Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Review: The Italian Party

The Italian Party

The Italian Party
Christina Lynch

This sparkling jewel, set in the 1950's follows Scottie and Michael, two naive Americans who move to Italy. Michael has a job to sell tractors in Siena, although in reality he is secretly working for the CIA. Scottie his new wife is unaware of his real job, and like Michael she too has something to hide. Mainly the fact that she isn't, as Michael thinks, an heiress with a large trust fund waiting for her. Not only do this couple not know each other particularly well when they arrive in Italy, they also do not know much about Italians. This could be a problem for Michael since his task is to prevent the communist mayor from being re-elected. He will also need to find some informants as soon as possible. All seems to be going well until the one informant he manages to engage goes missing. It may take all the social skills of Scottie to find out what happened to him.

This clever, fun novel is timely and poignant reminding the reader that trying to sway elections is nothing new. For Michael and Scottie, politics in 1950's Italy might be a lot more subtle and complex than either bargained for but it doesn't stop them from enjoying all that Bella Italia has to offer. I loved this one so much I hated for it to end.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Review: The House of Rougeaux

House of Rougeaux

The House of Rougeaux
Jenny Jaeckel

The House of Rougeaux follows the descendants of two children who are left motherless on a sugar plantation on the Caribbean island of Martinique in 1785 up until the mid-1960's. I loved the first section of this book which follows Abeje, who eventually becomes a healer and her brother Adunbi.

I immediately felt something for these two characters. The hardships and unfortunate circumstances of there lives pulled at my heart. The author had a wonderful ability to transport me to the Caribbean and the reality of their everyday lives. But, I didn't understand why the story jumped from the 1800's to descendants living in the 1950's in the United States and Canada. I think I would have enjoyed this book much more if it had been chronological in order or even if it had omitted the second and third chapter. I was also not a big fan of extremely long chapters often followed by a very short one. It made the story seem unbalanced to me. I liked the ending of the book which followed one descendant Eleanor, who returned to Martinique to find out more about her ancestors, Abeje and Adunbi. I think the author has a gift and talent for creating beautiful prose and being able to draw a reader into the characters. But, I was disappointed with the structure chosen for the work.

Thanks to Library Thing for allowing me to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Review: The Broken Girls

The Broken Girls

The Broken Girls
Simone St. James

In 1950, Idlewild Hall in Vermont was a school for wayward girls, complete with its own ghost and sinister atmosphere when one of the girls went missing. In 2014 Fiona Sheridan a freelance journalist is preoccupied with the restoration of Idlewild Hall mainly because her sister's body was discovered murdered on the grounds in the 1990's. Alternating between the past and present the reader is presented with background stories of the former students and with Fiona's attempts to find out what really happened to her sister, the other girls of Idlewild and the resident ghost. She would also like to know why the new owners would want to reopen a place so tainted with history and ghosts of the past.

I found this fast pace, cleverly written tale fascinating. I can't remember the last time I stayed up half the night to finish something so good. If you're looking for a ghostly mystery with a few twists, this is the one to read.

Thanks to Berkley Publishing for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Review: The Little French Bistro

The Little French Bistro

The Little French Bistro
Nina George

Marianne is in her sixties, and she's been married to Lothar as long as she can remember. But it hasn't been a happy marriage, and while the couple is in Paris on holiday, Marianne decides to end her life by jumping into the Seine. Things don't go as planned, however, and a stranger pulls her to safety, and she is transported to hospital. Instead of recovering there and returning home to Germany with Lothar she makes a fateful decision to walk out and find her way to the sea. She has always wanted to see the ocean, and she's decided it will be a good place to end her journey in this world.

Striking out towards the coast and ending up in Brittany she is taken in by the scenery and the people. Finding temporary employment in cafe, it becomes more and more difficult for Marianne to end her life. In fact, the end has become her beginning as she finds friendship, love, happiness and belonging in the small harbor town of Kerdruc. Something she has never known before but, will she ever escape the past or will it creep up on her when she least expects it?

This warmhearted, charming story was a pleasure to read. Filled with the sites and sounds of an ancient land, known to locals as the end of the world. Marianne is a captivating character who has the will to follow her dreams even when life seems at the lowest point; reminding readers that it's never too late to dream.

Thanks to Crown Publishing for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.