Promises of the Heart by Nan Rossiter plus a US Giveaway

Promises of the Heart by Nan Rossiter

Publication date:  February 4, 2020 – Harper Paperbacks

ARC courtesy of the author

Description:  Macey and Ben Samuelson have much to be thankful for: great friends, a beautiful—if high-maintenance—Victorian house on idyllic Tybee Island, and a rock-solid marriage. The only thing missing is what they want the most. After her fifth miscarriage in six years, Macey worries that the family they’ve always dreamed of might be out of reach. Her sister suggests adoption, but Macey and Ben aren’t interested in pursuing that path…until a three-legged Golden Retriever named Keeper wags his way into their home and their hearts.

Harper Wheaton just got kicked out of another foster home and it won’t be the last if she keeps losing her temper. She’s not sure why she gets mad; maybe because no family seems to want a nine-year-old girl with a heart condition. She loves her social worker, Cora, but knows that staying with her forever isn’t an option. Will she ever find a family to call her own?

As a physician’s assistant, Macey meets lots of kids. Harper Wheaton’s a tough one, but Macey knows the little girl has already struggled more than most. It gets Macey and Ben to thinking about all the children who need homes. Then Harper goes missing, and one thing is suddenly crystal clear: life is complicated—but love doesn’t have to be. (publisher)

My take:  Promises of the Heart is one of those novels that surprised me by how quickly it worked itself into my heart. I grew to love the characters and worried how life would go for them all.

Nine-year-old Harper’s mother died years ago. She’s never met her father and she’s had heart-breaking foster situations. Ben and Macey have just suffered another miscarriage. All they’ve wanted is a family to fill their big Victorian fixer-upper on Tybee Island. Is it possible that dream will ever come true? Reading Nan Rossiter’s story about people longing to be part of a family felt like being wrapped in a warm hug. The more time I spent with Macey, Ben and Harper the longer I wanted that hug to continue.

This is a story of keeping faith, putting oneself out there when it would be easier to shut the world out to lessen the chance for more emotional pain. I loved Promises of the Heart and recommend it to anyone who loves an emotional, heartwarming and uplifting story about family.


US Giveaway

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The Vineyards of Champagne; US Giveaway

The Vineyards of Champagne by Juliet Blackwell

Published:  January 21, 2020 – Berkley

Book provided by the publisher and NetGalley

Description: Deep within the labyrinth of caves that lies below the lush, rolling vineyards of the Champagne region, an underground city of women and children hums with life. Forced to take shelter from the unrelenting onslaught of German shellfire above, the bravest and most defiant women venture out to pluck sweet grapes for the harvest. But wine is not the only secret preserved in the cool, dark cellars…

In present day, Rosalyn Acosta travels to Champagne to select vintages for her Napa-based employer. Rosalyn doesn’t much care for champagne–or France, for that matter. Since the untimely death of her young husband, Rosalyn finds it a challenge to enjoy anything at all. But as she reads through a precious cache of WWI letters and retraces the lives lived in the limestone tunnels, Rosalyn will unravel a mystery hidden for decades…and find a way to savor her own life again. (publisher)

My take:  The Vineyards of Champagne is Juliet Blackwell’s story of Rosalyn, a young woman adjusting to life as a widow. The wine seller she works for in Napa sends her to Champagne to obtain new wines from small vineyards. On the flight to France she meets Emma, an Australian woman who shares a remarkable story of the brave people of France during WWI. She asks Rosalyn if she’d like to help solve a mystery that involves the area of Champagne and letters between a soldier, a young woman, and an Australian marraine de guerre (war godmother). This is a story of learning to move forward through grief when it would be so easy not to let go of it. My heart broke for what the French people endured during the war years and yet they continued to bring in the harvest and make the wine. The ability to put one foot in front of the other was inspiring. The Vineyards of Champagne touched my heart and I recommend it to fans of Juliet Blackwell and Historical Fiction.


US Giveaway

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The Sweeney Sisters

The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan

Expected publication:  April 28, 2020 – William Morrow

E-Galley courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss

Description:

Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney grew up as a happy threesome in the idyllic seaside town of Southport, Connecticut. But their mother’s death from cancer fifteen years ago tarnished their golden-hued memories, and the sisters drifted apart. Their one touchstone is their father, Bill Sweeney, an internationally famous literary lion and college professor universally adored by critics, publishers, and book lovers. When Bill dies unexpectedly one cool June night, his shell-shocked daughters return to their childhood home. They aren’t quite sure what the future holds without their larger-than-life father, but they do know how to throw an Irish wake to honor a man of his stature.

But as guests pay their respects and reminisce, one stranger, emboldened by whiskey, has crashed the party. It turns out that she too is a Sweeney sister.

When Washington, DC based journalist Serena Tucker had her DNA tested on a whim a few weeks earlier, she learned she had a 50% genetic match with a childhood neighbor—Maggie Sweeney of Southport, Connecticut. It seems Serena’s chilly WASP mother, Birdie, had a history with Bill Sweeney—one that has remained totally secret until now.

Once the shock wears off, questions abound. What does this mean for William’s literary legacy? Where is the unfinished memoir he’s stashed away, and what will it reveal? And how will a fourth Sweeney sister—a blond among redheads—fit into their story? (publisher)

My take: The Sweeney Sisters is the story of three siblings mourning the death of their father, a famous author whose estate is in disarray and it would appear he had some monumental secrets. As they sort through the fallout they are faced with welcoming another sister into their fold. This is just one of the challenges they must deal with as each sister grapples with personal upheaval at the same time. Set in a tony Connecticut town, with the expected well-heeled characters, The Sweeney Sisters is an enjoyable novel that I recommend to fans of messy stories about family, sisters and secrets.


 

An Equal Justice by Chad Zunker

An Equal Justice by Chad Zunker

Published: November 2019 – Thomas & Mercer

Book provided by the publisher and Little Bird Publicity

Description:

An ambitious Stanford graduate, David Adams has begun a fast-track career at Austin’s most prestigious law firm. It’s a personal victory for the rising superstar—a satisfying reversal from his impoverished and despairing childhood. Now he has the life he’s always wanted: an extravagant salary, a high-rise condo, a luxury SUV, and no limit to how far he can go in the eyes of the top partners.

But after the shocking suicide of a fellow associate—one who, in his final hours, offered David an ominous warning—he feels the pull of powerful forces behind the corporation’s enviable trappings. The suicide leads unexpectedly to David’s discovery of a secret enclave of the city’s homeless, where he can’t help but feel an affinity to these outcast souls. Nor can he ignore the feeling that they hold the key to the truth behind a dark conspiracy.

When one of his new street friends is murdered, David’s clear doubts about his employer start shifting into a dark reality. Now torn between two worlds, David must surrender all that he’s achieved to fight for a larger cause of justice—and become his firm’s most dangerous acquisition. (publisher)

My take: David Adams thinks he’s found his dream job. He’s fresh out of law school attorney and star of the group of new hires at the prestigious Austin law firm. He works long hours and finds time to acquire a beautiful girl friend, a high-end vehicle, and a luxury condo. Things are falling into place. And then strange things begin to happen forcing David down an unexpected path as he is pulled into the world of his new friend, Benny.

I thought An Equal Justice seemed like one of those puzzles you have to keep turning to get the moveable parts into a neat cube – except the parts were turning themselves and keeping David wondering what the heck is going on here? Some of the parts are attorneys at the high-powered law firm, homeless people, and a blackmail scheme. I really liked the short chapters that kept me turning the pages to get to the exciting end and had me looking forward to the next book in the David Adams series.


About the author:

Chad Zunker is the author of the bestselling Sam Callahan thriller series: The Tracker, Shadow Shepherd, and Hunt the Lion. He studied journalism at the University of Texas, where he was also on the football team. He has worked for some of the country’s most powerful law firms and also has invented baby products that are sold all over the world. He lives in Austin with his wife, Katie, and their three daughters and is hard at work on the next David Adams legal thriller. For more information on the author and his writing, visit http://www.chadzunker.com.


 

Westering Women by Sandra Dallas

Westering Women by Sandra Dallas

Published:  January 2020 – St. Martin’s Press

Finished copy courtesy of the publisher

Description:

From the bestselling author of Prayers for Sale, Sandra Dallas’ Westering Women is an inspiring celebration of sisterhood on the perilous Overland Trail

“If you are an adventuresome young woman of high moral character and fine health, are you willing to travel to California in search of a good husband?”

It’s February, 1852, and all around Chicago, Maggie sees postings soliciting “eligible women” to travel to the gold mines of Goosetown. A young seamstress with a small daughter, she has nothing to lose. She joins forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west.

None are prepared for the hardships they face on the trek or for the strengths they didn’t know they possessed. Maggie discovers she’s not the only one looking to leave dark secrets behind. And when her past catches up with her, it becomes clear a band of sisters will do whatever it takes to protect one of their own. (publisher)

My take:  Westering Women is the story of a group of women who left Chicago in 1852 and headed to California with the goal of finding a husband. They were warned by the ministers leading the group that it would be an arduous journey. Almost to a woman the challenges didn’t worry them as much as the hardships they left behind in Chicago. At least, that’s what they thought at first.

Sandra Dallas put me in the story as part of the group and it was easy to feel the harsh environment of the experience. She brought to life several women who assumed leadership roles and faced obstacles head on. I appreciated the Acknowledgements that included her sources for the Overland Trail. Westering Women is a good story and I recommend it to fans of historical fiction about the American West.