The Social Graces [Book Review]

April 20, 2021

Would you enjoy reading about an outrageous and real-life feud?

The Social Graces by Renée Rosen

The Social Graces by Renee Rosen (cover) Image: 4 young women in 1880s dress walk arm in arm away from the camera toward an arch in the background

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Rivalries, Women’s Fiction

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you, #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyBuddyReads #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen for a complimentary eARC of #TheSocialGraces upon my request. All opinions are my own.

extravagance…society…women’s power…rivalry…feuds…women behaving badly

Set in the late 1800s, The Social Graces shares the story of the historic and notorious feud/rivalry between Mrs. Caroline Astor and Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt as witnessed by New York Society during The Gilded Age. In this time, when women often found their power in society, simple wealth wasn’t enough. Your status in society depended upon old money or new money. Caroline is from old money and is the reigning Queen of society while Alva is from Mobile, Alabama and married into the wealthy Vanderbilt family. Alva soon discovers that mere wealth isn’t enough to get accepted into the top 400 of New York Society, so she sets out in cunning and devious ways to get accepted and perhaps even dethrone Caroline.

Caroline Astor

Caroline Astor

Alva Vanderbilt (in costume)

Alva Vanderbilt (in costume)

My Thoughts:

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Wartime Sisters [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 8, 2021

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman
#throwbackthursday

The Wartime Sisters y Lydia Cohen Loigman (cover) Image: 2 women walk away from the camera in their seamed stockings

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11 America, Siblings, Complicated Family Drama, Jewish, Secrets

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. Today, I’m re-sharing a review of Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Sisters…resentment…jealousy…misunderstanding…competition…secrets…

“In the early days of WW11, two estranged sisters are reunited at the Springfield, Massachusetts Armory. Ruth is the older sister and an officer’s wife and the younger sister Millie is a single mom who, in desperation, seeks refuge in her sister’s home and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” This living arrangement isn’t ideal, but the younger sister has no other family after the death of their parents and the disappearance of her abusive husband. The relationship between the sisters is tense and filled with resentment, jealousy, misunderstanding, competition, and secrets.”

Continue here for my full review of The Wartime Sisters ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Wartime Sisters or is it on your TBR?

The Sunflower Sisters [Book Review]

March 26, 2021

The Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly (cover) Image: a woman in an 1890s dress and bonnet and carrying a bunch of sumflowers walks down a dirt path away from the camera

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Civil War, Slavery, Nursing

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks, #NetGalley @RandomHouse for my complimentary e ARC of #SunflowerSisters upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Third in the “Flowers Trilogy” (as I affectionately think of them), Sunflower Sisters precedes Lilac Girls and Lost Roses in a historical timeline and altogether the three books involve three wars. First, Lilac Girls is set during WW11 and features heroine Caroline Ferriday; next, Lost Roses, a prequel to Lilac Girls, features Caroline’s mother, Eliza Ferriday, and is set in the pre-WW1 era; finally, Sunflower Sisters is the prequel to Lost Roses and is set during the Civil War. All the stories in the trilogy can be read as stand alones.

In Sunflower Sisters, Georgeanna Woolsey, a great aunt of Caroline Ferriday, is a Union nurse at a time when the medical field was dominated by men. She crosses paths with Jemma, a young girl who was enslaved, sold off, ran away, and was conscripted into the army. Jemma has a sister, Patience, who remains enslaved on the plantation next door. Sunflower Sisters describes Civil War experiences and plantation life, and it includes family drama.

sunflowers

In this story, sunflowers are a symbol that slaves used to warn each other of danger.

My Thoughts:

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The Downstairs Girl [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

March 25, 2021

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
#throwbackthursday

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (author) Image: a teenage Asian girl wearing a fancy hat in an 1890 style

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Asian-American, Prejudice, Racism, Coming of Age

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. Today, though, I look forward to re-sharing a recent review of an important story with thoughtful themes, The Downstairs Girl. Even though I reviewed this only a month ago, I am eager to bring this review to your attention again as the U.S is faced with hate and violent attacks toward Asians. The Downstairs Girl exposes the racism that was also prevalent in the 1890s South and is a timely read for our troubled times.

#StandUpForAAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders)

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 Downstairs Girl is set in 1890s Atlanta where a Chinese-American girl having no voice challenges racial and gender issues. Let go from her job at a milliner’s shop because she was a “saucebox,” seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan now works as a lady’s maid for the cruel and spoiled daughter of a wealthy man. Jo and Old Gin (affectionately thought of as “grandfather”) have always lived secretly in the basement below a newspaper man’s family. Jo loves WORDS and writing and so one day, Jo has the idea to write a column for the newspaper in order to help the family living above her build their readership and compete with the other newspaper in town. At night, she writes the column and drops her submissions in their mailbox. Her column, Dear Miss Sweetie, becomes popular for its modern and controversial opinions and the talk of the town. Meanwhile in her day life, Jo struggles to survive her ordeals as a lady’s maid and also plans a dangerous investigation to find her biological father who had abandoned her as a baby.”

Jo endures poverty, racism, and prejudice…and finds her voice…

Continue here for my full review of The Downstairs Girl ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Downstairs Girl or is it on your TBR?

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys [Book Review]

March 17, 2021

 The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

The Fountains of Silence Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Post Spanish Civil War Spain, YA, Family, Love Story

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Family…love…silence…secrets…

Thank you, #NetGalley @PenguinUKBooks @The_WriteReads for my complimentary e arc of #FountainsOfSilence upon my request. All opinions are my own. I’ve previously published a review for the U.S. release, and this review is for the U.K. paperback edition which has a different cover.

Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (cover) Image: a large old black key lies over a large red X...small black images of a male and female and a building rest on the horizontal key

In 1957, Madrid, Spain is under the control of the fascist dictator General Francisco Franco. While citizens endure harsh conditions of the dictatorship after the Spanish Civil War, tourists experience another version of life in Spain as they enjoy parties and wine at the Hilton Hotel. Eighteen-year-old Daniel is a hotel guest, a photographer, and the son of a Texas oil tycoon; his mother was born in Spain and Daniel is eager to visit her homeland. Ana works at the hotel as a maid. Daniel and Ana meet and fall in love. While Ana is simultaneously intrigued by American life and concerned for her family, Daniel sets his mind to capture the real Spain in photos and finds himself investigating the plight of stolen children. The circumstances surrounding their love story are difficult for them to navigate.

My Thoughts:

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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?

The Downstairs Girl [Book Review]

February 19, 2021

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (author) Image: a teenage Asian girl wearing a fancy hat in an 1890 style

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Asian-American, Prejudice, Racism, Coming of Age

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

The Downstairs Girl is set in 1890s Atlanta where a Chinese-American girl having no voice challenges racial and gender issues. Let go from her job at a milliner’s shop because she was a “saucebox,” seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan now works as a lady’s maid for the cruel and spoiled daughter of a wealthy man. Jo and Old Gin (affectionately thought of as “grandfather”) have always lived secretly in the basement below a newspaper man’s family. Jo loves WORDS and writing and so one day, Jo has the idea to write a column for the newspaper in order to help them build their readership and compete with the other newspaper in town. At night, she writes the column and drops her submissions in their mailbox. Her column, Dear Miss Sweetie, becomes popular for its modern and controversial opinions and the talk of the town. Meanwhile in her day life, Jo struggles to survive her ordeals as a lady’s maid and also plans a dangerous investigation to find her biological father who had abandoned her as a baby.

My Thoughts:

(more…)

Ladies of the House [Book Review]

February 10, 2021

Ladies of the House by Lauren Edmondson

Ladies of the House by Lauren Edmondson (cover) Image: a close up view of a 2 or 3 story house, a white blossomed tree in the foreground

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction, Family Drama, Sisters, Mothers/Daughters

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you, #NetGalley #Harlequin for the complimentary e ARC of #LadiesOfTheHouse upon my request. All opinions are my own.

A modern Sense and Sensibility……

In a loose, contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, thirty-four-year-old Daisy finds herself embarrassed by a family scandal. Her Senator father died suddenly in the company of his young mistress and he has also left the family in financial ruin. Daisy, her mother, Cricket, and her sister, Wallis, work frantically to save the family reputation and put their upscale house up for sale while at the same time negotiate the land mines of their personality differences and conflicts and the unrelenting media attention.

My Thoughts:

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The Survivors [Book Review]

February 3, 2021

The Survivors by Jane Harper

The Survivors by Jane Harper (cover) Image: a blue toned view of a beach and low cliffs

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Atmospheric Mystery, Family Secrets, Siblings

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks, #NetGalley @Macmillan.audio for a complimentary listening arc of #TheSurvivors upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Secrets…

Kieran Elliott returns home with his wife and baby to the small (fictional) coastal community of Evelyn Bay in Tasmania where he grew up and where his parents still live. While he comes home to visit his parents and to help them, he isn’t expecting a body to be discovered on the beach that threatens to expose secrets he’s kept securely hidden for years about the night his brother, Finn, died.

Wineglass Bay on the Tasmanian Coast

My Thoughts:

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