Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Orphan's Tale

Sixteen year old Noa was kicked out of her house after she got pregnant  by a Nazi soldier. Her baby was taken from her and she has been cleaning a train station for a place to stay. One day she finds a train car full of Jewish babies and takes one, hoping to fill her loss. She finds her way to a circus, where Astrid, a trapeze Jewess raised in the circus, is hiding. Formerly married to a Nazi, Astrid is angry. Her family has disappeared and her life has been shaken. The two women can barely stand each other at first, but soon form a bond that will stand the test of time. 

I had no real idea of what to expect from this novel, but I soon learned I was in for a treat. This story was magnificent. Astrid and Noa are perfect. I loved how Astrid is so cautious and Noa, as a young girl is so optimistic. Their bond was amazing and they both taught each other things. The ending is really touching. I loved this book.
I received a copy from the publisher.  Thank you.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Twain's End by Lynn Cullen

Isabel V Lyon has been Samuel Clemens' secretary, personal assistant and love interest for many years. Isabel puts up with being mistreated by Samuel's daughter only for the prospect of one day becoming more to Samuel that just his secretary. As this becomes plainly unlikely, Isabel decided to move on and marry another man. At first Mark Twain blesses the marriage, but soon after Samuel Clemens attacks Isabel and her new husband, firing them both. This novel is the years leading up to that last moment. 

I liked this book, but I had trouble connecting with Isabel. She ran the show, stood up to Twain's daughter but never could let go. Finally forced to let go by a vindictive Twain made for a sad ending. Twain was a perfect villain, lovable but hateful.

Thank you to the publisher for a review copy. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

Alexandrina Victoria, just past her 18th birthday, steps out of her mother's shadow and becomes Queen Victoria. Sheltered by her mother and her mother's household, she feels incapable of ruling. But determined, she begins to break free of her past and tradition. She finds Lord Melbourne, and makes him her secretary and confidante. As the two rule England, Victoria finds herself needing Lord M.

I really enjoyed this book. I haven't read a lot about Queen Victoria, especially her younger days. This book was perfect. Victoria was headstrong and determined, but not harsh. I loved her vulnerability. The plot isn't action packed, but rather a character growing plot.  I enjoyed how Goodwin played up the relationship tension between Victoria and Lord M. It was perfect! I could see Goodwin easily writing a trilogy or more about this fantastic queen who became the grandmother of Europe. Hint Hint!

Thank you to the publisher for a review copy.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

Princess Margarethe has been placed in a secret convent while her father prepares to go war against the Southern kingdom. Lenia, a mermaid princess longs to go to the human world on her 18th birthday. When she does, she rescues a man from a shipwreck and brings him to shore. There, Margarethe stumbles upon Lenia and the skip wrecked man. The two princesses feel a deep bond after both help the injured man, who is none other than Prince Christopher, heir to the Southern Throne and Margarethe's enemy. The two princesses make separate plans to be reunited with him; Lenia makes a deal with a seawitch and Margarethe offers herself up as peace offering in marriage. 

This retelling of the classic fairytale is far from Disney's version. The plot is nicely done. The characters were okay, but I really hated Prince Christopher. I did like the story and those who enjoy fairy tale stories would like this one.

I purchased this book from Amazon. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Amber Keeper by Freda Lightfoot

Abbie Myers returns home to the English Lake District after her mother's tragic suicide. Reeling from the news, Abbie is devastated when she is blamed for her mother's heartbreak and death after running away to Paris with after falling pregnant with a married man. Millie, Abbie's grandmother is the only person who isn't blaming her. As Abbie tries to put her life back together after the tragedy of her mother, loss of her family, leaving her lover and trying to revive her mother's business, she begins to listen to her grandmother's story as a governess for a Russian Countess leading up to World War I. 

Both of these women had interesting stories, but Millie really shined. I connected with her. Abbie was okay, but a bit flighty in matters of the heart. The Russian grandeur was accurately portrayed, a grand facade steadily crumbling from pressures. I liked that the revolution was included. Stefan was a good character, but he was annoyingly stubborn. the plot was complex, but you could see it coming together. It was a good read.

I purchased this book from Amazon

Monday, December 19, 2016

Ophelia's Muse by Rita Cameron

Lizzie Sidal is not considered a beauty, but she catches the eye of Walter Deverell as she works in a millinery shop. He begs to paint her. Soon she is posing for many of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood members, but it is Dante Rossetti who has her heart. He encourages her to paint and write poems. They embark on a life of wild passion, but it includes betrayal, addiction, illness and heartbreak. 

This book was really good, but heartbreaking. it could be about a present day woman, but the historical setting makes the book glitter. The characters were perfect. The plot seemed to follow history pretty well. I really enjoyed it. 

Thank you to the publisher for a review copy.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

Rachel Pomie, a hard headed Jewish girl living on St. Thomas, dreams of Paris. Raised mainly by the maid beside the maids daughter, Rachel is devastated when she is married off to a widower with three small children. Life changes for Rachel when her husband dies and her future is left in the hands of Frédérick, her husband's nephew from Paris. 

This book was a good book. I definitely enjoyed the first part of the book almost more than the end. The beginning dealt with Rachel and her childhood more and felt yellow and sunny. The middle is more life normal life, but harder and felt red.  The end, while vivid, was a bit like a Paris; cold and grey blue. The descriptions are wonderful and characters are complex and realistic. I enjoyed it.

Thank you to the publisher for a review copy.