Spotlight on: Have You Met Nora? by Nicole Blades

Today it is my pleasure to shine the Bookfan spotlight on Have You Met Nora? by Nicole Blades.

Kensington; November 2017; $15.00; Trade Paperback

Description: (Spotlight content provided by the publicist)

She’s blossomed from wealthy surgeon’s beautiful daughter to elegant socialite to being the top fashion stylist in the country. And Nora Mackenzie is only days away from marrying into one of New York’s richest, most powerful families. But her fairy tale rise is rooted in an incredible deception—one scandal away from turning her perfect world to ashes . . .

What no one knows is that Nora is the biracial daughter of a Caribbean woman and a long-gone white father. Adopted—and abused—by her mother’s employer, then sent to an exclusive boarding school to buy her silence, Nora found that “passing” as a white woman could give her everything she never had. Every golden opportunity she seized and every deception she worked kept that powerless, forgotten girl forever in the past.

Now, an ex-classmate who Nora betrayed many years ago has returned to her life to even the score. She’s a woman who won’t be bought off, reasoned against, or pleaded with. Her machinations are turning Nora’s privilege into one gilded trap after another. Running out of choices, Nora must decide how far she will go to protect a lie or give up and finally face the truth.


Praise for Have You Met Nora?
“Emotionally intense. Nicole Blades weaves a compelling web of secrets as a desperate woman struggles to overcome her past and secure her future, no matter the price.” —Colleen Faulkner, author of What Makes a Family
*

“…stunning, riveting, and positively unpredictable. This is a deft and searing commentary on identity and race. Nicole Blades has written a book that feels effortless to read and yet pulls no punches, offering a point of view that is piercing and uncompromising. You will be thinking about this book long after it’s over.” —Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, After I Do and Forever Interrupted


About the author:  

Nicole Blades launched her journalism career working at Essence magazine, co-founded the online magazine SheNetworks and worked as an editor at ESPN and Women’s Health. Her essays have been featured in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, MarieClaire.com, WashingtonPost.com, Health, SELF, and Buzzfeed.  Blades can be heard co-hosting her new podcast, “Hey, Sis!,” and lives in Connecticut with her husband and their son.  Here is her most recent piece in The New York Times: Help! It’s Wear Your Teacher’s Favorite Color Day.


Advertisements

US Giveaway: Summer Dance by Nan Rossiter

My review of Summer Dance posted on Tuesday, May 30 (click the title for review). Author Nan Rossiter has generously offered a copy of her new book to one lucky winner – scroll down for the US Giveaway!

Description:  New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nan Rossiter brings together characters from her acclaimed novel Nantucket in a powerful, heartwarming love story that bridges past and present.

When Liam Tate was seven years old, his uncle Cooper opened his heart and his Nantucket home to him. In the intervening decades, Liam has found both love and loss on the island, and since learning of his son Levi’s existence, a new kind of happiness. Yet one piece of his family history remains elusive—the long-ago romance between his uncle and Sally Adams. Now Sally has a revelation that sets the whole town abuzz: She’s publishing a book about what happened during the summer when she and Cooper first met, painting a picture so vivid it feels like yesterday . . .

In 1969, Winston Ellis Cooper III lands on Nantucket with only a duffel bag and a bottle of Jack Daniels. He finds a sparsely furnished beach cottage, about as far from Vietnam as he can get. But even here, Cooper can’t withdraw from the world entirely. Especially once his eyes meet Sally’s in the flickering lights of a summer dance. The effects of that fiery affair can still be felt decades later. And as the story unfolds, there are new lessons for all to learn about life’s triumphs and heartaches, and about loving enough to let go.

US Giveaway

Please click here and fill out the form

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

Giveaway ends on June 9, 2017


 

Summer Dance by Nan Rossiter

  • Title:  Summer Dance
  • Series:  Nantucket #2
  • Author:  Nan Rossiter
  • Pages:  352
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  May 2017 – Kensington
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Summer Dance is the story of Sally Adams. We met Sally in the first book of the Nantucket series. She was the love of the protagonist’s uncle Coop in that book (Nantucket).

Sally has always wanted to write a book and decides that a memoir would be the way to go. Her life was deeply impacted by the death of her mother when Sally was a little girl. Her father made sure she was fed, clothed and educated but wasn’t able to give her much direction in the important things in the life of a girl. He did tell her that humans “make mistakes. Hopefully, we learn and move on…and God forgives us.” The decisions regarding her education and religion would guide her life for decades. That had positive and negative consequences but all made for a good memoir.

Sally could be a frustrating character but, at the same time, very human. She seemed to find forgiveness for almost everyone in her life but herself. Guilt consumed her and she felt undeserving of true happiness because of her sins. From the time she was a little girl she knew if she wasn’t good she wouldn’t get to heaven to see her mother someday. Sally strove to be a ‘good Catholic’. So, while it was frustrating for this 21st century Catholic to read about those mid-20th century days I also felt sympathy for Sal. Ultimately she was a good person who tried her best and had many people who loved her.

I like a ‘book within a book’ novel and Nan Rossiter did a great job with it. Sally’s life was filled with good times as well as times of heartache – much like anyone. Summer Dance is a wonderful companion to the first book and I hope this saga will continue. There are a couple of loose ends at the close of the novel that seem a natural lead-in to a book 3.

Recommended to fans of the author, a Nantucket setting, and family sagas. Also included is a Reading Group Guide as well as a sneak peek chapter of the first book in the series.


Advance praise for Summer Dance:

“Rossiter returns to the characters from her novel Nantucket in this coming-of-age story.” – Publishers Weekly 

“Continuing the story started in Nantucket, Rossiter revisits the New England island with a quiet look back at one woman’s past with the man she loved…It’ s a pleasant love story fit for a summer read.”– RT Book Reviews 


About the author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nan Rossiter’s adult fiction is often compared to the work of Nicholas Sparks – especially her first novel, THE GIN & CHOWDER CLUB. Nan’s second novel, WORDS GET IN THE WAY, is an uplifting story about a single mom whose young son has autism. Her third novel, MORE THAN YOU KNOW, touches on the bonds of sisterhood and the tragedy and despair of Alzheimer’s. UNDER A SUMMER SKY ties the first three books together in an unexpected way, and NANTUCKET touches on the difference time can make, the truths that never alter, and the bittersweet second chances that arrive just in time to steer a heart back home. FIREFLY SUMMER is an uplifting story of the resilience of sisterhood and the bright glimpses of joy and solace that, like fireflies after rain, can follow the deepest heartaches, and Nan’s new novel, SUMMER DANCE, brings together characters from her acclaimed novel NANTUCKET in a powerful, heartwarming love story that bridges past and present.

Nan is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and is also the author-illustrator of several books for children including, most recently, THE FO’C’SLE: HENRY BESTON’S OUTERMOST HOUSE, called “a lovely vision of one man’s communion with nature” by Publisher’s Weekly.

Nan lives in rural Connecticut with her husband, two handsome sons and a black Lab named Finnegan.

To learn more visit http://www.nanrossiter.com


 

Review/US Giveaway: Firefly Summer by Nan Rossiter

  • Firefly Summer (7:26)Title:  Firefly Summer
  • Author:  Nan Rossiter
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  352
  • Published:  July 2016 – Kensington
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  The close-knit Quinn siblings enjoyed the kind of idyllic childhood that seems made for greeting cards, spending each summer at Whit’s End, the family’s home on Cape Cod. Then comes the summer of 1964, warm and lush after a rainy spring—perfect firefly weather. Sisters Birdie, Remy, Sailor, Piper, and their brother, Easton, delight in catching the insects in mason jars to make blinking lanterns. Until, one terrible night, tragedy strikes.

Decades later, the sisters have carved out separate lives on the Cape. Through love and heartbreak, health issues, raising children, and caring for their aging parents, they have supported each other, rarely mentioning their deep childhood loss. But one evening, as they sit together at Whit’s End to watch the sun set, the gathering fireflies elicit memories of that long-ago night, and a tumult of regrets, guilt, and secrets tumble out.

Poignant yet hopeful, Firefly Summer is an uplifting story of the resilience of sisterhood and the bright glimpses of joy and solace that, like fireflies after rain, can follow even the deepest heartaches.  (publisher)

My take:  I’m from a big family of seven girls and one boy so I love novels about siblings, especially sisters. Nan Rossiter’s new novel is about four sisters in their late-fifties to mid-sixties. When they were young, more than fifty years earlier, tragedy struck the family and had a profound effect on each sibling.

Birdie, the oldest feels responsible for the tragedy and has increasingly self-medicated with wine. It’s taking a toll on her marriage as well as her relationship with her sisters. Remy was widowed young and made her life’s focus raising her three children. Now she has an unexpected chance of love. Sailor, having just filed for divorce from her philandering husband, has realized her dream of living on the Cape near her sisters. Piper, the youngest sister, is feeling the physical changes women of a certain age go through and is a bit disconcerted by it all.

I loved reading Firefly Summer. The Cape setting was lovely. There’s so much I identified with – a bit in each sister. I found that so enjoyable. There’s not a lot of fiction out there with characters in my age demographic so I relished in reading it. The future is uncertain for all the siblings, just as it is for all of us. What is certain is that if one remains optimistic in life it makes the tough times a little easier to endure. And, in this novel as well as my case, having sisters is always a plus. Recommended.


Praise for the novels of Nan Rossiter

“Nan Rossiter is at the peak of her storytelling abilities with Under a Summer Sky, which is told with the kind of compassion, grace, and wisdom that is nearly unrivaled in contemporary fiction.”—Examiner.com

“Eloquent and surprising…I love this story of faith, love, and the lasting bonds of family.”—Ann Leary, author of Outtakes from a Marriage on The Gin & Chowder Club

“A gripping story of three sisters, of love lost and found and a family’s journey from grief to triumph. A sure winner.”—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author, on More Than You Know


About the author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nan Parson Rossiter’s adult fiction is often compared to the work of Nicholas Sparks – especially her first novel, THE GIN & CHOWDER CLUB. She hopes readers who enjoyed GIN & CHOWDER (or those who haven’t discovered it yet!) will look for the same characters in the Christmas anthology, MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT. Nan’s second novel, WORDS GET IN THE WAY, is an uplifting story about a single mom whose young son has autism. Her third novel, MORE THAN YOU KNOW, touches on the bonds of sisterhood and the tragedy and despair of Alzheimer’s, and her new novel, UNDER A SUMMER SKY, ties them all together in the spring of 2014.

Nan is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and is also the author-illustrator of several books for children including, most recently, THE FO’C’SLE: HENRY BESTON’S OUTERMOST HOUSE, called “a lovely vision of one man’s communion with nature” by Publisher’s Weekly.

Nan lives in rural Connecticut with her husband and two handsome sons.

To learn more visit www.nanrossiter.com


US Giveaway

Please click here and fill out the form

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

Firefly Summer (7:26)

Giveaway ends August 13, 2016

Better Get To Livin’ by Sally Kilpatrick

  • better get to livin' (5:31)Title:  Better Get To Livin’
  • Author:  Sally Kilpatrick
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  320
  • Published:  May 2016 – Kensington Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Presley Cline has put aside dreams of Hollywood stardom and come back to Ellery, Tennessee, to work in a beauty shop. In truth, the dreams in question were more her mother’s than her own. Presley may have the face and body of a movie icon, but she lacks the stomach for it. Yet a loving relationship and normal home life seem almost as unattainable as an Oscar. Being able to see and speak to dead people certainly isn’t helping. 

Presley’s first job, beautifying “clients” at the Anderson Funeral Home, is quite a change from working on a movie set. The place is home to dozens of ghosts all hoping that Presley can help them move on–and also one very-much-alive owner, Declan Anderson. Like Presley, Declan is caught between following family expectations and his own aspirations. But with a little meddling from loved ones and locals–both living and dead–Presley is starting to see that life is too short not to be who you want to be, and the most rewarding journeys involve some unexpected detours…  (publisher)

My take:  Better Get To Livin’ isn’t listed as part of a series but its the third of Sally Kilpatrick’s books that takes place in Ellery, Tennessee. Ellery is a small town where everyone went to the same school and everyone knows (or think they know) your business. If that isn’t enough, Presley Cline comes back from Hollywood after compromising photos appear in a fan magazine – so now the whole world knows her business.

Fortunately for Presley, she went to beauty school when she first arrived in Hollywood to help pay the bills while she waited for her big break. That is a huge help when she comes back to Ellery because she’s broke. She gets a job at The Holy Roller (ha!) and is sent to a local funeral home to ready a person for a visitation. That’s where she reconnects with Declan Anderson, funeral director and former high school math tutor to Presley. That’s also where her gift of seeing spirits of the departed becomes apparent to the reader.

This isn’t a paranormal novel but I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. This is a story about one’s hopes and dreams. It’s about finding out and deciding what to do – live for someone else or appreciate every minute of every day and along the way figuring out what your dreams are. I enjoyed it all and hope for more stories from Ellery with all its quirky characters.

Stitches in Time by Terri DuLong

  • stitches in timeTitle:  Stitches in Time
    • Series:  Ormond Beach #2
  • Author:  Terri DuLong
  • Pages:  252
  • Published:  June 2016 – Kensington
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Isabelle Wainwright is no stranger to heartache. She was just fifteen when her mother left her to be raised by her father so she could start a new life across the country. Rather than crumbling in despair, Isabelle eventually stitched together her own path, graduating from college and starting a family in Atlanta. But her hard-won fairytale ending is beginning to unravel…

The shock of her father’s sudden death is compounded when Isabelle’s husband leaves her and her daughter for someone else. Reeling from being abandoned yet again, she finds comfort in Chloe Radcliffe, her father’s girlfriend, who encourages her to move to Ormond Beach, Florida, and help her run her yarn shop. There, Isabelle may find the strength to confront her past, build new friendships, and perhaps even learn to love in a way she never thought possible… (publisher)

My take:  In Stitches in Time author Terri DuLong takes readers back to Ormond Beach, Florida. This time the featured character is Isabelle Wainwright, adult daughter of Chloe Radcliffe’s (principal character from book 1) former boyfriend. After Isabelle’s father died she remained close to Chloe and that’s how she and her teenage daughter end up relocating to Ormond Beach.

Life is progressing favorably when Isabelle gets a surprise – her estranged mother decides to retire to Ormond Beach and reconnect with her daughter and granddaughter. Can Isabelle ever reconcile with the woman who deserted her thirty years earlier?

Stitches in Time is about forgiveness and second chances. I liked it and especially enjoyed the relationships between all of the women in the novel. Knitting is featured prominently and a pattern for the scarf discussed within the story is included at the end of the book. I look forward to the next book in the series. Recommended to fans of women’s fiction, knitting, and Terri DuLong.