The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman

Clare and Jess Martin are struggling writers even though Jess has already had one book published.  They both want to continue writing, and Jess wants to make his second book a best seller, but their finances are holding them back.

They have exhausted their savings and are now looking for a new home that they can afford.  Unfortunately, everything is out of their price range.

But….when they have the offer to be a caretaker at Riven House in the town where they both went to college, where Clare grew up, and where their writing professor lived, they jump at the chance. Free lodging wasn’t a bad deal either.

Who wouldn’t want to re-connect with a famous writer who had been your college professor ?

The only “catch” is that the house is in utter disrepair and has many odd folks that live on the estate with the professor.

The treasures Clare finds in the house as she is cleaning as well as the ghosts and the sounds that haunt the house caught my interest.

THE WIDOW’S HOUSE has a gorgeous cover that pulls you in, and the story line along with the characters and what has happened and what currently happens at Riven House is intriguing.

A paranormal aspect is there, but it isn’t over powering and definitely adds to the book’s interest.

It took me about 100 pages to get connected, but it was worth the wait as the family saga and secrets unfolded.

Along with the mystery and eeriness of the house, there is a mystery about who Clare’s birth mother really was.

Those readers who enjoy a mystery, a unique family, ghosts, family secrets, and a Gothic theme will enjoy THE WIDOW’S HOUSE.

Ms. Goodman has a marvelous writing style that will draw you in and have you easily connecting with the characters. 

The ending is quite good.  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher  in return for an honest review.

 

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The Women in The Castle by Jessica Shattuck

 Before, during, and after the war Marianne was there to support everyone even though she had lost everything except her castle and her children.
Marianne previously lived in a castle with her husband, Albrecht and her children before the Germans took it over.  Her husband was a member of the resistance but was killed by the Germans along with other members.  His request was for Marianne to take care of the families of other members if he and his fellow members were killed.
Marianne complied with her husband’s wishes and found two women including Benita who had married a man Marianne actually had loved at one time and who was a family friend.
These women and their children lived together and endured the hardships after the war as well as sharing their lives before and during the war. 
Marianne was an organizer, Benita was a follower, and Ania was a great help to Marianne.  All three women had endured a lot and were there for each other in their own way as they recovered after the war.
THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE gives us insight into how families lived in Europe before,  during, and after Hitler’s regime.  The book ends with the year 1991.
THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE is well written, well researched, and with authentic characters and descriptions that draw you indescriptions that allow you to share the experiences every character is dealing with whether good or bad.  Some of the experiences are quite grizzly.
It took me a few chapters to get connected and to warm up to the characters, but once I did, I became fully involved with their lives as well as becoming familiar with yet another piece of WWII’s history.
Historical fiction fans and women’s fiction fans will love THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE.  Be prepared for a heart wrenching, but very thought-provoking read.
The historical aspect and the friendships between the three women draw the reader in and keep the pages turning while you also don’t want the book to end.  4/5
This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

 

                                    

Noa was thrown out of her parents’ home because she had become pregnant to a German soldier but needed to leave after the Germans took her baby.  As Noa made her way out of town, she came upon a train of Jewish infants left to die (talk about heartbreaking.)  

Noa took one of the babies, couldn’t continue because they both were almost frozen, and then collapsed near the circus.  The circus members rescued Noa and the baby, but Noa had to perform on the flying trapeze with Astrid to earn her keep.

Even though Noa and Astrid worked together as a team on the flying trapeze, there was tension between them because Noa was terrified of flying especially since she almost fell to her death during practice one day.  The tension subsided as Noa tried harder to please Astrid and when Noa found out the reason Astrid hid from the Nazi soldiers.

The first time Astrid immediately and very quickly disappeared when the Nazi soldiers burst into the circus building, Noa knew something was going on.

How did they know she was Jewish?  Did someone tell on her?  The circus owner kept up a good front and steered the Nazi soldiers from the Jewish performers he was hiding, but it was stressful for all.

THE ORPHAN’S TALE is another beautifully written book by Ms. Jenoff revealing another not well-known fact about WWII.  The circus theme was quite interesting.  I wasn’t aware of traveling circuses during that time, but it seems like the perfect way to help keep some of the Jewish community safe and hidden during the Holocaust.

THE ORPHAN’S TALE smoothly flows from Noa’s story to Astrid’s as we learn about their lives and their secrets that they both are afraid to tell. Despite secrets, their friendship strengthens even though there is a thin line that may destroy it.

I truly enjoyed THE ORPHAN’S TALE as I have enjoyed all of Ms. Jenoff’s books.  Ms. Jenoff has a marvelous way of writing a story based on the unpleasant facts of WWII. 

THE ORPHAN’S TALE had a different theme, and I always learn new things about the Holocaust when I read Ms. Jenoff’s books.   

Ms. Jenoff always does exquisite research. You would think all has been known and written about WWII, but the circus assisting the Jewish people was interesting, enlightening, and wonderful to know how another group helped the Jewish people. 

Don’t miss reading another heartbreaking but heartwarming book by Ms. Jenoff.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review for TLC.

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Click here for a link to other blogs that have been on the tour.

 

A Bridge Across The Ocean by Susan Meissner

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Three women, three stories, three connected lives.Annaliese, Brette, and Simone were connected by WWII and ghosts.

A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN takes us from WWII to present day with three intriguing stories.

Annaliese was a German girl, Brett was a present-day American who had inherited an unusual gift, and Simone was a French girl who fell in love with an American during WWII.

Even though ghosts appear in this novel, the ghosts are what connects the present to the past for the three main characters.  It isn’t a major theme, but a good one.  The paranormal aspect didn’t detract from the wonderful, detailed story line.

The characters were all ones that you couldn’t help but sympathize with and love.

Annaliese’s story was my favorite simply because of the mystery surrounding her.

Brette’s story was interesting even though I am not interested in paranormal, but her ability to see spirits added another layer to the book and made connections between characters.

Simone’s story was sweet, sad, and very plausible.

What I enjoyed was learning about the RMS Queen Mary that was first used as a war ship then a ship that brought WWII European brides back to America to be united with their husbands.

A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN is another truly enjoyable, emotional book by Ms. Meissner.

The final pages and revelations are marvelous…loved the book. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Secrets You Keep by Kate White

 An automobile accident, a book that can’t seem to get written, a new home, a murder, and unsettling questions Bryn had about her new husband.

Bryn was recovering from an accident with the total support from her husband starting to wane after three months.   Was he tired of her fragility?  Was he doing things behind her back?  What else didn’t she know about her new husband’s current and past life?

All of this uncertainty also caused Bryn to not be able to focus on the new book she was to be writing.   Her writing kept her busy, but the inspiration just didn’t materialize.

What did materialize was the brutal murder of the chef who catered the dinner party Bryn hosted at her home and things getting worse for her in every aspect. The visits and questions about the murder from the police were very disconcerting, and Bryn wasn’t even sure she could trust her husband.

When another murder occurs, my mind immediately went to one of the characters as being the same person who murdered the chef. 

THE SECRETS YOU KEEP was quite a good mystery with most characters not being trustworthy and others who were caught in the middle of the deceit.

THE SECRETS YOU KEEP kept me awake longer than usual and kept me in suspense as have all of Ms. White’s books.

Ms. White did it again with another splendid mystery that was well written and had plenty of intrigue.

I enjoyed the story line and trying to guess who the real murderer was.

ENJOY if you read THE SECRETS YOU KEEP.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

 

Mothers,  Friends, Secrets….Stephanie and Emily were mothers, they were friends, and they both had secrets even though they thought they knew each other better than they knew themselves.

A SIMPLE FAVOR begins when Stephanie keeps Emily’s son, Nicky, after school because Emily is going to be late.  But…after school turns into overnight, then after school turns into another day and another night, and then yet another day and another night with no Emily.

Stephanie didn’t know where to turn except to her “mommy blog.”  Stephanie waits and waits and writes and writes.  Stephanie finally calls Emily’s husband, Sean, who was in London to tell him his wife has disappeared and that she has been keeping Nicky. Sean didn’t even know who Stephanie was.

Sean doesn’t seem concerned since Emily said she was going on a business trip, but the problem is that Emily never returns from the business trip.

Sean, Stephanie, and the two boys spend a lot of time with each other until they find out the truth that Emily is dead.

As we read, Stephanie places her thoughts and emotions on her blog and also with Sean.

A SIMPLE FAVOR keeps having secrets pop up about all of the characters both current and past.

A SIMPLE FAVOR had a unique style with Stephanie’s blog taking up most of the chapters and all the other chapters also being about Stephanie as she lives her daily life with her son and now Sean and Nicky.  Chapters only about Stephanie change as the book continues, and the scare factor definitely moves up a few notches.

My interest in the book was very high simply because of the wonderful writing and story line.  The characters were authentic, but it was difficult to believe someone could act that way and think of ways to hurt others.

I had my doubts about Stephanie’s sanity and motives and about the life she lead.  Stephanie was quite gullible and insecure.

Emily was a difficult one to figure out, a character I didn’t like, and a character I grew to hate.  She was conniving and evil.

Sean seemed like a nice enough guy that was caught in the middle of everything.

A SIMPLE FAVOR is an excellent psychological thriller that kept me guessing and wondering what really was going on in the lives of the characters. 

Were they honest with each other, honest with themselves,  or were they all just fakes?   Can we really trust or truly believe anyone?

The story line became quite intense and very good as the book continued.  

The wrap up is amazing.  A brilliant debut.   5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.


Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

You can’t wear that, I saw you smiling at that man, you don’t need to leave the  house.

Those things happened to Lindsey as her marriage progressed.   Andrew was so sweet and caring especially during her pregnancy, but it got worse every day.  She was afraid of her husband, Andrew, and she knew that wasn’t how it should be.

Lindsey finally left Andrew, and in his rage Andrew was in a car accident, killed a woman, and went to jail for ten years.

Andrew is now out of jail, and Lindsey’s fears are back.  She knows he will find her and follow her because he always told her he will never let her go.

NEVER LET YOU GO has tension oozing through the pages and keeps you turning the pages as you want to know what is going to happen next.  The ending is one marvelous surprise.

If you enjoy suspense and edge-of-your seat tension, NEVER LET YOU GO is a book you don’t want to miss. Living through the nightmare with Lindsey is gripping and a tribute to the skillful writing style of Ms. Stevens.

There are no gory murder scenes but you become emotionally drained along with the characters as we follow them through their stress as well as their love.

Ms. Stevens addresses a social problem that I am sure plagues more women than we know of.  Domestic abuse is most likely overlooked because the victims do not want to report the abuser.

If you are in the mood for a tense, well-written book with an unforgettable ending in more ways than one, you will want to read NEVER LET YOU GO.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.