The Whispers of War

The Whispers of WarThe Whispers of War by Julia Kelly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the author of “The Light Over London” comes a new debut novel “The Whispers of War“.

Three childhood friends…
Two hostile nations…
One great war…

We’ll always be… just us three… A mantra the three girls have shared for ages since they have met at all-girls school. Years after the graduation, the three girls: German-born Marie, proud feminist, and homeowner Nora, and married matchmakers Hazel remained as close as sisters. When Germany invaded Poland, Marie’s relation to Nazi sympathizers put her life into great danger. While defending and standing by her friend’s side, Nora became dismissed from her job, but shortly after she has found a new calling by joining WREN. However, the biggest surprise came from Hazel, who decided to fight german discrimination and help fellow German-born individuals in her own way. The beginning of WWII has tested their friendship, taught each and one of them a greater life lesson, and changed their lives in different ways.

The novel covers the first year of the war (’39-’40), and it gives the reader a front-row view of London based British and german-born residents’ reaction to Hitler’s action and the beginning of the second great war. This is the time we see women starting to step up in their roles, voice and stand by their beliefs and opinions, and find their place in the world. A great story, a wonderful set of characters. Beautifully and tastefully written. Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel, and big thank you to Julia Kelly for a heartfelt story.

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House on Endless Waters

House on Endless WatersHouse on Endless Waters by Emuna Elon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flipping back and forth between the years of WWII and the present, this novel follows the lives of the Blum family and their hidden family secret.

Yoel Blum’s fame as an author brings him back to Amsterdam, his birthplace, despite the promise that he has made to his late mother – to never return to the place that caused his family a lot of sorrow. While in the city, Yoel and his wife decide to visit a Jewish Museum. During the tour, in one of the photos, Yoel recognizes his mother’s face. And the more he examines the photo – the more questions filled his mind.

In the spur of the moment, one photograph flipped Yoel’s life upside down. And just like that, piece by piece, with his sister’s and mother’s remaining friends’ memories and a little help of his own research, like a puzzle, Yoel builds a true picture of his past.

You have a mother, and you have a sister, and you have yourself. That’s it, nothing else matters.

The past and present timelines wove together so beautifully. The tragedy of Blum’s family left me devastated, however, their ability to forgive gives me hope in humanity. Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books publishers for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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Rebecca

RebeccaRebecca by Daphne du Maurier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…

Young, timid and naรฏve companion to a rich American woman meets a dashing and charming widower on the holiday in Monte Carlo. Shortly after meeting wealthy Englishman, she accepts his surprise marriage proposal, and after tying the knot and marvelous honeymoon in Italy, Maxim de Winter brings the young wife back to his ominous and gothic estate of Manderley. The married life in Manderley is everything young Mrs. de Winter has ever dreamed of, however, the shadow of recently drowner wife of Maxim beginning to weight on the new marriage.

Rebecca de Winter – a famous beauty with miraculous taste in fashion, devoted and loving wife and perfect hostess… Our young Mrs. de Winter has large shoes to fit, however at every step and turn her efforts are desperately crashed.

Rebecca is one of the quintessential books I ever read. Deception, misery, revenge, unhealthy relationships – this novel has it all! My advice to you – take a trip to gothic Manderley, you will not be left disappointed.

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The Paris Girl

The Paris GirlThe Paris Girl by Natalie Meg Evans

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Betrayal, despair and quandary are three words that describe Natalie Meg Evans’ new novel “The Paris Girl”.

The story starts off with an engagement of Russian former aristocrat Tatiana to a wealthy French nobleman, that sets a number of despondent events that would follow the young Russian princess. As the novel progresses, we follow Tatiana’s storyline which tends to change at a rapid speed. The first half of the book was thrilling and I could not get enough of the story. The novel covers major topics such as depression, rape, outside of wedlock pregnancy, wrongful conviction and fall of social status.

The second part of the book was anticlimactic. As many facts were already listed incorrectly since the beginning of the novel (that I was willing to ignore), the second half of the book simply lucked the realistic element of life and human nature. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the portion of the story. Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The Third Daughter

The Third DaughterThe Third Daughter by Talia Carner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“The Third Daughter” is a powerful story of courage, hope, and determination.

Pogroms have progressed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Russian, and many Jewish families found themselves fleeing their homes. Batya’s family was one of them. On their way to the Jewish colony, they run into a wealthy jew, whom after only a few days offered to take young Batya to Buenos Aires and make her his wife.

As you already guessed, Batya’s happiness was short-lived. Soon after being taken away from her family and on the way to Buenos Aires, the young girl has been raped, beaten, and starved. Upon reaching her destination, Batya’s spirit has been broken. And instead of promised life of freedom and luxury, she ended up in an upscale brothel and in a heart of Jewish mafia. Despite her unbearable situation, Batya never gave up hope of helping her family escape the horrors of Russia, and due to her patience and strong will power, the faith brought her new hope in the face of a fellow Jew.

The novel covers multiples subjects as corruption, kidnapping, sex trafficking, and suicide. It was hard to read at times, however, it was wonderfully edited and fitted into the story. In my opinion, the novel was too long and I wish there were more details shared about Batya’s family and their lives in Russian, also more details envolving Moscowitz and Co. Thank you GoodReads and William Morrow publishers for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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All The Flowers In Paris

All the Flowers in ParisAll the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two women, two timelines, one apartment…

2019, sunny and warm Paris.
A terrible accident leaves Caroline without a memory. After returning from a hospital, she finds herself in a glamorous apartment in Paris… all alone. Between the flashbacks of her memory, Caroline rediscovers herself in today’s world. She uncovers the love for painting, delicious french cuisine… and french man. During one of the sleepless nights, Caroline explores her large flat only to stumble on old wartime letters hidden in one of the bedrooms.

1943, Nazi-occupied Paris.
Cecile’s world turns upside down when she sees a yellow star painted on the window of the flower shop owned by her father. To top that, she catches the eye of a tyrant German officer. There is only one way to avert the destiny that hovers over all jews in Paris – run. But her plans are discovered, and Cecile becomes a prisoner in the Nazi’s home.

All The Flowers In Paris is a bittersweet novel of two women that at some point in their lives share the same apartment on rue Cler. Their stories are heartbreaking and full of grief, but, in the end, it teaches a valuable lesson – the ability to forgive, love and be thankful for good times and bad.

Thank you NetGalley and Orion publisher for an advanced free copy of the novel, and Sarah Jio for a wonderful story.

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Fatal Inheritance

Fatal InheritanceFatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you are searching for a light historical fiction mystery – look no further. This novel contains a wonderful location and a great set of characters who are connected by one mysterious secret.

Let’s start from the beginning. Eve Forrester is caught in loveless and dishonest marriage. She has no close friends or relatives. Therefore, Eve and her husband are caught by a surprise when a letter arrives announcing that Eve has come to a large inheritance. Intrigued by this surprise, for the first time since their wedding, Eve dismisses her husband’s orders to stay in England, packs an overnight bag and sets off to sunny french riviera.

On her journey to the south of France, Eve befriends a couple who will become her dear friends. Upon her arrival to her final destination, she also meets not so friendly members of Lester family, handsome American writer, a Hollywood start and many other fascinating characters. Between glamorous riviera parties and outings, Eve makes it her mission to find what connection she has to famous Guy Lester. And she is not the only one who is searching for the answers.

Fatal Inheritance” was an enjoyable virtual vacation with charming personages and interesting events. However, I was able to figure out all the twists before the explanation was revealed in the story. Thank you, NetGalley and Random House Export for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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Mistress of the Ritz

Mistress of the RitzMistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While I really liked the entire book a lot, the beginning and the ending were outstanding.

The novel introduces us to Blanche and Claude Auzello, the Monsieur and Mistress of the Ritz. After returning from the line of war, the couple rushes to their beloved Ritz, just to find it occupied by Nazi. And like any other Parisian, the Auzellos do their best to follow the rules to avoid the opposite side of a German raffle. As the story unfolds, it seems that the Auzellos follow an old saying “keep your friends close, and your enemy closer”. But how long can they play this game? Joining the French resistance is not the only secret they must protect in order to survive, and stay alive.

I love books that pluck a piece of history and built an elaborate story around it. “Mistress of the Ritz” is a wonderful example of this. It is a fast-moving story filled with heroism, secrets, and a strong wish for survival. The author did a great job in the development of the characters. If you enjoy historical fiction, you do not want to miss this!

Thank you, Net Galley and Delacorte Press Publisher for a free ARC of this book.

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Lost Roses

Lost Roses (Lilac Girls, #2 Prequel)Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Lost Roses” is a prequel to a previously published “Lilac Girls” novel that I have not got a chance to read yet. New novel tells us a story of three characters: Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka. Three women that came from three different classes trying to survive the war and revolution.

An American socialite, Eliza Ferriday has a perfect life: two beautiful children, a husband that she adores. But after a tragic event, Eliza completely throws herself into a philanthropic work to help White Russian refugees to survive after fleeing their country, following Russia’s Imperial dynasty fall. Eliza has a connection to the Romanov family, her dear friend Sofya Streshnayva, whom she met in Paris many years prior. Feeling the guilt of being able to escape Russia right after Austria declared war on Serbia, Eliza looks for a way to rescue Sofya’s family. However, when the revolution begins to expand, Streshnayva family flees to their country estate from St. Petersburg in hope to find peace and protection. While in Malinov, Sofya meets and hires a village girl, Varinka, to look after her young son, Max. Unfortunately, shortly after their arrival, Sofya and her family are captured and imprisoned by Bolsheviks. As Streshnayva family kept imprisoned, their youngest member and heir Max is kept protected by family’s maid Varinka. Although once a loyal servant, Varinka grows to love Max as her own son and when the time comes to give him up, Varinka turns against the family. Driven by a desire to reunite with her son and husband and save her immediate family, Sofya escapes but only to learn of the collapse of the Romanov dynasty.

“Lost Rose” is a great book that describes the fall of Romanov’s Empire, it’s sad aftermath for the royal family, and takes the reader on a thrilling ride from St. Petersburgh to Paris to New York.

Thank you NetGalley and Ballantine Books Publisher for an advanced copy of the book and to Martha Hall kelly for an astonishing story.

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The Forgotten Village

The Forgotten VillageThe Forgotten Village by Lorna Cook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am a big fan of dual timeline stories, and always happy to come across such novels.

During 2018 storyline we meet newly single and jobless Melissa who came to Dorset on a romantic summer vacation. The romantic part of the vacation didn’t turn out to be as great as she had expected, especially after an awful breakup. However, coming upon a village that was requisitioned during WWII got Melissa’s attention. But not the village itself, mostly one specific couple from old photographs.

In 1943 part of the novel we are being introduced to two more main characters: Anna and Veronica. As requisition approaches, both women are looking forward to leaving Tyneham. When Anna is looking forward to joining the forces to help the English army, Veronica is planning an escape from her abusive and estranged husband.

Two different stories, two different timelines, the only thing that connects them is abandoned village in Dorset, England.

I must say, I was a bit disappointed, as I expected to learn more of the history of the village that was forgotten after the war, however, the main focus of the novel was on a family that used to own the village. I am the kind of reader that always finishes the book, even if I find it not quite interesting. Nevertheless, the last pages contain an interesting twist in the story that made the book worth reading.

Thank you, NetGalley for an advanced free copy of the novel.

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The Things We Cannot Say

The Things We Cannot SayThe Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The Things We Cannot Say” is not a rare story that comes to us from the dark times of WWII. And no matter how many similar stories I read, I still find them disturbing, shocking and heart wrenching. People that lived thru that dark time never truly forget their stories and nor should we. These stories should be told, to remind us of the horrors of the past, for what we should never repeat.

In this particular novel, we come across one of the many victims of WWII. However, no matter how much time has passed, Alina was never able to admit her past to her loved ones alone with her road to survival. Alina’s story shows us courage and willingness to keep going forward, no matter how much one has lost in the past. I was glued to the pages of the book, it has many twists and turns and it is absolutely captivating.

This novel was one of love, loss, survival, and redemption. It’s well-written, absorbing, and an unforgettable story. Thank you NetGalley and Graydon House publisher for an advanced copy of the book, and Kelly Rimmer for a fascinating story.

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The Family Secret

The Family Secret (Cat Carlisle, #2)The Family Secret by Terry Lynn Thomas

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was first introduced to Cat Carlisle in Terry Lynn Thomas’ previous book “The Silent Woman” about a year ago. And from the very first pages, I was charmed by her courageous and sassy character.

In “The Family Secret”, Cat leaves London for a quiet village she grew up in. Cat’s friends Annie and Thomas are joining her on the trip. Once in Rivenby, Cat is finding herself in a middle of yet another murder investigation. And this time around the suspect is her childhood friend. Mrs. Carlisle is determined to clear her friend’s name, and while doing so she uncovers even more dangerous secrets that place her and people she cares about in danger.

I was quite disappointed by the story. The suspense element was pretty predictable, and it didn’t capture my attention at all, as it did in the first book. There are also way too many characters to mingle with. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to learning about Cat Carlisle’s next adventure. Thank you, NetGalley and HQ Digital publisher for a free and advanced copy of the book.

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