Review: Montauk by Nicola Harrison

Montauk, Long Island, 1938. Once a humble fishing village and now it is serving as a playground for the New York City wealthy elite.  When her husband approached her with the plan to summer in Montauk, Beatrice Bordeaux was delighted thinking it would be just the ticket to help reignite the passion in her and Harry’s  marriage – that is until she understood that he would not be spending the weeks with her – just the weekends.  But, soon Harry had excuses that he wouldn’t be able to make the weekends because of being so busy pursuing other interests in the city.  

Raised as a country girl in Pennsylvania, Bea has never felt fully comfortable among these privileged women, whose days were devoted not to their children but to leisure activities and charities that seemingly benefit no one but themselves. Beatrice longs to be a mother herself, as well as a loving wife, but after five years of marriage she still remains childless while Harry is increasingly remote and distracted.  In spite of the  lavish parties at the Manor and the Yacht Club, Bea is lost and lonely and befriends the manor’s laundress whose work ethic and family life stir memories of who she once was. 

Exploring the town rather than joining the society women at the Manor Beatrice drifts further from the them and their preoccupations and closer toward Montauk’s natural beauty and community spirit.  Along the way, Bea finds herself drawn to a man nothing like her husband –stoic, plain spoken and enigmatic.  He  inspired her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and take a good look at what her future might hold.  

Time was racing and as the summer was coming to an end, Beatrice knew she had to make a choice to grasp what happiness she could.  However with a major hurricane blasting out to Long Island, would anyone survive to have a future.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: REBEL by Beverly Jenkins

ebook, 384 pages Publication: May 28th 2019 by Avon

ISBN13: 9780062861696         Series:   Women Who Dare #1, The Le Veq Family #4

Rating:  5*

This compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War and the historical references used in this novel were truly an eye opener in what and why the country became so divided.  Not only is this a very sensual and unusual love story but it’s one that needs to be read by all lovers of historical romance.  

Traveling to the South was both a very brave thing and not without risk for Valinda Lacey.  Her goal was a mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. However, she soon discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.

As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda’s determination. And he can’t stop admiring—or wanting—her. But Valinda was spoken for and as much as Drake wanted it otherwise, he was too much of gentleman to pine after a betrothed woman.  

In this I had to admire both Valinda and Drake – Valinda was all that was good and pure and as much as she felt the undeniable pulse of passion for Drake, she had made a promise to her very dear friend.  The secondary characters were so very much a part of the whole and added such substance to the entire story. Not only was this a wonderful love story but it was also about family love and values which I found to be incredibly satisfying.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review Duchess by Design by Maya Rodale

Duchess by Design

Published October 23rd 2018 by Avon

Series:  The Gilded Age Girls Club #1

First of all – I absolutely LOVED this story!!!   Not only was it the first book in a  new series which I love to start from the beginning but Maya Rodale is a “new” author for me!  I have heard of her and seen her name many times but ashamedly I had never read her.  THAT is going to change!

Becoming a duke Brandon Fiennes, took his duties seriously especially having inherited a bankrupt estate along with the title and his dowager duchess mother and two sisters who needed to be taken care of.  Brandon had always been dependable and did his best keeping the estates afloat in spite of his father’s wasteful ways.   However, unless he found a wealthy bride his cause was hopeless.  

Heading to America he was on the lookout for a wealthy heiress who would trade their wealth for a title as a Duchess.  In fact he felt pretty lucky when he happened to bump into a young woman, Adeline Black, who totally intrigued him and seemed to occupying the suite next to his.  Unfortunately, she was simply a seamstress who was calling on the real heiress.  However the heart knows its own mind and after Adeline is found out to be what she purported to be Brandon did start shopping the New York heiresses, only to discover none measured up to Adeline.  

Expect the unexpected but told in a delightful and fun way as both find that true love leads to unexpected and surprising results.   A wonderful full bodied and delightful story.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Sold On A Monday by Kristina McMorris

SoldMonday

Published:    8/28/18                                       Rating: 5*

Sourcebooks Landmark                                ISBN: 9781492663997

Just so tired of covering and photographing society events for his newspaper Ellis Reed drove through a town and stopped by a sign and scene that evoked memories of a dark past from his childhood.  The sign read “ 2 CHILDREN FOR SALE”.  Evidently it was the final act of a family’s struggle to feed themselves in 1931.  The great Crash, the great depression, bread lines, soup kitchens – it could have been written by so many families who couldn’t stand to see her children starve.  

Ellis took the picture bringing it back to the paper where Lillian Palmer saw it and brought it to the chief editor who wanted a story to go with it.  It was the big break Ellis Reed needed, even though the picture was never meant for publication. But then just before it was printed, it was damaged and Ellis had to go back and re-take the photo, only the original children weren’t there, so he substituted other children into the photo with disastrous results.  

Both Ellis and Lillian realize that their actions had caused a great deal of misunderstanding and grief and though there was connection to their friendship they both felt the need to try and correct the actions that had been set in motion. As the two try to mend the fractured family, they naturally find a commonality and sense of soul in each other.  

As this book was inspired by an actual article and photograph from a newspaper that stunned a nation, you’ll find this to be a powerful novel of love and redemption between two unexpected souls who found their way back to a way of life they had been missing,

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Tiffany Blues by M. J. Rose

Tiffany Blues

Publish by Simon & Schuster  – Aug 7, 2018        ISBN13: 9781501173592  

Rating:  5*

Set in New York in 1924, you are introduced to 24year old Jenny Bell, who is struggling to make ends meet while studying art.  Through the friendship and manipulations of her closest and – only friend – Minx Deering, Jenny is selected along with the other top students to study at the luxurious home of Louis Comfort Tiffany Laurelton Hall.   Jenny has closed herself off to any romantic entanglements and for the most part trusting many people, knowing that she must rely only upon herself and is working hard towards that end. 

Unfortunately, Jenny’s past seems to be following her to Long Island with images of her beloved mother, her hateful step-father, waterfalls, and murder from the dark hallways of the notorious girls reformatory Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women.  As she tries to bury those memories of her imprisonment, she must keep those secrets at bay while she is being sensually pulled towards Oliver, grandson of Mr. Tiffany.

Competition is fierce for the prize that is being offered for the artist who submits the best example of their art and win a spot at Tiffany’s New York Gallery.   But then a series of incidents both suspicious and disturbing let Jenny know that someone is out there who knows of her past and is trying to scare her away before all is  revealed.  

Not only did I love this story and M.J.Rose’s beautifully detailed and expressive descriptions of the grandeur of Laurelton Hall, but she drew the characterizations of her subjects with emotions and motives that one could almost believe they were there experiencing the beauty that Tiffany had created and being able to understand Jenny’s innermost issues. 

The romance that sprung between Jenny and Oliver was both breathtaking and a bit heartbreakingly enduring as well as very real.  The suspense and nature of the villain was rather obvious but the TWIST at the end I hadn’t seen coming nor was I prepared for it.    All in all – this is a book you must put on your list for a remarkable and entertaining read. 

Marilyn Rondeau