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

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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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It’s You by Jane Porter

  • It's You (6:2 Berkley)Title:  It’s You: A novel
  • Author:  Jane Porter
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  June 2, 2015 – Berkley Trade
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Jane Porter’s new contemporary novel is about Ali, a young woman in the depths of grief more than a year after suffering a terrible loss. Ali is a dentist and lives in Scottsdale, AZ. Soon after the loss her mother unexpectedly died. Her father lives hours away in Napa, CA. When he is injured in a fall Ali goes to help him in any way she can.

Ali’s dad isn’t the easiest guy to be around and even injured he seems not to appreciate her presence. To top it off he seems to want to have his friends at the retirement community around all the time – leaving little time for Ali and him to be alone. One of his friends is an irritable woman in her nineties. Ali doesn’t seem to be able to say or do anything that is taken the right way. Once Ali decides not to take personally the way her father and Edie (the older woman) treat her, things improve. In fact, Ali and Edie strike up a rather stiff friendship.

It turns out Ali can learn a lot from Edie’s life story and possibly find that life has much to offer her. I learned a good deal from Edie’s story. It involves pre and post WWII Germany and the Germans who were part of the Resistance.

Porter’s novel is filled with interesting characters but my favorite was Edie. She had an amazing and inspiring story to share. Recommended to fans of Jane Porter and Women’s Fiction.


About the author:

JanePorter_photo01_1200px_300dpiJane Porter is the USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels, including The Good Wife, The Good Daughter, The Good Woman, She’s Gone Country, Mrs. Perfect, and Flirting with Forty ( the basis for the Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear). Jane lives in Southern California.


The House on Mermaid Point by Wendy Wax

the house on mermaid point

  • Title:  The House on Mermaid Point
  • Author:  Wendy Wax
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  July 2014 – Berkley Trade
  • Source:  Publicist

Synopsis:  Maddie, Avery, and Nikki first got to know one another—perhaps all too well—while desperately restoring a beachfront mansion to its former grandeur. Now they’re putting that experience to professional use. But their latest project has presented some challenges they couldn’t have dreamed up in their wildest fantasies—although the house does belong to a man who actually was Maddie’s wildest fantasy once . . .

Rock-and-roll legend “William the Wild” Hightower may be past his prime, estranged from his family, and creatively blocked, but he’s still worshiped by fans—which is why he guards his privacy on his own island in the Florida Keys. He’s not thrilled about letting this crew turn his piece of paradise into a bed-and-breakfast for a reality show . . . though he is intrigued by Maddie. Hard as that is for her to believe as a newly single woman who can barely manage a dog paddle in the dating pool.

But whether it’s an unexpected flirtation with a bona fide rock star, a strained mother-daughter relationship, or a sudden tragedy, these women are in it together. The only thing that might drive them apart is being trapped on a houseboat with one bathroom . . .  (publisher)

My take:  The synopsis tells you everything you need to know – especially if this is your first experience with Wendy Wax’s  Florida renovation series. I’m not sure if there’s a name for this series.

I loved The House on Mermaid Point. The women find themselves intrigued and challenged by the new project on the private island. They’re all getting along better than ever which helps when it comes to tackling the renovation as well as personal issues. With each renovation project the women have experienced personal growth and become more confident.

In this book, Madeline shines as she overcomes her shyness and reaches out to help the owner of the island, William. But will she be glad she took the chance? Deirdre and Avery (mother and daughter) are getting along better than they’d ever thought possible. Maddy’s grown daughter Kyra and her toddler son, Dustin, continue to try to ignore the paparazzi who hound them in hopes of getting photos. Dustin’s father is a famous film star that Kyra met on a movie project. Nicole is still in love with Joe but, given her two failed marriages, doesn’t want to marry him.

On top of all they’re going through they are expected to reno the buildings on the island in a few short months – the hottest months of the year. I loved how Wendy Wax brought the women back together and through the project. Their television show is titled Do Over – and, to a certain extent, that’s what each of the characters is doing with her life. The House on Mermaid Point is an entertaining novel that packs an emotional punch and left me hoping for another Florida project for the women ASAP.

If you haven’t read the previous novels in the series: Ten Beach Road; Ocean Beach; Christmas at the Beach (a novella) you won’t be lost in this book but I recommend reading them in order.