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


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Book Review: The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

Hi all,

If you read this blog at all, you know that I'm already a fan of author Alice Hoffman. So you won't be surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel, The Story Sisters. Here is more about it and my review.


The Story Sisters
Alice Hoffman

Book Description:

Alice Hoffman’s previous novel, The Third Angel, was hailed as "an unforgettable portrait of the depth of true love" (USA Today), "stunning" (Jodi Picoult), and "spellbinding" (Miami Herald). Her new novel, The Story Sisters, charts the lives of three sisters–Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart’s desire, and a demon who will not let go.

What does a mother do when one of her children goes astray? How does she save one daughter without sacrificing the others? How deep can love go, and how far can it take you? These are the questions this luminous novel asks. 

At once a coming-of-age tale, a family saga, and a love story of erotic longing, The Story Sisters sifts through the miraculous and the mundane as the girls become women and their choices haunt them, change them and, finally, redeem them. It confirms Alice Hoffman’s reputation as "a writer whose keen ear for the measure struck by the beat of the human heart is unparalleled" (The Chicago Tribune).


My 5-Star Review:

You can expect the unexpected when you read a story by Alice Hoffman. Typically, nothing is as it seems and soon you are brought into the depth of the characters’ lives and begin to see the real story within the story. This novel, The Story Sisters, is a perfect example of the amazing imagination of Alice Hoffman.

You begin with the three sisters who have a magical quality about them and you think you know what you are getting yourself into. But then the story begins to bend and weave its way from good to evil, sweet to tragedy, and before you know it, you are deep into the tragic lives of these once close sisters. As with all her books, her writing is lyrical. I feel as if I'm reading a poem instead of a story. Every line is airy and light with deep meaning. I love how she tells the tale of each sister, as if she is sitting with you, weaving a tale before your eyes. It's beautiful.

This novel will not disappoint. You will cry at the end but for a good reason. If you love novels by Alice Hoffman, you will love this one too.


Buy now on Amazon


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.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Book Review: Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts


Book Review

Finding Dorothy


Elizabeth Letts


Book Description:


Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband’s masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank’s passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book—because she’s the only one left who knows its secrets.

But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of “Over the Rainbow,” Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story, from her youth as a suffragette’s daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Judy reminds Maud of a young girl she cared for and tried to help in South Dakota, a dreamer who never got her happy ending. Now, with the young actress under pressure from the studio as well as her ambitious stage mother, Maud resolves to protect her—the way she tried so hard to protect the real Dorothy.

The author of two New York Times bestselling nonfiction books, The Eighty-Dollar Champion and The Perfect Horse, Elizabeth Letts is a master at discovering and researching a rich historical story and transforming it into a page-turner. Finding Dorothy is the result of Letts’s journey into the amazing lives of Frank and Maud Baum. Written as fiction but based closely on the truth, Elizabeth Letts’s new book tells a story of love, loss, inspiration, and perseverance, set in America’s heartland.



My 5-Star Review:

We all know the story of Dorothy following the yellow brick road to find home. We’ve all seen the movie since childhood, and watched as she fights the wicked witch to earn the right to finally go home. (If you haven’t seen the movie – where have you been??). But do you know the story behind the story? Do you know what prompted L. Frank Baum to write about Dorothy and Toto and all her fairytale friends? That is where the historical fiction novel, Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts steps in.

As L. Frank Baum’s widow arrives at MGM to oversee the making of the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz”, we begin to see how important it is to her to make sure the story is done correctly. And she also brings with her the backstory of the writing of this children’s classic. Elizabeth Letts weaves a wonderful story within a story of the life of L. Frank Baum and his wife, Maud, and all their struggles through the early years until his success as a writer. On the movie set, Maud feels protective of the young actress, Judy Garland, who plays Dorothy and watches over her. She also feels protective of the character too, wanting the studio to portray Dorothy exactly as she is in the books. In-between her visits to the set, we see flashbacks of Maud’s youth through her marriage to Baum and beyond.

I can’t tell you how much I loved this story. It gave depth to character who I’d loved as a child and an adult and gave even more meaning to the story. The author states that she put as much truth in the story as she could find, and you can see the work she’s put into it. It’s an amazing historical fiction novel that I am sure you will enjoy.


About the Author:

If you want to know why I'm a writer, you'd have to thank Mrs. Barclay, the children's librarian in the Malaga Cove Library in Palos Verdes, California, and my mother. who has read more books than anyone else I know, and who carted me to the library from the time I could barely walk. From the day I sounded out my first board book (Ann Likes Red), read my first poem (Block City, by Robert Louis Stevenson) and was swept up in my first long chapter book, (Little House in the Big Woods) I've been a passionate reader and fascinated by the lives and personalities of my favorite authors. But I was a late bloomer. I spent my twenties and thirties working as a nurse-midwife and raising four children. When I turned forty, I decided that I didn't want to be one of those people who thought she had a book in her but never gave it a try, and I sat down to write my first novel. Now, writing is my full-time pursuit. My passions are horses and all animals, my children, singing in a choir, and long road trips through the backroads of America. I care deeply about issues that affect women and children, and especially those who are fleeing danger. But my favorite hobby is still the one that Mrs. Barclay and my mom got me started on-- reading.

Website: www.elizabethletts.com 
Twitter: @elizabethletts 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/eightydollarchampion
Instagram: elizabethletts

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.

Buy now:



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.

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews