Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: The Unexpected Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell




21996366

Paperback, 432 pages
Expected publication: February 3rd 2015 by Sourcebooks Landmark

original title: The Unexpected Consequences of Love
ISBN: 1492602086 (ISBN13: 9781492602088)
From Goodreads:

Sophie has no interest in finding love. But what happens when love finds her?

Sophie Wells is a successful photographer with a focus on putting the past firmly behind her. When Josh Strachan returns to the seaside town of Cornwall from the States to run his family's hotel, he can't understand why the fun, sexy girl has zero interest in letting him-or any man for that matter-into her life. He also can't understand how he's been duped into employing Sophie's impulsive friend Tula, whose crush on him is decidedly unrequited. Both girls remain mum about the reasons behind Sophie's indifference to love. But that doesn't mean Josh is going to quit trying...
   
My thoughts : I have never read a Jill Mansell book that I didn't care for. I think I've read just about every book she has written and I've loved them all, a few more than others, but still they are all enjoyable reads. One of Mansell's strong points is her ability to write with her heart and still inject some (okay, lots) of humor into the situations. Every story has more than just a few "laugh out loud" moments. Some of the situations her characters get into just make me chuckle as they are so easy to imagine. Mansell is extremely adroit at bringing farce to life.

In her latest, The Unexpected Consequences of Love, several of the characters find out that love endures even when you think it's not possible. The main character, Sophie, tries to shut off her emotions after a bad situation with her ex-husband but she finds this is not as easy to do as she first thought. I really liked Dot, the older character, who learns that age is not immune to love nor is it as easy to forego especially when a fluke incident puts someone's life is in danger.

I really enjoyed Mansell's book and would highly recommend her to anyone who likes chick-lit, humorous British fiction or contemporary romance. There's something for everyone in her books! 4****


Jill Mansell, author of numerous books, can be found on her page.

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Sourcebooks/Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Read in 2015





Here is where I plan to keep a record of books read and to be read. Once I finish the book it will be rated. If there is no rating, it means I just want to read that book in that month.
Ratings criteria or what I call the "put down, pick up factor":
  • 1* put it down and leave it down, couldn't stand it, best used as a paperweight, doorstop or kindling.
  • 2* meh, could take it or leave it but mostly leave it. I could put it down and not care if I picked it up again or not
  • 3* okay enjoyable read, although I liked it, I could put it down easily and not rush back to continue
  • 4* I really liked this one, I could put it down but reluctantly and was anxious to get back to it
  • 5* Loved it! Couldn't put it down and if I absolutely had to ( if something was on fire or flooding) I couldn't wait to get back to it.


January
  1. Wrapped in Death and Chocolate by C.S. Patra (kindle) 1*
  2. The Unexpected Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell (NG)  4****
  3. The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin (ccls/digital) 4****
  4. Amish Summer by Kristina Ludwig (kindle) 1.5*
  5. Careless in Red by Elizabeth George (pb) 3***
  6. The Red Rooster  by Michael Wallace  (kindle) 4****
  7. Blackbird, Fly by Lise McLendon (kinde) 3.5***
  8. Eggs in a Casket by Laura Childs? (kindle) 3***
  9. A Whole New Light by Sandra Brown (pb) 2**
  10. The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro  (nook) $1.93 4****
  11. The Siren of Paris by David Leroy  (kindle ) 3***
  12. Dead Before Morning by Geraldine Evans (pb) 4****
  13. Out Cold by William Tapply 3.5***
  14. My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer  (nook) 3***
  15. Midnight Promises by Sherryl Woods (pb) 4****
  16. Murder Tightly Knit by Vannetta Chapman (NG) 3*
  17. To the Grave by Steve Robinson (kindle) 4****
  18. A Mind to Murder by P.D. James 3***
  19. The Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig (ccls bk club sel March)
  20. A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin (pb) 4****
  21. Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland (ccls/digital) 3***
  22. Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand (ccls/digital)
  23. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen (ccls)
  24. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (pb)
  25. Meadowlands by Elizabeth Jeffreys  (NG) pub date 4/1/15
  26. Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith ( sister-to-sister #1) 320 pgs
  27. War Brides by Helen Bryan $.99


February
  1. The Lost and the Blind by Declan Burke (NG) pub date 4/1/15
  2. First There is a River by Kathy Steffen (kindle)?
  3. Valentined by Patricia Rockwell (kindle)
  4. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (ccls/digital) on hold 
  5. Watches of the Night by Sally Wright (kindle)
  6. Blood Magick by Norah Roberts (ccls/digital) on hold
  7. Tilted World by ? (ccls) on hold
  8. Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett 1098 pgs (ccls/digital) on hold
  9. Patricia Davids Brides of Amish Country/An Amish Christmas/The Christmas Quilt/A Hope Springs Christmas by Patricia Davids 570 pgs
  10. December Dread by Jess Louery (murder)
  11. An Appalachian Christmas by Irene Brand (kindle) $.99 (pt of Love Finds you under the Mistletoe)
  12. A Marriage Carol by Gary Chapman (Christmas story)
  13. Tanglewood Plantation by Jocelyn Miller (kindle) $.99
  14. Riptide by Paul Levine Winter challenge k?
  15. Too Near the Edge: Cleo & Tyler Mystery #1 by Lynn Osterkamp
  16. Foreclosed by Tracy Tyne Hilton  (Mitzy Neuhaus mystery #1) (kindle 2012)



    March
    1. Warsaw by Richard Foreman (kindle)
    2. Waiter, There's a Clue in my Soup by Camille Laguire? (Winter Challenge) N11
    3. Sins of a Nation by Dan McGraw (Spring Challenge ) N12
    4. Partners in Crime by Gallagher Gray (Spring Challenge) N12
    April
    1. Romeo's Tells by William Neubauer (Spring Challenge) K12
    2. In Their Blood by Sharon Potts (Spring Challenge) K12
    3. A Shiver at Twilight by Erica Quinn (kindle)
    4. No Sin in the House of Death by Tim M. Raymond (kindle)
    5. In this Hospitable Land by Lynmar Brock  Jr. (kindle)  $.87n
    6. A Plot to Die For by C.A. Larmer  (kindle) $.99
    7. Bubba and the Missing Woman by C.L Bevill (kindle) $.99
    8. Diners, Dives and Deadends by Terri L. Austin (kindle) $.99
    9. Just the Way You Are by Barbara Freethy $1.99
    10. Still Life in Brunswick Stew by Larissa Reinhart (kindle) $.99
    11. Druids Daughter by Jean Hart Stewart (kindle)
    May
    1. Night of the Storm by Lindsay Townsend (Spring Challenge) K12
    June
    1. Glass House by Patrick Reinken (Spring Challenge) N11
    July
    1. Scoop by Kit Frazier (Summer Challenge) N11
    2. Model Agent by Sean Sweeney (Summer Challenge) N12N11
    August

    September
    1. Unburied Dead by Douglas Lindsay (Autumn challenge )

       Library wish list
    1. Clara by Kurt Palka NA
    2. Enduring Passions by David Wiltshire (1939-45 wartime England, social classes etc)  ILL
    3. From Dust to Ashes by Tricia Goyer (WWII Liberation series #1)  (ILL)
    4. Garden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield N/A
    5. Hothouse Flower by Lucinda Riley N/A
    6. I Gave my Heart to know This by Ellen Baker   (ILL)
    7. Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson   (ccls)
    8. Last Train to Paris by Micele Zackheim (WWII)
    9. Long Man by Amy Green (dar reco)  ILL
    10. Magnolia Wednesday by Wendy Wax (reco by Dar)  (ILL)
    11. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes (staci reco)
    12. Mimosas, Mischief and Murder by Sara Rosett   (ILL)
    13. Mint Juleps, Mayhem and Murder by Sara Rosett   (ILL)
    14. Never Preach Past Noon by Edie Claire (at ccls)
    15. Night Song by Tricia Goyer (liberation series #2) ccls
    16. Pagan Spring by G.M. Malliet (ILL)
    17. Passing On by Penelope Lively (MM at Diane's bbts) ccls
    18. Pictures of the Past by Deby Eisenberg (WWII art)N/A
    19. Postcards from Berlin by Margaret LeRoy (ccls)
    20. Rachel's Secret by Shelly Sanders  (ILL)
    21. Random Harvest by James Hilton WWI&II story rec see DVD also CCLS has both
    22. Ratlines by Stuart Neville ( WWII end)
    23. Red Ruby Heart in a Deep Blue Sea by Morgan Callan Rogers  (ILL)
    24. Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino (11/30/12 reco by Caite)
    25. Say it With Poison by Ann Granger (cd) Cotswolds 
    26. Stuck on You by Lucy Lawrence (Jenn Mckinlay pen name, set in New Eng.)
    27. Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky (ccls)
    28. The Affair by Felicia Clifford (12/28/11 WoW pick Diane at BBTS)
    29. The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler
    30. The Bird House by Kelly Simmons
    31. The Book of Spies by Gayle Lynds (Luanne at a bookworm's world reco)
    32. The Collaborators by Margaret LeRoy
    33. The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Trees by Susan Wittig Albert
    34. The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott (Titanic legal trials re Lady Gordon what happened in lifeboat)
    35. The English German Girl by ? reco by Anna H
    36. The Far Side of the Sun by Kate Furnivall (Oct 2014 release)
    37. The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb (ILL)
    38. The Girl at the Lion D'or by Sebastian Faulks (1930 France)
    39. The Gin and Chowder Club by Nan Rossiter *
    40. The Granville Affaire by Una-Mary Parker WWII is declared eng  (ILL)
    41. The Granville Legacy by Una-Mary Parker (ILL) post wwii
    42. The Harbour by Francesca Brill N/A
    43. The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus by Sonya Sones
    44. The Irish Lady by Jeanette Baker reco by Staci   (ILL)
    45. The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett
    46. The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow (ILL) Brit 1940
    47. The Love of my Youth by Mary Gordon (bibliophile by the sea review 3/11)
    48. The Moon Sisters by Sarah Addison Allen
    49. The Night Sky by Maria Sutton (reco at house of 7 tails blog) WWII N/A
    50. The Perfume Collector  by (ILL) 4/14
    51. The Printmaker's Daughter by Katherine Govier (old Japan)
    52. The Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrence (WWII French resistance)
    53. The Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts (O'Dwyer cousins #2 in trilogy)
    54. The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst
    55. The Summer Before the Storm by Gabrielle Wills (Canada rich/elegant 1914 #1 Muskoka series) N/A
    56. The True Memoirs of Little K by Adrianne Sharp (Russia, tsars, Romanov, ballet reco at Raging Bibliomania(zibilee) ccls
    57. The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones (ccls)
    58. The Unseen by Katherine Webb
    59. The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill (ccls) Simon Serailler series Bk 1
    60. The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak
    61. The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey (author of The Linen Queen) ccls
    62. Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann  ILL
    63. Those in Peril by Margaret Mayhew (wartime England)  (ILL)
    64. Thursday's List by V.S. Kemonis? (myst readers corner reco by Carmen Amato)
    65. Well Bred and Dead by Catherine O'Connell
    66. When We Were Strangers by Pamela Schoenwaldt (reco by Staci 2/14/11 ccls





    Cynthia Harrod-Eagles (Bill Slider series)
    1. Death to Go (ccls)
    2. Grave Music (ccls)
    3. Killing Time (ccls)
    4. Shallow Grave (ccls)
    5. Gone Tomorrow (ccls)
    6. Dear Departed (ccls)
    7. Game Over (ccls)
    8. Fell Purpose (ccls)
    9. Body Line (ccls)
    10. Kill My Darling (ILL)
    11. Blood Never Dies (ILL)
    12. Hard Going (ILL)










    Saturday, December 27, 2014

    Review: The Amber Keeper by Freda Lightfoot

     
    22540145
      
    Paperback, 384 pages

    Published December 1st 2014 by Lake Union Publishing


    ISBN: 1477826157 (ISBN13: 9781477826157)                

    From Goodreads:
    Set against the backdrop of revolutionary Russia, The Amber Keeper is a sweeping tale of jealousy and revenge, reconciliation and forgiveness.
    English Lake District, 1960s: A young Abbie Myers returns home after learning of her mother’s death. Estranged from her turbulent family for many years, Abbie is heartbroken to hear that they blame her for the tragedy.
    Determined to uncover her mother’s past, Abbie approaches her beloved grandmother, Millie, in search of answers. As the old woman recounts her own past, Abbie is transported back to the grandeur of the Russian Empire in 1911 with tales of her grandmother’s life as a governess and the revolution that exploded around her.
    As Abbie struggles to reconcile with her family, and to support herself and her child, she realizes that those long-ago events created aftershocks that threaten to upset the fragile peace she longs to create.

    My thoughts: For some reason, Tsarist Russia has always fascinated me so I really liked this time frame and dual perspectives as told by Abbie in the 1960's and Millie in 1911. Ms. Lightfoot's excellent characterizations, sense of place and historical feel made this a wonderful read.

    Although, I did like Millie' s story of her time in Russia  a tad better than Abbie's, they were both very good. There were some characters you could love and hate which made for a good balance in the storyline. The family ties and old hurts were well done. I could actually empathize with the characters. Along with Millie's past story and Amber's present day story, there was a plot line fraught with mystery and danger. It all came together with a fine cohesiveness. My attention never wavered and I even learned something about amber along the way. 4****

    Ms. Lightfoot is the author of numerous historical fiction books and is a Goodreads author. She can be found on her page at Goodreads.

    Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Lake Union Publishing/Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Saturday, December 6, 2014

    Review: Farewell to Cedar Key by Terri DuLong


    20949531
    From Goodreads: "

    Josie Sullivan adores her Cedar Key home. It's been the ideal place to raise her daughter, Orli, who's just turning sixteen. Now that Josie has realized her dream of becoming a registered nurse, she's been offered the perfect job too--helping Dr. Simon Mancini run his new practice.


    Until the clinic opens, Josie is filling in at Yarning Together, where she launches a series of knitting classes for men. Yet for all the vibrant changes, there are some tangled threads. Josie's romance-author mother, Shelby, receives a worrying diagnosis. And though Josie has always guarded her independence, her connection to Orli's father, Grant, seems to be rekindling. Most of all, as Shelby's college classmates rally around their dear friend, Josie begins to see that "home" is more than a place;it's the relationships woven into each life, strand by strand"

    My thoughts: I have yet to read a Terri DuLong book that I didn't like. All her characters  in the Cedar Key series are wonderful. Right away they  become like dear friends. It is so easy to get caught up in their day to day lives and living through all their heartaches and joys right along with them.  I love the realistic dialogue also.

    Even though these Stories are fiction, there is always a theme or an issue that needs to be dealt with. In Farewell to Cedar Key, the theme/issue is one of the main characters, Shelby, has been diagnosed with uterine cancer. At first she tried to ignore her "twinges" but after some dedicated nagging by her daughter she finally sought some help.

      Having gone through the same experience myself, I can testify that Ms. DuLong handled this perfectly; the initial fear, coming to grips with the diagnosis and the aftermath of treatment. All her characters support each other at every turn.

    Although this is the last book in the series, I am confident Ms. DuLong's next book/series will be just as wonderful as Cedar Key has been. Any books in the series can be read as a stand-alone but I would suggest reading from the beginning as they are all wonderfully entertaining and heart felt.

    Terri DuLong is a Goodreads author and can be found on her page, on her Facebook page or on her website.




    Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by the author, Terri DuLong  in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    The Seventh Link: An English Village Cosy Featuring the Colonel by Margaret Mayhew




    From Goodreads:
    "The village of Frog End may be peaceful, but that doesn't mean that the Colonel s life there is quiet not with his friendly but nosy neighbour Naomi, desperate to know what he s keeping in his new shed; the curious Miss Butler, who tracks his every move with her German U-boat captain s binoculars; and the attentions of the local vicar, who s keen to involve him in church affairs. That s not forgetting the demands of the aloof, imperious cat Thursday, who seems to have adopted the Colonel.So the Colonel is pleased when his old friend Geoffrey Cheetham invites him up to the village of Buckby for the weekend, to coincide with a RAF reunion event. After depositing an outraged Thursday at the Cat Heaven cattery, he drives up, and meets his fellow guests at the Cheethams B&B: including a Lancaster bomber crew, reunited for the first time. But everything is not as it seems, and the Colonel finds himself taking on the reluctant role of sleuth once more when tragedy strikes . . ."   

    The Seventh Link, part of the Village Mystery Series, is a fun little British mystery. I loved the village setting and the wonderful characters of  the Colonel, his neighbor Naomi and the ever so comical Miss Butler. Mayhew did a great job with these characters bringing out all their quirks and personalities.

    While attending a reunion for his old RAF Bomber Command group, the Colonel and his old pals experience a tragedy. One of their own has passed away in somewhat unusual circumstances. The mystery of how Don Wilson died is a tad ambiguous. Did he drown by accident due to his drunkenness or was he helped along the way?

    Even though I found the book to be a little short with no resolution, I still enjoyed it. The historical references to the Bomber Command was interesting, albeit sometimes overshadowing the "mystery".

    Margaret Mayhew, a Goodreads author can be found on her page here. Mayhew is a prolific author who can also be found on her web page at Severn House.

    Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Severn House Publishers/Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Sunday, November 9, 2014

    Review: The Red Book of Primrose House: A Potting Shed Mystery by Marty Wingate



    From Goodreads:


    In Marty Wingate’s charming new Potting Shed Mystery, Texas transplant Pru Parke’s restoration of a historic landscape in England is uprooted by an ax murderer.

    Pru Parke has her dream job: head gardener at an eighteenth-century manor house in Sussex. The landscape for Primrose House was laid out in 1806 by renowned designer Humphry Repton in one of his meticulously illustrated Red Books, and the new owners want Pru to restore the estate to its former glory—quickly, as they’re planning to showcase it in less than a year at a summer party.

    But life gets in the way of the best laid plans: When not being happily distracted by the romantic attentions of the handsome Inspector Christopher Pearse, Pru is digging into the mystery of her own British roots. Still, she manages to make considerable progress on the vast grounds—until vandals wreak havoc on each of her projects. Then, to her horror, one of her workers is found murdered among the yews. The police have a suspect, but Pru is certain they’re wrong. Once again, Pru finds herself entangled in a thicket of evil intentions—and her, without a hatchet.



    The Red Book of Primrose House was a little slow starting but I loved the Sussex garden setting.
    The plot had a little more romance and a tad less mystery than I would have liked but some quirky and fun characters still made this one a pleasurable read. There were just enough motives to keep this reader guessing right up until the end.

    I had never heard about the  Victorian garden designer Humphrey Repton but I found this part of the book interesting.

    Marty Wingate, a master gardener as well as an author, can be found on her Goodreads  author page and on her web page.

    Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Random House/Netgally in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Saturday, November 1, 2014

    Review: Sleep in Peace Tonight by James MacManus




    ebook, 368 pages
    Published October 7th 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books

    ISBN: 1466852925 (ISBN13: 9781466852921)

    Sleep in Peace Tonight is a fictionalized account of events during WWII, particularly during the Blitz in London in 1941.

    Harry Hopkins, unofficial representative for FDR, travels to Britain to meet with Churchill. Things are not going well for Britain and Churchill tries to get Hopkins to convince FDR of the need for the USA to enter the war. Without assistance from the USA, Churchill is convinced Britain will be on the losing end. He feels that Hitler must be stopped by any and all means. Edward R. Murrow, war correspondent based in London during the Blitz, is also a prominent character.

    This story is more than just an historical narrative. Readers get to see the other more human and occasionally scandalous sides of Churchill, FDR and Harry Hopkins.

    "It was said that everyone fell in love in London during the bombing; it was only natural. It wasn't love , of course; it was just frightened people clinging to each other in blacked-out hotel rooms, on creaking beds, while the shrapnel rattled on the roof and the windows blew in. They called it love because it sounded better, because love somehow justified their betrayal, and they were both traitors, weren't they? Perhaps a few lonely, frightened souls had truly fallen for each other in those long nights."


    McManus evokes a wonderful sense of place, a genuine feel of the times and the mood of the populace during the Blitz on London during WWII.

    I really enjoyed the story, both the historical parts and the "love story" within. 4****

    James MacManus is the managing director of the Times Literary Supplement.  He can be found on his website and also on his Goodreads page.

    Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne/Netgalley  in exchange for my honest opinion.


    Saturday, October 4, 2014

    Review: The Ship of Brides by JoJo Moyes




    Kindle Edition
    Published May 27th 2014 by Penguin Books (first published 2005)

    original title: The Ship of Brides
    ASIN:B00HDMMC7M
    edition language: English
    From Goodreads:

    1946. World War II has ended and all over the world, young women are beginning to fulfill the promises made to the men they wed in wartime.

    In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other war brides on an extraordinary voyage to England—aboard HMS Victoria, which still carries not just arms and aircraft but a thousand naval officers. Rules are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier’s captain down to the lowliest young deckhand. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined despite the Navy’s ironclad sanctions. And for Frances Mackenzie, the complicated young woman whose past comes back to haunt her far from home, the journey will change her life in ways she never could have predicted—forever. 



    Never having read anything by JoJo Moyes, before, I wasn't too sure what to expect but since the book was set post WWII, I definitely was curious. I'm now a new fan of Moyes!

    Many Australian women married British servicemen during WWII. Moyes obviously did a lot of research on the subject and pens a fictionalized account of some of these women.  It's now 1946, the war is over and the "brides" are headed to their new country. The story is concentrated around four very diverse women who have to bunk together during the trip.  During the seven week voyage, tempers will flare, dreams will come true for some and shattered for others. Pasts will come to haunt some while others will move smoothly into their new lives without a qualm.

    I loved it! The characters held my attention every minute; I just could not seem to put it down. During the six years I've written this blog, very few books have earned a 5* rating but this one did, hands down. Did I mention that I loved it?? I loved it!

    JoJo Moyes is also the author of numerous novels. She can be found at Goodreads, and on her web page..

    Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Penguin Books/Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion
    .

    Saturday, September 27, 2014

    Review: The Other Girl by Pam Jenoff





    Kindle Edition
    Expected publication: September 1st 2014 by Harlequin MIRA

    From Goodreads:

    One woman's determination to protect a child from the dangers of war will force her to face those lurking closer to home…

    Life in rural Poland during WWII brings a new set of challenges to Maria, estranged from her own family and left alone with her in-laws after her husband is sent to the front. For a young, newly pregnant wife, the days are especially cold, the nights unexpectedly lonely. The discovery of a girl hiding in the barn changes everything—Hannah is fleeing the German police who are taking Jews like her to special camps. Ignoring the risk to her own life and that of her unborn child, Maria is compelled to help. But in these dark days, no one can be trusted, and soon Maria finds her courage tested in ways she never expected and herself facing truths about her own family that the quiet village has kept buried for years…


    The Other Girl is comprised of just 24 pages but this novella is still a good introduction to the
     likeable characters and the feel of the story set against the backdrop of WWII. I greatly admired Maria and felt so sad for Hannah as they are both just trying to live their lives as normally as possible. Of course, during wartime, this is not always doable.


    Even in such limited pages, Jenoff did a wonderful job with the main character of Maria. I could really feel her indecision, fear and determination. This novella is a companion story to Jenoff's  The Winter Guest. 3***


    Pam Jenoff is the author of numerous historical novels. She can be found on her Goodreads page.


    Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Harlequin MIRA/Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Friday, September 19, 2014

    Review: The Garden of Letters by Alyson Richman

        
    Paperback, 384 pages
    Expected publication: September 2nd 2014 by Berkley Trade

    ISBN:0425266257 (ISBN13: 9780425266250)

    From Goodreads:


    Set against the rich backdrop of World War II Italy, Garden of Letters captures the hope, suspense, and romance of an uncertain era, in an epic intertwining story of first love, great tragedy, and spectacular bravery.Portofino, Italy, 1943. A young woman steps off a boat in a scenic coastal village. Although she knows how to disappear in a crowd, Elodie is too terrified to slip by the German officers while carrying her poorly forged identity papers. She is frozen until a man she’s never met before claims to know her. In desperate need of shelter, Elodie follows him back to his home on the cliffs of Portofino.

    Only months before, Elodie Bertolotti was a cello prodigy in Verona, unconcerned with world events. But when Mussolini’s Fascist regime strikes her family, Elodie is drawn into the burgeoning resistance movement by Luca, a young and impassioned bookseller. As the occupation looms, she discovers that her unique musical talents, and her courage, have the power to save lives.

    In Portofino, young doctor Angelo Rosselli gives the frightened and exhausted girl sanctuary. He is a man with painful secrets of his own, haunted by guilt and remorse. But Elodie’s arrival has the power to awaken a sense of hope and joy that Angelo thought was lost to him forever.


    Any book with WWII as the backdrop usually merits a look from me, but Richman is particularly deft with this scenario. All the horrors of wartime and the difficulty of living are so well done, it is as if I were right there along with the characters.

    In this story, Elodie, our heroine, is a young and very talented violinist just coming of age in the most difficult of circumstances. Seeing her homeland invaded and her way of life abruptly changed, Elodie does what she must in order to live with her conscience and try to help the resistance. Falling in love was not part of her plan but it just happened and Elodie finds herself having to make some very difficult choices and then dealing with those choices,

    " Elodie wonders, if beneath the schoolgirl uniform, her mother can see the change in her. That her daughter has discovered that it isn't only music that can articulate the beauty and mystery of the world. That now she knows that the heart has it's own rhythm and breath has it's own pulse, and there is nothing in this world that makes you feel more alive than a simple touch of a beloved's hand."

    In The Garden of Letters, Alyson Richman pens her usual beautiful, lyrical writing; words to be savored right along with the plot. All of Richman's characters come to life vividly on the page, so much so, that my heart was fully engaged along with my mind.

    Alyson Richman is also the author of  The Lost Wife, one of my all time favorite reads.  4****


    Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Berkley Trade/Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.