4.5 stars. "I Will Send Rain" is the story of the Bell family set against the beginning of the Dust Bowl years. Annie is bored with her marriage and w4.5 stars. "I Will Send Rain" is the story of the Bell family set against the beginning of the Dust Bowl years. Annie is bored with her marriage and wants more out of life. After a surprise flirtation with the mayor, she finds herself in a situation that she never could have expected. Birdie, Annie's daughter, has fallen head over heels with Cy, a farmer's son. She believes it to be true love and won't listen to her parents' reasoning but she gets into her own situation that will change her life as well as the lives of her family. Filled with great historical detail and bold characters, this is a read that I will be thinking about long after I read the last few words.
I haven't read a lot of historical fiction set during the 1930s, especially during the Dust Bowl years. It makes for a great setting. There is so much drama caused by the dust that consumed everything around it that automatically makes for an interesting read. I loved how the author was able to weave in the historical events of the time into the drama in the story. It is so hard for to imagine just how difficult these years were for so many in the center of the United States. People's lives and livelihoods were crushed. The juxtaposition between the chaos caused by the dust and the chaos caused by the decisions that the characters make in the book.
The characters are great! Annie is a strong woman but she wants to be loved and to feel the spark that she once had with her husband. I loved getting to know her through this book. I loved the juxtaposition between her and Birdie. Annie is a full-fledged adult and knows exactly what she is doing when she gets involved with the mayor. Birdie is blinded by first love and doesn't stop to think of the consequences. Even in the end, she seems to pull her "youthful ignorance" card and isn't willing to step up to the proverbial plate to take responsibility for her actions.
Overall, this is a great book! The writing is good and had a nice flow. The ending seemed a little abrupt but in a way where there did not really seem to be room for a sequel, which is unfortunate. I would have liked more closure but that took very little away from my enjoyment of the book. I really enjoyed the family secrets at the center of the book!...more
"Secrets of Nanreath Hall" is a historical fiction tale told in two times. The first time is WWI where Kitty is the spoiled daughter of a titled famil"Secrets of Nanreath Hall" is a historical fiction tale told in two times. The first time is WWI where Kitty is the spoiled daughter of a titled family who falls in love with the proverbial "guy from the wrong side of the tracks." Her life is upended when she gets pregnant and is practically disowned from her family. The second time is WWII takes up Anna, Kitty's daughter, story. Anna's mother died when she was very young and she was left with a lot of questions. When chance sends her to her mother's family home to work as a nurse, Anna is hopeful that she will begin to unravel the mystery of her family and her origins. I love a good story about family secrets and this book definitely fits the bill.
I loved both Kitty and Anna. Their plights are very different. Although they are mother and daughter, their upbringings were very different. Kitty grew up extremely comfortable and Anna's life was much different. The contrast was really fantastic. Even though they grew up in such different environments, they still have the same ambitious, independent spirit. In books that take place in more than one time, I usually have a favorite. Because these characters are so strong, I enjoyed both parts of the book equally. I especially liked seeing how the author joined these characters together throughout the book.
WWI and WWII are two of my very favorite times to visit through books. I really liked that this book took place in both time periods. It was so interesting to see how Nanreath Hall changes throughout the book. During Kitty's time, it is a glorious house filled with riches that many can only dream of. During Anna's time, it has been turned into a hospital and has lost some of its luster during the war. I thought the author did a great job of showing the differences.
Overall, this book had some good twists and turns that kept me guessing. According to Goodreads, this looks to be Rickloff's first plain ol' historical fiction and I will be on the look out for more. This book will appeal to those who like family secrets and vivid characters....more
"Santorini Sunsets" is the story of Brigit, a NYC society girl, who is about to marry Hollywood actor Blake. The setting is Santorini, Greece but even"Santorini Sunsets" is the story of Brigit, a NYC society girl, who is about to marry Hollywood actor Blake. The setting is Santorini, Greece but even a gorgeous setting can't quell Brigit's mind about whether or not getting married again is the right thing to do. Things are even less sure after Brigit's ex-husband shows up hoping to get the scoop on Brigit's wedding for a tabloid. This book had an interesting premise but fell a little flat for me.
I was drawn in by the promise of an exotic setting. I have never been to Santorini but it is definitely on my bucket list. The author does a great job of capturing the allure of the city and its beauty. I liked living vicariously through the characters in that regard.
The characters really fell flat for me. You don't really get a lot of information on the motivations between the various players. It seemed like such a stretch that Brigit's ex would sink as low as coming to the wedding to take pictures for a tabloid and also that Brigit's fiancé would think that it would be totally okay for that to happen without telling his wife. I was looking for more of an explanation to understand why the characters would go to such lengths but that never came even with the author delving into a lot of telling rather than showing. The setting was indeed exotic but the execution did not work out the best....more
3.5 stars. "The Angel's Share" is the second book in The Bourbon Kings series. This story continues the story of the Bradford family, storied manufact3.5 stars. "The Angel's Share" is the second book in The Bourbon Kings series. This story continues the story of the Bradford family, storied manufacturers of bourbon in Kentucky. When the book opens, the family's patriarch is dead. What initially looks like a suicide could be hiding a plot more sinister. The family finances and the family itself is in shambles. It may fall on Lane, son of the empire, to pick up the pieces.
It is definitely helpful to read the first book in this series first to get background on the characters but this book was way more exciting for me. It's during the toughest times that you get to see people's, even fictional people's true colors. This book definitely shows that. The Bradford fairy tale is totally unraveled in this book and I really enjoyed getting to know the characters through the tough times. Lane especially began to seem more real to me as his mettle is tested in a bunch of different ways throughout the book.
There are a lot more twists and turns in this book than the first one. The first one seemed like a very standard family drama but this story had more originality, which I appreciated. I wish that somehow more of the action from this book had made it into the first book. This was a good follow-up!...more
"Along the Infinite Sea" is a historical fiction that focuses on two women: one who is unmarried and pregnant in the 1960s and one who has an amazing"Along the Infinite Sea" is a historical fiction that focuses on two women: one who is unmarried and pregnant in the 1960s and one who has an amazing past that consists of love, hard choices, and escaping from the Nazis in late-1930s Europe. This is the third book in the Schuyler Sisters series by Beatriz Williams but totally stands on its own. This book really did make me want to go back and read the other books in this series. This one is a great story with many twists and turns.
Pepper and Annabelle are both great characters. Pepper is happy to move to the beat of her own job. She is pregnant and unmarried but doesn't let it bother her even if it seems to bother so many around her. After she restores an old car with a storied past, she finds the original owner, Annabelle. Annabelle is a great character in her own right. She is a woman torn between love and safety and the stakes are very high in her world. Watching how both of these characters navigate their difficulties in this book was so fascinating!
The historical detail was good. While I enjoyed Pepper's story, there was really something special about Annabelle's story. It was so exciting and the detail really made her plight come to life for me. So much of the historical fiction that I have read seems to be set after 1940. I really liked getting the glimpse of the late 1930s as Europe really began to change....more
"The Bourbon Kings" is the first book in a new series about the Bradford family, a family that is both extremely rich and extremely dysfunctional. The"The Bourbon Kings" is the first book in a new series about the Bradford family, a family that is both extremely rich and extremely dysfunctional. There are a lot of different plots in this book but the major two surround the family business and the illicit love affair of Bradford son, Lane, and head gardener, Lizzie. While the book kept me engaged, it is filled with a lot of typical tropes of rich, dysfunctional families that felt like a repeat of so many other things that already exist.
I don't need to like a character to get into a book. I really don't but I do need to be able to understand a character and I do need to be able to get their place in the book. I want them to be fully fleshed out and feel like a real person. There is only one character that really fit that bill for me in this book and that was Lizzie. She is interesting and engaging. I really enjoyed reading about all of the things that she is coping with throughout the book. Even Lane fell flat for me. He's brooding and acts much younger than he actually is. He seems unwilling to make the hard decisions that landed him and Lizzie apart. So many of the other characters seem like caricatures such as any of the other women in the book, to include Gin, a Bradford sister who also has a point of view in this book.
The writing of the book was mixed for me. Some parts of the writing were really good. I liked a lot of the descriptions of what life on the Bradford estate is like. The author sometimes tells too much instead of showing particularly when it comes to the characters speaking. I think the book could have been streamlined a little more. Overall, I think the book could have been cleaned up a bit but am hopeful for the next book in the series as it was a lot of fun to step foot into the glittering world of the Bradfords....more
In "You Will Know Me," nothing is as it seems. Katie and Eric seem like uber supportive parents of blooming gymnastics star, Devon. Devon seems to havIn "You Will Know Me," nothing is as it seems. Katie and Eric seem like uber supportive parents of blooming gymnastics star, Devon. Devon seems to have a one-track mind when it comes to gymnastics. She is aiming for success. At first, I thought that this book was simply going to be a peek into the super competitive world of gymnastics but something darker is at hand and you can feel it throughout the entire book! Packed with twists and turns, this book kept me on my toes and wondering what was going to happen next!
Katie thinks that she and Eric are on the same page when it comes to Devon. They are both really involved with making sure that she is set up for success and that she has everything that she could ever want. What we find out is that one parent is willing to go even further, verging on covering up some of the more sinister things that happen in the book. I thought it was really great how the author was able to give the reader just enough detail to keep 'em guessing. It is hard to talk about this book without giving anything away but just know that Abbott packs a ton of surprises in this book and that you are in good hands if you're looking for an exciting story.
The writing of the book was good. Aside from making sure the twists and turns fall just the right way, Abbott has a good hand for writing really realistic dialogue. The way that her characters talk seemed really realistic and it made the twists in the books seem even crazier as her characters seemed so real. Overall, this is a good book that explores the lengths that some people will go for success!...more
"In Twenty Years" is about a group of college friend brought back together after their friend, Bea, who passed away tragically declares in her will th"In Twenty Years" is about a group of college friend brought back together after their friend, Bea, who passed away tragically declares in her will that they must come back to the house that they shared in college for one weekend twenty years after graduating college. By this time, most of their friendships have fallen apart. They are no longer the inseparable group they once were. Will this one weekend change anything?
I really was looking forward to this book! The idea of meeting up with people from your past is so intriguing to me. Relationships change but you always have the memories of the good times with people you were close with at some point in your life. The group in the book is absolutely wracked with memories of each other. Some have become very successful since college. Some are struggling to keep up the image of a perfect life. All are suddenly haunted by Bea's memory, which casts a presence over the entire book. I loved how the author explored all of the different thoughts and feelings of the different characters in the book. Each of the characters feels well-rounded and real.
This is the kind of book that makes you wonder "what if." It is easy enough to live in the past and to worry about things that happened oh-so long ago. These characters have both love and grudges in the forefront of their brains throughout the weekend. This is a great book with memorable characters and I enjoyed it! It would be a perfect read for those who like a little bit of drama with well-rounded characters!...more