Month: July 2015

Get it today: Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun

Get it today: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

****4/5 stars- loved it!

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.

Recommended readers:

  • 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,
  • and if you liked  The Paris Wife, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 characters
  • 4/5 plot
  • 4/5 overall


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!

Available on Amazon July 28th: Circling the Sun

Review: Somewhere in France

Somewhere in France: A Novel of The Great War by Jennifer Robson is available now

****3.5/5 stars- Liked it to the edge of love- call it a stage I crush.

An English lady takes her chance for love and independence in World War I.

Recommended readers

  • If you are a reader of World War I fiction,
  • if you miss Downton Abbey,
  • and if you could use a little basic romantic suspense, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:


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.

Get it today on Amazon




Available today: The Other Daughter

The Other Daughter: A Novel by Lauren Willig will be available July 21st

***3/5 stars- liked it

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.

Recommended readers:

  • 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.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 characters
  • 3/5 plot
  • 3/5 overall


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.

The Other Daughter: A Novel  will be available soon on Amazon

Jojo Moyes Review: The Last Letter From Your Lover

Available now: The Last Letter From Your Lover

***3.5/5 stars- liked to the edge of love- call it a stage I crush.

Jojo Moyes proves once again that she is the master of the devastating love affair.

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a fan of romantic historical fiction,
  • if you’re a fan of Jojo Moyes and the dual/parallel storyline,
  • and if you bemoan the lost art of letter writing, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3.5/5 for characters
  • 3.5/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall


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.

 Get it on Amazon

Review: Julie Garwood’s Fast Track

Available now: Fast Track 

***2.5/5 stars- it was ok, but something was missing

10 years later, it’s finally time for Cordie and Aiden

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a fan of Julie Garwood and if you like romantic suspense, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:


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.


Available on Amazon.

Review: Hemingway’s Girl

Available now: Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck

****3.5/5 stars- liked to the edge of love- call it a stage I crush.

The author of The House of Hawthorne tackles Key West-era Papa Hemingway and his fictional maid.

Recommended readers:

  • For book clubs
  • For lovers (and haters) of Hemingway
  • For fans of romantic historical fiction

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3.5/5 characters
  • 3.5/5 plot
  • 3.5/5 overall


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.

Hemingway’s Girl is available on Amazon

Review: How to Marry a Royal Highlander

Available June 30: How to Marry a Royal Highlander (Renegade Royal book 4)

****3.5/5 stars- Liked it to the edge of love- call it a stage I crush.vkelly-howto

Enjoy the fun banter and adventure in this English-Scottish historical romance.

Recommended readers

  • If you like fun, witty banter
  • if you like mystery-adventure
  • and if you like historical romance in the romantic Highlands

Here’s my Rankings:


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.

How to Marry a Royal Highlander (Renegade Royal book 4): Get it today on Amazon