First Book Birthdays of 2018!

Good evening,

I am dropping by to do a bit of gushing about authors that have their first publications out for 2018 and I hope you’ll be as excited as I am!

Carnegie’s Maid

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Release Date: January 16th, 2018

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Blurb:

From the author of The Other Einstein, the mesmerizing tale of what kind of woman could have inspired an American dynasty.

Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She’s not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home.

If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady’s maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills he doesn’t have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does have is a resolve as strong as the steel Pittsburgh is becoming famous for, coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can’t let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future — and her family’s.

With captivating insight and heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist..

The Lost Season of Love and Snow

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Release Date: January 2nd, 2017

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Blurb:

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the beguiling age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. At her first public ball during the Christmas of 1828, she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya is swept up in a courtship and then a marriage full of passion but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads Alexander to defend his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, he tragically succumbs to his injuries. Natalya finds herself reviled for her perceived role in his death. In her striking new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, Jennifer Laam helps bring Natalya’s side of the story to life with vivid imagination—the compelling tale of her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court and that of her greatest love.

A Wedding At Two Love Lane

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Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

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Blurb:

Never say never when it comes to love in A Wedding at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer.

Greer Jones has made a real name for herself at the elegant matchmaking agency Two Love Lane. For a lot of reasons—including a past engagement she broke off—practical tech expert Greer is more interested in the business of love than the experience of it, but she can’t help but covet a gorgeous wedding gown that’s the prize in an upcoming cocktail-party contest. In a moment of brazen inspiration, Greer asks a handsome Brit she’s only just met to accompany her to the party. He agrees—and Greer believes her date is a starving artist. Little does she know the truth. . .

Ford Smith, as he calls himself, is actually Stanford Elliott Wentworth Smythe, the Eighth Baron of Wickshire. Fresh off a breakup with a money-grubbing siren who deceived him all the way to the altar, Ford has no desire to fall in love—especially with Greer who, like the desired wedding gown, is beautiful but only skin-deep. But soon Ford realizes that there’s more to Greer than meets the eye. Her professionalism is matched only by her passion for life and love. . .and, best of all, she has no idea that he’s to the manor born. Could it be that true love is priceless after all?

The Rogue Is Back In Town

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Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

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Blurb:

Hide your daughters and your maiden aunts…Lord Samuel Travis is back.
The London Hearsay, special society edition

Equal parts scoundrel and seducer, he’s returned to London determined to mend the rift with his older brother. All Sam must do is take possession of a tumbledown town house. A seemingly simple task, except the house is occupied—by an infuriating, whip-smart beauty who refuses to do his bidding.

Miss Juliette Lacey’s wallflower days are over. She has a plan to turn her eccentric family into the toast of the ton—but the devilishly handsome rake trying to oust them from their home thwarts her at every turn. How can one man be so vexing and make her simmer with desire?
As her attraction to Sam deepens, Julie’s problems grow—she may have, once upon a time, secretly shared a kiss with his honorable older brother. Suddenly, Julie’s caught between a rogue and a marquess, between passion and respectability. Torn between two brothers, what’s a girl to do?

Don’t miss the Wayward Wallflower books by Anna Bennett! 
My Brown-Eyed Earl (Book 1)
I Dared the Duke (Book 2)
The Rogue is Back in Town (Book 3)

Cowboy Stole My Heart

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Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

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Blurb:

It takes true grit to build a billion-dollar dynasty like the Ford family ranch. But when it comes to finding love, all it takes is one handsome cowboy to steal a woman’s heart in Cowboy Stole My Heart by Soraya Lane.

SHE’S RIDING SOLO
As one of the heirs to the River Ranch fortune, Mia Ford is practically Texas royalty. But that doesn’t mean she’s some pampered princess. She can saddle up and ride a horse as well as any man, even a hard-working cowboy like Sam Mendes. For years, she’s harbored a crush on the strong, silent horseman. But how can she make a move when she’s his boss?

HE’S TAKING THE REINS
Sam Mendes is through with love—or so he thought. Still recovering from a breakup, he’s doing everything in his power to resist Mia Ford. It’s bad enough she’s the kind of beauty who drives men wild with desire. It’s even worse she’s got him so worked up, aching to kiss her lips, when he’s supposed to be working her ranch. Is this lovestruck cowboy willing to risk losing his job—and breaking his heart—to win the girl of his dreams?

So that wraps up my bookish releases for this week. Be sure to stay tuned to more of my bookish ramblings and in the meantime, happy reading!

~Meg

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The Lost Season of Love and Snow Review

Good evening,

I was generously sent a copy of The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam in exchange for an honest review from the publishers.

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Buy Links (available tomorrow!)

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Excerpt:

From The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam. Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted
with permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.
________
A man says he will die for you. A woman is taught to lower her gaze and blush before hiding once more behind a silken fan. Men are given to self-aggrandizement, while women flatter egos and keep men tied to this earth. Such is the way of the world, or so I was taught in the days before I gained a reputation as the villain of St. Petersburg.
I know better now.
When a man declares he will die for you, sometimes a woman must take him at his word. For to allow one’s husband to perish on the field of honor is a shameful affair, worse even, than murdering him by your own hand.
The solemn men who gather at our flat fall silent as my husband draws his final breath. A prickly chill, like the first wave of a fever, washes over me as I realize my husband is gone. The sorrow tightens my chest and clamps down, squeezing until I think my body will snap in two. I sway on my feet and believe I will faint. Only the invisible force of my will keeps me upright. Dark blood still seeps from his abdomen and a sharp metallic scent clings to the air.
For two days my husband had been one of the waking dead, suffering a cruel and lingering death. Though I was not present at the duel where he fought to defend my honor, the image of Alexander collapsing, his blood staining the snow crimson, haunts my every thought. I have slid into despair, veering between hysteria and hopelessness, while Alexander’s wound festered and his once vibrant face distorted with agony.
His friends stand in a semicircle around his body, backs erect, mouths set in stern lines, and expressions stoic even as their eyes dampen with tears.
“What a waste,” I hear one of them mutter. “A genius lost over a woman.”
The words echo in my head. I was the wife of a distinguished man of letters, the greatest in our land, and I let his life slip through my fingers. These men suppose I care only for material comforts and romantic diversions and don’t believe I possess the wits about me to appreciate my husband’s talent.
Rumormongers have convinced them I love the empty-headed Georges d’Anthès or have fallen prey to the advances of our iron-jawed tsar. They consider my behavior traitorous, as terrible in its own way as if I had joined the ranks of the Napoleonic soldiers who once threatened our very heartland.
I will confess to basking too long in the attention of Georges and even the tsar himself, yet I am no Jezebel, merely human, as vulnerable to flattery as any other creature. Much as I may wish to do so, I cannot change the past. The damage is done. A fresh wave of tears threatens and subsides, as though nothing remains inside me to expel. I wonder how long I will live with the torment of my guilt and the censure of those who claim to love my husband.

My thoughts on the book:

This is a fictional telling of Natalya Nikolaevna Goncharova, the last wife of the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, known as one of the most beautiful women in Russia during her lifetime and their love story in the 1830s during the reign of Tsar Nicholas told from the perspective of Natalya herself. A woman who was rumored to be a flirt, may have had affairs with several prominent men and is believed to have selfishly caused the death of her husband.

It has often been said that there are two sides to every story and I believe this is true which is one of the reasons why this book was so fascinating. It was a pleasure to be immersed in Russia during a time when Russia was known for its fashion, parties and nobility just as much if not more than the English.

Natalya knew shortly after her marriage to Pushkin that she was a bit in over her head when it came to trying to be among the social Imperial court, a loving wife and dutiful daughter with a husband who was known to be one of the greatest poets of his time but also known as a rebel though luckily he was able to keep his head so to speak and was loved by many.

Their first year together was mostly full of wonderful times spent together but alas it was not meant to last and sometimes even the best intentions to not work out though it’s obvious they loved each other. Alas it is easy to get caught up in the daily struggles of life, the stress of finances and the downside of what can come from being famous.

I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been to be a woman with very little rights and to lose your husband not even a decade after being married. One has to wonder just how much or little it was worth it to gain a worthy match during that period of great unrest in Russia and what really went on to cause such a disastrous end. I do however think that it was a genuine love match between Natalya and Pushkin and it’s really such a shame that Pushkin’s life was such short so soon after a duel.

Be prepared to be caught up in the daily life of the Russian upper class, the struggles of trying to be a proper woman according to society and learning how sometimes passion can lead to a heartbreaking end.

I don’t know a lot about the real events that led to the demise of Pushkin but this book has sparked my curiosity to learn about these two unlikely people who fell in love, had several children and may have had a long life together had a duel not gotten into the way.

For those who enjoy mid 19th Century Russia, Pushkin and life in Tsar Nicholas’s court, this is the kind of book that you just might want to check out and if you’re not into those kinds of things, you just may still enjoy this different take on the Pushkins. I highly recommend this book and I’m glad that I was given a chance to read it!

Thank you for dropping by to check out my review and I hope that you will enjoy the book as much as I have.

Happy Reading!

Slainte

~Meg

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Happy New Year and Happy Cover Reveal!

Good afternoon,

I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating the new year. Hard to believe that it’s already 2018 though I’m hoping this will be the best year yet in reading and other things going on.

I was recently approached by a publisher to ask if I would like to receive a book that’s a retelling of Wendy from Peter Pan. Of course I said yes because I loved these two authors last books and I love retellings involving Wendy! I’m so excited to share the cover reveal with you and the book itself has amazing designs inside! It won’t be out until January 16th but you can pre-order and stare at the cover like I have in the meantime!

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The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown

You can find out where to pre-order here: Click me please!

 

“Girls can’t be in the navy! Girls take care of babies! You’re so stupid, you don’t know anything!”

London. 1783. Wendy Darling is an orphan, living in an overcrowded almshouse, ridiculed for believing in a future she can never have. More than anything in the world, she wants to be the captain of a ship. But that’s impossible. Isn’t it?

By 1789, she’s sixteen. Old enough to be sold into service as a dressmaker or a servant. When she learns the Home Office is accepting a handful of women into its ranks, she jumps at the chance, joining the fight against the most formidable threat England has ever faced. Magic.

But the secret service isn’t exactly what she had hoped. Accompanied by a reimagined cast of the original Peter Pan, Wendy soon discovers that her dreams are as far away as ever, that choosing sides isn’t as simple as she thought, and that the only man who isn’t blinded by her gender… might be her nation’s greatest enemy.

To hold you over, here’s an excerpt:

Chapter 1
By the year 1780, London was bursting at the seams. Almost a million people had been stuffed into every nook and cranny, and a good number of these had no idea where they had come from. Nestled in baskets and swaddled in rags, they had appeared overnight on the doorsteps of almshouses all over the city. Babies. Staring wide-eyed at mystified caretakers, demanding explanations.
But there were none to be had.
This was why Wendy Darling believed in magic. It was the only thing that made sense.
Opinions, however, were divided on the subject.
“Babies don’t come from magic. They come from mothers.”
Mortimer Black was seven and thought he knew everything. He was different from the other children because he had arrived with a note. The note gave his name, penned in a woman’s delicate hand, and he lorded it over the rest of them every chance he got. Mortimer knew he had a mother.
“Just because some babies come from mothers doesn’t mean they all do,” Wendy would argue. She was also seven, but she was very logical.
“Yes, they do all,” he would counter. “You’re just jealous ’cause you don’t have a real name.”
“You take that back! Wendy Darling is my real name!”
But she had her doubts.
Mrs. Healey, the caretaker, was fond of the name Wendy and thought her a darling child. Wendy, darling, fetch me the pitcher, please, she would say. Or, Wendy, darling, where has little Charlie run off to?
Wendy secretly thought Mortimer might have a point.
“You’re nobody,” he would tell her, laughing and poking her with a cruel finger. “You’re just a foundling!”
Fortunately, Wendy had an excellent right jab. That usually ended the matter, at least until she was ten. Ten was the year Wendy’s whole life ended before it had even begun.
I will be back soon to give my thoughts on this book which I have a feeling I’ll enjoy and provide more pictures!
Happy Reading and welcome to 2018!
Slainte
~Meg
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My Top 20 Favorite Books Read in 2017!

Good afternoon,
This year seems to have flown by and it’s been full of many wonderful memories. There have been some difficult moments and I struggled at times but overall in the reading sense, it was such a great year!
Last year I set a goal last year of reading 75 and only made it to 68. I was disappointed in myself because I was so sure I would make it and it was the first time in a long time that I didn’t reach my goal on Goodreads. This year I was determined to get to my goal of 80 and am happy to report that I exceeded it by 10! That’s 90 books of some authors that I already loved, some new ones and some genres that I tried because I don’t normally read them. I didn’t regret branching out and I found some new favorites! Not sure what my goal will be next year, ideally 100 but don’t want to push myself too much.
I also wanted to note that I think that whether you have read one book or hundreds, you are a winner because it’s not about the amount of books you’re reading but the quality and the enjoyment.
So without further ado, I present to you my list of 20 favorites for 2017
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1. Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon
2. The Silver Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey
3. Lady of Magick by Sylvia Izzo Hunter
4. No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes
5. A History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
6. The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman
7. A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
8. Where The Wild Things Are by Molly Harper
9. Hunted by Meagan Spooner
10. Once Upon A Summer Night by Nancy Scanlon
11. Templar Scrolls by Jasmine Walt and Ines Johnson
12. Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack
13. Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis
14. The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall
15. The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki
16. The Intuitives by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown
17. Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva
18. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
19. Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini
20. The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova
If any of these interest you, feel free to go here to learn about them!
I hope you had a wonderful reading year and if not, then maybe 2018 will be your year! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and it’s been such a pleasure to share my love of reading. Here’s to the new year and more chances to read great books!
Slainte
~Meg
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Enchantress of Numbers Review

Good evening,

I recently finished a book about Lady Ada Lovelace, considered to be the first computer programmer. I had not read much about Ada Lovelace before reading this book but when I was asked if I’d like to receive a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review, I couldn’t resist accepting. I’m glad I didn’t know much going into this book because it made the experience a lot more exciting and at times heart breaking. So without further ado, I present to you my thoughts.

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This is the fictional story of Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace whose father was Lord George Gordon Byron 6th Baron of Byron the famous poet and her mother Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke, 11th Baroness of Wentworth, whose marriage fell apart shortly after Ada was born.

She was raised mostly by her Mother’s doting Grandparents, a long range of Governesses, Tutors, occasionally her Mother and her Mother’s friends. Taught from a young age that her imagination is wicked, becoming a poet like her Father would be a terrible thing and encouraged to seek knowledge particularly of the Math, Science and Music variety, she had quite the interesting and yet at times lonely upbringing. Any time her imagination tried to soar, her Mother would clip those wings and repeatedly remind her that she’d better stay on the ground and keep her imagination in a locked box while also knowing how to be a well off lady.
It’s a wonder that she grew into being such a kind, considerate and creative woman with an amazing Mathematician . She became close friends with the brilliant Charles Babbage( known today as the Father of the PC), Charles Dickens, fellow Mathematician Mary Somerville (who was also her idol) and many other fascinating people that had a hand in helping shape the world today.
She was a Mother to three, loving wife, devoted friend and had a rocky relationship with her Mother. She was passionate about trying to get the funding for her friend Babbage’s Difference Engine to be shown to the world, even going so far as to write a series of notes as to he important this invention would be. One has to wonder how different life would be today if it had been successfully fully built at that time.
She was a woman ahead of her time who really cared about those around her and it’s a shame she didn’t get the fame she had hoped for and not just because she was Lord Byron’s daughter. Her life was cut short at the age of thirty six due to cancer which is tragic to say the least. One has to wonder what she may have accomplished had she lived to her seventies or eighties.

It was such a pleasure to read this book and I enjoyed getting insight into how Ada’s life may have been being a woman truly ahead of her time. This book has inspired me to want to know more about her and those she became friends with.

Well that wraps up my take on this fascinating book and I’m so glad I took a leap to give this book a shot. Thank you for dropping by to read about my bookish ramblings and I hope you had a great time. Be sure to tune in soon!

Happy Reading!

Slainte

~Meg

 

 

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In Which Mysteries Abound, Oh My!

Good evening,

As a kid and teen, mystery didn’t much interest me because I was more interested in books about adventure, magic and romance. I am still very much into those kinds of books though as I get older my tastes are expanding to appreciate some mystery novels, historical romance, fantasy and sci-fi.

I was so happy when I was contacted about receiving a digital copy of a book that is about a mystery set in the early 1900s on a large ship bound for England and I of course accepted!

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This first book is only $0.99! Buy Links:

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Flora Maguire is Governess to the young Edward, Viscount Trent who are both traveling on the maiden voyage of the SS Minneapolis from New York to London. They had attended his eldest sister’s wedding with his parents and are bound for home while his parents do a tour around the United States.

Flora notices something peculiar about a man and woman who seem to be fighting about something though she soon puts the thought away while caught in the excitement of taking off from the dock and trying to get settled into her shared quarters with her young charge. When Eddy goes off to dinner, Flora walks the deck for a bit of fresh air and encounters Bunny Harrington who she finds herself drawn to.

Not even a day later, Flora is walking the promenade deck and happens to glance down at a set of narrow steps that lead to the Salon Deck and at the bottom appears to be a pile of clothing. Curious about the bundle, she moves closer and finds to her shock that it’s actually a person, one of the people she noticed having a disagreement the day before and who is now dead.

A crew member shows up shortly afterwards and a Doctor is sent for and is deemed an accident. Flora is quite sure it wasn’t accidental though not many seem to believe her and think she may be just experiencing shock. Determined to find out if it really was accidental or murder, Flora sets out to discover what happened and is determined to get to the bottom of things.

With her growing attraction for Mr. Harrington, keeping an eye on her young charge and trying to solve a mystery, Flora has a lot on her plate. It will take determination, a bit of luck and perseverance to juggle this combination and she just may be in over her head though Flora is not one to give up easily and just may have a few tricks up her sleeve to hopefully solve this death and catch the potential culprit.

This book was such a pleasure to read. The descriptions were so well done that I could almost imagine being on the ship and seeing the events take place. Anita really has a way with words and I found myself really liking Flora. It’s amazing how just a few details can later be a big help and she could very well be a female version of Sherlock Holmes.

I also enjoyed reading about the budding romance between Bunny and Flora who were so adorable from the moment they met and give me lots of warm fuzzies.

If you’re looking for a cozy mystery set mostly on a ship in the late 19th Century that has adventure, humor, romance and wonderful descriptions of life during that time, I highly recommend this book!

I’m so glad there are two other books in this series for me to enjoy and I hope there may be more in the future!

Thank you so much for tuning in and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post. I’ve been trying to get better at updating my reading progress here more and it’s slowly starting to come together.

Until next time, happy reading!

Slainte

~Meg

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A Review of Hattie’s Home

Good afternoon,

I recently finished a book that takes place in the aftermath of World War 2 and talk about the feels! Before I gush about this book, I do want to mention that I generously received a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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It’s January 1947 and Hattie Wright is a young English woman who has been relieved of her military post as an ATS Sergeant stationed in Belgium for the last five years. After receiving a letter from her Mom, urging her to come home to Bermondsey because she’s nearly blind, Hattie complies.
Shocked by the destroyed buildings, beaten up by a gang of unruly kids and finding her Mom with a boyfriend living in the only habitable spot is one room in a house, she knows that crashing on the couch can only last for so long and she hopes she can get a life away from Bermondsey.
Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned so Hattie finds herself working back at the Alaska which is a factory that turns furs into clothing, reconnecting with old friends, making a few friends including a woman named Clara who is a new Mother whose parents refuse to help her due having a child with a half colored Australian, trying to stay away from some of the drama that a couple of nosy gals are stirring up and avoiding her ex-fiance as much as possible.
After a month or so, she’s fed up with living at her Mom’s and decides to find a new place to live. Turned away from all but the most expensive places, not wanting to be put on a two year wait list for prefab, she comes across some abandoned huts that gunners used during the war and figures one wouldn’t be so bad with a few improvements. A man named Joe who works as a chemist at the Alaska is already staying in one and grumbles about her being there but eventually learns to be fine with it. She finds herself bringing a small crowd of people to most of the other huts when word spreads and working together, help make the huts habitable.
Just when things start to look up for Hattie and her fellow neighbors, her ex and his family start making trouble because they want to own the huts and force the inhabitants to pay rent. When two huts are burned and a man is seriously injured helping people escape one hut, the people of this small community know that actions need to be taken before things get worse.
It will take the unlikely help of a street smart kid, someone loyal to Clara and staying one step ahead of the family to take care of the issue once and for all.

There’s so much that went on in this story and yet they are all connected which I really enjoyed. I couldn’t put this book down because I needed to know how Clara’s story would turn out after her parents refused to help. How Ronnie and his Mom Lou would find a way out of the slums when Lou is half mad from all the loss she has endured and Ronnie spends more time on the streets with his friends, causing mischief than in school. Whether Hattie would get out of the rut she finds herself in and who she might fall in love with. These are just some of the many parts of this book!

Equal parts inspiring and heartbreaking, it was such a fascinating book to read. I loved the sense of community, unexpected love, adventure and the power of friendship during the aftermath of World War 2.

This was my first time reading a book by Mary Gibson and I look forward to reading more by her!

So that concludes my ramblings for this book and I hope you’ve enjoyed them. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting shortly about another book I read recently!

Happy Reading!

~Meg

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