Review: The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain


NET GALLEY – October 2, 2018                                        Hardcover, 384 pages

Publication: October 2nd 2018                                           by St. Martin’s Press

ISBN:   1250087309       Rated:  5*

Right from the very first pages I knew that THE DREAM DAUGHTER was going to affect me emotionally; 1) because it is from a writer whose prose and story lines are incredibly enduring, and 2) because the book description gripped me right from the start and I knew I had to read it.  

Set in the late 60’s and early 70’s you start off with a chance meeting of a patient, Hunter that no one could through to except a young PT therapist who was assigned to him.  Their meeting almost seemed fated and an interesting comment of  “you’re going to love my sister” in the prologue  gave me a hint of what might be coming.   

From the first chapter you’ll discover that Hunter, whom Caroline had introduced to her sister was now her brother-in-law.  Caroline is a young wife waiting for her husband to come home from Vietnam and just discovering she is pregnant a joyous event she can’t wait to surprise her husband with!  Unfortunately, the doctors have just informed Caroline that her baby has a serious heart defect that will likely kill the child before it could even be born.    

Except, Hunter, kind of a mysterious guy from the get-go, is telling Caroline that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will require a leap of faith, strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed.  A strength she mustered from the bottom of her soul to save the unborn child she loved with all her heart!

You’ll be on pins and needles for most of the read and the things Caroline goes through from her baby daughter.   When you finish this book you will be as drained emotionally as I was and it will be a testament to the love from a mother for her child that brings those emotions to the forefront.  

Bottom line:  Another tremendously satisfying read from the brilliant author Diane Chamberlain.  Incredible story!!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

Together Forever

Paperback, 384 pages                                                   Rating 5*

Published:  May 1st 2018                                              Bethany House Publishers

ISBN13: 9780764218057                                              Series:    Orphan Train #2

As noble as Marianne Neumann knew becoming a placing Agent with the Children’s Aid Society, she had another goal in mind when she applied.  Marianne had to find her lost sister.    Along with Marianne was another Agent who accompanied her with all of the orphans – Andrew Brady who she discovered had once been a former schoolteacher.  Marianne couldn’t help but notice how wonderful Andrew was with the children and as the journey continued, she couldn’t help but admire his dedication and love for their charges.   They couldn’t help growing closer during the journey but, unfortunately, a tragedy changes all the plans they were developing for a happily ever after.  

***  First of all, I found this this novel fascinating.  I had never heard of the Orphan Trains but I must admit I think I would have signed up to be a volunteer to help find these children a better life than living in the cramped and unsanitary conditions most were pulled out of in search of a better life.   Yes, some probably weren’t better off but the fact that some folks were dedicated to help them makes my heart glad.  

It was also wonderful to have this focused on the people were such good Christians that they saw and felt the hand of God helping them to get the best placements in the best situations they could and that they went back to check on the children to make sure the children were happy.

I loved the characterizations of all involved from the two protagonists to the orphan children who were written with such care, love and emotion.  When the author is as good as this you can totally visualize the children and all the characters as real people as well as hear their voices.  

The journey was not an easy task keeping the children from boredom and keeping them amused, but the author showed how competent both Marianne and Andrew were at making the best of a tough situation.   Eventually it was a no brainer to see these two wonderful kind and beautiful people come to admire then love one anther.  

Bottom line:   A most endearing story I didn’t want to see end.  

Marilyn Rondeau

Review for : FALLEN INK by Carrie Ann Ryan

Fallen Ink

Review by Annetta Sweetko

In FALLEN INK Adrienne Montgomery, with her brother Shep, is opening a tattoo shop MIT (Montgomery Ink Too), which can be stressful enough but a number of other things come into play adding more. Someone doesn’t want “their kind” in the neighborhood, forcing them to deal with threats and vandalism. Mace Knight, her best friend and fellow tattoo artist, suddenly becomes a full time father to his adorable 4 year old daughter, Daisy, when his ex-decides she wants to go overseas to work.

On top of all that – these two best friends, Adrienne and Mace, find that the other has much deeper feelings than they had ever expressed. It is simple, neither of them wanted to lose their best friend and sex once the thrill wears off could lead to just that. But, what if the thrill just kept getting better!

FALLEN INK is steamy, sweet, complicated story of friends to lovers who in the end are still friends and lovers. It is well written, though there might be just a bit too much angst over losing the friendship if things go wrong. I thought Adrienne and Mace are perfect for each other and the Montgomery family are as always amazing people who band together.

I think it is family, being together, helping each other and being there for each other, that is always the main stay in all the Montgomery books. No matter what happens you can bet a Montgomery will be there and I love seeing families like them in books. I can’t wait to see where the next in the series takes us

REVIEW: The Perfect Duchess by Erica Taylor

Perfect Duchess

Paperback, 392 pages                    Publication: April 17, 2018 by Amberjack Publishing

ISBN13: 9781944995577.                    Series:    The Macalisters #2

Andrew Macalister, oft regarded as the Stone Duke of Bradstone, hates his annual birthday ball tradition! He dislikes being a duke; hates the sycophants who only see him for his title; and hates that he has given up a chance to live a normal unencumbered life.  He’s simply biding his time until he can possibly slip away without anyone noticing. However, when he spots Lady Clara Masson across the ballroom he couldn’t quite believe his eyes. Clara’s twin sister is the woman who infamously jilted Andrew at the altar five years ago, but little does Clara know, Andrew had been smitten with her since childhood, and he finds her presence a ray of sunshine in a dreary dukedom. 

However when he notices another ‘Lady’ scornfully harassing Clara over the innuendoes her brother has been passing around to try and destroy her reputation, Andrew has to step up and save her.  They danced and for the first time in a long time Andrew felt himself actually smiling.

Because Clara had disobeyed her brother Jonathan in going to the ball, he was furious and tried to throw her out of his house with the clothes on her back.  A fight ensued and physical blows were rained down on Clara when he knocked her down and she passed out from the severe bump to her head.  It was at that time Andrew arrived to call on Clara when he realized Clara’s life was being threatened by her evil brother. Andrew did the only thing he could think of to save her; propose marriage. Between Clara’s trust issues and Andrew not caring a fig for what the ton thought, as well as Jonathan’s continued atempts to murder Clara, Andrew needed to discover what was going on in a madman’s mind!

Bottom line:  A GREAT read – loved the excitement and suspense of what was behind all of the mystery surrounding the Masson twin sisters!

Marilyn Rondeau

REVIEW: The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor

The Luck of the Bride

ISBN13: 9781250116161.                    Series:   The Cavensham Heiresses #3

Rating 5*

March Lawson, after the death of her mother, has had little to no luck especially after making a promise to keep her siblings together and care for them no matter what.  And March has done that, but lately it seems the estate funds she was supposed to be getting were not forthcoming.  As a result, she had – out of necessity – turned to forging the signature of the Marquess of McCalpin who was supposed to have taken over the guardianship of the Lawson family.   The thing of it was – there was money.  Three generous dowries had been set up for the girls including March; so in her mind – March was only ‘borrowing from her own money’.

Alas, one of the Marquess’ accountants noticed right away that the sums requested had been increasing and this latest one was a dead giveaway that something wasn’t right.  March was summoned to com and explain to Michael Cavensham, the Marquess himself why his signature was so perfectly drawn and why sums of money were being deposited in her account.

*** What a delightful story as well as realistic.  You have to love March for taking the bull by the horns and working out ways to keep the Lawson siblings from near starvation.  [Not counting the great hunter Max who helped fill the larder – but you’ll have to discover that one by reading the book yourself!].  No spoilers  here.  

I loved the fact that Michael had a secret that would have truly destroyed his self image should it become common knowledge.   But the one person he did trust was March and the more he came to know and admire her he began to see just how valuable a helpmate she would be as a wife.  

The romance built itself slowly and March’s cousin Rupert was a real toad who was foiled in the end as he tried his best to torpedo March’s chance at happiness.

Bottom line:  Loved this book and all the characters, except of course, creepy cousin Rupert!

Marilyn Rondeau

REVIEW: Come Home to Me by Liz Talley

ComeHome-Liz Talley

Paperback, 332 pages                                  Publication: April 17th 2018 by Montlake ISBN:  9781503900998

Summer Valentine has returned to Moonlight, South Carolina for the sake of her son David.  She had left Moonlight a different person than how she has returned.  No longer shy easy going naive young girl but a strong woman who has survived the nasty rumors of being an unwed mother. No longer the pushover who could be taken into anything, she was an intelligent and savvy woman who would do right by her son who wanted a relationship with his dad.

In spite of her anger over the past and Hunter’s continued defense of his actions towards Summer, she is willing to put that aside to see if Hunt really wants to establish a relationship with his son.  Hunt was at one time a big time baseball player but his illustrious career has faded, and yet his wealth and privilege still keeps him protected from the mistakes of his past.  

Another person from Summer’s past has also returned to Moonlight  –Rhett Bryan, the Golden Boy from Hollywood, who has come home to find some healing after a tragic accident that took the life of a child.  Finding Summer home and rekindling their friendship Summer is not sure she could handle having her heart broke again when she knows he will be returning to California.  

There is a lot of painful history between all three of these high school friends and while it is nice to see Rhett kind of re-connecting with Summer, there is a whole lot of hurt and unresolved feelings that all has to come out before there can be any type of happy ending.

Bottom line:  A great story with high emotional content and wonderful characterizations.

Marilyn Rondeau