The Red Cross Orphans

The Red Cross Orphans by Glynis Peters

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kitty follows the steps of many women during WWII who wanted to give a hand in the fight against the enemy. After a long training period, she reaches one of her many goals – a nurse pin. During this period, alongside her nursing experience, she meets lifelong friends, enemies, and… love. Unfortunately, the war has other plans and the couple is obliged to put their dream of marital life on hold.

Red cross nurse and a Canadian doctor find love on the battlefield in a midst of WWII. Cute story but lacks anticipation. Since this is the very first book of the series, I am hoping the following books will produce more suspense. The build-up of the plot was strong. I enjoyed all the characters and am eager to know what will happen to them all in the future. Also, the part about the VIP patient was intriguing, although it ended abruptly, which makes me hope the character will make an appearance in future novels.

Overall it is a good, light read. Perfect for romance lovers with a little history.

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What Happens in Greece

What Happens in Greece by Sue Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great feel-good novel that is taking place on the island of Greece.

When they discovered a sale of a gorgeous house on their favorite greek island – Jamie and Charlotte take a leap of faith, buy the scenic house and move to their favorite place on earth, with hopes of everyday vacation mode life. But weeks after the move, the couple realizes that they both have absolutely different views on their future. So as Jamie goes packing and moves back to their hometown, Charlotte takes time to let her broken heart heal. As time passes, she realizes how much she has missed her other love – the love for baking. And with a help of wonderful neighbors and newly met friends, Charlotte reopens the only bakery on her beloved island. And in the midst of living her dream life, our heroine begins to develop feelings for a dark, tall, and handsome local restaurant owner. And suddenly she receives a call from Jamie.

Although the novel was ah so predictable, I did enjoy a beautiful and inspiring story about following the heart and dreams. Of course, this is fiction, and in a book anything is possible and every character gets their happy ending. But stories like this give us hope and faith that everything works out in the end. After a number of suspense novels, this book was a breath of fresh air, a great break from my usual genre of reading. Thank you, NetGalley for a free and advanced copy of this novel in the exchange for my honest review.

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The Painter’s Girl

The Painter’s Girl by Helen Fripp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mimi lives a life of poverty. But with loyal friends by her side and driven by the love of her daughter, she makes it her target to climb her way out of Paris slums. Mimi takes every opportunity that comes her way to make connections, which brings her a little closer to her goal… but life is a funny thing, and our sweet little heroine meets many obstacles on her way.

This book is filled with so many famous names, Manet, Degas, Cezanne, Renoir… Reading this novel felt as if I traveled in time into the 1860s. Mimi’s story was despairing, but she has managed to pull thru, and just like a cat, lived thru numerous lives. Beautiful, encouraging, and simply heartwarming story. Perfect for a summer beach trip or a lazy evening on the comfy sofa with a glass of cold rose. Thank you, NetGalley for a free and advanced copy of the novel in exchange for my honest review.

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The Hidden Beach

The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Life is so much simpler when people just talk honestly.

After a major life event, England native Bell settles down in Sweden. The job as a nanny was dropped into her hands… After meeting Hanna, a mom of three in the cafe, ad giving her a little hand of help, Belle found herself with a well-paying and purposeful job. One of the perks of working for the family was a summer getaway on the beautiful island, outside of the civilization. This year the summer holiday is very different. The family that she loves and works for keeps a very major secret hidden from Bell, and their children. Bell’s job got a lot more difficult, especially since her own feelings got involved in the family’s affair.

It feels so good to go back to romance novels, and Karen Swan’s novels are the best. She puts a lot of effort into her research, hence her books are always unique and filled with so many details of the foreign places, their beauty, and history. This is not my most favorite novel by this author, but I did enjoy the story and the intriguing twists that it came with.

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The Late Mr. Cary

THE LATE MR. CARY: A 1920s mystery by Michael Campeta

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story takes us to a snowy and cold Albany NY. Outside is 1928. Megan boards a train in NY, not knowing that this trip will change her life. On the train, she meets a queer woman who shares a shocking secret with her. Megan also meets a handsome man in a cafe cabin. After her arrival in Albany, our young librarian crosses paths with her new acquaintances and forms a close friendship. The shocking twist comes at the end when her new friends meet her family-in-law. The fatal encounter leads to a string of shocking events.

Loved the final plot twist. I did see it coming, but fully enjoyed the reveal presented by the author. It is a fun and easy read, slow at the beginning but picks up the pace towards the end. I also found the dialogue between the characters a bit peculiar, as it lacked the natural flow. But it’s easy to disregard taking into consideration the mystery part of the whole novel.

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The People’s Princess

The People’s Princess by Flora Harding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Diana’s tragic story as a princess of Wells is well known. And the more I read about her, the more I begin to understand the person behind the title. Said that – I am always happy to get my hands on any additional material evolving the People’s Princess.

Shortly after her engagement, in the hallways of the grand Buckingham Palace, Diana’s attention is caught by the portrait of a beautiful girl with a free spirit in her eyes. The portrait is of another princess of Wales, the Queen that never was. After developing an unusual interest in Princess Charlotte, Diana receives the best surprise of all, Charlotte’s diary full of all her secrets, domestic, love, and political affairs.

Although I’ve enjoyed this book, it was mainly focused on Princess Charlotte instead of Diana. I did learn numerous interesting historical details about the mysterious princess, whose premature death has changed the English monarchy.

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The Paris Apartment

The Paris Apartment by Kelly Bowen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My obsession with Paris began many years ago, and I’ve read multiple stories about abandoned apartments in Paris and the storylines of their owners. This book, like all others, was unique and full of war horrors and losses of the war.

After her adopted family has been taken away by the Nazis, Estelle joins the french resistance. For months she hides her fellow allies, collects and shares info picked up during her time at the Ritz, and thru this work, she meets the mysterious and fearless Sophie. The list of events that took place after the fateful meeting, divided Estelle’s life into before and after. And seventy years later, Estelle opens a door to an apartment that was vacated during the war and discover’s her grandmother’s past.

I absolutely loved Estelle and Sophia’s timeline. Both of their stories are filled with bravery. I was once again amused by the courage of the resistance, who risked their lives in order to protect the innocent. Unfortunately, the “present” part was a bit disappointing. I wish the story was told without Aurelia and Gabriel’s romance. Their story seemed tacky in comparison to the service their relatives provided during WWII.

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The Girl From The Sea

The Girl From The Sea by Shalini Boland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my second book by Shalini Boland and I was amazed yet again!

Our main heroine wakes up on the beach, with no memories. Days later she is claimed by a man who says he is her boyfriend. After arriving at her home, meeting her family and friends, and learning about her life before the accident, she realizes that she no longer wants to follow the lifestyle she lived prior to her accident. And it’s easier said than done, especially with a tricky past like Mia’s.

The shocking plot twist comes at a very end. Did I see it coming? Never in a million books! Don’t want to spill any spoilers, but if you’re like me – hard to surprise by a shocking ending – you must drop everything you’re reading and get this book NOW. It took me about 24 hours to read and complete the novel, that’s the major green flag for a thriller book. Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture publisher for a free copy of this amazing thriller!!!

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Last Call At The Nightingale

Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Absolutely captivating Jazz age mystery.

The Nightingale is more than an underground dance hall. People come here to lose themselves from ordinary everyday life. Release the pressure of playing roles that society is expecting them to be… The Nightingale is home to rebels. Vivian is one of these people. One night, she stumbles upon a body in an alley of the club. the accident can cause big problems for the club and many of its visitors may lose the only place they can truly be themselves. After some persuasion, Vivian decides to help her beloved club, in a long run making new acquaintances and building a new and bright future.

The beginning of the novel was very slow. My biggest pet peeve is the large number of characters in the novel. I was pleasantly surprised by the way the author navigated thru the characters, making them all useful and a part of one big picture. Overall it was a very enjoyable read. Thank you NetGalley and Minotaur Books publisher for a free copy of the novel.

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Together By Christmas

Together by Christmas by Karen Swan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A traumatic event puts a massive strain on Lee and Cuningham’s friendship. And when Cunningham decides to make things right – his action opens a bag of memories that Lee has been working so hard on putting behind her. But while Lee is fighting her own buttle, she finds a note, asking for help. Was it intended for her to find? Unable to leave a person in trouble, Lee is searching for answers, and the person who can help with her quest is someone she swore not to see ever again. But sometimes, personal feelings must be put aside to archive a mutual goal. And all of this is taking during the most special time of the year. Christmas tends to make miracles happen, will it work its miracle on Lee and her struggles?

A wonderful story where light fights the darkness and wins the battle. Karen Swan did yet another wonderful job with this novel. I love the way she combines romance with suspense and produces a unique novel that tends to hold a special place in my memory. This time the main character not only struggles with a disturbing past, but she also finds a way to forgive and reunite with an old special friend, help people in danger and find special someone to complete her family. This is not a cheese romance, the novel includes some gruesome parts. However, in the end, everyone lives happily ever after.

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Searching For My Daughter

Searching for My Daughter by Liz Trenow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story starts with Rosa. The young Jewess was abused by her wicked employer, a nazi officer. But she’s made a deal with the devil to save her beloved father, and paid a brutal price. When the opportunity arrived to escape the hell that she called life – Rosa jumped to it without further thought. Unfortunately, what she thought would be an escape to a better life placed her family into danger.

Horrific years of the war have passed, and there is peace in the world at last. Miriam is on her way to London to find her daughter. Her journey is rough, but she meets all the right people and her chances to find her daughter is very high.

A beautiful, heartwarming story of a family that has been torn apart by the war. Although I knew this book would have a happy ending, the actual finale of the story was better than I expected. I’ve enjoyed following Miriama and Rosa’s stories. After reading tens of WWII books, and revisiting each unique story, this novel gives yet another moving uplifting ending. Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for an advanced copy of this lovely novel.

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The House at Tyneford

The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Photographs are so strange; they are always in the present tense, everyone captured in a moment that will never come again.

In this intriguing historical novel, a young Jewish woman is sent from her glamorous upper-class life in Vienna to an English manor and placed in service. She finds herself in a place, where her kind no longer has a place in the world. As a human race, it is being erased. Not an enemy, but not an ally, young Elise tries to find her place in the new world. Her status at the Tyneford manor changes with time, and so is her character.

A devastating story of a lost life. But where there is sorrow, one can find hope to move forward, survive and live, and continue the circle we call life. A beautiful ending to a novel. Although Elise didn’t physically struggle with her escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, the despair to help her parents, the ability to stand up to the oppressor, and in a midst of grief to move forward make her an inspiring character.

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