Posted in 19th Century 20th Century

And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer

Here’s an odd duck I came across yesterday. The strange title coupled with the enormous girth of this book caught my eye in the Historical Fiction section. I was also intrigued with the octogenarian author’s life and decided to do a little research. I found a nice review of the book at Novel Matters with a ‘strong recommendation’. And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer BOOK DESCRIPTION (Wikipedia) And Ladies of the Club recounts the lives of a group of women in Waynesboro, Ohio, who begin a study club. Over the years the club evolves into a influential community service organization in the town. The book spans decades in the lives of the women involved in the club, between 1868 and 1932. Numerous…

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Posted in 19th Century 20th Century Gilded Age Non-Fiction

Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners

This one is non-fiction, but caught my eye today. Looks like an interesting biography…her life would make an intriguing novel! Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners by Laura Claridge BOOK DESCRIPTION “What would Emily Post do?” Even today, Americans cite the author of the perennial bestseller Etiquette as a touchstone for proper behavior. But who was the woman behind the myth, the authority on good manners who has outlasted all comers? Award-winning author Laura Claridge presents the first authoritative biography of the unforgettable woman who changed the mindset of millions of Americans, an engaging book that sweeps from the Gilded Age to the 1960s. Born shortly after the Civil War, Emily Post was a daughter of high society, the only…

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Posted in 20th Century WWII

Wishlist: All the Light We Cannot See

As I’m browsing Pinterest I came across this one in a “Top Reads Set in France” post and decided to add it to my wishlist. I’ve seen it all over the place and plan to get it on audio, assuming the narrator is compatible with my ears! All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr BOOK DESCRIPTION From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When…

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Posted in 20th Century New Books Russian Revolution

New from Janet Fitch: The Revolution of Marina M.

I managed to snag an early copy of this 800+ page tome from the author of White Oleander! The Revolution of Marina M. by Janet Fitch Coming November 7, 2017 From the mega-bestselling author of White Oleander and Paint It Black, a sweeping historical saga of the Russian Revolution, as seen through the eyes of one young woman St. Petersburg, New Year’s Eve, 1916. Marina Makarova is a young woman of privilege who aches to break free of the constraints of her genteel life, a life about to be violently upended by the vast forces of history. Swept up on these tides, Marina will join the marches for workers’ rights, fall in love with a radical young poet, and betray everything she holds dear, before…

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Posted in 20th Century Depression Era Reviews

review: Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road

Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road by Hays and McFall What if Bonnie and Clyde didn’t meet their end in 1934 as the newspapers reported? This imaginative alternate account of the story extends their tale to a round of further adventures in which the notorious lovers receive a sort of redemption of their past deeds. They’ve been forcefully recruited by a mysterious government official of dubious credentials, and have been entrusted with a dangerous and seemingly impossible task–tracking down and eliminating an assassin aimed at the White House. From the dusty roads of small-town USA to glittery New York City, Bonnie and Clyde take on various personas, blustering their way through schemes conjured up in a pinch. Their own fate, that of their family, and even…

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Posted in 20th Century Reviews WWII

review: In Farleigh Field

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen BOOK DESCRIPTION: “World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility. As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the…

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Posted in 20th Century First Line Friday WWII

First Line Friday: 5/26/17

“Half an hour before Diana Snyder died, she tidied up her desk in the typists’ office of the Cabinet War Rooms.” MR. CHURCHILL’S SECRETARY by Susan Elia MacNeal “London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords…

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Posted in 20th Century Reviews

review: Bride of Pendorric

Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt Nineteen-year-old Favel Farrington has lived most of her life with her parents on the Italian island of Capri. Having spent her younger years at the boarding school her mother attended in England, she never thought she’d go back, but her life is forever changed when Roc Pendorric of Cornwall walks into her father’s art studio. Before long she is married and journeying to an ancient and formidable ancestral home to meet complete strangers who are now her family. Though she has a warm welcome from most of the family and staff, her newly acquired 12-year-old twin nieces are a source of curiosity and sometimes annoyance. While the exuberant Lowella seems eager to charm, the melancholy Hyson tends to trouble…

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Posted in 20th Century Cold War First Line Friday

First Line Friday: 5/19/17

“Rebecca Hoffmann was summoned by the secret police on a rainy Monday in 1961.” EDGE OF ETERNITY by Ken Follett In Fall of Giants and Winter of the World, Ken Follett followed the fortunes of five international families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—as they made their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements, and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution—and rock and roll. East German teacher Rebecca Hoffmann discovers she’s been spied on by the Stasi for years and commits an impulsive act that will affect her family for the rest of their lives. . . ….

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Posted in 20th Century America Depression Era Reviews

review: A Wilder Rose

A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series has been a staple in children’s literature for decades, but how many readers know the truth behind its authorship? In A Wilder Rose, Albert takes readers through the years leading up to the stock market crash and through the Great Depression—the years in which the Wilders and their adult daughter lived together on their farm, Rocky Ridge, in Mansfield, Missouri. Rose Wilder Lane was a prolific writer and journalist, churning out newspaper and magazine articles for top dollar. Unfortunately, she lost a great deal of money in crash, and found the writer’s market, which had been plentiful, drying up across the board. As part of a long-ago debt to…

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Posted in 20th Century First Line Friday

First Line Friday: 01/27/17

“It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told.” THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN by Kate Morton A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book — a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and with very little to go on, “Nell” sets out on a journey to England to try to trace her story, to find her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on…

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Posted in 20th Century Cold War Reviews

review: West of the Wall

West of the Wall by Marcia Preston The year after the Berlin Wall was constructed, Trudy Hulst and her family were divided when her husband, a political activist, made his escape to West Berlin. As a defector’s wife, she found herself in danger of imprisonment and soon followed Rolf over the wall, leaving her one-year-old son in the care of his frail grandmother. Once she acclimates to life outside the wall, her number one priority is recovering her son, Stefan, and her mother-in-law, Gisela–a feat that seems impossible. But with the visit of US President John F. Kennedy, she finds renewed hope. She must navigate the world of politics and media to form a plan–legal or illegal–to reunite her family. If not for the fascinating…

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