Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Book Review: The Bachelor’s Bride by Holly Bush

 Book Review

The Bachelor’s Bride

(The Thompsons of Locust Street Book 1)

Holly Bush


Book Description:

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

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

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

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

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


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My 5-Star Review:

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

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


About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Book Review: The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little

Book Review

The Chanel Sisters

Judithe Little


Book Description:


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

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

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

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

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


Release Date: December 29, 2020

Historical Fiction

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My 5-Star Review:

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

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


About the Author:

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

Friday, November 6, 2020

Book Review: Lana's War by Anita Abriel

 Book Review

Lana’s War

Anita Abriel


 Book Description:

Paris 1943: Lana Antanova is on her way to see her husband with the thrilling news that she is pregnant. But when she arrives at the convent where he teaches music, she’s horrified to see Gestapo officers execute him for hiding a Jewish girl in the piano.

A few months later, grieving both her husband and her lost pregnancy, Lana is shocked when she’s approached to join the resistance on the French Riviera. As the daughter of a Russian countess, Lana has the perfect background to infiltrate the émigré community of Russian aristocrats who socialize with German officers, including the man who killed her husband.

Lana’s cover story makes her the mistress of Guy Pascal, a wealthy Swiss industrialist and fellow resistance member, in whose villa in Cap Ferrat she lives. Together, they gather information on upcoming raids and help members of the Jewish community escape. Consumed by her work, she doesn’t expect to become attached to a young Jewish girl or wonder about the secrets held by the man whose house she shares. And as the Nazis’ deadly efforts intensify, her intention to protect those around her may put them all at risk instead.

With Anita Abriel’s “heartfelt and memorable” (Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling, Lana’s War is a sweeping and suspenseful tale of survival and second chances during some of the darkest days of history.

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Historical Women's Fiction

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My 5-Star Review:

In 1943, Lana’s entire life falls apart when she is witness to the murder of her husband by the Gestapo. Grieving, Lana agrees to join the resistance and goes to the French Riviera where she is thought to be the mistress of a wealthy Swiss industrialist named Guy Pascal. With her new connections, she can openly spy on German officers and help the resistance save the lives of many Jewish people in the area. But her new life of espionage puts not only her life in danger, but she also risks losing her heart to the handsome Guy.

Lana’s War is an intriguing story of one woman’s loss and how she finds a way to get her revenge while learning to love again. I’ve read dozens of WWII stories lately, and this was one of my favorites. Intrigue, suspense, and romance – what more could you want? Highly recommended.


About the Author:

Anita Abriel was born in Sydney, Australia. She received a BA in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College, and attended UC Berkeley's Masters in Creative Writing program. She lives in California with her family and is the author of The Light After the War which was inspired by her mother's story of survival during WWII.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Book Review: Before the Crown by Flora Harding

Book Review

Before the Crown

Flora Harding


Book Description:

Windsor Castle, 1943

 As war rages across the world, Princess Elizabeth comes face to face with the dashing naval officer she first met in London nine years before.

 One of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy, Philip represents everything she has always been taught to avoid. Instability. Audacity. Adventure.

 But when the king learns of their relationship, the suitability of the foreign prince is questioned by all at court.

 He is the risk she has never been allowed to take. The risk not even the shadow of the crown will stop her from taking…

 Step through the palace gates and discover a captivating historical novel of royal secrets and forbidden love exploring the tempestuous courtship between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in the wake of WWII.

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My 5-Star Review:

Absolutely charming. Author Flora Harding did an amazing job of bringing the reader into the life and thoughts of both Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip prior to their marriage. It reminded me of the series, The Crown, but with so much more detail. Beautifully written, interesting from beginning to end. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves a novel about the royal family.


About the Author:

I started writing to fund a PhD on waste disposal in the Elizabethan city and have been juggling fact and fiction ever since. I write across various fiction genres and have written a number of histories and guides, too, on subjects ranging from cathedrals and car distributors to royal palaces. I'm a walker, a traveler, a cook and a card player, and I live in the center of York, a historic city in the north of England, although I spend a lot of time yearning for the big skies and open horizons of moorland, coast or desert.