*I did this review for the May edition of Historical Novels Review, the Magazine of the Historical Novel Society.
When one of her readers asks for advice following a suspected murder, Victorian countess Amelia Amesbury, who secretly pens the popular Lady Agony column, has no choice but to investigate in this first book in a charming new historical mystery series.
Amelia Amesbury—widow, mother, and countess—has a secret. Amelia writes for a London penny paper, doling out advice on fashion, relationships, and manners under the pen name Lady Agony. But when a lady’s maid writes Amelia to ask for advice when she believes her mistress has been murdered—and then ends up a victim herself—Amelia is determined to solve the case.
With the help of her best friend and a handsome marquis, Amelia begins to piece together the puzzle, but as each new thread of inquiry ends with a different suspect, the investigation grows ever more daunting. From London’s docks and ballrooms to grand country houses, Amelia tracks a killer, putting her reputation—and her life—on the line.
This Victorian mystery is the first book in the A Lady of Letters mystery series. In London in 1860, Amelia Amesbury is a countess and widow, having lost her husband to illness after a short marriage. She also has a secret. She writes an advice column for a London paper under the name Lady Agony, doling out clever answers to readers’ questions about romance, family, fashion, and more. When she receives a note from a lady’s maid who believes her mistress has been murdered, it does not end there. Amelia soon finds out the maid has been killed as well. With the help of her best friend, and assisted by a handsome marquis with secrets of his own, Amelia begins to investigate both murders. All the while, she is still trying to keep her scandalous alter ego of Lady Agony a secret.
This is a fascinating, well-thought-out mystery that will keep you guessing. The fact that a countess is writing an advice column, which would open her up to scandal if it became public knowledge, is intriguing. Each chapter heading starts with a question to and answer from Lady Agony, which is a great touch and adds a bit of humor. The main characters are engaging and well written, especially the fun-loving favorite of high society, Kitty Hamsted, who is Amelia’s best friend and sometimes partner in investigating crime. During Amelia’s investigation, we get to see both sides of London society, from Kitty’s popular parties to a peek inside the life of a servant. This is a fun take on the cozy mystery genre, and it provides a unique premise that will delight readers. Highly recommended.
I received a free copy of this from Berkley via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Winters is the author of A Lady of Letters Historical Mystery series, coming from Berkley in 2023. A longtime reader of Victorian fiction and an author of two other mystery series, Mary decided to write a new book set in Victorian London after taking a trip to England. Since then, she’s been busily planning her next mystery—and another trip! Please visit her website here.
Below are mini-reviews of two very different books: Identity by Nora Roberts and The Tapestry of Grace by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Identity is a thriller and The Tapestry of Grace is Christian Historical Fiction. Click on the covers for buy links and book descriptions on Amazon. Mini-reviews are just a slightly condensed version of the reviews I usually provide.
IDENTITY AUDIOBOOK REVIEW
This is a very compelling thriller that was hard to put down. I connected with the characters immediately and the villain is oh, so very evil. I was kept enthralled throughout the whole book. The ups and downs of the main character were heartbreaking, but her resilience was inspiring. I loved the entire supporting cast.
The narrator of the audiobook, January LaVoy, did a fantastic job giving distinct personalities and voices to the characters she portrayed. I would seek out her work again.
This is a book for readers who enjoy strong women characters and I hope you pick it up.
I received a free copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press and MacMillan Audio via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
THE TAPESTRY OF GRACE BOOK REVIEW
This is a heartwarming Christian novel set in Alexandertol, Kansas, in 1895. Augusta Dyck, a widow and mother who is also the town’s teacher, becomes a part of a new Frauenverien, a group of women in the Mennonite church who band together to help provide for widows and orphans. Augusta immediately begins petitioning the group to help Konrad Rempel, a widower with twin boys. She can tell he needs someone to care for the boys while he is working as a blacksmith. Konrad, however, is reluctant to receive help. The group’s overbearing leader, Martina Krahn, suggests an apprenticeship for one of the twins with her husband, a wainwright. But she has ulterior motives, hoping a child will save her marriage and give her husband something that she cannot.
The town of Alexandertol is based on the German Mennonite communities that relocated to America after suffering religious persecution in Russia. The town’s cast of characters is well-written, and it is fun to follow their daily lives and see what life was like for them in 1895. There are many Christian messages in this book, including dealing with guilt, the rewards of helping others, having faith, and asking God for help. However, the greatest message is that God can take something bad and turn it into something wonderful. The reader is introduced to the history of the Frauenverien, which was an actual organization set up by German communities at that time to help those in need. With likable characters and a heartfelt message, this is a book that readers of Christian fiction will enjoy.
I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
Great news! Nguyen Trong Hien (or neihtn), author of Village Teacher and The Siege of An Loc, has translated Village Teacher into Vietnamese. It has recently been published on an internet site out of Los Angeles. The first installment can be found here: Village Teacher Translation and in the links section below.
Here is a reposting of my 5-star review of the English version of Village Teacher.
Village Teacher by Neihtn, who also writes as Nguyên Trong Hiên, is a well-written novel set in Vietnam in the late 19th or early 20th century while Vietnam was under French colonization. Teacher Tâm has traveled to the Imperial City of Hue to take the national examinations, challenging tests that help the country choose its leaders. He meets Giang, the daughter of a powerful Frenchman and a wealthy Vietnamese woman. The teacher becomes the student as Giang begins teaching him to write Vietnamese in Romanized script without using Chinese characters. Outside forces begin to intervene in Tâm’s life in many ways, and the reader is taken on a journey through Vietnamese history, language, and customs as the Village Teacher and those who love him fight for his life and his rights.
This is such a beautiful historical love story. The author is an expert in Vietnamese history and I learned so much in this book. The struggles of Teacher Tâm are struggles that are being repeated even today as the wealthy and powerful try to hold down those of lesser means, especially the smart and talented. Over and over again we see in this book how some of the rich elite will use any means to try and destroy anyone who they believe threatens their total control. The love story is beautiful, and the reader gets a masterclass in Vietnamese history, language, and culture. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the history of Vietnam or anyone who just wants to read a well-written historical love story.
Please share this far and wide so that we reach as many people as possible who speak Vietnamese and would be interested in the translation. Please also consider checking out the English version. It is fantastic, and Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read it for free. Be sure and leave a review!
Thanks as always for your consideration and sharing of great Indie books.
I always say I don’t pick up too many WWII books anymore unless they have a unique take. Well, this one blew me out of the water. It is set in the Philippines during and after the Bataan Death March, which I don’t think I was ever taught about in history class. Just mesmerizing.
BOOK DESCRIPTION (FROM AMAZON)
Jimmy Propfield joined the army for two reasons: to get out of Mobile, Alabama, with his best friends Hank and Billy and to forget his high school sweetheart, Claire.
Life in the Philippines seems like paradise–until the morning of December 8, 1941, when news comes from Manila: Imperial Japan has bombed Pearl Harbor. Within hours, the teenage friends are plunged into war as enemy warplanes attack Luzon, beginning a battle for control of the Pacific theater that will culminate with a last stand on the Bataan Peninsula and end with the largest surrender of American troops in history.
What follows will become known as one of the worst atrocities in modern warfare: the Bataan Death March. With no hope of rescue, the three friends vow to make it back home together. But the ordeal is only the beginning of their nearly four-year fight to survive.
How do I do justice to this amazing book? I’m not sure I can, but I will try. I would say that mere words can’t express such deep emotions as those that are conveyed in this book, but that’s not true because Marcus Brotherton and Tosca Lee did just that, and then some.
The bond of four friends seems unbreakable, as we flash back and forth between Jimmy’s childhood and his service in World War II. Jimmy, Claire, Billy, and Hank grew up together. Only Claire is left behind as Jimmy, Billy, and Hank go off to war. Jimmy really enlisted because he is trying to forget his ex-girlfriend Claire, who has moved on. The three young men are stationed in the Philippines, and life is pretty uneventful until December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. It is not long before the Philippines is attacked too, and the three friends become prisoners of war.
Marcus Brotherton and Tosca Lee do a completely remarkable job of relating the torture, starvation, and psychological cruelty the Japanese inflicted on the American prisoners of war in the Philippines. This is a truthful, realistic, and bloody tale that the reader won’t soon forget. This is the first book I’ve read about the Bataan Death March, but I was transported there, and I could see Jimmy and his friends trudging along, starving, mad with thirst, and knowing that if they fell down they would never get up again.
When they arrive at a concentration camp, they stand out because of their strong bond, and the commander does something even more despicable that sends Jimmy and Hank on a desperate mission to save a life.
As we watch Jimmy trying to survive, we also flash back to his childhood, and Claire is a huge part of this story. The families of all three young men come alive as we watch them grow up, each with their own private struggles.
This book is full of pain, love, loss, misery, and hope. It is one I will not soon forget.
My rating for this is 5.5, because the one category where a book can score higher than five is “How did it make me feel?,” and that one is off the charts.
I received a free copy of this book from Revell via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Marcus Brotherton is a New York Times bestselling author and coauthor dedicated to writing books that inspire heroics, promote empathy, and encourage noble living.
His commendations include the Christopher Award for literature “that affirms the highest values of the human spirit.”
Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels including THE LONG MARCH HOME (with New York Times bestselling author Marcus Brotherton) THE LINE BETWEEN, THE PROGENY, THE LEGEND OF SHEBA, and ISCARIOT. Her work has been translated into seventeen languages and been optioned for TV and film. She is the recipient of two International Book Awards, Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion, ECPA Book of the Year, and the Nebraska Book Award, and has finaled for numerous others including the Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award, the High Plains Book Award, a second Silver Falchion, and the Christy. When she’s not writing, Tosca loves binging television shows, looking for something good to eat, cooking when she can’t find it, traveling with her husband, and sleeping in.
You can find Tosca on social media or hanging around the snack table. To learn more, please visit toscalee.com.
I did this review for the May edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of The Historical Novel Society.
Electra “Ellie” McDonnell, a former safecracker who is now working for the British government during World War II, is sent off on a mission by Intelligence to the port city of Sunderland. She is given an assumed identity and few instructions from her boss, Major Ramsey, and soon finds herself investigating a murder on her own. When she is finally joined by Major Ramsey, new concerns arise. Are the Germans counterfeiting IDs right under their noses?
This is the third book in the Electra McDonnell series, which just keeps getting better. I love that Ellie is from a family of former safecrackers, and her relatives show up or are alluded to throughout the book. Her Uncle Mick is the head of the family, and Ellie often recalls his lessons as she is breaking into a safe, a building, or a residence. Ellie uses her skills quite effectively, and it remains clear that criminals and spies have a lot in common. For example, Ellie says the following: “We hadn’t pulled a job of our own since getting involved with Major Ramsey, and I found that these dalliances with espionage were providing me with more than enough danger and excitement to quell my less legal impulses.”
There are plenty of twists and turns in this compelling mystery/thriller, and the plot is so clever that it will keep readers on their toes. The characters Ellie meets in Sunderland are well-written and quite intriguing. As Ellie turns her charms on friend and foe trying to find a killer, the reader is drawn in too. This series is both fun and thrilling, with just a touch of romance. Highly recommended.
I received a free copy of this book from Minotaur Books via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Weaver is the author of the Amory Ames Mysteries and the Electra McDonnell series. She is also the Technical Services Coordinator for the Allen Parish Libraries in Louisiana. Weaver has worked in libraries since she was 14; she was a page and then a clerk before obtaining her MLIS from Louisiana State University. She lives in Oakdale, Louisiana.
Thank you to Austenprose PR for the opportunity to read and review The Late Mrs. Willoughby by Claudia Gray.
The suspenseful sequel to The Murder of Mr. Wickham, which sees Jonathan Darcy and Juliet Tilney reunited, and with another mystery to solve: the dreadful poisoning of the scoundrel Willoughby’s new wife.
Catherine and Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey are not entirely pleased to be sending their eligible young daughter Juliet out into the world again: the last house party she attended, at the home of the Knightleys, involved a murder—which Juliet helped solve. Particularly concerning is that she intends to visit her new friend Marianne Brandon, who’s returned home to Devonshire shrouded in fresh scandal—made more potent by the news that her former suitor, the rakish Mr. Willoughby, intends to take up residence at his local estate with his new bride.
Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley are thrilled that their eldest son, Jonathan—who, like his father, has not always been the most socially adept—has been invited to stay with his former schoolmate, John Willoughby. Jonathan himself is decidedly less taken with the notion of having to spend extended time under the roof of his old bully, but that all changes when he finds himself reunited with his fellow amateur sleuth, the radiant Miss Tilney. And when shortly thereafter, Willoughby’s new wife—whom he married for her fortune—dies horribly at the party meant to welcome her to town.
With rumors flying and Marianne—known to be both unstable and previously jilted by the dead woman’s newly made widower—under increased suspicion, Jonathan and Juliet must team up once more to uncover the murderer. But as they collect clues and close in on suspects, eerie incidents suggest that the killer may strike again, and that the pair are in far graver danger than they or their families could imagine.
PRAISE FOR THE LATE MRS. WILLOUGHBY
“An absolute page-turner full of well-plotted mystery and hints of simmering romance…. More of the Jane Austen characters we love (as well as those we love to hate).” —Mia P. Manansala, author of Arsenic and Adobo
”Gray makes her endearing leads’ sleuthing both plausible and entertaining while evoking the wit and feel of Austen’s classic novels. Admirers of P.D. James’s Death Comes to Pemberley will be delighted.” —Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
”Absolutely delightful! Fans of Jane Austen and historical mysteries will fall in love with this series. Gray remains true to Austen’s style and intent for her beloved characters while still adding her own spin on them and their progeny—one that is both refreshing and absorbing. I’m already looking forward to the next installment.” —Anna Lee Huber, USA Today bestselling author of the Lady Darby series
The Late Mrs. Willoughby is another clever mystery set in the world of Jane Austen. The children of characters from two of Jane’s most popular novels, Jonathan Darcy and Juliet Tilney, unite once again to solve a mystery. Who killed Mrs. Willoughby?
I loved everything about this book. The descriptions of the homes, customs, and way of life immediately transported me to a Jane Austen-inspired world. Seeing her characters revived, and with children now, is so interesting and touching. The mystery was intriguing and had plenty of unexpected twists and turns. The book is expertly written, and it always stays true to the period. Endearing touches of humor were included that made it even more special. The complexity of the relationships between characters is really well done.
From start to finish, this is a captivating mystery and a great tribute to Jane Austen.
I received a free copy of this book from Vintage Anchor via Netgalley. I also received a copy via Austenprose book tours. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
About The Author
Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline, and Jane Austen-inspired series,A Mr. Darcy & Miss Tilney Mysteries. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs.
It’s release day for Blackjack, the fifth book in the Jax Diamond series! I’m celebrating with a review and a Q&A with Author Gail Meath. Buy links below.
* As always, I must disclose that I edit this series.
BOOK DESCRIPTION (FROM AMAZON)
A lifetime game of solitaire turns into a vicious family feud.
New York City 1923
Back in the city after a nightmare vacation, PI Jax Diamond and his courageous canine partner, Ace, just can’t catch a break when three quick and easy cases explode into a massive mess of unrelated major crimes with victims, dead and alive, piling up.
Laura Graystone’s career soars as she rehearses for her new Broadway musical. Yet, she senses something’s amiss when Jax spends more time with a new buddy aboard a steamboat than solving crimes. With the help of their friends and a mysterious stranger, Laura and Ace set out to get to the bottom of it.
It’s a whirlwind of twists and turns as Jax discovers there is far more to a family than just blood relatives. And who knows? They might help solve the biggest case of his life.
This is the fifth book in the Jax Diamond series, and it might be my favorite one yet. We learn a lot about Jax’s childhood in this one, and new characters arrive on the scene. Laura is performing on Broadway but still finds time to investigate, especially when she feels that Jax is in trouble. And my favorite bad guy, Orin Marino, makes an appearance, using his cash and connections to help Jax.
The characters, established and new, just shine in this book. I won’t mention the name of my favorite new character as it’s sort of a spoiler, but she is clever, accomplished, and fun. That being said, I can see right now you don’t want to cross her, either! I hope we see a lot more of her in the future. There are, as usual, a lot of “bad guys” on the scene, and some of them will surprise you. Ace, Jax’s canine sidekick, is as smart as ever and is always available to save the day. The book is set partly on a high-class, luxury 1920s steamship, and the description of that setting portrays the decadence well. The mystery is complex, nuanced, and true to the previous books. The surprises keep coming, and the reader will be captivated to the end.
This series is entertaining and addictive, but the author also always shares intriguing tidbits of history from the 1920s. It is historical mystery writing at its best.
Q&A WITH GAIL MEATH
Gail Meath is a wonderful author and friend who also lets me edit her books! I love working with her. She not only graciously agreed to do a Q&A, but didn’t complain when I sent it to her at the last minute! I appreciate her so much! See her responses below.
Bonnie: I loved the 1920s casino/steamship that was a major setting in the story. Was it based on a real ship?
Gail: I based The Cabaret on the luxurious Hudson River steamboats that used to travel between New York City and Albany (1860s-1940s), carrying the wealthiest passengers. They were truly amazing, but there wasn’t any drinking or gambling on board. Since I wanted a casino in the story, I decided to put the two concepts together.
Bonnie: Was the practice of going out into international waters so they could drink alcohol a common practice during Prohibition?
Gail: I didn’t run across any ships that took passengers into the ocean to drink and gamble legally, although I imagine someone thought about it back then. The common practice was for nightclub owners to send their own boats three miles out into the ocean across the city lines to meet up with bootlegger ships and bring the illegal alcohol back to their establishments on shore.
Bonnie: A lot of secrets are revealed in this book. Are there more secrets to come?
Gail: Funny you should ask. I’m starting on book six now, and it will be revealing a little unknown secret about each of the main characters and their friends.
Bonnie: Besides Ace, Jax, and Laura, my favorite character is Orin Marino, the criminal with a heart of gold. Do you have a favorite supporting character?
Gail: I love Orin Marino, too, and he certainly comes in handy with his ‘underground’ connections. I’ve been concentrating on the main characters’ pasts, but going forward, their other friends and a few new ones will be stepping into the limelight.
Bonnie: This is the fifth book in the Jax Diamond series. Do you have a planned number of books, and have you decided on a project after this series?
Gail: Honestly, I didn’t expect the series to continue this far, but the readers seem to enjoy them, and they’ve been so much fun to write! As for another project, I’m not sure. I have four other books started, and I may get back to one of them. Then again, I may write another cozy mystery series either going back to the 1800s about a female Pinkerton agent or leaping forward to the 1940s when Jax and Laura’s children are all grown up.
Bonnie: You have independently published at least 14 books on Amazon and have received many awards for your work. Can you think of one or two lessons learned as an Indie author that you’d like to share with our readers?
Lesson #1 – Find a good editor. I couldn’t resist mentioning you, Bonnie, but it’s true. A book could have great characters and a great plot, but if it’s poorly edited, you’re going to lose a ton of readers. Comment from Bonnie: Awww, thank you! I appreciate you letting me be part of a great series!
Lesson #2: Something else I’m still working on is boosting my social media presence. Usually, Indie Authors’ marketing funds are limited, which limits our ability to reach a wider range of readers. Developing a strong social media presence can help tremendously, and there are a lot of great author/reader groups on Facebook.
Bonnie: What is your process when you begin writing? Do you have a favorite writing spot? Do you create an outline or just wing it? As the editor of this book, I see later drafts, but what does your beginning process look like?
Gail: My first step is thinking of a basic idea for the story, then I start researching, and I never know where that’ll take me since it opens up all kinds of other possibilities. I don’t use an outline of the story, but I do create a spreadsheet to keep track of all the characters, clues, notes for the next chapter, etc. My favorite place to write is outside on my deck, weather permitting.
Bonnie: You create your own book covers, and they are fantastic. Can you give our Indie authors some tips on creating a great cover?
Gail: Thank you for the compliment! For covers, I subscribe to a stock photo site where I can download licensed images, then I use Adobe Photoshop to play around with it, make changes, add text, etc. The best way to start is by looking at other books in your genre on Amazon to get an idea of the style – styles are ever-changing! I’m also in an Indie Cover Project group on Facebook where both authors and designers give you valuable input.
Thanks, as always, Gail for answering my questions! I think readers are going to love this next installment in the Jax Diamond series.
Anton Fischer, a curator at the prestigious Belvedere art museum, stands at the crossroads. War is on the horizon. Should he stay in Vienna under Germany`s oppressive regime, hide to avoid conscription in the Wehrmacht, or flee and join those opposed to Adolf Hitler?
Sacrificing his feelings for the woman he loves, Anton makes his way to England, and joins the Royal Air Force. Suffering injury during combat, Anton is seconded to the Monuments, Fine Art and Archives Programme. Its aim, to safeguard, and where possible, return to their rightful owners’ works of art expropriated by the Nazis.
In the final stages of the Second World War he returns to Vienna, in search of the woman he loves. But nothing is simple. In following his heart, Anton is painfully aware that she may be beyond his reach.
This is a unique take on World War II fiction. The Nazis, in the midst of all their evil atrocities, stole important works of art from victims, galleries, and museums in the countries they conquered. They began to either sell or destroy the art that wasn’t being saved for Hitler’s future “fuhrermuseum,” a place Hitler planned to keep all art he deemed acceptable after he won the war. This of course never happened, and the fight to save much of the world’s precious art is told here. The fictional journey of Anton Fischer from occupied Austria to England and elsewhere in Europe is a retelling of important moments in World War II, a look at how the Nazis plundered, killed, and destroyed, and the fight to save precious artifacts from falling into their hands.
The character development of Anton and his friend Milo is well done, and fictional characters are expertly woven into actual history to create a compelling story. The author did a great job of portraying the passion of those who worked so hard to save precious works of art from the Nazis. Overall, this is a gripping historical novel that fans of Art history and World War II history will appreciate.
I received a free copy of this book from Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (In his own words)
I studied History of Art, and lectured at the Central School of Art and Design in London. However, marketing was my main occupation; and in this role I have worked for a number of German, American and British companies.
Latterly, I joined the family trade development company, working principally with government departments of foreign countries. To relieve the tedium of long-haul flights and the four walls of rooms in impersonal hotels, I turned to writing.
Over time I amassed a number of manuscripts, which were stored in the metaphorical bottom drawer. The number grew until, in exasperation, my wife declared I should either attempt to get them published, or she would.
In fact, she did submit the first novel; and, to date, ten have been published.
Maggie inherited a gift from her time-crossing parents that allows her to live three separate lives in 1861, 1941, and 2001. Each night, she goes to sleep in one time period and wakes up in another. Until she turns twenty-one, when she will have to forfeit two of those lives–and everyone she knows in them–forever.
In 1861, Maggie is the daughter of a senator at the outbreak of the Civil War, navigating a capital full of Southern spies and wounded soldiers. In 1941, she is a navy nurse, grappling with her knowledge of the future when she joins a hospital ship going to Pearl Harbor. And in 2001, she’s a brilliant young medical student, fulfilling her dream of becoming a surgeon.
While Maggie has sworn off romance until she makes her final choice, an intriguing man tugs at her heart in each era, only complicating the impossible decision she must make, which looms ever closer. With so much on the line, how can Maggie choose just one life to keep and the rest to lose?
PRAISE FOR IN THIS MOMENT
“A unique thought-provoking read.”—Mimi Matthews, USA Today bestselling author
“A breathtaking journey through time and history!”— Sarah Sundin, bestselling, and Christy Award-winning author
“I loved this novel and heartily recommend it.”— Elizabeth Camden, Christy and RITA Award-winning author of When the Day Comes
IN THIS MOMENT is the second book in the TIMELESS series by Gabrielle Meyer. It can be read as a standalone. Maggie has inherited the ability to time travel. She is living three lives–in 1861, 1941, and 2001. In 1861, she and her father are close associates of Abraham Lincoln. In 1941 she is a Navy Nurse on a hospital ship to Pearl Harbor. In 2001, she is a medical student with plans to become a surgeon.
As always, time travel books should be based on a strong method of time travel, and specific rules of time travel should be set by the author. The method of time travel is simple. It is a genetically inherited ability, and our main character Maggie travels through time when she is sleeping. As for the time travel rules, the first is that Maggie cannot willingly change history, or she will forfeit her life in that timeline. In addition, she will have to choose one timeline when she turns a certain age and give up the others forever. Another unique rule that I really like is that she inhabits different bodies in each timeline and injuries in one timeline are not reflected in the others. I feel the method of time travel in this book is successful, although maybe slightly too easy. The rules the author has set work very well.
The movement from one timeline to another occurs between chapters, and it is not confusing because each chapter is headed with a date and location. The author’s ability to immerse us in three separate periods of history is commendable. I enjoyed all three timelines and they were all associated with very important events in the United States. There were also three love interests, but I found one to be much more compelling than the others. There is a strong Christian message of trusting God’s plan, and I like that the author incorporated time travel into a Christian book.
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House via Austenprose PR. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gabrielle Meyer has worked for state and local historical societies and loves writing fiction inspired by real people, places, and events. She currently resides along the banks of the Mississippi River in central Minnesota with her husband and four children. By day, she’s a busy homeschool mom, and by night she pens fiction and nonfiction filled with hope.
From Jeannette Walls, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle, comes a riveting new novel about an indomitable young woman in Virginia during Prohibition.
Most folks thought Sallie Kincaid was a nobody who’d amount to nothing. Sallie had other plans.
Sallie Kincaid is the daughter of the biggest man in a small town, the charismatic Duke Kincaid. Born at the turn of the 20th century into a life of comfort and privilege, Sallie remembers little about her mother who died in a violent argument with the Duke. By the time she is just eight years old, the Duke has remarried and had a son, Eddie. While Sallie is her father’s daughter, sharp-witted and resourceful, Eddie is his mother’s son, timid and cerebral. When Sallie tries to teach young Eddie to be more like their father, her daredevil coaching leads to an accident, and Sallie is cast out.
Nine years later, she returns, determined to reclaim her place in the family. That’s a lot more complicated than Sallie expected, and she enters a world of conflict and lawlessness. Sallie confronts the secrets and scandals that hide in the shadows of the Big House, navigates the factions in the family and town, and finally comes into her own as a bold, sometimes reckless bootlegger.
This is a sweeping saga of a town and a family during the days of prohibition. It is also a tale about how one man’s actions can affect a whole generation. It is so captivating that I read it in one sitting. The characters are easy to connect with, especially Sallie. The way that layers of family mystery are slowly, painfully unpeeled is masterful.
I especially appreciated the way Walls describes how someone with a magnetic personality can captivate and sometimes destroy others. I’ve seen it happen myself. The way Sallie grows from castoff child to a leader in the family is a true coming-of-age story. I highly recommend this to fans of historical fiction, prohibition-era fiction, and anyone who wants to read the work of a talented author.
I received a free copy of the book from the publisher, Scribner, via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeannette Walls was born in Phoenix, Arizona and grew up in the American Southwest and Welch, West Virginia. She graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York for twenty-five years, writing for New York Magazine, Esquire, and MSNBC. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, has been a New York Times bestseller for more than eight years, has been translated into more than thirty languages and was made into a film starring Brie Larson. She is also the author of the best-selling novels The Silver Star and Half Broke Horses, which was named one of the ten best books of 2009 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review. Her new novel, Hang the Moon, was published by Scribner in March 2023. Walls lives in central Virginia with her husband, the writer John Taylor.
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