Book Review: To Marry an Earl by Karen Thornell

About the Book:

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Katherine Cartwright knows through bitter experience that true love is fiction and trust should not be bestowed easily. Now, after two unsuccessful London Seasons, her atrocious father has decided to marry her off to the highest bidder to pay for his gambling debts, ridding himself of the daughter he never wanted. A profitable deal is struck, and Kate is packed off to the home of her betrothed, an earl she has never met. Or so she believes.

When James Fenwick, the new Earl of Bowcott, learns that the girl he’s loved since childhood is being sold off like chattel, he’s determined to step in and save her. He makes an offer her father cannot refuse and insists on a proper engagement. But when Kate meets James again, her old friend cannot bring himself to admit it is him whom she is to marry. Soon, an intricate charade and a past that cannot be escaped jeopardize James’s chance at rekindling their friendship, to say nothing of winning Kate’s heart. Can love truly conquer all, or was this a match doomed
from the start?

My Thoughts:

I requested for and received a copy of this book on NetGalley! A huge thanks to the publisher and author.

This is a delightful regency romance that follows Kate and James, childhood friends who drift apart. James has his reasons which are not known to Kate who holds on to the disappointment and heartbreak. Kate does not have an easy life and we see a woman who is trying to fight for herself and stand up for herself. When her father decides to marry her off to the highest bidder, she knows that she is doomed. Little does she know that she will once again come face to face with her childhood friend and have to revisit her feelings.

James has had a hard time and coming into an earldom was highly unexpected. When he heard about Kate’s father’s decision, all his old feelings resurfaced leading to his final decision and sudden betrothal. Therein begins a series of hidden truths, misunderstandings and some life threats, that though hilarious enough, make this a highly enjoyable read.

The story is enjoyable and fun with strong characters some likeable and some who definitely get on your nerves. The author has done a great job in bringing out the contrast in characters. I love how Kate not only finds love, but also friendship and companionship among the group. She also redevelops a strong bond with her mother who finally gains the confidence to stand up to her father. This is a classic romance that is very well-written and will sweep the reader off their feet!

As Kate and James attempt to reignite a friendship (with some interesting suggestions from James’ best friends) while battling their true feelings against a picturesque backdrop, there’s nothing for the reader to do except join the adventure and fall in love!

Book Review: His Hidden Wife by Wendy Clarke

About the Book:

The first time you see them, out for an evening walk on the cliffs, you’ll think they’re the perfect family. You’ll see a wife who looks so happy, strolling peacefully beside her husband in his dark winter coat, holding her daughter’s hand. But you have no idea what’s really happening in their house…

If you come a little closer you might hear the way the man speaks to his wife.

You might notice that the woman doesn’t have any close friends. That sometimes her husband doesn’t want her to leave the house. You might wonder if that’s a scar her beautiful daughter is hiding on her neck.

When you read the local newspaper and hear the news that the wife has fallen from the cliffs, you’ll question whether it was really an accident at all.

And when the husband starts dating someone new – a woman with the same long dark hair and big blue eyes as his wife – will you say something this time?

Because someone has to protect the little girl and stop history from repeating itself. And it may already be too late.

A thrilling and twisty tale, His Hidden Wife will keep you up all night, desperate to race through to its final conclusion. Readers of Gone Girl, The Couple Next Door and Lisa Jewell will be hooked.

My Thoughts:

His Hidden Wife is the story of Stephen but is told from two different points of view; that of Maya, his 18 year old and Theresa, his colleague at work. The story centers around the mystery surrounding the death of Maya’s mother. Maya doesn’t remember much with respect to the incident and most people in the village do not talk about it anymore.

The story starts of rather slow, introducing us to the characters and trying to establish some context. I found it a little hard to remain engaged with the book and characters until the second half when the pace picked up. I enjoyed the mysterious nature of the plot and the father/daughter relationship. Stephen is indeed an enigma and I could not understand him until the end. Maya is a confused teenager who is trying to figure out the truth. When her father suddenly reveals that he has met someone new and brings Amy home, seeing her reminds Maya of her mother and brings buried memories to the surface.

Theresa’s story is a different one and honestly I could not understand her role in the book until midway when her friendship with Stephen is explained. We also get a glimpse into her life and family. I was not sure where all this fit into the story , but it helped to give some insight into her character. As Maya struggles to sort out her memories, we reach a point in the story where a lot is revealed and the twist in the end is one noone will see coming! Everyone has secrets and noone wants to reveal them! This was handled well and I like how the author brought out each persons role in the story.

This is the first time I cannot decide how I feel about the book. I cannot also connect the story with the title and synopsis of the book. It feels different and out of place to me. However, I would still recommend this book as it has a good plot, it is well-written and is great for those who enjoy a slow burn mystery. The plot is built up until it explodes in the end with unexpected twists and turns!

Book Review: A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert

About the Book:

When an assassin kills Princess Jiara’s older sister Scilla, her vengeful ghost is doomed to walk their city of glittering canals, tormenting loved ones until the murderer is brought to justice. While the entire kingdom mourns, Scilla’s betrothed arrives and requests that seventeen-year-old Jiara take her sister’s place as his bride to confirm the alliance between their countries.

Marrying the young king intended for her sister and traveling to his distant home is distressing enough, but with dyslexia and years of scholarly struggles, Jiara abandoned any hope of learning other languages long ago. She’s terrified of life in a foreign land where she’ll be unable to communicate.

Then Jiara discovers evidence that her sister’s assassin comes from the king’s own country. If she marries the king, Jiara can hunt the murderer and release her family from Scilla’s ghost, whose thirst for blood mounts every day. To save her family, Jiara must find her sister’s killer . . . before he murders her too.

My Thoughts:

The story follows Princess Jiara as she deals with the death of her sister, a marriage proposal from the man her sister was previously engaged to and the responsibility to step up for the sake of her family and her people. In addition to this, Jiara has to find a way to uncover the truth behind her sister’s death and bring the murderer to justice.

Initially, I liked the concept of the book and the idea of a vengeful ghost who can actually cause harm was intriguing. As the story progresses, I like how Jiara grows as a person and her distress while trying to read and learn a new language is brought out rather delicately. However, some parts of the story were rather abrupt and the character development was not strong enough. King Raffar is interesting, but the reader doesn’t come to know him as a person. We do not also get a chance to understand how he governs or what he thinks. With a strong focus on Jiara, her struggles and triumphs, it is difficult for the reader to connect with other characters.

In terms of the plot, the author has done a good job and the surroundings are well described. The kingdoms, their locations and the people are touched upon albeit only a little, but enough to give us a sense of the places. Overall this is a light YA fantasy read that has great potential and wraps up quite well in the end. The book can be read quickly and is rather enjoyable for those who enjoy the genre!

Book Review: Going Greek by Sue Roberts

About the Book:

Sun, sea and a sizzling romance… the perfect holiday, right? Wrong.

After a work party gone disastrously wrong, Samantha suddenly finds herself jobless and jilted. So when her sister invites Sam to stay at her little whitewashed farmhouse on a Greek island, Sam leaps at the chance to escape. Before long, she’s trundling up the cobbled driveway, almost colliding with sexy neighbour Spyros.

It isn’t all sunshine and smiles though. For every afternoon spent lounging by the pool, cocktail in hand, there is a morning spent adjusting to life with boisterous six-year-old nieces. When Spyros invites Sam to explore the island with him she’s tempted, but with his carefree, live-for-the-moment attitude, he couldn’t be more different to Sam with her five-year plans and high-maintenance hair. One drink, as friends, couldn’t hurt though? Over glasses of fruity Greek wine and honey-sweet baklava, can he – and the other charming locals – help city girl Sam to appreciate the simple pleasures the Greek life has to offer?

Just as Sam is considering ditching her designer gear for good though, she runs in to an old flame from home, and suddenly her London life comes hurtling back. Can her smooth-talking ex convince Sam to return to the concrete jungle, or will the lessons she’s learned from her Greek escape persuade her to stay?

A fun, fabulous and completely laugh-out-loud summer read perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan and Sophie Kinsella.

My Thoughts:

Going Greek (the new title of the book) is a totally apt name for this book. The story follows Sam as she visits her sister and family in Greece while trying to take some time off due to a scandal. Being a prominent TV presenter, everything she does and says brings her under public scrutiny. We follows as Sam spends time with her family, explores a part of Greece and sets out on a path towards love. The characters are wonderful and the highlight of this book are definitely Sam’s nieces! They steal the spotlight with their innocent yet naughty ways! They are an absolute delight!

The author does a wonderful job in bringing the place to life, giving the reader a glimpse into the beauty and tranquility of the place. In addition, we are exposed to some of the culture and food which is a wonderful experience for a reader. With an ex-boyfriend and a potential new boyfriend thrown into the mix, be prepared for a light hearted drama filled ride!

This is a perfect summer read that will help the reader to escape to an exotic place. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and finished the book in one sitting. A huge thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book!

Book Review: The Viscount’s Heir (Heirs of Cornwall #2) by Veronica Crowe

About the Book:

The Viscount's Heir (Heirs of Cornwall, #2)

The Viscount’s Heir: Book 2 of the Heirs of Cornwall Series tells the tale of two stubborn personalities determined to escape the matrimonial trap.

Allayne Carlyle, the only son and heir of Viscount Rose, is in a conundrum. All his friends are happily married, and his mother has decided it is time for him to do the same deed. But Allayne has no intentions of entering the parson’s mousetrap. He is wealthy, handsome, and free. The world is at his fingertips. He is not done sowing his wild oats, and frankly, he wants to keep sowing said oats for the next decade. Or two. Why would he want to get leg-shackled, when there are too many alluring widows to bed, and even more beautiful actresses to pursue?

Lady Alexandra Davenport, the only daughter of the Earl of Weston, is in a similar predicament. She has been cleverly avoiding the matrimonial trap, but now that her twenty-fifth birthday has come around, her father has finally put his foot down. He had threatened to confiscate her most treasured possessions: her horse and her pistols if she does not come around and accept one of her many suitors. But Alexandra is in no haste to get betrothed. She would rather spend her days participating in her charities, practicing her shooting and fencing skills, and if truth be told, she could not bear to leave her father and live elsewhere with a husband she doesn’t truly adore. Why would she want to marry some wretched man who would take her money, when she is happy and content where she is at?

Unbeknownst to our hero and heroine, their parents have been scheming. What will happen when these two stubborn personalities collide? Will they chase each other with a hatchet, or will the sparks fly?

Join Allayne and Alexandra, as they conquer the mystery of that little word, they have been trying their best to avoid: Love.

My Thoughts:

This is a quick and quite a fun read! The Viscount’s Heir is the second book in the series and follows Alexandra and Allayne through a series of adventures, misadventures, misunderstandings, heartbreak and finally second chances. Confused? Let me explain. Without knowing, Allayne and Alexandra are brought together, but of their own accord they do not reveal to each other who they are. They fall in love but assuming that the other is a servant, each of them leave and finally not knowing who they are, they move on with their live, quite heartbroken.

Alexandra is later forced to take decisions for herself that will help her situation. As time goes by, the two end up in the same place and realize who they are. Though a lot has changed, they realize that their love for one another is still as strong as ever. Perhaps this is their second chance at a life together.

The characters are well thought out and quite entertaining. They bring the story to life and the author has kept it quite realistic. I truly enjoyed reading this book even though the sad parts and I am impressed with the resilience shown by Alexandra. She is truly a motivation and a pillar of strength given her circumstances.

I recommend this book to all those who love romance and would like a quick but emotional read!

Note: I received a copy of the book from NetGalley and am grateful for the opportunity to have read this book!

Book Review: The Little Orchard on the Lane by Tilly Tennant

About the Book:

Feel the sun on your face on a Somerset terrace overlooking golden fields and wild meadowland, and watch as romance beckons and long-hidden secrets are revealed…

When twenty-seven-year-old Posy arrives at picture-perfect Oleander House in the Somerset village of Astercombe, she is enchanted. Adopted when she was just a baby, Posy is excited to re-connect with her birth family and help out on the family cider farm with its old stone walls and bees buzzing in the hedgerows.

There’s just one tiny problem – her new next-door neighbour, haughty, handsome vineyard-owner Lachlan. Lachlan has taken an instant dislike to Posy, and after a furious argument when she ventures on his land, she’s pretty certain there’s not a heart of gold beneath his frosty exterior.

Yet as she falls in love with the flower-filled hedgerows and apple-green fields of her new life, she discovers more about her grumpy neighbour. Even though he acts like the world is out to get him, she can’t ignore the sad expression in his dark eyes.

And when Posy discovers the heartbreaking secret that is tearing Lachlan apart, she understands why he has shut the door on the world and vows to help him, as well as the vineyard, which has fallen on hard times. Yet just as Lachlan lets Posy in, a terrible night threatens to destroy everything she has begun to care about and puts someone she loves at risk. Will her dream life in the country come at an awful price?

If you love Nicola May, Debbie Macomber and Milly Johnson, then you will adore The Little Orchard on the Lane. An enchanting summer romance about new beginnings, second chances and trusting your heart.

My Thoughts:

The Little Orchard on the Lane is a heart-warming story of finding oneself, family and love. This is a feel-good book that ensures the reader will experience every single emotion along with the characters. The story introduces us to Posy, a well mannered girl who has everything she could ever hope for. She has wonderful parents, a great friend and a job that she enjoys for the moment. When she suddenly finds out that she has two uncles who live in Somerset and own a farm, her world as she knows it is turned upside down.

Posy sets out to meet them along with her adoptive mother who supports her throughout this. What ensues is an amazing journey for everyone. I loved how Posy handles her meeting with her relatives and then forms bonds with each one of them. Her mother is wonderful and I adored her character. The author has done a wonderful job with the setting and the plot line, giving us a glimpse into everyone’s thought process, fears and then the love that develops only with family even if you’ve known them for a short time only.

One of my favorite characters apart from Posy is Asa, her fun loving uncle who is dealing with his own demons. Brought together, this uncle-niece duo is unstoppable and share an enviable bond. Posy also starts to form feelings for Lachlan, who owns the neighboring vineyard and who is not very amenable to company. As Posy works to break down barriers not just with her family but with Lachlan, we are treated to a wonderful story filled with so much love and togetherness. I adored this story and enjoyed it so much! This is a pleasant read and is perfect for a summer getaway!

Book Review: Dreaming Under An Island Skye by Lisa Hobman

About the Book:

Dreaming Under An Island Skye

Is there really such a thing as a second shot at true love?

After three wonderful years of marriage, librarian Juliette Fairhurst’s heart is shattered when her husband, Laurie, is taken from her much too soon.

Devasted, Juliette decides to take a sabbatical and reconnect with her mother’s birthplace, the village of Glentorrin on the picturesque Isle of Skye.

Welcomed by most of the villagers, Juliette throws herself into an idyllic community life, taking on the role of temporary summer guardian at The Lifeboat House Museum; a role that offers her the perfect escape from the tragedy of her real life.

During her time on the island, Juliette clashes with brooding single dad and artist, Reid Mackinnon and is befriended by his son Evin and dog Chewie. It’s clear that divorced Reid is struggling and scarred by his own painful experiences.

Can these two lost souls find a lifeline to rescue each other?

Or will their pasts scupper their second chance at real happiness?

My Thoughts:

This is a delightful story of love, loss and second chances. The story follows Jules as she struggles to deal with the loss of her husband, the love of her life. Having a wonderful support system in her best friend Millie and brother, Dex, she copes pretty well, but there is always something missing. When a first date post her husband’s passing ends up in disaster, Jules decides to take a holiday and visit the Isle of Skye. This is where her mother grew up for some part of her childhood and for some reason Jules feels a pull to visit and explore.

Taking the scenic route, Jules drives down over two days, reaching her destination in awe of the beauty of the place. It doesn’t take long for Jules to find friendship and kinship among the people of Skye as she makes a small space for herself in the community. We are also introduced to Reid Mackinnon, father to the adorable Evin. Evin and his dog Chewie slowly endear themselves to Jules while Reid struggles to deal with his life. All the various characters in the story are amazing and well thought out. Everyone has a story to tell, but in the end they come together as one.

I love how the author has delicately handled the different forms of loss a person feels, introducing us to Mr Hamish, grieving for his wife for more than thirty years, Jules, grieving the loss of her husband but with the determination to try to move on and Reid, dealing with an ex-wife who cheated on him and then left him. There is also beauty in the way people come together to help one another and it is not a community but one very big family.

As the story progress, Jules immerses herself in the history of the place while volunteering to run The Lifeboat House Museum. The experience is cleansing and everything she needs to relax and refresh and find herself once again. This is a heart-warming tale filled with some sad and a lot of bright moments that will light up the reader’s day! I thoroughly enjoyed this story and loved being a part of Jules and Reid’s journey! In the end everyone needs support from their loved ones in different forms and this is well portrayed in this book. I recommend this light but emotional read to all those who love a good story, especially ones about healing and second chances.

Book Review: The Watchmaker of Dachau by Carly Schabowski

About the Book:

The Watchmaker of Dachau

An unforgettable novel of human kindness, inspired by an incredible true story.

Snow falls and a woman prepares for a funeral she has long expected, yet hoped would never come. As she pats her hair and straightens her skirt, she tells herself this isn’t the first time she’s lost someone. Lifting a delicate, battered wristwatch from a little box on her dresser, she presses it to her cheek. Suddenly, she’s lost in memory…

January 1945. Dachau, Germany. As the train rattles through the bright, snowy Bavarian countryside, the still beauty outside the window hides the terrible scenes inside the train, where men and women are packed together, cold and terrified. Jewish watchmaker Isaac Schüller can’t understand how he came to be here, and is certain he won’t be leaving alive.

When the prisoners arrive at Dachau concentration camp, Isaac is unexpectedly pulled from the crowd and installed in the nearby household of Senior Officer Becher and his young, pretty, spoiled wife. With his talent for watchmaking, Isaac can be of use to Becher, but he knows his life is only worth something here as long as Becher needs his skills.

Anna Reznick waits table and washes linens for the Bechers, who dine and socialise and carry on as if they don’t constantly have death all around them. When she meets Isaac she knows she’s found a true friend, and maybe more. But Dachau is a dangerous place where you can never take love for granted, and when Isaac discovers a heartbreaking secret hidden in the depths of Becher’s workshop, it will put Anna and Issac in terrible danger…

 

My Thoughts:

The Watchmaker of Dachau is another WWII based novel that adds to my love for Historical Fiction. I requested for a copy of this book from NetGalley and I am ever grateful to the publisher and author for getting approved to read it!

The story is told from different points of view but caries on from where the previous chapter leaves off. Initially, we are introduced to Isaac, a Jewish watchmaker who has been taken to the concentration camp at Dachau. Having arrived without any belongings, he immediately surprises the Officers who are checking the prisoners. The only things he has with him are his tiny tools for fixing and making watches. This creates an interest in him that leads to his working for Senior Officer Becher at his house a little way off from the camp. Through this, we meet Anna, who is brought from the camp everyday to work at the house as a maid. Thirdly, we meet the Becher’s ever curious eleven year old son who does not understand why he was pulled away from school to come home and live in a confined manner.

With the ever growing horrors of the camp, Isaac and Anna try to find ways to cling to hope. The author focuses on the different perspectives to give us glimpses into how these characters think and react to their situations and surroundings. We observe the stark contrast between life in the camp and then at Officer Becher’s house just outside. Isaac forms a few bonds with people around him but also with Anna and Friedrich. Anna on the other hand meets Nina, her constant companion and support at the camp. Having to constantly fix things, Isaac works diligently in the shed in the garden, trying to keep his head down and not be thrown out. Through this, we follow him as he discovers letters from someone detailing their life before and during their time in the concentration camp. This is a story of love for another, love for family and of hope.

The beauty of this story lies in the hope of being saved and finding love in the midst of all the sadness and death. The story is heart wrenching and at times difficult to read, but it is definitely worth the read. The bonds formed and those which endure are amazing and borne out of shared experiences. These kinds of bonds do not break easily and in the end, the reader will be satisfied with the story. All the smaller story lines in the book come together in the end like a thread woven through fabric forming a tapestry of horrors lived and left behind. This is indeed a well-written tear-jerker of a book based on a true story that must be known to all! I highly recommend this read!

WWW WEDNESDAY – 17/02/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

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What are you currently reading?

The Watchmaker of Dachau

What did you recently finish reading?

  We're Moving Where?!

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Adventure

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Far Away Girl       Enchantée

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Book Review: Meet Me in Bombay by Jenny Ashcroft

About the Book:

Meet Me in Bombay

United by love. Separated by war. Will they find their way back to each other? Find out in Jenny Ashcroft’s historical romance Meet Me in Bombay

Meet Me in Bombay is a powerful, poignant and deeply emotional tale of love, mystery, loss and joy.” –Kate Furnivall, New York Times bestselling author

It’s New Year’s Eve in Bombay, 1913, and Madeline Bright, new to the sweltering heat of colonial India, is yearning for all she has left behind in England. Then, at the stroke of midnight, Maddy meets Luke Devereaux, and as the year changes so do both their lives.

Bold and charismatic, Luke opens her eyes to the wonders of Bombay, while Maddy’s beauty and vivacity captures his heart. Only her mother disapproves, preferring the devoted Guy Bowen as a match for her daughter.

But while Maddy and Luke are falling in love, the world is falling apart. World War I is on the horizon, and Luke will be given no choice but to fight. They will be continents apart, separated by danger and devastating loss, but bound by Luke’s promise that they will meet again in Bombay. His only wish is to return to her–but first he must remember who she is . . .

My Thoughts:

Meet Me in Bombay is a beautifully written story of love and loss in the time of WWI. Mostly set in Bombay, we are introduced to Maddy as she comes to visit her parents in Bombay after many years in England. We follow her as she discovers the sights and explores the city. The author has done a wonderful job in bringing the city to life and in describing it, making the reader yearn to visit.

This is a story poignant tale love so strong, it spans distance and time and still holds strong. The author describes the joys of falling in love, precious time spent and the heart break of the war and loss. The characters are well crafted and bring this story and the places to life. The war is described in detail and will bring tears to the eyes of the reader. Mixed with fiction and facts, this story is deeply emotional and will pull the reader in from the beginning. The friendships and relationships between the characters whether with friends, parents, partners is amazing and well portrayed. Even with secrets and scandal, nothing comes above love.

I thoroughly enjoyed this emotional rollercoaster and I highly recommend this book to everyone!