Tag: historical

Book Review: The Love Letter, by Rachel Hauck

Love-Letter_Cover-Comp

Title: The Love Letter
Author: Rachel Hauck
Genre: Historical, Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5

Chloe Daschle is known in Hollywood for being the actress to play a convincing death scene. But she’s tired of dying. She wants to live. When she hears about the role of Esther Kingsley in a historical film, she decides to go for it.

The script is based on a one-page love letter written by screenwriter Jesse Gates’ ancestor, Hamilton Lightfoot, but Jesse would far rather write about romance than try his hand at it…again. When Jesse and Chloe meet, they both must re-think their views on love—and their pasts.

During the Revolutionary War, Esther longs to be with Hamilton, her friend from childhood, but Hamilton is torn between his love of peace, and his desire to fight for the land he calls home. He’s afraid his thirst for revenge over the death of his father will motivate him—not the cause he wishes to fight for. And Esther must choose between her beloved father, a British Loyalist, and the rebel Hamilton, the man she loves.

I expected a light romance in The Love Letter but got so much more than that. Chloe is an intriguing character: she grew up in Hollywood and has a past as one of those behaving-badly starlets caught on tape to live down. She’s changed, and now she wants so much more out of life, but Hollywood has her in a tidy box she’s not sure she can escape. Until she meets Jesse, who does things his way, not buckling to threats or even friendly advice. With Esther and Hamilton’s story woven throughout, The Love Letter was an engrossing, lovely read.

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning and best-selling author. Her newest novel is The Love Letter.

(Galley provided by Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.)

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Book Review: Suitors and Sabotage, by Cindy Anstey

suitorsandsabotage
Image belongs to Swoon Reads.

Title:   Suitors and Sabotage
Author:  Cindy Anstey
Genre:   young adult, historical romance
Rating:   4.5/5

Shy Imogene Chively hated the Season, but she had a successful one, gaining a serious suitor, Ernest Steeple. Now the aspiring artist just wishes to get to know Ernest better before he proposes. When Ernest and his brother, Ben, arrive earlier than expected for their visit, Imogene finds herself in over her head.

While Imogene and Ernest get to know one another, charming Ben reveals his dark secret:  he’s an architect apprentice who can’t draw. Fortunately, Imogene is an apt teacher, and the two work together as Ben learns to draw.

But a series of suspicious accidents lead them to believe that someone is out to get Ben. The only suspects are Imogene’s friends and family, so Ben, Ernest, Imogene, and her friend, Emily do their best to uncover who means Ben harm. Along the way, Imogene realizes she has feelings for the wrong brother—feelings that could break Ernest’s heart and alienate her from her demanding family.

Suitors and Sabotage was a fun, light read full of sassiness, humor, and romance. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! It had the feel of Jane Austen mixed with a modern romcom, but the characters showed some surprising depths and the identity of the saboteur surprised me completely.

Cindy Anstey loves to travel and write books inspired by Jane Austen. Suitors and Sabotage is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Swoon Reads in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills, by Jennifer Haupt

10,000 hills
Image belongs to Central Avenue Publishing.

Title:  In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills
Author:  Jennifer Haupt
Genre:  Fiction
Rating:  5/5

In 1960s Atlanta, Lillian Carlson was swept along in the Civil Rights Movement; listening to Martin Luther King speak and working to see change. She fell in love with Henry, a photographer intent on capturing the impact of solitary moments, but violence tore them apart. Heartbroken, Lillian moved to Rwanda to run an orphanage, making a difference in the lives of children.

Nadine is a young Tutsi woman whose life was shattered by the Rwandan genocide. While she seeks to make her dreams come true, the violence of the past haunts her present and her future, and the secret she keeps could endanger everyone around her.

Rachel is Henry’s daughter, reeling from the loss of her mother and her baby, and desperate to find the father who abandoned her years ago. She knows she needs to heal, but she doesn’t expect to find so much hope in a country scarred by hatred and violence.

This book. This book. It started out slowly, but I kept reading because of the characters. I loved all three women and wanted to see each of them find peace and happiness. The Rwandan culture comes to life on the pages, as the author delves into the horrors that happened between the Tutsi and the Hutus—and the survivors’ search for peace. I knew almost nothing about the genocide before reading this, so that part of it horrified me, but there is so much hope in this novel, and the beauty of Rwanda fills the pages.

Jennifer Haupt is a journalist and an author. In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills is her first novel.

(Galley provided by Central Avenue Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)

 

Book Review: White Chrysanthemum, by Mary Lynn Bracht

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Image belongs to Putnam Books.

In Korea, 1942, Hana is a haenyo, a diver who provides for her family by what she finds in the sea. Her heritage makes her proud, and she’s fiercely protective of her family. Then Hana saves her younger sister from a Japanese soldier. As a result, she is sent to Manchuria to become a “comfort woman” in a Japanese military brothel. When other girls surrender and give up, Hana’s pride as a haenyo keeps her going. She will make it home.

In South Korea, 2011, Emi has been searching for her sister for over 60 years. She hasn’t forgiven herself for being the reason her sister was taken away, and she wonders if she can find Hana and gain forgiveness for herself. But Emi has been hiding the truth from her children, and she must shine light into the dark places of her life if her children are ever to heal their own wounds from the war that scarred Emi’s home and family forever.

White Chrysanthemum was not an easy, fun book to read. This book tells the harrowing story of untold numbers of Korean women, and the horrors inflicted on them in the 1940s. Told from Hana’s and Emi’s viewpoints, this story is emotionally wrenching and sad, but beautifully written and moving. Very much worth reading.

Mary Lynn Bracht is American, of Korean descent, and lives in London. White Chrysanthemum is her new novel.

(Galley provided by Putnam in exchange for an honest review.)

 

Book Review: A Twist in Time, by Julie McElwain

 

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A Twist in Time,
by Julie McElwain. Image belongs to Pegasus Books.

Julie McElwain’s newest novel is A Twist in Time, part of the Kendra Donovan Mysteries series.

Former FBI agent Kendra Donovan’s efforts to return to the 21st century fail, leaving her stranded in 1815. Her protector, the Duke of Aldridge, believes it’s because she must help save his nephew, Alec, who’s been accused of brutally murdering his mistress.

The trail of the bizarre murder—Lady Dover was found stabbed with a stiletto, her face carved—leads straight to the Ton, London’s elite class, where things are never as they seem. As Kendra uncovers Lady Dover’s relationships with various men, sordid details about her past also emerge, leading a crime boss to threaten Alec. Now Kendra must learn the truth about the murder—before Alec is found guilty of a crime he didn’t commit.

A Twist in Time was an entertaining, fun read. I have not read the first book in the series, but I would, gladly. Kendra is a great character—tough, smart, and independent—stuck in a society where women are treated like property incapable of intelligent thought. I cannot imagine her frustration with the culture and with society, but the similarities she finds to modern times are disturbing, showing that our culture is not necessarily the better of the two.

(Galley provided by Pegasus Books via NetGalley.)