The Woman At The Front

The Woman at the Front -- A beautifully written story about one woman's desire to use her medical training to serve as a doctor in WWI.

Book Review

The Woman at the Front by Lecia Cornwall

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About The Woman at the Front:

The Woman at the Front

When Eleanor Atherton graduates from medical school near the top of her class in 1917, she dreams of going overseas to help the wounded, but her ambition is thwarted at every turn. Eleanor’s parents insist she must give up medicine, marry a respectable man, and assume her proper place. While women might serve as ambulance drivers or nurses at the front, they cannot be physicians—that work is too dangerous and frightening.

Nevertheless, Eleanor is determined to make more of a contribution than sitting at home knitting for the troops. When an unexpected twist of fate sends Eleanor to the battlefields of France as the private doctor of a British peer, she seizes the opportunity for what it is—the chance to finally prove herself.

But there’s a war on, and a casualty clearing station close to the front lines is an unforgiving place. Facing skeptical commanders who question her skills, scores of wounded men needing care, underhanded efforts by her family to bring her back home, and a blossoming romance, Eleanor must decide if she’s brave enough to break the rules, face her darkest fears, and take the chance to win the career—and the love—she’s always wanted.

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All The Little Hopes

All the Little Hopes is a coming of age novel with a rich and moving prose that transported me to a land of tobacco fields and purple honey.

Book Review

All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss

Rating: 4 out of 5.

From the acclaimed author of If the Creek Don’t Rise comes a Southern story of friendship forged by books and bees. Set during WWII in North Carolina, All the Little Hopes is a stunning coming-of-age novel. Following the thirteen-year-old characters of Lucy Brown and Allie Bert Tucker, this book has a rich and moving prose that transported me to a land of tobacco fields and purple honey. … (Keep reading for my full review!)

About All the Little Hopes:

(From the publisher) Deep in the tobacco land of North Carolina, nothing’s the same since the boys shipped off to war and worry took their place. Thirteen-year-old Lucy Brown is curious and clever, but she can’t make sense of it all. Then Allie Bert Tucker comes to town, an outcast with a complicated past, and Lucy believes that together they can solve crimes. Just like her hero, Nancy Drew.

That chance comes when a man goes missing, a woman stops speaking, and an eccentric gives the girls a mystery that takes them beyond the ordinary. Their quiet town, seasoned with honeybees and sweet tea, becomes home to a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp—and more men go missing. The pair set out to answer the big question: do we ever really know who the enemy is?

Lush with Southern atmosphere, All The Little Hopes, is the story of two girls growing up while war creeps closer, blurring the difference between what’s right, what’s wrong, and what we know to be true 

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The Child of Auschwitz

The Child of Auschwitz by Lily Graham -- a beautifully written, heartbreaking story of unwavering friendship, resilience, and hope.

Book Review

The Child of Auschwitz by Lily Graham

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

About The Child of Auschwitz:

(From the publisher) It is 1942 and Eva Adami has boarded a train to Auschwitz. Barely able to breathe due to the press of bodies and exhausted from standing up for two days, she can think only of her longed-for reunion with her husband Michal, who was sent there six months earlier.

But when Eva arrives at Auschwitz, there is no sign of Michal and the stark reality of the camp comes crashing down upon her. As she lies heartbroken and shivering on a thin mattress, her head shaved by rough hands, she hears a whisper. Her bunkmate, Sofie, is reaching out her hand…

As the days pass, the two women learn each other’s hopes and dreams – Eva’s is that she will find Michal alive in this terrible place, and Sofie’s is that she will be reunited with her son Tomas, over the border in an orphanage in Austria. Sofie sees the chance to engineer one last meeting between Eva and Michal and knows she must take it even if means befriending the enemy…

But when Eva realises she is pregnant she fears she has endangered both their lives. The women promise to protect each other’s children, should the worst occur. For they are determined to hold on to the last flower of hope in the shadows and degradation: their precious children, who they pray will live to tell their story when they no longer can.

A heart-breaking story of survival, where life or death relies on the smallest chance and happiness can be found in the darkest times. Fans of The Choice and The Tattooist of Auschwitz will fall in love with this beautiful novel.

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Denial

Denial by Beverley McLachlin -- an extremely thorough, procedural-type legal thriller. Even for those who know nothing about Beverley McLachlin, readers are left with no doubt that this author has extensive knowledge of the law!

Book Review

Denial by Beverley McLachlin

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Not only is she the first woman to ever hold the role of Chief Justice of Canada, but the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin is also a novelist to watch for! Having read her memoir, “Truth Be Told,” I was very excited to receive an advance copy of her new legal thriller, Denial. (Keep reading for my full review!)

About Denial:

Denial by Beverley McLachlin

When everyone is in denial, how do you find the truth?

Jilly Truitt has made a name for herself as one of the top criminal defense lawyers in the city. Where once she had to take just about any case to keep her firm afloat, now she has her pick—and she picks winners.

So when Joseph Quentin asks her to defend his wife, who has been charged with murdering her own mother in what the media are calling a mercy killing, every instinct tells Jilly to say no. Word on the street is that Vera Quentin is in denial, refusing to admit to the crime and take a lenient plea deal. Quentin is a lawyer’s lawyer, known as the Fixer in legal circles, and if he can’t help his wife, who can?

Against her better judgment, Jilly meets with Vera and reluctantly agrees to take on her case. Call it intuition, call it sympathy, but something about Vera makes Jilly believe she’s telling the truth. Now, she has to prove that in the courtroom against her former mentor turned opponent, prosecutor Cy Kenge—a man who has no qualms about bending the rules.

As the trial approaches, Jilly scrambles to find a crack in the case and stumbles across a dark truth hanging over the Quentin family. But is it enough to prove Vera’s innocence? Or is Jilly in denial herself?

Thrumming with tension, Denial is a riveting thriller about the lengths we will go to for the ones we love and the truths we hold dear.

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The Last Mona Lisa

The Last Mona Lisa by Jonathan Santlofer -- A decades old mystery full of art, action, and forgeries. Inspired by the real-life theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911, you can't help but 
be intrigued by this story!

Book Review

The Last Mona Lisa by Jonathan Santlofer

Rating: 4 out of 5.

For both art lovers and mystery fans, The Last Mona Lisa is a compelling read that follows the decades-old tale of a man who once stole the world’s most famous painting.

About the book:

The Last Mona Lisa by Jonathan Santlofer

August, 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia. Exactly what happens in the two years before its recovery is a mystery. Many replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, and more than one historian has wondered if the painting now returned to the Louvre is a fake, switched in 1911.

Present day: Art professor Luke Perrone digs for the truth behind his most famous ancestor: Peruggia. His search attracts an Interpol detective with something to prove and an unfamiliar but curiously helpful woman. Soon, Luke tumbles deep into the world of art and forgery, a land of obsession and danger.

A gripping novel exploring the Mona Lisa’s very real theft in 1911 and the present underbelly of the art world, The Last Mona Lisa is a suspenseful tale, tapping into our universal fascination with da Vinci’s enigma, why people are driven to possess certain works of art, and our fascination with the authentic and the fake.

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Dark Roads

Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens -- a suspenseful, sinister read. Chevy Stevens is an author you don't want to miss!

Book Review

Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Chevy Stevens, Dark Road book cover

(From the publisher) For decades, people have been warned about the Cold Creek Highway. Hitchhikers have vanished along it over the years, and women have been known to have their cars break down… and never be seen again. When Hailey McBride decides to run away from an unbearable living situation, she thinks that her outdoor skills will help her disappear into the Cold Creek wilderness, and she counts on people thinking that she was the victim of the killer.

One year later, Beth Chevalier arrives in Cold Creek to attend a memorial for the victims of the highway, but it might as well be one week for the amount of pain that Beth is still dealing with after her sister, Amber, was murdered the previous summer. Beth has quit university, is lying to her parents, and popping pills like Tic Tacs. Maybe this will finally bring her peace.

When she gets a job at a local diner where Amber once worked, she connects with people who knew her sister. Beth wants to find who killed her sister and put her own life back together, but as she gets closer to the truth, she learns that there is more than one person lying in Cold Creek.

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The Guilt Trip

The Guilt Trip -- for those who enjoy character-driven plots, this is a family drama filled with layers of secrets and lies.

Book Review

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones

Rating: 3 out of 5.

About The Guilt Trip

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones -- book cover

Six friends.

Rachel and Noah have been friends since they met at university. While they once thought that they might be something more, now, twenty years later, they are each happily married to other people, Jack and Paige respectively. Jack’s brother Will is getting married, to the dazzling, impulsive Ali. The group of six travel to Portugal for their destination weekend.

Three couples.

As they arrive at a gorgeous villa perched on a cliff-edge, overlooking towering waves that crash on the famous surfing beaches below at Nazaré, they try to settle into a weekend of fun. While Rachel is looking forward to getting to know her future sister-in-law Ali better, Ali can’t help but rub many of the group up the wrong way: Rachel’s best friend Paige thinks Ali is attention-seeking and childish, and while Jack is trying to support his brother Will’s choice of wife, he is also finding plenty to disagree with Noah about.

One fatal misunderstanding . . .

But when Rachel discovers something about Ali that she can hardly believe, everything changes. As the wedding weekend unfolds, the secrets each of them hold begin to spill, and friendships and marriages threaten to unravel. Soon, jumping to conclusions becomes the difference between life and death.

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The War Nurse

The War Nurse -- a well researched story, set amidst the trauma of a WWI field hospital. This book is packed with inspiration, bravery, and compassion.

Book Review

The War Nurse by Tracy Enerson Wood

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A few years ago, the Canadian government released the personnel files for the soldiers who fought in WWI. I was fascinated to find my great-grandfather’s records. He’d arrived in England in 1918, only to be struck with influenza. He was released from the hospital just one week before the war ended and sent home after that.

Reading The War Nurse by Tracy Enerson Wood, I was immediately transported to this gritty field hospital in France. The story follows the real-life figure of Julia Catherine Stimson, an American nurse. The team of nurses worked tirelessly to serve those wounded in battle. But what struck home for me, was the mention of those who were hospitalized with influenza before seeing action. This is a remarkable bit of history that I hadn’t heard expounded upon in a novel before. Not only did it give me insight into my grandfather’s story, it felt especially applicable for our own pandemic-weary world.

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The Glorious Guinness Girls

A beautifully set, historical novel featuring the glittering upper society life in 1920s London. A story about belonging and discovering who you really are. Book Review for: The Glorious Guinness Girls.

Book Review

The Glorious Guinness Girls by Emily Hourican

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

About the Glorious Guinness Girls:

From London to Ireland during the 1920s, this glorious, gripping, and richly textured story takes us to the heart of the remarkable real-life story of the Guinness Girls—perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia.

Descendants of the founder of the Guinness beer empire, they were the toast of 1920s high society, darlings of the press, with not a care in the world. But Felicity knows better. Sent to live with them as a child because her mother could no longer care for her, she grows up as the sisters’ companion. Both an outsider and a part of the family, she witnesses the complex lives upstairs and downstairs, sees the compromises and sacrifices beneath the glamorous surface. Then, at a party one summer’s evening, something happens that sends shock waves through the entire household.

Inspired by a remarkable true story and fascinating real events, The Glorious Guinness Girls is an unforgettable novel about the haves and have-nots, one that will make you ask if where you find yourself is where you truly belong.

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Hostage

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh -- What I love most about Clare Mackintosh is that just when you think the story is over and there can't possibly be any more twists... there are! The 52 Book Club

Book Review

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

Rating: 4 out of 5.

About Hostage:

(From the publisher): You can save hundreds of lives. Or the one that matters most. A claustrophobic thriller set over twenty hours on one airplane flight, with the heart-stopping tension of The Last Flight and the wrenching emotional intensity of RoomHostage takes us on board the inaugural nonstop flight from London to Sydney.

Mina is trying to focus on her job as a flight attendant, not the problems of her five-year-old daughter back home, or the fissures in her marriage. But the plane has barely taken off when Mina receives a chilling note from an anonymous passenger, someone intent on ensuring the plane never reaches its destination. Someone who needs Mina’s assistance and who knows exactly how to make her comply.

It’s twenty hours to landing. A lot can happen in twenty hours.

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