3.20.22 e book bargains that were reviewed by me

The London House by Katherine Reay

#TheLondonHouse #NetGalley

I have read and enjoyed a number of this author’s earlier novels. In my opinion, Ms. Reay’s first foray into historical fiction has been most successful. I recommend this dual time line story, even knowing that there are many such novels that take look at WWII, just as this one does.

Caroline, the Caroline of the present, is trying to be a good daughter. She has left law school so that she can be available to her father who has a serious illness. She finds satisfaction in her work for a pharmaceutical company whose products will, she feels, help others.

Caroline has a bit of a tough back story. She has a rather successful brother but lost a sister in a tragedy. This ripples into Caroline’s feelings about her family and theirs about her. Further, Caroline’s mom has been living in England and they have unresolved issues.

When Caroline hears from Mat, a college friend, she is thrown into a family mystery. Was Caroline’s aunt, also name Caroline, a traitor or not? What happened in her relationship with her identical twin (and present day Caroline’s grandmother) Margaret that led them to grow apart? Follow along as Mat and Caro learn more while in London.

The story is told through narrative but also through letters and diary entries. Readers enjoy a contemporaneous view of the events that shape Caro and Margo’s world. Early in the novel, Margo worries about the war while Caro, who is enjoying life in Paris, seems less worried by the behavior of Hitler. Margo spends time at the family country estate; after being ill she retreats and loses some of her gusto; will this change? Carol works for Elsa Schiaparelli. I enjoyed learning more about this fashion house and its unique designs, influenced in part by Dali. What will Caro do when she returns (at least temporarily) to England?

No spoilers, so readers will need to pick up the novel to find out what happened to Caro and Margo. They will see how these events played out in the lives of Caroline’s parents and in Caroline’s own world as well.

This is historical fiction done well. I recommend The London House.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

The Moon, the Stars, and Madame Burova

A Novel

by Ruth Hogan

#TheMoontheStarsandMadameBurova #NetGalley

Pub Date 21 Sep 2021  

I absolutely adored Ruth Hogan’s novel, The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes, so I was quite eager to read The Moon, The Stars and Madame Burova.

Around the plot, Ms. Hogan looks at some emotionally resonant issues. These include identity, race, the nature of love, how to treat others and also how to treat one’s self. All is skillfully done and is not too heavy handed.

Madame Burova’s mother, Shunty Mae, was a reader of tarot cards, palms and crystal balls. Her daughter, Imelda (aka Madam B) has taken on her mother’s vardo and profession. She is very good at it and her booth becomes a confessional for many. In the present, Imelda Burova is considering retirement; in the past she led an active life.

Imelda spent time at Larkin’s, a family holiday camp, when she was a young woman. There were many people and acts there. Imelda was close to Jeannie, a talented young singer and to Cillian Burke, a man who was of great importance to her. Readers will find out how Cillian influenced the title of the novel. Also at the camp is Vivienne; she wants Cillian and is used to taking whatever she feels that she needs.

In the present, Billie’s parents have recently died. She finds something out in a note that her father left her. This leads her to connect with Imelda and connect they do! In the present, Imelda offers Billie some answers and all the wonderful aspects of the kind of person she is. Readers will root for both of them.

This book is not a cliffhanger. It is a slow-ish read that I enjoyed and recommend. Not quite as good as Sally but very good nonetheless.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

The Moon, the Stars, and Madame Burova

A Novel

by Ruth Hogan

#TheMoontheStarsandMadameBurova #NetGalley

Pub Date 21 Sep 2021  

I absolutely adored Ruth Hogan’s novel, The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes, so I was quite eager to read The Moon, The Stars and Madame Burova.

Around the plot, Ms. Hogan looks at some emotionally resonant issues. These include identity, race, the nature of love, how to treat others and also how to treat one’s self. All is skillfully done and is not too heavy handed.

Madame Burova’s mother, Shunty Mae, was a reader of tarot cards, palms and crystal balls. Her daughter, Imelda (aka Madam B) has taken on her mother’s vardo and profession. She is very good at it and her booth becomes a confessional for many. In the present, Imelda Burova is considering retirement; in the past she led an active life.

Imelda spent time at Larkin’s, a family holiday camp, when she was a young woman. There were many people and acts there. Imelda was close to Jeannie, a talented young singer and to Cillian Burke, a man who was of great importance to her. Readers will find out how Cillian influenced the title of the novel. Also at the camp is Vivienne; she wants Cillian and is used to taking whatever she feels that she needs.

In the present, Billie’s parents have recently died. She finds something out in a note that her father left her. This leads her to connect with Imelda and connect they do! In the present, Imelda offers Billie some answers and all the wonderful aspects of the kind of person she is. Readers will root for both of them.

This book is not a cliffhanger. It is a slow-ish read that I enjoyed and recommend. Not quite as good as Sally but very good nonetheless.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

The Moon, the Stars, and Madame Burova

A Novel

by Ruth Hogan

#TheMoontheStarsandMadameBurova #NetGalley

Pub Date 21 Sep 2021  

I absolutely adored Ruth Hogan’s novel, The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes, so I was quite eager to read The Moon, The Stars and Madame Burova.

Around the plot, Ms. Hogan looks at some emotionally resonant issues. These include identity, race, the nature of love, how to treat others and also how to treat one’s self. All is skillfully done and is not too heavy handed.

Madame Burova’s mother, Shunty Mae, was a reader of tarot cards, palms and crystal balls. Her daughter, Imelda (aka Madam B) has taken on her mother’s vardo and profession. She is very good at it and her booth becomes a confessional for many. In the present, Imelda Burova is considering retirement; in the past she led an active life.

Imelda spent time at Larkin’s, a family holiday camp, when she was a young woman. There were many people and acts there. Imelda was close to Jeannie, a talented young singer and to Cillian Burke, a man who was of great importance to her. Readers will find out how Cillian influenced the title of the novel. Also at the camp is Vivienne; she wants Cillian and is used to taking whatever she feels that she needs.

In the present, Billie’s parents have recently died. She finds something out in a note that her father left her. This leads her to connect with Imelda and connect they do! In the present, Imelda offers Billie some answers and all the wonderful aspects of the kind of person she is. Readers will root for both of them.

This book is not a cliffhanger. It is a slow-ish read that I enjoyed and recommend. Not quite as good as Sally but very good nonetheless.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

The Paris Dressmaker

by Kristy Cambron

#TheParisDressmaker #NetGalley

Pub Date 16 Feb 2021

This is another book set in France during WWII. Before you think that you’ve read enough of these, give this one a chance. It is an engaging and involving read.

The Paris Dressmaker follows several women and the men and families that surround them. Lila is a talented dressmaker and designer. Lila’s closest friend is Amelie, another seamstress. Then there is Sandrine and her close friend Michelle. Sandrine works at the Jeu de Paume. Each of these characters faces moral decisions, choices and moments of fear and courage.

The settings in this book are wonderfully rendered. There are the dress salons, a bookstore, the Jeu de Paume, a bakery, The Ritz..and the list goes on. Each is vividly portrayed as are the streets of wartime Paris.

This is a novel that tells moving stories of love, friendship, resistance, traitorous behavior, courage and consequences. The narrative moves back and forth in time from 1939 and into the 1940s.

I became quite involved in the lives and stories of these characters. I think that readers will as well.

I alternated between reading this book and listening to it. The narration was excellent with characters well delineated and the French accents of the characters.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.

Our Woman in Moscow (by Beatriz Williams)

Our Woman in Moscow: A Novel by [Beatriz Williams]

There was a time in England when Cambridge grads became traitors; among the most famous of these men were KIm Philby, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt and Donald Maclean. They hid in plain sight, not suspected for a long time because of their social class and educations. They were idealistic to start with but some devolved into alcoholism and of course, many defected.

This novel takes place within the time frame of these spies in the late 40s and early 50s. One of the spies, Guy Burgess, is even a character in the novel.

Two sisters Iris and Ruth are the book’s protagonists. When the story opens, Ruth is successfully running a modeling agency in New York. She and Iris have not spoken for many years. Readers will find out why when they read the novel.

When the two were still close, they lived in Rome during part of WWII. While there Iris falls madly in love with Sasha Digby. She makes the decision to follow him wherever he goes and, not to spoil anything they eventually make a big move. Readers will find out why.

One day, Ruth gets a call for help from Iris. She heeds it and this leads to the most exciting events of the novel.

Also in the story is Lyudmilla, a very conforming Russian. Where does she fit in the story and how do her life and the Digbys’ lives intersect? Again, read to find out.

Beatriz Williams has written an absorbing story here with an excellent plot twist. Events unfold; this is not a James Bond like read but it is a good one. The settings and characters shine.

Think about the title as you read. See how close you come to guessing some of the story’s resolutions. Enjoy the novel as you do. It makes for a good read.

The Long Call (Cleeves)

In case you missed my recent post on this.  I really liked this one.

Kudos to the talented Ann Cleeves for this first entry in her new series. I have read the author’s Vera and Jimmy Perez novels, both of which I recommend. As a reader who looked forward especially to every Perez novel, I was sad to learn that the series had finished. I wondered if there would be no more books by this author. I am delighted that that is not the case.

In The Long Call, Ann Cleeves creates a world within a small community in North Devon where rivers converge; the setting effectively becomes a part of the story. In this world, there are three police officers who are central characters. First is Matthew; he was raised within the Brethren, a conservative religious group. While Brethren characters are very much a part of the novel, Matthew himself has left the group. This cast him away from the familiar into a new life in the police and with his husband, Jonathan. Next is a female character, Jen. She is divorced and never has sufficient time for that elusive work-life balance. Ross is a police officer who seems a bit full of himself but he too has reasons for being as he is. I enjoyed spending time with each of these characters.

The story is populated with many others. There are businessmen, a curate and his girlfriend, an artist and many others. There is the murder victim whose backstory is essential to the plot. Also, there are three young women with Down Syndrome who are integral to the novel. Ms. Cleeves portrays each as a fully rounded person. She is clear eyed and empathetic in the portrayals of the three and their families.

This book was an excellent read and one that I highly recommend. I was sorry to get to the end of the book and only hope that the next in the series comes out soon. If you are a person who enjoys well written British mysteries, put this one on your TBR pile

Many, many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for this book in exchange for an honest review.

And Now You’re Back by Jill Mansell

Jill Mansell is one of the very best writers of women’s fiction. Her novels always have heart and warmth, along with good plots, likeable characters and smile for readers. This time we meet Didi and Shay; Rosa, Red, Benny, Ingrid, Harry, Will and others, including a well-known actress. All are well portrayed and people that readers will enjoy getting to know.

Didi and Shay met as teens and broke up; now, Shay is back. Will their past history derail them or will they find their happy ever after? Shay’s dad has been in and out of jail many times and yet he is a most appealing character. Red is dying and wants to spend time in the town where Shay grew up and where Shay is living in Didi’s hotel. Layla is Didi’s closest friend; will she find love through Shay’s dating site or closer to home? Rosa, Layla’s mother, loved her husband Joe who died. She is offering shelter to Shay’s dad, Red, and becomes involved with Benny, a goodhearted man to whom she sold her house.. And, there is more although this gives a sense of all of the many interrelationships in this heart warming novel.

Readers looking for a relaxing read should mark their calendars for this books’ release date. I highly recommend it. Ms. Mansell has written many novels; readers may want to read them all.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.

Author: joycesmysteryandfictionbookreviews

I love to read, recommend books and open the world of reading to others. I tutor to ensure that the next generation of readers will know the joys of a good book because their reading skills have improved. I am an avid reader, especially of mysteries and fiction. I believe that two of the world's greatest inventions were the public library and eyeglasses!

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