Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout – #BookReview – #contemporaryliteraryfiction @RandomHouse

#1 Best Seller in Contemporary Literature Fiction

Book Blurb:

With her trademark spare, crystalline prose—a voice infused with “intimate, fragile, desperate humanness” (The Washington Post)—Elizabeth Strout turns her exquisitely tuned eye to the inner workings of the human heart, following the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton through the early days of the pandemic.

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth StroutAs a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William. For the next several months, it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea.

Rich with empathy and emotion, Lucy by the Sea vividly captures the fear and struggles that come with isolation, as well as the hope, peace, and possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire. At the heart of this story are the deep human connections that unite us even when we’re apart—the pain of a beloved daughter’s suffering, the emptiness that comes from the death of a loved one, the promise of a new friendship, and the comfort of an old, enduring love.

His Review:

Can a loveless abusive childhood lay the cobblestones of life’s road in such a way that nothing changes for the individual? Elizabeth Strout’s character Lucy seems to have developed her character with this pattern in mind. Lucy’s mother was negative and abusive and she grew up defending herself by developing a mother in her own mind that she called her “good mother.”  Her good mother was always caring and lent supportive encouragement to everything she did.

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth StroutLucy’s first husband William is a supportive man, a scientist, with a compassionate heart and protective attitude. With the advent of the Covid Pandemic, he encourages Lucy and him to escape to the clean air and trade winds upon a rocky point in Maine. The weather is always colder, the wind always blowing and the days less predictable. They have escaped New York City to become isolated in a desolate prison of their own making. How could she be happy in this desolation?

William and Lucy do not live together. His affairs early in their marriage had driven a wedge between them that could not easily be withdrawn. They shared a house but with separate bedrooms and an uneasy truce. All conversations are delicately planned which avoids the obvious elephant in the room. His marriage betrayal and additional indiscretions had led her to spread her own affair wings.

Elizabeth Strout is a very gifted writer who did not leave the central theme of her story throughout the read. She develops a character who is hell-bent on being unhappy throughout her life. This centralized dogma thoroughly confounded me as a reader. I have never read such a singularly minded character before. Lucy cannot accept any real progress or happiness in her life although she did have a happy second marriage with a man named David. But he died which added to her misery.

CE WilliamsCould anyone ever complete her as David had seemed to do? Her daughters grew up leading fairly accomplished lives but tended to avoid their mother. The reason was the negative aura surrounding her. Life becomes extremely tedious when every day seems to add more misery to an already dark existence. I kept having the beginning of that old Buck Owens song ring in my mind! “Gloom, despair, and agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery…” I believe Elizabeth Strout has developed a very dark and sensitive heroine confronting a noir-esque setting. 3.5 stars – CE Williams

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

 

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

 

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Book Details:

Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction, Literary Sagas, Saga Fiction
Publisher: Random House
ASIN: B09VWWN5BJ
Print Length: 291 pages
Publication Date: September 20, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: Lucy by the Sea [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Elizabeth Strout - authorThe Author: Elizabeth Strout is the author of the New York Times bestseller Olive Kitteridge, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; the national bestseller Abide with Me; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in London. She lives in Maine and New York City.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Enjoy your day

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

Ellis River by Nicki Ehrlich – #BookReview – #generalfiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The Civil War scattered her family and now, along with her beloved horse, a young woman must travel across a war-torn country to collect what’s left of her life.

Ellis River by Nicki EhrlichFor fifteen-year-old Ellis Cady, life has gone quiet on her western Tennessee homestead. Her father and older brother left to sell horses to the army two years earlier and never returned. She watched her mother’s health decline, finally succumbing to a broken heart. Her twin brother left in search of their father, and while he was gone neighbors moved out of their Quaker community, searching for peace ahead of the final sweep of war.

Ellis is left with nothing but the company of the remaining horses and the letters and journals she continues to write, trying to make sense of a desolate world. A small band of soldiers rides through to claim the last of the herd, and hope for the return of life as she knew it, evaporates like the mist on the river.

When the head-strong mare, Billie, returns, having escaped from the soldiers, Ellis takes it as a sign to leave. Disguised as a boy, for safety and comfort, she rides off to find her twin. Though war refuses to fade, Ellis stumbles upon an unlikely group of rescuers who teach her family is more than blood, and love has no limits.

His Review:

The American Civil War left many families torn asunder. Ellis is a twin and her twin brother, older brother and father went off to war. Ellis is at home with her mom but as the war drags on her mother becomes melancholy and passes away. Ellis strikes out to see if she can find her brothers and father. Her quest is epic.

Ellis River by Nicki EhrlichThe military came to most of the farms in Tennessee and requisitioned most of the horses for use in the war effort. The “fair price” paid by the military did not compensate for the loss of utility and companionship of the animals. The soldiers used them until they got too thin, old, or infirmed, and then simply abandoned them.

Billie, her horse, is a constant companion during her adventures in hunting for her family. She meets up with her twin brother and they continue the quest to find her father and her other brothers. They have family in Missouri, her uncle and her father’s older brother. Ellis is trying to find and join up with any of her relatives.

Her brother dies on the trail north and west. She is heartbroken but assumes his identity to avoid the perils of a single woman during that time period. With her hair cut short and wearing men’s clothes, she can pass as her brother. She has good upper body strength and is very skilled at horsemanship. Her primary goal is to avoid military convoys and arrest or confinement by the military. She gets into a group of people including emancipated slaves and is heading north into Illinois and ultimately to Missouri. Her companions want to continue north to Canada and freedom.

CE WilliamsThe author writes a very compassionate and sympathetic narrative of a tragic time in our American history. I appreciated the thoughtful way she approached the issues of a woman who is trying to hide her femininity, identity proclivities, and struggles with her own identity. I was moved by the overall narrative experience. 5 stars – CE Williams

[NB: Not currently on pre-order and I could not find links to either Amazon nor Goodreads. There is, however, a lovely review published in the Monterey Herald regarding her upcoming release.]

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

Book Details:

Genre: General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction 
Publisher: Bay Feather Books – Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
ASIN: ISBN 9798985997415
Publication Date: September 15, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Coming soon! Will be available at:

Indiebound.org
Bookshop.org
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

Nicki Ehrlich - authorThe Author: Nicki Ehrlich grew up in Southern Illinois before attending college at the University of Denver and later, Idaho State University, where she graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy/English. After living ten “horse-rich” years in Idaho, she moved on to Oregon, and later Washington, where she realized she had unwittingly traveled the Oregon Trail.

While living in the Pacific Northwest, Nicki continued to write fiction, non-fiction and poetry. She has won awards for her poetry and creative writing, including the Writer’s Digest Annual Poetry Awards and the Ray Fabrizio Memorial Award. Her writing has been published in Scheherazade, the literary magazine of MPC, among other magazines and newspapers. Nicki holds a Certificate in Creative Writing from Monterey Peninsula College and is a member of the Central Coast branch of the California Writers Club. She also holds a Coast Guard Captain’s License and currently lives on California’s inspiring central coast where she is at work on the sequel to Ellis River.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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The Trouble With Secrets: The Kilteegan Bridge Story by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Trouble with Secrets by Jean Grainger

Happy Release Day!

#1 New Release in contemporary British & Irish Literature 

Book Blurb:

Kilteegan Bridge, County Cork 1958

The Trouble with Secrets by Jean GraingerFor eighteen year old Lena O’Sullivan, life is predictable and dull. A future of hard work, marriage to a local boy, and a family of her own one day is all she has to look forward to. People from her background know not to expect too much, but Lena yearns for something different.

Malachy Berger was different, for him, the world is at his feet. An only child of a wealthy, if peculiar father, a large inheritance, a beautiful house and a fine education are his due.

Nobody is in favour of Lena and Malachy’s friendship, but why not? What harm are they doing? Why is everyone so dead set against it?

Then fate takes a hand, and Lena realises that secrets and lies have bound her and Malachy in an impossible situation. And their future seems determined by events that happened long before they were born.

From rural Ireland to post-war Cardiff, Lena and Malachy’s story winds its way back to wartime Germany and occupied France in a web of deceit that threatens to destroy them both.

My Review:

It’s a given that if Jean Grainger comes out with a new book, I’m going to be reading it—having done so for most of her books, series or standalones. Of course, I have my favorites.

The Trouble with Secrets by Jean GraingerThis one tells the story of Lena O’Sullivan and her family in the Irish countryside of Kilteegan Bridge and is one of the reasons I love the author’s books so much—the authentic atmosphere she brings to her storytelling. It’s palpable. It’s the late 1950’s and apparently as in America during that time, a young lady finding herself in a family way, unmarried, was dealt with in one of several (often severe and) shameful ways.

Lena was luckier than most, however, having a loving father, Paudie, who took good care of his wife who would probably now be diagnosed as bi-polar. She tended to have manic episodes and when Paudie dies in a tragic accident, Lena is left with her fragile mother and siblings.

The baby’s daddy comes from a well-to-do family who has familial problems of their own and resides in Kilteegan House. Malachy Berger’s father carries a vendetta against the O’Sullivan’s and makes sure Malachy won’t be involved further with Lena.

I loved most of the support characters, railed against the Berger father who made a despicable antagonist and loved the character of Doc, Lena’s godfather. Eli made a great character, but almost too good to be true, and it was fun to watch Lena’s maturation process.

The trouble with secrets is that they almost always are exposed (sooner or later). The journey through the process of devising a credible story to satisfy the people of the village is an interesting one—but one I fear hangs like a loose tooth. And I have a feeling we haven’t truly gotten the whole story yet.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Contemporary British & Irish Literature, Historical Irish Fiction, British & Irish Literary Fiction
ASIN: B09V5MWCP5
Print Length: 313 pages
Publication Date: May 2, 2022
Source: Author
Title Link: The Trouble with Secrets [Amazon]  

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author: JEAN GRAINGER

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. Please read her full bio on her Amazon book pages.]

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

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead: A Mystery by Elle Cosimano – #Audiobook Review – #womansleuths

Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano

Book Blurb:

Finlay Donovan is – once again – struggling to finish her next novel and keep her head above water as a single mother of two. On the bright side, she has her live-in nanny and confidant Vero to rely on, and the only dead body she’s dealt with lately is that of her daughter’s pet goldfish.

On the not-so-bright side, someone out there wants her ex-husband, Steven, out of the picture. Permanently. Whatever else Steven may be, he’s a good father, but saving him will send her down a rabbit hole of soccer moms disguised as hit-women, and a little bit more involvement with the Russian mob than she’d like.

Meanwhile, Vero’s keeping secrets, and Detective Nick Anthony seems determined to get back into her life. He may be a hot cop, but Finlay’s first priority is preventing her family from sleeping with the fishes…and if that means bending a few laws then so be it.

With her next book’s deadline looming and an ex-husband to keep alive, Finlay is quickly coming to the end of her rope. She can only hope there isn’t a noose at the end of it….

From Edgar-Award nominee Elle Cosimano comes Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead – the hilarious and heart-pounding follow-up to Finlay Donovan is Killing It. 

A Macmillan Audio production from Minotaur Books.

My Review:

Yes, it’s the dreaded sophomore novel, the sequel to the hilarious Finlay Donovan is Killing It, and always a nail-biter wondering if it will mirror Book 1. I was really looking forward to this one and got the audiobook (again), although this one through NetGalley. I loved that debut, the first in what appears to be a successful series in the making if you can believe the cliffhanger in this one.

Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle CosimanoMy favorite characters are back—of course, Finlay and her close buddy, nanny, accountant, and crime partner, Vero. These two can get into more trouble than a gaggle of two-year-olds with a bowl of chocolate pudding.

It’s another “in the story in the story” concept, Finlay is struggling with a strong case of writer’s block. Her agent is hounding her for the book that was promised but she’s easily distracted as we know by now and discovers that “Fed Up” has posted a hit request aimed at her ex on a female chat forum. Well, not that she wouldn’t do it herself, but she needs him to hang around for his kids who truly love him. And, let’s face it, he is a good father.

In one short stint as an accidental hit woman who’s totally inept, she’s experienced Russian mobs, detectives, corpses, and a variety of threats. Somehow no matter how far afield she gets in ca-ca, she still manages to come up smelling like a rose. And Vero either assists or comes up with the next crazy idea. These two are Laurel and Hardy. It’s slap-stick comedy with virtual pratfalls.

And always, at the worst possible timing, another call from her agent, but it’s beginning to look like she’s got this. Book 2, though, just didn’t quite have that humorous level of innocent bumbling quality as the first for me. Perhaps, while they still don’t know what they are doing, they are getting better at what they don’t know?

And what of the two possible romances of the first book? Nick and Julian. There must be some sort of romance, I guess. Her sister, a cop, is a great character among a number of engaging characters. The writer levels her brand of humor at the reader in staccato-like patterns with advance and retreat schemes. I didn’t hear a lot of Fin’s two youngsters and since Vero was with her most of the time, sometimes wondered who was watching them. The narrator tended to lapse into aggravating kiddie dialogue voice when they did appear. The conclusion left an obvious in for Book 3.

Okay, novel 2 done. I’m looking forward to Book 3—the characters provide a chuckle or two, the mysteries are well-plotted and entertaining, and the tension ramps up nicely into a satisfying conclusion.

My thanks and appreciation to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for the copy of the audiobook.

Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuth Mysteries, Women Sleuths
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B094DRV832
Listening Length: 9 hrs 20 min
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead [Amazon]
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Kobo 

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

 

Elle Cosimano - authorThe Author: Elle Cosimano is the Edgar-nominated and award-winning author of the acclaimed young adult novels Nearly Gone, Holding Smoke, The Suffering Tree, and Seasons of the Storm. Her debut novel for adults, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, kicked off a witty, fast-paced contemporary mystery series, which was featured as a People Magazine Pick and one of New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2021. In addition to writing novels for teens and adults, her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post and Time. Elle lives with her husband and two sons in Virginia. You can learn more about her at her website: http://www.ElleCosimano.com.

Photo courtesy of Powell Woulfe Photography

Angela Dawe - narratorThe Narrator: Angela Dawe is originally from Lansing, Michigan, and currently calls Chicago home. Her work includes film, television, theater, and improvisational comedy, as well as audiobook narration.

 

 

 

©2022 V Williams V Williams

happy thursday!

Roaring Liberty: The Queenstown Series – Book 4 by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

#1 New Release in Historical Irish Fiction

 Book Blurb:

New York City, 1922

Roaring Liberty by Jean GraingerHarp Devereaux is torn. Part of her desperately wants to return to Ireland to finish what she and her family and friends started, and to witness the departure of the British forces from Ireland after eight hundred long years. But the other part finds life in America during the Roaring Twenties too exciting to trade for the sleepy streets of County Cork.

She and JohnJoe are united and determined to sample all that life after the Great War has to offer, but life Stateside is not as free and easy as Harp first imagines and soon she finds herself longing for the simplicity of her homeland.

She wants to live life on her own terms but life is never simple, on either side of the Atlantic, and there are sinister forces at work, determined to bring them all down..

My Review:

Book 4 of the Queenstown series wraps it up in classic style, managing to resolve all the issues in a fast-moving and immersive conclusion.

While I was not able to walk in Harp’s shoes, I do so enjoy all the characters, especially JohnJoe and in this entry to the series Jerry, Elliot, and Celia. Harp and JohnJoe hesitantly form a vaudeville act upon the insistence of Jerry who will act as manager and promoter, as well as Elliot (on violin) and Celia, their bookkeeper and seamstress.

Roaring Liberty by Jean GrainerAfter Rose and Matt return to Ireland, Harp feels free to live as she wants to live her life and that’s as a performer—beginning in New York where they find a lucrative level of success, particularly after Elliot pens an original that is picked as a favorite in their venues.

But there are issues back home and Jerry opens an opportunity to play in Dublin allowing Harp to see her mother again. While in Ireland, however, they discover the tentative and long-awaited peace treaty with Britain divides their country between those who are agreeable to the terms and those who are not, creating a dangerous climate and turning former friends to enemies.

Also, there is the issue of the home that Harp inherited when her “father” claimed her as his heir, bypassing his own brother who took possession of Cliff House following their hasty exodus to the states.

The well-paced narrative slowed somewhat in the middle as issues having been introduced were more carefully examined and possible remedies posited, while song lyrics were introduced (including the iconic Irish ballad “Danny Boy” (which always brings tears to my eyes) or repeated. I must say the lyrics of Elliot’s “original song” “Your Heart Will Know” is absolutely, hauntingly beautiful.

There are themes of the struggle of women in society (“Until all women were free, none were”), lifestyle, as well as the continued troubles with the British and class distinction.

I am one of the lucky few to receive an advance reader’s copy of this author’s works. I’ve enjoyed all of them, including The Harp and the Rose, Book 3, and find each delightful, atmospheric, and educational as well as engaging and entertaining. Book 4, Roaring Liberty is out now and highly recommended although you might wish to begin (if you haven’t already) with Book 1, Last Port of Call.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: British Historical Literature, Historical Irish Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction
ISBN: ‎B09QFC6LNB
ASIN: B09DBWW184
Print Length: 480 pages
Publication Date: January 17, 2022 – Just Released!
Source: Author request
Title Link: Roaring Liberty  [Amazon] 

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author: JEAN GRAINGER – 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.

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…

[truncated…]

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.

Read her complete bio on Amazon or visit her website at Jean Grainer.com

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Twenty Years Later: A Riveting New Thriller by Charlie Donlea – #BookReview – #psychologicalthriller

Book Blurb:

Twenty Years Later by Charlie DonleaAvery Mason, host of American Events, knows the subjects that grab a TV audience’s attention. Her latest story—a murder mystery laced with kinky sex, tragedy, and betrayal—is guaranteed to be ratings gold. New DNA technology has allowed the New York medical examiner’s office to make its first successful identification of a 9/11 victim in years. The twist: the victim, Victoria Ford, had been accused of the gruesome murder of her married lover. In a chilling last phone call to her sister, Victoria begged her to prove her innocence.

Emma Kind has waited twenty years to put her sister to rest, but closure won’t be complete until she can clear Victoria’s name. Alone she’s had no luck, but she’s convinced that Avery’s connections and fame will help. Avery, hoping to negotiate a more lucrative network contract, goes into investigative overdrive. Victoria had been having an affair with a successful novelist, found hanging from the balcony of his Catskills mansion. The rope, the bedroom, and the entire crime scene were covered in Victoria’s DNA.

But the twisted puzzle of Victoria’s private life is just the beginning. And what Avery doesn’t realize is that there are other players in the game who are interested in Avery’s own secret past—one she has kept hidden from both the network executives and her television audience. A secret she thought was dead and buried . . .

His Review:

September 11, 2001 was an American tragedy. Crimes committed on that day were negated or over-shadowed by the event. The justice system realized that you could not try the persons killed in the blast. Avery Mason also realized this as she prepared for her highly-rated crime expose: ”American Events.”

Twenty Years Later by Charlie DonleaNetwork executives are very frugal when it comes to their expenditures. A low-ball offer is on the table for Avery and she is not happy. The network had offered her a paltry ¾ of a million per year for five years. A slap on the face with a rotten fish could not have been any more of a putdown. Her predecessor, Mack Carter, had been paid eight million a year for the same job!

She had closed the year out with the highest-rated show on television. Putting her life on the line to educate people on how to get out of a vehicle submerging in a lake closed the season with a bang! So why were the network executives offering such a low-ball offer?

Avery has more personal problems as well. Her father had been a Wall Street high flyer who was running a very effective Ponzi scheme. He had disappeared three years earlier with an estimated 15 million dollars of his investor’s money and the justice system wanted him badly.

Charlie Donlea spins a very interesting tale of greed and avarice among the New York and Wall Street elite. The “sins of the father” are hard to overcome in the dog-eat-dog world that is Wall Street business. This tale explores the problem with someone who is the offspring of one of these tycoons. Before Tammany Hall and the other rulers of Wall Street developed the methodology, the stage was set to fleece the rich persons’ greed.

CE WilliamsI found the book enlightening and a bit disgusting. The theme is that there is never enough money to satisfy the greed and avarice of the very rich. 5 stars – C.E. 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: Psychological Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B091M75X6J
Print Length: 404 pages
Publication Date: December 28, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Twenty Years Later [Amazon] 
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Charlie Donlea - authorThe Author: Charlie Donlea is the #1 internationally bestselling author of Summit Lake, The Girl Who Was Taken, Don’t Believe It, Some Choose Darkness, The Suicide House and Twenty Years Later. Praised for his “soaring pace, teasing plot twists” (BookPage) and talent for writing an ending that “makes your jaw drop” (The New York Times Book Review), Donlea has been called a “bold new writer…on his way to becoming a major figure in the world of suspense” (Publishers Weekly). A late bloomer, he was twenty years old when he read his first novel––THE FIRM by John Grisham––and knew he would someday write thrillers. His books have now been translated into more than a dozen languages across thirty countries.

He was born and raised in Chicago, where he continues to live with his wife and two children. Visit him online at CharlieDonlea.com.

[He spends a part of each year fishing with his father in the far reaches of Canada, where the roads end and lakes are accessible only by floatplane. These majestic trips to “God’s Country” inspired the setting for his first novel, Summit Lake. Goodreads profile]

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

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