Edelweiss

Someone to Wed

Someone to Wed
Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday
Flashback Friday

Friday, November 17, 2017

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- The Last Chance Christmas Ball by Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley and More! Feature and Review



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Christmas 1815.

Upstairs and downstairs, Holbourne Abbey is abuzz with preparations for a grand ball to celebrate the year’s most festive—and romantic—holiday. For at the top of each guest’s wish list is a last chance to find true love before the New Year…

A chance meeting beneath the mistletoe, a stolen glance across the dance floor—amid the sumptuous delicacies, glittering decorations, and swell of the orchestra, every duchess and debutante, lord and lackey has a hopeful heart. There's the headstrong heiress who must win back her beloved by midnight—or be wed to another....the spinster whose fateful choice to relinquish love may hold one more surprise for her...a widow yearning to glimpse her long-lost love for even one sweet, fleeting interlude...a charming rake who finds far more than he bargained for. And many other dazzling, romantic tales in this star-studded collection that will fill your heart and spice up your holidays...

Contents:

Prologue by Jo Beverley
My True Love Hath My Heart by Joanna Bourne
A Scottish Carol by Susan King
Christmas Larks by Patricia Rice
In the Bleak Midwinter by Mary Jo Putney
Old Flames Dance by Cara Elliott
A Season for Marriage by Nicola Cornick
Miss Finch and the Angel by Jo Beverley
Mistletoe Kisses by Anne Gracie

READ AN EXCERPT:





MY REVIEW:


The Last Chance Christmas BallThe Last Chance Christmas Ball by Mary Jo Putney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Last Chance Christmas Ball is a 2015 Kensington Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Every year, countless new Christmas and holiday themed romance novels are released, and a good portion of them are anthologies. I always enjoy these short, heartwarming tales, and the sampling of stories from various authors. But, it has been a very long time since I've seen an anthology packed with stories written by so many talented and seasoned authors!

Jo Beverly, Mary Jo Putney, Patrica Rice, Nicola Cornick, Annie Gracie and many more!

As I mentioned before, I always enjoy these holiday themed collections, but with anthologies, there are often one or two stories in the group that are sub-par. But, every single story in this book was wonderful! There is a common thread that links the stories together, with the last chance for love Christmas ball, providing the opportunity to find love before the New Year.

Since all of the stories were so good, I had a hard time picking one stand out to review.

But, I managed to narrow it down to two:

In the Bleak Mid-Winter by Mary Jo Putney-

I have a huge soft spot in my heart for the tortured and scarred hero. So, this story naturally stood out for me.

Kim and Roxie grew up around each other, but didn't always see eye to eye as children. But, of course they fell in love and planned to marry, until Kim has to leave to fight the war. All their plans are squashed when Kim returns home scarred physically and shuts himself away in his Medieval castle refusing to see anyone, especially Roxie.

When his family begins to lose all hope for Kim, it is suggested his brother Edward step up and ask for Roxie's hand, an idea that starts to appeal to them both. But, before Roxie settles for companionship, she wants to attempt to approach Kim one more time….

This is a wonderful story, proving love can conquer anything, restore faith, ignite hope, and heal all manner of wounds. 4.5 stars


The second story I chose to highlight is “ A Season for Marriage” by Nicola Cornick.

Caroline's marriage to Piers is in trouble. Piers avoids her completely, even in the bed-chamber, which prompts Caroline to take desperate measures by running away. Piers will have to finally explain why he is pushing his wife away.

This is a heartbreaking story about an emotionally scarred hero who needs the help of his loving wife to help him overcome his fears and inhibitions. Caroline finally gets rid of her pent up guilt and Piers finally stops holding back and becomes the husband Caroline has been waiting for. This is a sensual little holiday tale that sends this couple off on their long overdue happily ever after. 4 stars
This is one of the best Christmas anthologies I've read in a very long time.







 GET YOUR COPY HERE:


https://www.amazon.com/Last-Chance-Christmas-Ball-ebook/dp/B01M0WH5F0/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-last-chance-christmas-ball-mary-jo-putney/1120552912



ABOUT THE AUTHORS:




A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USAToday bestselling author, Mary Jo Putney was born in Upstate New York with a reading addiction, a condition for which there is no known cure. Her entire romance writing career is an accidental byproduct of buying a computer for other purposes. 

Her novels are known for psychological depth and intensity and include historical and contemporary romance, fantasy, and young adult fantasy. Winner of numerous writing awards, including two RITAs and two Romantic Times Career Achievement awards, she has five times had books listed among the Library Journal’s top five romances of the year, and three times had books among the top ten romances of Booklist, the magazine of the American Library Association. 

Her favorite reading is great stories, but in a pinch she’ll settle for the backs of cereal boxes. She’s delighted that e-publishing can now make available books that have been out of print.



USA Today bestselling author Nicola Cornick has written over 40 historical romances and now writes Gothic time slip for HQ and Graydon House.

Nicola’s writing is inspired by her love of history and was fostered by a wonderful history teacher and by her grandmother, whose collection of historical romantic fiction fed Nicola’s addiction from an early age. She studied in London and Oxford and works as a guide and historian in a 17th century house as well as acting as a historical adviser for TV and radio. Publisher’s Weekly have described her as a rising star and her books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and for the Romance Writers of America RITA Awards.

Nicola lives near Oxford with her husband and dog. When she isn’t writing she enjoys long walks in the countryside, singing in a choir and volunteering as a puppy walker for Guide Dogs.

Readers can find out more about Nicola and her books from her website: www.nicolacornick.com. She can also be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nicola.cornick and Twitter @NicolaCornick



ALSO FEATURED:

ANNIE GRACIE

JOANNA BOURNE

PATRICIA RICE

JO BEVERLEY

SUSAN KING

CARA ELLIOTT

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Someone to Wed- by Mary Balogh- Feature and Review



ABOUT THE BOOK:


A very practical marriage makes Alexander Westcott question his heart in the latest Regency romance from the New York Timesbestselling author of Someone to Hold.

When Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can’t afford. But he fully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life. . . .

A recluse for more than twenty years, Wren Heyden wants one thing out of life: marriage. With her vast fortune, she sets her sights on buying a husband. But when she makes the desperate—and oh-so-dashing—earl a startlingly unexpected proposal, Alex will only agree to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them. He is totally unprepared for the desire that overwhelms him when Wren finally lifts the veils that hide the secrets of her past. . . .
 


READ AN EXCERPT:




MY REVIEW:

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3)Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh is a 2017 Berkley publication.

A tender, but redemptive love story, that gave me so many feels!


While this series has been quality reading up to this point, as is most anything Mary Bologh pens, I was still suffering a bit of a book hangover from the ‘Survivor’ series, which was absolutely amazing. Up to this point the first two books in the Wescott series have failed to really grab me in the same way.

However, this third installment was the perfect remedy for my previous lethargic response to the Wescott saga.

Alexander has been a wonderful character in this series and I am so happy he got his own story. With an inherited title, came a country estate in dire need of repair. With limited funds, his only choice is to marry for money.

It was therefore quite fortuitous when he is summoned to the home of Wren Heyden, a wealthy businesswoman who is looking for a husband. Her marriage proposal, which would simply be an a marriage of convenience,but one Wren hopes will quell her soul deep loneliness, and provide her with children, is very tempting to Alexander, and he can’t dismiss it out of hand.

The couple agrees to see how well they might get along before making any decisions, but this task is more difficult than it should be, due to Wren’s extreme social anxiety and awkwardness around other people.

Can the couple find a way around their differences or will Wren's insecurities prevent her from making a commitment?

Wren’s years in seclusion have made her appear aloof, or cold, when nothing could be further from the truth. She has endured so much, most of it needlessly, but with Alexander’s openness and willingness to draw her out, to encourage her to step out into the open more often, Wren flourishes.

Alexander may need to marry for money, something his family is very sad about, but every day he spends with Wren, the deeper he falls in love with her. He admires her unconventionality, her lack of pretentiousness, her intelligence, and incredible courage and inner strength, and so did I!! She is a most remarkable character, one that is both vulnerable and inspirational.

This story touched my heart! I loved this couple and their journey together!! The characters are front and center, there is no childish, immature angst, but the emotions and feelings of these richly drawn characters pulled at my heart, and, moved me deeply, evoking sincere empathy and compassion, which is Mary Bologh’s signature touch.

This is, quite simply, a beautiful love story, the kind we ALL need a lot more of!


GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Someone-Westcott-Novel-Mary-Balogh-ebook/dp/B06VTV29NX/ref

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/someone-to-wed-mary-balogh/1125762011


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Mary Jenkins was born in 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curling.

Mary Balogh started writing in the evenings as a hobby. Her first book, a Regency love story, was published in 1985 as A Masked Deception under her married name. In 1988, she retired from teaching after 20 years to pursue her dream to write full-time. She has written more than seventy novels and almost thirty novellas since then, including the New York Times bestselling 'Slightly' sextet and 'Simply' quartet. She has won numerous awards, including Bestselling Historical of the Year from the Borders Group, and her novel Simply Magic was a finalist in the Quill Awards. She has won seven Waldenbooks Awards and two B. Dalton Awards for her bestselling novels, as well as a Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award.
 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine- Feature and Review



ABOUT THE BOOK:

A mesmerizing debut psychological thriller full of delicious twists about a coolly manipulative woman who worms her way into the lives of a wealthy “golden couple” from Connecticut to achieve the privileged life she wants. 

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne and her husband, Jackson—the beautiful philanthropist and the confident real estate mogul—are a golden couple straight out of a fairytale, blessed with two lovely young daughters.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrish family, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces. 

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.




LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:





MY REVIEW:


The Last Mrs. ParrishThe Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine is a 2017 Harperluxe publication.

Slick, shrewd, and wickedly devious-

Daphne meets Amber at the gym, where they discover they share a terrible tragedy in common- the death of a beloved sister due to Cystic Fibrosis. The women, though from very different worlds, form a close bond.

Before long, Amber has become Daphne’s confidante, while also working for her CF foundation, and even helps Mr. Parrish went he needs an assistant.

But, Amber has plans, big plans, and in order to achieve her goals, she will walk over and step on anyone in her path- even Daphne-

This story was chilling, clever, and sinfully entertaining. Amber gets to set the pace in the first half of the book as she describes her cunning, and very manipulative nature. She’s not the timid, sweet, impressionable woman she appears to be.

Once she has clued us in on her diabolic plans, and once she has seemingly gotten what she came for, the story shifts gears, and Daphne takes control of the wheel.

It’s at this point, things really get interesting-

There are many breadcrumbs left on the trail, and if you follow them you probably won’t be all that surprised when you learn all that glitters, isn’t gold. But, that’s only part of the picture. Those who appear naïve, those appear in control, those who seem like innocent bystanders may not be as naïve, innocent or as in control as they appear.

By the time we get to the last section in the book, that old phrase about ‘what goes around comes around' came to mind, along with a few other books or movies in which the tables are turned in spectacular fashion, and revenge is carried out with carefully constructed scheming.


The book is not too big on shock and awe, instead opting for a stylish noir type atmosphere, which is more understated than many novels that land in this sub-genre, but it gets the job done, just the same, without going off the rails with unnecessary plot twists.

The characters were not overly developed, as we only see them in certain contexts, with was key to the story, nor did they evoke deep feelings or emotions, other than disdain or dislike, but by the time all is said and done, I had an enormous amount of respect for some of them.


What makes the novel work is the careful arrangement and pacing. The twists weren’t really all that surprising, but they are still delectable and immensely entertaining. The story is a bit of a cautionary tale, a warning to beware of what appears on the surface, to never judge a book by its cover, or blindly trust people. But, it was also a story of escape and empowerment- albeit, one with an unconventional approach, as well as a tale of retribution- which was the most satisfying part of this enjoyable parable.




Overall, this is an impressive debut novel, and I look forward to seeing what else these talented sisters will entertain us with in the future.

GET YOUR COPY HERE:


https://www.amazon.com/Last-Mrs-Parrish-Liv-Constantine-ebook/dp/B01N4QZ0KW/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-last-mrs-parrish-liv-constantine/1125531401

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Liv Constantine is the pen name of sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine. Separated by three states, they spend hours plotting via FaceTime and burning up each other’s emails. They attribute their ability to concoct dark storylines to the hours they spent listening to tales handed down by their Greek grandmother. THE LAST MRS. PARRISH is their debut thriller. Rights for THE LAST MRS. PARRISH have been sold in 19 other territories, including Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Korea, the UK, China, and Russia. Visit their website at www.livconstantine.com

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser- Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.


LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:





MY REVIEW:


Almost Missed YouAlmost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I almost Missed you by Jessica Strawer is a 2017 St. Martin’s Press publication.

Serendipity- Fate- Kismet-

This is the story of Violet and Finn, a couple who seemed destined to be together…

They met on a beach by chance, but that one encounter was enough to leave a lasting impression on them both.

But, for a long time they were like two ships that passed in the night, until yet another chance meeting finally cements them firmly together. But, for one of them the cement has begun to crack.

Out of the clear blue sky, Finn suddenly packs up his and Violet’s three year old son,'Bear', on what looks like a spur of the moment decision, and skips off to parts unknown, leaving everyone who knows the couple flummoxed and bewildered- including Violet and Finn’s best friend, Caitlin.

But, Caitlin soon finds herself in between the ultimate rock and a hard place when she must choose between Finn and Violet. Which one will she help? Which side will she take? Why did Finn leave his perfect marriage and why did he kidnap his son?

I had this book on hold at the library for a long time. I don’t know why there was only one digital copy of this book, but long story short, the wait time was very long. Truth be told, it had been so long since I had thought about this book, I’d forgotten the premise entirely.

As a result, I just dove into this book blindly, believing it to be a psychological thriller. Initially, the novel went right down that path. But, as time moved on, the story seemed to morph into something a bit more than that.

I was unprepared for the level of suspense that gripped me. It was so unbearable I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Every character has a secret and every secret carries an enormous consequence if they are exposed. Some secrets are scandalous, some are more minor, and some are incredibly heart wrenching.

This book was not exactly what I was expecting it to be, since, in my opinion, it’s not a traditional psychological thriller, or novel of suspense, which caught me completely off guard- and this is yet another one of those books that is hard to categorize. Having said that, this story blew me away, with its intensity, emotion, characterizations and dialogue. The pacing is so perfectly timed, the mere thought of putting this book down was untenable.

At the end of the day, this is a story of loss and tragedy, of ill -advised choices resulting in deeply held cataclysmic secrets that come back to roost in a most spectacular fashion. It’s a story of sacrifice, love, guilt and hope, which put me through an emotional wringer that left me nearly breathless.

It’s intense, but also has a beauty to it, with an ending that made feel as though a giant weight was lifted and that all would be well, just given a little more time, and what’s more, left me believing wholeheartedly in destiny, fate, kismet, and all the rest. Some things are just meant to be.









 GET YOUR COPY HERE:


https://www.amazon.com/Almost-Missed-You-Jessica-Strawser-ebook/dp/B01LM0F312/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/almost-missed-you-jessica-strawser/1123683326

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Jessica Strawser is the Editor-at-Large for Writer’s Digest magazine, North America’s leading publication for aspiring and working writers since 1920. Her debut novel, ALMOST MISSED YOU (St. Martin's Press), was a Barnes & Noble Best New Fiction Selection upon its March 2017 release, as well as a She Reads Book Club Selection and a PopSugar Best Spring Read. The book garnered accolades from such wide-ranging bestsellers as Chris Bohjalian, Adriana Trigiani, Lisa Scottoline, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and Garth Stein. Her second, NOT THAT I COULD TELL, is forthcoming from St. Martin's Press in March 2018, and a third is under contract for 2019. 

Her diverse career in the publishing industry spans more than 15 years and includes stints in book editing, marketing and public relations, and freelance writing and editing. A Pittsburgh native and “Outstanding Senior” graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, she counts her New York Times Modern Love essay and her Writer’s Digest cover interviews with such luminaries as Alice Walker, Anne Tyler and David Sedaris among her career highlights. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two children. 

She blogs at the WritersDigest.com “There Are No Rules” blog and elsewhere, tweets @jessicastrawser, enjoys connecting at Facebook.com/jessicastrawserauthor, and speaks at writing conferences and events that are kind enough to invite her.

Visit jessicastrawser.com to learn more, read some of her work and sign up for her email list to receive occasional updates and hellos.

Monday, November 13, 2017

I'm the one who Got Away by Andrea Jarrell- Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Fugitives from a man as alluring as he is violent, Andrea Jarrell and her mother develop a powerful, unusual bond. Once grown, Jarrell thinks she’s put that chapter of her life behind her—until a woman she knows is murdered, and she suddenly sees that it’s her mother’s choices she’s been trying to escape all along. Without preaching or prescribing, I’m the One Who Got Away is a life-affirming story of having the courage to become both safe enough and vulnerable enough to love and be loved.



READ  AN EXCERPT:




MY REVIEW:



I'm the One Who Got AwayI'm the One Who Got Away by Andrea Jarrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m the One Who Got Away by Andrea Jarrell is a 2017 She Writes Press publication.

Powerful, bold, and honest-

This memoir is like none other I have ever read. Andrea Jarrell grabbed my attention immediately by recounting her reaction to a neighbor’s murder, committed by the woman’s boyfriend. She may have seen a little of her own life reflected back at her, which prompted her to examine her own experiences with domestic violence, growing up with an abusive father.

As Andrea reflects on her childhood, her relationship with her mother, friendships, lovers, her own marriage and motherhood, she lays bare her soul, exposing her vulnerabilities, but most importantly, she rallies, showing her strength and determination to grab what she needs, and desires, without allowing those dark thoughts that dwell in the heart and mind to take control.

Andrea’s mother was really a victim of her time, meaning an era when expectations for women were far different than they are now. Her father was an actor, with a short run of success, an adulterer, who both physically abused her mother, and verbally abused Andrea.

Her upbringing was unconventional, nomadic, and turbulent, which of course had an impact on her emotional stability and maturity.

There are harrowing, raw and painful moments where the author exposes her most intimate fears and insecurities, but it is also quite an inspirational journey as well.

Andrea’s writing is fluid and vivid, often making me feel as though I was right there with her as she recalls these significant markers in her life. (Some of you may have read Andrea’s essay in the NYT times column- “Modern Love’, which led to this more complete memoir.)

With each phase of her life, Andrea has chosen to fight against personal demons to find contentment and peace, while also providing the secure home for her children she didn’t have. I think she manages to achieve the kind of family life she always hoped for by her determination to break chains, to keep history from repeating itself.

Overall, I am pleased with her outlook at this stage in her life, and the way she has reconciled with her past, and with the people who influenced her, supported her, and inspired her. She seems to have found the confidence and contentment that eluded her for so long and will step into the next phase of her life with grace, ready to embrace whatever comes next.

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Im-One-Who-Got-Away-ebook/dp/B073FVVKSL/ref

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/im-the-one-who-got-away-jarrell/1125527263

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Andrea Jarrell’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other popular and literary publications. She earned her BA in literature at Scripps College and her MFA in creative writing and literature at Bennington College. A Los Angeles native, she currently lives in suburban Washington, D.C.

Still Dead by J.A. Jance- Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Since the disbanding of the Special Homicide Investigation Team, J. P. Beaumont’s biggest concern is pondering whether he and his wife Mel should finally get a dog. But one voicemail from his old friend Ralph Ames is about to change that. Through Ralph, Beau has become involved in an organization called The Last Chance, which enlists a number of retired homicide investigators to tackle long-unsolved cold cases. The one that has just landed on Beau’s plate is a thirty-year-old missing persons case.

The facts are muddy at best; Janice Marie Harrison’s car was found abandoned near a bridge, and scratched in the dirt nearby was the word “sorry.” It’s possible her death was a suicide, but her body was never found. And as Beau begins to investigate, he discovers that no one connected to Janice—not her once-all-star football player widower, Anders; not her long-grieving sister, Estelle; not sheriff Gavin Loper, who was deputy sheriff at the time of Janice’s disappearance; and not Anders’s second wife Betsy—is exactly what they seem. The question is, which of them knows the truth?

And why have they kept it buried?
 

READ AN EXCERPT:




MY REVIEW:




Still Dead (J.P. Beaumont, #22.5)Still Dead by J.A. Jance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Still Dead by J.A. Jance is a 2017 Witness Impulse publication.


This short story reacquainted me with Beaumont after what has seemed like a lengthy absence, and whetted my appetite for more.

The case Beaumont is currently working on, with the ‘Last Chance’ organization, is a thirty -year old cold case involving the odd disappearance of Janice Marie Harrison. Her death is chalked up as probable suicide, but her sister is convinced Janice was murdered.

Initially, the case hit a dead end, but suddenly it’s blazing hot. Did Janice disappear on purpose, commit suicide or was she murdered?

Beaumont begins trying to piece together what happened to Janice thirty long years ago, and unearths a shocking and diabolical scheme. Will Janice’s family finally get the truth about what really happened to Janice?

I love Beaumont! I really do enjoy all of Jance’s series, but Beaumont and all his various trials and tribulations have endeared him to me, most of all.

So, anytime I have a chance to touch base with him, I grab it. This is a very short story, but Jance still manages to add details and emotion. I love cold cases, too, so I’m enjoying the direction this series is taking, and I love it when victims and their families get long overdue justice. Of course, it doesn’t bring the victim back, they are ‘still dead’ as Beaumont stoically points out, but the families are freed from the limbo they live in when they are robbed of answers.

Overall, despite time constraints necessitating a hurried pacing, which of course means compromising the usual building up of suspense- it is still a satisfying read, one that fans of this series will want to add to their collections. If you are new to this series or would like to sample a small taste of it, this novella would be a perfect place to start. You even get a very brief look at Beaumont’s past, so you won’t feel lost. This small nibble, though, might make you want to read a few of the older books in the series, so you can better appreciate this terrific character, and you definitely want to read all the upcoming installments.

I hope the next time I catch up with Beaumont, he is discovering the joys of pet ownership!!

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Still-Dead-J-P-Beaumont-Novella-ebook/dp/B073B49M68/ref

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/still-dead-j-a-jance/1126728572

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



J.A. Jance is the top 10 New York Times bestselling author of the Joanna Brady series; the J. P. Beaumont series; three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family; and Edge of Evil, the first in a series featuring Ali Reynolds. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

Friday, November 10, 2017

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin - Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.

Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.

Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.

READ AN EXCERPT:




MY REVIEW:



The Aviator's WifeThe Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin is a 2013 Delacorte Press publication.

I vaguely remember hearing some buzz about this book a few years back, but, like so many books I intend to investigate, this one fell off my radar and I actually forgot all about it. Then I picked up “The Swans of Fifth Avenue” and it was so good, I went straight to my Overdrive account and checked out “Alice, I Have Been” and this book… The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin.


This book is a work of fiction based on the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of the famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh.

I will confess, I tend to connect the Lindbergh’s to the horrible kidnapping and murder of their first child. I have read a few true crime books speculating on that case, and of course some insight was given as to what Anne and Charles were like behind closed doors. But, I’ve never read any kind of biography of  either Anne or Charles, so I was curious how the author would portray them.

I think many people were given the impression Anne was a quiet, shy lady, highly educated and articulate, and dignified. All these traits are presented here, but with fiction, we are free to explore what might have taken place behind closed doors, and hypothesize conversations and emotions. I believe the author did an amazing job of portraying Anne as a dutiful wife, a real lady, who found herself propelled out of her usual comfort zone, never entirely comfortable in the spotlight or in participating in all of her husband’s adventures. Yet, she grew to love flying and rose to all the challenges she faced as a public figure, married to a hero the entire world seemed to adore.


Historical fiction has become a favorite genre for me over the past couple of years. I love these books based on the wives of famous men or on infamous figures we only know from their public personas. However, not all historical fiction is created equally, especially when the portrait painted of the subject doesn’t ring true, or is flat out implausible, or entirely too many liberties have been taken with historical facts.

I readily admit, I knew very little about Anne Morrow before starting this book, but I felt this characterization of her was very believable and evoked a wide range of emotions in me. Often, heroes have feet of clay, and as we all know, Charles Lindbergh was no exception. He was a man of many accomplishments, but in his private life he was moody and difficult and emotionally unavailable to his wife and children, not to mention the eventual revelations of his double life.

Anne was long suffering, believing herself to be weak, having to fight tooth and nail to enjoy her role as a hands on parent, and rising to the occasion when Charles all but abandons her. Was Anne a saint in contrast with Charles’ infidelities? Apparently not, and I’m a strong, strong believer in the old adage about ‘two wrongs, not making a right”, however, one couldn’t help but feel for Anne and her plight and given the situation, I didn't hold it against her to the same extent I may have in other circumstances.
Anne, also made some monumental errors in judgment, most notably her stance on the war with Germany as she backed her husband's political views.

The only complaint I had, was that the story did drag on for a bit, and the ending, seemed just a bit abrupt as I did not find Charles’ explanations gave Anne the type of closure she deserved, and I was left feeling a little puzzled by how this portion of the story was presented.

Did Anne know about Charles’ secret life? One may never really know, but I do think she and Charles tried to ensure his legacy remained intact after his death, so the public and his children were spared the humiliation of knowing of his foibles.

(Note: Over the past few years, many details of Charles’ other families have been made public)

Overall, this is a story of marriage, of family, of failures, and triumphs and the personal growth of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, a woman of fortitude, strength, ultimately gaining her own independence, soaring high on her own contributions and achievements. I was impressed by the author's ability to remain neutral in regards to Anne's life, and did not attempt to sway the reader one way or another, but I did find myself sympathizing with Anne and gained a respect for her as she faced incredible adversity and endured more than anyone could have imagined.

I was impressed by this intimate portrait of Anne Morrow and think perhaps Melanie Benjamin has this historical fiction thing down to a science. I’m really looking forward to reading more of her novels.

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Aviators-Wife-Novel-Melanie-Benjamin-ebook/dp/B0092EE3K8/ref

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-aviators-wife-melanie-benjamin/1112313549

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Melanie Benjamin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. An avid reader all her life--as a child, she was the proud winner, several years running, of the summer reading program at her local library--she still firmly believes that a lifetime of reading is the best education a writer can have.

While attending Indiana University--Purdue University at Indianapolis, Melanie performed in many community theater productions before meeting her husband, moving to the Chicago area and raising two sons. Writing was always beckoning, however, and soon she began writing for local magazines and newspapers before venturing into her first love, fiction.

By combining her passion for history and biography, she has found her niche writing historical fiction, concentrating on the "stories behind the stories." Her most recent novel, THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, a novel about Truman Capote and his high society Swans, is a New York Times, USA Today and Indiebound best seller, as was her novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, THE AVIATOR'S WIFE. Her first novel, ALICE I HAVE BEEN, was a national bestseller; this was followed by the critically acclaimed THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. Her next novel, THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE, a novel about early Hollywood and the creative friendship between Mary Pickford and Frances Marion, will be out in January 2018.

She and her family still live in the Chicago area; when she's not writing, she's gardening, taking long walks, rooting for the Cubs--

And reading, of course.