Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners (Review)

by Gretchen Anthony

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Best Books of Fall 2018 Selection by PopSugar

Dearest loved ones, far and near—evergreen tidings from the Baumgartners!

Violet Baumgartner has opened her annual holiday letter the same way for the past three decades. And this year she’s going to throw her husband, Ed, a truly perfect retirement party, one worthy of memorializing in her upcoming letter. But the event becomes a disaster when, in front of two hundred guests, Violet learns her daughter Cerise has been keeping a shocking secret from her, shattering Violet’s carefully constructed world.

In an epic battle of wills, Violet goes to increasing lengths to wrest back control of her family, infuriating Cerise and snaring their family and friends in a very un-Midwestern, un-Baumgartner gyre of dramatics. And there will be no explaining away the consequences in this year’s Baumgartner holiday letter… Continue reading “Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners (Review)”

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The Light Over London (Review)

by Julia Kelly

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Reminiscent of Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, this sweeping, entrancing story is a must-read for fans of remarkable women rising to challenges they could never have predicted.

It’s always been easier for Cara Hargraves to bury herself in the past than confront the present, which is why working with a gruff but brilliant antiques dealer is perfect. While clearing out an estate, she pries open an old tin that holds the relics of a lost relationship: among the treasures, a World War II-era diary and a photograph of a young woman in uniform. Eager to find the author of the hauntingly beautiful, unfinished diary, Cara digs into this soldier’s life, but soon realizes she may not have been ready for the stark reality of wartime London she finds within the pages.

In 1941, nineteen-year-old Louise Keene’s life had been decided for her—she’ll wait at home in her Cornish village until her wealthy suitor returns from war to ask for her hand. But when Louise unexpectedly meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base, everything changes. And changes again when Paul’s unit is deployed without warning. Continue reading “The Light Over London (Review)”

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Swimming in the Deep End (Review)

by Christina Suzann Nelson

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A moving novel entwining the many faces of motherly love.

Jillian Connors has the perfect daughter: loving and smart, she’s an Olympic hopeful with a bright future. But when Gabby becomes pregnant, Jillian fears that future is lost. Worse, she must confront her own secret past and hope the decisions she’s made don’t drown their whole family.

Gabby can’t believe God let this happen to her. She knew the risks, but who thinks about that when they’re in love? Now she has to face the consequences–and the disappointed stares from everyone who thought she was the perfect Christian girl. At least she has the baby’s father, Travis. Nothing can tear them apart, right?

Margaret Owens had determined dreams for her son. She’s furious that Gabby’s pregnancy jeopardizes his college baseball scholarship and terrified that Travis will be trapped in a life of struggle and poverty–the life she’s tried so hard to save him from. She’ll do anything to protect him–even if it means forcing him to leave Gabby.

Stacey Meyers is aching for a child of her own. But the son she was meant to adopt was taken before she could hold him in her arms. It feels like she’ll never stop mourning; even the move to this new town hasn’t distracted her from the pain. How can she and her husband find peace? Is there any hope of a family in their future?

And in the midst of all this . . . an unborn baby. Whose arms will hold him in the end? Continue reading “Swimming in the Deep End (Review)”

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The Chateau by the River (Review)

by Chloé Duval

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A faded photograph will lead one young woman to a ruined French castle where she will discover the truth of her own identity . . . and the enduring mystery of love.

Traveling to France on business, Alexandra Dawson has decided to seize the opportunity to explore a mysterious piece of her own heritage—a half-burnt picture of a woman who looks eerily like her, taken more than a hundred years ago in a local castle. In the charming rural village of Chandeniers, she discovers something else too—the gruff, ruggedly good-looking heir of the crumbled chateau. Eric Lagnel is completely uninterested in Alex’s queries, until he realizes that she may have stumbled on a way to save the building. Their unlikely partnership is a surprise. But as Alex slowly unravels the secrets of her great-great-grandmother’s photograph—and the true history of the chateau—she begins to understand that no one is ever prepared for the ways love can heal old wounds and open the hardest hearts. Continue reading “The Chateau by the River (Review)”

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The Girls at 17 Swann Street (Review)

by Yara Zgheib

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Yara Zgheib’s poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting portrait of a young woman’s struggle with anorexia on an intimate journey to reclaim her life. 

The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street Continue reading “The Girls at 17 Swann Street (Review)”

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House of Gold (Review)

by Natasha Solomons

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The House at Tyneford, an epic family saga about a headstrong Austrian heiress who will be forced to choose between the family she’s made and the family that made her at the outbreak of World War I.

The start of a war. The end of a dynasty.

Vienna, 1911. Greta Goldbaum has always dreamed of being free to choose her own life’s path, but the Goldbaum family, one of the wealthiest in the world, has different expectations. United across Europe, Goldbaum men are bankers, while Goldbaum women marry Goldbaum men to produce Goldbaum children. Jewish and perpetual outsiders, they know that though power lies in wealth, strength lies in family.

So Greta moves to England to wed Albert, a distant cousin. Defiant and lonely, she longs for connection and a place to call her own. When Albert’s mother gives Greta a garden, things begin to change. Perhaps she and Albert will find a way to each other. Continue reading “House of Gold (Review)”

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