DAWNLANDS by Philippa Gregory

“Dawnlands” is the third novel in the Fairmile series by historical fiction writer Philippa Gregory.

The Fairmile series is back with Alinor and her family getting entangled in the palace gossip, politics, and a lot of secrets and backstabbing.

We are in 17th-century England. Continuing with Alinor’s story. The year is 1685 and England is once again thinking of another civil war. The Stuart kings and the families are torn in two.

Ned is heading home to fight with a rebel army with his Pokanoket servant. Alinor tries to talk him out of it, but no.

Meanwhile, Livia has told Alinor that if she helps her she could get Tidelands back. Powerful stuff for someone whose position before was on the bottom. Her son doesn’t want war but leaves to rescue Ned. And oh my, there is a threat to the throne.

This is an epic tale that takes us to England, America, and even Barbados. This is the third installment of this series.

 I loved this story. My uncle wrote our family history and often mentioned the fallout from backing a Stuart king. It divided our family and I really enjoyed this one!


NetGalley/November 8th, 2022 by Atria Books

EGYPT’S GOLDEN COUPLE by JOHN DARNELL and COLLEEN DARNELL

WHEN AKHENATEN AND NEFERTITI WERE GODS ON EARTH

In fourth grade, I knew I wanted to be an archaeologist. I was obsessed by Egyptian history and culture. I wish this book would have been around then.

Exploring these two powerful rulers and all they accomplished was a pleasure. The research that went into this is astounding. There is so much mythology and misinformation out there about this time in our history. This cleared up a lot of things for me.

If you are at all a history buff, this is a book you should read. I loved reading it.

NetGalley/ St. Martin’s Press November 01, 2022

MORGENTHAU: Power, Privilege, and the Rise of an American Dynasty by Andrew Meier

A monumental portrait of four generations of the Morgenthau family–a dynasty of power brokers whose outsized influence helped shaped New York City and the American Century.

The Morgenthaus came to the United States in 1866 from Germany. And immediately began to make their fortune. Losing everything they had only to rise to the top once again.

In this book, Meier accesses archives not previously seen in public. We learn how they gained enormous wealth and influence. They advised presidents and were vocal about the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust.

Lazarus is where we begin. He came to New York dreaming of building a bigger fortune than the one he lost in Germany. Sadly, that was not to be. But then came Henry, who became wealthy as a real estate mogul.

His son became FDR’s longest-serving aide. They built a dynasty in New York and the author has given us an unprecedented look at this powerful family.

What an interesting read this was. So many people are behind the scenes, pulling strings. But good people as well.

NetGalley/October 11, 2022, RHPG





BECOMING FDR: THE PERSONAL CRISIS THAT MADE A PRESIDENT by JONATHAN DARMAN

This revealing biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt shows how one of the most consequential leaders in American history found his true self in his searing struggle with polio–emerging from illness with strength and wisdom he would use to inspire the world.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a natural politician. He was born in 1882 into a wealthy and influential family and he was nice-looking and a charmer. And still, with all of this going for him, he didn’t have an easy time. He wasn’t naturally empathetic and strategic thinking was not his strong suit. It would take a long time and a serious illness to instill those qualities in him.

This biography tells us the story of the events that shaped his character and his political successes. In 1921 he contracted polio. He was 39 at the time and he was paralyzed from the waist down. He spent a lot of time trying to face this new reality and a lot of time trying everything to get well.

In 1928 he was the Democrat’s choice for Governor of New York. He had changed considerably. He was compassionate and listened to his constituents. He had found hope. And he used that to motivate the rest of us.

We also see how his wife evolved and became his most ardent supporter and voice.

This was a very good look at the life of a president. My own father had polio and he would always tell us that he got well because of this president. He kept hope alive.

Well-researched and a real joy to read.

NetGalley/September 6th, 2022 by Random House


DAMN LUCKY BY KEVIN MAURER

Damn Lucky: One Man's Courage During the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History

One Man’s Courage During The Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History

The incredible true story of John “Lucky” Luckadoo, who survived 25 missions as a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot in WWII.

John “Lucky” Luckadoo truly was damn lucky. He and his best friend enlisted together. With John having a college degree, he was put into a bomber.

This guy flew 25 missions in combat. This was a pretty amazing stat considering what the odds were of him coming home alive.

The story is written from his firsthand accounts by Maurer. The actions scenes were incredible and the bravery of this generation is inspiring.

There was a lot of nail biting going on in this read. Comparing the planes we have now to what they had then, I’m surprised anyone signed up for that job and came home.

Heartbreaking, inspirational and a darn good read!

NetGalley/ April 19th, 2022 by St. Martin’s Press

In Defense of Witches: The Legacy of the Witch Hunts and Why Women Are Still on Trial by Mona Chollet

In Defense of Witches: The Legacy of the Witch Hunts and Why Women Are Still on Trial

There are so many books and movies out now that portray witches as evil, worshippers of Satan. I expected this book to compare how women were viewed then and now.

And the introduction did some of that. The rest was more of a personal rant about feminism.

We know any woman who was troublesome for a man could be killed as a witch. While the research was well-done, the book really missed the mark for me.

NetGalley/ March 8th, 2022 by St. Martin’s Press

The CHURCHILL SISTERS by RACHEL TRETHEWEY

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A lot has been written about Winston Churchill. And there are books about the girls and their mother. This book pulls all of them together, using unpublished letters from archives and numerous other sources, the author gives us a complete picture of the private lives of the three girls who lived to adulthood. Diana, serious and fragile, Sarah, a free-spirit, a glamorous, ambitious woman who wanted a career in acting, and Mary, the baby who stayed the course. Their brother, Randolph, did not live up to anyone’s expectations however.

The girls were smart and very different from each other. Their life goals were different as well. With Winston as their father, they also had a tremendous sense of duty to the country. Each found some way to be a part of the war efforts. They adored their father and were a little less enamored of their mother, who was often cold and distant.

They were Churchills and everything they did was news. While Diana and Mary were careful to be seen as proper ladies, Sarah, could have cared less. She lived her life to the fullest.

It was most interesting to see their relationship with their father. Clementine was gone a lot. But to read of the great man himself playing hide and seek in the bushes with his girls was a side I hadn’t seen.

How difficult it must have been to live in a fishbowl and have your every movement scrutinized. To be judged on who your father is rather than who you are.

I thoroughly enjoyed this look at the sisters. And this book was thoroughly researched, listing every source. Beautifully written.

NetGalley/ December 07, 2021 St. Martin’s Press

UNDER JERUSALEM by ANDREW LAWLER

Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World's Most Contested City

Under Jerusalem is a 150-year history of the ground just beneath one of the world’s holiest cities.

This is the well-researched, and well-written history of Jerusalem. From the time it was not much of anything to a major religious center, fought over by three or more religions.

We begin in 1863, when a Frenchman with an adventurous soul, heard a rumor. Buried beneath the city there was said to be a mother-lode of biblical treasure. Archaeology was just beginning to be a thing. Mainly with the idle rich who had the time and money to go on a treasure hunt.

When De Saulcy dug into a spot in the desert and found an old tomb, others followed quickly. The dig was great for archaeology but not so great for Jerusalem. Greed will do nasty things to ordinary people. As we can see now, Israel is a land being fought over every day. And the claims to Jerusalem are made by many different religions. What has come out of the digs and finds have turned this area into a war zone.

The books” timeline takes us way back in history. So many people have fought over and claimed this area and so much has been destroyed in the process. This book is for the history lover, the truth seekers, and the treasure seekers.

I loved every second of it. I have never had an opinion one way or the other on the subject of Israel and Jerusalem. And I still don’t. But at least now I know the story.

Excellent work!

NetGalley/Doubleday November 02, 2021

MUHAMMAD, THE WORLD-CHANGER by MOHAMAD JEBARA

Muhammad, the World-Changer: An Intimate Portrait

I was very eager to read this book. It is so well-researched and easy to read. The topic is one I have long been interested in and yet everything I read was contradictory. Not this.

I am quite certain Muslim academics knew and understood the subject of Muhammad, the rest of us were a bit confused. Who exactly was he and what shaped his view of the world?

This was nothing like any other book I have read. It was researched and what came out of that was a man I could understand. Surrounded by women, some Jewish and Christian, He was inspired by the experiences he had and the people he met. I understood why there are no images of him. He truly was an inspirational man who believed in a world view and had a vision of what the world should look like.

Did he change the way the world moved forward? I would say he did. From his birth to his death he was a most remarkable man. With all the translations having different meanings, it is difficult to sort fact from fiction. This was an eye-opening work for me.

NetGalley/ October 12th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Essentials

MAIDEN VOYAGES by SIAN EVANS

Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them

MAGNIFICENT OCEAN LINERS AND THE WOMEN WHO TRAVELED AND WORKED ABOARD THEM

Maiden Voyages explores how women’s lives were transformed by the Golden Age of ocean liner travel between Europe and North America.

Up until the twentieth century, travel across the Atlantic was done on great ocean liners. Like the Ritz Carlton of the sea. Amenities that bordered on excess. So many woman made that crossing for a better life. Some were traveling for work or pleasure and job opportunities.

All the famous names are here. Wallis Simpson, Josephine Baker. First class all the way. But the second and third class were less fancy. The stories of women who traveled the oceans and made a difference were my favorite. Doing a man’s work was new to both sexes and there was a lot of learning going on.

A lot of research went into this one. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

NetGalley/St. Martin’s