Tuesday, September 15, 2020

October Releases Part 2

The Forgotten Daughter by Joanna Goodman 

Release Date: October 27, 2020

1992: French-Canadian factions renew Quebec’s fight to gain independence, and wild, beautiful Véronique Fortin, daughter of a radical separatist convicted of kidnapping and murdering a prominent politician in 1970, has embraced her father’s cause. So it is a surprise when she falls for James Phénix, a journalist of French-Canadian heritage who opposes Quebec separatism. Their love affair is as passionate as it is turbulent, as they negotiate a constant struggle between love and morals.

(Full description at Goodreads)



The Eyes of the Queen: A Novel (An Agents of the Crown Novel Book 1) by Oliver Clements 


Release Date: October 27, 2020

In this first novel of the exhilarating Agents of the Crown series, a man who will become the original MI6 agent protects England and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I from Spain’s nefarious plan to crush the Age of the Enlightenment.

In this tense situation, Her Majesty’s Secret Service is born with the charismatic John Dee at its head. A scholar, a soldier, and an alchemist, Dee is loyal only to the truth and to his Queen. And for her, the woman he’s forbidden from loving, he is prepared to risk his life.

(Full description at Goodreads)



The Berlin Girl by Mandy Robotham 


Release Date: October 29, 2020

Berlin, 1938: It’s the height of summer, and Germany is on the brink of war. When fledgling reporter Georgie Young is posted to Berlin, alongside fellow Londoner Max Spender, she knows they are entering the eye of the storm.

Arriving to a city swathed in red flags and crawling with Nazis, Georgie feels helpless, witnessing innocent people being torn from their homes. As tensions rise, she realises she and Max have to act – even if it means putting their lives on the line.

(Full description at Goodreads)



The Cold Millions: A Novel by Jess Walter 


Release Date: October 27, 2020

The Dolans live by their wits, jumping freight trains and lining up for day work at crooked  job agencies. While sixteen-year-old Rye yearns for a steady job and a home, his older brother, Gig, dreams of a better world, fighting alongside other union men for fair pay and decent treatment. Enter Ursula the Great, a vaudeville singer  who performs with a live cougar and introduces the brothers to a far more dangerous creature: a mining  magnate determined to keep his wealth and his hold on Ursula.

(Full description at Goodreads)



When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott 


Release Date: October 29, 2020

1918. In the last week of the First World War, a uniformed soldier is arrested in Durham Cathedral. When questioned, it becomes clear he has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there.
 
The soldier is given the name Adam and transferred to a rehabilitation home. His doctor James is determined to recover who this man once was. But Adam doesn’t want to remember. Unwilling to relive the trauma of war, Adam has locked his memory away, seemingly for good.
 
When a newspaper publishes a feature about Adam, three women come forward, each claiming that he is someone she lost in the war. But does he believe any of these women? Or is there another family out there waiting for him to come home?


Friday, September 4, 2020

Review: The First Emma by by Camille Di Maio

Still playing catch up on my ARCs.

Release Date: May 5, 2020

A fascinating true story about how a woman turns her husband's brewing company into an empire that survives Prohibition, after he is murdered by one of his mistresses. 

I knew nothing about Emma Koehler or Pearl Brewing before picking this up, but the only thing better than a dramatic story is one that's true, so I couldn't resist. It's a great story, but I think it could have been told in a slightly better way. It's as though the author attempted to tell it in dual time periods - one when Emma is elderly and hires a young woman to take notes for her autobiography, and the other as Emma's past. The problem is, we only get Emma's past as she's dictating it, so it's not always a true dual-time period story because we only really hear Emma telling us about her past, we don't get to actually see it very much. That was a little disappointing, and I felt like much of her accomplishments were brushed over, but it's still a great story about woman who wouldn't be held back by the personal tragedies that befell her. Not only did she rise above them, she became more successful and powerful than her narcissistic husband had been during a time when women didn't have the right to vote, and managed to maintain it through WWI, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and even the start of WWII.

Additional dimension is added by exploring the fictional character Mabel Hartley, the notes taker. Rather than just being a means of storytelling, she provides a much needed happier ending too.

Advanced review copy from publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own.



Thursday, September 3, 2020

October Historical Fiction Releases Part 1

When We Were Young & Brave: A Novel by Hazel Gaynor 

Release Date: October 6, 2020

China, December 1941. Having left an unhappy life in England for a teaching post at a missionary school in northern China, Elspeth Kent is now anxious to return home to help the war effort. But as she prepares to leave China, a terrible twist of fate determines a different path for Elspeth, and those in her charge.

Ten-year-old Nancy Plummer has always felt safe at Chefoo School, protected by her British status. But when Japan declares war on Britain and America, Japanese forces take control of the school and the security and comforts Nancy and her friends are used to are replaced by privation, uncertainty and fear. Now the enemy, and separated from their parents, the children look to their teachers – to Miss Kent and her new Girl Guide patrol especially – to provide a sense of unity and safety.

(Full description at Goodreads)



Daughter of Black Lake: A Novel by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Release Date: October 6, 2020

It's the season of Fallow, in the era of iron. In a northern misty bog surrounded by woodlands and wheat fields, a settlement lies far beyond the reach of the Romans invading hundreds of miles to the southeast. Here, life is simple--or so it seems to the tightly knit community. Sow. Reap. Honor Mother Earth, who will provide at harvest time. A girl named Devout comes of age, sweetly flirting with the young man she's tilled alongside all her life, and envisions a future of love and abundance. Seventeen years later, though, the settlement is a changed place. Famine has brought struggle, and outsiders, with their foreign ways and military might, have arrived at the doorstep. For Devout's young daughter, life is more troubled than her mother ever anticipated. But this girl has an extraordinary gift. As worlds collide and peril threatens, it will be up to her to save her family and community.



Letters from Berlin by Tania Blanchard 


Release Date: October 7, 2020

As the Allied forces edge closer, the Third Reich tightens its grip on its people. For eighteen-year-old Susanna Göttmann, this means her beloved adopted family including the man she loves, Leo, are at risk. His mother – Susie’s godmother – is forced to register as a Jew and wear the Star of David, bearing the resentment of the village she has always called home.

Desperate to protect them any way she can, Susie accepts the help of an influential Nazi officer. It means she must abandon any hope of a future with Leo and enter the terrifying world of the Nazi elite.

(Full description at Goodreads)



Once We Were Here: A Novel by Christopher Cosmos 


Release Date: October 20, 2020

On October 28, 1940, Mussolini provides Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas with an ultimatum: either allow Axis forces to occupy their country, or face war, and Greece’s response is swift. “Oxi!” they say. “No!”

In a small village nestled against the radiant waters of the Aegean Sea, we find Alexei, the son of a local fisherman, and his best friend Costa, who were both born on the same night eighteen years earlier and have been like brothers ever since, though now, like all the other young men in their village and throughout Greece, they will leave their homes to bravely fight for their country.

(Full description at Goodreads)



Death and the Maiden (Mistress of the Art of Death Book 5) by Samantha Norman, Ariana Franklin 


Release Date: October 20, 2020

England. 1191. After the death of her friend and patron, King Henry II, Adelia Aguilar, England’s vaunted Mistress of the Art of Death, is living comfortably in retirement and training her daughter, Allie, to carry on her craft—sharing the practical knowledge of anatomy, forensics, and sleuthing that catches murderers. Allie is already a skilled healer, with a particular gift for treating animals. But the young woman is nearly twenty, and her father, Rowley, Bishop of Saint Albans, and his patron, the formidable Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, have plans to marry Allie to an influential husband . . . if they can find a man who will appreciate a woman with such unusual gifts.

(Full description at Goodreads)


Friday, August 14, 2020

September Releases Part 2

Remember Me: A Spanish Civil War Novel by Mario Escobar

Release Date: September 15, 2020

Madrid, 1934. Though the Spanish Civil War has not yet begun, the streets of Madrid have become dangerous for thirteen-year-old Marco Alcalde and his younger sisters, Isabel and Ana. When Marco’s parents align themselves against General Franco and his fascist regime, they have no inkling that their ideals will endanger them and everyone they love—nor do they predict the violence that is to come.

(Full description at Goodreads)



The Paris Secret by Natasha Lester 

Release Date: September 15, 2020

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Orphan comes an unforgettable historical novel about a secret collection of Dior gowns that ties back to the first female pilots of WWII and a heartbreaking story of love and sacrifice. Set in England, 1939, Paris, 1947, and present day.

(Full description at Goodreads)



Before the Crown by Flora Harding 


Release Date: September 17, 2020

Windsor Castle, 1943

As war rages across the world, Princess Elizabeth comes face to face with the dashing naval officer she first met in London nine years before. One of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy, Philip represents everything she has always been taught to avoid. Instability. Audacity. Adventure.

(Full description at Goodreads)



A Most English Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria's Daughter by Clare McHugh


Release Date: September 22, 2020

January 1858: Princess Victoria glides down the aisle of St James Chapel to the waiting arms of her beloved, Fritz, Prince Frederick, heir to the powerful kingdom of Prussia. Although theirs is no mere political match, Vicky is determined that she and Fritz will lead by example, just as her parents Victoria and Albert had done, and also bring about a liberal and united Germany.

(Full description at Goodreads)



Eli's Promise: A Novel by Ronald H. Balson 


Release Date: September 22, 2020

Eli's Promise is a masterful work of historical fiction spanning three eras—Nazi-occupied Poland, the American Zone of post-war Germany, and Chicago at the height of the Vietnam War. Award-winning author Ronald H. Balson explores the human cost of war, the mixed blessings of survival, and the enduring strength of family bonds.

(Full description at Goodreads)


Monday, August 10, 2020

September Releases Part 1

The Paris Model: A Novel by Alexandra Joel 

Release Date: September 1, 2020

Raised on a vast Australian sheep farm, the beautiful Grace Woods is compelled to travel to tumultuous, postwar Paris in order to start a new life. While working as a glamorous model for Christian Dior, the world’s newly acclaimed emperor of fashion, Grace mixes with counts and princesses, authors and artists, diplomats and politicians. Amongst those she befriends are Pablo Picasson, Julia Childs, and the future Jackie Kennedy.

But when Grace falls in love with the handsome Phillippe Boyer, she doesn’t know that he is leading a double life, nor that his past might hold secrets and lies that will turn her life upside down.



The Night Portrait: A Novel of World War II and da Vinci's Italy by Laura Morelli 

Release Date: September 8, 2020

Milan, 1492: When a 16-year old beauty becomes the mistress of the Duke of Milan, she must fight for her place in the palace—and against those who want her out. Soon, she finds herself sitting before Leonardo da Vinci, who wants to ensure his own place in the ducal palace by painting his most ambitious portrait to date.

Munich, World War II: After a modest conservator unwittingly places a priceless Italian Renaissance portrait into the hands of a high-ranking Nazi leader, she risks her life to recover it, working with an American soldier, part of the famed Monuments Men team, to get it back. 



A Question of Betrayal: An Elena Standish Novel by Anne Perry 

Release Date: September 8, 2020

On her first mission for MI6, the daring young photographer at the heart of this thrilling new mystery series by bestselling author Anne Perry travels to Mussolini’s Italy to rescue the lover who betrayed her.

Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Europe, New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry crafts a novel full of suspense, political intrigue, and the struggle between love and loyalty to country.

(Full description at Goodreads)



The Evening and the Morning (Kingsbridge Book 4) by Ken Follett 


Release Date: September 15, 2020

It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is facing attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Those in power bend justice according to their will, regardless of ordinary people and often in conflict with the king. Without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns.

(Full description at Goodreads)



Lionhearts (Nottingham Book 2) by Nathan Makaryk 


Release Date: September 15, 2020

All will be well when King Richard returns . . . but King Richard has been captured.

To raise the money for his ransom, every lord in England is raising taxes, the French are eyeing the empty throne, and the man they called, “Robin Hood,” the man the Sherriff claims is dead, is everywhere and nowhere at once.

(Full description at Goodreads)


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Review: And They Called It Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton

Release Date: March 10, 2020 (still playing catch up on my ARCs, sorry)

This fictional account of Jackie Kennedy's life, as told through her own eyes, was pulling me in all different directions emotionally. On one hand, I could really see why she fell so hard for Jack, and even why she stayed with him through all his infidelity. On the other hand, her choice of men in general had me smacking my forehead. 

I didn't know much about Jackie before reading this. Obviously, I knew about the eventually tragic fates of her family members, and that she remarried at some point. This book really highlights how tragic her life was, and how she never really recovered from losing the love of her life, but also shows how strong she was to endure everything she did, and eventually find her own way in the world, in spite of the crappy way the men in her life treated her. Absolutely heartbreaking but also uplifting.

Advanced review copy from publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own.



Wednesday, July 15, 2020

August Releases Part 2

NOTICE: Blogger recently did an interface update, and as you can probably tell, since then, images added by URL are no longer working, at least for my blogs. The URLs themselves are still working, just not on Blogger. I don't know what is causing it or how to fix it. I did report it to them so bear with me, hopefully it gets resolved. If not, I'm going to have to go through the tedious act of downloading images to my PC and uploading them to Blogger instead of adding them by URL. Seems like every time Blogger make an "update" they make it more difficult for me to maintain my blog the same way.

 
The Queen of Tuesday: A Lucille Ball Story by Darin Strauss
Release Date: August 18, 2020


This indelible romance begins with a daring conceit—that the author’s grandfather may have had an affair with Lucille Ball. Strauss offers a fresh view of a celebrity America loved more than any other.

Lucille Ball—the most powerful woman in the history of Hollywood—was part of America’s first high-profile interracial marriage. She owned more movie sets than did any movie studio. She more or less single-handedly created the modern TV business. And yet Lucille’s off-camera life was in disarray. While acting out a happy marriage for millions, she suffered in private. Her partner couldn’t stay faithful. She struggled to balance her fame with the demands of being a mother, a creative genius, an entrepreneur, and, most of all, a symbol.


Atomic Love by Jennie Fields 
Release Date: August 18, 2020


Chicago, 1950. Rosalind Porter has always defied expectations--in her work as a physicist on the Manhattan Project and in her passionate love affair with colleague Thomas Weaver. Five years after the end of both, her guilt over the bomb and her heartbreak over Weaver are intertwined. She desperately misses her work in the lab, yet has almost resigned herself to a more conventional life.

Then Weaver gets back in touch--and so does the FBI. Special Agent Charlie Szydlo wants Roz to spy on Weaver, whom the FBI suspects of passing nuclear secrets to Russia. 

(Full description at Goodreads)


The Wright Sister: A Novel by Patty Dann 
Release Date: August 18, 2020


On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the world’s first airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, establishing the Wright Brothers as world-renowned pioneers of flight. Known to far fewer people was their whip-smart and well-educated sister Katharine, a suffragette and early feminist.

An inspiring and poignant chronicle of feminism, family, and forgiveness, The Wright Sister is an unforgettable portrait of a woman, a sister of inventors, who found a way to reinvent herself.

(Full description at Goodreads)


Jackie and Maria: A Novel of Jackie Kennedy & Maria Callas by Gill Paul
Release Date: August 18, 2020


Jackie Kennedy was beautiful, sophisticated, and contemplating leaving her ambitious young senator husband. Life in the public eye with an overly ambitious--and unfaithful—man who could hardly be coaxed to return from a vacation after the birth of a stillborn child was breaking her spirit. So when she's offered a holiday on the luxurious yacht owned by billionaire Ari Onassis, she says yes...to a meeting that will ultimately change her life.

(Full description at Goodreads)


The Royal Governess: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth II's Childhood by Wendy Holden
Release Date: August 25, 2020


In 1933, twenty-two-year-old Marion Crawford accepts the role of a lifetime, tutoring the little Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose.  Her one stipulation to their parents the Duke and Duchess of York is that she bring some doses of normalcy into their sheltered and privileged lives.
 
At Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral, Marion defies stuffy protocol to take the princesses on tube trains, swimming at public baths, and on joyful Christmas shopping trips at Woolworth’s. From her ringside seat at the heart of the British monarchy she witnesses twentieth-century history’s most seismic events. The trauma of the Abdication, the glamour of the Coronation, the onset of World War II. She steers the little girls through it all, as close as a mother.

(Full description at Goodreads)
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