The Women of Chateau Lafayette [Book Review]

 March 30, 2021

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray (cover) Image: a woman kneels down in an archway to speak to a young girl

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction (French Revolution, WW1, WW11), France, Women, Biographical

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for my complimentary e ARC of #TheWomenOfChateauLafayette for review. All opinions are my own.

A real castle in France, Chateau Lafayette, connects three women: noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette (wife of Gilbert Lafayette); New York socialite and actress Beatrice Astor Chanler; and French school teacher, aspiring artist, and orphan Marthe Simone. After having been the home of the Lafayette’s, the castle became a refuge for orphan children during two world wars.

Chateau Lafayette in France

Chateau Lafayette (Source: Wikipedia)

My Thoughts:

(more…)

Learning to See [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

March 11, 2021

Learning to See by Elise Hooper
#throwbackthursday

Learning to See by Elise Hooper (cover) Image: a black and white image of Dorothea Langue standing on top of a vehicle shading her eyes to see and holding a large camera with the other hand

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Fictionalized Biography, Photography, Internment Camps

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I look forward to sharing my review of a story about a real life photographer, Dorothea Lange. Learning to See….compelling, biographical historical fiction.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Learning to See is a fictionalized biography inspired by real life photographer, Dorothea Lange. We first meet twenty-two year old Dorothea Nutzhorn in 1918 as she arrives in San Francisco with her best friend. Through wit and a determination to create her own life far from her home in the Northeast, Dorothea changes her name to Dorothea Lange, takes a risk in opening a portrait studio, and marries an older established artist, Maynard Dixon. Dorothea’s portrait studio enjoys success and it provides a steady and dependable income for their growing family of two children. When the economy collapses in the 1930s, economic troubles place tremendous strain on an already fragile marriage and Dorothea desperately seeks out ways to support her two young sons and a drunken, disillusioned, and out-of-work husband. As Dorothea’s portrait business declines in the economy, she begins to take pictures of the poor and desperate people on the streets of San Francisco. In addition, she travels throughout California and the Southwest documenting labor conditions on farms, gradually realizing that these pictures are more meaningful than what she produces in her portrait studio because her pictures from the streets and fields tell a true story of the economic hardships that people are facing. Later, the United States enters WW11 and Dorothea accepts a government job photographing the internment camps into which the Japanese have been placed. Not everyone appreciates seeing the truth of these pictures and she is censored, threatened, and discouraged. This doesn’t deter Dorothea from her travels, her photographs, or her purpose. There’s a dual timeline running through the story which allows the reader to know Dorothea at the end of her life.”

“It takes a lot of practice to see things are they are, not as you want them to be.”

Continue here for my full review of Learning to See ….



QOTD:

Have you read Learning to See or is it on your TBR?

The Invention of Wings [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

February 25, 2021

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
#throwbackthursday

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (cover) Image: white text over a reddish orangish landscape that has birds flying low over the water

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Abolition of Slavery, Women’s Rights, African-American, Plantation Life

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m eager to share my review of a book on my lifetime favorites list, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.compelling historical fiction.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

The Invention of Wings is a fictionalized biographical account of the real-life Grimke sisters as they become trailblazers in the abolition movement and early leaders in the fight for women’s rights.

The story takes place in the pre Civil War era and begins on a plantation in Charleston. On the occasion of Sarah Grimke’s eleventh birthday, she’s presented with her own slave, ten-year old Hetty “Handful” Grimke. Sarah has always been uncomfortable with this tradition. At first, Sarah and Handful are more like sisters and playmates as they develop a friendly companionship. As the story progresses, Sarah leaves Charleston to join her adventurous and fearless sister, Angelina, in the north as early pioneers in the fight for abolition and women’s rights. We follow Sarah’s and Hetty’s journeys for thirty-five years as both women strive to carve out a life of their own and navigate a close and complex relationship.”

A fictionalized biographical account of the Grimke sisters as they become trailblazers in the abolition movement and early leaders in the fight for women’s rights.

Continue here for my full review of The Invention of Wings ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Invention of Wings or is it on your TBR?

Becoming Mrs. Lewis [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

February 11, 2021

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
#throwbackthursday

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan (cover) Image: a woman in a red long sleeved dress and hat walks though a set of columns with her back to the camera

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Biographical, Love Story, Marriage

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m eager to share my review of the page-turning Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan.a love story.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Struggling with an unhappy marriage, her writing career and health, and matters of faith, Joy Davidman begins writing to well-known author, C.S. Lewis (Jack). Joy and Jack are both writers and poets and experience a robust and heartfelt correspondence through which they develop a warm and intellectual friendship. Soon, Joy takes a break from her unpredictable, angry, drunken husband and travels to England in hopes of restoring her health, finding inspiration for her writing projects, and meeting C.S. “Jack” Lewis. After spending time with Jack and enjoying a mutual fondness, Joy begins to realize her growing love for him. Despite a lack of personal financial resources and continuing heartbreak over her circumstances, Joy finds the courage to risk it all and the voice to end her marriage and move permanently to England. Through her great friendship with Lewis she finds enduring love, a trusted friend and confidant, and a true writing partner. During this time in history (1950s), Joy’s independence and decisions regarding her marriage and children were most likely questioned. In addition, Jack received criticism for his involvement with a divorced woman. However, we know that Jack called her “my whole world” and upon her death he wrote his popular “A Grief Observed.” In this biographical historical fiction you will be treated to a poignant love story along with beautiful descriptions of England and bookish references.”

Their relationship involves a respect and admiration for the other’s intellectual and creative endeavors, a shared love of nature and the mystical, a deep friendship, as well as romance.

Continue here for my full review of Becoming Mrs. Lewis ….



QOTD:

Have you read Becoming Mrs. Lewis or is it on your TBR?

The Answer is … Reflections On My Life [Book Review]

January 22, 2021

The Answer is … Reflections On My Life by Alex Trebek

The Answer is ... Reflections On My Life by Alex Trebek (cover) Image: a head shot of Alex Trebek

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Biography

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Since 1984, Alex Trebek has been the beloved and respected host of Jeopardy! Last year, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and received an outpouring of support from fans. In response, Trebek felt compelled to write the story of his life and career highlights. As might be expected, each chapter title is in the form of a question.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story [Book Review]

December 18, 2020

Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story by Jewel

Never Broken by Jewel (cover) Image: Barefoot Jewel is dressed in a full skirted orange summery dress and sitting bareback on a black horse

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Biographical, Music

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Are You Old Enough to be a Jewel Fan?

Summary:

Never Broken meets Educated meets The Glass Castle meets Hillbilly Elegy….

In Never Broken, poet and singer-songwriter Jewel shares her unconventional childhood, her rise to fame, her marriage, and her musical journey. In her younger years, she lived on a homestead in Alaska, learned to yodel at three, and sang with her father in hotels, honky-tonks, and biker bars. Even though the family valued creativity and music, there was also trauma and instability. Jewel left home to live on her own at age 15. The following years took her to a private performing arts school in Michigan (applying for a scholarship and financing her own transportation). By eighteen, she had hitchhiked across the country, was homeless (living in her car), writing poetry, and playing in coffee shops in San Diego to support herself. A local D.J. played one of her songs, and at twenty-one, she had a following and a debut album which went multiplatinum. From there, we hear her story of complicated family, financial difficulties, insecurities, fear, survival, the breakup of her marriage, and deep heartache over the estrangement from her mother. She also shares poetry and the audio version features some singing. There’s more in the story (including Jewel’s own heartfelt advice) that can’t be covered in a brief summary.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

I Was Anastasia [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

December 17, 2020

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
#throwbackthursday

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon (cover) Image: a lady wearing a hat, boots, coat, and scarf sits on her suitcase in the middle of the road)

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Biographical, Mystery

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m eager to share my review of the compelling I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon…an intriguing international mystery.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“For nearly a century, many have speculated about the survival of Anastasia Romanov after her famous political family was forced into a basement in Siberia and executed by firing squad in 1918. Bolshevik executioners claim that no one survived, but in 1920 a young woman surfaces and claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia. People who don’t believe her call her Anna Anderson. For years, rumors that Anastasia did survive circulate through Europe. In this story, readers have an opportunity to form their own opinion.”

If you like uniquely structured books…

Continue here for my full review of I Was Anastasia ….



QOTD:

Have you read I Was Anastasia or is it on your TBR?
Have you read other books by Ariel Lawhon?

Tell Me More [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

December 10, 2020

Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan
#throwbackthursday

Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan (cover) black and white text over a multicolored background

Genre/Categories: Memoir, Biographical, Humor, Self Help

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m eager to share my review of the compelling Tell Me More: Stories About the Ten Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“In these various personal essays, popular author Kelly Corrigan explores the power of words to make a difference in our lives. Throughout the engaging and thoughtful collection of stories, there runs a theme of grief as she learns to accept the loss of her father and best friend. Each chapter includes humorous, insightful, and poignant reflections revolving around the roles she plays as a parent, a spouse, a survivor, a daughter, a sibling, a seeker, and a best friend.”

Friendly, engaging, thought-provoking, reflective…

Continue here for my full review of Tell Me More ….



QOTD:

Have you read Tell Me More or is it on your TBR?
Have you read other books by Kelly Corrigan?

She Come By It Natural [Book Review]

October 13, 2020

She Come By It Natural by Sarah Smarsh

She Come By It Natural by Sarah Smarsh (cover) Image: a black and white picture of Dolly Parton strumming her banjo

Genre/Categories: Non Fiction, Biographical, Music, Feminism

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @ScribnerBooks for a complimentary e ARC of #SheComeByItNatural at my request. All opinions are my own.

Sarah Smarsh uses examples from her grandmother and facts from a previously published Dolly Parton title to reflect on the message of Parton’s songs, how Parton’s music resonated with women of Smarsh’s grandmother’s generation, and Parton’s contribution to Feminism.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

Hamnet [Book Review]

September 25, 2020

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (cover) Image: portrait of a young boy in a felt hat....a quill lies horizontally over his eyes

Genre/Categories: Historical and Biographical Literary Fiction, Family Life, Magical Realism

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

TW: Review mentions the death of a child.

Summary:

Hamnet is set in 1580s Warwickshire, England and is the highly imagined story of William Shakespeare’s family, especially his son, Hamnet, and his wife, Agnes (Anne). It’s the story of a marriage and family. Shakespeare and Agnes had three children. It’s also a story of grief as we know from history that Hamnet dies. O’Farrell imagines that he might have died as a result of the 1550s plague. William Shakespeare is “off-stage” for the majority of the story and is never mentioned by name (referred to as husband, father, etc.). This centers Agnes (and the children) as the main character of the story and grief as the main theme. Agnes is a beautiful woman who has some supernatural gifts of healing with herbs, is entirely devoted to family, and frequently experiences glimpses into the future.

My Thoughts:

(more…)