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SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS: A Captivating Story about Sisters, Secrets, and Second Chances ~Susan Mallery

Monday, July 31st, 2017

SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS turned out to be one terrific read and I learned lots about how to grow tulips and had no idea it was so difficult and so important for Christmas time.  I just thought tulips were wonderfully beautiful field trip destination in the northern climes of my state.  The stunning beauty of the tulip fields was a delightful location for a story about secrets and romance.  Actually, it is three romances all wrapped up into one family and one good and interesting read.

About Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books about the relationships that define women’s lives—romance, friendship, family. With compassion and humor, Susan keenly observes how people think and feel, in stories that take readers on an emotional journey. Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, Susan’s books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, thanks to her ever growing legions of fans.

Critics, too, have heaped praise on “the new queen of romantic fiction.” (Walmart) Booklist says, “Romance novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling,” and RT Book Reviews puts her “in a class by herself!”

Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month, January of 1992. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool’s Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.

Susan lives in Seattle with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a tattletale toy poodle. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Animals play a big role in her books, as well, as she believes they’re an integral component to a happy life. (From TLC Website)

I believe that SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS might be based on a friend’s life story.  The mother in this story truly is just as awful and manipulative as my childhood friend’s mother although that woman kept her family on the move constantly. This mother left her family and stayed on the move herself.

Kelly has stayed at home working with her father on their tulip farm.  She works with fancy blooms and hybrids and she works long and hard.  Her love life is not very exciting and a small, rural town is not very good at supplying partners.  Her father kept the 15 and 12- year – old daughters after their mother left and Kelly just worked her best to keep everything on track.

Olivia went to boarding school and then on to college and followed an old high school boyfriend around for a while and then was invited to join her mother in her real estate business in Arizona.   That idea was not working out so well and Olivia felt a need to keep trying to find what she was good at and what she could do for a career.  She travels north to spend time with her father and sister.  This causes the sisters to rediscover each other and the secrets to fester.

The love of a couple of really good fellows allows the girls to face up to their situations and to free up the secrets; revealing good ol’ dad’s love interest and his desire to move forward with his life too.

My book groups do not read romance books, but I think each one of them would enjoy this story as they travel for the summer and as they relax on the beach.  I enjoyed this story at the ocean and that the story was interesting had substance and was not a huge bodice ripper with no real plot. One very well written sex scene was a good distraction.  A fun read for sure.  I would recommend THE SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS

Related:
Paris Time Capsule
Songs of Willow Frost
Lift and Separate

FOLLOW THE RIVER HOME: A Novel ~Corran Harrington

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

“Daniel Arroyo has suffered a lifetime of guilt over the sudden death of his infant sister, who died when he was eight years old.  He now lives his middle years between that guilt and worsening episodes of PTSD from a Vietnam he left thirty years ago.  When a violent encounter on a dusty highway forces Daniel to face what haunts him, he finds himself pulled back to the neighborhood of his youth. Where old houses hold tired secrets.  What really happened on that steamy August afternoon?  The answer comes spilling from the old neighborhood, and Daniel begins to find his way home.  Corran Harrington takes the reader along the Rio Grande, from its headwaters to the sea.” (Cover)

Each chapter of this book flowed a segment of Daniel’s life and each was a collection of tight, incredible, descriptive words, which just held the readers attention.  One knew the wild asparagus and the movement of water in the irrigation ditch.  This was the place where Daniel value programmed, of his best friend, of his siblings and parents.  There are roots here – deep roots.  Wild roses tapped the window and the basketball bounced on the court, it was supposed to be safe.  I think on purpose the next chapter did not flow from the last, rather it was a jump into another memory and experience and at first I found this disconcerting until I began to expect it.  I think this was to show the confusion in Daniel’s mind and it succeeded.  The psychological dimensions of the story were revealed and explained out of sequence and made the reader work a bit to integrate the life being told.

By coming back home, drawn in by the wonderful next-door neighbor, Daniel is able to find himself and his own truth and it will free his life and propel him forward.

FOLLOW THE RIVER HOME is quite the read and I think I will keep my advanced reading copy on my shelf for a future read.  At this time in my life the “death” theme was a bit tough to take and I felt sadness as I read – a loneliness that made finishing the story a release.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review.  If you go to the link you can see all the other reader’s reviews of this book.

From the Cover:

“Corran Harrington is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Santa Fe Writing Project finalist, a Hidden River Arts Eludia Award finalist, a Bosque Fiction contest finalist, and a New Millennium Writings award semi-finalist who short fiction (written also as Connie Harrington) has appeared in number literary journals.  A former lawyer, Harrington also has a background in cultural and linguistic anthropology.  She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

NOTE: This review is several days late, I am so sorry I had a sudden illness and could not get to my computer to get the post into the schedule.  I hope this will prove to be a fine posting and not cause problems for TLC or the author.

Related:
Thirty Days With My Father
Once Upon A Lie
Water On the Moon

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

Related:
He, She, It
When Women Were Birds
The Sowing

THE RIVALS OF VERSAILLES: A Novel ~Sally Christie

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Once again we are delighted with the historic fiction of Sally Christie in book two of the trilogy about the Versailles Court of France’s Louis XV (1745) Hopefully, the reader was delighted with the SISTERS OF VERSAILLES and all the mistresses of the King – particularly the 5 Nestle sisters of which 4 became his mistress each in turn.

In 1730, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, a stunningly beautiful 9 –year- old girl from the middle classes has her fortune told by a gypsy at the local fair.  She is to become the lover of a King and very powerful.  And with some luck and of course planning and maneuvering, she makes her entrance into the Court in 1745 after the death of the Kings favorite mistress.  For 25 years she leads the country and proves the prophecy to be true. She has become Marquise de Pompadour. The Court is against her from the start and she must protect herself from all the rivals to her position all the while the King becomes totally absorbed with luxury and his depravities.  France is now at war and moving closer to the Revolution.

Sally Christie is a marvelous researcher and tells history wrapped in tinseled, modern detail and the reader can feel the swish of the skirts and the flicker of the candle light; falling prey to the necessary manipulations to keep power and the King within the palm of Jeanne’s hand.

“Sally Christie is the author of THE SISTERS OF VERSAILLES and THE RIVALS OF VERSAILLES.  She was born in England and grew up around the world attending eight schools in three different languages.  She spent most of her career working in international development and currently lives in Toronto. Visit www.SallyChristieAuthor.com to find out more about Sally and the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy.” (From book)

I will repeat that I believe this is a wonderful way to learn history and I was quite captivated by the rich details and the twinkle of Christie’s writing which holds the reader through all the story details.  Once again this is a section of history that I really know little about and the story fills me in with one aspect of the crisis, which was brewing and exploding into our history.   I would have loved reading this book from about high school on, although I think some of the sexual material and scheming would certainly put the “Mean Girls” of today to shame.

I so enjoy how Christie includes letters that she uncovered into the story as it makes the history come alive.  There is a third book coming that will include the series – THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES.

The uncorrected proof of this book was sent to me by TLC Book Tours and one can go to the link and see what other readers thought about the story.

Related:
The Sisters of Versailles
Mistress of the Court
Whistling Women