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AUTUMN IN OXFORD: A Novel ~Alex Rosenberg

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Lake Union Publishing is certainly sharing some mighty fine reads with me this year.  AUTUMN IN OXFORD is a finely crafted murder, espionage, love story which is about reading every word and storing the details so you will be able to fit the twists and changes into perspective and solve the “who done it” part.  Even though the murder takes place in the first few chapters of the story in 1959, the why and who take pages of history and connection to piece it all together; lots of McCarthyism to uncover.

TLC Book Tours shared a winner with this read.  The writing is top notch and has the wonderful British pacing of the well-ordered sleuth with the push of the American prejudice exposed and revealed – made plain and arrogant.

Tom is a Finish boy who was reared in New York by his dedicated parents, he has married well a wealthy socialite and his writing has won him a Pulitzer Prize.  In his youth, he briefly joined the Communist Party and met the Rosenberg’s and other big names in college.  He left the Party and studied History and is now doing a teaching Fellowship at Oxford.   He meets his neighbor Liz, and realizes he has met the love of his life.  Liz is from Toronto, has 2 children and an unemployed husband who avoided the war by moving to Canada and lives life for appearances.

Tom’s wife insists that he return to New York with her, but Tom does not want to go because of his affair with Liz, also because he is having serious trouble with his passport – some department of government is pestering and threatening his because of his past connections – blacklisting.  Liz’s husband is murdered and now Tom has been arrested and a clever lawyer is now tracking the case and Tom’s backstory is outlined in detail.  One needs to read with care to find all the pieces that will fit together and complete the story’s truth.  I found it very difficult to put the story down, even with the deliberate pacing.

Alex Rosenberg is the author of the novel THE GIRL FROM KRAKOW.  He has lived in Britain and has taught at Oxford, where he made the acquaintance of some of the historical figures that play roles in AUTUMN IN OXFORD.  Rosenberg is the R. Taylor Cole Professor of Philosophy at Duke University in North Carolina.

Alex Rosenberg Wikipedia

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GONE TO SOLDIERS: A Fiction Novel about WWII ~ Marge Piercy

Monday, April 25th, 2016

I discovered Marge Piercy the writer in the early 1990s.  GONE TO SOLDIERS was published in 1987 and I had already read GOING DOWN FAST, SMALL CHANGES, WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME,  FLY AWAY HOME, and HE, SHE, IT. The women I was in a support group with in New York City were praising Piercy’s work and we were sharing copies.  I enjoy her writing very much and her outlook.

After posting the review for HE, SHE, IT, an email* came in asking me if I would like to read GONE TO SOLDIERS for review.   I said yes I would like to read it, forgetting that I had read it first 30 years ago.  I just was so happy to read more of Piercy’s words.   The Kindle told me that at my reading speed it would take 32 hours and 30 minutes to get to the end.   I dove right into each chapter and hardly came up for air.  I am not incredibly fond of books about war.  This one is quite exceptional.  It took 7 years to write and perfect before it was published and winning so many awards.  I was so happy to read it once again.

The book has an interesting shape as 10 characters and their stories are highlighted throughout the book. Some have 14 chapters to their stories.  We begin before the start of the war in France and before the USA became involved.  WWII is over and recovery is beginning at the end of the story.  The primary theme is about being Jewish and how the Jewish experience of the war overlaps and touches so many lives.  I was amazed at how badly the USA Jews were treated and particularly by the Marine corp.  Some American Generals had no trouble with killing Jews in Europe and participated in the process. Each character was well defined and the connecting characters gave continuity to the story and kept the thread of the themes moving forward.

Extraordinary writing. So revealing about the hate we are seeing displayed even now in the USA, so much fear, and how working from that fear keeps us holding on and not moving forward.

Whenever the control is too great, there are scapegoats and then they are vilified and verbally derogated.  It was important for me to read this novel once again. I feel it with mature eyes.  There is more and more to the story; I become a witness.

I not only humbly give this book top stars and I feel as though it should be required reading in our schools today.   I highly recommend this story.

“Marge Piercy has written 17 novels including The New York Times Bestseller Gone To Soldiers; the National Bestsellers Braided Lives and The Longings of Women, and the classic Woman on the Edge of Time and He, She and It and most recently Sex Wars; ; 19 volumes of poetry including The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems 1980-2010, The Crooked Inheritance and in spring 2015, Made in Detroit; and a critically acclaimed memoir Sleeping with Cats. Born in center city Detroit, educated at the University of Michigan and Northwestern, the recipient of four honorary doctorates, she is active in antiwar, feminist and environmental causes.“ (Header at website)

Marge Piercy’s Website and Bio

*Kindle book was sent by Greta Shull, Marketing Coordinator, Open Road Integrated Media, 180 Maiden Lane, suite 8A  New York, NY 10038

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PARIS TIME CAPSULE: A Little Romance Within a Real Life Mystery ~Ella Carey

Monday, September 28th, 2015

I was so ready for a romance read on the schedule and PARIS TIME CAPSULE did not disappoint.    I just gathered up my Kindle and headed to the deck umbrella for a lovely day of escape reading and staying cool in the unusual heat wave.   The city became still as folks left for a last holiday experience and to escape the heat before school starts here.  I traveled to Paris and enjoyed the adventures of CAT.

The story begins with the arrival of a mysterious package and the information that Cat has inherited an estate of a woman who lived in France.   This opens the story up to the true historic event that intrigued the author to write this novel.  In Paris, an apartment was found which had been locked up for 70 years and belonged to a French Courtesan in the 1840s up until World War II.  It was a time capsule of a lifestyle and a life and has revealed interesting secrets of its own.  The author found this to be a fascinating idea and a good foundation for her novel.

I found myself to be desiring a croissant and a glass of wine very soon into the story and the reports of the lovely food kept my mouthwatering.   Cat becomes engaged to a young man who is a member of the wealthy New York jet set and likes being in NYC close to his extended family.  Because Cat’s parents are deceased the family takes her under their wings and begins to make all the preparations for the parties and wedding.  Cat loses herself into the hustle and bustle of the expectations and yet still flies off to Paris to remedy the inheritance and to work on solving the mystery.

Enter dreamy, handsome French man and his family who have been left out of the will and their family’s inheritance.  Oo La La!   We have quite a story to tell now and yet the time capsule of the apartment and the mystery of the connections keeps us reading forward.

TLC Book Tours sent me the advanced reading copy of the book for review and apparently for a lovely afternoon escape.   I enjoyed the book and can recommend it to my readers as a delight – PARIS TIME CAPSULE

Ella Carey has been studying French since she was five and has degrees in music and art, and was a classical piano major in school.  Writing is her passion and this book was independently released in 2014 and rose to #10 on Amazon’s Indie selection during the year.  It is now being published by Lake Union Publishing and to be made into a motion picture.   She has been to Paris many times and is currently working on her second novel, walking the beach with her dogs and enjoying her life with two children.

Ella Carey Facebook 

PARIS TIME CAPSULE has gone to #1 on historic fiction!  And is free for Kindle Unlimited readers

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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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