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Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

THE SILENT FOUNTAIN: A Mystery Novel ~Victoria Fox

Monday, November 6th, 2017

THE SILENT FOUNTAIN tells its tale during two time periods and surrounding one main character through the unraveling of secrets to come to the final resolution of all the mysteries.   There is a darkness to the story.

Hollywood, 1978
Tragedy sends troubled film star Vivien Lockhart into the arms of Giovanni Moretti—and it seems her fortunes have finally changed. Until she meets his sister and learns that her new husband’s past holds dark secrets…

Tuscany, Present day
Lucy Whittaker needs to disappear. But her new home, the crumbling Castillo Barbarossa, is far from the secluded paradise it seemed. Strange sounds come from the attic. The owner of the house will never meet her in person.

The fountain in the courtyard is silent—but has never run dry. Across the decades, Vivien and Lucy find themselves trapped in the idyllic Italian villa. And if they are ever to truly escape its walls, they must first unearth its secrets…

Each of the two women’s stories begins with confusion about what is happening in their lives and how this problem came into being.   The reader then needs to read the interspersed backstories to finally figure out how the tragedies of their lives were played out into the contemporary situation.  They each had tough lives and hard luck experiences to get them to their current contact with each other.  The reader learns a lot about love, abuse and death to work up to the ending release and the complete overview of the story and the resolutions.

Most of my book group loves this kind of wound up formal mystery, but we have 2 members who will not read them after the first 25 pages if the confusion remains.  So this book will not be for everyone.   I had much of the story figured out and found reading the Hollywood sections of the story as though it was a segment on The Carol Burnett Show gave me more interest in the read.   There is a lot of darkness in the story and mental illness is exposed and exploited in the plot.

The story is almost more a puzzle to be pieced together and explored as to which piece fits where to bring together the whole.  There is not a great deal of great Italian Cooking in the novel either nor is the countryside expounded upon.  There is intensity.

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Victoria Fox is a bestselling author in the UK. She used to work in publishing and is now the author of six novels. The Silent Fountain is her breakout novel in North America. She divides her time between Bristol and London.

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The Light Between Oceans
The Gods of Heavenly Punishment

THE SWEET LIFE: A Sweet Life Series Novel ~Sharon Struth

Monday, October 9th, 2017

THE SWEET LIFE is a very positive, sweet romance and I enjoyed the tour through Tuscany very much.  The characters were well developed and conveyed the main plot and sub-stories clearly; all in all it was a good escape and entertaining.

The plot is refreshing and will definitely keep the reader turning page after page. –Fresh Fiction

Mamie has been hiding out since she survived the terrible car accident that took her husband and daughter, leaving her with a limp and sorrow – survivor’s guilt.  Five years she has limped through her life and hidden out at home feeling the pain.  She knows her husband would have wanted her to embrace life and keep on living fully, but separating herself from her grief is not going to be easy.  She is persuaded to write a tour guide for a book company and the tour involves 2 weeks in Italy.

Sharon Struth writes a good story about love and loss.  She knows her characters and has a path she wants them to take.  – Eye on Romance

Julian is the tour leader and he is willing to take a risk or two along the way.  The tour is a group of people who celebrate their time at WOODSTOCK and do trips together to keep the momentum strong.  They are witty and fun and encourage Julian taking risks.  Julian has been running away from a tragic loss of his own and on top of it all he is being hounded by his former boss to return to his old job.  He spent a large part of his youth in this part of Italy and he shares his knowledge freely as he leads the tour on his own turf.

Struth has a gift for layering stories within stories while keeping them all connected.   –Library Journal

Early on as I began reviewing books I read Struth’s first novel, THE HOURGLASS, and also noted that her character development was fresh and intelligent.  I can only read so many romance stories in a row, and this was a good one to just sit back and enjoy fully.   Made me definitely want to go to Italy and see all the sights and taste the food.  I do not think I gained weight while enjoying this story.

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About Sharon Struth

Sharon Struth believes you’re never too old to pursue a dream. The Hourglass, her debut novel, is a finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Awards for Best first Book, and her Blue Moon Lake Novels include the bestseller, Share the Moon.
When she’s not working, she and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the Connecticut Wine Trail, travel the world, and enjoy spending time with their precious pets and two grown daughters. She writes from the friendliest place she’s ever lived, Bethel, Connecticut. For more information, including where to find her published essays, please visit www.sharonstruth.com or visit her blog, Musings from the Middle Ages & More.

Courage Can Take You places…

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TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE: An Isaac’s House Novel; A Story of Promises ~Normandie Fischer

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Ms. Fischer is quite a storyteller and TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE is right up there on the list for good reading.

When TLC Book Tours   included TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE on the review list, I jumped at the opportunity to read and review another of Normandie Fisher’s books.  I wanted to know if BECALMED was an isolated great read or if this good storyteller had another tale, which provided entertainment and great words.  I was not disappointed in the least and I still wish to read more of her stories in the future.

Yes, This book is a Romance and also an interesting story.  Fischer’s books are not dumbed down and certainly not “bodice rippers”.  The book is full of good descriptions and finely tuned dialogue.  There is a great deal of truth about what the characters are thinking and how they handle each situation.  We are treated to some politics and unrest in the Middle East and even a murder that creates a mystery.

Rina Lynne is a young lady of the South and has lived in Morehead City, North Carolina all of her life.  Her mother died young and her father is over-protective and very strict.  When she finishes school and her father dies, she decides to put her fiancé and her wedding on hold and take on a bit of adventure.  Her first stop is Italy for a language class and maybe a cooking class.  She purchases an unwieldy suitcase that makes her beginning travels interesting.

Tony, an Arab American, assists Rina with her suitcase and becomes a part of the story as he is also taking the same language class as Rina.  He is using his vacation time from his Engineering firm to be a sort-of spy for his Israeli cousins.  On the train, there is a murder and the intrigue and mystery begins.

“…global, sophisticated, and intriguing with an exotic setting.  A girl seeking one last trek before she marries.  A guy conned into espionage by family.  They enter each other’s worlds and life becomes colorful, fascinating, and oh so dangerous.  Beautifully written, adventurous, and smart.”  -C. Hope Clark, award-winning author, The Edisto Island Mysteries and Carolina Slade Mysteries.

An Excellent Read.

Normandie Fischer:
In this romp through Italy and the Middle East, Normandie Fischer combines her love of all things Italian and her fascination with the cultures and cuisines of the Middle East, an interest fostered when she studied sculpture in Perugia and lived among Arab students.  She and her husband retired from cruising Pacific Mexico on board their ketch, Sea Venture, to care for her aging mother, who now sails with them whenever the opportunity arises. (Cover)

Normandie Fischer Website
Normandie Fischer Facebook

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MIREILLE: New Steamy Summer Romance ~Molly Cochran

Monday, June 8th, 2015

“Near the end of World War II, seventeen-year-old Mireille de Jouarre flees the home of her stepfather, a Nazi collaborator and abusive drunk.  She finds shelter with her childhood friend Stefan, and the two fall deeply in love.  But as the fighting escalates, Mireille must escape alone to Paris, where she discovers she’s pregnant and lacking a way to provide for her child.”  (from cover)

The e-book of MIREILLE is free right now on Amazon and the paperback is extremely reasonable for a 638 page romance.   TLC Book Tours  sent me an uncorrected paperback copy for review and though hefty to get through it was an interesting read.

Though the story begins during the WWII days and all the problems of that time period and the Nazi invasion, we seem to quickly move into the world of high-class prostitution and survival needs.   MIREILLE become known as the The Angel and becomes one of the top escorts in Paris.   She and her friend Barbara are able to hire nanny service for the baby and keep it a secret.  The Life takes her to parties of the wealthy men from all over the world and the world of fashion and jewelry fuels the glamour.

At a weekend party in England MIREILLE meets an American Oliver Jordan, who is married to a very wealthy woman and is himself an incredible womanizer and film producer.   With some pathway distractions, MIREILLE signs a contract with Jordan and by 1962 is winning an Academy Award for her movie acting.  She is treated brutally by Jordan.

There is a great deal of blackmail in the story and sexual violence begins to be the overriding theme as MIREILLE tries to hide her prostitution from her daughter and others.

Her daughter is now in a Swiss school and her story becomes even more complicated by her older friend Nora.   An incredible sub story of mental illness and child abuse by more wealthy men

There was a redundancy to the writing, which made me so happy to finally reach the happier ending and the revealing of the hidden story.  I thought this book could have been made better 150 pages edited out.   I give a warning that if one is not into ugly sex and abuse, this book might not be the one for the beach this summer for you.  I do know that some of my readers really enjoy this kind of romance so I will not be too negative here.

About the author:

Molly Cochran is the author of more than twenty novels and nonfiction books, including the New York Times bestseller Grandmaster, The Forever King, The Broken Sword, and The Temple Dogs, all co-written with Warren Murphy. She is also the author of The Third Magic, and she co-wrote the nonfiction bestseller Dressing Thin with Dale Goday. Cochran has received numerous awards, including the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, the Romance Writers of America’s “Best Thriller” award, and an “Outstanding” classification by the New York Public Library. Recently she published a series of young adult novels, Legacy, Poison, and Seduction, and two novellas, Wishes and Revels. Legacy won a 2013 Westchester Fiction Award.

Visit Molly at her website, mollycochran.com.

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