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The Summer Wives
by Beatriz Williams
The Summer Wives (1/9/2019)
Miranda has come back after eighteen years to the island where she has spent every summer since her mother married into the prestigious Fisher family. She hasn’t told anyone the reason why she has returned to Winthrop’s Island with bruises that no one mentions, but since she stays for a relatively long time, the reason can be assumed even though it might be the wrong guess.

Miranda's return isn’t a welcome event even after all of this time, though, because of her testimony at the trial of the lighthouse keeper’s son back in 1951 when she was eighteen and in love with the accused.

Miranda hadn’t grown up with the elite and wealthy. When her mother married Hugh Fisher after her father was killed in WWII, she is introduced to that life and also sees how the year-round residents who fish and work as domestics live.

THE SUMMER WIVES goes back and forth from 1930 to 1951 and then to 1969. We learn about Miranda’s life, the lives of the Fisher and Monk families, the lives of other island residents, and how the lives of the domestic help are all connected by one specific incident during those years.

I enjoyed the story from the 1950’s the best. It was the most interesting and the least confusing. The 1930’s didn’t make sense to me how it fit in, but as I kept reading, I found out that it kept a secret and held a BIG surprise.

Ms. Williams has written another book that will hold your interest but has a bit of confusing story line with all the back and forth.

THE SUMMER WIVES is a story of the typical antics and lives of privileged families. We learn that most of the Winthrop Island families may have had money, but most of them are not happy.

THE SUMMER WIVES has a great setting, good story line, and has characters with problems and secrets both past and present.

I enjoyed Ms. Williams’ latest even though it dragged a bit at times, but the ending had it all coming together and was very satisfying. 4/5

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Next Year in Havana
by Chanel Cleeton
Next Year In Havana (1/9/2019)
The Perez girls were the talk of the town for many reasons.

The day they had to leave Cuba was not pleasant but a necessary event.

We meet the girls when their family was prosperous and in power, and then we move to when the granddaughter of Elisa Perez, Marisol, comes back to Havana as a grown woman and a journalist to find a place to spread her grandmother’s ashes in her beloved Cuba.

What her granddaughter finds is a box that her grandmother had buried and was told to keep for Marisol. What Marisol finds inside the box is upsetting and reveals something no one ever knew or perhaps something Elisa never told anyone.

Marisol is determined to find out more, but is warned about the danger of looking into someone's past.

Ms. Chantell has a mesmerizing effect on you as you read about the adventures and lives of the Perez girls and of living in Cuba then and now.

Her descriptions of the scenery, the kitchens, the food, and simply everything is detailed, beautiful, and exquisite.

Let’s not forget that absolutely gorgeous cover, and remember that no book can be complete without a little bit of love and romance.

The book was a lesson in the history of Cuba and its people. If you have an interest in the history of Cuba, NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA will be a book you won't want to miss.

The secret that Marisol finds out about her grandmother is sweet but heartbreaking.

ENJOY if you read NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA. 4/5


This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.
As Bright as Heaven
by Susan Meissner
As Bright As Heaven (1/9/2019)
From a small town in Pennsylvania as a family rolling tobacco leaves for a living to Philadelphia as a family living and working in a funeral home.

The Brights made a big change from their quiet life in Quakertown to the noisy, big city of Philadelphia. Both the city and the job Thomas Bright had were quite different from what they were used to.

The girls had to leave their friends and make new ones, but most folks weren't interested in being friends with a funeral director's daughter. Pauline Bright was always solemn and quiet since the death of her infant son, but she seemed a bit better but different in Philadelphia.

Along with the change in their lives comes Thomas going off to war and then the Spanish flu arriving full force and killing thousands.

AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN has the reader following and becoming immersed in the lives of the Bright family. They were a sweet, unassuming family that you will want to be a part of and to get to know better.

The reader will also learn about The Spanish Flu and its devastation of the population around the world. If you are like me, you will do research of your own about the Spanish Flu.

Ms. Meissner has written another touching book that teaches us some history as well as teaches us about the goodness of mankind and its generosity in times of a crisis.

Another marvelous, heartfelt read by Ms. Meissner you won't want to miss. You will fall in love with the characters and won't want the book to end.

AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN has a beautiful story line, beautiful research, and beautiful characters.

You will also need a few tissues. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher, NetGalley, and BookishFirst. I received an ARC. All opinions are my own.
Once Upon a River
by Diane Setterfield
Once Upon A River (1/9/2019)
Storytelling at the Swan is the favorite past time of the crowd and the reason so many men stop by for their drinks.

One night the storytelling became real when a man who had been hurt and a small girl who appeared as if she had drowned fell through the inn’s front door.

Then a miracle happened....the girl came alive again. The townspeople and their storytelling ways had many questions, and some thought the girl was one of their own who had passed.

We follow the characters as they try to interpret what happened as we are treated to Ms. Setterfield’s beautiful, poetic, descriptive style.

And...we can’t forget the character, the Thames River....it is a part of everyone’s lives and what the story line revolves around.

The ending of each character’s story made the statement....”Something is going to happen,” and something definitely did.

ONCE UPON A RIVER beautifully and slowly unfolded as the mystery of the little girl was revealed and as we learn about the lives of the characters.

If you enjoy a Gothic theme, and a story line with intriguing as well as odd characters, ONCE UPON A RIVER should be a book you will enjoy.

I do have to say it was a bit long, but Ms. Setterfield's marvelous storytelling skills make you want it to go on even longer especially once the mystery is revealed and you find out more about the characters. 4/5
She Lies in Wait
by Gytha Lodge
She Lies In Wait (1/8/2019)
What could have happened to Aurora? Someone knows but isn't telling.

Uncovering bones from a thirty-year-old disappearance/murder case wasn’t something the police thought would happen after their very thorough search and investigation back then.

The remains of fourteen-year-old Aurora Jackson was a shock to the six teens that had been with her as well as the town and her parents. Everyone believed she had been kidnapped or had run away not murdered.

SHE LIES IN WAIT goes back and forth from 1983 to the present telling the story of what happened at the campsite, how the investigation was exhaustive and came up with nothing, and moves to present day with the interviewing of the now-adult teens and the re-opening of the case.

Opening the case meant bringing the six friends together at the station for a meeting. Was that a good idea or had there been collaboration beforehand? Are they all only going to try to save themselves? Will one of the friends say things that had not been said before and reveal something that could get that person arrested?

The investigation turned up some facts that had been overlooked and involved a person that was not one of the six friends.

SHE LIES IN WAIT moves smoothly from one chapter to the next and holds your interest because of all the questions about what really happened and who was lying back then and who was still lying now.

If you enjoy being a detective, you will definitely enjoy SHE LIES IN WAIT.

The story line is good and nicely carried out with some twists and of course secrets being kept. 5/5
The Confession: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery
by Charles Todd
The Confession (12/31/2018)
Furnham was a fishing town with very unfriendly residents that could spot an unfriendly outsider immediately when he walked into town. Ian Rutledge was the stranger that screamed police, and the residents screamed nothing but coldness and silence. What could they be hiding, and why would they deny that they knew anything about the dead man in the photo when he had relatives in the town and had lived there nearby as a child? The residents of Furnham were an odd lot with loyalty to each other and the entire town.

Rutledge definitely felt all the answers to the murdered man were in this small fishing town, but getting the information was going to prove to be difficult. He returned time after time much to the anger of the town’s residents, but the clues were there....they just had to be “dug” out. Another thing to consider too.....was the current investigation connected to past people and past disappearances and murders? Is that why the town was so closed mouthed?

Don’t miss out on this one ……Ian was on another great investigation in this Todd mystery and, of course, Hamish was there as well. The setting, the twists and turns of the storyline, the subplots, and the fascinating, well-described characters will again keep you involved and turning the pages.

I always look forward to an Ian Rutledge mystery....you get completely involved with the story and characters. 5/5
The Paris Winter
by Imogen Robertson
The Paris Winter (12/31/2018)
Who wouldn't want to spend the winter in Paris? Maud was in Paris starving and freezing as an art student when Tanya, a wealthy woman, befriended her and helped Maud obtain a position in a home to take care of a young lady.

Maud found out the accommodations brought about more than a warm place to stay and good meals. Sylvie, the young lady she was taking care of, smoked opium and stole things, her "brother" wasn't very honest, and nothing was what it seemed. What else was going to happen, and what did she get herself into?

What was supposed to be a life-changing winter turned out to be a winter of lies, danger, deceit, and murder.

The beginning of THE PARIS WINTER was a bit slow, but as the tale unraveled, there was nothing slow, nothing short of deviousness, and nothing short of
intrigue. Don't give up too soon.

You will feel sorry for Maud, you will love Tanya and Yvette - they are actually comical and so loyal to Maude, you will hate Sylvie and her "brother," and you will question all that goes on with them and question their motives.

I thoroughly enjoyed THE PARIS WINTER because of the well-developed, unlikeable, devious, corrupt characters and the unpredictable, twisted plot with a marvelous, thrilling ending. This thrilling ending was set during the Paris flood of 1910 and was a perfect connection to Maud's intentions.

Don't miss reading THE PARIS WINTER. You will be pulled in just like the flood waters of Paris pulled in its citizens. THE PARIS WINTER is an alluring, captivating historical read.
House of Thieves
by Charles Belfoure
House of Thieves (12/31/2018)
Gambling debts, robbery rings, and high society and thugs blending together for a marvelous read.

HOUSE OF THIEVES takes us back to the late 1800's when women needed escorts and when men were their protectors. The men definitely protected their wives and families and kept secrets from them as they carried out their days.

The secret John Cross kept from his wife, though, was one he couldn't keep for long. When he returned home one evening with bruises and cuts, John had to tell his wife about his "deal" with Kent. The secret he kept was that their son, George, had racked up a gambling debt that he couldn't pay, and Kent came to John with a deal John wasn't able to pass up.

John wasn't able to pass it up because it was a good deal. John wasn't able to pass it up because it was a deal that he had to accept to keep his family safe. If he didn't go along with Kent, John saw what Kent was capable of.

The deal took every waking minute of John's time and was something he would never dream of doing or being a part of. If he got caught, he would ruin his family, but better to be ruined than dead.

The characters seemed quite authentic. John Cross made me afraid for him, Kent was despicable and ruthless, George made me angry that he would continue to do what he did to put his family in this situation even after his father told him he knew of his dangerous obsession. Kent seemed as if he were just playing John Cross and his son's debt would never be settled, but John Cross had to keep finding homes and banks to rob so his family was safe.

You will get pulled into the time period and the storyline as you wonder how someone could be as evil and cunning as Kent and as your fear for John Cross and his family mounts.

Mr. Belfoure has authored another intriguing, well-written, captivating book. Mr. Belfoure pulls you in with his marvelous research and storyline about the life styles of the wealthy as well as the poor during this era.

If you enjoy being treated to history, an alluring storyline, and an "oh my goodness" ending, HOUSE OF THIEVES will take you there.

One chapter after another keeps you mesmerized as unbelievable, possible events happen.
The House We Grew Up In
by Lisa Jewell
The House We Grew Up In (12/31/2018)
Four children then three, traditional chocolate-Easter-egg hunts ?where you had to save the foil wrappings, a tidy house and then a very cluttered one.

The Bird family was loving but very eccentric with Lorelei, the mother, being the oddest of all and who kept a secret that made her hold onto things.

Colin her husband re-installed the wall in their once duplex house and lived next door to his wife, Megan turned out to be a neat freak, Beth never left home until she was 30 because she thought her mother needed her, and the twins were total opposites as well as having a tragic incident happen to them.

There were a lot of strange things about the Birds, but they all loved each other. As the years went on and the children grew into adults?, Lorelei still held onto their childhood toys, clothes, blankets, ?and even drawings as she herself remained an adult? child and a compulsive shopper and hoarder. The children couldn't believe what was in their childhood home when they visited and how they had to navigate through a small path surrounded with things Lorelei just had to have and couldn't part with.

If you want to read a book that will have you shaking your head but also not wanting to put the book down because of total enjoyment, you will want to read THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN. The storyline and writing were marvelous.

I enjoyed THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN because of the unique, creative storyline with characters that kept you wanting to know how each of their lives would turn out. They all were quite unconventional, but you couldn’t help but love them.

THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN will have you thinking back to your childhood and wonder if what happened in the home you grew up in has actually shaped you into the person you are today.

We definitely can't forget the cover. It is absolutely gorgeous with the egg being the basis of the Bird family's many memories of their Easter egg hunts which kept them all connected.

Along with being a beautifully told story, THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN has a happy ending along with characters you will remember long after you turn the last page.

I don't think there will be any reader no matter what their preferred genre is who won't get caught up in this splendid story.

My rating is going to be a 4/5 simply because I was lost in the beginning pages, but the rest of the book definitely made up for my being lost.

Make THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN a must read for yourself.
The Girls in the Garden
by Lisa Jewell
The Girls In The Garden (12/31/2018)
Moving into a garden park community after their beautiful home was burned down definitely was a change for Pip and Grace as well as their mother Clare.

They lost everything in the fire and had to start from scratch. They also lost their father but not to the fire.

The park and specifically its residents were quite odd. The main characters were teenagers who could run free and do whatever they wanted in their park gardens.

There are a lot of present and past secrets hiding among the residents that keep up the intrigue from the first few sentences that tell of a young girl found in the bushes either unconscious or dead.?

THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN was more about the characters and their personalities rather than having a plot. It was quite an unconventional book but the oddity of the book is what kept me reading.

Pip was my favorite character. She tried to stay away from the "gang" and not participate in all the bizarre happenings of the teenagers. A few of the adults were definitely different too and seemed to have the biggest secrets.

If you enjoy a different read with different characters along with a bit of a mystery, THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN is definitely a read you will enjoy.

The book's suspense and the guessing who caused the young girl to be found in the bushes was non-stop until the last word on the last page.
Then She Was Gone: A Novel
by Lisa Jewell
Then She Was Gone (12/31/2018)
A very odd set of characters awaits the reader in THEN SHE WAS GONE.

Two families are the main focus and somehow they become blended by a chance meeting.

Laurel’s family has been mourning their daughter Ellie’s death for ten years, and then her body is found. Meanwhile the family has fallen apart - a divorce for Paul and Laurel and sort of an estrangement between their children. Floyd‘s family has a precocious daughter, Poppy, who looks like Ellie and a sister that is quite different.

The more time Laurel spends with Poppy, the more confused she becomes about her personality, her outlook on life, and how Laurel sees her dead daughter in Poppy.

Laurel finds clues that seem to connect Floyd and Poppy to Ellie.

THEN SHE WAS GONE had an undercurrent of doom and sinister things lurking. The sinister thing seemed to be the tie to all of the heartache the characters were experiencing both present and past.

THEN SHE WAS GONE kept my interest, but I can't say it was a thriller until the past was coming into the picture and the book went back in time to tell us the story of how Ellie went missing. It was more of a study of personalities and families as well as lies.

If you enjoy a turn-around, revealing ending with a few creepy characters, you will enjoy THEN SHE WAS GONE.

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