The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

Description (via Net Galley)

In this spellbinding and suspenseful debut, a young woman haunted by the past returns home to care for her ailing mother and begins to dig deeper into her sister’s unsolved murder.

Sixteen years ago, Sylvie’s sister Persephone never came home. Out too late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, Persephone was missing for three days before her body was found—and years later, her murder remains unsolved.

In the present day, Sylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie, as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Prone to unexplained “Dark Days” even before Persephone’s death, Annie’s once-close bond with Sylvie dissolved in the weeks after their loss, making for an uncomfortable reunion all these years later. Worse, Persephone’s former boyfriend, Ben, is now a nurse at the cancer center where Annie is being treated. Sylvie’s always believed Ben was responsible for the murder—but she carries her own guilt about that night, guilt that traps her in the past while the world goes on around her.

As she navigates the complicated relationship with her mother, Sylvie begins to uncover the secrets that fill their house—and what really happened the night Persephone died. As it turns out, the truth will set you free, once you can bear to look at it.

The Winter Sister is a mesmerizing portrayal of the complex bond between sisters, between mothers and daughters alike, and forces us to ask ourselves—how well do we know the people we love most?

Well – I got this one a while ago via Net Galley (thank you!) and I started it right away and could not put it down! It was a suspenseful read and not easy to figure out. I really liked Sylvie’s character and I had my fingers crossed for a happy (or at least uplifting) ending with a sense of resolution and forgiveness. I was not disappointed! I read it in two evenings because I wanted the resolution.

As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

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Oh my goodness, I loved this historical fiction novel about an ordinary family during an extraordinary time. The Bright family is moving to Philadelphia and it’s the outbreak of WWI. Along with the war comes the pandemic of Spanish Flu, which kills thousands of previously healthy young people. This family has to much loss to deal with, crisis, and challenges. Then in one of their darkest hours, one of the daughters finds a little baby and takes him home so that they can raise him and bring some light into their lives.

This story is told in the four distinct voices of the four main character women: Evelyn, the intelligent, eldest daughter, Maggie, who finds the baby and is quite determined, Willa, the spunky and headstrong youngest, and their gentle, kind mother Pauline. I loved the story and the characters and the message.

I have never read any of Meissner’s other novels, so I will need to look for them.

Thank you for my review kindle copy via Net Galley!

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DEVOTION by Meg Kerr

A few months ago, Prism Publishers in Canada sent me a pdf of Meg Kerr’s new novel DEVOTION, a continuation of Pride and Prejudice. Thank you!!

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Here’s the overview:

After answering in her first novel Experience some burning questions that Pride & Prejudice fans have always asked — just how happy ever after were Elizabeth and Darcy following their wedding? And what became of the other Bennet sisters?— in her companion novel Devotion Meg continues  the story of the Darcy family, with particular attention to Darcy’s younger sister, Georgiana.

Devotion follows the now 20-year-old Georgiana Darcy. While her brother sets out without her knowledge to secure her a husband, Georgiana, upon receipt of a long-delayed letter, embarks on a secret journey—leading to a chance meeting with a charming yet wicked young man with nefarious intentions.

The story is full of intrigue, romance and humour, it also brings to the forefront stories of some other characters first introduced in Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice, including Caroline Bingley and Pen Harrington, and seamlessly introduces new characters while maintaining the integrity of Austen’s beloved classic tale.

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I have to be honest, now, and say that normally I detest these types of novels as authors rarely “get it right” (remember – I spend my spare time cavorting around the home of the Alcott’s and I consider Louisa May a kindred spirit. No one has captured LMA’s storytelling skills to date.).

I have to say that I loved this story! I loved the writing and was amazed by how well Ms. Kerr captured the nuances of 19th century style. I enjoyed the storyline and I think that others who love Austen will, too.

FROM JULY 15-JULY 19, 2017 YOU CAN GET DEVOTION FREE FOR YOUR KINDLE VIA AMAZON! Woot!

Here’s a bit about her (I want her to visit Boston so I can show her Orchard House and we can talk about the 1800’s. I will wear my hoop skirt!):

What do you do when you live in the twenty-first century but a piece of your heart lies in the nineteenth? If you are author Meg Kerr you let your head and hand follow your heart. With her love of country life—dogs and horses, long walks in the woods and fields, dining with family and neighbours and dancing with friends, reading and writing and the best conversation—and her familiarity with eighteenth and nineteenth century history and literature, Meg has a natural gift to inhabit, explore and reimagine the world that Jane Austen both dwelt in and created, and to draw readers there with her.

Her forthcoming book, Devotion, will be available in the summer of 2017.

 Here are a few videos of Meg talking about her novel – check them out!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/472d9xav1c9qprc/DEVOTION_3TheOthers.mp4?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/l8uxexsw4qsz6pz/DEVOTION_2MrDarcy.mp4?dl=0

 

 

DUTY TO THE CROWN by Aimie Runyan

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Via GoodReads:
Set amid the promise and challenge of the first Canadian colonies, Aimie K. Runyan’s vividly rendered novel provides a fascinating portrait of the women who would become the founding mothers of New France.

In 1667, an invisible wall separates settlers in New France from their Huron neighbors. Yet whether in the fledgling city of Quebec or within one of the native tribes, every woman’s fate depends on the man she chooses—or is obligated—to marry.

Although Claudine Deschamps and Gabrielle Giroux both live within the settlement, their prospects are very different. French-born Claudine has followed her older sister across the Atlantic hoping to attract a wealthy husband through her beauty and connections. Gabrielle, orphan daughter of the town drunkard, is forced into a loveless union by a cruel law that requires her to marry by her sixteenth birthday. And Manon Lefebvre, born in the Huron village and later adopted by settlers, has faced the prejudices of both societies and is convinced she can no longer be accepted in either. Drawn into unexpected friendship through their loves, losses, and dreams of home and family, all three women will have to call on their bravery and resilience to succeed in this new world…

Praise for Promised to the Crown
 
“A heart-wrenching and timeless tale of friendship, love and hope that skillfully blends history and romance to educate, entertain and inspire.” –Pam Jenoff, author of The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach (less)

ebook, 352 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Kensington
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I absolutely love this historical fiction series about the young women who were “Daughters of the King” – sent to Canada as the “New Land” to marry and populate for the good of France in the 1600’s. This was Book 2 in the series, and it continues the story of the characters introduced in Book 1, with individuals growing older as the books go along. Three young girls from Book 1 are now young women, and they have many trials and tribulations to face as they tackle pioneer life in the 1600’s. I love how these books encompass the highs and lows of life — births, deaths, joys, and sorrows.
I can’t wait for Book 3!
Thank you to the author who sent me this copy as she knew how much I enjoyed Book 1!
BBC – what are you waiting for? Make a miniseries from these novels!!

THE TUMBLING TURNER SISTERS by Juliette Fay

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I had heard about this book a while ago (it publishes on Tuesday the 14th) and I thought I would like it – I was not wrong! Juliette Fay – a new author for me – does a spectacular job of making 1920’s vaudeville come alive through the story of four sisters, and their mother, who create an acrobatic act in order to make money for their family during tough times.

Here’s the overview via Net Galley:

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YA Review: THE SECRETS WE KEEP by Trisha Leaver

Publishing on April 28 is the YA read: THE SECRETS WE KEEP, which I got as an ARC from Net Galley.

Teenage twins Ella and Maddy might be identical, but their personalities are very different. Maddy is the “golden girl” – popular, beautiful, homecoming queen material. Ella is more introverted, artistic, and quiet. When a tragic accident leaves Maddy dead and Ella in the hospital, her first words are “Maddy”. Thus begins the charade where Ella decides to take on Maddy’s personality and live Maddy’s life, to make up for the fact that Maddy’s life was cut short.

This was the kind of book that I would have absolutely loved as a teen! I actually really enjoyed it as an adult, too. As a mother, my heart just about broke for Ella, as she felt herself less worthy than her more outgoing and popular sister. As always, I enjoy books with themes of self-forgiveness and self-growth.

Recommended for older YA readers, this is a book that could leave you wondering, “What would I do?”

See this book at an indie bookstore near you — I am an Indie Bound affiliate:


Find it at an Indie!

Quick Review: FIRST FROST by Sarah Addison Allen

I love Sarah Addison Allen’s writing. I’ve read all her books (such as GARDEN SPELLS, LOST LAKE, THE PEACH KEEPER, etc.) and was so excited when my husband got FIRST FROST for me. This novel continues the story of the Waverly sisters, and their families who we were first introduced to in GARDEN SPELLS (you can see my review from 2011 here: https://drbethnolan.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/quick-review-garden-spells-by-sarah-addison-allen/).

This You Tube book trailer says it all better than I could (since a picture is worth 1,000 words!):

Fans of Ms. Allen should not miss this one! A satisfying and reaffirming read.

Find it at an indie near you:


Find it at an Indie!