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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Forgotten Murder

Forgotten MurderForgotten Murder by Dolores Gordon-Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good old saying states: do not judge a book by its cover… well, I do judge a book by its title, and in this particular case I was pleasantly surprised by the story behind this intriguing name.

Dolores Gordon-Smith and her wonderful detective Jack Haldean take us back to 1926. Young Jenny Langton, a friend of Haldean’s family, approaches Jack with a unique request to dig into a history of a suburban residence. An earlier visit to a large Victorian estate triggers Jenny’s memory. She sees a disturbing vision that leaves her feeling frightened. This story intrigues Jack and he agrees on helping Jenny figure out the reasons behind her unusual recollection.

Every family has its skeletons hidden in the closet. Ready or not, Jenny is about to discover hers with the help of witty and clever Mr. Haldean.

I am extremely excited to discover The Jack Haldean murder mysteries and looking forward to reading all the previous books. Thank you Dolores Gordon-Smith for a wonderful and engaging story and NetGalley together with Severn House Publishers for a free and advanced copy of the book.


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The Lost Girls Of Paris

The Lost Girls of ParisThe Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, therefore I was very interested in what this novel had to offer.

One summer morning, Grace stumbles upon a suitcase at Grand Central Station. Inside it, she finds twelve photographs of young women. Hours after the encounter with the suitcase, Grace learns that its owner, Eleanor Trigg, has been hit by the car hours earlier and died on the scene, right in front of Grand Central. But when Grace discovers another piece of information about the victim, she does unthinkable – she goes to Washington DC to investigate further into Eleanor’s case and photographs she has found in her suitcase.

Two years prior, Eleanor formed a group of female secret agents that were sent to France to help with the resistance. A few weeks into the new operation, Eleanor noticed discrepancies in communication with her girls, and shortly after – the agents started to disappear without the trace. Eleanor was released of her duties as soon as she brought her suspicions to the Director of an agency. Two years later, her questions about the lost girls were not answered and Eleonor finally received a chance to follow their steps to discover the truth.

This is a great story about friendship and survival. I enjoyed each character, their determination to keep moving forward has inspired me. Thank you, NetGalley and Park Row publisher for a free and advanced copy of this book, and huge thank you to Pam Jenoff for an incredible story.


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The Wartime Sisters

The Wartime SistersThe Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not sure was it the second or third chapter that I was reading when I first thought – this may be my very first 2019 five star book. And as usual, I was right. I loved everything about this book, a great set of characters, a phenomenal plot, and a great twist towards the end.

The book first introduces us to two sisters: Ruth, the smart and serious one, and Millie, the pretty one. As girls grow older we notice how their relationship start to change. And there were multiple reasons for it, starting with girls’ mother, who always seem to prefer her pretty daughter to a serious one. Ruth’s potential boyfriends preferred carefree and beautiful Millie to a nerdy Ruth. Friends and family enjoyed tender and sweet Millie to a “cold fish” Ruth. Therefore, after the passing of their parents, Ruth puts a very large distance (physically and morally) between herself and her sister. Years later, when Ruth learns of Millie’s misfortune, she finally lowers her guard down which results in sisters’ reunion.

There are secondary characters that are also very important and play a huge role in both Ruth and Millie’s lives. We have Lillian – firm and honorable wife of a commanding officer; Arietta – cheerful and companionable singing armory cook; Lenny – a sketchy delivery boy, turned husband, turned dangerous individual; and finally Arthur – loving, understanding and nerdy husband.

The story takes place in the early 30s thru mid-40s. One of my favorite parts of the book is a specific location an author decides to place the story – the Springfield Armory. I’ve first heard of this place when I read about the American Revolutionary War. And thanks to the author, I had a chance to learn a bit more about it, it’s function and workers lives there during WWII.

Thank you NetGalley and my favorite publisher St. Martin’s Press for a free copy of this wonderful novel, and another huge thank you to an amazing Lynda Cohen Loigman for a thrilling and fascinating story!


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Passenger to Frankfurt

Passenger to FrankfurtPassenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Agatha Christie is one of my all times favorite writers. Sadly it’s been a while since I read her books, therefore I’ve decided to finish my 2018 year with her novel.

We have quite an intriguing set up. I gorgeous young woman approaches Sir Stafford Nye at the Frankfurt airport. She makes a fascinating proposal and curious Mr. Nye accepts it without asking any further questions. Days later, after returning to London, Stanford tries to track down his mysterious new friend, but before he does that – she makes a sudden appearance.

This novel had great potential, however, I did got lost in youth riot/neo-Nazi/world domination scheme that was surrounding Stafford and his mysterious new friend. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this novel as much as I expected, but it had a few entertaining parts.


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