resonate with you long after the final page. 

 

🏒 And get ready to head back to Beartown in Us Against You publishing September 4, 2018. 🏒

 

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 Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.

#BookReview
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
@RuthWareWriter @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware @RuthWareWriter @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Author: Ruth Ware

Published by Gallery/Scout Press on May 29, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game comes Ruth Ware’s highly anticipated fourth novel.

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.


Review:

Ominous, atmospheric, and darkly mysterious!

The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a gothic, character-driven thriller that takes us into the life of Hal, a young woman recently orphaned and struggling to make ends meet as a tarot reader when she receives an unexpected bequest that will unearth tragic memories, powerful emotions, and long-buried skeletons that will change more than one life forever.

The writing is polished and taut. The characterization is well done with a cast of characters that are complex, troubled, and resourceful. The setting, Trepassen House, is a character itself with its dereliction, isolation, abundance of magpies, and multitude of secrets. And the plot is well crafted and builds subtly to create tension and suspicion as it unravels all the deceptions, lies, personalities, and relationships within it. 

Overall, The Death of Mrs. Westaway is another gripping, eerie, intelligent page-turner by Ware with a classical crime style that is guaranteed to mystify, surprise, and keep you guessing until the very last page.

 

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 Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer, and is The New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark WoodThe Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game. Her latest book, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, will be available in May 2018. She is married with two small children.

#BookReview
Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley
@SusannaKearsley @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley @SusannaKearsley @SimonSchusterCATitle: Bellewether

Author: Susanna Kearsley

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on April 24, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 414

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Some houses seem to want to hold their secrets.

It’s 1759 and the world is at war, pulling the North American colonies of Britain and France into the conflict. The times are complicated, as are the loyalties of many New York merchants who have secretly been trading with the French for years, defying Britain’s colonial laws in a game growing ever more treacherous.

When captured French officers are brought to Long Island to be billeted in private homes on their parole of honour, it upends the lives of the Wilde family—deeply involved in the treasonous trade and already divided by war.

Lydia Wilde, struggling to keep the peace in her fracturing family following her mother’s death, has little time or kindness to spare for her unwanted guests. French-Canadian lieutenant Jean-Philippe de Sabran has little desire to be there. But by the war’s end they’ll both learn love, honour, and duty can form tangled bonds that are not broken easily.

Their doomed romance becomes a local legend, told and re-told through the years until the present day, when conflict of a different kind brings Charley Van Hoek to Long Island to be the new curator of the Wilde House Museum.

Charley doesn’t believe in ghosts. But as she starts to delve into the history of Lydia and her French officer, it becomes clear that the Wilde House holds more than just secrets, and Charley discovers the legend might not have been telling the whole story…or the whole truth.


Review:

Powerful, absorbing, and incredibly fascinating!

Bellewether is an enthralling tale set on the eastern shores of Long Island during the late 1750s, as well as present day, and is told from three different perspectives. Lydia, a strong, hardworking young woman struggling to care and support those she loves in a time of uncertainty and upheaval. Jean-Philippe, a French-Canadian soldier who finds himself captured and a parole of honour in the final pivotal days of the Seven Years’ War. And Charley, an intelligent, independent woman determined to discover all the skeletons hidden inside the Wilde House, as well as her own.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are alluring, sympathetic, multi-layered, and authentic. And the plot is a sweeping saga filled with familial drama, introspection, love, loss, grief, mystique, heartbreak, romance, secrets, passion, loyalty, as well as a little peek into a war that had a tremendous impact on the culture and history of Canada as we know it today.

Bellewether 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 never want it to end. It is without a doubt one of my favourite novels of the year that once again highlights Kearsley’s extraordinary imagination and talent as a masterful storyteller and researcher.

 

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 Susanna Kearsley

A former museum curator, Susanna Kearsley brings her passion for research and travel to her novels, weaving modern-day and historical intrigue. She won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Fiction Award for her novel Mariana, the 2010 Romantic Times Book Review’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction novel for The Winter Sea, was shortlisted for a 2012 RITA Award for The Rose Garden, and was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel from the Crime Writers of Canada for Every Secret Thing.

Photograph © Jacques du Toit

#BookReview
The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie
@CEMcKenzie1 @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie @CEMcKenzie1 @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Good Liar

Author: Catherine McKenzie

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on April 3, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 360

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

One explosion. Three women. Countless secrets. From bestselling author Catherine McKenzie comes a suspenseful, unsettling novel about what lurks in the wake of tragedy.

Everybody hides. Everybody lies.

On October 10th, three women’s lives are forever altered by a terrible accident.

Cecily was supposed to be in the building that exploded in Chicago and killed her husband. A photo taken of her as she watched the horrifying scene quickly brings her unwanted media attention as the “poster child” of the haunting event. Cecily has secrets she’s desperately trying to hide but cannot find a way to divert the media’s attention from her and her family.

Franny lost her birth motherCecily’s best friendin the destruction shortly after the two met. A year later, she and Cecily team up to help families obtain financial compensation for their loss, but their budding friendship is derailed when it starts to become clear Franny’s story doesn’t quite add up. How did she manage to track down her mother? And why did her mother keep Franny a secret even after they’d met?

A thousand miles away in Montreal, Kate is trying to create a new life. But what led her to leave Chicago in the first place? Will she succeed in moving on from her mistakes or will Kate be drawn back into her old life?

With surprising twists and turns, The Good Liar is a riveting read by a masterful storyteller that will make readers wonder how far they’d go to hide their own secrets.


Review:

Thought-provoking, intricate, and masterfully crafted!

The Good Liar is a perfectly executed, character-driven psychological thriller that highlights how devastating, damaging, and dangerous secrets can truly be and has you quickly questioning whether a good liar is one who lies out of benevolence or spite.

The writing is polished and fluid. The characterization is exceptional with a cast of characters who each draw your curiosity, loyalty, sympathy, and doubt. And the plot told from multiple perspectives and using a mixture of narrative styles creates tension and suspicion as it unravels piece-by-piece all the deception, secrets, histories, personalities, and relationships within it.

The Good Liar is one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read this year. It’s a clever, twisty, skillfully paced page turner that will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first page and will leave you surprised, shocked, satisfied and ruminating the weight grief, guilt, insecurity, and obsession have over our reactions to tragedy.

 

This book 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 Catherine McKenzie

A graduate of McGill University in History and Law, Catherine McKenzie practices law in Montreal, Quebec, where she was born and raised. Catherine’s novels Spin, Arranged, Forgotten, Hidden, Smoke, and Fractured are all bestsellers and have been translated into numerous languages.

Photograph © Jason Mott

#BookReview
Find You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley
@NabenRuthnum @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Find You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley @NabenRuthnum @SimonSchusterCATitle: Find You In The Dark

Author: Nathan Ripley

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on March 6, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In this chilling debut thriller, in the vein of Dexter and The Talented Mr. Ripley, a family man obsessed with digging up the undiscovered remains of serial killer victims catches the attention of a murderer prowling the streets of Seattle.

Martin Reese is obsessed with murder.

For years, he has been illegally buying police files on serial killers and studying them in depth, using them as guides to find missing bodies. He doesn’t take any souvenirs, just photos that he stores in an old laptop, and then he turns in the results to the police anonymously. Martin sees his work as a public service, a righting of wrongs that cops have continuously failed to do.

Detective Sandra Whittal sees it differently. On a meteoric rise in police ranks due to her case-closing efficiency, Whittal is suspicious of the mysterious caller—the Finder, she names him—leading the police to the bodies. Even if the Finder isn’t the one leaving bodies behind, who’s to say that he won’t start soon?

On his latest dig, Martin searches for the first kill of Jason Shurn, the early 1990s murderer who may have been responsible for the disappearance of his sister-in-law, whom he never met. But when he arrives at the site, he finds a freshly killed body—a young and recently disappeared Seattle woman—lying among remains that were left there decades ago. Someone else knew where Jason Shurn buried his victims . . . and that someone isn’t happy that Martin has been going around digging up his work.

When a crooked cop with a tenuous tie to Martin vanishes, Whittal begins to zero in on the Finder. Hunted by a real killer and by Whittal, Martin realizes that in order to escape the killer’s trap, he may have to go deeper into the world of murder than he ever thought.


Review:

Dark, menacing, and gritty!

Find You In The Dark is an engrossing, creepy thriller that delves into the sadistic and disturbing thoughts, motivations, and actions of serial killers and immerses you in all the manipulation, violence, murder, depravity, and pure evil they’re capable of.

The prose is chilling and tight. The characterization is well done with a whole slew of characters that are flawed, vulnerable, and persistent. And the plot, told from multiple perspectives, is an exceptionally suspenseful, twisty, violent, tension-filled thrill ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the very first page.

Overall, Find You In The Dark is a fast-paced, unique, ominous tale that reminds you that if you continually dance with the devil eventually you might get burned.

 

This book 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 Nathan Ripley

Nathan Ripley is the pen name of literary fiction writer and journalist Naben Ruthnum. His stories and essays have appeared in The Walrus, Hazlitt, Sight & Sound, and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, among other places. He lives in Toronto.

#BookReview
Bachelor Girl by Kim van Alkemade
@KimvanAlkemade @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Bachelor Girl by Kim van Alkemade @KimvanAlkemade @SimonSchusterCATitle: Bachelor Girl

Author: Kim van Alkemade

Published by Touchstone on March 6, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 comes a fresh and intimate novel about the destructive power of secrets and the redemptive power of love—inspired by the true story of Jacob Ruppert, the millionaire owner of the New York Yankees, and his mysterious bequest in 1939 to an unknown actress, Helen Winthrope Weyant.

When the owner of the New York Yankees baseball team, Colonel Jacob Ruppert, takes Helen Winthrope, a young actress, under his wing, she thinks it’s because of his guilt over her father’s accidental death—and so does Albert Kramer, Ruppert’s handsome personal secretary. Helen and Albert develop a deepening bond the closer they become to Ruppert, an eccentric millionaire who demands their loyalty in return for his lavish generosity.

New York in the Jazz Age is filled with possibilities, especially for the young and single. Yet even as Helen embraces being a “bachelor girl”—a working woman living on her own terms—she finds herself falling in love with Albert, even after he confesses his darkest secret. When Ruppert dies, rumors swirl about his connection to Helen after the stunning revelation that he has left her the bulk of his fortune, which includes Yankee Stadium. But it is only when Ruppert’s own secrets are finally revealed that Helen and Albert will be forced to confront the truth about their relationship to him—and to each other.

Inspired by factual events that gripped New York City in its heyday, Bachelor Girl is a hidden history gem about family, identity, and love in all its shapes and colors.


Review:

Passionate, evocative, and thoroughly absorbing!

Bachelor Girl is an intriguing interpretation about the life of Colonel Jacob Ruppert, the wealthy American brewer and owner of the New York Yankees who became known for his successful acquisition of the legendary slugger Babe Ruth, the construction of the iconic Yankee Stadium, and the unusually large endowment he left to a young, unknown actress upon his death.

The prose is eloquent and fluid. The characters are genuine, well drawn, and endearing. And the story sweeps you away to New York City during the 1920s when women were shortening their skirts, cutting their hair and gaining independence, prohibition was in full force, and love in all its forms was expressed but still hidden.

Bachelor girl is a fascinating, well-written, richly described story about friendship, loyalty, familial relationships, sexual identity, secrets, prosperity, ambition, life, loss, and love. And even though there is not much known about Colonel Jacob Ruppert’s close, personal relationships, van Alkemade has done an exceptional job of taking historical facts and surrounding them with fiction that is both captivating and exceptionally alluring.

 

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 Kim van Alkemade

Kim van Alkemade was born in New York City and spent her childhood in suburban New Jersey. Her late father, an immigrant from the Netherlands, met her mother, a descendant of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, in the Empire State Building. She attended college in Wisconsin, earning a doctorate in English from UW-Milwaukee. She is a professor at Shippensburg University where she teaches writing, and lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Her creative nonfiction essays have been published in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, So To Speak, and CutBank. Orphan # 8 was her first novel.

#BookReview
Songs of Love and War by Santa Montefiore
@SantaMontefiore @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Songs of Love and War by Santa Montefiore @SantaMontefiore @SimonSchusterCATitle: Songs of Love and War

Author: Santa Montefiore

Published by Simon & Schuster UK on February 13, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 528

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The #1 international bestseller about the enduring bond between three women and the castle they will never forget.

Their lives were mapped out ahead of them. But love and war will change everything…

It’s the early 1900s and Castle Deverill stands staunchly untouched by time, hidden away in the rolling Irish hills. Within the castle walls, three friends have formed a close bond: affluent, flame-haired Kitty Deverill; Bridie Doyle, Kitty’s best friend and daughter of the castle’s cook; and Celia Deverill, Kitty’s flamboyant English cousin. They’ve grown up together, always sheltered from the conflict embroiling the rest of the country. But when Bridie learns of a secret Kitty has been keeping, their idyllic world is forever torn apart.

Later, the three women scatter to different parts of the globe. Kitty must salvage what she can before Castle Deverill and everything she has ever known is reduced to ash. Songs of Love and War is an epic generational saga about the lasting bonds of true friendship and the powerful ties we all have to the place we call home.

Previously published in the US as The Girl in the Castle.


Review:

Insightful, riveting, and incredibly atmospheric!

Songs of Love and War is an intriguing tale that sweeps you to Co. Cork in the early 1900s when Ireland is full of unrest and upheaval not only due to the Great War being waged on the fields of Europe but in their own countryside where the simmering anger and need for self-identity, patriotism, and independence from Anglo rule are about to come to a head.

The prose is poetic and vividly described. The three main characters Kitty, Birdie, and Celia are strong and independent, and their lives are bound and entangled together by the magnificent Castle Deverill that graces the Irish hillside and in some way each calls home. And the plot is an engaging saga filled with self-discovery, familial drama, social stratification, spiritual occurrences, tragedy, heartbreak, romance, war, life, loss, and friendship.

Songs of Love and War is an exquisitely written, exceptionally detailed, beautiful start to a trilogy that is sure to be a big hit with historical fiction fans and book clubs everywhere, and you can be sure that Daughters of Castle Deverill, Deverill Chronicles #2, is already on my TBR list.

 

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 Santa Montefiore

Santa Montefiore’s books have been translated into twenty languages and have sold more than four million copies in England and Europe. She is married to writer Simon Sebag Montefiore. They live with their two children, Lily and Sasha, in London.

Photograph by Elaine Fattal

 

#BookReview
Things to Do When It’s Raining by Marissa Stapley
@marissastapley @SimonSchusterCA @HarlequinBooks

#BookReview Things to Do When It’s Raining by Marissa Stapley @marissastapley @SimonSchusterCA @HarlequinBooksTitle: Things to Do When It's Raining

Author: Marissa Stapley

Published by Simon & Schuster Canada on February 6, 2018

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 256

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Two families are torn apart by secret pasts and broken hearts—from Globe and Mail-bestselling author Marissa Stapley.

When secrets tear love apart, can the truth mend it?

Mae Summers and Gabriel Broadbent grew up together in the idyllic Summers’ Inn, perched at the edge the St. Lawrence river. Mae was orphaned at the age of six and Gabe needed protection from his alcoholic father, so both were raised under one roof by Mae’s grandparents, Lilly and George. A childhood friendship quickly developed into a first love—a love that was suddenly broken by Gabe’s unexpected departure. Mae grew up, got over her heartbreak, and started a life for herself in New York City.

After more than a decade, Mae and Gabe find themselves pulled back to Alexandria Bay. Hoping to find solace within the Summers’ Inn, Mae instead finds her grandparents in the midst of decline and their past unravelling around her. A lifetime of secrets stand in the way of this unconventional family’s happiness. Will they be able to reclaim the past and come together, or will they remain separate islands?

From the bestselling author of Mating for Life comes a powerful story about guilt, forgiveness and the truth about families: that we can choose them, just as we choose to love.


Review:

Powerful, poignant, and heartrending!

Things to Do When It’s Raining is an absorbing novel that delves into the mental and emotional anguish that can be caused by underlying secrets, grief, guilt, family dynamics, friendship, first loves and loneliness and emphasizes the importance of closure and forgiveness.

The prose is smooth and well turned. The characters are consumed, troubled, raw, and authentic. And the character-driven plot interweaves the past and present of two multigenerational families as they learn to cope, survive, accept, support and love each other unconditionally.

Things to Do When It’s Raining is ultimately an intelligent, evocative, pensive novel by Stapley that tugs at the heartstrings from start to finish.

 

This book is available now. 

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

                                        

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Harlequin – Graydon House for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

About Marissa Stapley

Marissa Stapley is the Globe and Mail bestselling author of the novel Mating for Life, and the forthcoming Things to Do When It’s Raining. She writes the commercial fiction review column “Shelf Love” for the Globe and Mail, reports on books and culture for the Toronto Star, and lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.

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