The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris – #BookReview – #historicalfiction – @SourcebooksLandmark

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sold On A Monday—over a million copies sold!—comes a sweeping World War II tale of an illusionist whose recruitment by British intelligence sets her on a perilous, heartrending path.

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorrisAs a little girl raised amid the hardships of Michigan’s Copper Country, Fenna Vos learned to focus on her own survival. That ability sustains her even now as the Second World War rages in faraway countries. Though she performs onstage as the assistant to an unruly escape artist, behind the curtain she’s the mastermind of their act. Ultimately, controlling her surroundings and eluding traps of every kind helps her keep a lingering trauma at bay.

Yet for all her planning, Fenna doesn’t foresee being called upon by British military intelligence. Tasked with designing escape aids to thwart the Germans, MI9 seeks those with specialized skills for a war nearing its breaking point. Fenna reluctantly joins the unconventional team as an inventor. But when a test of her loyalty draws her deep into the fray, she discovers no mission is more treacherous than escaping one’s past. 

Inspired by stunning true accounts, The Ways We Hide is a gripping story of love and loss, the wars we fight—on the battlefields and within ourselves—and the courage found in unexpected places.

His Review:

Fenna Vos bore a striking resemblance to Hedy Lamarr. Both women were in entertainment. Fenna is an associate of a stage magician. She works to develop escape acts and other performance mysteries. Misdirection is the standard fare for these well-trained escape artists, people able to get out of impossible situations. Fenna is one of the best.

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorrisWorld War II finds Fenna working in a clandestine group called MI9. Their objective is to provide ways to help allied prisoners escape Nazi prisoner of war camps. Small hacksaw blades and cutting chains are inserted into such everyday games as Monopoly. The trick is to make the games transparent. The enemy allows such games to come into prison camps to help the detainees pass the time.

Fenna has a second asset to offer. In addition to her escape artist’s abilities; she can speak Dutch, as this was her mother’s native tongue.  She is working on a number of top-secret projects to enable prisoners of war to escape captivity. One very vital tool is the maps to help downed airmen find their way back to friendly territory.

She is inserted into Nazi-controlled Holland to assist the underground. She meets an old flame and finds the family of a very good friend. The friend has a child and the underground works to find a way to get mother and daughter back to allied territory. Regretfully the mother is killed in a Gestapo raid and her child is adopted by a childless German family. This situation is untenable to Fenna and the group in Holland. They work to help extract the young girl and spirit her to England.

This book is based upon some facts recently made public after World War II. Ms. McMorris has pulled together information regarding the female operatives during World War II in a most engaging novel. The success of this lady in a male-dominated world is nothing less than spectacular. The resultant book is a great tribute to the millions of women who worked unheralded and unrecognized during the second world war. 5 stars – CE Williams

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

 

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Book Details:

Genre: British & Irish Literary Fiction, Historical World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ASIN: B09NCNP1KG
Print Length: 573 pages
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Ways We Hide [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

 

Kristina McMorris - authorThe Author: KRISTINA MCMORRIS is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of two novellas and six historical novels, including the million-copy bestseller SOLD ON A MONDAY. The recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, she previously hosted weekly TV shows for Warner Bros. and an ABC affiliate, beginning at age nine with an Emmy Award-winning program, and owned a wedding-and-event-planning company until she had far surpassed her limit of “Y.M.C.A.” and chicken dances. Kristina lives near Portland, Oregon, where she somehow manages to be fully deficient of a green thumb and not own a single umbrella. For more, visit KristinaMcMorris.com.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Enjoy Your Sunday

Such a Beautiful Family by T R Ragan – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Such a Beautiful Family by T R Ragan

Book Blurb:

A riveting novel of psychological suspense about perfect lives and hidden secrets by New York Times bestselling author T.R. Ragan.

Such a Beautiful Family by T R RaganNora Harmon has a lot to be thankful for: two great kids, a stable marriage, and now, a dream career. Software consultant Jane Bell wants Nora on her team. She’s offering a fantastic salary, flexible hours, and a chance to travel the world. It sounds too good to be true, but Jane won’t take no for an answer.

Jane acts more like a friend than a boss, and Nora’s personal and professional boundaries begin to blur. Jane is smitten with Nora’s perfect family—particularly her daughter—and far too attentive to Nora’s husband. Nora can’t help but feel insecure and unsettled.

Maybe Jane is everything she says she is: a lonely woman in need of feeling the love of a kind and decent family. Maybe Nora is just being paranoid.

Maybe not.

My Review:

If it sounds too good to be true…well, you know that old saying…

Trust T R Ragan to pour on the suspense in what would seem a routine domestic drama. The perfect life; but somehow Jane Bell catches Nora Harmon just about the time Nora is beginning to feel stagnated in her current position. It’s a good job, but she’s no longer excited to get to work in the morning. Even worse, she is beginning to realize her children are growing up at a time when she has even less time to enjoy them.

In steps Jane Bell, a software consultant, who offers Nora twice the money, more time with her family. No, no traveling, just a cushy office. So why are those caution bells ringing wildly in her ears? What is the catch here?

Nora is getting comfy in her new position with IMPACT when Jane begins to lavish her with little surprises. She accepts a couple at the beginning but the hairs have been raised on the back of her neck and she’s beginning to get nervous, particularly when Jane begins to make inroads with her husband and daughter. Only her son, Trevor, (smart kid that he is) is watching Jane with a jaundiced eye.

Okay. Is it too late to put on the brakes? Change the dynamic?

Backstory info is beginning to seep in to muddy the waters. Give her the benefit of the doubt? I don’t THINK so!

Where did Jane come from? Where did she really get the money for her start-up?

The suspense is ramping up, the tension is spiking. Nora’s hubby and daughter think Jane is a benefit fairy and they’re loving the attention. But as Nora gleans additional clues, her grateful reservations begin to elevate from anger to fear and jealousy. And, she is beginning to see the secrets she’d tried to keep hidden are about to be revealed.

The conclusion is wrapped in a heart-twisting conflagration of threats and revelations, physical confrontation. Well, mercy.

It’s a head-scratching nail-biter. The well-plotted and paced mystery hooked and kept engagement. The protagonist for the most part is sympathetic although maddening at times. Her family perhaps too good to be true—especially the daughter’s flip near the climax—hmmm, I wondered about that. On the whole an entertaining saga. I read Count to Three, as well as others, greatly enjoyed, and have become a solid Ragan fan.

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. Currently on pre-order.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ASIN: B09LC5K3BH
Print Length: 266 pages
Publication Date: December 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

T R Ragan - authorThe Author: T.R. Ragan (Theresa Ragan) has sold over four million books and is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling mystery and thriller author.

Readers interested in signing up for a monthly newsletter or getting their name in a TR RAGAN book should check out her website at http://www.trragan.com

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram: @trraganauthor

 

LIZZY GARDNER SERIES
FAITH MCMANN TRILOGY
JESSIE COLE SERIES
SAWYER BROOKS SERIES

Don’t Make a Sound

Out of Her Mind

No Going Back

Count To Three – 12/21

Such A Beautiful Family – 12/22

Theresa Ragan Novels: Return of the Rose, A Knight in Central Park, Finding Kate Huntley, Dead Man Running, Having My Baby, An Offer He Can’t Refuse, Taming Mad Max, and Here Comes the Bride!

©2922 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

I Remember You: A Thriller by Brian Freeman – #BookReview – #medicalthrillers

I Remember You by Brian Freeman

A Thriller

Book Blurb:

From New York Times bestselling author Brian Freeman comes a gripping psychological thriller about a woman haunted by terrifying memories—of someone else’s life.

I Remember You by Brian FreemanOn the Fourth of July, Hallie Evers dies at a rooftop party in Las Vegas.

Hours later, she wakes up in the hospital, disoriented but alive. Why can’t she find the doctor who revived her? Why does her head feel crowded and loud? Why do her memories feel both foreign and familiar? Her self-doubt spirals into crippling paranoia.

Hallie knows that mental illness runs in her family—her mother suffered from delusions that led to an early death. But now even Hallie’s dreams are fraught with details that seem like more than imagination—vivid images of a city she remembers but has never visited in her life. As she embarks on a cross-country search for answers, Hallie catches glimpses of what feel like another person’s memories. It’s a dark, horrifying, tragic vision…of someone else’s murder.

But is any of it real?

His Review:

You would think a gifted copywriter could get a job anywhere. Her employment agent, Jill Oliver, kept her employed. Hallie Evers was a quick learner and was very well versed in the medical supply industry and medical terminology. She was easy to place and most employers were very pleased to employ her. One of those employers is BioEfx. Their products were closely held company secrets and they needed someone who understood the terminology and could be closed-mouthed!

I Remember You by Brian FreemanHallie thought it might be a good idea to volunteer to try some of the company’s products. She had a cap placed on her head and was infused with another personality. She began to know things she could not possibly know and recognize places she had never been to. In addition, she began to realize that the person’s name was Skye. But how could this be when Skye had died nearly ten years ago after being pushed or jumped off a cliff in the Hamptons?!

The author engulfs our heroine in ever-evolving thoughts! How could she know places she had never been or people she had never met? She began to suspect that her memories were not her own but those of Skye. As the book evolves the two personalities become more intertwined. The problems are exacerbated when BioEfx sends investigators to monitor her progress.

Hallie has been raised by a mother who can only be described as having a multiple- personality disorder. When she was ten, she was orphaned by the death of her mother. She and her sisters do not get along. Therefore, she moves from place to place! She is unable to hold jobs for long and her relationships are usually self-destructive.

CE WilliamsThis author has provided a glimpse into personality disorders and the futility of some suffering from them to find peace. With the technology used by BioEfx she finds it difficult to maintain her true identity. Enjoy!  4.5 stars – CE Williams 

[N.B. It’s been a couple years since I got Thief River Falls, my first experience with this author and it blew me away. I thought the CE would enjoy this one. He did.]

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

 

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Book Details:

Genre: Medical Thrillers, Crime & Mystery Science Fiction
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ISBN: ‎ 1542035104
ASIN: B09P1DZJC9
Print Length: 339 pages
Publication Date: August 9, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: I Remember You [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble

 

Brian Freeman - authorThe Author: Brian Freeman is a New York Times and Amazon Charts bestselling author of more than two dozen psychological thrillers, including the Jonathan Stride and Frost Easton series. His books have been sold in 46 countries and 23 languages. He is widely acclaimed for his “you are there” settings and his complex, engaging characters and twist-filled plots. Brian was also selected as the official author to continue Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series, and his novel THE BOURNE EVOLUTION was named by Kirkus as one of the best mysteries and thrillers of 2020.

Brian’s stand-alone thriller SPILLED BLOOD won the award for Best Hardcover Novel in the annual Thriller Awards given out by the International Thriller Writers organization, and his fifth novel THE BURYING PLACE was a finalist for the same award. His novel THE DEEP, DEEP SNOW was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original in 2021.

His debut thriller, IMMORAL, won the Macavity Award for Best First Novel and was a finalist for the Edgar, Dagger, Anthony, and Barry Awards. IMMORAL was named an International Book of the Month, a distinction shared with authors such as Harlan Coben and Lisa Unger.

All of Brian’s books are also available in audiobook editions. His novels THE BONE HOUSE and SEASON OF FEAR were both finalists for Best Audiobook of the Year in Thriller/Suspense.

For more information on Brian’s books, visit his web site at bfreemanbooks.com or find him on Facebook at facebook.com/bfreemanfans or Twitter and Instagram (@bfreemanbooks).

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Enjoy your Sunday

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub – #Audiobook Review – #timetravel

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Books of 2022 So Far

Book Blurb:

With her celebrated humor, insight, and heart, beloved New York Times bestseller Emma Straub offers her own twist on traditional time travel tropes, and a different kind of love story.            

On the eve of her 40th birthday, Alice’s life isn’t terrible. She likes her job, even if it isn’t exactly the one she expected. She’s happy with her apartment, her romantic status, her independence, and she adores her lifelong best friend. But her father is ailing, and it feels to her as if something is missing. When she wakes up the next morning she finds herself back in 1996, reliving her 16th birthday. But it isn’t just her adolescent body that shocks her, or seeing her high school crush, it’s her dad:  the vital, charming, 40-something version of her father with whom she is reunited. Now armed with a new perspective on her own life and his, some past events take on new meaning. Is there anything that she would change if she could?

My Review:

Okay, I’m definitely not the right demographic for this book. Besides being a much older generation, I couldn’t identify with the intensity of the retrospection with her father, not having one myself that I noticed his passing. And, sorry, I’m not a monster city fan.

This Time Tomorrow by Emma StraubAs it’s been out now for several months and it’s been a fav, accruing a lot of notice and positive reviews, everyone knows it’s about a time-traveling woman who leaves a forty-year-old body having over-partied into oblivion to discover herself again at sixteen. UGH! Those teen years—no thank you. However, I am a fan of the time traveler genre. In this case, back and forth to the same time, 1996, and the relationship with her single-parent father.

Having said the above, you’ll possibly understand why I thought the first part of the book was relatively slow and difficult for me to engage as it set up the characters, the current atmosphere, and the stressful situation with her dying father.

I enjoyed her first travel experience and again when she figured out how to move freely between the times. I found the pace, and my interest, accelerated somewhat in the middle of the book when she began to explore the question of whether or not there was any way to change any outcomes. More importantly, would she?

Lots of retrospective discussions, reliving the grand old 1990s, heavy nostalgic memories. Gees, it’s almost depressing, interesting heavy-handed author writing style prose but the conclusion came well-plotted and satisfying.

So many time travel novels end in the trope of “do-overs.” I also wrote about that back in 2015. The fork in the road. What if…I’d gone left instead of right. Isn’t this something all of us have mused over? The novel charges the reader to look at what we have now—enjoy it or make the changes–particularly for those whom we love.

I received a complimentary review copy of this audiobook from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Time Travel Science Fiction, Time Travel Fiction, Family Life Fiction
Publisher:  Penguin Audio
ASIN: B09HST51ZG
Listening Length: 8 hrs 31 mins
Narrator: Marin Ireland
Publication Date: May 17, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Links: This Time Tomorrow [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

 

Emma Straub - authorThe Author: Emma Straub is the New York Times-bestselling author of five novels—This Time Tomorrow, All Adults Here, The Vacationers, Modern Lovers, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures—and the short story collection Other People We Married. Her books have been published in more than 20 languages, and All Adults Here is currently in development as a television series. She and her husband own Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

book shelves

Playing With Fire by Mary Burton – #BookReview – Women’s Crime Fiction

Playing With Fire by Mary Burton

Book Blurb:

Playing with Fire by Mary BurtonAn unsolved mystery ignites a deadly game of chess in this scorching thriller from New York Times bestselling author Mary Burton.

A year after the infamous arsonist Nero was found dead in one of his latest fires, journalist Darcy Sampson receives a tip that the body found at the scene wasn’t Nero at all. Determined to solve the case, Darcy heads to her small hometown in Virginia to track Michael Gannon, an arsonist investigator who refuses to believe that Nero is dead.

But when a new series of fires in the area have a remarkable resemblance to the arsonist’s previous work, Darcy and Gannon are in a race against time to put a stop to Nero once and for all.

But Nero is ready and waiting for them, and he intends on teaching both Gannon and Darcy one last, fatal lesson.

His Review:

A firebug is terrorizing the Washington, D.C. area. Michael Gannon is an investigator whose primary mission is to apprehend the perpetrator. This particular criminal flaunts his crimes and leaves a matchbook with a very unique logo to flaunt his abilities.

Playing With Fire by Mary BurtonNine fires and twelve people died later, the man is identified only by the name “Nero”. The entire D. C. metropolitan area is paralyzed with fear. He always seems to be one step ahead of the investigators. However, in one of the fire scenes, a man found in a fetal position with evidence of the accelerants used on many of the fires leads the coroner to surmise the firebug has been caught in one of his own fires. The fires in the DC area suddenly stop.

Sometimes the worst enemy for investigators and law enforcement are the news people who try to scoop or break the story. The issue with the current string of arsons is a reporter who discloses confidential investigation information to help spark interest in his bylines. The arsonist realizes that the investigation may be getting too close and stops to let the dust clear.

Darcy Sampson is a reporter who decides to leave the DC area and go back to her hometown. Michael Gannon has retired and chooses her hometown as the place he will settle down in retirement. They meet at the strange scene of a fire in her hometown. Gannon’s abrasive demeanor instantly ignites a love/hate relationship.

CE WilliamsNero, the arsonist, misses the fires and the competition between him and Gannon. He happens to choose the same small town for his next fire. The competition is on for another incredible run. Gannon soon realizes that “Nero” the arsonist is certainly not dead. Can the newspaper reporter and Gannon become successful in stopping the arsonist? Fortunes and large properties hang in the balance. This is a fast-paced and gripping novel. Recommended! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Women’s New Adult & College Fiction, Women’s Psychological Fiction, Women’s Crime Fiction
Publisher: HQ Digital
ASIN: B09W8QYG7C
Print Length: 205 pages
Publication Date: May 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Playing With Fire [Amazon.com.uk]

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Mary Burton - authorThe Author: Mary Burton loves writing suspense, researching law enforcement and forensic procedures, morning walks, baking, books, and tiny dachshunds. She also enjoys hunting down serial killers, which she does in her New York Times and USA Today bestselling novels of suspense and romance. Library Journal has compared her work to that of Lisa Jackson and Lisa Gardner, and Fresh Fiction likened her writing to that of James Patterson.

Mary is routinely featured among the top twenty writers in Amazon’s Author Rankings for romantic suspense, and her recent novel The Last Move claimed the number ten fiction slot in the Kindle eBooks Store.

Research is a favorite part of Mary’s day. She never tires of learning more about police work, evidence collection and analysis. She’s known for taking a hands-on approach, whether it means interviews with professionals in the field, forensic seminars or lessons at the firing range.

A Richmond native, Mary has lived there for most of her life. She is a graduate of Virginia’s Hollins University and worked in marketing before she began writing full time. Her first book was published in 2000 and she’s now the author of thirty-four published novels, five novellas and four works of contemporary women’s fiction written as Mary Ellen Taylor.

A member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Novelists, Inc., and Romance Writers of America, Mary is known for creating multiple suspense stories connected by characters, such as her recent The Forgotten Files novels. Her new book, Her Last Word, and The Last Move, break that mold.

When not traveling for research or visiting with readers at bookstores, book festivals and conferences, Mary remains very much a homebody. She and her husband spend time alternately enjoying and lamenting their empty nest and spoiling their four-legged babies Buddy, Bella and Tiki.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great weekend!

Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben

Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben

Book Blurb:

In Darkest Fear, Myron Bolitar faces the most emotionally shattering case of his career. And it all begins when Myron’s ex-girlfriend tells him he is a father – of a dying 13-year-old boy….

Myron’s sports agency is struggling. Now more than ever, Myron needs to keep his eye on the ball, sign up some big-name clients, and turn away from the amateur detective work that is taking precious time away from the agency.  

But life is not going according to plan. Myron’s father, recently recovered from a heart attack, is facing his own mortality – and forcing Myron to face it, too. Then comes another surprise. Emily Downing, Myron’s college sweetheart, reappears in his life with devastating news: Her 13-year-old son, Jeremy, is gravely ill and can be saved only by a bone-marrow transplant – from a donor who has vanished without a trace. And before Myron can absorb this revelation, Emily hits him with an even bigger shocker: Jeremy is Myron’s son, conceived the night before Emily’s wedding to another man.

Staggered by the news, Myron plunges into a search for the missing donor. But for Myron, finding the only person in the world who can save a boy’s life means cracking open a mystery as dark as it is heartbreaking – a mystery that involves a broken family, a brutal kidnapping spree, and a cat-and-mouse game between an ambitious reporter and the FBI. 

Somewhere in the sordid mess is the man who once signed his name to a bone-marrow donor’s registry, then disappeared. And as doubts emerge about Jeremy’s true paternity, a child vanishes, igniting a chain reaction of truth and revelation that will change everyone’s life forever.

At once a riveting mystery and a spellbinding journey into the secrets that haunt families, lovers, and friends, Darkest Fear proves once again that Harlan Coben is a master storyteller like no other – and one of the most original talents in suspense fiction today. 

My Review:

Whoa, another series into Book 7 but my first. Yes, I’ve done it again and this is a series in which growth and change continue so this should probably not be read as a standalone, although it does sneak in some backstory.

Myron Bolitar has a struggling sports agency, so this series usually has a totally different focus.  He does, however, do some amateur detective work but that’s not the reason Emily Downing comes calling.

Darkest Fear by Harlan CobenEmily is a former college sweetheart. She informs him that her thirteen-year-old son is seriously ill and will die unless she can track down the possible donor, already identified, but missing. She’s frantic. Oh, and by the way, Myron is the father.

Apparently falling to pattern but with a much darker vibe than in previous series entries, Myron begins the search that quickly becomes complicated and you know will get more so.

There is a very rich, powerful family and it doesn’t take long before even the FBI is involved. Myron has quite the sarcastic wit and sense of humor, not tempered in the least by sidekick Win. To add to the mix, a new romantic interest in his life, which, of course, you gotta have in any detective series.

The storyline is hampered somewhat by a slow and convoluted start. Depending on how quick or how deep I’m hooked and also my multi-tasking, I’m apt to listen with half an ear if not thoroughly engaged. This one takes quite a while, introducing characters, then twists and turns and can switch from serious to wisecracking in the blink of an eye.

There are a few of the old tropes thrown in for good measure along with quotables:

“His blond locks had been parted with the precision of old ladies dividing up a lunch check.”

Now that’s funny! I must admit to enjoying some witty barbs. If you’re a Coben fan, you’ll no doubt enjoy this dark departure from the usual in the series—or not—but the sense of humor is still there.

I previously listened to Tell No One, not part of this series, and really enjoyed it. A copy of this audiobook was supplied also by my favorite well-stocked local library, this one narrated by Jonathan Marosz. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Mysteries, Suspense, Suspense Thrillers
Publisher: Random House Audio
ASIN: B000OYAJBC
Listening Length: 7 hrs 40 mins
Narrator: Jonathan Marosz
Publication Date: April 21, 2006
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Darkest Fear [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four Stars 4 stars

 

Harlan Coben - authorThe Author: With over 70 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times author of thirty one novels including RUN AWAY, FOOL ME ONCE, TELL NO ONE, NO SECOND CHANCE and the renowned Myron Bolitar series. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe.

Harlan is the creator and executive producer for the Netflix television dramas SAFE starring Michael C. Hall, Audrey Fleurot and Amanda Abbington, and THE FIVE starring Tom Cullen and OT Fagbenle. He is currently filming THE STRANGER, based on his novel, for Netflix starring Richard Armitage, Siobhan Finneran, Jennifer Saunders and Stephen Rea. Harlan was also showrunner and executive producer for two French TV mini-series, UNE CHANCE DE TROP (NO SECOND CHANCE) with Alexandra Lamy and JUST UN REGARD (JUST ONE LOOK) with Virginie Ledoyen. KEINE ZWEIT CHANCE, also based on Harlan’s novel, aired in Germany on Sat1.

Harlan’s novel TELL NO ONE (NE LE DIS A PERSONNE) was turned into the renowned French film, directed by Guillaume Canet and starring Francois Cluzet. The movie was the top box office foreign-language film of the year in USA, won the Lumiere (French Golden Globe) for best picture and was nominated for nine Cesars (French Oscar) and won four, including best actor, best director and best music. The movie with subtitles is now available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and DVD/Blu-Ray.

Winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – international bestselling author Harlan Coben’s critically-acclaimed novels have been called “ingenious” (New York Times), “poignant and insightful” (Los Angeles Times), “consistently entertaining” (Houston Chronicle), “superb” (Chicago Tribune) and “must reading” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

[truncated—please see the author page for his full bio]

Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#throwbackthursday

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

 

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Literature & Fiction 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

My Review:

Elsa Martinelli got sick when she was a teenager and though she survived, the family kept her at arm’s length and isolated until too late for marriage, she is overwhelmed and succumbs to the attention of the first man to notice her, the son of landowners, a Texas farmer.

Her urban family, wealthy and more worried about appearances than the love of their daughter, dumps her at the porch of the boy’s family. Rafe’s family has no alternative other than to take her in and teach her about the farm where she must learn to (gasp!) work. But they are good people, as we used to say “the salt of the earth.” Rafe does what he must with a shot-gun marriage and gives up his dreams of college.

The Four Winds by Kristin HannahThere is much to learn on the farm and the years pass, now with two children, and a tenuous marriage, but his parents come to embrace Elsa as the daughter they never had and love their grandchildren. When the drought hits and hits hard several years after the Great Depression started, the struggle to make severe changes in an effort to survive wears on all of them.

Rafe’s parents are determined to stay on their land, but Rafe is ready to head west. When their son confronts a devastating lung disease born of the Dust Bowl situation, Rafe has enough and he leaves them all in the dead of night. Elsa makes the difficult decision to head west, alone, with her two children hopefully to save her son.

But the harrowing drive alone to California is just the beginning of more years of extreme poverty, struggle, and the overwhelming competition for manual labor work with the many thousands who’ve also left their own Dust Bowl states to find a better life. It’s not.

My father’s family were among those who left for California (from Missouri) in 1938 and lumped in with the cruel denigration of “Okies” (Oklahoma). The staggering numbers of the destitute overwhelm the state and the farmers quickly take advantage of the infinite labor pool setting outrageously low levels of pay for back-breaking work sun-up to sun-down.

Emigrant camps blossom the length of every fertile valley with crops to tend including cotton, which when ready to pick is cruelly heavy with thorns as well as cotton bolls. The author paints a grim picture of the unsanitary conditions of tent and cardboard camps, lacking any potable water and tied to the “company store” where more money is deducted from paltry wages.

There are themes of love—the love given to each other in extreme situations—family, the love of a mother for her children, hopeless conditions, and those who overcome and who don’t. It’s not that hard to imagine the same can happen to anyone. The haves and have-nots and those who take advantage of the victims.

“Doom and gloom and agony on me” says the little ditty riddled throughout the old “HeeHaw” variety show. But can there be any light at the end of the tunnel?

The author does an amazing job of describing the devastation wreaked by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, the thousands of migrants that choked California’s economy, services, and infrastructure. The characters are so well fleshed you can smell them, see the cardboard in their shoes, and wonder how much longer they can live on stone soup, their ribs prominent.

In the end, this is not a totally depressive narrative but one of triumph over all the odds and ultimately the indomitable spirit of human nature.

Book Details:

Genre: Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B0882VNQKS
Listening Length: 15 hrs 2 mins
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Four Winds [Amazon]
 

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Kristin Hannah - authorThe Author: Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People’s Choice award for best fiction in the same year. It was also named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week. In 2018, The Great Alone became an instant New York Times #1 bestseller and was named the Best Historical Novel of the Year by Goodreads.

The Four Winds was published in February of 2021 and immediately hit #1 on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Indie bookstore’s bestseller lists. Additionally, it was selected as a book club pick by the both Today Show and The Book Of the Month club.

The Nightingale is currently in production at Tri Star, with Dakota and Elle Fanning set to star. Tri Star has also optioned The Great Alone and it is in development. Firefly Lane, her novel about two best friends, was the #1 Netflix show around the world, in the week it came out. The popular tv show stars Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke and Season Two is currently being filmed.

www.kristinhannah.com

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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