Spotlight on: A Mother Like Mine by Kate Hewitt

Today I’m shining the spotlight on a new book by Kate Hewitt. It’s the latest installment in her Hartly-by-the-Sea series. I enjoyed the first two and look forward to reading A Mother Like Mine:

Berkley Trade Paperback Original; August 8, 2017; $15


About A Mother Like Mine:

Following the unexpected death of her fiancé, Abby Rhodes returned to Hartley-by-the-Sea, finding solace in the familiarity of her childhood home. With her small son in tow, Abby has thrown herself into taking care of her ailing grandmother and running their family’s café. While this is not the future she once dreamed for herself, she and her son have managed to find a place in the world and life is finally getting back on track—that is, until the sudden return of her prodigal mother.

After years of estrangement, Laura Rhodes is determined to make things right with her daughter. Saying goodbye to her glamorous life in New York, Laura is unsure what to expect when she returns to Hartley-by-the-Sea. She knows that after a lifetime of absence and neglect, reestablishing a mother-daughter bond will be no easy task. But following a rocky start to their reluctant reunion, Abby slowly opens up as the heartbreaking secrets of Laura’s past come to light and she realizes there are depths to her mother that she never expected. And when tragedy strikes, the two women must rely on each other more than ever as their lives become increasingly intertwined.


About the author:

Kate Hewitt is the USA Today bestselling author of over 60 books of women’s fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England’s Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell. She also writes for Harlequin Presents.

She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women’s fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in a market town in Wales with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can read about her life at http://www.katehewitt.blogspot.co.uk.


 

All The Best People by Sonja Yoerg

  • Title:  All The Best People
  • Author:  Sonja Yoerg
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Pages:  368
  • Published:  May 2017 – Berkley Trade
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else. 

But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother. 

An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives. (Publisher)

My take:  Carole remembers her mother before life changed. She remembers her happy family when she was a little girl. But things changed when her little sister was born. Was what Carole believed to be family history the complete truth? And is she destined to live the same life as her mother? All The Best People is the story of a family and what happens when the matriarch begins to feel life slipping out of her grasp.

Sonja Yoerg’s novel had me from the first page. My heart broke for Carole as she was going through the frightening realization that her life was changing and she couldn’t do anything about it. She was terrified of ending up like her mother. The book alternates between Carole in the 1970s and Carole’s mother in the 1920s and ’30s – a satisfying way to show how treatment changed through the decades.

Given the serious topic I didn’t expect to enjoy the novel as much as I did. I looked forward to picking it up each time – a credit to the author’s storytelling skill. Recommended for fans of the author and family dramas.


About the author:

Sonja Yoerg grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge. She earned her Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, and studied learning in blue jays, kangaroo rats and spotted hyenas, among other species. Her non-fiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox (Bloomsbury USA) was published in 2001.

While her two daughters were young, Sonja taught in their schools in California. Now that they are in college, she writes full-time.

She currently lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband. Her novels, HOUSE BROKEN and MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE, are published by Penguin/NAL.


 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Echo of Twilight by Judith Kinghorn

the-echo-of-twilight

Description

Spotlight/US Giveaway: The French War Bride by Robin Wells

the french war bride

Description:  Nazi-occupied Paris serves as the backdrop for Robin Wells’s gorgeous new story of compassion, betrayal, and forgiveness. In THE FRENCH WAR BRIDE (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; August 2, 2016; $16) one fierce French woman, and an engaged American army doctor—both with promises to keep—become unexpectedly and permanently entangled. But their story is more complicated than it appears on the surface. . .

Fast-forward to present day. Though she has lived a good life—blessed with a doting husband and many grandchildren—Kat Morgan has never fully recovered from being abandoned by her first love and former fiancé, Jack, who returned home from World War II with a French war bride and a baby. Fearing she has little time left to learn the truth, Kat travels back to Wedding Tree to confront the other woman, Amelie Michaud O’Connor. What happened in France to make Jack jilt her in such an unscrupulous manner?  

As the two women sit together, Amelie tells of coming of age in Paris under Nazi occupation. The daughter of a linguistics professor who taught her English and German, Amelie has just begun an innocent romance with Joshua, a Jewish Austrian immigrant, when the Germans invade France.

With Paris under the thumb of the Nazis, Amelie’s world changes overnight. She loses her father, her home, and all her possessions. She gets a job as a maid at a Parisian hotel housing German army officers, but she is doing more than cleaning rooms; she is spying for la Resistance. 

But, like Jack, Amelie has her own promises to keep. So when she overhears him in a church confessional, she thinks she has found the answer to her prayers, and a way to ensure the future of her newborn baby. As a spy, her whole life has been a lie; what is the harm in telling one more—especially if it is for the good of the child? How could Amelie have known how deeply she would unwittingly draw Jack into the tangled web of her life—or that she would fall desperately in love with him?


About the author:  National bestselling author Robin Wells is a winner of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, and the HOLT Medallion, among others.


Praise for The Wedding Tree series by Robin Wells:

“Vibrant characters and a beautifully detailed storyline combine in this compelling tale spanning generations. The alternating POVs are intricately woven together in this tale of love, loss, forgiveness and renewal.”—RT Book Reviews TOP PICK

 

“Women’s fiction fans will appreciate this character-driven story of two generations of women.”

Library Journal

 

Heroes & Heartbreakers “Women’s Fiction Best Bets for December 2015”


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the french war bride

The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig – PLUS a two book US Giveaway

  • the cake therapist (6:2 Berkley)Title:  The Cake Therapist: A novel
  • Author:  Judith Fertig
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction; Magical Realism
  • Published:  June 2015 – Berkley Trade
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Claire “Neely” O’Neill is an extraordinarily talented pastry chef.  But at a time when her life outside her kitchen seems to be falling apart, Neely moves back to her small Midwestern hometown from NYC to open a bakery and work through the heartache that caused her to flee her life in New York. The bakery, Rainbow Cake, named after her signature ROYGBIV confection, is perfect, intimate, and just what she’s always dreamed of. 

But Neely has a special gift beyond making the perfect Rainbow Cake: while every great chef can taste shimmering, elusive flavors that most of us miss, Neely can “taste” feelings—cinnamon makes you remember; plum is pleased with itself; orange is a wake-up call. When flavor and feeling give Neely a glimpse of someone’s inner self, she can customize her creations to help that person celebrate love, overcome fear, even mourn a devastating loss.
 

As she meets her new customers, Neely has a sense of secrets, some dark, some perhaps with tempting possibilities. A recurring flavor of alarming intensity signals to her perfect palate a long-ago story that must be told.  As she tastes her way through others’ mysterious pasts, she largely ignores the pain and uncertainty in her own.  Neely has always been able to help everyone else, but getting to the end of this story may be just what she needs to help herself.   (publisher)


My take:  If you enjoy what I like to call foodie fiction I think you’ll like The Cake Therapist. Judith Fertig combined characters, settings and problems of everyday people all resulting in a delicious novel. And she added a dash of magical realism that made for an even tastier story.
I loved the quietness of the novel – even in times of big, life-changing events. It seemed as though one of the characters (Sr. Agnes) was reading to me. Some pretty awful things happened but the tone of Fertig’s writing always kept me turning the pages. Sometimes when that happens in a novel I have to put the book down for a while. That didn’t happen once in The Cake Therapist.
My favorite character was Neely. She had such a positive, upbeat attitude that she made the people around her even better – as well as her baked goods. The Cake Therapist has two storylines that eventually come together, thanks to Neely. The possibility of finding closure and a new beginning made this novel a satisfying read. Recommended.

About the author:

Cookbook author Judith Fertig grew up in the Midwest, went to La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris and The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and now lives in Kansas City. Described by Saveur Magazine as a “heartland cookbook icon,” Fertig writes cookbooks that reflect her love of bread, baking, barbecue, and the fabulous foods of the Heartland.

Fertig’s food and lifestyle writing has appeared in more than a dozen publications, including Bon Appetit, Saveur and The New York Times. You can read some of her cookbooks like novels–the fabulously photographed Heartland, the award-winning and James Beard Awards-nominated Prairie Home Cooking (a “tour de force,” says Saveur), the encylopedic All-American Desserts, and Prairie Home Breads. Her IACP Cookbook Award-winning The Back in the Swing Cookbook (with Barbara C.Unell) takes you on a delicious daily journey to get you back in the swing after breast cancer.


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