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Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield

Storytelling at the Swan is the favorite past time of the crowd and the reason so many men stop by for their drinks.

One night the storytelling became real when a man who had been hurt and a small girl who appeared as if she had drowned fell through the inn’s front door.

  Then a miracle happened….the girl came alive again.

The townspeople and their storytelling ways had many questions, and some thought the girl was one of their own who had passed.

We follow the characters as they try to interpret what happened as we are treated to Ms. Setterfield’s beautiful, poetic, descriptive style.  

And…we can’t forget the character, the Thames River….it is a part of everyone’s lives and what  the story line revolves around.

The ending of each character’s story made the statement….”Something is going to happen,” and something definitely did.

ONCE UPON A RIVER beautifully and slowly unfolded as the mystery of the little girl was revealed and as we learn about the lives of the characters.

If you enjoy a Gothic theme, and a story line with intriguing as well as odd characters, ONCE UPON A RIVER should be a book you will enjoy.

I do have to say it was a bit long, but Ms. Setterfield’s marvelous storytelling skills make you want it to go on even longer especially once the mystery is revealed and you find out more about the characters.  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Dangerous Duet by Karen Odden

What else could be happening behind the scenes at The Octavian except piano playing and entertaining of every sort?

Nell played there to earn money for tuition to the Royal Academy even though her policeman brother didn’t know about it and wouldn’t approve.  Too many shady characters in that building and not safe to be walking back alone at night.

Nell was definitely getting herself into something dangerous, and she didn’t know it.  Nell heard so many different stories about what each person was like and what was going on that it was difficult to know who was telling the truth.

One thing that did happen was that one of the actresses was badly beaten and her partner was no where to be found.  Other incidents occurred too to make Nell and her brother wonder what was going on.

With the beating of the actress, the missing actor, and the death of a policeman, Nell’s brother had his doubts about one of his fellow policemen.  He believes there is a snitch at Scotland Yard.

Meanwhile, Nell is learning things aren’t as “clean” as they appear at The Octavian.  Was she getting herself into danger she didn’t know about?  Nell was taking chances being dressed as a man in a place that wasn’t as safe as she thought.

A DANGEROUS DUET was part learning about the lifestyle of folks in the Victorian era as well as learning that people actually haven’t changed behaviors that much over the years.

Living in the Victorian era actually wasn’t safe in many respects, and the lack of today’s conveniences such as cars and sanitation makes you happy you live today.

The suspense was enough to keep you guessing and doing some detective work of your own.  Nell’s involvement was not the best decision on her part.  She was dealing with a dangerous group of thieves.

I enjoyed the characters, and Ms. Ogden’s writing style was detailed and interesting.
If you enjoy mystery, secrets, and the Victorian era, A DANGEROUS DUET will be an appealing read.  4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Giveaway and Review of The Promise of Provence by Patricia Sands


Kat was happily married and had been for twenty-two years.

On the day of her twenty-second anniversary, she came home to the usual bouquet of flowers and the note from her husband.  The note definitely wasn’t the normal loving one.  This note was one saying he was in love with someone else and was leaving her.

Kat couldn’t believe it, but she had her mother and some terrific friends to help her through it all.

Kat moved in with her ailing mother who had lived through the horrors of WWII as a Jewish child and would never tell Kat about that time.  One day unknown to Kat, her mother wrote the events down with Kat being instructed by her mother to not read her mother’s account until she passed.

When she read her mother’s account, she cried and I did too.

As the months moved on,

Kat decided she needed something different, and her cousin Andrea told her about a house swap program.  Kat decided to do a house swap, and found a farmhouse in Provence – see photos below.

What a wonderful decision for Kat.

Ms. Sands’ marvelous descriptions have you right there with Kat enjoying the delicious food, the landscape, the views, the history of France, and the wonderful people.

THE PROMISE OF PROVENCE is a story of healing and finding yourself and your happiness.

Ms. Sands has written another beautifully told story that will have you wanting to make immediate plane reservations.  5/5

This book was given to me by the author and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.



Antibes and the Provence Area


Photos courtesy of Patricia Sands



I am partnering with the author for this giveaway.


October 29 – November 5

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The Lies We Told by Camilla Way

Wishing for something and getting something unexpected happened to Beth and Doug.  They wished for a baby, and when she finally arrived, she was a frightening, evil child.

Wishing for a wonderful relationship was what Clara hoped for and thought that’s what she had until Luke disappeared and she found out unpleasant things about him.

THE LIES WE TOLD has two stories which somehow are connected, but how they are connected is cleverly woven and a well-kept a secret.

Hannah, the evil child, was a very frightening story line.  The disappearance of Luke was not pleasant, but didn’t seem as bad.  Hannah was the tie between both story lines, though.

THE LIES WE TOLD is so good you won’t want to stop reading.  The plot is brilliant and tense in both stories and increases with each turn of the page and with each secret  and lie revealed.

The only way you can experience this amazing thriller is to read it yourself.  It is very twisted and very good, and you will be thrown off with each clue.

Those readers who like to figure out plots and usually do will most likely be baffled and incorrect in this case.

Read THE LIES WE TOLD so you can join in the discussion of this masterfully created book…the characters are quite masterful and cunning themselves…namely Hannah.

Make sure you have a large block of time available when you start reading this book. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.  All opinion are my own.


The Rain Watcher by Tatiana De Rosnay

Linden wondered why his mother organized a family get together in Paris for his father’s 70th birthday since his father didn’t like Paris.

In addition to his dislike of Paris, Paris was having torrential rainfall with threats of flooding. The rain and flooding continued throughout their time in Paris and throughout the book with worries it would be as bad if not worse than the Paris floods of 1910.

THE RAIN WATCHER brings together this family of four from Venozan, London, and San Francisco – no spouses or children – just the four of them.  We meet Linden from San Francisco who never got along with his father, Tilia from London who is unhappily married for the second time, and Paul and Lauren their parents.

All the characters seemed to have something to hide, but you warmed up to them as the book continued.

The children had grown up in Venozan after their parents met when Lauren was on a vacation in France more than 30 years ago.  It was a whirlwind romance that had Lauren never going back to the states.

The family was still indifferent as always as they gathered together for breakfast and the rain continued to pour down.  Lauren insisted they were in a non-flood area of Paris and should continue with their celebration plans.

Their celebration was wonderful until something tragic happened at the restaurant and Lauren became ill as well.

Besides being part of family issues and seeing how people interact, there was a lot of interesting information about photography.  Linden was a famous photographer with a photo of his father taken years ago that made him famous.  There is also wonderful information about plants and gardening and Paris.

THE RAIN WATCHER is beautifully written and pulls you into the story line with Ms. De Rosnay’s marvelous storytelling skills and details about every situation. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NETGALLEY and in print in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

House of Gold by Natasha Solomons

Greta had been a handful since birth with her governesses explaining that if she had been anything but a Goldbaum, she would be out on the street.

The Goldbaums always married distant cousins to keep the name, their power, and their wealth secure.

Greta was to marry her second cousin from London whom she never met, but she was fine with it because she was hoping this would take her away from her daunting mother and all her rules about proper behavior.

As I was reading, it seemed as if I were living in a fairy tale.  Every whim and want was satisfied for Greta and her family. The description of the mansions was unbelievable, and I laughed when one of the servants confessed she needed a map to navigate the home.

The writing style and the detail Ms. Solomons uses draws you into the story even though some of it is filled with politics and business dealings.  She adds enough family drama and interest of the era to keep you reading, but it did get tedious at times.

The characters were definitely depicted as true to this era and class, and they grew on you as you read.  Some you grew to like and others you grew to wonder why they acted as they did.

If you enjoy reading about aristocrats, politics, European history in the late 1800’s/early1900’s, war, and the non-public side of the wealthy, HOUSE OF GOLD will be of interest.

The book was well written, but was a bit long.  The characters – especially Greta – made the book.  She was a feisty, strong woman.  4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Giveaway, Tour, and Review of Bedside Manners by Heather Frimmer

On Tour

9/1/18- 10/14/18

“Bedside Manners” by Heather Frimmer


Facing issues wasn’t something Joyce was used to, but since she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she needed to realize it needed to be something to address.

The major issue for Joyce besides the breast cancer was how would this affect her daughter’s wedding.

BEDSIDE MANNERS has the reader following Joyce as she goes through the wedding preparations and her breast cancer treatments.

The characters were genuine and heartfelt.  I enjoyed Marnie and Joyce.  They were both strong women.

Reliving my breast cancer journey had me being thankful that it has been 18 years, and I celebrated along with the survivors in the book.

The subject matter is very appropriate for October’s Breast Cancer month, and Ms. Frimmer’s writing flows well.

If you enjoy family situations and learning some medical information, you will enjoy BEDSIDE MANNERS.  4/5

This book was given to me as ARC by the author in return for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.






I am partnering with the author and the tour company for this giveaway:


October 14 – October 21

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