The Quarryman’s Girl by Melanie Forde – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

“Gossip was a major form of entertainment in the eighteen-nineties…”

Book Blurb:

The Quarryman's Girl by Melanie FordeLife seemed to be winding down for French–Canadian immigrant Rose Dowd. She had not been fighting the inevitable until Fate forced her to gear up for yet another chapter. Much like her adopted country, as America begins staking out a new international role in World War II, Rose must reinvent herself. Quickly. Before she can move forward, however, she needs to absorb the lessons from her past. Integral to that journey are Rose’s sharp-tongued sister Izzy; her perpetually worried son Vince, a resourceful shipyard worker; her long-dead Métis mentor Mère Agathe; her bright and bubbly but sickly granddaughter Netty; and Nate, the “Ragman’s Grandson,” a club-footed, pre-law student dreading his future and inching instead toward a career as a writer. The Quarryman’s Girl follows these vivid characters from the 1880s to the 1940s, from the hard-scrabble pig farms of Quebec to the granite quarries of Quincy, from the frozen St. Lawrence to the deep-channel Fore River. A compelling story from beginning to end, once again Melanie Forde has shown why she is a consummate storyteller and one of contemporary America’s finest writers.

My Review:

The wait is often worth it.

Such is the case with this beautifully penned literary novel deeply entwined with characters so well developed you want a hug them. They’re family.

I was introduced to this author back in 2019 with the request for participation in a book tour; one I was glad to accept for Reinventing Hillwilla (final novel in the Hillwilla trilogy) followed a few months later by Decanted Truths. I loved them both, each read as a standalone and each entirely unique.

“In the Irish culture, the gift of gab was equally distributed between the sexes.”

In this novel, Rose Dowd is staring down senior hood and doesn’t like what she sees. Thank heaven she has Vince, her youngest son, to help her meet day-to-day challenges she was formerly capable of handling on her own after her husband passed on. She also has others in her life well established near the granite quarries of Quincy (KWIN-zee—not KWIN-see) where she and estranged sister Izzy were abandoned after her large Irish family left Quebec and Quincy for Manitoba. The girls, barely teens, survived and thrived.

“You’ve heard of spring fever. You know what it really means? Scurvy!”

There are a number of threads interweaving through the well-plotted narrative and we get to know each of the characters, identify easily with people we know, care about, invest in. Descriptions of scenes are so well drawn that the reader is plunked into the middle of them. Loved the inclusion of the French phrases in the storyline as well as the Native American’s contribution to the shipyard efforts—the dialogue between Vince and Walter, a Mohawk, is priceless male banter.

The Quarryman's Girl by Melanie FordeTension builds as the characters are developed and Nate, the “Ragman’s Son” is sent to perform handyman jobs at Rose’s home and to report to Vince her slips of memory. Vince is frustrated with Rose’s senior moments as he tries in vain to glean grist for a thesis, unhappily facing law school.

And then there is Izzy, her sharp tongue alienating more than immediate family, who has a crisis of her own that may force Rose to deal with the upheaval that caused their rift so many years ago.

Oh, so bittersweet, examining the hurts, the love, the physical as well as the mental constraints that bind family and friends as easily as isolate. A unique story that scrutinizes senior cognitive decline, betrayal, aspirations, and, hopefully, reconciliation.

The story is full of emotion, raw, alternately filled with wry bursts of humor. It’s written in an intelligent, sensitive, and articulate style that pulls in the reader and doesn’t let go. The conclusion is both heartbreaking and tearfully satisfying and is heartily recommended. Not just family drama. Truly literary magic.

“Intense relationships never really died.”

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Literary Fiction
Publisher: Mountain Lake Press

  • ISBN-10: ‎ 1959307002
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1959307006

ASIN: B0B7BM9KLX
Print Length: 325 pages
Publication Date: August 27, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK  |  Barnes & Noble

 

Melanie Forde - authorThe Author: For most of her writing career, Melanie Forde ghosted on international security issues. She published her first novel, Hillwilla, in 2014, followed by On the Hillwilla Road in 2015. Her West Virginia trilogy culminates in Reinventing Hillwilla, 2018. Melanie Forde - authorTwenty years in the making, her Irish-American family saga, Decanted Truths, was also released in 2018. In 2022, Forde mined the stories about her French Canadian ancestors, to publish another period novel and family saga, The Quarryman’s Girl.

Find more info about Melanie Forde here.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Painting with Fire (Bold Women of the 17th Century Series Book 3) by Amanda Hughes – #BookReview – #culturalheritagefiction

Happy Release Day!

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Painting with Fire by Amanda HughesFrom the bestselling author of The Bold Women Series:
Québec 1690—Penniless and covered with burns, Véronique Barbeau sells sex to sailors and voyageurs at a dockside tavern in New France. The daughter of an illustrious artist, she’d once had it all: a loving family, a home in Paris, and a gift for painting, but a spurned lover changed everything. After being slighted by Véronique’s father, the young man sought revenge by setting fire to the family home, killing her mother, her sister, and scarring Véronique for life. Distraught, she immigrated to Québec with her father, but within months he was dead, leaving her alone and destitute in a port city halfway around the world.
Yet she would not be defeated. Véronique would rise again, fighting her way to the top, becoming one of the most celebrated artists in all of France. But she cannot rest until she unearths the horrifying truth about what really happened the night of the blaze.
Join Amanda Hughes as she sweeps you back to a time when monarchs ruled the world, tall ships sailed the seas, and quarrels were settled with swords.

My Review:

Map of New France
Map of New France territory approx 1750. Map attribute: Chalkboard Publishing

The author has done it again with her third book in the Bold Women Series, this one of the 17th century. I just love these tales from the Renaissance forward. In this entry, we are introduced to New France, the holding of which was a great deal larger than I remembered.

Quebec, Canada
Quebec, Canada. Map attribute: Wikipedia

In 1686 Véronique Barbeau found employment in Québec, New France at the Siren and Serpent Tavern as a fille de joie. Unfortunately, this is her last resort after losing her family, home in Paris, and lover, Rainier Laurent Delacroix. Her father, Monsieur Henri Frederik Barbeau, an artist of some renown, escaped with her from the bloody inferno in Paris that left her deeply scarred for life.

What is left to her is the innate talent of her father. She uses the gift with her limited free time and money to continue the legacy.

Painting with Fire by Amanda HughesWhile dealing with the clients, Véronique burns with the need to discover the truth of what happened. She is an attractive, strong woman who is determined to find restitution while hiding the evidence (in the voluminous clothing of the day) of the horrific event that changed her life.

Once again, the extent of the research by the author of the time and location is evident in the description of how the ladies dealt with the subjects of disease, birth control, and protection.

When she meets Gilles, a cartographer of questionable sexual proclivities and nobility, her life takes an exciting turn. Gilles, however, is multi-layered and for some time, she only sees one. They leave on an extended mapping quest into unchartered Indian territory, including the Chippewa. (I grew up with tales of a grandmother born on a Chippewa reservation in then “Indian Territory.” Knowing her and looking at her picture, it wasn’t difficult to imagine until our son provided my DNA test proving she was not one-half Native American.)

Besides the beautifully described locations, both in New France and Paris, the history, the period costumes, decorum, vernacular, and Renaissance-driven art concepts, there is the glaring inequality of the sexes and frontier justice.

It is well plotted and paced and creates flights of the imagination. The characters are well drawn and provide portions of resolution and conflict as well as plenty of action and subtle and crafty twists.

Finding inspiration in stories of real persons to populate the era provided many a solid character and realistic backgrounds. The author is a master storyteller. This is Book 3 of the 17th Century Series. I also read Book 1, The Firefly Witch and Book 2, The Sea Bandits. Each of the novels can be read as a standalone, so don’t worry where you come in to the series, whether 17th, 18th, 19th, or 20th Centuries. They are all engaging and entertaining.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts and it’s heartily recommended.

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Book Details:

Genre: Cultural Heritage Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Lillis and Jaymes
ASIN: B0BCKVW93X
Publication Date: September 12, 2022
Source: Author contact
Title Link: Painting with Fire [Amazon]

 

Amanda Hughes - authorThe Author: Bestselling and award-winning author, Amanda Hughes is a “Walter Mitty”, spending more time in heroic daydreams than the real world. At last, she found an outlet writing adventures about bold women through the centuries. Well known for her genre-busting books, she is the winner of the Gems National Medal for Writing, featured in USA Today and is nominated for the 2017 Minnesota Book Award. Amanda is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and when she isn’t off tilting windmills, she lives and writes in Minnesota. Don’t miss these page-turning novels for readers who like historical fiction with a just bit of a love story. All of her books are stand-alone and can be read in any order.

The Bold Women of the 17th Century: The Firefly Witch Book 1

The Bold Women Series of the 18th Century: Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry Book 1 The Pride of the King Book 2 The Sword of the Banshee Book 3

The Bold Women Series of the 19th Century: The Grand Masquerade Book 1 Vagabond Wind Book 2 The House of Five Fortunes Book 3

The Bold Women Series of the 20th Century: The Looking Glass Goddess Book 1

Interested in her new books or a free novelette? Go to http://www.amandahughesauthor.com

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint Reviews – August Recap—Woohoo, it’s September!

I mentioned last month the fun with new gardening possibilities and while the sauerkraut was a bust, the carrots did pretty well. The rest of the veggies in the gallon fermenter got too soft. Now, I have ripe cherry tomatoes coming out of my ears and already dried the first batch. A bit too much pepper on some, but otherwise, they are like little tomato-flavored candies.

Okay, admittedly, that has little to do with books, although an excellent reason I’m slow to read this month. Thank heaven for audiobooks and the CE!

us back in 62
We don’t have any wedding pics, but I think this is in 1962.

Speaking of the CE…we will be celebrating our 60th wedding anniversary on the 2nd (cue the horns!). Hoping to do a couple things; still there are issues with gas and Covid. Because I am writing this ahead of those last three review posts, the links will be to Amazon rather than my review which I will edit upon return to my computer. (Sadly, I don’t know how to get a link to a review scheduled, not yet posted. Yes, I know—don’t say it.)

Together we did read or listen to nineteen books in August, most from NetGalley as I’m still working on the 500 badge; as I’m writing this, now up to a count of 494. So close!

The Wedding Plot by Paula Munier Holy Chow by David Rosenfelt The Last Sentinel by Simon Gervais The Final Hunt by Audrey J Cole Such a Beautiful Family by T R Ragan Lie Down with Dogs by Liz Milliron The Girl Who Escaped by Mark Nolan Overkill by Sandra Brown Out of Patients by Sandra Cavello Miller Christmas Scarf Murder by Carlene O’Connor, Maddie Day, and Peggy Ehrhart Bad Axe County by John Galligan Dark Rivers to Cross by Lynne Reeves Murder at Black Oaks by Phillip Margolin Lies She Told by Cate Holahan The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks A Sliver of Darkness by C J Tudor Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate Boerner The Double Agent by William Christie The Italian Daughter by Soraya Lane

  1. The Wedding Plot by Paula Munier
  2. Holy Chow by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)
  3. The Last Sentinel by Simon Gervais (a CE review)
  4. The Final Hunt by Audrey J Cole (a CE review)
  5. Such a Beautiful Family by T R Ragan
  6. Lie Down with Dogs by Liz Milliron (a CE review)
  7. The Girl Who Escaped by Mark Nolan (a CE 5* review)
  8. Overkill by Sandra Brown (a CE review)
  9. Christmas Scarf Murder by Carlene O’Connor, Maddie Day, and Peggy Ehrhart
  10. Bad Axe County by John Gallagan (audiobook)
  11. Out of Patients by Sandra Cavallo Miller (a CE review)
  12. Dark Rivers to Cross by Lynne Reeves (a CE review)
  13. Murder at Black Oaks by Phillip Margolin (a CE review)
  14. Lies She Told by Cate Holahan (audiobook)
  15. Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate Boerner (my 5*)
  16. The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks (a CE 5* review)
  17.  A Sliver of Darkness by C J Tudor (scheduled—link to Amazon) (CE review)
  18. The Double Agent by William Christie (scheduled—link to Amazon) (CE review)
  19. The Italian Daughter by Soraya Lane (scheduled—link to Amazon) (CE review)

Reading Challenges

My challenges—promises, promises, promises. Yes, I caught it up! Not once, but twice as I lost all my input the first time. My challenges for 2022 are all listed and linked in the widget column on the right. You can always check out the progress of my challenges, if you are so inclined, by clicking the Reading Challenges page. I’m now at 73% of the Goodreads Challenge of 180 books at 132 and achieved my Audiobook Challenge of 30 and the Historical Reading Challenge of 25. I also achieved the yearly goal of 75 for Netgalley and Edelweiss, although of course, those books are all from NG.

Having to do over the Reading Challenges page taught me one thing: I’m not keeping up with it well. Not updating, nor reporting to the challenge hosts. My apologies. I think going forward I will undertake fewer challenges and not try to list individual entries to the challenge. Makes the page unwieldy and for what purpose? Tell me, honestly…have you ever looked at it?

Where the Crawdads Sing (my review of the book here by Delia Owens) starring Daisy Edgar-Jones—was excellent. Did you get a chance to view it? I’ll be doing a critical review discussing both shortly. I’d love to hear what you thought, too! Did you read the book?

We here in the upper Midwest had a beautiful August—I can’t complain—with pleasant temps during the day and cool in the evening perfect for sleeping. Did you get the kiddies off to school? We’ve been informed we are expecting our second great-grandchild. Too early to know boy or girl. In the meantime, the boy is trying to walk. He’s nine months. The fun begins…Happy old woman

Welcome to my new followers and as always I appreciate those who continue to read, like, share, and comment. Please let me know if you saw something above that got your interest.

©2022 V Williams

Granny graphic attribute: wdrfree.com

Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate Boerner – #BookReview – Women’s Literary Fiction

Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate Boerner

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Have you ever dreamed of running away?

Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate BoernerLife hasn’t always been easy for Bernice, but she is reasonably content at the ripe age of eighty-one. She has raised two children, buried both her husband and son, and is doing okay despite a few minor health issues. When Bernice’s daughter, Sarah, insists the time has come for Bernice to forfeit her independence and move into her backyard carriage house, Bernice refuses.

“I have a perfectly good house in Arkansas. Why on earth would I move to Atlanta?”

Despite Bernice’s protestations, Sarah moves forward with death cleaning and estate sale planning as though Bernice has no say in the matter.

Bernice has plenty to say about a variety of things.

With Miss Fiona packed stem to stern with only those things that spark joy (thank you, Marie Kondo) and inspired by an old black-and-white photograph of her first true love, Bernice leaves her cozy home in Savage Crossing without a glance in the rearview mirror. And without a word to her family.

Once Bernice decides to run away, there is no telling what might happen next.

A charming story of second chances and the transcendent power of love, Bernice Runs Away clears away life’s clutter and gets to the truth of what is essential in life.

My Review:

The cover is cute, eye-catching, and compelling. But don’t let it fool you–this is prose-perfect literary fiction. If the cover didn’t get you, this beautiful narrative of Bernice will. Don’t worry about the age thing—this is an easily identifiable theme of family, relationships, and an inspirational story that is trans-generational.

Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate BoernerWhat teenager, tired of parental guidance hasn’t thought to run away and rule their own lives? Independence, it seems, is hard won at any age and caregivers often become unwilling recipients.

Bernice’s daughter Sarah, worried about her mother aging in Savage Crossing alone in her old stone cottage, has gifted her with a book on “death cleaning” and if that is not enough, announced plans to move Bernice to the backyard bungalow in Atlanta being built for her—so she can be close.

Watched over.

Managed.

Bernice, like any independent adult rebels and begins plotting her escape. In the head of this octogenarian, the reader follows Bernice as she goes about her business dutifully clearing and cleaning (keeping only those things that “spark joy”), no way will she move to Atlanta. Her heart is in this home where she spent decades with her husband, now gone. She’s had a succession of cats, the current kitty being Dolly Parton—not as gregarious as her namesake—but still, she’s there.

What a poignant story, at times light-hearted or scary, riding with Bernice as she makes her way to Lake Norfolk, a special place in her heart, so many good memories! The little cabin that she booked with Jason, the owner of Cooper’s Bluff is perfect and the book becomes atmospheric with her efforts to prevail, do-overs and make-overs (old Bernice, new Bernice). Bernice is old school, old morality, and she is immensely empathetic. You can’t help but love her or the others in this character-driven novel.

As Bernice shares her memories and desires for tomorrow, the reader gleans that while age does not change desires of the heart and mind, some can be resolved.

So many quotables, including this, one of my favorites:

“Inhale. Exhale. Inhale bewilderment. Exhale disillusionment.”

Told in an easy pace (not to be confused with slow—as this is always engaging), the author has a wise sense of the decade, paints a casual kaleidoscope of visions as the story unfolds to a pleasing, satisfying conclusion. A lovely tale of adventure from a storyteller I’ll revisit with enthusiastic expectations.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Literary Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, Women’s Friendship Fiction
Publisher: One Mississippi Press LLC
ASIN: B0B919LW6X
Print Length: 403 pages
Publication Date: October 1, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Bernice Runs Away [Amazon]

 

Talya Tate Boerner
Talya Tate Boerner – author

The Author: Here are a few things about what makes me tick, and why we should be friends. I’m not afraid to drink from a regular garden hose or eat raw cookie dough. Unless I’m buying books or plants, I don’t like to shop. I love freshly ground coffee and logo t-shirts. I know how to make mud pies and snow cream and play dough from scratch. Yes, I’m a farmer’s daughter who really was raised in a barn.

I love interesting writing, some poetry, old movies, and hardback novels, especially southern classics. I have a degree in economics from Baylor University, and once upon a time worked for the previous owner of the Dallas Cowboys. My two grown children are the best people I know. I hope to be like them someday.

Clutter and incessant chatter make me crazy. I’m an extroverted introvert and need my quiet time. I’m inspired by music and nature. I have a butterfly garden in the backyard; milkweed is my favorite plant. I am an Arkansas Master Gardener and an Arkansas Master Naturalist.

I believe most any meal can be improved with a side of collard greens.

I live in Fayetteville, Arkansas with my husband and two schnauzers, Lucy and Annabelle (who rule the house). I think the Ozark Mountains are as gorgeous as any place on Earth.

Follow Talya at Grace, Grits and Gardening.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint Recommended-5 Stars

The Girl Who Escaped (Jake Wolfe Book 7) by Mark Nolan – #BookReview – #kidnappingthriller

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

One month ago, four college girls were abducted. Three were brutally murdered. One girl escaped.

The Girl Who Escaped by Mark NolanAngie Taylor was traumatized and shocked speechless.
The police think she killed her friends, and then had a mental breakdown.
Her psychiatrist believes she has an emotionally unstable personality disorder.
Can she ever speak up and describe the killer’s face to a police sketch artist?
Is the murderer stalking her right now, eager to finish what he started?
Everyone in the city is on edge, fearing the worst, not sure what to believe.

A visit from a determined FBI agent shakes things up and raises the stakes. FBI Special Agent Brenda Reynolds of the VSRT must investigate whether the mysterious silent girl is a victim, a killer, or has gone insane.

Grab your copy of the suspense thriller everyone is talking about, and start reading right now.

His Review:

Young coeds are missing during spring break and cannot be found anywhere. Angie and her friends have enjoyed parties but the night is winding down. She has a strange feeling that someone is stalking them. She does not know why but as the designated driver for the group she stays vigilant. However, the attack on the girls is quick, disabled by a strange substance. They are taken on a remote road in the country and the outlook is desperate.

The Girl Who Escaped by Mark NolanJake and his faithful dog Cody are called in to assist the FBI and local law enforcement to help crack the case. This book introduces us to a division of the FBI called VSRT (The Victims Special Response Team). This group of dedicated agents work with victims who have been traumatized by vicious criminals.

Wealth seems to cause an altered reality for some billionaires. A remote island is owned by just such a man who prefers a harem of very young and attractive women. He pays large sums to a bounty hunter who finds and brings him the girls. He keeps them for a while and then sells them when he feels they have outlived their usefulness for his depravities.

Jake and Cody work with the hospital to assist in resolving the issue of the young woman charged with murder, restrained in the hospital. Charged with the murder of her three friends, she has been spread-eagled in the bed for the month but is slowly coming out of her catatonia by the love and attention of the dog.

Mark Nolan has written a superb and at times exasperating tale of friendship and heartache. Can this heinous crime be unraveled? The adversary is a very devious and persistent despot who wants to avenge the escape of Angie. The novel is well-paced and held my attention throughout. As always, Cody shines as the co-protagonist. Enjoy the latest as the author’s dynamic duo help to close another edge-of-your-seat thriller. 5 stars CE Williams

Between us, we’ve read most in this series, with Book 6, Key West Dead in 2021, and Deadly Weapon in 2020 most recent. Always a gripping plot and my favorite dog and his person. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me the opportunity to read and review this book. Available now.

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Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Crime Fiction, Kidnapping Thrillers, Psychological Fiction
ASIN: B0B5MCGQKS
Print Length: 318 pages
Publication Date: July 29, 2022
Source: Author request
Title Link: The Girl Who Escaped [Amazon]

 

Mark Nolan - authorThe Author: Mark Nolan is an Amazon Bestselling Author and Kindle Unlimited All-Star. Subscribe to his reader newsletter at marknolan.com for updates, specials, and news.

Mark Nolan is the author of the Jake Wolfe thriller series.

Book 1: Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie
Book 2: Vigilante Assassin
Book 3, Killer Lawyer
Book 4: San Diego Dead
Book 5: Deadly Weapon
Book 6: Key West Dead

Website: marknolan.com

Click FOLLOW under Mark’s author photo, and Amazon will notify you when a new book is available.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a Nice Weekend!

Before We Were Yours: A Novel by Lisa Wingate – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Goodreads Choice Award Winner

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge – until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents – but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals – in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country – Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong. 

My Review:

Taken from headlines back in Memphis, Tennessee 1939, this audiobook gripped me quickly and never let go. Yes, I’m probably the last to see this title, but so glad I did. My mother ended up in an orphanage in the late 20s when my grandmother and grandfather split; the Depression, the crushing poverty, and no way to care for two young daughters. So, while my mother didn’t have this horrendous experience, her’s was not pleasant either.

The storyline narration splits between 1939 and present-day Aiken, South Carolina.

It is essentially the true account of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage and Georgia Tann, who in today’s dollars, made a ton of money selling children from the facility. Not just orphans, however, as some were literally stolen from their parents for the bounty they would bring.

Babies were a hot commodity and Tann found a market with well-to-do couples unable to have their own. Then she found further avenues of income by squeezing them further for various trumped-up charges and fees.

The cruel life the children lead in the orphanage is heart-stopping. Tann apparently had cultivated major connections, including judges, politicians, and police who literally turned a blind eye to what was happening.

Historical POV is told through twelve-year-old Rill Foss, the oldest of five children from a family living on the Mississippi River in a shanty, a river houseboat. They are taken from the boat following a nighttime emergency trip to the hospital by their mother and father. Rill’s story is poignant, riveting, heartbreaking, and suspenseful.

In present day Aiken, Avery Stafford is caught up in the family drama of an elderly woman and makes a shocking discovery.

I definitely preferred the voice of Rill—her story captivating—her strength, resolve admiral. She had loving parents and had been well taught but was far too trusting. Avery is more difficult to warm up to—rich, her narrow scope of view rested on the well-to-do, educated, classed gentry. Once she got into the investigation; would not let it go.

There were a few things I didn’t quite understand (the adult sisters hanging onto their secret) and the conclusion that managed a touch of romance (obvious which way it was going), and really—he’s a nice guy and all but wondered how long the nice guy part would last over her kind of privileged background.

Yes, I got the audiobook from my lovely library and thought the narrators did an outstanding job. My heart rose and sank throughout, hanging on every word, until I was emotionally exhausted. I kept thinking of my mother—and understood again—why she was so paranoid about losing my brother and I when our dad left. Thank you, mom.

Book Details:

Genre: Fiction Sagas, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Random House Audio
ASIN: B06Y1MGNL9
Listening Length: 14 hrs 29 mins
Narrator:  Emily RankinCatherine Taber
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Before We Were Yours [Amazon]

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The Author: Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the bestselling author of more than twenty novels. Her work has won or been nominated for many awards, including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, the Carol Award, the Christy Award, and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. Wingate lives in the Ouachita Mountains of southwest Arkansas.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

The Last Paladin (P T Deutermann WWII Novels) by P T Deutermann – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

The Last Paladin by P T Deutermann

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

A gripping tale of anti-submarine warfare in the World War II Pacific Theater, by a master of military adventure fiction.

The Last Paladin by P.T. Deutermann is based on the true story of the USS Holland (DE-24), a World War II Atlantic Fleet destroyer escort which has spent the past two years in the unforgiving battle for survival against the German U-boats of the North Atlantic.

The Last Paladin by P T DeutermannSummoned to relieve destroyers that are bogged down by escort duty in the escalating Pacific Theater, the Holland is met with a rather cold reception. In the eyes of Pacific Fleet sailors, North Atlantic convoy duty pales in comparison to the bloody, carrier-sinking battles of Savo Island and Guadalcanal. However, Atlantic Fleet ships have had to specialize in one thing: anti-submarine warfare.

The Holland is sent off into remote South Pacific operating areas with orders to find and destroy Japanese submarines—but with little expectation of success. Her commanders take the mission literally; using radio intercepts that are being ignored at higher levels, they determine that the Japanese have set up a 1000-mile-long picket line of six submarines, an entire squadron’s worth, to act as a moveable barrier against the expected American advance into the next set of islands. These submarines are poised to sink every American aircraft carrier and destroyer and to change the course of the war.

What happens next is one of the legendary stories of the US Navy. The Last Paladin is high stakes naval warfare at its best, told with utter authenticity and a former ship captain’s understanding of dramatic, intense combat. P. T. Deutermann continues his acclaimed series of WWII thrillers in this unforgettable novel.

His Review:

The war in the Pacific Theater is at its’ zenith. The USS Holland has been in the Atlantic working with the British and has been re-outfitted and sent to the Pacific to aid in the fight against Japanese submarines. The Pacific fleet commanders are less than cordial with the arrival of one of the Atlantic fleets’ destroyer escorts. The ship receives a less than tepid welcome and is assigned a backwater near the Solomon Islands to patrol.

The Last Paladin by P T DeutermannThis saga is told from both the ships’ captains’ point of view and the second in command. The story is fictional and covers the sinking of six Japanese submarines during the war. A picket line of Japanese subs is set up to warn the Imperial Navy of ship movements toward the Marianas and Solomon Islands. The crew of the USS Holland discover the submarines and set out to eliminate the threat. The purpose of the Japanese picket line of submarines was to give advance warning of U.S. Naval Fleet movements.

Some of the history disclosed is very interesting. I found the push and pull between Admirals Spruance and Halsey to be particularly interesting. The story points out the tremendous pressure both of these fine admirals were under. The lives of countless sailors, ships and marines and army were in the balance.

The maintenance of secrecy and the health of the sailors aboard the ship is well defined. Hunting submarines during the war was a duty fraught with danger. Using such tools as sonar and radar often alerted the submarines that the ship was in the area. These tools for discovery were often as valuable to the enemy sailors as to the personnel aboard the Holland.

CE WilliamsThe story is fictional but alludes to the exploits of an actual ship the USS England (DE 635). I could not verify this ship or information because the construction of a ship with this name was not completed because of the wars’ end. However the tension and dynamics of this story kept me involved and reading during every free moment. Enjoy the ride! 5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction, War Fiction
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
ASIN: B09CNFWMX9
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Last Paladin [Amazon]

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P T Deutermann - authorThe Author: Peter Deutermann was born in Boston in 1941. His father was in the Navy, so he subsequently lived all over the United States and also in Argentina. He graduated from the naval academy in 1963 and served in the navy for 26 years, rising to the rank of Captain. While in the navy, he published one textbook on naval operations and several professional articles in navy-oriented journals. He held three commands: a Swiftboat in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, a guided missile destroyer in the Atlantic Fleet, and a destroyer squadron based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. His last tour of duty was as the division director for chemical, biological, and radiological weapons arms control negotiations on the staff of the Joint Chiefs in Washington, DC.

He retired from active duty in 1989 and began his fiction-writing career. He has published twenty novels since 1992, all with St. Martins Press, including the just-released World War II navy novel, entitled The Commodore, and the Washington thriller, The Red Swan. He has completed his 21st novel, entitled The Iceman, a World War II navy submarine story, scheduled for publication in August, 2018. See all the books on his website at http://www.ptdeutermann.com

In addition to a BS in naval engineering, Mr. Deutermann holds an MA in public administration from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He is also a Member of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. He is married and has two children. Mr. Deutermann and his wife of 50 years live in Rockingham County, in the Piedmont of North Carolina, on their family pony farm.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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