The Glamorous Dead

The Glamorous DeadThe Glamorous Dead by Suzanne Gates

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story takes place in 1940 in Hollywood. Penny Harp, an actress wannabe, has found herself in a middle of a murder investigation. Two of her friends have been murdered, and Penny suspects that both deaths are somehow connected. Barbara Stanwyck befriends Penny during the making of one of the movies, and helps her to find the truth. During the investigation, Penny discovers non-glamorous and dark secrets about her friends, her brother and her employer – Paramount. The last secret holds everything together. Penny later discovers that Paramount likes to “fix” any problems that come upon the company or people that work there. Penny questions everything and everyone and is eager to learn the truth, but the truth can cost Penny her life. Will she let Paramount “fix” her or will she end up just like her friends?

I liked the idea of the story, the place and the time when it took place. However, my opinion only, the books is way too long, too many characters and way too many background stories. I had a very hard time focusing on the book and follow the storyline.

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Wickwythe Hall

Wickwythe HallWickwythe Hall by Judithe Little

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the past year, I took a big interest in books written about WWII. And I am very happy to come upon this wonderful book.

We have 3 completely different characters that build the story of the book. French refugee Annelle LeMaire, Mabry Springs – American by birth and a wife of wealthy Brit, and another American – Reid Carr, a soldier in the past and a champagne seller in the present. And in May 1940 they all meet at Wickwythe Hall.

Annelle LeMaire and her 2 older brothers became orphans after a tragic death of their parents. They were taken in and raised by nuns in a convent. When LeMaire brothers became older, they joined the French and Spanish armies. Annelle was about to join a convent to become a nun when Germans have invaded the France. Desperate for freedom and to reunite with her brothers, Annalle leaves the convent and ends up in England. She is being noticed by Mabry, who takes a young refugee in and offers her a job and a roof over her head. Annelle never loses hope to reconnect with her Legionnaire brothers. And when she meets Reid, he gives her hope that one day she will reunite with her brothers.

All Mabry Springs wants is a happy marriage and a child. She left America for England, where she found a great suitor, Tony Springs. Years and 6 miscarriages later, Mabry finds herself in a troubled marriage and loses all the hope of ever becoming a mother. She turns her attention to war victims. Mabry is helping soldiers who are back from the war, takes in 23 kids from London and arranges their stay and comfort in Wickwythe Hall. Meeting Reid again makes her rethink her past choices, and find her true calling of becoming a mother.

Reid Carr, a seller of French champagne “Pol Roger”, is actually a mediator between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill. On Roosevelt’s request, Carr is heading to England where he makes negotiations between America and England. While at Wickwythe Hall, Reid meets Annelle, learns of her story and gives her a promise to find her long-lost brothers. Later, he is sent by Churchill to an attack on Mers-El-Kébir. After the attached, Reid discovers that Annelle’s brothers there on the ships that Brits have bombed. Instead of going back to England, Carr sets of to find LeMaire boys.

The story ends in June 1946. The war is over. But will each character get their happy ending?

A Beautiful story of friendship, love, and loyalty during a wartime.

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The Forgotten Room

The forgotten roomThe forgotten room by Ann Troup

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can the past really be forgotten? Not is Ann Troup’s new book “The Forgotten Room”. This is a perfect book with a very intriguing and twisted ending when all dots are being connected at the end and just makes you WOW.

An old quote says – keep your friends close and your enemies closers. But how do you know who is really a friend and who is an enemy? And how far a person can go to get a revenge? Well, welcome to The Essen Grange, the house of horror. Buckle up your seatbelts, you’re in for a wild ride.

Gordon Henderson is a bitter man who has inherited the Grange after a death of his older brother. He marries Jane because it is socially profitable for him. Jane’s sister Estelle moves into the house as well. However life doesn’t always go according to the plan, and it seems like the universe is against Gordon Henderson. His first child is born with a down syndrome. He does not acknowledge his second child. Jane leaves the Grange and never returns. Gordon’s brother’s wife and son show up, threatening to take his inheritance.

Fast forward to present. Bones are found on Grange’s estate. Maura, a nurse, who has been going thru a hard time after the death of her ex-boyfriend, is being offered a job – to look after Dr. Moss’s private patient – Gordon Henderson. Later, she discovers that Dr. Moss has specifically requested Maura to look after Gordon. Is this a coincidence or well thought thru plan? Mr. Henderson’s caretaker Estelle is missing. Dr. Moss is nowhere to be found. Gordon’s bank account is empty and the man is found dead. After Henderson’s death, Maura is looking for a new job. She is given a night shift at a hospital, where she comes upon a patient, Jane Henderson – who has been missing for decades. Detective Poole is on a mission to resolve a case, and he discovers that all his findings always lead him back to an old mansion. Will the detective catch the person on time before they succeed with their revenge?

A perfect book to read for a Halloween season.

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The Paris Secret

The Paris SecretThe Paris Secret by Karen Swan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I great book, Karen Swan didn’t disappoint, she never does. The book is a page turner, I could not wait to finish it. I was literally walking on the street and reading the book.

The idea of the story was taken from real life events. The book was so much more interesting. I would definitely recommend this book o everyone and can’t wait for Karen Swan’s new book.

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The Lying Game

The Lying GameThe Lying Game by Ruth Ware

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ever since I read Ruth Ware’s “The Woman in Cabin 10” I’ve been a huge fan of her writing. The Lying Game was a story full of secrets and lies. I enjoyed this book and the story kept me intrigued as there was so many twists and turns. The ending is very sad, very unpredictable. I’m looking forward to reading more of Ruth Ware’s books.

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The Letter

The LetterThe Letter by Kathryn Hughes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Letter is beautiful and at times bittersweet historical mystery novel.

The story goes back and forth between 1938 and 1970. Even thru the happy ending was predictable, the story itself was full of many heartbreaking events.

First, Chrissie, a daughter of a town physician gets involved with a young man that was adopted at birth. Her father, for an unknown reason, dislikes Billy and does everything possible in his power to separate the couple. He succeeds – pregnant Chrissie is sent away to Scotland, abandoned by her parents and her lover. She gives birth to a son, William, who has been adopted by a family in America. Very interesting how story repeats itself here.

Second, Tina, a young woman who is physically and emotionally abused by her husband for years. Tina finally gets enough courage to leave her husband when she discovers that she is pregnant. Thinking that baby will change her husband’s behavior – Tina is back with Ricky until his final outburst.

And finally The Letter…

While volunteering at the shop, Tina finds an unopened letter. Its content gets Tina’s attention and she is trying to find Chrissie, the person the letter is addressed to.

Meanwhile, William is on a mission to find his birth mother. His journey takes him to Scotland, where he was born, and to England where he thinks his mother was born/raised.

Tina and William meet at the library to which they both came to find more information about Chrissie. Tina gives William The Letter and all the info she was able to collect about his birth mother. In return, William asks Tina to go back to Scotland with him for a final attempt to locate his mother.

At last, mother and son reunite. Chrissie finally reads The Letter that brings her closure that she’s been longing for so long.

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The Rome Affair

The Rome AffairThe Rome Affair by Karen Swan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first fell in love with Karen Swan’s writing after I read “Christmas at Tiffany’s”. My absolute favorite part about Mrs. Swan’s books is intriguing prologue. It catches my attention from page 1 and I am usually unable to put the book down until I find all the answers to my questions.

This book is about two different women whose paths crossed in the idyllic city – Rome.

Elena Damiani is elegant, rich, beautiful socialite Viscontessa. She lives a glamorous life… well that’s what she wants everyone to believe she does. However glamorous Elena hides a few dark secrets about her life.

Francesca Hackett left her life, family and successful career in London and is living la dolce vita in Rome. She loves the history and working as a city’s tour guide. Cesca’s lives a carefree life… well that’s what she wants everyone to believe she does.

Elena hires Cesca to write a book about her life. However, will Viscontessa tell the truth? Will she unveil all the secrets about her life? And most importantly, what is written in the letter that Elena carries with her at all times and why she hasn’t read it yet?

This is a stunning story a of wealth, dark secrets and love.

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The Bookshop on the Corner

The Bookshop on the CornerThe Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book about books. My favorite read.

Nina, simple library mouse, is out of job and is looking for a new place of employment. She loves books, knows everything about books, and collects so many books that she is being threatened to be evicted by her friend/landlord due to the amount of books Nina keeps bringing into the house. During her job search days she comes across an ad in the newspaper: used, big, old school van is being sold in Scotland. Nina gets an idea – she will turn a van into a bookstore on wheels and will become her own boss. And now she is on a mission to make her new dream come true. The idea is to go to Scotland, buy a van and bring it back home. However life is an interesting thing… everything goes opposite to Nina’s plan. Nevertheless, new life in Scotland becomes her very own fairy tale. Nina rents a beautiful barn/cottage to live in, business has a great start, she makes tons of great friends, learns more things about herself and of course Nina finds her very own prince Charming.

I would recommend this book to any booklover. It’s easy to read, great story, has some bitter parts as well. Very well written. I am looking forward to reading more of Jenny Colgan’s books.

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When It’s Over

When It's OverWhen It’s Over by Barbara Ridley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a very first book that I read by Barbara Ridley. This is a historical fiction, based on a true story. I like the fact that events are set in the chronological order

The story starts in 1938. Lena, a young Jewish girl, who falls for Otto, German-born and now Spanish spy. At the beginning of the war, he is able to get Lena out of Chekoslovakia to France and later with a help of his friends to England. Lena is heartbroken to leave her family behind. Often she blames her father for not trying to move Mama and Sasha to safety on time.

While living in English suburbs, Lena feels attraction to Milton, son of the lady of the Manor. However she is dedicated to Otto and when he is arrested for simply being German – Lena marries him to get him out of jail. After moving to London, Lena and Otto find different interests, he is stuck in the past, angry that people no longer interested in his political views. Lena, on the other hand, is eager to move forward, learn the language and new skills. She still hopes that one day she will be reunited with her Mama and Sasha. Lena is estranged from her father, who is retired from Czech army located in England, however, she keeps contact with her younger brother.

As years go by, Lena realizes she no longer wants to be married to Otto. During one of the political gatherings, Lena and Otto reconnect with Milton, their mutual friend. Milton invites them to come back to suburbs and visit his mother. Lena accepts an invitation alone and takes it as a break from Otto. After her return, Lena accepts the fact that her marriage to Otto is over, she moves out, starts an affair with Milton, that will end in their marriage.

And at last the war is over. Lena receives the devastating news that her Mama and little sister were sent to concentration camp. The news completely crashes her heart and Lena forsware anything that ties her back to the country she was born and grew up in. She has minimum contact with her father and brother ever since. She marries Milton and they have 2 beautiful children together. They live a happy and calm life after the war. However, the loss of her mother and sister forever engraved on her heart.

This is not just another WW2 novel. This is a story of young girl’s courage and stubbornness to survive. Many times thru the novel I picked up a phone and called my mom just to tell her I love her. I feel the pain Lena experience for not knowing what had happened to her beloved mother and little sister. And afterward her reaction to the news and the fact that she wanted to longer have anything associated with her motherland.

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An Echo of Murder

An Echo of Murder (William Monk, #23)An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a second book I’ve read by Anne Perry.

Interesting how all characters are connected. There are 4 monstrous murders committed in London, Hungarian neighborhood. English war physician Fitz is a suspect, as he is an outsider in the Hungarian neighborhood. Fitz is a longtime friend of Hester, Commander’s Monk (investigator) wife. He often get’s blackouts, caused by the time he spent in the Crimea war. As the investigation continues – Monk arrests Fitz, however, he believes in Fitz’ innocence. As Fitz’ trial approaches – Monk needs all the help he can get to solve the murders and free an innocent man. Hester, Will, and Fit’s lawyer are on the mission to find one straw that connects all 4 murders… and voila, the real killers (!!! I know multiple) have been disclosed.

Very interesting and twisted plot. Great introduction of characters, followed by great teamwork. I am looking forward to reading more of Anne Pane’s mysteries.

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