Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Book Review: A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky


Book Review


A Week at the Shore

Barbara Delinsky


Book Description:

One phone call is all it takes to lure Mallory Aldiss back to her family’s Rhode Island beach home. It's been twenty years since she's been gone—running from the scandal that destroyed her parents' marriage, drove her and her two sisters apart, and crushed her relationship with the love of her life, Jack Sabathian. Twenty years during which she lived in New York, building her career as a photographer and raising her now teenage daughter Joy.

But that phone call makes it clear that something has brought the past forward again—something involving Mallory’s father. Compelled by concern for her family and by Joy’s wish to visit her mother’s childhood home, Mallory returns to Bay Bluff, where conflicting loyalties will be faced and painful truths revealed.

In just seven watershed days at the Rhode Island shore, she will test the bonds of friendship and family—and discover the role that love plays in defining their lives.

Buy Now:



My 5-Star Review

I’ve been reading Barbara Delinsky’s books for years and have never been disappointed. In her latest novel, A Week at the Shore, we meet the Aldiss family—three sisters who’ve grown apart over the years and their aging father who is slowly succumbing to dementia. Mallory has stayed away from her family home since the scandal that broke her family apart and since losing the man she once loved, Jack. Now, after years creating a life for herself and her daughter, Mallory is called back home by a brusque phone call by Jack to check on her sister and father. Reluctantly, Mallory returns and is quickly pulled back into the mystery of what happened to Jack’s mother that fateful night everything fell apart, and in doing so, finds she is still attracted to the man she left all those years ago.

A Week at the Shore is a heartfelt family story with a touch of mystery that will keep you reading long into the night. Beautifully written, clever, and touching, you are sure to enjoy this amazing novel by the talented Barbara Delinsky. Highly recommended.


About the Author:

Barbara Delinsky, author of A WEEK AT THE SHORE (May 2020), BEFORE AND AGAIN (2018), BLUEPRINTS (2015), SWEET SALT AIR (2013), ESCAPE (2011), and NOT MY DAUGHTER (2010), has written twenty-five New York Times bestsellers, with many more of her books on other national bestseller lists. There are nearly forty million copies of her books in print, including those published in thirty languages worldwide.

Barbara's fiction centers upon everyday families facing not-so-everyday challenges. She is particularly drawn to exploring themes of motherhood, marriage, sibling rivalry, and friendship.

A lifelong New Englander, Barbara earned a B.A. in Psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in Sociology at Boston College. As a breast cancer survivor who lost her mother to the disease when she was only eight, Barbara compiled the non-fiction book Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors, a handbook of practical tips and upbeat anecdotes. She donates her proceeds from the sale of this book to her charitable foundation, which funds an ongoing research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Barbara enjoys knitting, photography, and cats. She also loves to interact with her readers through her website at www.barbaradelinsky.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bdelinsky, on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/barbaradelinsky/, and on Twitter as @BarbaraDelinsky.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

First Chapter Reveal: THE ONES WE LEAVE BEHIND by Deanna Lynn Sletten

Hi all,

I'm so thrilled to share the first chapter of my upcoming novel: THE ONES WE LEAVE BEHIND. It is an historical women's fiction novel about a woman growing up in the 1930s - 1950s and how her life turns tragic in one terrifying moment. At age ninety-five, she is let out of prison. Her granddaughter finds her and soon learns the details that led up to that fateful night.

THE ONES WE LEAVE BEHIND can be preordered on Amazon Kindle. It will also be available in paperback and audiobook upon release.





First Chapter

Chapter One

Diane




Diane Martin strode down the hallway of the Rosewood Senior Living Apartments, smiling and waving to the many residents she passed. The hallway walls were painted a soothing light grey with dark gray wainscoting on the bottom half. Lovely watercolor paintings depicting lake, river, and woodland scenes decorated the walls, and each door displayed a cheerful flower or autumn leaf wreath. But the calming interior did nothing to soothe Diane’s frayed nerves. It was Friday afternoon, and she’d just come from the high school where she taught history and social studies. She was tired, but she still had to take her mother shopping and out to dinner as she did every Friday. It wasn’t that she minded helping her mother; it was the fact that her mother could be difficult at times and Diane could never gauge when her mother’s mood might change. Diane was eager for the day to end.

Walking up to room 212, Diane steeled herself before knocking twice, then slowly opening the door. “Mom? It’s me,” she called.

“Come in. Come in,” an impatient voice called from inside the bedroom. “I’ll be ready in a minute.”

Diane stepped inside the space and quietly closed the door. Her mother, Joan Hartman, had a two-bedroom apartment with a small kitchen and a good-sized living and dining room combination. She’d moved into the senior apartment building a year ago after she’d fallen and broken her hip. Once it had healed, the seventy-year-old had finally decided she could no longer live alone in her house and had moved in here. It wasn’t exactly a care facility—many of the residents still drove and cooked their own meals. But Joan did have the choice of eating all her meals in the dining room, and there were security devices in each apartment so residents could call for help if needed.

“You’ll never believe what Lucy Sutton did at lunch today,” Joan said, coming out of her bedroom. She was dressed in a pair of slacks, a light sweater, and flats. Her gray hair was cut short and styled nicely. “She choked on a cut-up grape.”

Diane’s brows rose. “Is she okay?”

“She’ll live,” Joan said offhandedly. “But it was quite the spectacle when Arnold jumped up and tried to do the Heimlich maneuver on her. He grabbed her around the waist and squeezed, and they both almost fell over backward.” Joan laughed. “If the lunch attendant hadn’t intervened, they’d both be in the hospital.”

“Mom. That’s not funny,” Diane said, pushing her shoulder-length blond hair behind one ear. “They could have been seriously hurt.”

Joan swatted her hand through the air. “They’re fine. It was funny, watching them. We’re all old. It’s nice to have some excitement once in a while.”

Diane shook her head at her mother. Joan wasn’t very tall, and she was petite in size, but she could be a tough one when he wanted to be. She’d always been a tough cookie.

The phone on the end table started ringing and Diane headed over to answer it.

“Leave it alone,” her mother ordered. “Let’s go. I have a lot of shopping to do.”

Diane stopped, startled by her mother’s brusque tone. Diane was fifty-one years old and three inches taller than Joan, but her mother still insisted on talking to her as if she were a child.

The phone stopped ringing, so Diane ignored it. “You should bring a light jacket,” she told her mother. “The fall weather is nice right now, but once the sun goes down, it’ll be chilly.”

Joan nodded and walked slowly toward the closet by the door to get her jacket. She moved slower now since her hip had been replaced. She had other health issues as well, with arthritic knees and hands, and her eyesight wasn’t the best, even when wearing her glasses. Moving into the senior apartments had been a relief for Diane. Living in a place where Joan could get help if needed meant Diane didn’t have to worry about her mother falling and needing assistance. Winters could be harsh in their town of Minnetonka, MN, with the threat of snow and ice causing a bad fall. Having her mother live in Rosewood took a lot of stress off Diane.

The phone began ringing again. Diane watched as Joan turned and glared at it but didn’t move to answer it.

“This is silly,” Diane said, annoyed, heading for the phone. “I’ll just answer it.”

“Don’t!” her mother yelled.

Diane ignored her and picked up the handset. “Hello?”

“Hello? Mrs. Hartman?” a male voice asked, sounding rushed. “I’m from the Sun-Times. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions.”

Diane frowned and looked at her mother. Joan was waving her hands through the air and saying, “Hang up!”

“I’m sorry,” Diane said into the receiver. “What do you want?”

“I’d like to ask you a question. How do you feel about your mother being let out of jail today after sixty-five years?”

Diane’s mouth dropped open. She looked again at Joan, whose shoulders had sagged in defeat. Hanging up the phone, Diane approached her mother. “My grandmother is alive?”

Joan nodded. “Yes.

The phone began ringing again as Diane’s whole life felt like it was spinning out of control.

 




Want to read more?

THE ONES WE LEAVE BEHIND 

releases on September 8, 2020

Pre-order now!





Thursday, June 11, 2020

Book Review: The First Actress: A Novel of Sarah Bernhardt by C.W. Gortner

Book Review


The First Actress

A Novel of Sarah Bernhardt

C.W. Gortner


Book Description:

From her beginnings as the daughter of a courtesan to her extraordinary transformation into the most celebrated actress of her era, Sarah Bernhardt is brought to life by an internationally bestselling author praised for his historical novels featuring famous women.

Sarah’s highly dramatic life starts when she returns to Paris after her convent schooling and is confronted by her mother’s demand to follow in the family trade as a courtesan. To escape this fate, Sarah pursues a career onstage at the esteemed Comédie-Française, until her rebellious acting style leads to her scandalous dismissal. Only nineteen years old and unemployed, Sarah is forced to submit to her mother’s wishes. But her seductive ease as a courtesan comes to an abrupt end when she discovers she is pregnant. Unwilling to give up her child, Sarah defies social condemnation and is cast adrift, penniless and alone. 

With her striking beauty and innovative performances in a bohemian theater, Sarah catapults to unexpected success; suddenly, audiences clamor to see this controversial young actress. But her world is torn asunder by the brutal 1870 siege of Paris. Sarah refuses to abandon the ravaged city, nursing wounded soldiers and risking her life.

Her return to the Comédie and her tempestuous affair with her leading man plunge Sarah into a fierce quest for independence. Undeterred, she risks everything to become France’s most acclaimed actress, enthralling audiences with her shocking portrayals of female and male characters. Sarah’s daring talent and outrageous London engagement pave her path to worldwide celebrity, with sold-out tours in Europe and America. 

Told in her own voice, this is Sarah Bernhardt’s incandescent story—a fascinating, intimate account of a woman whose unrivaled talent and indomitable spirit has enshrined her in history as the Divine Sarah.

Biographical Historical Fiction

Buy Now:

Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/3fhP4Ji


My 5-Star Review:

The First Actress is an interesting novel written from Sarah Bernhardt’s perspective taking the reader on a journey from the famous actress’s childhood through adulthood. Born the daughter of a courtesan and raised in a convent, Bernhardt’s life is quite an interesting one, especially when you consider the time period. Becoming an actress was considered to be a profession lower than that of a prostitute. But the young woman worked hard and persevered, with many roadblocks along the way.

Written to keep you reading, I found this novel intriguing. A wonderful choice for book clubs or lovers of historical fiction.






About the Author:

C.W. Gortner holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis on Renaissance Studies from the New College of California and a degree in fashion marketing. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has experienced life in a Spanish castle and danced in a Tudor great hall. Half-Spanish by birth, his novels have been translated in over 20 languages to date.

He is the internationally acclaimed and bestselling author of The Romanov Empress, Mademoiselle Chanel, The Queen’s Vow, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, The Last Queen, The Vatican Princess, and Marlene, among other books. He lives in Northern California.

C.W. enjoys talking to book groups. To schedule a chat or find out more about his work, visit: http://www.cwgortner.com

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Book Review: The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman


Book Review:


The Heirloom Garden


Viola Shipman


Book Description:

In her inimitable style, Viola Shipman explores the unlikely relationship between two very different women brought together by the pain of war, but bonded by hope, purpose…and flowers.

Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to illness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind the towering fence surrounding her home, Iris has built a new family…of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to a garden filled with the heirloom starts that keep the memories of her loved ones alive.

When Abby Peterson moves next door with her family—a husband traumatized by his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability—Iris is reluctantly yet inevitably drawn into her boisterous neighbor’s life, where, united by loss and a love of flowers, she and Abby tentatively unearth their secrets, and help each other discover how much life they have yet to live.


Buy Now:




My 5-Star Review:

When you pick up a book by Viola Shipman, you know you’re in for a treat. This heartwarming story is no exception. Her novels are always populated with broken, lost characters who have lost their way or purpose and somehow find a way back to happiness. In this one, a woman who has lost everything and has isolated herself from the world soon befriends the family that is renting from her next door and finds there may be more to life than she’d thought.

Iris is a complicated character who has a broken life and has found solace in her garden. She creates beautiful flowers which originated from her grandmother’s garden, and they bring her joy. Abby, her neighbor, is trying her best to keep her family together despite the stress of her husband’s PTSD, her new job, and caring for her young daughter. She is overwhelmed. But upon meeting Iris, she feels a kinship with the older woman and slowly they begin to create a bond. But changing one’s life isn’t always easy.

This is a beautiful story that is sure to touch your heart. Perfect for those who love heartwarming women’s fiction novels.



About the Author:

Dear Reader:

Does your garden tell a story? Mine does. And it’s the inspiration behind my new novel, The Heirloom Garden, which explores the unlikely relationship between two very different women brought together by the pain of war, but bonded by hope, purpose … and flowers.

My grandma was a grand gardener, and many of her original flowers (like her perfumed peonies!) now live in my garden. Each has a memory that reminds me of family. If you love multigenerational sagas filled with hope and history (this explores WWII Victory Gardens, and 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of WWII’s end), love to garden or just love books and flowers, The Heirloom Garden is the spring “pick” for you!

I consider The Heirloom Garden to be my richest, deepest, and most moving work to date. The later Dorothea Benton Frank, who I miss dearly, said of the novel, “Every now and then a new voice in fiction arrives to completely charm, entertain and remind us what matters. Viola Shipman is that voice.”

The Heirloom Garden explores how loss and loneliness affect us, how we cope and – too often – how we don’t. As an author, I always start my novels not with an heirloom in mind, or certain character, but a question. In this novel, my questions were, “What makes us isolate ourselves from the world? And what gives us hope?” In the novel, two women scarred by war – World War II and the Iraq War – are united by loss and a love of flowers. In my case, much of the pain I explore in the novel is real: My brother died when he was just 17, still a child in so many ways, and his loss had a profound impact on me and my family. How we healed, how we came together, how we found faith – and each other – again is a huge part of this novel.

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II (on August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered, with documents signed on the deck of the American battleship USS Missouri on September 2, officially ending the war). In addition, The Heirloom Garden also explores the history of Victory Gardens and their importance in America and World War II. Thousands of gardens were started in cities, large and small, all across America – women leading the charge – and they helped feed their own families and communities as well as our troops and allies. Today’s resurgence of urban and community gardens is a legacy of those Victory Gardens.

Like my previous book, The Summer Cottage – which was the #1 bestselling novel in Michigan last year – I am honored to be able to write novels that are inspired by my grandmothers’ and mom’s heirlooms, lives, lessons and love. The multigenerational family sagas I write are meant to serve as a universal tribute to our elders, whose stories and sacrifices helped shape us and make us the people we are today. They are meant to serve as a tribute to family and to remind readers of what’s most important in life. And in these turbulent times, my novels are meant to give us hope, something we need more than every right now.

(Viola Shipman is a pen name used by author Wade Rouse)

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews