House of Silence by Sarah Barthel

House of Silence

Oak Park, Illinois, 1875. Isabelle Larkin s future like that of every young woman hinges upon her choice of husband. She delights her mother by becoming engaged to Gregory Gallagher, who is charismatic, politically ambitious, and publicly devoted. But Isabelle s visions of a happy, profitable match come to a halt when she witnesses her fiance commit a horrific crime and no one believes her. 

Gregory denies all, and Isabelle s mother insists she marry as planned rather than drag them into scandal. Fearing for her life, Isabelle can think of only one escape: she feigns a mental breakdown that renders her mute, and is brought to Bellevue sanitarium. There she finds a friend in fellow patient Mary Todd Lincoln, committed after her husband s assassination.
In this unlikely refuge, the women become allies, even as Isabelle maintains a veneer of madness for her own protection. But sooner or later, she must reclaim her voice. And if she uses it to expose the truth, Isabelle risks far more than she could ever imagine.
Weaving together a thread of finely tuned suspense with a fascinating setting and real-life figures, Sarah Barthel’s debut is historical fiction at its most evocative and compelling.”

A wonderful look inside Bellevue Sanitarium in the year 1875. Isabelle is marrying Gregory and love has nothing to do with it. She has been raised as most of the women of the era, to either let her family pick a husband for her, or choose someone who could advance both of your stations in life. Her best friend Lucy, is working on running away and marrying the man she truly loves and while she is happy for Lucy and aids her in her attempt, Isabelle isn’t one to rock the boat.

She is however a smart young lady, and when she sees her supposedly loving fiance’ commit an unspeakable act, she does not stay silent. Unfortunately appearances are everything to Isabelle’s mother and neither she or the authorities believe Isabelle.

So she just shuts up. Not a word. Nothing. And that is how she ends up at Bellevue. A game of who can hold out the longest. Isabelle or her mother. As Isabelle meets more women at Bellevue, she sees how easy it is to just lock up a woman on pretty much any trumped up reason. She fears she may never be released and is alone and scared. Until she gets a neighbor. Mary Lincoln, whose son Robert is trying to have her declared insane.

Together she and Isabelle will come up with a plan to rescue them both.

Mary Todd Lincoln was a resident of Bellevue in that year, so there is some fact mixed in with the fiction.  This was a very nice historical fiction read, and I thank the Publisher and Netgalley.

This book will be released December 27, 2016. You can preorder here

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The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Corner: A Novel by [Colgan, Jenny]

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling. 

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

As soon as I received this book for Book Club I read it straight through. I even read parts to my friend who said, ” Oh, that is totally about you!”. No it isn’t but it sure could be.

This is a book lovers book. Nina has always had her nose in a book. When life got sad or messy, she would escape into a book. Books are what she loves and what she knows about. The real world, not so much. But once she takes a leap of faith, she finds out there is a lot more to her than books. She finds a real world out there and her new friends find the joy of reading once again.

Books change lives but so does getting out there and experiencing what you read.

I loved this book from beginning to end! 20161030_120502

 

About the Author

Jenny Colgan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including Little Beach Street Bakery, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, and Christmas at the Cupcake Café, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland.

I have read the Little Beach Street Bakery and am looking forward to Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe’.     Excellent reads.

Penguin Random House Fall Debut Fiction 2016

I was really excited to see this! Debut Fiction is always fun. And this list is really good.

There are 9 different titles with a couple of chapters each to peek at.

And the winners are…..

  1. The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel by Katherine Arden (Jan.2017)
  2. The Mothers: A Novel by Brit Bennett  (Oct. 2016)
  3. Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black (Sept. 2016)
  4. The Education of Dixie Dupree by Donna Everhart (Oct. 2016)
  5. The Nix: A Novel by Nathan Hill  (2016)
  6. The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies  (Sept. 2016)
  7. Behold the Dreamers: A Novel by Imbolo Mbue (2016)
  8. The Mortifications: A Novel by Derek Palacio ( Oct. 2016)
  9. First Light by Bill Rancic (Nov. 2016)

I am definitely adding The Bear and the Nightingale, The Mothers,The Education of Dixie Dupree, Behold the Dreamers and First Light to my TBR list!

Thank you to Penguin Random House!

Jane Steel A Novel by Lyndsay Faye

Jane Steele by [Faye, Lyndsay]

A reimagining of Jane Eyre as a gutsy, heroic serial killer says the NYT about Jane Steel.

“Reader, I murdered him”.  What a great opening!

Jane Steel has suffered more loss and ugliness in her life at age 9 than most people will in a lifetime. The loss of a Father she doesn’t remember and then her beautiful, sensitive French Mother has left her too tender for her overbearing Aunt and horrid cousin.

When her Aunt sends her to Lowan Bridge School, a boarding school that sounds like Gitmo,  she is left to fight for her life. Unable to bear any more, she commits another murder and runs away to London, leaving the dead behind her.

She hides for years, waiting for that knock on the door from the Law, all the while writing morbid “confessions” of the recently hanged, which are published in the paper daily.

Then her Aunt dies and Jane finds out there is a new Master of Highgate House who is looking for a governess for his 9 year old ward. Jane’s mother always told her that the house would one day be hers and now she intends to find out if she is the rightful owner.

This is a satirical romance about things we all can relate to, the lies we tell, the guilt we live with, who we really are and are the lines between good and bad a tad blurry.

While it is most definitely a Gothic piece and Miss Jane begins her killing very early in life, I laughed so hard. My favorite parts were the blurbs above each chapter. My favorite?

” Do you know where the wicked go after death?”

” They go to hell, was my ready and orthodox answer…”

” What must you do to avoid it?”

 I deliberated a moment; my answer, when it did come, was objectionable: ” I must keep in good health, and not die.”

This is one of those books that I kept saying to my reading partner, Hey you have to listen to this! It’s that good!

About The Author

Lyndsay Faye moved to Manhattan in 2005 to audition for theatre work; she found her days more open when the powers that be elected to knock her day-job restaurant down with bulldozers. Her first novel Dust and Shadow: an Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H Watson is a tribute to the aloof genius and his good-hearted friend whose exploits she has loved since childhood. Faye’s love of her adopted city led her to research the origins of the New York City Police Department, the inception of which exactly coincided with the start of the Irish Potato Famine. The Gods of Gotham, Seven for a Secret, and The Fatal Flame follow ex-bartender Timothy Wilde as he navigates the rapids of his violently turbulent city, his no less chaotic elder brother Valentine Wilde, and the perils of learning police work in a riotous and racially divided political landscape. The first book of the trilogy was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel and has been published in 14 languages. Her lasting affection for Jane Eyre led her to re-imagine the heroine as a gutsy, heroic serial killer in Jane Steele.

After growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Lyndsay worked as a professional actress throughout the Bay Area for several years, nearly always in a corset, and if not a corset then at the very least heels and lined stockings. As her roles ranged from Scrooge’s lost fiancée in A Christmas Carol to Lavinia DuPlessy in Andrew Lippa’s world premiere of A Little Princess, whalebone prevented her from drawing a natural breath for a number of years. She is a soprano with a high pop belt, if it interests you. Her performances were generally reviewed well, with adjectives ranging from “soaring” and “delightful” to “sausage-curled.”

Lyndsay and her husband, artist Gabriel Lehner, live in Queens with their cats, Grendel and Prufrock. During the few hours a day Lyndsay isn’t writing or editing, she is most often cooking, or sampling new kinds of microbrew, or thinking of ways to creatively mismatch her clothing. She is a very proud member of AEA, MWA, ASH, GWN, and BSI (Actor’s Equity Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, Girls Write Now, and the Baker Street Irregulars, respectively).

Remembrance by Meg Cabot

Remembrance: A Mediator Novel

It’s the return of Meg Cabot’s Mediator Series with the lovely Suze Simon.

Suze is a ghost whisperer, a mediator between the living and the dead who haven’t passed on yet.

She is out of college and working at her old high school as a guidance counselor, working on her wedding to her hot and formerly dead fiance’, Dr. Jesse de Silva while trying to handle a particularly nasty little ghost who would just as soon see her dead.

And it’s not just the new ghosts getting under her skin, her ex Paul has popped up causing her trouble.
Then there are the secrets. Everyone here has a secret whether they know it or not.

Will she get to walk down the aisle with her love? Or will Paul put an end to Jesse once and for all?
It’s enough to give a girl a headache!

Meg Cabot just has that gift. The gift of storytelling. And I am very glad that she does!

The Princess Wore Plaid by Karen Hawkins

The Princess Wore Plaid (The Oxenburg Princes, #2.5)The Princess Wore Plaid by Karen Hawkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Princess Wore Plaid by Karen Hawkins is the next in the Princes of Oxenburg series. A spin off of the Duchess Diaries series.

The daughter of the King of Oxenburg, Tatiana is beautiful, pampered, and wealthy.. Off to her cousin’s wedding in the Scottish Highlands, her coach ends up flipping over, sending her flying. When she comes to she has no idea where or even who she is. After walking for days, she finally knows who she is but who will believe her?
In a strange country with no funds, no skills and no proof of who she is. Now the Princess must become the servant.

Lord Buchan has been through his own accident and is just as lost as Tatiana is even though he has everything a man could want, he is terrified of involving himself with someone who could leave at any moment, he has already lost so much. Could a Princess choose to remain in his country and his heart or will she return to her home and leave him alone and shut off from the world once more?

Will love win out?

This was not my first Karen Hawkins book. I enjoy her descriptions of the people and locations in her books. Very well researched and the characters are all smart, strong women.

I received this book from Netgalley and Simon and Schuster in return for an honest review. Release Date is set for March 21, 2016

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With No Regrets by Julie N. Ford

With No RegretsWith No Regrets by Julie N. Ford

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finley has finally lost her mind. That’s what we say in the South, when you deviate from the strict social rules that all of our mothers have drilled into us since birth. Don’t make a scene, Divorce is scandalous, and always act like a lady and basically suck it up buttercup!

However when you come home to find your husband on the sofa with your garden club friend, it’s very hard to stick to the rules.
After tossing out her philandering husband, Finley is a bit lost and after airing everyone’s dirty laundry at the Garden Club meeting, she’s not exactly welcome there. Thank goodness for her best friend Cathyanne and her meddling ways!

This was a really good book. It’s about not being afraid to be you, it’s about love and hope and friendship and divorce and death. About living life with no regrets.
I really wanted more and can’t wait to see what Ms. Ford has next.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

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