After fleeing the murderous Bolsheviks, Her Serenity Princess Svetlana Dmitrievich Dalsky arrives in Paris with the sole responsibility of her mother and sister sitting on her shoulders. Survival quickly becomes the sole focus of her days. A chance encounter with Scottish nobleman turned doctor Wynn MacCallan finds her with a champion and suitor she does not want. But when further threats and tragedy impact both their lives, Wynn and Svetlana must learn to trust each other in order to move forward towards an unpredictable future. Continue reading “Book Review – The Ice Swan by J’nell Ciesielski”
Book Review – Lovely War by Julie Berry
Lovely War is three romances in one. It is WWI in England and it is love at first sight for James and Hazel. But after a brief few days together, James is unexpectedly called to the front, leaving both of them to wonder if what they felt was love.
Then there is the more complicated relationship that develops between Colette, the sole survivor of her family and Aubrey, a talented jazz musician. These two meet in the midst of a France at war, but tragedy and racial tensions tear them apart.
Of subtler romantic origins is the narration of these two love stories. The Greek gods have gathered for a trial. Hephaestus has caught his wife Aphrodite together with Ares. When Aphrodite begs to plead her case she calls on Hades and Apollo as witnesses. As they give their testimony, the value of Aphrodite’s work as the goddess of love begins to emerge. But what does all that have to do with Aphrodite’s guilt or innocence and what will her husband decide? This is the third tale, one of a marriage on shaky foundations. Continue reading “Book Review – Lovely War by Julie Berry”
Classic Film Review -The Swan (1956)
Grace Kelly was a popular and talented actress beloved by her public. But she became even more loved by a larger public when she became the Princess of Monaco.
According to The American Film Institute, MGM decided to capitalize on Kelly’s relationship with Prince Ranier by casting her as Princess Alexandra in the film The Swan. They even co-ordinated the release date of the film with that of her wedding. Helen Rose who costumed Kelly for this film also created her famous wedding dress.Talk about a genius marketing move by the studio! Because of this, The Swan is a good example of life imitating art.
THE SWAN SUMMARY
Princess Alexandra is her family’s only hope of regaining their royal eminence, generations after losing their throne. Her desperate mother, Princess Beatrice hopes to marry her off to Crown Prince Albert, who is travelling Europe in search of a wife.
When Albert arrives for a brief visit, Beatrice does all she can to throw the two together. But Albert mistakes Alexandra’s awkward shyness as disinterest and coldness and undertakes to avoid her.
Distraught, Beatrice talks her daughter into publicly flirting with the family’s tutor, in an effort to make the Crown Prince jealous. But her plan backfires in ways she can’t forsee.
To read my full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.
Book Review – Suffering the Scot by Nichole Van
Lady Jane Everard cannot abide the new Earl of Hadley. The unmannered Scot is a menace to genteel ladies everywhere, what with his booming laugh and swishing kilt and endless supply of ‘ochs’ and ‘ayes.’ Jane wishes Lord Hadley would behave as an earl should and adhere to English rules of polite conduct.
Andrew Langston, the new Earl of Hadley, knows that the English aristocracy think poorly of his lowly Scottish upbringing. This is hardly new. History is littered with the English assuming the worst about Scotland. By living up to their lowest expectations, he is simply fulfilling his civic duty as a Scotsman.
Jane sees Andrew as an unmannered eejit. Andrew considers Jane to be a haughty English lady. But, as the saying goes, . . . opposites attract.
And what if beneath his boisterous behavior and her chilly reserve, Andrew and Jane are not nearly as different as they suppose? Can Scotland and England reach a harmonious union at last?
I’ve always been a fan of author Nichole Van, reading her books as soon as they are released. But I really think that Suffering the Scot is her best one yet. It is certainly going on my list of favorite reads this year. What an absolute delight this story is which perfectly blends history, romance, mystery and humor. Lest you think this is just some entertaining fluff, it also manages to slip some fairly deep wisdom in as well. Continue reading “Book Review – Suffering the Scot by Nichole Van”
Book Review -A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano
Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first. Continue reading “Book Review -A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano”
Book Review – A Fallen Lady
Six years ago, to the outrage of her family and the delight of London gossips, Lady Helen Dehaven refused to marry the man to whom she was betrothed. Even more shockingly, her refusal came on the heels of her scandalous behavior: she and her betrothed were caught in a most compromising position. Leaving her reputation in tatters and her motivations a mystery, Helen withdrew to a simple life in a little village among friends, where her secrets remained hers alone.
For reasons of his own, Stephen Hampton, Lord Summerdale, is determined to learn the truth behind the tangled tale of Helen’s ruin. There is nothing he abhors so much as scandal – nothing he prizes so well as discretion – and so he is shocked to find, when he tracks Helen down, that he cannot help but admire her. Against all expectations, he finds himself forgiving her scandalous history in favor of only being near her.
But the bitter past will not relinquish Helen’s heart so easily. How can she trust a man so steeped in the culture of high society, who conceals so much? And how can he, so devoted to the appearance of propriety, ever love a fallen lady? Continue reading “Book Review – A Fallen Lady”
Book Review – The Matrimonial Advertisement
ABOUT THE MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENT
As a last resort, Helena Reynolds answers an advertisement for marriage to a complete stranger. She is desperate for the security of a husband’s name and the safety of living in a remote estate in Devon.
Justin Thornhill is a former soldier still recovering from the tragedy and torture of his last assignment in India. He didn’t place the ad for a wife, but is drawn to Helena’s beauty and refinement. Something about her also draws out his prospective instinct.
These two strangers marry, but their complicated pasts will prove a challenge they must overcome before they can find love.
For the full review of this book, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.
Book Review -Seeing Miss Heartstone
Miss Belle Heartstone—heiress and savvy businesswoman—needs a husband. Immediately. As in, yesterday would not have been soon enough. Her mother’s attempts at matchmaking have been disastrous. So Belle decides to solve the problem her way—survey the market and purchase the best groom available.
Colin Radcliffe, Marquess of Blake—debt-ridden and penniless—needs a large infusion of cash. Desperately. Preferably cash that does not come with a wife attached. It is no surprise, then, when he receives Miss Heartstone’s brazen proposal—her cash, his title, their marriage—that he politely declines.
But before he leaves her, Blake suggests something truly radical: Maybe before finding a husband, Belle should find herself.
His simple words send them both on an unexpected journey, spanning continents and years, entwining their lives in ways neither could have foreseen. Can two lonely souls move past societal expectations and forge a unique life together? Continue reading “Book Review -Seeing Miss Heartstone”
2018 Book Year in Review
Whew! Another (reading) year has passed. I set a goal to read at least seventy-five new books and I far exceeded that. Somehow, I read over 110. This does not include titles I re-read. I was very happy with the books I chose this year. The majority I rated four stars, but around 40 percent of them earned five stars from me.
At the beginning of this year, I set some reading goals for myself. Honestly, I didn’t do as well with these as I would have liked. The two goals I did manage to accomplish were to quit more books and to read more non-fiction. My non-fiction consisted mainly of biographies and film history. I read about the friendship between James Stewart and Henry Fonda, interviews with classic film stars, books on costume design, biographies on Jean Arthur, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Ava Gardner and one about the last years of Bette Davis’ life. Continue reading “2018 Book Year in Review”
Book Review -Impossible Saints
Escaping the constraints of life as a village schoolmistress, Lilia Brooke bursts into London and into Paul Harris’s orderly life, shattering his belief that women are gentle creatures who need protection. Lilia wants to change women’s lives by advocating for the vote, free unions, and contraception. Paul, an Anglican priest, has a big ambition of his own: to become the youngest dean of St. John’s Cathedral. Lilia doesn’t believe in God, but she’s attracted to Paul’s intellect, ethics, and dazzling smile.
As Lilia finds her calling in the militant Women’s Social and Political Union, Paul is increasingly driven to rise in the church. They can’t deny their attraction, but they know they don’t belong in each other’s worlds. Lilia would rather destroy property and serve time in prison than see her spirit destroyed and imprisoned by marriage to a clergyman, while Paul wants nothing more than to settle down and keep Lilia out of harm’s way. Paul and Lilia must reach their breaking points before they can decide whether their love is worth fighting for. Continue reading “Book Review -Impossible Saints”