The SEAMSTRESS of NEW ORLEANS by DIANE C.McPHAIL

Can we take a look at this gorgeous cover? Stunning!

It’s 1900 and a new century has dawned and women are making some noise. Fighting for equality in a man’s world.

Alice Butterworth knows all of those rules. She also knows she needs to find a job as it looks like her husband is not going to be returning from his business trip. Desperate and broke, she overhears women talking about Mardi Gras in New Orleans. How a seamstress can flourish there. And Alice is a good seamstress. So to New Orleans, she goes. Carrying a parting gift from the no-good husband. A baby.

She finally arrives at an orphanage where she can stay and teach sewing to the older girls.

Constance is a young mother and wife. Her husband is shady at best. He isn’t coming home either. She knows this for certain. She works very closely with the orphanage and meeting Alice she offers her lodging with her little family while she helps her create a gown for the Leap Year Ball for Mardi Gras. It’s an all-women Krewe which at that time was forward. But she needs something to take her mind off of the fear she feels. Who is the mysterious man following her? And why?

This is a story of women helping women. Of being brave and standing together. While there was quite a bit of Mardi Gras trivia, this was ultimately about empowering women.

NetGalley/May 31st, 2022 by Kensington Publishing Corp. A John Scognamiglio Book


BLOOMSBURY GIRLS by NATALIE JENNER

Bloomsbury Girls

The internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society returns with a compelling and heartwarming story of post-war London, a century-old bookstore, and three women determined to find their way in a fast-changing world.

The war is over in London and the delightful Evie Stone is back. Having completed her studies at Cambridge she is hoping to get a position at the school. However, in typical fashion, the position goes to a man.

Using one of her contacts from The Jane Austen Society as a reference, she applies for a job at Bloomsbury Books. Selling new and rare books and resisting change in any form for a hundred years. Run by men and the fifty-one rules. Yes, 51.

But it’s 1950 and things are about to be shaken up like a snow globe with Evie’s arrival.

The women who work here, Vivien and Grace are tired of all of the men treating them as less than. Vivien’s fiance died in action in the war and Vivien is angry about a lot of things. Being passed over for a job she is very qualified for as well as her mortal enemy Alec, Head of Fiction. Vivien wants to write. She is constantly writing. Alec wants to write but never can.

Grace, the married one in the group is a glorified secretary who is just trying to support her family after her husband came back from the war a different man. A mean man who she wishes she could leave.

And then there is Evie. One of the first class of female students allowed to graduate and earn a degree at Cambridge. But Evie isn’t there to just work out a system for the messy rare book section, she has a purpose and is looking for something. Something she found at the great house in Chawton.

A chance meeting with Daphne Du Maurier has lit a fire under these women. Why can’t they follow their dreams? When other women join their cause, such as Peggy Guggenheim, Sonia Blair, Ellen Doubleday, and others, things are getting done. Have the women outplayed the men here? Oh, yes. And it is delicious.

I am so happy to see Evie! I so wanted to hear how she was getting on. And in this tale, she may even find love!

Very Well Done once again!

NetGalley/May 17th, 2022 by St. Martin’s Press







THE MAGNIFICENT LIVES OF MARJORIE POST by ALLISON PATAKI

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post

An epic reimagining of the remarkable life of Marjorie Merriweather Post, the American heiress and trailblazing leader of the twentieth century, from the New York Times bestselling author of Sisi

Marjorie Merriweather Post was not born in the type of wealth that would later allow her to own Mar-a-Lago and entertain heads of state from around the world. She grew up modestly in Battle Creek, Michigan after her family came there for the curative methods of Dr. Kellogg. Yes, that Kellogg. And yes, that Post, as in Grape Nuts. What her father learned while there led him to mass-produce cereal and food that was quick and easy to fix allowing the housewives to not live in the kitchen.

Her father encouraged her ambitions. He wanted her educated and able to form her own opinions. Marjorie took all of those lessons to heart. She lived and loved with all of her being.

Her first job was gluing cereal boxes in the barn. While she would go on to become the Cereal Heiress, she always gave more than she received.

She wasn’t very interested in the rules of society when it came to what she should or should not do and she threw herself into whatever she was passionate about. She was the wealthiest woman in the USA before she turned thirty. She was passionate about so many causes and love. She was loved, betrayed and had some ugly things to deal with as well. She married four times and gave her all. She was an amazing woman who left an amazing legacy behind.

I loved getting to know Marjorie. What a woman! And Pataki fills this book with such passion it isn’t difficult to find yourself staying up past your bedtime!

NetGalley/ February 15th, 2022 by Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine

Sister Stardust by JANE GREEN

Sister Stardust

Jane Green reimagines the life of troubled icon Talitha Getty in this transporting story from a forgotten chapter of the Swinging ’60s 

A reimagining of Talita and Paul Getty living the rich and exciting life that small- town Claire can only dream about. But she has dreams and heads for London.

After some fortuitous meetings, she finds herself invited to stay at their home in Morocco. A place teeming with hedonistic pleasures and famous people.She quickly adapts to this world of art, music , drugs and partner -swapping. And socialite, Talitha Getty takes her under her wing and shows her a different side to the glamour. While Claire, at first so charmed by these odd people, finds herself not sure at all she would want this permanantly.

The book is told by Clair, after she and her daughter find boxes and boxes of beautiful things from Morocco, along with a note from Talitha asking her to return. And so begins a mother telling her daughter the fabulous adventures she had as well as the heartbreak.

What a fascinating look at this period in time. When musicians were gods and groupies were everywhere. Claire just wanted a glimpse of the Stones but she got way more than she bargained for. While she loved Morocco, she could never justify the things that happened there that change and ruined so many lives.

I absolutely loved this book. I learned so much about that time period and the famous and infamous people of that time. This was a well told and much loved book.

I enjoyed it immensely.

NetGalley/April 5th, 2022 by Hanover Square Press


  

BLACKOUT by SIMON SCARROW

Blackout

Berlin, December 1939

So much tension in this one! The Nazis are quickly taking over and everyone is a little paranoid and terrified. There are shortages, blackouts, and murders.

The wife of one of the Nazi lawyers is found murdered. Brutally so. CI Horst Schenke is following the law and doing his investigation. He is already suspicious in the eyes of his superiors for not registering for the Nazi party.

When another body comes up he thinks they may be looking at something truly evil. But who is to be trusted? No one.

This was a tense read. Not only are the Nazis making life impossible for everyone in the country, but they fight among themselves just as cruelly. It was amazing to see someone stand up to them and get some sort of justice.

NetGalley/ March 29, 2022, Kensington Publishers

UNDER THE GOLDEN SUN by JENNY ASHCROFT

Under the Golden Sun

Rose Hamilton is boarding the train to meet her Uncle and her brother for tea. Rose is at odds with her life at the moment. World War II has everyone on edge. She is still healing from being dismissed from military service and is engaged/not engaged to a truly narcissistic man. When she happens to see in the paper an advertisement for a companion to a young child. The job would be accompanying the child to Australia where his family will meet him and give him a good home.

On a whim, she stops in to apply for the job. She meets Vivian who is in very poor health and needs to be sure someone she can trust will care for a five-year-old Walter. A shy little boy whose mother has died and whose father is unknown. Walter tugs at her heartstrings hard. And she immediately knows she will take the job.

Walter and Rose board a ship during a scary time. With ships being bombed and enemy ships around, not to mention the seasickness.

Being on the ship in such close quarters Rose has become quite fond of Walter and him of her. When they finally land no one is there to meet them. When a hand shows up he deposits them in the pouring rain at a house with no one home. Or is there? What is wrong with these people? And why is his Uncle Max so distant and not in the least expecting them?

Secrets and family. Can one child and one rather headstrong woman change them all? Or will more misunderstandings cause her a broken heart?

Jenny Ashcroft writes so well you feel fully immersed in whatever world she has created. The colors of the Australian sky, the smells of the ocean liner, the heat so hot you can feel it.

A beautiful historical fiction novel that will move you to tears!

NetGalley/March 15th, 2022 St. Martin’s Press



THE TSARINA’S DAUGHTER by ELLEN ALPSTEN

The Tsarina's Daughter

Ellen Alpsten’s stunning new novel, The Tsarina’s Daughter, is the dramatic story of Elizabeth, daughter of Catherine I and Peter the Great, who ruled Russia during an extraordinary life marked by love, danger, passion and scandal.

I love Historical Fiction. This book took a true story and added in what could have been said or happen.

This is the story of the Romanovs. Peter and Catherine, herself not his first wife, but a former serf. The lovely Tsarevna Elizabeth and her sister are the only children left of their union. And they were born before the couple wed, so yes they are illegitimate. The only son was executed for treason and his infant son banished.

While she is adored and has an embarrassment of riches, nothing actually belongs to her. Everything can change without notice. And when Peter dies, Catherine rules. But not for long and she isn’t very good at it and trusts people who would see them all dead.

When Catherine dies, Elizabeth is pretty much banished and penniless. But she does have the support and loyalty of the soldiers and people of Russia. When the crown is turned over to an infant, Elizabeth will find herself out in the cold and in mortal danger. Elizabeth has a decision to make. Remove an innocent child and rule herself or be executed for treason. And while she abhors bloodshed, she will be fine with banishing you to Siberia.

I love Elizabeth. She went from spoiled and carefree to a warrior. There was so much opulence and overindulgence here it was embarrassing. The Imperial Court was full of snakes in waiting. Everyone looking to move up a notch and not caring how they did it. Elizabeth was such a courageous and sly heroine and I adored her and this book!

NetGalley/March 15th, 2022 by St. Martin’s Griffin

The Orchard by Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry

The Orchard

Four teens in the 1980’s are all living in the last days of the USSR. However, none have the exact same experiences.

Told by Anya, whose parents have a dacha and an apple orchard and food to eat. Best friend Milka has nothing but an abusive step-father and whatever she can find to eat. Together with their friends, Trifonov and Lopatin, they make the best of the situations they are in. They may fight and bicker but they have each other’s back.

There is a heavy influence going on with Chekhov and his The Cherry Orchard. Anya’s parents talk of the collapse of the government and how bad things are going to be and have been since WWII. There seems to be a great divide in this country. Those who have it all and those who don’t. Even after the fall, there is so much more food and luxuries, however, only a few can afford them.

When an unspeakable event turns their lives upside down their friendships fade. Anya will move to the US and marry a good man and not return for 20 years. And when she does, not much has changed, just the players.

This was a very good story. Fiction, but not. Russia is such a secretive place and we know very little firsthand about life there. And they have their perceptions of other countries as well. This beautiful book made me laugh, it made me cry and I would read it all over again. These women were strong and made something out of nothing. I was very impressed.

NetGalley/March 15th, 2022 by Ballantine Books





LOVE & SAFFRON by KIM FAY

Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love

This witty and tender novel follows two women in 1960s America as they discover that food really does connect us all and that friendship and laughter are the best medicine.

It’s the sixties in America. Joan Bergstrom is just twenty-seven. She lives in Los Angeles with her mother and is writing for the newspaper. Imogen lives outside of Seattle and has a small cabin on Camano Island as well. She writes a monthly column for a magazine. Joan and her mother are big fans so one day Joan writes her a letter and encloses some saffron.

And just like that their lives are changed. Enriched by a love food. While Imogen is much older than Joan, the language of good food and exotic spices know no age limits. They begin a fast friendship through letters that take them through many sad times and even unexpected events in their own personal lives.

Soon Imogen’s husband is caught up in the food experience. The saffron has unlocked a memory and from there he is invigorated and excited about life again. Joan introduces them to the multi-cultural food found in Los Angeles as well as a secret about her own love for a man of Mexican descent.

The food made my mouth water, the women made me laugh and cry. This was just what I needed at this moment. Human connections. This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read.

NetGalley/February 8th, 2022 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons


A LULLABY FOR WITCHES by HESTER FOX

A Lullaby for Witches

Two women. A history of witchcraft. And a deep-rooted female power that sings across the centuries.

With that blurb, I couldn’t resist. What has the gothic author created for us this time?

The story is told by two voices. One in the present, Augusta Podos, and one in the past, Margaret Harlowe. Their stories are linked across time.

Margaret was born into a time when her wealthy and oh so concerned about their reputations parents could not figure out why she was so different. Wandering the woods at all hours. Women showing up for help. What was going on with her? She had three brothers and none of them seemed odd. At the time. People kept away from her. The word “witch” was mumbled a lot.

In the present time, Augusta is plodding along in a job she isn’t crazy about and living with Chris who she isn’t sure if she is crazy about. But when she is offered a job at Harlow House, she runs to it! And while the art and archives are there very little is written about Margaret. One small portrait could be her and soon Augusta is obsessed with finding out everything she can about her.

Which is fine with Margaret. Oh, yes, Margaret is still at her house. Waiting for Augusta to come. Augusta is positive Margaret is trying to communicate with her but isn’t sure why. But Margaret has old scores to settle and she will not let anyone get in her way.

There is nothing better than a good ghost story. And this one had a few twists I never saw coming. This was one of those books you don’t want to end.

Great Job!

NetGalley February 1st, 2022 by Graydon House