Book review: The Last Carolina Girl #HistoricalFiction @mchurchwriter @sourcebooks

The Last Carolina Girl is a moving account of a young girl, Leah, living with her beloved father near Holden Beach, NC.  They are quite poor and their home is a one-room shack, but they are very happy.  Leah has a dream of living in a house right on the water in Holden Beach, which her teacher says is “not realistic.”  She also has what she calls “flashes,” which are short periods of time when she freezes almost like a statue before coming back to reality. But she lives a beautiful life with her father and cherished friends.   When tragedy suddenly strikes, she finds herself serving a coldhearted family as a “helpmate,” or basically a maid. 

This is a well-written story, which at the core of it exposes the way the poor were exploited and used by the rich back in the early 20th Century.  The rich have always had power, but back then they could pretty much do whatever they wanted, body and soul, to a person.  As Leah says, “…the ghosts of the real world were scarier than the imagined ones.”  Based on a true story from within the author’s own family, this novel will shock, anger, and break the heart.  But the beautiful imagery of the North Carolina coast and the love of true family also shines through.

I read both the ebook and audiobook versions.  The audiobook is narrated by Susan Bennett, who does a great job.  The Southern accents are true to the area and not overdone.  The emotion of the book is well conveyed. 

I received a free ebook from Sourcebooks and a free audiobook from RB Media. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.

My rating is 4.5 stars, rounded to 5 on sites with no half-star option.

The Last Carolina Girl will be released on March 28, 2023.


Meagan Church is an author, wordsmith, and storyteller by trade. She received a B.A. in English from Indiana University, and her work has appeared in various print and online publications. A Midwesterner by birth, she now lives in North Carolina with her high school sweetheart, three children, and a plethora of pets. To follow her storytelling, visit

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Book Review: Deborah’s Gift #HistoricalFiction #WomensFiction

This is the last of the books I reviewed for the February edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of The Historical Novel Society.

This novel spans from 19th-century St. Louis to the island of Martinique and New York City in the 20th century.  When her controlling great-aunt dies, Deborah Huntworth, widow of a much older husband, can finally pursue her dream of becoming an artist.  She returns to Martinique to reunite with her child, but tragedy strikes, changing her life forever. She then moves to New York, determined to pursue her art.  There, despite disasters and mistakes, she attempts to share her work and support herself as the early 20th century unfolds around her.

Deborah’s Gift is the story of a woman who is intent on expressing herself, despite the attempts of others to control her.  She is a free spirit in both her art and her actions.  Her freedom of character explodes from the page, and we see quite a remarkable person who was born into times that tried to constrain her. There is an amazing cast of characters, who, whether wicked, judgmental, or loving, are vividly painted on the canvas of this book.  This portrait of a woman’s life is full of creativity, passion, tragedy, and loss.  It is a gripping read.  Fans of art and American history, plus anyone interested in the eruption of Mount Pelée in 1902, will be captivated.

My rating is 4.5 stars, rounded to 5 on sites with no partial star option.

I received a free copy of this book from New Wind Publishing via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.


Lois Ann Abraham is a prize-winning fiction author and retired professor of English at American River College in Sacramento. She spent her formative years in Texas, the Panhandle of Oklahoma, and New Mexico, where she still has strong roots. Her pieces have been published in Sojourner, Chico News & Review, Writing on the Edge, Inside English, Burning the Little Candle, Convergences, and elsewhere. She lives on the banks of Chicken Ranch Slough in Sacramento with her sisters and two orange and white cats.



#Audiobookreview: The Ingenue by Rachel Kapelke-Dale #WomensFiction #Music #Metoomovement


My Dark Vanessa meets The Queen’s Gambit in this new novel of suspense about the bonds of family, the limits of talent, the risks of ambition, and the rewards of revenge.

When former piano prodigy Saskia Kreis returns home to Milwaukee after her mother’s unexpected death, she expects to inherit the family estate, the Elf House. But with the discovery that her mother’s will bequeathed the Elf House to a man that Saskia shares a complicated history with, she is forced to reexamine her own past–and the romantic relationship that changed the course of her life–for answers. Can she find a way to claim her heritage while keeping her secrets buried, or will the fallout from digging too deep destroy her?

Set against a post #MeToo landscape, Rachel Kapelke-Dale’s The Ingenue delves into mother-daughter relationships, the expectations of talent, the stories we tell ourselves, and what happens when the things that once made you special are taken from you. Moving between Saskia’s childhood and the present day, this dark, contemporary fairy tale pulses with desire, longing, and uncertainty, as it builds to its spectacular, shocking climax.


Saskia, a former piano prodigy, comes home after her mother’s death to find that she is not inheriting The Elf House, their family mansion. Instead, it is going to the most improbable person she could have imagined. As Saskia begins to investigate why her mother would have done this, shocking truths are revealed.

I was absolutely awed by this. The writing is fantastic, and the premise is unique and original. The weaving together of Saskia’s present and past is exquisitely done. Her mother’s personality shines through the book as well. The author flawlessly presents a unique work of fiction combining music, art, and the depths and heights a human being can reach. The “me too” movement is a part of this book in a big way, but that’s all I will say.

Each chapter is headed by an excerpt from a book written by Saskia’s mother called “Fairytales for Little Feminists.” In each one, the woman or girl takes control of her own story. What I realized at the end of the book is that this novel is Saskia’s fairytale.

If you think you’ve figured out what’s going on in this book by reading my review or the synopsis, you haven’t. Read it.

The narrator, Stephanie Willis, does a wonderful job of capturing the suspense and emotion of this book in all the different characters. I will look for her work in the future.

I received a free audiobook from MacMillan Audio. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.


Rachel Kapelke-Dale is a writer of fiction, memoir, and satire. She currently resides in Paris.



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*The Ingenue will be released December 6, 2022.

Blog Tour, Book Review, and Spotlights: The Goswell Quartet @bookouture #HistoricalFiction #WWII #Newbeginnings

Below is a review of The Wife’s Promise, Book 1 of The Goswell Quartet by Kate Hewitt. I have also included Spotlights for books 2, 3, and 4. All four books are currently available on Kindle Unlimited.



Alice looked at the young girl standing alone on the platform, sensing the same vulnerability she’d once felt entering the village she now called home. Then, as the child gripped her hand, the pain and sorrow Alice had held in her heart for so long softened… And in that moment, she vowed she’d always protect her – whatever the cost…

England, 1939: When Alice marries twinkly-eyed, kind-hearted vicar David, it means leaving everything from her old life behind and moving into the draughty vicarage in the beautiful but remote village of Goswell, Cumbria. Though homesick, Alice is determined to make a new life there for herself and her husband.

But soon tragedy strikes, and she is devastated when war breaks out and David chooses to sign up to fight. But everything changes when Alice is asked to take in a child evacuee, and she makes a promise to protect this girl, no matter what it costs her…

Now: When Jane and her family move to the small coastal village of Goswell where her husband grew up, she’s afraid she might have made a huge mistake. Their new home – in what had once been the vicarage – feels a million miles from their previous fast-paced life in New York City, and Jane struggles with her empty days that seem lonely and purposeless.

But then she finds a small note, forgotten behind a shelf in the pantry. A note written in the Second World War. By a woman named Alice, whose incredible story has the power to change everything…

Two wives’ stories – told over 70 years apart – about courage, finding a home, and how the unexpected arrival of someone else’s story in your life can change your own. Perfect for fans of Fiona Valpy, Lucinda Riley and Barbara O’Neal.

This novel can be enjoyed as a standalone.


This is a dual timeline novel set in a vicarage in Goswell, Cumbria. In 1939, Alice agrees to marry David and leaves everything behind to move to a large and drafty vicarage in Goswell. But then David decides to enlist and fight in World War II. In present day, Jane has agreed to leave her beloved New York and move with her husband and children to his hometown of Goswell, Cumbria. They buy and begin to restore a drafty old vicarage. When Jane finds a shopping list left behind by Alice, she begins to look into Alice’s life.

The theme of leaving home and starting over permeates both timelines. Both women try to fit into the life and customs of a tiny, remote village, and both are concerned for daughters in their own way. Both feel like fish out of water and struggle to find acceptance in Goswell. Although Alice and Jane are dealing with very different problems, family, homesickness, and the journey to a new beginning are part of both of their struggles. This is a lovely and heartfelt story of two women who have lived in the same house at different times, but share much more in common than that. The most important message I took from this book is that women can impact each other’s lives, even long after they are gone.

My rating is 4.3 stars. I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.

BUY LINK (The Wife’s Promise)

*Please see spotlights of the three subsequent books in the Goswell Quartet below.


“I had to free it,” Eleanor said, and stretched her hand out to the blue butterfly that seemed almost to hover in the air. “I had to let something find what happiness it could, since we cannot.”

England, 1918: As war ends, across the world, people are trying to heal and recover. But Eleanor still feels broken. The loss of her beloved brother, killed just days before the Armistice was signed, feels impossibly unjust. Spending her time in the neglected garden behind their house, she fears her heart will never recover.

Then her father hires a man to help restore the garden to its former glory. Gruff, handsome Yorkshireman Jack comes from a totally different world to Eleanor, but he understands the nature of her grief more than anyone else seems to. And as they spend time together, even though she knows her family will never accept someone of Jack’s class, Eleanor starts to wonder if – like the butterflies around them – there is any way for her to learn to soar again…

Now: Nearly one hundred years later, Marin is not prepared for finding herself the guardian of her fifteen-year-old half-sister Rebecca, after her father and his second wife are killed in a tragic accident. The sisters are practically strangers, and Rebecca’s grief makes her seem even more distant. Marin too is in need of a fresh start, so when Rebecca begs her to let them move to the picturesque village of Goswell on the Cumbrian coast, Marin impulsively agrees.

But it is only when they find a locked door to a secret garden, and a photograph of a girl with a butterfly landing on her hand, that the sisters start to realize they have a mystery to solve, one about war, about secrets, and about a love that could never be. A mystery that might just bring them together…

This novel can be enjoyed as a standalone.



She clutched the piece of paper close to her chest, tears welling in her eyes, hardly believing what she had read. Silently thanking Sarah for all she sacrificed, she took the death certificate and slipped it under a loose floorboard – no one must ever find out what she’d done…

England, 1868: Orphaned and penniless, 18-year-old Sarah is left the sole guardian of her beloved little sister Lucy – who she’s vowed to protect at all costs. With nowhere left to turn, she is forced to accept mysterious widower James Mills’ proposal of marriage.

She believes being his bride can’t possibly be as bad as the threat of the workhouse. But nothing prepares her for the darkness of her marriage, the shocking secrets of her new family and the lengths she will have to go to, to keep her sister safe…

Now: Living in the beautiful village of Goswell, Ellen believes her family life to be idyllic… until her estranged seventeen-year-old stepdaughter Annabelle moves in and shatters the peace. Ellen fears they will never bond, until she finds a death certificate – for a woman named Sarah, from over a century earlier – hidden under the floorboards of their house, and Annabelle starts to help her unravel the mystery.

Yet as Ellen and Annabelle dig deeper into Sarah’s life and death, shocking truths, both past and present, come to light which change everything Ellen thought she knew about Sarah’s family – and the new addition to her own…

The Bride’s Sister is a powerful and moving story about what it means to be a family, second chances, and the lengths we go to for those we love. Fans of Lucinda Riley, Barbara O’Neal and Fiona Valpy will absolutely love this gripping and emotional read.

This novel can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Previously published as The Second Bride by Katharine Swartz.



She looked down at the sweet little girl and knew she wouldn’t listen to what anyone else said. She had to do what was right. Even if it meant going against everything she was taught to believe and keeping a secret from the person closest to her…

England, 1766: Abigail is happily married to James, a tobacco trader turned sea captain, and is looking forward to starting a family and settling down in Whitehaven, deep in the Lake DistrictBut after a series of devastating losses, she finds herself in turmoil, with her future suddenly seeming unknown…

When James announces that he will captain a ship to Africa and then the Americas for a year, it sparks a series of surprising and heartbreaking events – involving some of the darkest evils in humanity’s history, and a tiny, terrified slave girl who’s brought back to England. This helpless child forces Abigail to reconsider everything she thought she knew – and will change her life forever…

Now: When a shipwreck is discovered off the coast of Cumbria, local expert Rachel is brought in to investigate. Her first thought is that this will be a perfect distraction from her troubled marriage and the memories of her past that she is desperate not to think about. But then it becomes clear the wreck is a slaving ship from the 1700s – one that was recorded as sinking in the Caribbean – and Rachel begins to wonder if there’s more to this terrible mystery than meets the eye.

Faced with uncertainty about both the past and present, can Rachel learn from Abigail’s extraordinary story and take the first step towards a brighter future of her own?

The Widow’s Secret is a completely heart-wrenching and powerful story of courage, redemption, and compassion. Fans of Lucinda Riley, Barbara O’Neal and Fiona Valpy will be absolutely captivated by this unforgettable read.

This novel can be enjoyed as a standalone.


#bookreview: Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar #Colombia #Outcasts #Misfits


In 1865 in the shanty town of Tartatenango, the Caketown Bar is owned by the extraordinary Jaguar Paloma, matriarch of a village that is home to raucous miscreants, cast-off mothers, muleteers, and forgers. Amid drunken monks, a roaring trade in faked marriages just for fun, and the Romani, all balance on the knife-edge between legality and the illicit. Paloma’s life is honed by this community, as their lives are affected by her mystery and magic.

Co-founder of this extraordinary gathering is Orietta Becerra. Breathtakingly beautiful and ambitious, her distillery builds the success of Caketown. But when she crosses the tracks and marries the town’s mayor, her double life severs her friendship with Paloma and the town starts to pay the highest of prices.

Adding to this land of chaos and feminine power is a forger, a murderer, the darker shade of the female heart, and a Civil War that claims men before their time.

Caketown – men want to destroy it. Women want to play in it. The township itself has to fight on all sides to survive.

Told in evocative magical realism, Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar is a tale of wronged women who stand up to be counted.


1865, Colombia. Betrayed by her family, Paloma sets out on her own with only determination and anger as companions. When the very tall Paloma meets the very beautiful Orietta, a friendship is formed. They start the Caketown Bar, a home for castoffs of all kinds, and it quickly becomes more than a bar. It becomes a society where everyone is accepted, no matter how odd. Fake weddings are held just for fun. It is a happy, successful, and carefree life, until Orietta marries the bank manager.

This is a completely unique and captivating story that quickly drew me in, as each character and their experiences were introduced in such compelling ways. The ability of Paloma, Orietta and their friends to basically build a world where they all belonged in Caketown speaks to the misfit in all of us. This is a story of people who rose above rejection, hatred, and abandonment, built their own world, and then had to battle against the evils of war and a terrible man. It is also a story of mistakes, betrayal, and loss, and the way we fight to come back from that. This novel is steeped in magical realism, but contains an even more powerful magic—the one that happens when a kind soul reaches out to the abandoned or neglected, and they begin to blossom.

I received a free copy of this book from the Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


Jess Wells is the author of six novels and five books of short stories, winner of a Nautilus Prize for Fiction, a Foreword Reviews Indies Award for Adult Fiction/Romance, the recipient of a San Francisco Arts Commission Grant for Literature, a four-time finalist for the national Lambda Literary Award, and a member of the Saints & Sinners Literary Hall of Fame. Her work has appeared in more than three dozen literary journals and anthologies, and has been reprinted in England and translated into Italian and Dutch. 


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Blog Tour and Audiobook Review: Bloomsbury Girls

*Review at the bottom of the page.


Natalie Jenner, the internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society, returns with a compelling and heartwarming story of post-war London, a century-old bookstore, and three women determined to find their way in a fast-changing world in Bloomsbury Girls.

Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare bookstore that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the general manager’s unbreakable fifty-one rules. But in 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans:

Vivien Lowry: Single since her aristocratic fiancé was killed in action during World War II, the brilliant and stylish Vivien has a long list of grievances–most of them well justified and the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the Head of Fiction.

Grace Perkins: Married with two sons, she’s been working to support the family following her husband’s breakdown in the aftermath of the war. Torn between duty to her family and dreams of her own.

Evie Stone: In the first class of female students from Cambridge permitted to earn a degree, Evie was denied an academic position in favor of her less accomplished male rival. Now she’s working at Bloomsbury Books while she plans to remake her own future.

As they interact with various literary figures of the time–Daphne Du Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Sonia Blair (widow of George Orwell), Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and others–these three women with their complex web of relationships, goals and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow.



Narrated by esteemed stage and screen actress Juliet Stevenson, enjoy the full unabridged edition of Bloomsbury Girls. “Stevenson delivers the satisfying triumph at the end with perfect polish.” —AudioFile Magazine



“Jenner follows The Jane Austen Society (2020) with another top-notch reading experience, using the same deft hand at creating complex, emotionally engaging characters [against] a backdrop chock-full of factual historical information… Fans of Christina Baker Kline, Kate Quinn and Pam Jenoff [will] appreciate this gem.” —Booklist (starred review)

“An illuminating yarn… Fans of emotional historical fiction will be charmed.” —Publishers Weekly

“Bloomsbury Girls
 is an immersive tale of three women determined to forge their own paths in 1950s London. Jenner has proven to be a master at spinning charming, earnest characters and paints a vivid picture of postwar England. I wanted to stay lost in her world forever!” —Stephanie Wrobel, internationally bestselling author of Darling Rose Gold

“Bloomsbury Girls
 is a book lover’s dream, one of those rare reads that elicits a sense of book-ish wistfulness and nostalgia. Jenner has created a colorful cast of characters in a story about friendship, perseverance, and the ways that determined women can band together in a man’s world. You’re in for a treat.” —Sarah Penner, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Apothecary

“In a London still reeling from the ravages of World War II and the changes war has brought to English society, three young women take their futures into their own hands. With Bloomsbury Girls, Natalie Jenner has penned a timely and beautiful ode to ambition, friendship, bookshops, and the written word.” —Janet Skeslien Charles, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Library

“In post-war London, Bloomsbury Books survived The Blitz until Vivien Lowry, Grace Perkins, and Evie Stone set off their own bomb on the stuffy all-male management. What ensues is the most delightful, witty, and endearing story you will read this year. Natalie Jenner, bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society, proves that she was not a one hit wonder. Like Austen, her second book is even better than the first.” —Laurel Ann Nattress, editor of Jane Austen Made Me Do It 







Dear readers, I am immensely grateful for the outpouring of affection that so many of you have expressed for my debut novel The Jane Austen Society and its eight main characters. When I wrote its epilogue (in one go and without ever changing a word), I wanted to give each of Adam, Mimi, Dr. Gray, Adeline, Yardley, Frances, Evie and Andrew the happy Austenesque ending they each deserved. But I could not let go of servant girl Evie Stone, the youngest and only character inspired by real life (my mother, who had to leave school at age fourteen, and my daughter, who does eighteenth-century research for a university professor and his team). Bloomsbury Girls continues Evie’s adventures into a 1950s London bookshop where there is a battle of the sexes raging between the male managers and the female staff, who decide to pull together their smarts, connections, and limited resources to take over the shop and make it their own. There are dozens of new characters in Bloomsbury Girls from several different countries, and audiobook narration was going to require a female voice of the highest training and caliber. When I learned that British stage and screen actress Juliet Stevenson, CBE, had agreed to narrate, I knew that my story could not be in better hands, and I so hope you enjoy reading or listening to it. Warmest regards, Natalie.


Natalie Jenner is the author of the instant international bestseller The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls. A Goodreads Choice Award runner-up for historical fiction and finalist for best debut novel, The Jane Austen Society was a USA Today and #1 national bestseller and has been sold for translation in twenty countries. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie has been a corporate lawyer, career coach and, most recently, an independent bookstore owner in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs. Visit her website to learn more.



What a wonderful adventure into the world of books! Book lovers will delight in this journey as they meet three women in 1950s London who are oppressed by the times they are in but refuse to give up their dreams. Vivien, Grace, and Evie all experience struggles in a career dominated by men, but they push to change the way of society in a difficult time. I loved that each of the chapter headings begins with one of Mr. Dutton’s rules for the shop. The audiobook narration by Juliet Stevenson was very well done, and she kept each character distinct and memorable. We meet important women in the literary world, such as Ellen Doubleday, and we watch as our three heroines work to define their place at Bloomsbury Books. This is simply a glorious battle of wits that will delight anyone who adores books.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from Austenprose PR via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Book Promo: The Discontent of Mary Wenger #HistoricalWomensFiction

*Not a book review

TheDiscontent copy

Welcome to the book tour for The Discontent of Mary Wenger by Robert Tucker. Read on for more details! efortin ebook The Discontent of Mary Wenger (Paper Dolls #1) Publication Date: February 3rd, 2022 Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Tell-Tale Publishing Emotionally torn between the conflicting historical social forces of feminism and the traditional roles of women in post-World War II society, Mary Wenger struggles with a deep sense of despair. Spanning the continent during the decades of the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s to the turn of the century, her compulsive lifelong odyssey in search of an acceptable house in which to realize her personal and economic goals throws her out of balance with her family. A master wordsmith tells Mary’s story with a subtle touch of humor only an actual descendant could wield with success. Her fictional memoir is based on historical facts and bravely reveals Mary’s discovery and fear of separation from her children. The existential examination allows Mary to finally understand how her personal discontent, obsessions, internal demons, and depression affect her husband and children, as they mature and independently react to her attempts to mold them to her vision of how they all should be as a family. The life of every character is determined by his or her delusions and how they clash or compromise with one another. Add to Goodreads


Since I was a young girl, I have always believed that death is stalking me. It lurks and hovers in the dark recesses of my mind like a virus waiting to strike and destroy when I least expect it.

When I was eight years old, I wrote a poem about myself and death.

My name is Mary

Sounds airy

Death is scary

It makes me wary

Being wary makes me carey

All my life, I have developed defenses and tried to be a protector of the people I love. They often didn’t see things the way I did and they didn’t agree with me. But I knew what was best for all of us.

I always have.

My mother told me the first night when she and Dad moved in, the wail of an infant floated up to their bedroom. Eyes wide open with fear, she lay listening as the weak cry faded to silence.

“Mike, did you hear that?” she whispered and poked Dad in the ribs. “It came from the cellar.”

“Just a cat. I’ll chase it out in the morning.”

Shaking his arm, she insisted. “It sounded like a baby. You must go down and look.”

“I’m tired. I look in the morning.”

“Please, Mike, I scared.”

“Aah! All right.” He touched a lighted match to their bedside candle. The electricity had not yet been connected. He went down the creaking stairs into the cellar.

Unseen by him, a woman’s bare foot and leg were pulled out through the window. The glow of the candle light was reflected by the wet shine of an object in one corner. Dad approached it and his blood chilled.

A newborn infant lay curled, the blood and mucous of the afterbirth still clinging to its blue body.

In horror, he fumbled his way back up the stairs to the bedroom where he blew out the candle and set it on the dresser.

Mother pulled the blankets close around herself. “What was it?”

Dad quickly climbed into bed. “Nothing but cat. I get rid of it in the morning.”

Before Mother awoke, Dad buried the infant in the back part of the yard farthest from the house in a corner of what would be a vegetable garden.

Many years later, when I was a young woman, Mother told me she knew Dad had lied to her to shield her from the grotesque reality of what he had found in the basement. She knew the difference between the wail of a newborn infant and the wail of a cat.

She never asked him where he had buried the infant. She suspected she knew from the unusual growth and size of tomatoes she had planted in that section of the garden. The thought of the child as fertilizer sickened her. Believing the soul of the infant existed in the ripe red fruit, she buried the tomatoes in a field far from the house and dug up and destroyed the plants.

Refusing to explain why, she avoided planting any other vegetables in that part of the garden. The spot of untilled soil was a silent message to Dad that she knew what had lain buried there.

I was sitting between Ruth and Nina clinking ice in our glasses of lemonade. I slowly turned the pages of the latest Sears & Roebuck catalog while they chatted about the clothes and merchandise they would buy if they had the money. We all did a lot of wishing in those days. Wishing didn’t cost anything, but left us with an aching malaise and a shared emptiness that our imaginations could not fill.

Since we had little in the way of personal possessions, we shared everything. If one of us even bought a candy bar, we wouldn’t think of eating it all. We would divide it up so each of us had a taste.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

IMG_0987TuckerTU Author of 27 novels and a retired business and management consultant in a wide range of industries throughout the country, I reside with my wife in Southern California. I’m a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles with Bachelor’s and Master Degrees. A Pulitzer nominated author, I am a recipient of the Samuel Goldwyn and Donald Davis Literary Awards. An affinity for family and generations pervades my novels. My works are literary and genre fiction that address the nature and importance of personal integrity. As the grandson of immigrants who fled persecution in Germany and Austria-Hungary and came to America during the early 1900’s, the early history of our country and the rise of the middle-class have always held a fascination for me. The dramatic depiction of fictional characters placed in actual events sharply and realistically bring alive the harsh times and adversity of the multitude of people who sought freedom and a better way of life and demonstrate that only a little over one-hundred years have passed to bring us to where we are as a struggling society today. The chronology and events of history have captured and held my interest for many reasons, among them being stories that entertain, educate, and inform. Learning about the lives of my immigrant grandparents coming to America from Czechoslovakia during the early 1900s and the lives of my parents during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s provided the initial motivation. Researching and writing historical fiction is a way to learn more about myself and my origins and the social, political, and economic influences related to my generation. Whether writing historical fiction or non-fiction or fantasy, I’m drawn into the societies and cultures of a particular period that inspire the creation of characters who bring that era to life. Not only do I experience this dynamic in books, but in films, plays, dance, music, and other art forms. Researching history takes me into the exploration of new territory perhaps outside of my own life experience through reading other sources, interviews, travel, and films. Although a number of fine books are written from personal experience by authors who lived through those times, much of the historical writing by contemporary authors is dependent on secondary sources. Forays into the past for story material is a rewarding part of the creative process. Robert Tucker Book Tour Organized By: R&R Button R&R Book Tours

Book Review: Lessons in Chemistry

What a gem! Dang, Bonnie Garmus, you can write!

Lessons in Chemistry was just a joy to read. The pacing is fantastic, and although there are plenty of sad moments, it has a delightfully comedic tone that I loved. The main character, Elizabeth Zott, commands attention, and her way of looking at the world keeps the reader turning the page. This story is expertly layered, with chemistry and television cooking somehow blending easily with crew rowing and child-rearing. It is an intelligent, witty, thoughtful, and sad look at life, with bits of humor mixed in. It brings home the importance of how you treat others and the way that each individual’s actions greatly affect another, good or bad.

The treatment of women in the workplace in the 1960s was shown in shocking detail, as was the way that society looked down on single mothers and their children at that time. The characters were unique and fresh, from the determined Elizabeth to the brilliant Calvin, and the precocious child Madeline. Even their dog, Six-thirty, was a fresh, unique, and insightful character in this story. Everything in this book stands out, from the phrasing to the quirky characters. It is a book I will recall often and will read again. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read a well-crafted novel.

I received a free copy of this book from the Doubleday Books via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


Bonnie Garmus

Bonnie Garmus is a copywriter and creative director who’s worked widely in the fields of technology, medicine, and education. She’s an open-water swimmer, a rower, and mother to two pretty amazing daughters. Born in California and most recently from Seattle, she currently lives in London with her husband and her dog, 99.




Blog Tour and Book Review: My Mother’s Gift #Dementia #Alzheimer’s


Can your heart belong somewhere that you’ve never called home?

When Erica gets a phone call to say her mother, Ione, is ill in St Lucia, she knows she must go to her. Though the island – the place of her mother’s birth – is somewhere that Erica has never seen as her homeland.

Even when the plane touches down in the tropical paradise, with its palm trees swaying in the island breeze, the sound of accents so like her mother’s own calling loud in the air, Erica doesn’t find herself wanting to stay a moment longer than she has to.

But stepping into her mother’s house, she is shocked by what she finds. Her mother’s memory is fading, her once-immaculate house is now dirty and messy, and she’s refusing help from anyone but family. And Erica knows she must stay with her, even though it means leaving everything else behind.

What she doesn’t know is that – even as her mother’s memories get worse – Ione still has a final gift for her daughter. Because the unspoken secrets of their past are about to emerge, changing everything Erica thought she knew about her mother, her home, and who she really is…


This was a heartbreaking read about a woman losing her mother to Alzheimer’s. She is also forced to confront painful truths from the past. As someone who had a parent and grandparent with dementia, I know that towards the end they live mostly in the past, and I know the pain of watching a parent forget you. The author lays this story out in a forthright way, without trying to sugarcoat the truth. Caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s/Dementia is incredibly tough, not very pretty, and you need help. Erica’s journey to get to the point where she accepts help, and the decision about what that is going to entail, is a big part of the story. It is also a journey of acceptance–acceptance of the past, and acceptance of a new future.

I found the descriptions of life in St. Lucia and the Caribbean culture interesting and I hope to learn more about it.

I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


Steffanie Edward was born in St Lucia, brought up in London and now straddles between the two.

Anancy, Crick-crick and other Caribbean folk stories have been a part of her life since childhood. In her late teens she enjoyed reading Susan Howatch and books on slavery. Her absolute favorite reads have been Wild Seed by Octavia E Butler, and Woman At Point Zero by Naawal El Saadawi.

Her writing career started with short stories, five of which have been published. Her first attempt at writing a novel was over twenty years ago, whilst living and working in Abu Dhabi. That novel, Yvette, didn’t make it into print, but the main protagonist, Yvette, has muscled her way into Steffanie’s debut novel, This Other Island.



Book Review: High Stakes

This is the story of five women in a literary agency and how they cope with double standards, sexual harassment, marital problems, and abuse. It is set during the height of the “me too” movement and shows how each woman deals with these issues.

The newest employee, Jane, comes from a life of privilege, is not worried about losing her job, and is not about to take sexual harassment and abuse. When she stands up against a boss who won’t take no for an answer, she knocks over the first domino, and an avalanche follows.

What was made most evident when the abusive actions of one of the bosses at the agency are brought to light is that other people in power knew or suspected and did nothing. I think that is a true representation of what goes on in these situations in real life. In my opinion, the abuser’s business partner who turned a blind eye to it all is just as guilty and should have been prosecuted too. Although this is a strong story with a good message of women banding together and fighting back, I feel Ms. Steel wasn’t hard enough on the business partner in this novel.

Overall I would recommend this to anyone interested in women’s fiction and the “Me too,” movement.

I received a free copy of this book from Random House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

About the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with nearly a billion copies of her novels sold. Her recent many international bestsellers include Against All Odds, The Duchess and The Right Time. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina’s life and death; A Gift of Hope, a memoir of her work with the homeless; and the children’s books Pretty Minnie in Paris and Pretty Minnie in Hollywood. Danielle divides her time between Paris and her home in northern California.

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