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Description: Four suburban mothers conspire to cover up a deadly crime in Just Between Us, a heart-stopping novel of suspense by Rebecca Drake.
Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids are healthy. They’re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.
Everything starts to unravel when Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather’s wrist. She shares her suspicions with Julie and Sarah, compelling all three to investigate what looks like an increasingly violent marriage. As mysterious injuries and erratic behavior mount, Heather can no longer deny the abuse, but she refuses to leave her husband. Desperate to save her, Alison and the others dread the phone call telling them that she’s been killed. But when that call finally comes, it’s not Heather who’s dead. In a moment they’ll come to regret, the women must decide what lengths they’ll go to in order to help a friend.
Just Between Us is a thrilling glimpse into the underbelly of suburbia, where not all neighbors can be trusted, and even the closest friends keep dangerous secrets. You never really know what goes on in another person’s mind, or in their marriage. (publisher)
My take: This thriller had a rather slow start for me as the relationships between four friends, moms of young school-age kids, were established. About halfway in it took off like a rocket and didn’t slow down until the last couple of pages. I kind of liked that pace for this type of novel.
I could relate to the friendship that linked the women who wouldn’t know each other if their kids didn’t attend the same school. Happily, that’s pretty much where any similarity to me ended.
You may think you know a person who you see often. We all make assumptions from what we witness in our interactions – but are those assumptions the truth? These friends will find out as life changes abruptly when they act on assumptions. Since it’s a mystery/thriller I won’t go into specifics. If you enjoy domestic thrillers I think you should read Just Between Friends.
About the Author
Rebecca Drake is the author of the novels Don’t Be Afraid, The Next Killing, The Dead Place, which was an IMBA bestseller, and Only Ever You, as well as the short story “Loaded,” which was featured in Pittsburgh Noir. A graduate of Penn State University and former journalist, she is currently an instructor in Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction M.F.A. program. Rebecca lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband and two children.
Author photo credit: Joseph Mertz
Praise for JUST BETWEEN US
“A twisty, domestic thriller […] tense, bombshell-laden, and action-packed.” — Publisher’s Weekly
“Female friendships flourish, then falter, under the weight of chance events underlaid by secrecy and deceit […] Drake shows a sure hand in spinning suburban thrillers.” —Booklist
“Fans of Liane Moriarty and B.A. Paris are going to love this twisty, diabolical suburban thriller. Clear your evening, you won’t be able to put it down.” — J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of Lie to Me
“Rebecca Drake’s Just Between Us is a stunner – a tense, twisty thriller about four ordinary women that begs the question: When a friend is in trouble, and all you want to do is help, how can everything go so terribly wrong?” — Karen Dionne, author The Marsh King’s Daughter
“Rebecca Drake’s Just Between Us is a riveting thriller that reveals the dark heart beating in the middle of American suburbia. Every character in this rich novel has a secret, and the secrets get deeper and darker as the pitch-perfect plot unfolds. This is a stunning story of friendship and the tangled lies that bind four women together. Don’t miss it!” — David Bell, author of Bring Her Home
Description: It’s Giselle Aubry’s first time at court in Versailles. At sixteen, she is one of Marie Antoinette’s newest undertirewomen, and in awe of the glamorous queen and her opulent palace life. A budding designer, it’s a dream come true to work with the beautiful fabrics and jewels in the queen’s wardrobe. But every few weeks she returns home to visit her family in Paris where rumors of revolution are growing stronger.
From her position working in the royal household, Giselle is poised to see both sides of the revolutionary tensions erupting throughout Paris. When her uncle, a retired member of the secret du roi, a spy ring that worked for the old King, Louis XV, suggests that she casually report the Queen’s actions back to him as a game, she leaps at the chance. Spying seems like an adventure and an exciting way to privately support the revolution taking the countryside by storm. She also enjoys using her insight from Versailles in lively debates with Léon Gauvain, the handsome and idealistic revolutionary who courts her.
But as the revolution continues to gain momentum, and Giselle grows closer to the Queen, becoming one of the few trusted servants, she finds herself dangerously torn. Violence is escalating; she must choose where her loyalty truly lies, or risk losing everything…maybe even her head. (publisher)
My take: I’m familiar with Marie Antoinette’s story and how it all played out so seeing it through the eyes of a young, middle-class woman who was one of her servants added to the context. It also provided conflict – especially experienced by Giselle who came of age during the time she served the Queen. She knew that things were not cut and dry when it came to the royal family and the general perception of the people. Giselle’s challenge was how to balance what she knew with how she felt. Adding to the challenge is Léon, her love interest. He is a revolutionary, albeit a moderate one. Can their relationship survive dire circumstances? Overall, I liked The Wardrobe Mistress and would recommend Meghan Masterson’s debut novel to fans of historical fiction about the French Revolution. Giselle’s story was an interesting perspective.
About the author: Meghan Masterson graduated from the University of Calgary and has worked several unrelated jobs while writing on the side. As a child, she gave her parents a flowery story about horses every year for Christmas. She is drawn to strong historical figures and situations which present unexpected opportunities for her characters. Meghan loves reading at all hours, cooking, and going for walks with her dog. She and her husband live in Calgary.
Praise for The Wardrobe Mistress
“In this debut novel by Meghan Masterson, the characters practically leap off the page, taking you by the hand through the streets of revolutionary Paris and the glittering halls of Marie Antoinette’s Versailles…A highly entertaining read! Not to be missed!” – Michelle Moran, Internationally bestselling author of Nefertiti and Madame Tussaud
“Silk isn’t the only thing whispering through the halls of the royal palaces in Meghan Masterson’s captivating debut…The Wardrobe Mistress is a romantic, tension-filled coming of age story set in a time of dangerous and uncertain revolution. You will root for Giselle; you will applaud her; and you will also fear for her.” – Sophie Perinot, author of Medici’s Daughter
“An entertaining read in the best tradition of the historical novel…The Wardrobe Mistress is intriguing and well researched, set during one of my favorite periods of history, the French Revolution.” – Roberta Rich, Internationally bestselling author of The Midwife of Venice
“Revolutionary fervor, royal politics, and high fashion are stitched together like a couture ballgown in Meghan Masterson’s THE WARDROBE MISTRESS…Giselle makes a smart, likable heroine, torn between her affection for the queen and her growing love for a firebrand suitor, and the revolution’s relentless advance toward the guillotine made for breathless reading. A charming debut!” —Kate Quinn, author of The Empress of Rome Saga and The Borgia Chronicles
THE WARDROBE MISTRESS: A Novel of Marie Antoinette
On-Sale August 15th, 2017
Paperback: $15.99 / 9781250126665
E-Book: $10.99 / 9781250126672
About the Book: A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.
Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence—most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici—become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.
Alyssa Palombo’s The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence vividly captures the dangerous allure of the artist and muse bond with candor and unforgettable passion.
About the author: Alyssa Palombo is the author of The Violinist of Venice. She has published short fiction pieces in Black Lantern Magazine and The Great Lakes Review. She is a recent graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively. A passionate music lover, she is a classically trained musician as well as a big fan of heavy metal. The Violinist of Venice is her first novel. She lives in Buffalo, New York.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Snyder Photography, LLC
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GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED
Giveaway ends on May 3, 2017
Description: Anna Forster is only thirty-eight years old, but her mind is slowly slipping away from her. Armed only with her keen wit and sharp-eyed determination, she knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. But Anna has a secret: she does not plan on staying. She also knows there’s just one another resident who is her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.
Eve Bennett, suddenly thrust into the role of single mother to her bright and vivacious seven-year-old daughter, finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke, she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna’s and Luke’s families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them. Eve has her own secrets, and her own desperate circumstances that raise the stakes even higher. (publisher)
My take: The Things We Keep is an emotional tale about people whose memories have vanished or been taken by events beyond their control. My father-in-law died from complications of Alzheimer’s several years ago so I have a basic understanding of this horrible disease. Sally Hepworth offers another facet of the disease with characters who are in their thirties and battling the loss of memory.
Anna and Luke are two people who’ve been diagnosed with different early forms of dementia. They meet at a residential care facility that is also for elderly who can’t live independently. The story is also about Eve, a recent widow and mother of a seven-year-old daughter, Clementine. Her life turned on a dime when her husband killed himself. She is the new cook at the home. There are several supporting characters – employees of Rosalind House and a few of the residents – whose presence added richness to the story.
The story is beautifully told and one I can recommend to readers – even though the topic of Alzheimer’s can be so off-putting and upsetting. It’s a compassionate novel that made me smile at times and grab for a tissue at other times. I know I’ll be thinking about The Things We Keep for a long time and I look forward to reading more from Hepworth.
Praise for THE THINGS WE KEEP – now available in paperback
“‘For better or for worse’ takes on new meaning in Hepworth’s devastatingly beautiful love story.” – People
“This book is such a page-turner! At the end, we were left full of hope and love.” – Women’s Day
“…an unconventional tearjerker of a love story… poignant and nuanced.” – Publishers Weekly
“With startling insight and intense compassion, Hepworth creates a character who watches her intellectual world implode while at the same time experiencing a new romance. The story is a rare gem.” – Columbus Dispatch
About the author:
Sally Hepworth lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband and three children. She is currently working on her next novel.