Monday, March 18, 2019

Book Review: Scottie the Daughter of: The Life of Frances Scott Fitzgerald Lanahan Smith by Eleanor Lanahan

Book Review

Scottie the Daughter of…

Eleanor Lanahan

Book Description:

Providing an insider's look into a brilliant but troubled family, a biography of Scottie, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's daughter, is written by her own daughter and reveals her personality traits, relationships, and life as a journalist and political insider.

From the Publisher:

Until now, Scottie Fitzgerald has existed only peripherally in the biographies of her famous parents. Although this memoir contains riveting accounts of F. Scott and Zelda -- providing a unique perspective on these literary giants as only their daughter knew them -- it centers on Scottie, who managed to overcome being known as "the daughter of..." to became an important and influential member of the Washington jet set during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon years. In these pages, she comes to life as talented, driven, giving, as well as exasperatingly controlling, dominating, and strangely unable to show affection -- a trait that played havoc on the lives of her children. We see her through her marriages and affairs; her career as a journalist, writer, and political insider; her struggle with alcohol; and her complex relationship with her family, especially Tim, the son who, like Zelda, suffered from schizophrenia and ultimately committed suicide. Using diaries, journals, personal letters, and haunting photographs, Lanahan provides a fascinating portrait of a great American family, and an intensely personal, haunting look at the consequences of fame.

This book is out of print and not in ebook form. However, it is well-worth buying a used copy to read because it is that interesting.

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My 5-Star Review:

I really enjoyed this biography of Scottie Fitzgerald by her daughter Eleanor Lanahan. It begins with a comprehensive recap of the lives of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda and moves on to Scottie's childhood and then her adult years. For the first time ever, I felt that I was hearing the true story of these literary icons and their daughter. Through the years, biographers have dwelled on the glitz and tragedies of the lives of Scott and Zelda, but in this telling of it, you hear the clear truth of their lives without the glamour and drama. And despite it all, Scottie grew up to be an amazing person who was active in politics, a writer, and even a songwriter. All of this is described through letters to and from family members, a partially written memoir of Scottie's, and family memories. 

A wonderful and powerful story of a very special lady. Thank you Eleanor Lanahan for sharing the story of your mother's life with us all.

About the Author:

Eleanor Lanahan is an artist and filmmaker and is one of the executors of her grandfather’s estate. She is the granddaughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, and the daughter of Frances “Scottie” Fitzgerald Lanahan Smith, the Fitzgerald’s only daughter.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Book Review: The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict

Book Review

The Only Woman in the Room

Marie Benedict

Book Description:

She possessed a stunning beauty. She also possessed a stunning mind. Could the world handle both?
Her beauty almost certainly saved her from the rising Nazi party and led to marriage with an Austrian arms dealer. Underestimated in everything else, she overheard the Third Reich's plans while at her husband's side, understanding more than anyone would guess. She devised a plan to flee in disguise from their castle, and the whirlwind escape landed her in Hollywood. She became Hedy Lamarr, screen star.
But she kept a secret more shocking than her heritage or her marriage: she was a scientist. And she knew a few secrets about the enemy. She had an idea that might help the country fight the Nazis...if anyone would listen to her.
A powerful novel based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist whose groundbreaking invention revolutionized modern communication, The Only Woman in the Room is a masterpiece.

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My Five-Star Review:

Hedy Lamarr—when you hear this name you think of the glamorous actress who commanded the silver screen. But she was much more than a pretty face or a talented actress. Raised by a father who appreciated her intelligence and encouraged her in all things, married to a man who was in bed with the Third Reich, and refugee from Austria right before her home country is taken over by Hitler, she had an incredible past that forged her future; helping her accomplish her greatest achievement of all.

The Only Woman in the Room is a wonderful story that depicts just how intelligent and inventive she was. She was a strong woman who stood up to movie executives most people feared and the U.S. military that rejected her ideas because she was a woman. The author knows her history well and mixes Hedy’s story amidst the outbreak of World War II, keeping the reader entertained and informed throughout. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical biographical fiction.

About the Author:

Once a New York City lawyer, Marie Benedict had long dreamed about a fantastical job unraveling the larger mysteries of the past as an archaeologist or historian -- before she tried her hand at writing. While drafting her first book, she realized that she could excavate the possible truths lurking in history through fiction, and has done so in THE OTHER EINSTEIN, the story of Mileva Maric, Albert Einstein's first wife and a physicist herself, and CARNEGIE'S MAID, the story of a brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie toward philanthropy. Her upcoming novel, THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM, will release in January of 2019. She is a graduate of Boston College and the Boston University School of Law, and lives in Pittsburgh with her family.

If you enjoyed this novel about Hedy Lamarr, I also recommend the novel, Beautiful Invention: A Novel of Hedy Lamarr by Margaret Porter. It is a comprehensive historical fiction story of Hedy’s life that you will find intriguing. Read my review here.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Book Review - The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel by Jeanne Mackin

Hi all,

I've been reading and enjoying a lot of historical fiction lately. This one caught my eye and I really enjoyed it. I hadn't known much about Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli before reading this novel, and I found them fascinating. If you love historical fiction - you will love this novel. 

The Last Collection:

A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel

Jeanne Mackin

Book Description:

An American woman becomes entangled in the intense rivalry between iconic fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in this captivating novel from the acclaimed author of The Beautiful American.

Paris, 1938. Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli are fighting for recognition as the most successful and influential fashion designer in France, and their rivalry is already legendary. They oppose each other at every turn, in both their politics and their designs: Chanel’s are classic, elegant, and practical; Schiaparelli’s bold, experimental, and surreal.

When Lily Sutter, a recently widowed young American teacher, visits her brother, Charlie, in Paris, he insists on buying her a couture dress—a Chanel. Lily, however, prefers a Schiaparelli. Charlie’s beautiful and socially prominent girlfriend soon begins wearing Schiaparelli’s designs as well, and much of Paris follows in her footsteps. 

Schiaparelli offers budding artist Lily a job at her store, and Lily finds herself increasingly involved with Schiaparelli and Chanel’s personal war. Their fierce competition reaches new and dangerous heights as the Nazis and the looming threat of World War II bear down on Paris.

Historical Fiction
Publication Date: June 25, 2019

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My Five-Star Review:

A young artist and widow, Lily Sutter, finds herself in the center of a great rivalry between designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in Paris, France in 1938. As she befriends both women, she learns more about them and their past as war looms around them.

I absolutely loved this book. The feud between Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli is described to perfection while Lily sits on the sidelines, being a neutral bystander. Amidst their rivalry, the threat of World War II brings tension to the story. This beautifully written story is difficult to put down and yet you do not want it to end. I highly recommend to anyone who loves historical fiction.  

About the Author:

Jeanne Mackin is the author of several historical novels. Her most recent is The Beautiful American. She has worked as a journalist for several publications, and as a university research and science writer. She lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, with her husband, artist Steve Poleskie. Jeanne was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and her journalism has won awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. 

For more information, visit:

Monday, February 4, 2019

Wild Deadwood Reads - Writer and Reader Event!

I'm thrilled to annouce that I will be attending WILD DEADWOOD READS in amazing Deadwood, SD on June 6-8th. Readers are also invited to come along and join in on the many exciting events with an author book signing slated for June 8th. My incredible cover designer, Deborah Bradseth of Tugboat Design, will be there too!

Come to Deadwood and visit with us and a hugh group of talented authors! Details at:

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Book Review: For Her Honor (The Gentrys of Paradise Book 4) by Holly Bush

Book Review

For Her Honor

The Gentrys of Paradise Book 4

Holly Bush

Book Description:

1873 –
Adam Gentry, heir to the celebrated Paradise Stables in Virginia, is haunted by the visions of his lost love. Feeling cursed by fate, he slips deeper into grief, shrouded in a cloud of liquor and depression, and neglects his duties and responsibilities. But when Adam is forced to accept that there’s nothing he can do to change his past, he knows he must move on. And he accepts his own destiny: that he will never love again.

Emmaline Somerset finds herself in the worst possible position any unmarried woman can be in. She will have to abandon all of her plans, hopes, and dreams for an independence using her own talents. The only viable solution is to move to a distant relative’s home and reinvent herself as a widow with an infant. No one will ever be the wiser.

Adam, now determined to secure the Gentry legacy, plans to save longtime family friend Emmaline from her embarrassment with an offer of marriage. But what Adam didn’t plan on was how his unexpected attraction to her would stir something inside of him, something he's kept locked deep within.

Can love finds its way between two troubled souls, one driven by duty, the other by honor, both determined to find their way home?

The Gentrys of Paradise:
Book #1 Prequel Novella Into the Evermore
Book #2 For the Brave
Book #3 For This Moment
Book #4 For Her Honor

Historical Romance
Release Date: January 8, 2019

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My 5-Star Review:

For Her Honor is the fourth and final installment of The Gentrys of Paradise series by the talented author, Holly Bush. I’ve read every one of this series and have enjoyed them very much. In fact, I’ve read all of Holly’s books, and have never been disappointed.

In For Her Honor, the oldest brother, Adam Gentry, is mourning the loss of the only woman he’s ever loved, and finds himself in the deepest, darkest despair. When finally he pulls himself up and once again takes over his duties of running the family business, Paradise Stables, he is met with a moral dilemma. A family friend, Emmaline Somerset, has found herself in the family way after having been preyed upon by an unworthy man. To help fix the problem, Adam swoops in and proposes marriage, promising to care for the child as if it were his own. He doesn’t do this out of love for Emmaline, but only to save her honor. Emmaline accepts, reluctantly, but soon finds herself looking at Adam in a whole different light.

For Her Honor is a wonderful story about two very determined people trying to find their way in a society of strict rules and expectations. Adam is the strong, silent type who wants to protect and always do what is right. Emmaline is a stubborn, willful woman who has dreams and goals of her own. But once these two come together, they find that maybe their differences are what can make this difficult relationship work.

Well-written and intriguing, as all of Holly’s books are, you will find yourself falling in love with the Gentry family. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical romance.

About the Author:

Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour.  Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject. Currently, she works in the Quality Assurance Office of a large farming enterprise building data bases and writing technical manuals.

Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She writes historical romance novels, all set in the U.S. or Victorian London in the mid to late 1800’s. Her most popular series is The Crawford Family and her newest is The Gentrys of Paradise. She frequently attends writing conferences, and book fairs. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, and is a sponsor of the Lancaster Lady Jane’s Salon held quarterly.

Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, and was a member of her local library board for years. She loves to spend time near the ocean and is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more than a few years her junior.

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews