Review: All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg

I’ve come to hold Sonja Yoerg novels in very high esteem. They are usually very thought provoking, well written, and real. So naturally when this book came across my desk for review, I was thrilled. Though the description sounded slightly different than something I would expect from Yoerg’s novels…..this one had a magic element which surprised me.

While this was unexpected, I love books with magical realism and magic themes so I was even more excited to read this one than I was her other novels.

Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.

But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange.

So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.

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Review: A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner

After reading Stars Over Sunset Boulevard, I was really impressed with Susan Meissner’s writing. I started out not really in the mood to read her book and then I was sucked into the story and enjoyed the characters and plot so much that I was pretty bummed when it was over.

So obviously I had experience with Meissner’s writing before this book, so when it came across my desk for review it was an easy yes however her name wasn’t what caught my eye about this book. The name only cemented my acceptance to review it….what got me was the cover. I am absolutely in love with the beauty of this cover. It hints at glamour and romance and the colors worked so well that I couldn’t pass it up.

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark…

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Review: If I Could Tell You by Elizabeth Wilhide

Ahhh war romances how I love you! When this one came across my desk for review, I jumped at the chance to review it. The description was tantalizing and I just knew I had to read this one!

For some reason I just love books about ill-fated or impossible romances and while this one had an adultery element, that wasn’t a deal breaker for me….in fact I was curious to see how that angle would work within the story.

England, 1939: Julia Compton has a beautifully well-ordered life. Once a promising pianist, she now has a handsome husband, a young son she adores, and a housekeeper who takes care of her comfortable home. Then, on the eve of war, a film crew arrives in her coastal town. She falls in love.

The consequences are devastating. Penniless, denied access to her son, and completely unequipped to fend for herself, she finds herself adrift in wartime London with her lover, documentary filmmaker Dougie Birdsall. While Dougie seeks truth wherever he can find it, Julia finds herself lost.

As the German invasion looms and bombs rain down on the city, she faces a choice—succumb to her fate, or fight to forge a new identity in the heat of war (Summary from Goodreads).

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Special Feature: THE BOOK OF POLLY by Kathy Hepinstall

I have a soft spot for local writers and when I saw that this author lives in Portland, OR I had to at least do a special feature on her novel!

This is an unforgettable story about the grip of love in a truly quirky family, told with a particular blend of sass and warmth. Polly is one of those can’t-forget-her female characters with whom readers are destined to fall in love, and her daughter Willow’s coming of age story is one to which both mothers and their daughters will relate.

Publishers Weekly says, “Polly is a hybrid of Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies and Shirley MacLaine’s Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias… [THE BOOK OF POLLY] is full of laughter and warmth” and Kirkus Reviews said, “classic elements of Southern comedy—evil twins, people dropping dead, a faith healer, a river-rafting trip—surround a lovable pair of central characters.”

The character Polly is based, in part, on Kathy Hepinstall’s own wicked-tounged mother and Hepinstall has incorporated her mother’s sayings, and some family anecdotes in coloring the narrative of THE BOOK OF POLLY. Although the story itself is fictional, Polly’s stories and persona are on every page.

Willow Havens is ten years old and obsessed with the fear that her mother will die. Her mother, Polly, is a cantankerous, take-no-prisoners Southern woman who lives to shoot varmints, drink margaritas, and antagonize the neighbors and she sticks out like a sore thumb among the young modern mothers of their small conventional Texas town. She was in her late fifties when Willow was born, so Willow knows she’s here by accident, a late-life afterthought. Willow’s father died before she was born, her much older brother and sister are long grown and gone and failing elsewhere. It’s just her and bigger-than-life Polly.

Willow is desperately hungry for clues to the family life that preceded her, and especially Polly’s life pre-Willow. Why did she leave her hometown of Bethel, Louisiana, fifty years ago and vow never to return? Who is Garland Jones, her long-ago suitor who possibly killed a man? And will Polly be able to outrun the Bear, the illness that finally puts her on a collision course with her past?

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Review: The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

I just happened to stumble upon Pam Jenoff’s books. I was part of a book blog tour a couple of years ago and one of the books for review was The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach.

I fell in love with her story telling and writing style almost instantly! I have since bought two more books by her!

This is one of the reasons I book blog….to find new authors. When I first picked up The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach, I was not really excited about reading it but I thought it sounded marginally interesting so I gave it a go and was so happy when I was hooked almost immediately!

So when her new book, The Orphan’s Tale came up for review, I jumped at the chance to read it early! Fan girl moment!

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep…

When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.
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