Thursday, February 7, 2019

Review: Vintage 1954

Vintage 1954

Vintage 1954
Antoine Laurain

Hubert Larnaudie lives in a beautiful Paris apartment that his family has owned for generations. One evening he invites an art restorer, Magalie, a bartender Julien and an American visitor Bob, all residing in the same building, to his apartment for a glass of wine. By morning they have all been transported back to the year 1954.

Finding themselves in vintage Paris, the four discover former inhabitants of the city, see monuments in a new light and encounter personal memories of people and places that have meaning in their lives today. They will have to use their wits and the help of another man who drank from the same 1954 vintage if they want to get back to their own time again.

Vintage 1954 is a tale that will take you on a heartwarming journey into the past with four people from different backgrounds who are all able to find meaning in their lives as a result of this journey back in time.

I always feel Laurain has the power to take everyday incidents and turn them into something extraordinary. Anyone who has read one of his books knows that he is a delightful storyteller with a gift for creating charming and captivating tales. After reading this one, I can't help but wonder what he will come up with next. Whatever it is, I can't wait to read it.

Thanks to Gallic Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Review: Carolina of Orange-Nassau

Carolina of Orange-Nassau: Ancestress of the Royal Houses of Europe

Carolina of Orange-Nassau
Moniek Bloks

Princess Wilhelmina Carolina of Orange-Nassau was born in 1743 to William IV Prince of Orange and Anne of Hanover. When her father was made Stadtholder to the Dutch Republic, she was included in the line of succession, in the event that there were no male heirs. But as a little brother was later born, he eventually took the position of his father although Carolina did act as regent for him until he came of age.

I have to admit, probably like a lot of readers I didn't know anything about Carolina of Orange-Nassau before reading this book. And I agree with the author that she has been largely forgotten by history, which is a pity because she seemed to play such an essential role in her brother's early life and when acting as regent on his behalf. But what struck me most was the fact that by the time she was 43 years old she'd had sixteen pregnancies that resulted in fifteen births of which only seven children survived to adulthood. Of course, this wasn't unusual at the time, and the author points out the numerous pregnancies and deaths of Carolina's mother and others. However, it is so difficult to imagine the hardships these women and especially Carolina endured. Despite the numerous pregnancies and changing circumstances, Carolina was able to run a household, take an interest in her husband's affairs and find time for promoting the music she loved. At one point while organizing a concert, she took an interest in Mozart and his sister. Both were ill at the time of their visit, and due to her care and attention, they were able to recover in her home, perhaps shaping the history of music in the course.

This account of her life is fascinating on its own but also noteworthy due to the fact that her descendants are scattered across the Royal Houses of Europe. I was also happy to learn that the author runs a blog devoted to the history of royal women.

Thanks to Chronos Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Review: Killer Librarian

Killer Librarian (Killer Librarian #1)

Killer Librarian
Mary Lou Kirwin

Minnesota librarian Karen Nash has always wanted to go to England, and with the success of her boyfriends plumbing invention she's finally going on the trip of a lifetime to London. The only problem is: boyfriend Dave dumps Karen hours before they are scheduled to leave. Distraught, she decides to go alone. But Dave has also decided to go, only not alone.

Once in London, Karen checks into a bed and breakfast. Its charming, handsome owner is only to pleased to show Karen the sights, especially since she told him she is a mystery writer, which she most definitely is not. But, when another guest at the bed and breakfast is found dead, Karen thinks it might be more than an accident. Complicating matters Karen might have asked a hit man to “take care” of Dave after one too many drinks at a local pub.

Killer Librarian is a lighthearted cozy mystery with a bit of drama, mystery and a pinch of romance. I would say this is a tale best spent with a nice cup of tea and a few biscuits.