She was referred to as “Soviet Sophia Loren” and “the most beautiful Kremlin weapon.” But who was the Red Queen? Was she the queen of the catwalk or a KGB agent seducing foreign diplomats? How did she manage to succeed and what was the price she had to pay? The life of Regina Zbarskaya, the most famous USSR, is full of mystery and drama.
In 1950’s Communist Russia, a family tragedy leaves Zoya Kolesnikova a stigmatized orphan. Leaving her home town, she heads to Moscow to escape her past. While there she adopts the name Regina. With the help of a benefactress, she reinvents herself through education and determination.
Initially she pursues her mother’s dream of becoming an accountant, but a chance encounter leads her into the world of fashion. Regina works hard not only to become a clothes model but also to overcome past mistakes. Eventually, she realizes success not only in Russia but also world wide. But past traumas still haunt her and a life of fame has its’ price. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -The Red Queen (2015)”
Tea With Mussolini is a film that has been on my radar for a long time. For years. Populated with some of the best British actresses of our time, I knew it was a movie I had to see. Unfortunately, it is not readily available on the streaming platforms I use. Finally, I decided I had waited long enough and purchased the DVD. It’s a purchase I do not regret.
In it’s purest form, Tea With Mussolini portrays the story of an orphaned Italian boy who’s life intersects with those of female British expatriates living in Italy during the years of WWII.
Little Luca’s mother is dead and his father cannot claim him, thanks to his vindictive, jealous wife. He is taken in by the kindly, maternal Mary Wallace (Joan Wallace) who can’t bear to see him sent to an orphanage. Mary is part of a community of British woman living in Florence which includes the flighty, artistic Arabella (Judy Dench) and the widow of the former British ambassador to Italy, Lady Hester Random (Maggie Smith). Also, contributing to Luca’s education and welfare are the American women Georgia Rockwell (Lily Tomlin) and the wealthy, flamboyant, Elsa Morganthal (Cher). Elsa’s friendship with Luca’s mother inspires her to provide a small trust for Luca’s future. Together these women share their knowledge and compassion with the young Luca before he is sent off to boarding school on the eve of World War II.
Years pass, and the women remain in Italy even though Britain is at war with their host country. Eventually, they are removed from their homes in Florence to less than acceptable housing as prisoners of war. Luca returns home where he secretly works with Elsa to better their living conditions.
To read the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat.
After her seemingly perfect life falls apart, Sarah Hollenbeck reinvents herself as a successful author of steamy romance novels. At the height of her fame, Sarah becomes a Christian. Determined to leave her old life behind completely, she experiences culture shock as she throws herself into a new lifestyle.
But her old identity isn’t so easy to leave behind. Her fans and her publisher are clamoring for a new release. Meanwhile, Sarah’s past is one she tries to keep quiet at her new church, especially when she begins dating her pastor. Sarah is sincere in her desire for a complete personal transformation. But navigating the expectations, demands and privacy concerns of her new life presents a challenge. Continue reading “Book Review -The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck”
Today’s Topic: Series I’ve Given Up On/Don’t Plan to Finish
Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl
Although I probably have more reading time than most, it isn’t near enough to conquer my massive TBR list. Unfortunately, this means many books I purchase don’t end up being read. And though I almost never DNF a book, I do sometimes DNF a series. It’s rarely because I don’t like the series. Most of the times it is because a lot of time has passed in between the books I’ve read and the ones still remaining and I lose interest. Other times, I like the first book or two in the series, but I just don’t find them compelling enough to continue. With reading time a valuable commodity, a series must keep me intrigued over the length of the entire series. I may finish a single title that I find less than fascinating, but I won’t invest the time into a whole series. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Series I’ve Given Up On”
Ruggles is a staid valet employed by the Earl of Burnstead. Ruggles comes from a long line of men who have served the Burnstead family for generations. So, when the Earl informs Ruggles that he lost him in a poker game to a wealthy American couple, Ruggles tries to hide his surprise. It becomes harder to disguise this surprise when he meets the Floud’s, his new employers. They have only recently come into wealth and it shows.
Egbert Floud is the epitome of a loud, tasteless American tourist. While his wife Effie tries very hard to disguise their humble beginnings with expensive clothes and poorly spoken French. Ruggles is privately appalled by the Flouds, particularly as Egbert insists on treating him as an equal and continually ignoring their difference in class. Effie on the other hand is a woman Ruggles understands, despite her patronizing snobbery. Effie’s desire for an English valet for her husband coincide perfectly with Ruggles understanding of his place in life.
But Egbert just can’t seem to treat Ruggles as an inferior. When the Flouds return to their western Washington home town, Ruggles learns his preconceptions of a wild untamed land have been exaggerated. He has difficulty adjusting to the little town of Red Gap, but as Egbert and his friends continually insist on treating Ruggles as an equal, he begins to see the benefits of America. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)”
Today’s Topic: Books to Read By the Pool/At the Beach (This can also serve as your summer TBR)
Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl
Well, I was going to choose books to be read by the pool or beach. But there are two problems with this.
1.) I’m not a seasonal reader. I choose books like I choose clothes; by whatever catches my fancy that day.
2.) I don’t spend ANY time at the pool or beach. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was at either of these places.
So instead, this week’s list will be my Summer TBR list. There are some new releases, that I’m really looking forward to tackling. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Summer Reads”
In the Eye of the Storm is the second book in a series written by German author Robert Thier. It picks up where book one left off, with the powerfully wealthy, arrogant Rikkard Ambrose still trying to shed himself of one very stubborn female employee. But Lilly Linton refuses to be fired or to quit.
Mr. Ambrose and Lilly are still locked in a battle of control, while also fighting their strange emotional reactions to each other. Mr. Ambrose is also still at war with his long time business nemesis. This precipitates a trip to Egypt for himself and Lilly. In an effort to appear undercover in a guise his nemesis will never suspect, Lilly and Mr. Ambrose pretend to be a honeymooning couple. But Lilly has trouble playing the part of a loving wife to her tyrant boss. Not to mention, their pursuit of information and revenge puts them both in more peril than ever. Continue reading “Book Review -In the Eye of the Storm”
During a summer holiday, a modern young woman from the city visits the countryside. While there, she strikes up an affair with a once happily married farmer. It’s a destructive affair, leading the farmer almost to the edge of personal and financial ruin. Not to mention the breaking of his wife’s heart.
As the end of summer nears, the home-wrecking mistress begs the farmer to follow her back to the city. When he mentions his wife, she darkly suggests it would be great if she could “get drowned.” Under her spell, the farmer agrees to take his wife out on the lake. Suspecting nothing, his wife’s happy to have a day out to herself with her husband. Until she sees the look in his eye. But, when it comes time to follow through, the husband’s tormented by the memories of his wife’s goodness and their happiness together.
Watching Sunrise actually brought to mind Proverbs’ warnings to a young man about the dangers of an evil woman. Although I’m sure Sunrise had different inspiration, in some ways, I felt like I was watching those biblical admonishments come to life.
To read my full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat.
Today’s Topic: Books That Awaken the Travel Bug In Me
Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl
So, the trouble with this week’s prompt is in limiting my list. I’m obsessed with travel and hardly need much inspiration to wanna pack up and go. Still, there were several books which particularly connected with my travel hungry soul. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Books That Inspire Me to Travel”
Pillow Talk introduced to the world for the first time, the popular, beloved pairing of Doris Day and Rock Hudson. It also re-invigorated the genre of romantic comedy.
Jan Morrow is an interior decorator who is living the dream in New York City, except for one major annoyance. She is stuck sharing a phone line with the egotistical, womanizing bachelor Brad Allen, a man Jan has never met. Brad is a Broadway song writer who works from home. He ties up their shared phone line at all hours with his multiple affairs. All of Jan’s efforts to regulate the use of the phone meet Brad’s mocking refusal.
One evening, purely by accident, Brad catches a glimpse of Jan while they are both out on separate dates. He is shocked to find that the woman he has been arguing with is actually not the plain prude he assumed she was. Knowing that Jan would never agree to date him, Brad concocts a false identity as a tourist from Texas and rescues her from her drunken date.
Jan is thrilled to finally meet a handsome man she feels she can trust and who treats her respectfully. As Brad and Jan spend time together, her attachment to “Rex Stetson” grows. While Brad is dating Jan using his alter ego, he also continues to pester Jan as himself over their shared phone line.
At the same time Jan continues to received marriage proposals from her wealthy client Jonathan Forbes. Jonathan is head over heels for Jan. When Jonathan discovers that his close friend Brad Allen is plying his tricks on the unsuspecting Jan, he decides to take action.
To read the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.