Sunday, April 21, 2019

Review: The Red Daughter by John Burnham Schwartz

Release Date: April 30, 2019

Written in the style of a memoir, this is a novel about Joseph Stalin's only daughter, who defected to the US.

Perhaps due to the memoir style, there is a lot of "telling" rather than "showing", and the narrative feels very disjointed, hopping from one thing to the next and only briefly detailing important events in Svetlana's life that could have been used to really flesh out the characters and story.

I was really hoping this novel would give me great insight into a historical figure and subject matter I don't know much about but I feel like it didn't tell me much more than I could have learned from reading Svetlana's Wikipedia page.

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

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Upcoming Releases

The Orphan's Song by Lauren Kate 

Release Date: June 25, 2019

Venice, 1736. When fate brings Violetta and Mino together on the roof of the Hospital of the Incurables, they form a connection that will change their lives forever. Both are orphans at the Incurables, dreaming of escape. But when the resident Maestro notices Violetta's voice, she is selected for the Incurables' world famous coro, and must sign an oath never to sing beyond its church doors.

(Full description at Goodreads)

In the Full Light of the Sun by Clare Clark 

Release Date: July 9, 2019

Hedonistic and politically turbulent, Berlin in the 1920s is a city of seedy night clubs and sumptuous art galleries. It is home to millionaires and mobs storming bakeries for rationed bread. These disparate Berlins collide when Emmeline, a young art student; Julius, an art expert; and a mysterious dealer named Rachmann all find themselves caught up in the astonishing discovery of thirty-two previously unknown paintings by Vincent van Gogh.

(Full description at Goodreads)

The Chelsea Girls: A Novel by Fiona Davis

Release Date: July 30, 2019

From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City's creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home—a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage. Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for Communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine's Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.

The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell 

Release Date: August 6, 2019

In July 1913, twenty-five-year-old Annie Clements had seen enough of the world to know that it was unfair. She’s spent her whole life in the copper-mining town of Calumet, Michigan where men risk their lives for meager salaries—and had barely enough to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. The women labor in the houses of the elite, and send their husbands and sons deep underground each day, dreading the fateful call of the company man telling them their loved ones aren’t coming home. When Annie decides to stand up for herself, and the entire town of Calumet, nearly everyone believes she may have taken on more than she is prepared to handle.

(Full description at Goodreads)

The Winemaker's Wife by Kristin Harmel

Release Date: August 13, 2019

Champagne, 1940: Inès has just married Michel, the owner of storied champagne house Maison Chauveau, when the Germans invade. As the danger mounts, Michel turns his back on his marriage to begin hiding munitions for the Résistance. Inès fears they’ll be exposed, but for Céline, half-Jewish wife of Chauveau’s chef de cave, the risk is even greater—rumors abound of Jews being shipped east to an unspeakable fate.

New York, 2019: Liv Kent has just lost everything when her eccentric French grandmother shows up unannounced, insisting on a trip to France. But the older woman has an ulterior motive—and a tragic, decades-old story to share. When past and present finally collide, Liv finds herself on a road to salvation that leads right to the caves of the Maison Chauveau.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Review: American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt by Stephanie Thornton

Release Date: March 12, 2019

As the title says, this is a novel of Alice Roosevelt, the eldest daughter of Theodore Roosevelt. Always having a complicated relationship with her father, she adored him but he kept her at arms length since she reminded him too much of her deceased mother, the love of Teddy's life. Yet she was easily the most like him in personality; unapologetically strong willed, strong minded, and outspoken with a quick wit, she was likely trying to emulate him to gain his approval, and in the process made herself into one of the most fascinating characters in American political families. The daughter of this larger-than-life American president is often in her father's shadow, but deserves her own spotlight, and this book more than does her justice. I knew from the moment I started reading this, from the very first paragraph, that I would love this book and Thornton's portrayal of Alice, and I did. So well written with such great characters, this is definitely not one to miss.

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

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