Thursday, August 22, 2019

Book Review: The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman


Hi all,

I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of Alice Hoffman’s newest novel, The World That We Knew. Here is more about the book and my thoughts.


The World That We Knew


Alice Hoffman


Book Description:

In 1941, during humanity’s darkest hour, three unforgettable young women must act with courage and love to survive, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites Alice Hoffman. 

In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.

Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she’s destined to be.

What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.

Publish Date: September 24, 2019

Preorder now on:





My 5-Star Review:

Alice Hoffman has once again written a novel that mixes reality with magical elements and brings unforgettable characters to life. The World That We Knew centers around the tragedy of WWII in Germany with Jewish characters fleeing to survive while others in the resistance fight against the Nazis. The characters are woven though the story, connected in ways but not always together. It’s an amazing story of love, sacrifice, and loss – a story so deep that you will be touched by it long after you put the book down. Do not miss out on this novel – highly recommended!


About the Author:

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York. 

Hoffman's first novel, Property Of, was written at the age of twenty-one, while she was studying at Stanford, and published shortly thereafter by Farrar Straus and Giroux. She credits her mentor, professor and writer Albert J. Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin Bocock Guerard, for helping her to publish her first short story in the magazine Fiction. Editor Ted Solotaroff then contacted her to ask if she had a novel, at which point she quickly began to write what was to become Property Of, a section of which was published in Mr. Solotaroff's magazine, American Review. 

Since that remarkable beginning, Alice Hoffman has become one of our most distinguished novelists. She has published a total of eighteen novels, two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Her novel, Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte's masterpiece Wuthering Heights. Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Her novel, At Risk, which concerns a family dealing with AIDS, can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools. Her advance from Local Girls, a collection of inter-related fictions about love and loss on Long Island, was donated to help create the Hoffman (Women's Cancer) Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. Blackbird House is a book of stories centering around an old farm on Cape Cod. Hoffman's recent books include Aquamarine and Indigo, novels for pre-teens, and The New York Times bestsellers The River King, Blue Diary, The Probable Future, and The Ice Queen. Green Angel, a post-apocalyptic fairy tale about loss and love, was published by Scholastic and The Foretelling, a book about an Amazon girl in the Bronze Age, was published by Little Brown. In 2007 Little Brown published the teen novel Incantation, a story about hidden Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, which Publishers Weekly has chosen as one of the best books of the year. In January 2007, Skylight Confessions, a novel about one family's secret history, was released on the 30th anniversary of the publication of Her first novel. Her most recent novel is The Story Sisters (2009), published by Shaye Areheart Books.

Hoffman's work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine. She has also worked as a screenwriter and is the author of the original screenplay "Independence Day" a film starring Kathleen Quinlan and Diane Wiest. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Self, and other magazines. Her teen novel Aquamarine was recently made into a film starring Emma Roberts.

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Women of Great Heron Lake Giveaway

We have two winners! 
Rita W. and Susan C.

Thank you to everyone who entered. 

The Women of Great Heron Lake
Giveaway!

August 16th - September 10th 


In anticipation of the release of
The Women of Great Heron Lake
I'm having a Giveaway!

Enter below using the Rafflecopter insert. 
Or, you can leave a comment below to enter.

Winners will be randomly chosen on 
September 10, 2019

Good Luck!

And don't forget to preorder your copy of 
The Women of Great Heron Lake!




Friday, August 2, 2019

Cover Reveal & Preorder: Chasing Bailey (A Lake Harriet Novel) by Deanna Lynn Sletten

Hi everyone!

I'm so excited to finally share with you the cover of my upcoming contemporary romance novel 

CHASING BAILEY
A Lake Harriet Novel
Book 3


The cover was created by my amazing designer
Deborah Bradseth of Tugboat Design



First we met Kristen and Ryan in Walking Sam. Then we met Mallory and James in As the Snow Fell. Now, we'll meet two more residents of the Lake Harriet neighborhood and a wiley dog named Bailey in the sweet romance, Chasing Bailey.

Book Description:


A Lake Harriet Novel

In the charming Lake Harriet neighborhood where we first met Kristen, Ryan, and their dog Sam in Walking Sam, two people are struggling to put their lives back together with the help of a rambunctious dog named Bailey.

Lisa Evan’s life has been in turmoil since her husband, Andrew, left her nine months earlier. With two-year-old Abby to care for and a new full-time job as a school nurse, she’s just trying to keep her head above water both emotionally and financially. It didn’t help that her ex-husband gifted a rambunctious puppy to Abby for her second birthday. But Abby instantly fell in love with Bailey, so Lisa didn’t have the heart to say no. Even though Lisa’s quiet neighborhood is a great place for kids and dogs, there’s one neighbor who isn’t thrilled about Bailey—the hermit across the street. And try as she might, Lisa can’t keep the dog from digging his way out of the yard and running to the hermit’s house. But after one particularly nasty clash with the hermit, Lisa discovers that maybe the man across the street isn’t as terrible as she’d once thought.

Avery McKinnon moved to the quiet neighborhood to hide out after an extremely nasty divorce. In one year his entire world has fallen apart. His wife left him, he lost his house, and his novels are no longer selling as well as they used to, taking a bite out of his income. He’s bitter and angry and the last thing he wants is to become chummy with all the annoyingly happy people in his neighborhood. When the puppy across the street keeps running over to his house and digging up his yard, Avery explodes. Can’t that annoying woman across the street control a puppy? But when he finally sees Lisa for who she is, he realizes that maybe he’s been angry long enough. Maybe it was time to let someone back into his life. And then her ex-husband comes back into the picture and ruins everything.

Contemporary Romance
Sweet Romance

Release Date: October 8, 2019

You can Preorder now on:


Paperback and Audiobook Coming Soon!


If you loved WALKING SAM and AS THE SNOW FELL, you will love CHASING BAILEY!


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Book Review: Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb


Book Review

Meet Me in Monaco

Hazel Gaynor
Heather Webb

Book Description:
"A fragrant French bonbon of a book: love, glamour, perfume, and paparazzi all circling around the wedding of the century..."--Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK and THE HUNTRESS.
Named one of InStyle's best books to put in your tote bag for the summer!
Named one of Popsugar’s best books to put in your beach bag this summer and one of the best books of July!
Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and unforgettable wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate and second chances...
Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique to fend off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.
James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.


Buy now on:




My 5-Star Review:

Movie star Grace Kelly takes Cannes by storm when she arrives at the film festival, followed by the paparazzi hungry for photos. But as the film star is trying to avoid the press, perfumer Sophie Duval has more serious problems on her mind—saving her family business. By luck, Grace Kelly ducks into Sophie’s tiny shop to escape one determined photographer and Sophie hides the actress and confronts the pushy man herself, sending him away. What Sophie doesn’t realize yet is that photographer, James, and Miss Grace Kelly herself, will shape her future in more ways than one.

MEET ME IN MONACO is a delightful novel full of interesting characters and plots that keep the reader turning pages. The glitter of a Hollywood star, the romance of a starlet and prince, and the love story of two people who meet at an inopportune time but so desperately wish to be together. What more could a reader want? A lovely, enjoyable novel.


About the Authors:

Hazel Gaynor: Hazel Gaynor is the acclaimed New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of A MEMORY OF VIOLETS and THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received the 2015 Romantic Novelists' Association Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY, was an Irish Times and Globe and Mail bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she published THE COTTINGLEY SECRET, and LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS (co-written with Heather Webb). Both novels hit bestseller lists, and LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS won the 2018 Women's Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Hazel's most recent novel, THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER'S DAUGHTER, was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller. Her latest novel MEET ME IN MONACO (co-written with Heather Webb) will be published in July 2019. 

Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015 and was a spring 2015 WHSmith Fresh Talent pick. Her work has been translated into ten languages and is published in seventeen countries to date. She is co-founder of creative writing events The Inspiration Project, and lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. She is represented by Michelle Brower of Aevitas Creative Management, New York. 

For more information, visit www.hazelgaynor.com 


Heather Webb: Heather Webb is the international bestselling author of six historical novels set in France, including her latest Last Christmas in Paris, which became a bestseller and also won the 2018 Women's Fiction Writers Association STAR award. In 2015, her novel about famed sculptors Camille Claudel and Rodin called Rodin's Lover, was a Goodreads Top Pick. Next, check out her novel inspired by Grace Kelly's royal wedding called Meet Me in Monaco, co-written with bestselling author Hazel Gaynor. To date, Heather's novels have sold in a dozen countries worldwide. She is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend. She lives in New England with her family and one feisty rabbit.

Heather is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Women's Fiction Writers Association, and Romance Writers of America.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Book Review: Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston


Hi all,

I fell in love with Paula Brackston’s novels a few years ago when I was reading her “Witch” novels – The Witch’s Daughter, Return of the Witch, The Silver Witch, The Midnight Witch, and The Winter Witch. She has such a beautiful way of writing that I was thrilled when she began a new series starting with The Little Shop of Found Things. This latest one is the second book in that series, and is just as amazing as the first. Here is more about this novel and my thoughts.


Secrets of the Chocolate House


Paula Brackston



Book Description:

The second novel in 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 The Little Shop of Found Things was called “a page-turner that will no doubt leave readers eager for future series installments” (Publishers Weekly). Now, Brackston returns to the Found Things series with its sequel, Secrets of the Chocolate House.
After her adventures in the seventeenth century, Xanthe does her best to settle back into the rhythm of life in Marlborough. She tells herself she must forget about Samuel and leave him in the past where he belongs. With the help of her new friends, she does her best to move on, focusing instead on the success of her and Flora’s antique shop.
But there are still things waiting to be found, still injustices needing to be put right, still voices whispering to Xanthe from long ago about secrets wanting to be shared.
While looking for new stock for the shop, Xanthe hears the song of a copper chocolate pot. Soon after, she has an upsetting vision of Samuel in great danger, compelling her to make another journey to the past.
This time she'll meet her most dangerous adversary. This time her ability to travel to the past will be tested. This time she will discover her true destiny. Will that destiny allow her to return home? And will she be able to save Samuel when his own fate seems to be sealed?



Coming October 22, 2019
Preorder Now:



My 5-Star Review:

Charming, magical, delightful! Author Paula Brackston does not disappoint in this second novel in the Found Things series, Secrets of the Chocolate House.

In this sequel to The Little Shop of Found Things, the reader returns to Xanthe and Flora’s antique shop in their quaint little village. With her special power to time-travel, Xanthe hears the song of the copper chocolate pot and knows she must follow its call. But when it brings her back to a familiar time, and familiar people, she finds herself embroiled in another dangerous adventure that may change the course of her life forever.

Secrets of the Chocolate House is another wonderfully woven tale by the talented Ms. Brackston. I enjoyed this story immensely, and look forward to the next one. If you love fiction with a magical touch, you’ll enjoy this story.


About the Author:

Paula Brackston lives in a wild, mountainous part of Wales. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is 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, 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. 

When not hunched over her keyboard in her tiny office under the stairs, Paula is dragged outside by her children to play Swedish tennis on the vertiginous slopes which surround them. She also enjoys being walked by the dog, hacking through weeds in the vegetable patch, or sitting by the pond with a glass of wine. Most of the inspiration for her writing comes from stomping about on the mountains being serenaded by skylarks and buzzards.

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. Last year she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Cover Reveal: The Women of Great Heron Lake by Deanna Lynn Sletten


Cover Reveal!

I am so excited to share with you the cover of my upcoming historical fiction novel, THE WOMEN OF GREAT HERON LAKE. It’s a sweeping story of two women, decades apart, living parallel lives. Here is the beautiful cover designed by Deborah Bradseth of Tugboat Design.


Created by Tugboat Design




Book Description:

Two strong women, generations apart, living parallel lives.

When Marla Madison’s husband dies, she realizes her life has become very small. Her daughter is grown and Marla has spent the past two decades focused on his friends, his interests, and his home. Feeling lost, she throws herself into fixing up the one-hundred and fifty-year-old family manor on the lake. She soon discovers an old journal in a secret drawer and is instantly intrigued. The handwritten book tells the tale of another Mrs. Madison from over a century ago, the first woman to live in the lake manor. As Marla reads the journal, she discovers that her life parallels that of the woman who wrote those words decades ago and Marla finds inspiration from her strength.

1875 - Alaina Carlton was content to become a spinster until her beloved father introduces her to Nathaniel Madison, one of the most prosperous men in St. Paul, Minnesota. Even though she values her independence, Alaina is intrigued by this man who pursues her. When they marry, she believes she’s found a man who will treat her as an equal, but soon realizes that isn’t entirely true. From their mansion on the illustrious Summit Avenue to their manor at Great Heron Lake, where the rich and powerful play, her life is no longer her own. But fifteen years and two children later when Nathaniel grows ill she takes her rightful place where women weren’t allowed in order to secure her children’s inheritance and her future.

An inspiring family saga of two determined woman who found meaning in their lives by following their passions and not allowing society, or propriety, to hold them back.



Release Date: September 10, 2019

Women’s Historical Fiction/Family Saga

PREORDER NOW!


Coming Soon in Paperback and Audiobook


This book has been a labor of love and I hope you will preorder your copy so you can enjoy it on release day!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Book Review: Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner



Book Review


Mrs. Everything

Jennifer Weiner



Book Description:

From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history—and herstory—as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives.

Do we change or does the world change us?

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.

Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?

Release Date: June 11, 2019

Women’s Fiction



My 4-Star Review:

When I first started reading this book, I wondered if I even wanted to finish it. Having grown up in the 1960s and 1970s, I knew the drill. Cold mother, loving but hardworking father, no one understands you, everything is changing around you. Those of us who experienced those turbulent times can certainly identify with how difficult life was for women in those days and the limited choices we had then compared to now. I did continue to read it because I wanted to know what happened to Jo and Bethie as they went through their transformations.

As expected, the book is well-written, the time period is realistic, and the characters were intriguing. Ms. Weiner is a talented writer, no doubt. But I thought that maybe these sisters went through too many changes, had a few too many tragedies, and the story came off as a bit too unrealistic to me. Any one or two of the tragedies they suffered seemed plausible, but all of it? I guess the book does give the reader a lot of drama for their money. All in all, though, it was an interesting read and I did enjoy how it followed the family for generations.

A good story for those who love the fifties, sixties, and seventies time period and books with a lot of family drama.


About the Author:

Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of fourteen books, including Good in Bed, The Littlest Bigfoot, and her memoir Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing. A graduate of Princeton University and contributor to the New York Times Opinion section, Jennifer lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com



Sunday, May 19, 2019

Book Review: The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You by Amulya Malladi


I enjoyed this book so much that I had to share it with you. Be sure to preorder your copy!


The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You

Amulya Malladi


Book Description:

Set amid the world’s international airports and glamorous (and sometimes not so glamorous) hotels, the bestselling author of “The Copenhagen Affair, brings you story about what it really means for professional (but still human!) women to tackle the corporate world, scale the leadership ladder, and lean in to the lives they’ve always wanted, and truly deserve—Up in the Air meets 9 to 5 for today’s Pantsuit Nation.

Asmi knows that CPH (Copenhagen, Denmark) is the best airport to shop for clothes, and ATH (Athens, Greece) the best for shoes. The best Zara store is in BCN (Barcelona, Spain). The best airport to buy whiskey at is ARN (Stockholm, Sweden). When stopping at CDG (Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris), you must have a long layover because of those damn funiculars; and never forget that the international terminal in ORD (Chicago) has no food after ten in the evening. Airplanes, airports, and hotel lobby bars make Asmi feel just as much at home as her apartment in Laguna Beach does.

A marketing director in a biotech company, Asmi rose through the corporate ranks and never really took the time to think about couple-hood. She has good friends, a terrific sister who lives close by, and a married on-again, off-again lover in Paris she sees while she travels around the world for work.

But as Asmi reaches the big 4-0 and contemplates making some life choices; her boss announces he is retiring, and she is suddenly thrown into a corporate Hunger Games against her nemesis Scott Beauregard III to win a promotion.

Worried that her inability to commit to a real relationship with a man is a personality flaw and afraid that she’s unqualified for the job she desperately wants, Asmi must learn to lean in to have the career and life she wants and deserves, without worrying about what society expects from her.
 


Publication Date: July 1, 2019
Preorder now:



My 5-Star Review

Every woman will be able to relate to the trials and tribulations that Asmi endures in the workplace as she struggles to climb the corporate ladder in this smart, witty novel. 

 Asmi is a successful woman who holds a high-powered position in a global corporation that allows her to travel all over the world. On the flip side, she is forty, unmarried, childless, and has no immediate prospects for a permanent relationship. She worries that she may have put too much emphasis on her career and too little on her personal life, and just as she begins to question her choices, she finds herself in the middle of a corporate Hunger Games (her words) between her and a male colleague for a position she fears she isn’t even qualified for. And so, let the games begin.

In The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, author Amulya Malladi (Bestselling author of The Copenhagen Affair) draws the reader into the high-powered corporate world where Asmi works hard to walk the tightrope of being a woman in a male-dominated world. With sharp wit and intelligent dialogue, we observe Asmi in her work relationships, friendships, and with family, and see how she tries to balance it all while feeling she may not be balancing it very well. You’ll find yourself cheering Asmi on as she makes decisions that will affect her personal and professional life in her quest to find out if a woman can really have it all. A truly intelligent novel by a highly talented author.


About the Author:

Amulya Malladi is the bestselling author of seven novels, including The Copenhagen Affair. She knows her airports well because in her "spare time," she works full-time as a marketing executive for a global company. After fourteen years of mostly bad weather in Denmark, she moved to Southern California a few years ago, where she now lives with her husband and two sons. She drives an impractical convertible with the top down, even in the winter. 


Amulya loves meeting with book clubs, so please contact her at author@amulyamalladi.com if you want her to call into your meeting.

Connect with Amulya:

facebook.com/authoramulya
www.amulyamalladi.com  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Cover Reveal: Delicious Disasters by Isabella Louise Anderson

Cover Reveal 
for Author friend Isabella Louise Anderson's newest novel!

Delicious Disasters



Book Description:

When Tessa Markham’s bookstore gets bought out, she is forced to face an uncertain future. After her best friend challenges her to start baking, she accepts—even if the last time she baked wasn’t what she would call a delicious success.

After a small kitchen fire, Tessa’s life begins to change. She finds encouragement from a sexy fireman, agrees to a questionable ruse to help another business owner with a complicated situation, and needs to be there for her best friend now more than ever.

Can a delicious disaster lead to a new future and a successful baking career?



About the author:

Isabella Louise grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. Aside from writing, she focuses her time on featuring other authors on her blog, Chick Lit Goddess, along with sharing book reviews. Isabella Louise is also a member of the Romance Writers of America.
She lives in Dallas with her husband, enjoys spicy Indian and Mexican food, margaritas, and red and white wines. She loves spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the Texas Rangers. When Isabella Louise isn’t working on her next release, her attention is also on her Scentsy business, where she’s a consultant.





Contact Isabella Louise Anderson:

**Add “Delicious Disasters” to your Goodreads list:



Book Review: Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin


Hi all,

I was thrilled to get the chance to read the latest novel by Melanie Benjamin, MISTRESS OF THE RITZ. I've enjoyed her books since THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE. Here is more about this newest novel and my review.


Mistress of the Ritz


Melanie Benjamin



Book Description:

A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors to be welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the hotel’s director. The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamour and glitz to take their minds off their troubled marriage, and off the secrets that they keep from their guests—and each other.

Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goëring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets and lies. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For in order to survive—and strike a blow against their Nazi “guests”—Blanche and Claude must spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish.

But one secret is shared between Blanche and Claude alone—the secret that, in the end, threatens to imperil both of their lives, and to bring down the legendary Ritz itself.

Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.

Release Date: May 21, 2019
Historical Women’s Fiction

Preorder now:



My 5-Star Review:

A beautifully written, powerful story of two extraordinary people who risked everything in a dangerous time in history. Author Melanie Benjamin has outdone herself with this historical fiction novel about Claude and Blanche Auzello, the director of the Ritz and his American wife during the occupation of Paris in WWII. These are two intriguing characters that Benjamin has brought back to life for readers to experience what they endured throughout the war.

I’ve read several other fictional novels set in this time period and also at the Ritz, and have heard of the Auzellos, so I was thrilled to be able to read more about their lives. With glamorous background characters like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and Marlene Dietrich, the Ritz comes alive, only to be trampled down by high ranking German soldiers who occupied the lavish rooms during the occupation. Through the author’s prose, the reader sees Paris disintegrate over time as the horrors of war takes its toll. But the people of France do not give up as the Resistance comes alive and the Auzellos do their part to help rid their beloved Paris of the Germans.

A must read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction set during WWII.


About the Author:

Melanie Benjamin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. An avid reader all her life--as a child, she was the proud winner, several years running, of the summer reading program at her local library--she still firmly believes that a lifetime of reading is the best education a writer can have.

While attending Indiana University--Purdue University at Indianapolis, Melanie performed in many community theater productions before meeting her husband, moving to the Chicago area and raising two sons. Writing was always beckoning, however, and soon she began writing for local magazines and newspapers before venturing into her first love, fiction.

By combining her passion for history and biography, she has found her niche writing historical fiction, concentrating on the "stories behind the stories." Her most recent novel, THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE, tells the fascinating and timely story of the first true female partnership - and enduring friendship - in Hollywood, between the silent film star Mary Pickford and her collaborator (and first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Screenplay), Frances Marion. 
Her previous novels, THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, and THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, were New York Times, USA Today and IndieBound best sellers. Her first novel, ALICE I HAVE BEEN, was a national bestseller; this was followed by the critically acclaimed THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. Her next novel will be out in May, 2019. 

She and her family still live in the Chicago area; when she's not writing, she's gardening, taking long walks, rooting for the Cubs--

And reading, of course.



More reviews of Melanie's work:

THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE

THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE


The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews