Letters From Paris by Juliet Blackwell

I fell in love with LETTERS FROM PARIS the minute Claire walked into the warmth of her childhood home as she returned to take care of her dying grandmother.

Claire had left Louisiana right after college for a high-paying job in Chicago, but returned because her grandmother needed her.  While Claire was in Louisiana, she found a treasure in the attic that she remembered from her youth and a treasure that her grandmother suggested had a secret that Claire may find the answer to if she went to Paris. 

 Claire wasn’t sure what she would find but complied with her dying grandmother’s wishes and left for Paris.

Claire found more than the secret of the mask when she arrived. What else is there an abundance of in Paris?  Love, of course.

As for her mission, Claire found a mask creator in Paris who made copies of “L’Inconnue” – The Unknown Woman, obtained a temporary job there, and learned how to sculpt while learning the mask’s story and about the family legacy behind the mask.

Meanwhile LETTERS FROM PARIS takes us back to the life of the model for the mask and her tragic, difficult life.  The tragedy and story of “LInconue” was well known in France and was part of many French households.

Ms. Blackwell did another marvelous job of taking you to Paris and experiencing the life there.  I enjoyed Claire’s adventures and loved the description of the market and the delicious, mouth-watering meals made by the French people.

Being taken to Paris and its countryside through Ms. Blackwell’s descriptions was a marvelous treat.  I would have loved to join in the fun at the gorgeous family estate.  A family anyone would love to be a part of.

LETTERS FROM PARIS left me with a warm, cozy feeling because it was filled with history, family, Paris, love, and was simply a lovely read.

ENJOY!!  5/5

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 Confectioner’s Tale

A chance encounter, a patisserie, back and forth in time, and secrets that will keep you turning the pages.

We meet Guillaume du Frere in 1910 who started out as a railway man, met the daughter of the owner of a patisserie, and then saved her life.  Saving her life took Guillaume away from the difficult railway work and into the sweet, hard-working life in a patisserie.

We meet Petra  in 1988 who is writing a thesis and stumbles upon the files of her grandfather who has a secret that is well hidden but a secret that she wants to uncover.

THE CONFECTIONER’S TALE was a fun, breezy read for me even though it took a few chapters to get going.

I enjoyed the characters, the time travel, the delicious pastries, the mystery of what her grandfather had done, the love story, and a few other secrets. 

Ms. Madeleine’s writing draws you in, puts you in Paris 1910, makes your mouth water at the mention of the sweets, and seamlessly takes you to 1988 as you try to put together the pieces along with Petra to solve the mystery of what the words “Forgive Me” meant and what they had to do with her grandfather and his secret.  

The beautiful cover adds to the sweetness of the love story as well as the intrigue of THE CONFECTIONER’S TALE.

 ENJOY when you read THE CONFECTIONER’S TALE4/5

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

Tahoe Dark by Todd Borg

Familiar characters we love, more murders than you care to hear of, but as always Owen McKenna has everything covered.

Todd Borg’s latest, marvelous thriller, TAHOE DARK, includes a kidnapping, a murder of the father of the kidnapped son, a robbery of an armored truck, and old grudges coming to the surface.

TAHOE DARK is packed with action and twists.  The surprises just keep on coming, and Owen keeps on resolving them.

TAHOE DARK continues the tradition of Todd Borg’s excellence with his wonderful descriptions and plot lines.  You think the characters have had enough, and then along comes a situation that is somehow connected to the previous one.  The action doesn’t stop, and it all smoothly flows and connects.

The ending comes crashing in with the final scene being another Todd Borg masterpiece.

Give yourself a treat and read a TAHOE book.  ENJOY when you do.  5/5.

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

The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman

 

From 1898 to 1940 we meet Solange and Marthe de Florian.

Solange is the granddaughter of Marthe and the grandmother Solange never knew existed until she was nineteen years old. 

Solange’s father never knew Marthe was his birth mother until he was eighteen and kept Marthe from Solange until Solange’s mother had passed away.

The meeting of the two women allowed Solange to learn of her grandmother’s life and legacy in an apartment filled with collected treasures and the traces of men Marthe had collected during her lifetime.

I really enjoyed getting to know Marthe and Solange as Marthe told her life story to her granddaughter. What a treat it must have been for Solange to listen to the story.  Marthe’s life was one that went from poverty to living a luxurious life paid for by Charles and other men. 

THE VELVET HOURS was enticing, sensual, and exceptionally interesting since it was based on the real life of Marthe. 

I truly enjoyed the book and recommend THE VELVET HOURS for historical fiction fans.   Ms. Richman’s writing and research is absolutely marvelous.

Don’t forget to search for photos of Marthe’s apartment and her famous portrait by artist, Giovanni Boldini.   

It is totally amazing to me how the apartment and its contents made it through WWII without being ransacked or destroyed and that no one entered it for 70 years.

ENJOY when you read THE VELVET HOURS. 

I hope you fall in love with Marthe’s story as I did.  5/5

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

Karolina’s Twins by Ronald H. Balson

Re-telling your nightmare of living in occupied Poland during WWII would stir up emotions that I would want to forget, but Lena Scheinman Woodward wanted it told. 

Lena Woodward lived in Poland during the holocaust, lost her entire family, but did find her best friend, Karolina, in the factory where they were required to work and make coats for the Germans.

We are there as Lena tells of her experiences to an attorney and private investigator in hopes of getting the help she needs to fulfill the promise she made to her friend Karolina to find her twins.

Lena Woodard made a promise to her friend 70 years ago, and now at the age of 89 decided to tell her story and to try to find Karolina’s children that sadly had to be abandoned because of the situation they were in.

When Lena’s son finds out she is telling her story, he causes problems because he is worried about his inheritance being taken by the attorney and the investigator even though he indicates his concern is only with his mother’s welfare.

As Lena’s story unfolded for her attorney, Catherine, we re-lived with her the terror and atrocities committed by the Nazis, and we learned that there was a secret Lena had been keeping for 70 years.

Lena and Catherine were two characters I loved.  They were strong, determined women.  Liam was fun.  Arthur, Lena’s son, was not pleasant.  I truly enjoyed the interaction of the characters both present day and past as Lena told her story.

KAROLINA’S TWINS flowed very nicely, and was another well-researched book by Mr. Balson.  Mr. Balson has a marvelous writing style and a knack for keeping readers interested by combining facts with human interest

Mr. Balson indicated that his book is fiction, but it is similar to the life of Fay Scharf Waldman whom he met after writing his first book.  

World War II buffs will add yet another layer to their interest and desire to learn the truth.  5/5

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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Watching Edie by Camilla Way

Heather and Edie.  Friends since high school but total opposites.

Heather was the studious, compliant one. Edie was not interested in school and was rebellious.

Heather and Edie met in high school and went their separate ways, but did they? 

Heather showed up at Edie’s flat many years later and noticed that Edie was pregnant, but Edie sent her awayEdie wonders how Heather found her and if Heather had been watching her for years. 

After Edie’s daughter is born, Heather appears again but Edie let her stay this time to take care of the baby because she couldn’t handle her new responsibility.    Both girls came from unstable families. 

 Ms. Way was masterful in her organization of the book and also kept me on edge the entire time I was reading. You never knew what Heather was going to do, and you feared for Edie as well as feared for Heather herself.

The theme and mystery of what happened that tore the friends apart was quite cleverly weaved into the story and kept from the reader until the very end.  I do have to say that I really didn’t like either of the main characters. They both made terrible choices in their lives.

I actually was fearful about many of the situations they involved themselves in Most of the situations were unsafe and poor choices on the part of the characters, and these choices had me nervously turning the pages.

Ms. Way addressed many social issues such as drinking by teenagers, drug abuse, domestic abuse, and mental illness.

I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to like the book because the characters definitely led risky lives and made me nervous.   I didn’t put the book down, though, because I wanted to know what became of the two main characters.

WATCHING EDIE definitely is a tense, but a wellwritten debut. 4/5

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

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

Jack Angel….. what a gentle name, but what a terrifying person.

Jack and Grace have what appears to be the perfect marriage and Grace the perfect life not having to work, painting, cooking perfect meals, and having perfect dinner parties.  All is not what it appears, though.

Ms. Paris takes the reader on a terrifying ride with the three main characters….Grace, Jack, and Millie.

She has a writing style that draws you in and makes the characters and situations very real.

Ms. Paris is so good I could just feel something was wrong the minute Grace met charming, dashing, wealthy Jack.  I was extremely frightened for Grace as I was reading and feared for her every time Jack had planned one of his horrific deeds.

I couldn’t believe someone could be as evil as Jack.

If you truly want to hate a character, Jack is your man.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was quite intense and had such an extremely scary plot that you won’t be able to read it except in broad daylight.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is a chilling nightmare, but also a must read.  5/5

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