Monday, March 30, 2015

Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordian

Alice, pregnant and unwed, is sent to live  at Fiercombe Manor in Gloucestershire in 1933 under the pretense of being a recent widow. Tended by her mother's old friend, Mrs. Jelphs, Alice notices something is off about the peaceful valley and the manor house right away.
Thirty years earlier, Elizabeth Stanton was the mistress at Fiercombe. Pregnant, she hopes to escape her past.
These two women, different as much as they are alike, are bound together.
I was hesitant about starting this book. Likened to Rebecca, I didn't think it would stand up next to it. But it indeed did. Masterfully woven with mystery, this book comes alive. The suspense is amazing, the plot coming along at just the right pace. The characters are amazing. Very great read.
Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki

Peggy Shippen is a spoiled Philadelphia beauty whose looks capture the attention of American hero Benedict Arnold. After their marriage, Benedict star begins to wane, and Peggy finds herself dealing with situations she has never been in before. Disillusioned and favoring the British, Peggy coordinates the betrayal of the American Army. 

I liked this look behind the scenes. I had always heard Benedict story, but never thought about what motivated Benedict. I'm glad someone did, because this book is amazing! I'm anxiously awaiting reading and reviewing Ms. Pataki's next book. 

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland

Claudette des Oelietts is born into a small family of poor traveling actors. When she comes to the attention of Françoise Athénaïs de Mortemart, Claudette begins to dream of life changing. As her family establishes a reputation, she starts working with the greats. But once again, the now marquise de Montespan enters her life. Claudette becomes the Shadow Queen's confidante and companion. Living through Montespan's power and decline to the Affaire des poisons, Claudette must protect herself and her family.
I liked this book a lot, partially due to Claudette being close to the drama, but being horrified of it as well. I enjoyed her perspective and liked how she took care of her family. This is a great book, with a great look at one of Frances most amazing courts. 

Thank you to the publisher for a review copy. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mademoiselle Chanel by CW Gortner

Gabrielle Coco Chanel is born into poverty. When her mother dies, she and her sisters are packed off to a convent for their education. As Coco grows older, her wild abandon and creative spark lead her to great fame, but her private life is never really tranquil. With a look behind the scenes of the woman who changed the face of fashion, this book is sure to please.

Gortner manages once again to capture the whole woman. The readers rejoice in her success and mourn her losses. Thought Coco may have been tragically unhappy, her resilience resonates through out time. Gortner has once again written a masterpiece.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Harem Midwife by Roberta Rich

In this sequel to The Harem Midwife, Hannah, Isaac and Matteo Levi are living in Constantinople, with Hannah plying her trade to the Sultan's harem while Isaac trades silk. When the Sultan's mother finds a Jewish girl she believe us destined to produce the next heir and break the Sultan's obsession with his current favorite, Safiye. Hannah desires to protect the girl, and goes against her better judgement. Also, Isaac's widowed sister in law, Grazia comes to Constantinople seeking her dowry returned, as to the Jewish custom. As Grazia falls into the Levi household, she seeks to disrupt the happy family's life. Once again, Hannah must fight for her family.
This sequel is heart breaking, where The Midwife of Venice is quick paced. Both are excellent. I shook my head sometimes at Hannah, but she is such a loveable character. The book has a tidy ending, but it was a satisfying read.
Thank you to the publisher for a review copy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich

Hannah Levi is a Jewish midwife in the 16th century Venitian ghetto. Gifted in her art, she has developed a reputation for delivering stubborn babies with her birthing spoons. A mysterious stranger shows up on her doorstep begging help. The Conte is asking Hannah to help his wife, even though it against the law. To help is a huge risk, endangering the inhabitants of the ghetto, but the reward would free her beloved husband being held prisoner on Malta. Hannah helps, but soon the baby faces more danger after his parents succumb to the plague. Hannah must save the baby, and Isaac.

I found this gem at my local bookstore and loved the cover. Hannah was a loveable character who wanted to help above all. I found myself drawn to her story. Isaac's time on Malta wasn't as rich, but tied the story together. A great read. Stay tuned for my review of the sequel, The Harem Midwife.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Rodin's Lover by Heather Webb

Camille Claudel is a budding sculptor when she meets Auguste Rodin. They become passionate and tempetous lovers. But the passion for art and life always stands in the way of their love. Their two lives, as intertwined as their works, are destined to be remembered for eternity. 

I had never heard of Camille, and I was barely aware of Rodin before this novel. I was immediately immersed in their Paris world. I adored Camille, and her fierce fragility. Rodin was harder to understand, with his love for another. Overall, this was an amazing and heartbreaking book.
Thank you to the publisher for a review copy.