From New York Times Bestselling Author of The Paris Wife, a fascinating journey into the life of Kenyan expat Beryl Markham: expert horse trainer, aviator, and third point in Karen Blixen and Denys Finch-Hatton’s Out of Africa love triangle.
If you like historical fiction at its best,
If you like to see multiple genres in one book – historical, coming of age, travel, romance, and more,
Paula McLain seems to be the new leading lady in historical fiction, and Circling the Sun further proves the point made by The Paris Wife. Famous figures are safe in her deft hands (Beryl Markham was the first woman to complete the first westward transatlantic flight in 1936), and she brings them to life brilliantly, along with setting that defines their lives. McLain seems to have a real knack for how such a place makes a person who they are, and Kenya is practically a character in the novel. I loved it!
I was charmed by this bit of historical romance, following the efforts of a young English lady to break free of her social fetters to contribute in the Great War. (It doesn’t hurt that such efforts might help put her near to her older brother’s best friend, a Scottish doctor posted near the front, and entirely unsuitable, of course.) Her position as an ambulance driver in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp takes her into danger in France– and back into the sphere of a certain handsome surgeon she couldn’t forget. Just the right amount of history, brave heroine, forbidden love, and romantic tension make this an engaging read.
When nursery governess Rachel Woodley learns that her father is an English Lord who abandoned her mother, she sets out on a dangerous course of redefinition and revenge, with the help of a dashing friend-of-a-friend who may have motives of his own.
If you’re a fan of between-the-wars historical fiction,
If you like Downton Abbey,
and if you like a good coming-of-age heroine, this one is for you.
With lies, a false identity, and a crowd of Bright Young Things, The Other Daughter has all the makings of a London high society thrill ride, with a dash of romance for good measure. A nice light read, satisfying and perfect for the beach– and for imagining yourself a 1920s high-society girl.
And for my next ride on the Jojo bandwagon: The Last Letter from Your Lover. This one draws attention to the lost art of letter writing in a digital age, explores a woman’s place in midcentury society, and tells a forbidden love story, all great elements handled with care. But in the end, I liked it a bit less than others I’ve read, because I honestly didn’t like or identify with the characters all that much. Any of them. But: it does have the clever parallel storyline with the trademark twists and turns and reveals at just the right moment. So I have to confess that even if I didn’t like them much, I was kind of dying to find out what happened them. Once again, Moyes does not disappoint.
As we are reminded throughout the Buchanan-Renard series, Cordelia has been in love with her best friend’s older brother as long as she can remember. Now that she’s finally ready to move on, naturally, danger ensues, naturally, and Aiden finally wakes up and pays attention to what’s been under his nose all along. For all you Julie Garwood fans out there, Fast Track is another FBI romantic thriller– typical, comfortable, and familiar, but somehow not up to her usual standard. I’ve read a lot of Julie Garwood in my time, and whether it’s because I’ve grown up or my tastes have changed, this one was just not as good as I remember– though I did always like her historical efforts best.
Next stop on my great Hemingway-as-fiction freight train: a foray into Papa’s second wife days in Key West, through the eyes of an intrepid local maid who (surprise) catches his attention. The third point of the triangle, a strong and steady World War I soldier, implies a somewhat formulaic story. But the vibrant Mariella is no average protagonist, and this little unexpected story turns out to be more than just a fun foray into Hemingway’s women- fictional and otherwise- but something of a coming-of-age story about choices, friendship, and the parts we play in the lives of others.
Lady Eden Whitney’s curiosity has gotten her reputation in hot water. After she’s discovered in a compromising position, her mother believes she has no choice but to disappear. Alasdair Gilbride has to return to his Scottish lands after 10 years away, and thinks bringing along Eden may solve both their problems. Full of fun, witty banter – and a touch of mystery, How to Marry a Royal Highlander is a fabulously fun read – as I’ve come to expect from Vanessa Kelly.