Christmas Scarf Murder by Carlene O’Connor, Maddie Day, and Peggy Ehrhart – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Christmas Scarf Murder by Carlene O’Connor, Maddie Day, and Peggy Ehrhart

Long Scarf Syndrome – The entanglement of the scarf’s free-floating end into moving machinery

Book Blurb:

Stocking stuffers like handknit scarves make the coziest of Christmas gifts—unless they’re used as accessories for murder!

Christmas Scarf Murder by Carlene O’Connor, Maddie Day, and Peggy Ehrhart CHRISTMAS SCARF MURDER by CARLENE O’CONNOR
When grinchy thefts steal the good cheer at a local nursing home, Siobhan O’Sullivan manages to identify one missing item before Kilbane, Ireland’s Christmas tractor parade—a hideous shamrock scarf wrapped around a very dead body. Now, with her holiday farmhouse bash approaching, Siobhan must dash to stop a deadly Secret Santa from gifting another unwanted surprise.

SCARFED DOWN by MADDIE DAY
It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas at Pans ‘N Pancakes, as twelve days of menu specials dazzle hungry locals. But the festivities go cold the instant a diner dies while knitting a brilliant green scarf. With Aunt Adele tied into a murder investigation, it’s all on Robbie Jordan to find out who’s really been naughty or nice in South Lick, Indiana.

DEATH BY CHRISTMAS SCARF by PEGGY EHRHART
Suspects pile up faster than New Jersey snow when frosty-tempered Carys Walnutt is found strangled by a handmade scarf auctioned at Arborville’s tree-lighting ceremony. Between a winning bidder hiding behind the alias “S. Claws” and a victim who deserved coal in her stocking, can Pamela Paterson and the crafty Knit and Nibble ladies freeze a killer’s merry murder plot?

My Review:

Fun, fast, and easy book to kick off the Christmas reading holidays! This anthology is headlined by Carlene O’Connor, whose Irish Village Mystery series feature Detective Sargeant Siobhan O’Sullivan and hubby Garda O’Sullivan in this offering, Christmas Scarf Murder. Always a treat with the Irish countryside-themed mysteries. This storyline covers the death of a tractor parade participant and triggered my short research into Long Scarf Syndrome—it’s a real (and deadly) occurrence. The O’Sullivan’s are entertaining their very large family for the Christmas holidays with the goal of solving this one by Christmas Eve.

Christmas Scarf Murder by Carlene O’Connor, Maddie Day, and Peggy Ehrhart The second, Scarfed Down by Maddie Day is part of her Country Store Mystery series set in South Lick, Indiana (fictional, French Lick is not), of course, the proximity caught my attention. I greatly enjoy her writing style as well.

“Boy, howdy, Robbie, it’s colder than a bullfrog’s hind leg out there and darker than a pocket.”

“That would definitely slot me into the Too Stupid to Live category.”

She’s always busy tending her restaurant/country store and hosting a knitting group. It’s the latter that’s key to this novella, entertaining a lively bunch of knitters along with Christmas-themed dishes for the diner end of the business.

I’m not familiar with Peggy Ehrhart who included her Death by Christmas Scarf in the Christmas scarf-themed compilation. The third story features Pam Paterson who engages with her Knit and Nibble group in an interesting use of knit one, purl one during WWII (Spy-Craft: The Knitting Spies of World War II…”). The ingenious methods of communication during that war never ceases to amaze me.

These Christmas scarf-themed cozy mystery novellas are a lovely way to kick off the season, expected to release late September and currently on preorder. Love the Irish setting and the husband/wife team in O’Connor’s books and the location and sense of humor in Maddie Days’ books.

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.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Mystery Anthologies, Holiday Fiction
Publisher: Kensington Cozies
ASIN: B09PJ228LB
Print Length: 351 pages
Publication Date: September 27, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

The Authors:

Carlene O’Connor is the USA Today bestselling author of the acclaimed Irish Village Mysteries, the County Kerry Novels, and the Home to Ireland Mysteries. Born into a long line of Irish storytellers, her great-grandmother emigrated from Ireland filled with tales in 1897 and the stories have been flowing ever since. Of all the places she’s wandered across the pond, she fell most in love with a walled town in County Limerick and was inspired to create the town of Kilbane, County Cork, the setting of her Irish Village Mystery series. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and currently divides her time between Southern California and the Emerald Isle. Please visit her online at CarleneOConnor.net.

Maddie Day is the Agatha Award and Macavity Award-winning author of the Cozy Capers Book Club Mystery series and the Country Store Mysteries, as well as other series written under the name Edith Maxwell. A member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, she is a regular contributor at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen and belongs to The Wickeds, a group of six bestselling authors who blog at WickedAuthors.com. Day lives with her beau north of Boston, though she knows both Indiana and Cape Cod intimately. She is a talented amateur chef and gardener and can be found online at MaddieDayAuthor.com. 

Peggy Ehrhart is a former English professor who lives in Leonia, New Jersey, where she writes mysteries and plays blues guitar. She holds a Ph.D. in medieval literature from the University of Illinois and taught writing and literature at Queens College, CUNY, and Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she was a tenured full professor. Her short stories have appeared in Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, Crime and Suspense, Flashing in the Gutters, Spinetingler, Crime Scene: New Jersey 2, and Murder New York Style. A longtime member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, Peggy served on the board of MWA New York as head of the Mentor Committee. She was president of Sisters in Crime NY/TriState from 2013 to 2015. Peggy regularly attends mystery-writing conferences and participates in conference panels and gives talks on mystery fiction at libraries in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Holy Chow: An Andy Carpenter Mystery by David Rosenfelt – #Audiobook Review – #AnimalCozyMysteries

Holy Chow by David Rosenfelt

Holy Chow by David Rosenfelt

Rosepoint Rating: 5 stars

Book Blurb:

In Holy Chow, the next mystery from bestselling author David Rosenfelt, the beloved characters—both human and canine—of this fan favorite series are back on the case with the author’s trademark wit and humor.

Retired lawyer Andy Carpenter’s calling has always been running the Tara Foundation. The dog rescue organization places hundreds of dogs in new homes every year. It’s added up to so many dogs and new owners that Andy can’t even do the math. But there’s one dog—and one owner—Andy will always remember. 

About a year ago, Rachel Morehouse came to the foundation looking for a companion. In her sixties and recently widowed, Rachel wanted a senior dog that also needed someone. Andy took a liking to her, Rachel took a liking to Lion, an older Chow Chow, and the rest is history. 

That is, until Rachel calls Andy begging for a favor: If Rachel dies, will Andy take care of Lion if her stepson cannot? Andy agrees, no questions asked, and promptly forgets about it… until he receives a call from Rachel’s estate to attend her will reading. Which is where he meets Rachel’s stepson, Tony, who is promptly arrested for his stepmother’s murder. And he wants Andy to prove his innocence. 

Andy has continued to learn more about the woman he so greatly admired and the businesses she ran, and holy chow, was this woman impressive. The person who killed her deserves to be held accountable, and if Tony is to be believed, they’re still out there. And that possibility is too much for Andy to remain on the sidelines.

My Review:

Yes, yes, I know. Seems like yesterday I was reviewing a David Rosenfelt book, but that one was Citizen K-9, a K Team series mystery. Between the two, although don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the K-9 team series too, just that for me I know even if this is Book 25 of the series, I’m going to be entertained and finish the book happy with the time spent. My only problem is that they are usually short audiobooks.

Holy Chow by David RosenfeltThe Andy Carpenter novels have a winning formula. Andy is retired, wealthy, and supports a dog rescue called the Tara Foundation. He has Tara and Sebastian, as well as his wife Laurie and their adopted son. He also has an amazing team—love the character of Marcus—a most unique character and he has the chance to shine in this one.

There is a mystery involving a dog, he’ll grudgingly accept the case, usually because he really feels in his heart the person is innocent. The case that may have started simple usually gets real complex and eventually goes to trial, and yes, I always enjoy that legal bamboozle as well. So much fun.

Fun? Yes, that’s at the heart of these pseudo-cozy mysteries, the humor, the snark, and the right amount of witty dialogue combined with serious and intelligent fact-finding. These audiobooks will keep you in a good mood even when you have to go grocery shopping. Trust me.

I’ve learned not to try and figure out the guilty antagonist (sometimes more than one) and just go with the flow. Listen and enjoy.

I can think of no narrator other than Grover Gardner who so clearly IS Andy Carpenter just as George Guidall is Walt Longmire on Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire mystery series. Whether or not you read or listen to the audiobook, you still hear their voices. I would strongly suggest the audiobooks for the sense you just won’t get reading.

Catch my review of Book 23 Dog Eat Dog and hang on for the next one. I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my favorite library of course. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Animal Cozy Mysteries, Animal Fiction
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B09GH1J5XB
Listening Length: 6 hrs 27 mins
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Publication Date: July 5, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Links: Holy Chow [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble 
Kobo

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David Rosenfelt - authorThe Author: David Rosenfelt, a native of Paterson, New Jersey, is a graduate of NYU. He was the former marketing president for Tri-Star Pictures before becoming a writer of novels and screenplays. “Open And Shut” was his first novel; “First Degree,” his second novel, was named a best book of 2003 by Publishers Weekly. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife and 35 dogs.

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The Narrator: Grover Gardner’s narration career spans twenty-five years and over 550 audiobook titles. AudioFile Magazine has called him one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and features him in their annual “Golden Voices” update. Publishers Weekly named him Audiobook Narrator of the Year for 2005. His recordings have garnered 18 “Golden Earphones” awards from AudioFile and an Audie Award from the Audio Publishers’ Association.
http://grovergardner.blogspot.com/

Growing Wild in the Shade by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – Women’s Detective Fiction – #happyreleaseday

Growing Wild in the Shade by Jean Grainger

A Mags Munroe Story (The Mags Munroe Series Book 2)

Book Blurb:

Growing Wild in the Shade by Jean GraingerIf you want to disappear, start again, make a new life, a small Irish village is probably not the wisest place to go, since anonymity is not something we do well here.

The arrival of someone new is always a cause for twitching curtains and whispered conversations.

But here, like everywhere, people have their secrets, and as the local sergeant I’m expected to have my eyes peeled for anything unusual.

And I do.
Usually.
Until I don’t, and the consequences are potentially fatal.

My Review:

Once past St. Patrick’s Day, if you need an “Irish fix” there is none better than picking up a Jean Grainger book. The author has that understated ability for placing you in the center of the Irish village set in the book you are reading—in this instance—Ballycarrick, Ireland.

Growing Wild in the Shade by Jean GraingerIt’s a book filled with characters, the MC being Mags Munroe, a newly promoted Sargeant in the local Garda. She has taken on the duty of coaching her community, settle conflicts, prejudices, and little offenses. She is married to Kieran, an independent roofer. Also prominent is Mags mother and Delia, newly minted Garda and also a Traveller, which is the main focus of this narrative.

As always, however, there are several under-plot threads one being her mother’s new love life and Mags own grapple with menopause. Her husband is living in fear of her being hurt again, last time seriously and they must come to terms with that aspect of her job.

It sounds like the little town of Ballycarrick is torn right down the middle regarding moving the Travellers from an area for which they’ve long been occupants without benefit of ownership. There are those who would move them to the area of another family of Travellers who are not so carefully or cleanly law-abiding. The Travellers are looked down on in any case and this provides an opportunity for proselytizing. Some good arguments here that sound as if they’d be the same for many of similar situations around the globe.

“She is only the monkey; Joanna Burke is the organ grinder.”

It is the everyday life though that the author manages to wheedle out of the pages, the little struggles, triumphs, and solutions brought about through thoughtful consensus. It is life in every village, every city—human life with bits of candor and clarity–and that iconic Irish sense of humor.

I received an advance copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my unbiased thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Detective Fiction, Women’s Crime Fiction, Women’s Literary Fiction
ISBN: ‎1914958012
ASIN: B09VCLSQX6
Print Length: 246 pages
Publication Date: Happy release! July 18, 2022
Source: Author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

Jean Grainger - author
Jean Grainger – author

The Author: USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi..

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.

[truncated]

My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West’s Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I’m currently writing book four.

Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

 

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

What the River of the Cherokee Did Not Tell: Jonathan’s Story by James Short – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

What the River of the Cherokee Did Not Tell

Book Blurb:

Jonathan Asher hides in a hollowed log with his sister while his family’s cabin on the River of the Cherokee burns. There is complete darkness. Outside, a boy’s voice promises, “I’ll come back for you.”

What the River of the Cherokee Did Not Tell by James ShortThis early memory haunts Jonathan Asher as he comes of age in the epic decade leading into the American Revolution.

Raised at the Asher Trading Post, his world changes with a blood payment for his life to the Seneca.

He takes to the road, first as an itinerant preacher, too young to be not led into temptation,

Then as a peddler and vagabond traveling through a country increasingly at war with itself.

His fortune turns. He becomes a merchant, smuggler, and friend of a fellow smuggler, Benedict Arnold,

And the beloved of a girl who wants to hear every story in the world.

Under the cover of a war profiteer, he offers to spy for the Continental Army in New York.

And before Jonathan becomes the avenger that he believes he must be, the boy, now a man, keeps the promise made on the River of the Cherokee.

My Review:

I enjoy books regarding the Revolutionary War and always appreciate the efforts of our great-greats back then to survive a war no one thought the colonies capable. This novel presents a tough scenario that hooks and leads into the story of Jonathan Asher as his brother enabled his survival first from Native American attack and later as a privateer.

My problem is that my interest lagged. I kept reading, waiting for the direction expected only to discover it wasn’t going there.

What the River of the Cherokee Did Not Tell by James ShortJonathan first discovers God, then the realization of his lack of religious education. As a boy, he ventures where his nose points and discovers ways of living as a peddler and odd jobs. When he is introduced to Benedict Arnold, he discovers many more ways of survival—that of a merchant, smuggler, privateer, and later as a war profiteer.

Not that he’s happy with himself by working the latter. Through the latter, he is recruited to spy for the Continental Army in New York. He takes that job as a way of pursuing the vengeance he has sworn to avenge the torture and death of his beloved.

I’m not sure where the espionage comes in as most of the narrative focuses on his efforts at finding the three men responsible for her ultimate painful death.

He has, however, in the space of Book 1, managed to find one of the men. His older brother appears to be haunting him as well as he appears to surface at most agreeable times, though that thread does not end happily.

And then…”to be continued” appears. Well, talk about cliffhangers. Unfortunately, I was not able to engage sufficiently with Jonathan. The war is ugly and it would appear nothing changes from war to war; there are always those who would profit from the suffering of the many. I’m sure this odyssey will appeal to Revolutionary War buffs, the saga apparently continuing in Jonathan’s efforts to seek the remaining two of the three and there are still years of war to survive. Just not for me.

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.

Rosepoint Rating: Three-point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: US Historical Fiction, War & Military Action Fiction, Action & Adventure Romance Fiction
ASIN: B09TQ1Q7ZP
Print Length:368 pages
Publication Date: June 1, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): What the River of the Cherokee Did Not Tell [Amazon]

What the River of the Cherokee Did Not Tell by James ShortThe Author: For me, one of the great pleasures of writing is having a character come out of your head and begin to speak with a mind of its own. I’ve written WHERE FORTUNE LIES, a time-slip novel where the vehicle to the past is the human heart, which may be just as magical as stones or gems or other methods of transportation. As for my curriculum vitae, I graduated from UCLA with a bachelors in Spanish taking a circuitous route through the University of Santa Cruz and the University of Barcelona. In an alternate universe where my life has gone wrong, I would be devoting the time of my long prison sentence to translating Don Quixote into English. I’ve run my own business selling Spanish language gift items. I am married with two grown daughters.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra

Book Blurb:

ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—BookPage

Like many before her, Maria Lagana has come to Hollywood to outrun her past. Born in Rome, where every Sunday her father took her to the cinema instead of church, Maria immigrates with her mother to Los Angeles after a childhood transgression leads to her father’s arrest.

Fifteen years later, on the eve of America’s entry into World War II, Maria is an associate producer at Mercury Pictures, trying to keep her personal and professional lives from falling apart. Her mother won’t speak to her. Her boss, a man of many toupees, has been summoned to Washington by congressional investigators. Her boyfriend, a virtuoso Chinese American actor, can’t escape the studio’s narrow typecasting. And the studio itself, Maria’s only home in exile, teeters on the verge of bankruptcy.

Over the coming months, as the bright lights go dark across Los Angeles, Mercury Pictures becomes a nexus of European émigrés: modernist poets trying their luck as B-movie screenwriters, once-celebrated architects becoming scale-model miniaturists, and refugee actors finding work playing the very villains they fled. While the world descends into war, Maria rises through a maze of conflicting politics, divided loyalties, and jockeying ambitions. But when the arrival of a stranger from her father’s past threatens Maria’s carefully constructed facade, she must finally confront her father’s fate—and her own.

Written with intelligence, wit, and an exhilarating sense of possibility, Mercury Pictures Presents spans many moods and tones, from the heartbreaking to the ecstatic. It is a love letter to life’s bit players, a panorama of an era that casts a long shadow over our own, and a tour de force by a novelist whose work The Washington Post calls “a flash in the heavens that makes you look up and believe in miracles.”

His Review:

Pre WWII the movie industry was in a state of flux. Many of the industry leaders were immigrants escaping the turmoil that was Europe. The first world war ended and storm clouds of the second world war were on the horizon. Many immigrants from Italy and Germany went to the Los Angeles area where their lack of understanding or speaking English was not a deterrent to a good-paying job.

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony MarraMercury Pictures was a B-film company making many soon-to-be-forgotten films. Hiring good production people was almost impossible. The individuals in this tome were struggling to make it in the business. The entire cadre of production and actors was contained within a five-mile area of Hollywood. There is a number of main characters who fade in and out of the storyline. Maria Lagana (never given a title because she is a woman) is an “associate producer” who carries the main workload throughout the novel.

The idealism of some of the characters within the government was to control the thinking of the American people. Prior to making a movie, the script was required to be sent to the motion picture censors who had to approve the film before production. Many topics including foreign governments and potential espionage were summarily excluded from production.

I found the book very enlightening on so many levels. Foreigners gravitated to Hollywood because of the motion picture industry. Scripts were written which could have been viewed as subversive so freedom of expression and freedom of speech is curtailed because of the potential for foreign influences. Censorship is rampant.

CE WilliamsMy overall impression was that the material is well researched and written and could be a history lesson. Of course, during those times after WWII our country was paranoid regarding communism and other foreign ideas. The best way to control these ideas at the time was to clamp down on those in the motion picture industry. An interesting lesson in government intervention. 4 stars – CE Williams

Rosepoint Publishing: Four Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Italian Fiction Literary Sagas, Historical Literary Fiction
Publisher: Hogarth
ASIN: B09G9V5MJN
Print Length: 430 pages
Publication Date: August 2, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Mercury Pictures Presents [Amazon]

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Anthony Marra - authorThe Author: Anthony Marra is the New York Times bestselling author of The Tsar of Love and Techno and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, winner of the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and longlisted for the National Book Award. His new novel, Mercury Pictures Presents, will be published in July 2022.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Enjoy your Sunday

The Girl from Bologna (Girls from the Italian Resistance) by Siobhan Daiko – #BookReview – #WWIIfiction

The Girl from Bologna by Siobhan Daiko

Book Blurb:

The Girl from Bologna by Siobhan DaikoBologna, Italy, 1944, and the streets are crawling with German soldiers. Nineteen-year-old Leila Venturi is shocked into joining the Resistance after her beloved best friend Rebecca, the daughter of a prominent Jewish businessman, is ruthlessly deported to a concentration camp.

In the spring of 1981, exchange student Rhiannon Hughes arrives in Bologna to study at the university. There, she rents a room from Leila, who is now middle-aged and infirm. Leila’s nephew, Gianluca, offers to show Rhiannon around but Leila warns her off him.

Soon Rhiannon finds herself being drawn into a web of intrigue. What is Gianluca’s interest in a far-right group? And how is the nefarious leader of this group connected to Leila? As dark secrets emerge from the past, Rhiannon is faced with a terrible choice. Will she take her courage into both hands and risk everything?

His Review:

The year is 1981. A young lady from Wales is in Italy to continue her Italian studies. She has found a room at a reasonable fee with a widower named Leila. They get along fabulously and she settles in for the coming semester. Leila’s nephew Gianluca takes care of his aunt and Leila and Gianluca become a couple.

World War II split Italy into factions; those who side with the Nazi’s and those who are opposed to them. The opposition is called the partisans and they do everything they can to disrupt the Nazi war machine. When caught, the partisans are immediately put in front of a firing squad. There is no trial, just a quick death.

The Girl from Bologna by Siobhan DaikoThe Germans offer substantial rewards, extra food and benefits to those who turn on their fellow citizens. Torture is applied to the captured partisans with promises of freedom if they will disclose their compatriots. The society becomes very fearful because you have no idea who you can trust.

Now 35 years after the end of WWII, distrust and hate are still rampant in Italy! Leila is trying to write down her experiences during the war. She was widowed when her husband was captured by the Nazi’s and executed. She will not forgive and cannot forget. The student, Rhiannon, is thrust into a society rampant with intrigue and acts of terror and vengeance against both sides. A bomb destroyed the west wing of the Bologna train station! Leila’s failing health spurs her to write her memoirs.

Siobhan Daiko has written a very engaging story of love, vengeance and hate in this gripping novel of a survivor of the occupation. Sabotage and disruption of supply lines to the Germans by the resistance caused quick retribution and killings nearly every day. The Nazi’s showed no mercy to the Italian people after they surrendered and withdrew from the war in 1943.

CE WilliamsThis book is very engaging and evokes sympathy for the people trapped in a war from which they wanted to withdraw.  The characters are well developed and powerful in their beliefs. Enjoy the adventure! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

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

 

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Italian Fiction, Historical German Fiction, Historical European Fiction
Publisher: Asolando Books
ASIN: B09NTXCHKG
Print Length: 360 pages
Publication Date: June 29, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Girl from Bologna [Amazon]
 

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Siobhan Daiko - authorThe Author: Siobhan Daiko is an international bestselling historical romantic fiction author. A lover of all things Italian, she lives in the Veneto region of northern Italy with her husband, a Havanese dog and two rescued cats. After a life of romance and adventure in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK, Siobhan now spends her time writing and living her best life near Venice.

You can find her on Facebook: Asolando Books, Twitter: @siobhandaiko and email: asolandobooks@gmail.com

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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