Thursday, March 4, 2021

Book Review: The Last Tiara by M.J. Rose

 Book Review



The Last Tiara

M.J. Rose

 

Book Description:

Sophia Moon had always been reticent about her life in Russia and when she dies, suspiciously, on a wintry New York evening, Isobelle despairs that her mother’s secrets have died with her. But while renovating the apartment they shared, Isobelle discovers something among her mother’s effects—a stunning silver tiara, stripped of its jewels.

Isobelle’s research into the tiara’s provenance draws her closer to her mother’s past—including the story of what became of her father back in Russia, a man she has never known. The facts elude her until she meets a young jeweler, who wants to help her but is conflicted by his loyalty to the Midas Society, a covert international organization whose mission is to return lost and stolen antiques, jewels, and artwork to their original owners.

Told in alternating points of view, the stories of the two young women unfurl as each struggles to find their way during two separate wars. In 1915, young Sofiya Petrovitch, favorite of the royal household and best friend of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, tends to wounded soldiers in a makeshift hospital within the grounds of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg and finds the love of her life. In 1948 New York, Isobelle Moon works to break through the rampant sexism of the age as one of very few women working in a male-dominated profession and discovers far more about love and family than she ever hoped for.

In M.J. Rose’s deftly constructed narrative, the secrets of Sofiya’s early life are revealed incrementally, even as Isobelle herself works to solve the mystery of the historic Romanov tiara (which is based on an actual Romanov artifact that is, to this day, still missing)—and how it is that her mother came to possess it. The two strands play off each other in finely-tuned counterpoint, building to a series of surprising and deeply satisfying revelations.

 

Buy now on:

Amazon Kindle

Paperback

 

My Five-Star Review:

A woman flees Russia with a treasured package in her possession and builds a new life under a new name in America. Her secrets stay hidden, even from her own daughter, Isobelle Moon, and when she dies in an accident, Isobelle is at a loss about her mother’s past.

While remodeling the apartment they shared, Isobelle discovers the skeleton of a tiara hidden within the walls, the jewels no longer in their settings. This takes her on a journey to discover where her mother had acquired such an item and in doing so, learning the truth of her mother’s past.

The Last Tiara is a beautiful story told in alternating time periods as it unravels the secrets of the past. As Isobelle struggles in a man’s world in 1947 as an architect, she begins to learn of her mother’s struggles in Russia during the war and of all her mother lost before beginning again in America. Beautifully written and intriguing, I highly recommend this wonderful story of love, loss, and dedication to family.

 

 

 


About the Author:

New York Times, USAToday, and Wall St. Journal bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother's favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice... books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.


Rose's work has appeared in many magazines including Oprah Magazine and The Adventurine and she has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, WSJ, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.

Rose graduated from Syracuse University, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors - Authorbuzz.com. Rose is also the co-founder, with Liz Berry, of 1001DarkNights.com.

The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Reincarnationist series.

 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Book Review: The Garden of Promises and Lies by Paula Brackston

 Book Review


The Garden of Promises and Lies

(Found Things Book 3)

 Paula Brackston

 

Book Description:

The third installment of a bewitching series "brimming with charm and charisma" that will make "fans of Outlander rejoice!" (Woman's World Magazine).


New York Times 
bestselling author Paula Brackston's second novel in the Found Things series, Secrets of the Chocolate House, was called a "time-swapping romance [that] will please fans of Alice Hoffman" (Publishers Weekly). Now, Brackston returns to the Found Things series with a third book, The Garden of Promises and Lies.

As the bustle of the winter holidays in the Little Shop of Found Things gives way to spring, Xanthe is left to reflect on the strange events of the past year. While she's tried to keep her time-traveling talents a secret from those close to her, she is forced to take responsibility for having inadvertently transported the dangerous Benedict Fairfax to her own time. Xanthe comes to see that she must use her skills as a Spinner if she and Flora are ever to be safe, and turns to the Spinners book for help.

It is then that a beautiful antique wedding dress sings to her. Realizing the dress and her adversary are connected in some way, she answers the call. She finds herself in Bradford-on-Avon in 1815, as if she has stepped into a Jane Austen story.

Now in Xanthe's time, Fairfax is threatening Xanthe into helping him with his evil doings, and demonstrates all too clearly how much damage he is capable of causing. With Fairfax growing ever more powerful, Xanthe enlists the help of her boyfriend Liam, taking him back in time with her. It is a decision that might just ensure she prevails over her foe, but only by putting her life—and his—on the line.

 

Release Date: December 15, 2020

Buy at:

Amazon Kindle or Hardcover

 

My 5-Star Review:

We return to the Little Shop of Found Things in the third novel of the Found Things series. Xanthe is upset over having unintentionally transported the evil Benedict Fairfax to modern times and is scared of what his presence might mean to her and her mother. This leads her to try to find a way to not only get him to leave their time period, but possibly destroy him once and for all. When an antique wedding dress calls for her, Xanthe realizes it might be the very item to take her back in time to where she can have a final showdown with the crafty Fairfax. But doing so might be her undoing.

The Garden of Promises and Lies is another brilliantly written novel by the ever-talented Paula Brackston. As I always say in my reviews of her books, I love how she writes. Her style is so beautiful and descriptive, but she also weaves an interesting story that keeps you turning the pages. I highly recommend this series and this novel to anyone who enjoys historical and time-travel novels.

 

 


About the Author:

Paula Brackston lives in the historic city of Hereford on the Welsh border. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and has been a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. Before becoming a writer, Paula tried her hand at various career paths, with mixed success. These included working as a groom on a racing yard, a travel agent, a secretary, an English teacher, a script reader, and a goat herd. Everyone involved (particularly the goats) is very relieved that she has now found a job she is actually able to do properly.


In 2007 Paula was shortlisted in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book 'Nutters' (writing as PJ Davy) was shortlisted for the Mind Book Award. The following year she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme. 'The Witch's Daughter' became a New York Times bestseller. Her books are translated into five languages and sold around the world.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Book Review: The Bachelor’s Bride by Holly Bush

 Book Review


The Bachelor’s Bride

(The Thompsons of Locust Street Book 1)

Holly Bush

 

Book Description:

Meet the Thompsons of Locust Street, an unconventional family taking Philadelphia high society by storm…

1868 Elspeth Thompson is the middle daughter in a family with tightly held secrets. While she loves her family, she longs to break out from their overprotective hold, to find herself, to be noticed for who she is rather than as chaperone to her beautiful younger sister, Kirsty, or underling to her elder sister, Muireall. A chance meeting under scandalous circumstances offers her the opportunity to be seen for herself, but the repercussions could lead to the downfall of her family.

Confirmed bachelor Alexander Pendergast enjoys his position as the right-hand man of one of the most influential and powerful politicians in Philadelphia. Heir to the largest textile mill on the east coast, Alexander is handsome, charming, and the ultimate catch on high society’s matrimonial market. But he has no interest in settling down with a pampered debutante. He doubts the perfect woman for him actually exists…until he meets Elspeth Thompson.

But the Thompsons and Pendergasts move in different circles, and Elspeth has no desire to be judged and found wanting by Philadelphia’s first families. Though she tries to resist Alexander’s charms, when he comes to her family’s rescue, she knows there’s more to him than she’d first thought. But Alexander realizes that his ambitions may have placed Elspeth and her family in grave danger. With an unseen enemy determined to uncover the Thompson family’s secrets, Alexander grapples with secrets of his own, secrets that could cost him the only woman he’s ever truly cared about.

When Elspeth finds herself in terrible danger, can she muster the inner strength of her ancestors to save herself and her family and find the courage to meet love head on?

 

Buy Now:

Amazon Kindle

Paperback

B&N Nook

Apple Store

 

My 5-Star Review:

Elspeth Thompson is young and headstrong and longs to be independent of her over-protective family. She is slowly learning that secrets run deep in her family, and dislikes being treated like a child. On a chance encounter, she meets the handsome Alexander Pendergast, and although she has the wrong impression of him at first, she can’t help but be intrigued by him. Unfortunately, her older sister and brother are bound and determined to hold the family secrets tight and aren’t happy with Elspeth’s growing relationship with Alex.

The Bachelor’s Bride is the first book in the Thompsons of Locust Street series. Once again, author Holly Bush has created an interesting cast of characters who you are eager to read more about. Set in 1868, she does a wonderful job of pulling the reader back in time with little references to speech, clothing, lifestyles, etc. An excellent story with a little mystery and of course, romance. Perfect for readers who enjoy historical novels.

 

About the Author:

“I love you. With every bit of myself, until we are old and infirm. Until the only thing left is love.”

Holly Bush books are set during the turbulent and transformative years of the late 1800’s. The Thompsons of Locust Street, Philadelphia, features five siblings from Scotland with some family secrets that could place them in danger. The first book is The Bachelor's Bride, Elspeth's story. The next book, The Bareknuckle Groom, is set to release in the spring 2021. This will be a five book series.

The Gentrys of Paradise begins with the novella Into the Evermore where readers meet Virginia horse breeders, Eleanor and Beauregard Gentry. The following books feature their children, Adam, Matthew, and Olivia. For the Brave is Matthew’s story and is the first full length book of the series. Olivia's book is For This Moment and Adam's story, For Her Honor, is the final book in the series.

The Crawford Family Series following the fortunes of the three Boston born Crawford sisters and includes Train Station Bride, Contract to Wed, Her Safe Harbor, and companion novella, The Maid’s Quarters. Cross the Ocean and Charming the Duke are both British set Victorian romances. Fan favorites stand-alone historical romance novels include Romancing Olive and Reconstructing Jackson. Holly's books are described as ‘emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance.’

Holly makes her home with her husband, one happy Labrador Retriever and a clever Jack Russell rescued from the pound, and two difficult cats in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com, on Twitter @hollybushbooks, and on Facebook at Holly Bush. Follow Holly on her Amazon author page to receive new release updates and sale information.


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Book Review: The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little

Book Review


The Chanel Sisters

Judithe Little

 

Book Description:

 

A novel of survival, love, loss, triumph—and the sisters who changed fashion forever

Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel know they’re destined for something better. Abandoned by their family at a young age, they’ve grown up under the guidance of nuns preparing them for simple lives as the wives of tradesmen or shopkeepers. At night, their secret stash of romantic novels and magazine cutouts beneath the floorboards are all they have to keep their dreams of the future alive.

The walls of the convent can’t shield them forever, and when they’re finally of age, the Chanel sisters set out together with a fierce determination to prove themselves worthy to a society that has never accepted them. Their journey propels them out of poverty and to the stylish caf├ęs of Moulins, the dazzling performance halls of Vichy—and to a small hat shop on the rue Cambon in Paris, where a boutique business takes hold and expands to the glamorous French resort towns.

But the sisters’ lives are again thrown into turmoil when World War I breaks out, forcing them to make irrevocable choices, and they’ll have to gather the courage to fashion their own places in the world, even if apart from each other.

The Chanel Sisters explores with care the timeless need for belonging, purpose, and love, and the heart’s relentless pursuit of these despite daunting odds. Beautifully told to the last page.” —Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Last Year of the War

 

Release Date: December 29, 2020

Historical Fiction

Preorder now:

Amazon

 

My 5-Star Review:

Left at a convent orphanage at an early age, the three Chanel sisters, Julia, Antoinette, and Gabrielle, were raised under sparse and harsh circumstances. Told by the nuns that they would never be anything more than they were, Gabrielle was determined to prove them wrong. This determination is what drove her and her sister Antoinette to not only rise above their means, but to become famous.

The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little is a wonderful novel following the life of the three sisters from their days at the convent through WWI. I’ve read so many novels about Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel during WWII, but this one really sets the stage of describing the how and why of Coco’s life and the choices she made. Exquisitely written – you will not be able to put this novel down. Highly recommended to lovers of historical fiction.

 

About the Author:

Judithe Little grew up in Virginia and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. After a brief time studying in France and interning at the U.S. Department of State, she earned her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law where she was on the Editorial Board of the Journal of International Law and a Dillard Fellow. She lives with her husband and three children in Houston, Texas.

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews