Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Name 3 things with Samantha March

Please welcome Samantha March, author of The Christmas Surprise, as she lets us into her life with our Name 3 Things interview!

About Samantha:
Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things beauty, fashion and fitness. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has four published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, A Questionable Friendship and Up To I Do and the holiday novella The Christmas Surprise. You can also find her on Youtube sharing beauty reviews and creating makeup tutorials. When she isn’t reading, writing, or vlogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

Connect with Samantha:
 Website      Facebook    Twitter     Goodreads

Samantha March on Name 3 things:

Name three things one wouldn’t normally expect to find…

 In your fridge

1. Mounds of cheese. My husband and I like to buy hunks of cheese and slice them up for quick snacks.
2. Jarred everything. My husband also likes to pickle, can, and all that fun stuff, so we always have at least one shelf filled with these items. Beware of the spicy pickles!
3. A stray can of pop. We don’t allow ourselves soda in the house because we would drink it too much, but we always have that one can/bottle in there for desperate times. 

In your purse

1. A nametag that isn’t mine. So I can get free parking at a local amusement park ;)
2. A dog toy. Because my purse is like my diaper bag…for my dog
3. A watch that no longer works. Why? No clue. I found it when looking through my purse for this question!

In/On your bedside table

1. Canadian coins. They’ve been in a little jar since my trip to Canada…which was 3-4 years ago now!
2. Scarves. I’ve never figured out where to put them, so there they are!
3. My old licenses. I’m not really sure why I want to hold on to these (to laugh at the photos) but they are in a little container on my nightstand as well!

In your car

1. A yoga mat. Because you never know when you need to hit downward dog. 
2. Insurance cards from the last 5 years. Because I never thrown anything away.
3. Ice cream on the steering wheel. Because I have an obsession with ice cream. And I spill a lot.

On your desk/writing spot

1. A penny from the year my grandparent’s married. My lucky penny is always buy me, including in my shoe on my wedding day.
2. A back massager thingie jingie. Because I’m always sore.
3. A mala. For good vibes.

In the "junk drawer"

1. Razor blades. I have no clue, but I’m guessing my husband.
2. A rubber band ball. Again, my husband
3. Four pencil erasers but no pencils. This is my husband’s drawer.

In your closet/garage/storage room

1. Tulle. Our storage room is full of unused tulle from our wedding…three years ago.
2. Ten yoga mats. Yes, ten.  
3. All my swim suits. I don’t have enough room in my closet, so my swimsuits live in the storage room. 

In your music or movie collection

1. A DVD of me performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in high school.
2. That’s basically the extent of my movie collection, minus my husband’s DVDs. I don’t watch movies – that’s weird, right?!

On your bookshelf

1. Socks. When I take my socks off to workout but I’m going to put them back on, I throw them on my bookshelf to keep away from my dog. Sometimes I might forget they are there.
2. Makeup brushes. A whole shelf is dedicated to my makeup brushes. 
3. A Cubs bobblehead. #WorldSeries 

The Christmas Surprise- a novella

Juliette Mabry is a happily married stay-at-home wife and mother...until there appears to be trouble brewing in her nearly ten-year marriage. Juliette takes it upon herself to find out if her husband is up to no good, but does she want to know the truth? Everything is revealed on Christmas, and Juliette is in for her biggest Christmas surprise.

Available at:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Secrets in the Sky by Pauline Wiles

4 Star

How far should you go to keep a secret?
No-one ever accused Sophie Campbell of being a coward. From caving trips to rooftop pranks, it appeared nothing could hold her back, especially once she landed a dream job promising travel all over the world.

But Sophie’s jet-setting lifestyle is not what it seems and she’s been spending more time in the quiet English village of Saffron Sweeting than she cares to admit. When her beloved Great Aunt Wol dies suddenly, Sophie loses one of the few people who truly know her. As friends, family and an old flame gather for the funeral, questions soon follow. Worse, Sophie finds herself increasingly attracted to the man most likely to expose her secrets. Can she manage to guard her past, yet finally follow her long-held dream?

Kathryn - 4 Star

Secrets in the Sky was a surprise read for me. I wasn’t initially sure what to expect because I didn’t immediately understand the thought process behind the actions of some of the characters.  They seemed to be behaving oddly- which makes sense now as many of them are harbouring some secrets from each other.  However, I was immediately on Sophie’s side for no other good reason than that I liked her from the get-go.  Something about her earnestness made me want her to succeed but she seemed to be having a hard time determining what she wanted her success to be and her insistence about keeping her job a secret from her mother made me a bit crazy.

Pauline Wiles inserted some vastly irritating (but amusing) personalities into the plot of this novel. Namely a rather vocal bird, a rather frustratingly simple ex-boyfriend/current boyfriend and a number of interfering villagers but there were also some steadfast friends.  Her roommate was sweet and I liked both the real-estate agent who was on Sophie’s side and the American woman who ran the support groups.   

My only hesitancy with my overall feelings was that I felt more warmth could have been made between the sisters.  I think there was something missing in their interactions or perhaps it was just their age gap that created this, or their unusual upbringing?  But I wished for more closeness there.

The novel was charming and the romantic plot twists were sweet.  I wouldn’t hesitate to read another novel about Saffron Sweeting!

Thank you to the author for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Pauline Wiles:
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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Watching Edie by Camilla Way

5 Star

Beautiful, creative, a little wild… Edie was the kind of girl who immediately caused a stir when she walked into your life. And she had dreams back then—but it didn’t take long for her to learn that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

Now, at thirty-three, Edie is working as a waitress, pregnant and alone. And when she becomes overwhelmed by the needs of her new baby and sinks into a bleak despair, she thinks that there’s no one to turn to…

But someone’s been watching Edie, waiting for the chance to prove once again what a perfect friend she can be. It’s no coincidence that Heather shows up on Edie’s doorstep, just when Edie needs her the most. So much has passed between them—so much envy, longing, and betrayal. And Edie’s about to learn a new lesson: those who have hurt us deeply—or who we have hurt—never let us go, not entirely…

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

Yet another stellar thriller from 2016! This book was reminiscent of a Single White Female theme. I cannot imagine the type of obsession that one can foster such as was portrayed in this book but it was well portrayed and make me get goosebumps a few times!
Edie and Heather definitely have a very odd relationship and not one that seems comfortable or normal by any means. The book was told in both of their points of view and went back and forth from past to present. It was a bit tricky to get used to it in the beginning and to sort out who was who, but once I caught on the book remained fairly fast paced.
The book is quite suspenseful, and very unique. It addressed all kinds of themes, such as the aforementioned obsession, friendship and what kind of betrayal both can bring. The main point was that not everything is as it seems and although I could not identify with either character, probably mostly because I found them somewhat creepy, I still truly enjoyed this book and the shocking things that happened.

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Camilla Way:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The French War Bride by Robin Wells

4.5 Star

At her retirement home in Wedding Tree, Louisiana, ninety-one-year-old Amelie O’Connor is in the habit of leaving her door open for friends. One day she receives an unexpected visitor—Kat Morgan, the ex-fiancĂ©e of her late husband, Jack.

Kat and Jack were high school sweethearts who planned to marry when Jack returned from France after World War II. But in a cruel twist of fate, their plans were irrevocably derailed when a desperate French girl overheard an American GI’s confession in a Parisian church. . .

Now, Kat wants to know the truth behind a story that’s haunted her whole life. Finding out how Amelie stole Jack’s heart will—she thinks—finally bring her peace. As Amelie recalls the dark days of the Nazi occupation of Paris, The French War Bride reveals how history shapes the courses of our lives. . .for better or for worse.

Kathryn- 4.5 Star

The French War Bride was a great surprise read for me as I’ve never read a book by Robin Wells and I was a bit concerned that it was part of a series and that I would have missed something having not read part one. It would appear though that the plot is entirely independent. I was immediately drawn into the story with Kat visiting Amelie in her retirement home in present day Louisiana. Amelie is a bit snarky and edgy and Kat is equally antagonistic and the fact that they were both in their 90’s gave me a great thrill at their spirit. Kat is intent on getting to the bottom of their shared history, their shared romantic attachment to Jack and how he ended up with Amelie.  Despite their nit-picking at each other you could tell that the love they had for the same man was true. 

Amelie is persuaded to tell her half of the story because she feels that Kat will rest more easily with the truth but she’s certainly not willing to allow Kat to believe that she was entirely to blame for the breaking of Jack’s promise to Kat before he left to serve in France.  Amelie story is filled with tragic losses and unthinkable circumstances during France’s occupation but she’s not innocent, she knows there are things she should not have done. I liked her spirit though and her feelings for Jack were tender and true.  Jack’s sense of honour, of doing the right thing, made both women’s lives difficult.  I wish he’d been there to tell his side of the story at times.  I did end up feeling a bit sorry for Kat, she was left without an explanation and though she was demanding and difficult it was not her fault that she was abandoned in such a way.

Their stories intertwine and as Amelie recounts her part to Kat you can see how it happened- but in the end I’m not sure I would have been entirely satisfied if I was Kat? 

Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Robin Wells:
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Friday, November 18, 2016

The Twilight Wife by A.J.Banner

4 Star

Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.

But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.

As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

For fans of Gone Girl and that genre, this book is sure to pique your interest and with good reason! I have found myself gravitating towards the suspenseful genre of book and this one was quite satisfying. Initially quite confusing, each new piece of the puzzle began slotting itself together until everything came together. There were no huge and shocking surprises yet I was quite surprised at what the truth behind the story was even though it really made sense and there had been hints along the way.

I had to admire Kyra and her tenacity. Despite quite debilitating physical symptoms caused by her accident, she kept on searching to regain her memory and to ultimately find out the truth. I can only imagine how exhausting and terrifying it would be to lose one's memory so completely and to forget exactly who you were.

The depths of the deceptions and the lengths taken by some in this story are quite chilling. I find myself wondering if it is possible and I suppose that for the most devious of us, it definitely would be.

My only complaint is that this story came together way too quickly in the end. Too quickly for my liking at least. I wish that it could have continued on as I really enjoyed the writing style and plot.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with A.J.Banner:

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wildflower Bay by Rachael Lucas

5 Star

This little island has some big secrets...

Isla's got her dream job as head stylist at the most exclusive salon in Edinburgh. The fact that she's been so single-minded in her career that she's forgotten to have a life has completely passed her by - until disaster strikes.

Out of options, she heads to the remote island of Auchenmor to help out her aunt who is in desperate need of an extra pair of scissors at her salon.

A native to the island, Finn is thirty-five and reality has just hit him hard. His best friends are about to have a baby and everything is changing. When into his life walks Isla . . .

Amazon   Kindle   Kobo

Kathryn - 5 Star

Wildflower bay is the first novel I've read by Rachael Lucas and I loved it. It's exactly the feel I needed from a story when I was reading it and I appreciated the ease with which I was immediately immersed. 

The nature of the island lifestyle and the inhabitants was felt across the pages and made me utterly content. When I was little we used to visit my great-aunt on an island off of Scotland and I pictured it as the same sort of place. The people were friendly and happily expected to help each other when needed.

I loved Isla. She was the right mix of together and uncertainty and though a little prickly and rigid at first I warmed to her right away because I knew she was genuine. Her friends and family were also immensely likeable and the whole story had a simple reality to it that I enjoyed from start to finish.   The loveable Ruth is both wise and witty and she nurtures Isla when she needs it the most- without being insufferable. I also quite fell in love with Isla’s father who was a man of many hidden strengths in his quiet way. Though the romantic nature of the plot is apparent with Finn, there is also a clever progression to their relationship that was a little bit different than the norm and I liked it.  I also appreciated that Rachael Lucas gave plenty of history to the supporting characters and followed them through in the plot.

There are books before this one and some after that relate to characters from the island and I have itchy buying fingers to buy and read some more.

Thank you to Pan MacMillan for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Rachael Lucas:
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Monday, November 14, 2016

The Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant

3 Star

Help yourself to a generous slice of Victoria sponge, a perfect cup of tea and a big dollop of romance. Welcome to the Little Village Bakery.

Meet Millie. Heartbreak has forced her to make a new start and when she arrives at the old bakery in the little village of Honeybourne she is determined that this will be her home sweet home. Her imagination has been captured by the tumbledown bakery but with no running water and dust everywhere, her cosy idea of making cakes in a rural idyll quickly crumbles.

Luckily the locals are a friendly bunch and step in to help Millie. One in particular, Dylan, a laid-back lothario, soon captures her attention.

But just as Millie is beginning to settle in, an unexpected visitor from her past suddenly turns up determined to ruin everything for her. It’s time for Millie to face the skeletons in her closet if she’s going to live the dream of running her little village bakery, and her blossoming romance with Dylan.

Kathryn - 3 Star

The Little Village Bakery (Honeybourne#1) drew me in immediately because I was instantly enamoured with Jasmine and her chaotic self. I found myself charging through the pages and loving the way the light romantic plot unfolded.

Perhaps the sweetest aspect of the novel was Dylan and his desire to reform his playboy ways and win over the un-wooable Millie. I was pleased by Dylan and Jasmine’s sibling relationship and their history had obviously cemented their bond into adulthood, which was touching- the fact that they lived in the same village was obviously not by accident.   Ruth was also a wonderful character- busybody but lonely neighbour in the village who just wanted to get into everybody’s business…she was a perfect caricature of herself.

I did have some trouble warming to Millie though. She didn’t bring with her a lot of information except to imply that she was on the run from her past. While her past is eventually explained I didn’t really glean enough from it to explain why she was in hiding- even with the appearance of her ex-sister in law. There was also some hinting at supernatural powers with Millie (and not simply an in depth knowledge about herbal medicine) and I was confused as to why this never played out in the story.
I enjoyed the novel and am eager to read the next one- hopefully having set the scene in the village the next novel will have a bit more impact for me on all the characters rather than just the few I felt from the first novel.  I feel perhaps I should go back and read other prior novels that may include Millie and her past? But I’m really eager to find out if Millie makes a success of her bakery in the next book.

Thank you to Bookouture for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Tilly Tennant:

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Name 3 things with Laura Chapman

Please welcome Laura Chapman, author of Three & Out, as she lets us into her life with our Name 3 Things interview!

About Laura:

Laura Chapman is the author of Going for Two, First & Goal, The Marrying Type, Hard Hats and Doormats and the Autumn and Tuck series, which appear in All I Want for Christmas, Merry & Bright and A Kind of Mad Courage. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. 

Connect with Laura:
 Website      Facebook     Twitter    Goodreads

Laura Chapman on Name 3 things:

Name three things one wouldn’t normally expect to find…

 In your fridge

Bottle of aloe - I’m a delicate flower (at least when it comes to my pale skin) so I keep chilled handy on the rare instances I get a sunburn or the more frequent cooking related burns. Aloe is soothing in general, but the cold gel gives more instant relief.
Bowl of ketchup packets - I don’t often have need for ketchup and I’m too cheap to buy condiments I don’t use regularly. Instead, I horde the extra packets I get when I order takeout. 
Beer mug - I technically keep this in my freezer, but I have it there for when my dad visits so he’ll have chilled mug for his beer.
In your purse

Notebook - I never know when inspiration will strike, so I keep writing utensils handy. I come up with a lot of my dialogue and inner monologue when I’m out and about.
Bottle opener - I received a free bottle opener keychain a few years ago and it has proven to be a pretty useful thing to have. It’s come in handy at more than a few parties and picnics.
Name badges - I have one that grants me access to my day job at a museum (and free movies on Thursday nights) and one that I use for identification when I mentor a middle school student once a week. I stash them in my purse so I always know where to find them.

In/On your bedside table

Humidifier - In addition to being delicate, I apparently also have the immune system of a toddler in daycare. I typically have a semi-constant series of colds from October to March that evolve into allergies during spring. The humidifier helps me breathe while I sleep.
Library books - I know every bookworm has books on their nightstand, but I store mine there so I won’t lose them before they’re due.
My journal - I don’t write in it faithfully, but I keep it by my bedside so I can use it to log my thoughts at the beginning or ending of the day. 

In your car

Packing tape - I struggle enough with getting to the post office as it is, so I keep packing tape there to have one less obstacle when I finally get my act together.
Folding beach chair - I have one in my trunk in case I ever make an impromptu stop at a park so I have somewhere to sit. I use it every week in the summer when I go to my dad’s band concerts in the park.
T-shirt quilt - I (poorly) made this out of the shifts I received from my high school activities. I now keep it in my car because it’s too ugly for my house. But it’s perfect for picnics or in case (God forbid) I was ever caught in inclement weather. I used to write safety publications so I like to be prepared for things like that.

On your desk/writing spot

Tiara and captain hat - I have these on the shelf next to my desk, because I am a nerd and sometimes I like to be a princess or a captain while I write. 
Porcelain pig note holder - I bought this from Magnolia (the stores Chip and Joanna from Fixer Upper own) as a reward for finishing the first draft of my next novel. It doesn’t hold notes well, but it’s cute.
Framed photo of Brad Richards - Okay kind of a long story, so settle in, but a few years ago, during a day of football watching, my brother asked what kind of professional athlete I’d marry if I could have my pick. After much deliberation, I decided on hockey. (My reasoning was that I’m not a devoted fan of any team so I wouldn’t have to worry about my personal allegiances and I kind of have a thing for Canadians. Plus those shoulders…) Later that day, while my brother flipped through his ESPN magazine, he said, “Hey, I think I found someone for you.” It was a profile for Brad Richards, who was then with the New York Rangers. It detailed his leadership, community service, wine fridge, and childhood on Prince Edward Island. I was sold. (I’ve been semi-obsessed with PEI since reading the “Anne of Green Gables” books.) I had found the future Mr. Laura Chapman. This became a running joke for us, which unfortunately one time involved him sending a Tweet of my computer background (which happened to be of Brad’s spread in ESPN’s body issue) to the man himself. A couple of years later, he gave me a beautiful picture frame for my birthday. Rather than leave he generic photo in it, he substituted one of Brad. I found this hilarious, so I left it. Hey, it’s nice eye candy while I write, and it still makes me laugh. I’ve found levity is an excellent resource when writing.

(And with that, let’s see if I can make up some time with quick answers for the next few after sharing that novel-length answer.)
In the "junk drawer"

Apple pie-scented air freshner plug-ins - They’re my favorite.
Call of Duty disk the previous tenant left behind - Just in case he realizes it’s missing and asks for it.
Mini football cupcake toppers - These are helpful when you write football-oriented love stories and like baking to celebrate. 

In your closet/garage/storage room

Blank canvases - In case I ever decide to become an artist.
Stuffed animals - I took “The Velveteen Rabbit” to heart and even though I’m 30, I can’t part with my childhood favorite.
Christmas sweaters - Ugly sweater parties have been a big part of my holiday social calendar the past decade.

In your music or movie collection

“Monster Squad” - One of the dumbest movies I grew up watching, I still love to see it every October.
Several Robin Hood adaptations - I’ve been a sucker for this story ever since I saw the Disney cartoon and Kevin Costner versions when I was little (RIP Alan Rickman).
“Highlander” - An ex-boyfriend left this at my place years ago and I feel bad tossing out someone else’s property. But I’m also probably never going to see him again. It’s a vicious little circle. 

On your bookshelf

Bunches of mysteries - I grew up reading Agatha Christie and Carolyn Hart with my mom, and I’m still a fan of a good whodunit. 
“Catcher in the Rye” - I’ve never read it, and I really don’t plan to any time in the future, but it ended up on my shelf somehow. 
Random resource books on everything from dream analysis to elections - You never know what you’ll need to know more about when you’re writing your next book.

Three & Out

After rushing to the altar and moving across the country, Harper Duquaine (or is it MacLaughlin, now?) is in uncharted territory. What once seemed like a promising opportunity to advance her husband’s career while giving her some much needed independence and adventure has proven to be a bust. By the time fall rolls around again, she’s back in a boring job by day and overstocking her inventory of crocheted scarves by night. Not even the prospect of a new football season holds much excitement.

At least that’s what she thought. Harper suddenly finds herself the manager of not one but two fantasy football teams—each with its own set of drama. Between the added pressure of her new marriage, an unexpected career prospect, and the hiccups created by people from her past and present worlds, Harper quickly finds herself going from bored to overwhelmed.

Can she hold up under the pressure, or will Harper learn the hard way that the turf isn’t always greener on the other field? 

Available at:
Amazon Barnes & Noble Kindle Kobo Nook 

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

5 Star

Nine Lives. Four Generations. One Family. The MacEntees are no ordinary family.

Determined to be different from other people, they have carved out a place for themselves in Irish life by the sheer force of their personalities. But when a series of misfortunes befall them over the course of one long hot summer, even the MacEntees will struggle to make sense of who they are.

As media storms rage about them and secrets rise to the surface, Deirdre plans a family party for her 80th birthday-and with it one final, shocking surprise. 

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I have long loved Irish writers and am ecstatic to have discovered Kathleen MacMahon with this book. I particularly enjoyed the writing style and how the story of the MacEntee family played out.
Fairly successful and accomplished, Deirdre's children all have their own interesting stories that are told culminating in hers. I particularly enjoyed that the story was told from various viewpoints as I feel this always lends an authenticity to a tale.

Each character, from ex husband Manus, to their children bring their own distinct happenings to the book. And that is precisely what this book seemed to be to me. A bunch of happenings all wrapped together into a very enjoyable book. It felt like hearing about someone's day or week and catching up with them.

The book has some very funny moments and some bittersweet ones as well, much like life does. I was truly happy to have read this book and make no mistake, it isn't a short read but a rather lengthy one! But one that left me feeling rather nostalgic and almost like missing a friend.

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Kathleen MacMahon:
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Karolina's Twins by Ronald H.Balson

4 Star

Lena Woodward, an elderly woman, enlists the help of both lawyer Catherine Lockhart and private investigator Liam Taggart to appraise the story of her harrowing past in Nazi occupied Poland. At the same time, Lena’s son Arthur presents her with a hefty lawsuit under the pretense of garnering her estate—and independence—for his own purposes. Where these stories intersect is through Lena’s dubious account of her life in war-torn Poland, and her sisterhood with a childhood friend named Karolina. Lena and Karolina struggled to live through the atrocity of the Holocaust, and at the same time harbored a courageous, yet mysterious secret of maternity that has troubled Lena throughout her adult life. In telling her story to Catherine and Liam, Lena not only exposes the realities of overcoming the horrors of the Holocaust, she also comes to terms with her own connection to her dark past.

Karolina’s Twins is a tale of survival, love, and resilience in more ways than one. As Lena recounts her story, Catherine herself also recognizes the unwavering importance of family as she prepares herself for the arrival of her unborn child. Through this association and many more, both Lena and Catherine begin to cherish the dogged ties that bind not only families and children, but the entirety of mankind.

Kathryn - 4 Star

This story is not going to pass by without an impact which one could likely predict from the synopsis. I wasn’t quite prepared though to be so touched by the current day aspect of the story as the one from the past. Though perhaps not written with the same intensity I still found the relationship between Lena and Catherine to be earnest and with true warmth. The animosity between Lena and her son also drew more depth to Lena’s history and the secret she’d been holding for so many years.  I think the present day action added to the overall plot.

The historical line of the plot was written with precision and conveyed everything you would expect from the time period. I felt clearly both the setting and the feelings of those involved. It was horrific and I suppose therefore well executed.  My feelings for Lena and Karolina bordered on maternal as I read their pain, frustration and fear regarding their situation when they were teenagers. It was a strange to feel maternal towards them as we meet Lena when she’s quite obviously not a child in the present time-line of the book.  But I was also drawn into the friendship between the girls as they tried to navigate impossible life choices later on in the plot- I was alongside them when they fell in love in inconceivable surroundings and found myself tentatively hoping that they would all survive.

The author certainly wove a story worth reading and telling- I wasn’t shocked by the secret revealed at the end but was eager to find out the outcome for Lena’s sake.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Ronald H.Balson:
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