Audiobook Review: A Woman of Intelligence

This review is of the audiobook, received from Macmillan Audio.

On the surface, Katharina Edgeworth has it all–a rich and handsome doctor husband, two gorgeous sons, and an expensive New York apartment. But reality is very different. She is a college graduate who speaks four languages and worked at the United Nations until she got pregnant. She loves her kids, but wants more than motherhood. It is the 1950s, and it is frowned upon for women with children to work. Now she has been forbidden to work or use any babysitters by her controlling husband, who works days at a time, but doesn’t want babysitters or anyone else raising his children. When an FBI agent leaves Katharina his card and says he could use her help, she is tempted, but how can she work as a spy while raising two boys practically on her own? To top it all off, her rich and haughty mother-in-law is continually butting into her business, and is even more controlling than her husband.

I enjoyed many aspects of this women’s fiction and spy thriller mashup. Katharina’s struggle to be more than a housewife in a time when this was discouraged makes an engaging read. Her work for the FBI during the McCarthy era is thrilling. Her friendship with a stunning woman who happens to be a prominent member of the Communist party is one of the best parts of the book. Her determination to use her talents in a fulfilling way for herself is admirable. However, the characterization of her husband Tom is way over the top. He is every stereotype of a 1950s husband–times ten. I also did not like some of the choices Katharina made along the way, but overall this was a satisfying and compelling thriller.

The narration of the book is well done, and the narrator, Jennifer Jill Araya, handles different characters and accents with ease.

My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karin Tanabe

Karin Tanabe is the author of six novels, including A Hundred Suns and The Gilded Years (soon to be a major motion picture starring Zendaya, who will produce alongside Reese Witherspoon). A former Politico reporter, her writing has also appeared in The Washington Post, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, and Newsday. She has appeared as a celebrity and politics expert on Entertainment Tonight, CNN, and CBS Early Show. Karin is a graduate of Vassar College and lives in Washington, D.C.

ABOUT THE NARRATOR

Jennifer Jill Araya

Jennifer Jill Araya has been listening to audiobooks since she was a young child, and the fact that she now gets to narrate audiobooks for a living is a dream come true. Jennifer’s training as an opera singer and orchestral cellist lend a musicality and depth of understanding to her narration that help bring her authors’ stories to life. A two-time Independent Audiobook Award Finalist, Jennifer has narrated over 150 audiobooks for a variety of publishers and producers, including Penguin Random House Audio, Simon & Schuster Audio, HarperAudio, Blackstone Publishing, and Audible Studios. When she’s not narrating, Jennifer can be found hiking, biking, running, or generally exploring her home city of Cincinnati with her husband Arturo (aka “Partner in Crime”) and their two children.

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#Book Review: The Accidental Suffragist

BOOK DESCRIPTION

It’s 1912, and Helen Fox is a factory worker living in New York’s tenements. When tragedy strikes in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Helen is seduced by the Suffragist cause and is soon immersed, working alongside famous activist

As Helen’s involvement with the cause deepens, she encounters myriad sources of tension that test her perseverance: estrangement from her husband, who is blindsided by his wife’s sudden activism; ostracization by neighbors; unease at working side by side with wealthier suffragettes; and worry about her children as she leaves them to picket the White House in Washington.

The narrative spans World War One and concludes with the triumph of 1919. In a time when the obstacles for women, from any background, were insurmountable, Helen discovers her voice as an independent woman and dreams of equality in a male-dominated society.


BOOK REVIEW

This is gritty historical fiction set in a time when women had few rights, and their fight for the right to vote would get dirty and even bloody. The protagonist, Helen, is a poor housewife in New York City who also has to work and eke out a meager existence for her family. She has just lost her daughter in a factory fire and her whole family is hurting. She stumbles into a job with the Suffragettes, who are fighting for the right to vote for women. Her husband’s actions puzzle me throughout the book. He is a piece of work who is supposed to love her deeply, but 21st Century women will probably not see any evidence of that. He stands as a symbol for what the average man thought and did at that time. Helen’s actions show tremendous growth throughout this book, but not as much growth as I would have wished. That being said, I think that this is a very real depiction of what life would have been like for women of that time period, and although I would have liked Helen to stand up to her husband more, that is probably not realistic. Women of that time period were treated like property, and it did not change overnight.

The description of the protest in Washington DC and what happened afterward is as realistic as it is horrifying. The Accidental Suffragist is the very definition of real historical fiction. This is no fairy tale. This book is about the suffering and subjugation of women in American in and prior to the early 20th Century, and the blowback, indignation, and violence that resulted from their fight to rise above it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Galia Gichon

About the Author:

Widely quoted in The New York Times and more, Galia Gichon spent nearly ten years writing financial research for top investment banks before launching Down-to-Earth Finance, a top personal financial advising firm in New York.

Galia is the author of My Money Matters, a personal finance book which received notable press from the New York Times, TODAY Show, CNN, Newsweek, Real Simple and more. Galia Gichon consistently leads seminars for Barnard College where she has taught for 13 years, and other organizations. She is an avid angel investor focusing on women-led and impact startups and actively counsels startups through accelerators.

Readers can connect with Galia on InstagramTwitter, and Goodreads. To learn more, go to: https://www.galiagichonauthor.com

#Book Review: Celestial Persuasion

This is such a brilliant combination of historical and women’s fiction, as well as a tribute to Jane Austen’s Persuasion.  It begins in England in the Regency era and travels to Buenos Aires, in the beginnings of a fight for the South American colonies’ independence from Spain. 

Brilliant, but unable to go to college because she is a woman, Abigail Isaacs has few choices other than to study astronomy in her comfortable English home. However, upon the death of her father, Abigail writes to her brother Jonathan, who is serving on a ship called The Argo. Unfortunately she is told by none other than Austen character Captain Wentworth that her brother, a friend of Wentworth’s, has just passed away under violent circumstances because he was Jewish. Abigail is surprised to find out that her late father and brother had invested in property in South America, and that they were part of a secret society that wants to free Buenos Aires from Spanish rule. She eventually decides to travel to Buenos Aires on the frigate George Canning, along with her loyal companion, Mrs. Frankel. They are also accompanied by her brother’s associates, José Francisco de San Martín and Raphael Gabay de Montoya. St Martin and Montoya are part of a Freemason-affiliated secret society interested in freeing Buenos Aires from Spanish rule.

I was immediately transported to the Regency era in Britain, and then to South America at the time of Spanish rule. The characters all came to life and the places were described in such vivid detail that I felt as if I were there. The descriptions of the ship voyage were especially real and fascinating. The customs, rules, and prejudices of the Regency era were described in sometimes painful detail, especially the racism against Jews, which was evident in circumstances that occurred early in the book. Jewish traditions, terms, and customs are explained throughout this captivating novel. 

The bow to Jane Austen comes not only in the inclusion of Wentworth, but also in the language and tone of the book. There is also a surprise in the book that nobody will see coming.

I was blown away by the author’s remarkable ability to write a prequel to Persuasion, add in Jewish traditions and history, expertly combine historical, literary, and fictional characters, and eloquently surround it all with the South American independence movement. I would highly recommend this to fans of Jewish and South American historical fiction, as well as to readers who love strong female characters. 

I received a free copy of this book from the author. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Kindle Unlimited subscribers can download the book for free or it can be purchased outright for only $2.99.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mirta Ines Trupp

Mirta is a second generation Argentine; she was born in Buenos Aires in 1962 and immigrated to the United States that same year. Because of the unique fringe benefits provided by her father’s employer- Pan American Airlines- she returned to her native country frequently- growing up with “un pie acá, y un pie allá” (with one foot here and one foot there).

Mirta’s fascination with Jewish history and genealogy, coupled with an obsession for historical period drama, has inspired her to create unique and enlightening novels. She has been a guest speaker for book clubs, sisterhood events, genealogy societies and philanthropic organizations. Sharing her knowledge of Jewish Argentina has become her passion.

Besides being an avid novel reader, she has had a lifelong love for choral music and is a devoted Beatles fan. Follow Mirta on Amazon, Goodreads, Pinterest and Instagram for interesting tidbits and photos.

MIRTA INES TRUPP’S WEBSITE

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#Blog Tour and #Book Review: Going Greek

*Book Review in Middle of Page

BOOK DESCRIPTION

After a work party gone disastrously wrong, Samantha suddenly finds herself jobless and jilted. So when her sister invites Sam to stay at her little whitewashed farmhouse on a Greek island, Sam leaps at the chance to escape. Before long, she’s trundling up the cobbled driveway, almost colliding with sexy neighbour Spyros.

It isn’t all sunshine and smiles though. For every afternoon spent lounging by the pool, cocktail in hand, there is a morning spent adjusting to life with boisterous six-year-old nieces. When Spyros invites Sam to explore the island with him she’s tempted, but with his carefree, live-for-the-moment attitude, he couldn’t be more different to Sam with her five-year plans and high-maintenance hair. One drink, as friends, couldn’t hurt though? Over glasses of fruity Greek wine and honey-sweet baklava, can he – and the other charming locals – help city girl Sam to appreciate the simple pleasures the Greek life has to offer?

Just as Sam is considering ditching her designer gear for good though, she runs in to an old flame from home, and suddenly her London life comes hurtling back. Can her smooth-talking ex convince Sam to return to the concrete jungle, or will the lessons she’s learned from her Greek escape persuade her to stay?

A fun, fabulous and completely laugh-out-loud summer read perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan and Sophie Kinsella.

#BOOK REVIEW – BONNIE READS AND WRITES

TV personality Sam suddenly finds herself in the media spotlight, and not in a good way. With her career on the skids and her love life in a shambles, Sam decides to take a break and visit her sister in Greece.

This is a pleasant romance that would make a nice beach read. Some of Sam’s adventures will make you grimace in sympathy, and some will make you smile. This a fun read for a summer day. It’s a reminder that the people who are there for you when everything seems the worst are your true family and friends.

3.5 stars, rounded up to four on sites with no half star option.

I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sue Roberts

Sue Roberts lives in Lancashire with her long term partner Derek and has had a lifelong love of writing, encouraged by winning a school writing competition at the age of 11.

She always assumed that ‘one day’ she would write a book, always having a busy household and a job, the idea remained firmly on the back burner but never forgotten.

The inspiration for her first novel came to her on a holiday to a Greek village. Her daughters had left home and suddenly the time had come to write that book!

LINKS TO BUY

Amazon: https://bit.ly/3bFSHt2

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Google: https://bit.ly/37YjSNW

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#Book Review and #Blog Tour: Her Family Secret

*Book Review towards the bottom of the page.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The father you never knew, has left behind a heartbreaking secret…

June Westwood is devastated by the news the father she never met has died. Now the truth about why Jasper abandoned her as a child will be buried forever. Escaping to the secluded beach house she’s inherited, June hopes to spend time bonding with her two little daughters, away from her hectic job and failing marriage.

On the wild shores of the Pacific Northwest, her father’s hideaway leaves June breathless. But it’s his oil paintings decorating every wall that surprise her most. How could someone paint other people so beautifully, but reject those closest to him? And why is every drawer in her father’s workshop locked? June hopes her new neighbor—her father’s apprentice Caleb—will provide the answers. But Caleb won’t talk about the past.

Then, hidden in her father’s workshop, June discovers a box of newspaper clippings that reveal the shocking reason why her father left years ago—and uncovers Caleb’s own devastating secret…

When her old life comes calling, June has an impossible decision to make. Unsure what’s best for her girls, and if she can trust Caleb, will digging deeper into her father’s dark past heal or destroy her precious family?

An absolutely heartbreaking and emotional page-turner about the incredible strength of family bonds, how we can hurt those closest to us, and the healing power of love. Fans of Diane Chamberlain, Kerry Lonsdale and Kerry Fisher will devour this powerful read from award-winning author Melissa Wiesner.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melissa Wiesner

Author Bio:
Melissa Wiesner is a night-owl who began writing novels about five years ago when her early-to-bed family retired for the evening. In 2019, she won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Award in the Mainstream Fiction Category for her first novel. Melissa holds two Master’s Degrees in Public Health and Community Agency Counseling. Her day job is in Social Work where she often encounters people knocked down by hard times but who pick themselves up and keep going, just like the characters of her novels. Melissa lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her charming husband and two adorable children.

MELISSA’S SOCIAL MEDIA:

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#BOOK REVIEW

June is living the storybook life–fabulous career, two children, and a rich and handsome husband–when she is summoned out of the blue to the beautiful beach house of a father who abandoned her and has recently died. June and her two sisters find out that their long-lost father is a famous artist, and they are heirs to his fortune. They eventually meet up at the beach house to take care of his affairs. When June arrives first, she meets Caleb, her father’s protege, and things do not go well. Will she ever get answers as to why her father abandoned them?

This is well-written women’s fiction with a bit of romance, but it is much more than a romance. June’s anger at her father for his abandonment is the true focus of the story, and she begins to go through his belongings, looking for answers. We are drawn into the art world and introduced to June’s father through his paintings. The biggest theme in this story is sacrifice. June and her father have both made sacrifices and life-changing choices. Were they right to do so? Mental health issues are also discussed. This is a beautifully written story of a family, with all its bumps and bruises, and of a busy woman who pauses at a crossroads long enough to look at her future. Fans of women’s fiction and romance will enjoy this book.

I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary. 

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*The ebook is only 99 cents right now! A terrific buy!

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#Book Review: The Far Away Girl

This was probably my favorite read for the May issue of Historical Novels Review., the magazine of The Historical Novel Society. They also made it an “Editor’s Choice.”

In 1976, five-year-old Rita is ripped away from the only family she has ever known and is taken to Georgetown, Guyana, to live with her father, Jitty Miraj. A wild child, she surrounds herself with animals and   books,   and   shares   everything   with   her   diary,   a   gift   from   her   father.   Her    father becomes    her world,    and   she     forgets   her     past.      When     Doomsday     comes,     and     she    meets Jitty’s   new   wife Chandra,   Rita    is    told   that   she is not good   enough.    Chandra   is   embarrassed   of Rita’s African and Amerindian roots, her curly hair, and the fact that her parents weren’t married. Rita is quickly set off to the side.   Then a chance to visit her mother’s family presents itself.    Will Rita finally learn the truth her father will never tell? How did her mother die? This is the coming of age story of Rita Miraj, from five years old to adulthood.

This is an absolutely gorgeous, soul-touching book that I could not put down. We are immediately drawn into Rita’s life and grow up with her as she learns to cope with a weak but manipulative father and his empty promises. Words are her gift, and we are gifted with her poems and diary entries. Music, movies, and   political/historical   events   of   the   1970s   and    1980s    are relayed    through Rita,    Jitty,    and flashbacks   to   Rita’s   mother   Cassie.   The   lush   beauty, diverse wildlife,   and   rich   history    of the Pomeroon River area   are   described    in   vivid   detail.    Rita    has    a    deeply    moving     and     soul- changing moment on Shell   Beach   watching   a   turtle   lay   her   eggs,   and   I was drawn in to her overwhelming wonder and joy. The evolution of Rita’s heart, mind, and goals as she grows and learns is so well captured here. This book was an unforgettable, magical joy to read.  Highly recommend.

I received a free copy from Bookouture for Historical Novels Review. I also purchased a copy to support this amazing book. My opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sharon Maas was born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1951, and a sense of adventure has followed her around the world. In 1971 she spent a year backpacking around South America, followed by a few months with pioneering friends in the Guyana rainforest, followed by an overland trip to India, followed by a year in a Hindu Ashram.

She settled in Germany where she married, studied, worked, and raised children. 

Officially retired, she continues to write from her new home in Ireland.

Her first novel was published by HarperCollins in 1999, followed by two more in 2001 and 2002. At present she has 10 published works with the digital publisher Bookouture.

She has one self-published work, a retelling of the magnificent Indian epic Mahabharata: a project of love which took her over 30 years to “get right”, written under the pen name S. Aruna.

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