In Review

This is Your Life Harriet Chance by Jonathan Evison is a fictional novel about a 78-year-old widow who, as the narrator bounces back and forth in time, revisits a variety of events in her life. At the same time, Harriet is being “visited ” by her late husband who has returned for the sole purpose of attempting to shield her from the life-threatening shock she is about to receive while on an unexpected Alaskan cruise.

I very much enjoyed the author’s style of writing. It is unique and held my interest for the majority of the story. There are a number of surprises in the novel which kept me guessing as well. My only regret about this novel is how depressing it is. It did however make me think so there was goodness in that.

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Curiosity and a Cat

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain is a translated novella written by a French author. I love the premise of this story about a divorced bookseller who discovers an expensive lady’s handbag sitting atop a garbage pile and the repercussions which ensue after he decides to attempt to return it to the woman who lost it. There’s just one problem, although the purse contains many items, it does not contain the owner’s name or address. Undeterred and fueled by his interest in personal notes written in a red notebook inside the purse, leads Laurent, the bookseller turned amateur sleuth, on a life-altering journey.

I think this is a delightful novella with a number of colorful characters all of whom are believable. I would like to read additional works by this author and hope you will give this novella your attention!

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Letters Across the Pond

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb is a new novel and the last of my holiday reading. The title however, is deceptive. This is a love story about a group of friends and family and their experiences during World War One. The story opens with Thomas, an older man about to leave his home in England for Paris, where he plans to spend Christmas. He carries with him bundles of letters written many years prior when he served in World War One. One of the letters has yet to be opened.

Weaving back and forth between the present and past, the story provides an accurate portrayal of what the war to end all wars was like in the trenches and on the home front. Told through the letters written during those years between Tom, Evie, her brother, and a few others, it is an impressive tale.

I liked this novel immensely. It vaguely reminded me of A Farewell to Arms. It brought home the reality of war without being horrifically graphic. I am grateful to have discovered it!

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Mom and Apple Pie

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller is a recent release which is lip-smacking good! I was pleasantly surprised by this inaugural novel written by a Boston pastry chef.

It is the story of a thirty-something pastry chef who finds employment in a Vermont country inn after leaving her job in a restaurant in Boston. Olivia is accomplished in her field, but her love life is another story.

Feeling like a fish out of water, she finds herself seduced by the country life and folk – one man in particular named Martin who wants to leave the dirt of country roads far behind him.

This engaging story is full of believable characters and music, but what I really enjoyed were the vivid descriptions of food! The book ends with a recipe for apple pie. I may give it a try one day! My recommendation for this novel is a comfortable reading spot, a pot of tea, and a warm piece of pastry! Enjoy!


We are offering a copy of this novel to one U.S resident. To enter, please email your name and address to bookwinked at by January 5, 2018. Good luck and Happy New Year!

Congratulations to Laura G. who won a copy of this novel! Thank you to everyone who entered!

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Foolish Hearts

Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk came to my attention while reading The End of Your Life Bookclub. Originally published in 1955, the novel about a young Jewish woman navigating the dating scene in New York City during the era prior to World War Two was of interest to me.

Marjorie is a nineteen-year-old aspiring actress who falls in love with a confirmed womanizing bachelor while working at a summer camp. Despite his efforts, Marjorie maintains her innocence, but decides he’s her man and sets her cap on roping him in. This is a lengthy, slow story of seduction and heartbreak.

I stuck with the book long after it lost my interest for two reasons. I wanted to find out if Marjorie ever got her man and there were philosophical interludes of interest. I never could figure out why the author used a preponderance of female characters whose name began with the letter “M”. It distracted and confused me! Was this some type of literary device? I have no clue! In addition, Marjorie is portrayed as a beautiful woman never in need of a date. Personally, I didn’t find her to be any prize package. In fact, she seemed one dimensional. Perhaps her virginity made her appealing? Again, no clue on that!

I think there is some merit in this novel, but not enough to recommend it.

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Little Things

Life by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel is a beautiful picture book I won from Off the Shelf. I chose to share it with my followers because I am grateful for the gift from the publisher, Simon Schuster and more importantly, because the book and its message are inspirational. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend this book no matter what age!  Happy Holidays!

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The Redhaired Orphan

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery is one of my favorite novels. Just in time for the holidays, a new edition has been published by Penguin-Random House.

There are many retellings of this wonderful story about Anne, the dreamy, precocious orphan, but as much as I enjoy them, I will always love the original novel. I first read this book as an adult and I couldn’t get enough of it and the sequels which followed. The character of Anne Shirley is unforgettable. As much as she gets under everyone’s skin with her many questions and shortcomings, everyone ends-up loving her.

If you, or a child in your life, is looking for a wonderful book this holiday season, I highly recommend this one. It is a joy to experience!

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