30 In Books

What I Read This Month: March

Hello all! I apparently was on a hardcore historical fiction kick this month, which I didn’t realize until writing this review.  I’ve always been a big historical fiction fan, but I’ve traditionally stuck to a few time periods. This month though, I branched out and explored some new eras.

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner “Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind  ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie.”

I 85% liked this one. The other 15% of me was not such a huge fan.  The story is mainly told through the eyes of Violet and Audrey, two women working in the secretarial pool of a movie company.  Violet was a bit grating at times and maybe more conniving than I like my characters and I’m not sure that I loved the ending, but overall, this was an enjoyable read.

The Stargazer’s Sister by Carrie Brown “A nineteenth-century story of female empowerment before its time, based on the life of Caroline Herschel, sister of the great composer and astronomer William Herschel and an astronomer in her own right.”

If I say I didn’t like this book, does that make me a bad woman? Because I didn’t like it. At all.  I was not a fan of Caroline, who as written, doesn’t really embody my idea of female empowerment. I’d skip this one.

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams “Each of the three Schuyler sisters has her own world-class problems, but in the autumn of 1966, Pepper Schuyler’s problems are in a class of their own. When Pepper fixes up a beautiful and rare vintage Mercedes and sells it at auction, she thinks she’s finally found a way to take care of herself and the baby she carries, the result of an affair with a married, legendary politician. But the car’s new owner turns out to have secrets of her own.”

This is the second book by Beatriz Williams that I’ve read and, just like the first one, I was a big fan! Pepper’s storyline was interesting, but the real focus of the book was the interesting backstory of the woman who purchases the car. It kept me guessing right up until the final twist was revealed and I would highly recommend it just for that part of the book!

The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent “It’s the 19th century on the Gulf Coast, a time of opportunity and lawlessness. After escaping the Texas brothel where she’d been a virtual prisoner, Lucinda Carter heads for Middle Bayou to meet her lover, who has a plan to make them both rich, chasing rumors of a pirate’s buried treasure. Meanwhile Nate Cannon, a young Texas policeman with a pure heart and a strong sense of justice, is on the hunt for a ruthless killer named McGill who has claimed the lives of men, women, and even children across the frontier. Who–if anyone–will survive when their paths finally cross?”

This one was not really my cup of tea. It was a little too much for me. I didn’t especially like the characters.  To me, Lucinda was fairly unsympathetic, especially as the book came to an end. And, honestly, I wasn’t much of a fan of the “good guys” either. The plot was pretty fast paced and kept you guessing, but overall, I’d skip it.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah “In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France, but they do. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive. Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.”

Oh boy. This one was so good, although maybe a little more gritty than I was expecting. But when you’re dealing with Nazi-occupied France, I’m not sure you can have a novel be anything else.  The characters were all very well written and the plot was fast paced and engaging.  It’s one of those books that you try to relate to because everyone in it is so real, but you quickly realize that it’s practically unimaginable. I’d highly recommend this one.

What have you read lately? Any recommendations?

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