Book Review

Book Review: Carry the World by Susan Fanetti

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Susan Fanetti
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: May 4th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Eastern Kentucky, 1937.

After the death of her husband, Ada Donovan returned home to live again with her aging parents. She does all she can to help them keep the small family farm going. But times are hard, and there’s never enough.

During one of her infrequent visits to town, she sees a help-wanted notice for the Pack Horse Librarian Project, seeking librarians to ride up high in the mountains and bring books to the people there. Before her marriage, Ada was a teacher, and the thought of returning to the work she loved is impossible to resist. The mountains are her favorite place, books are her great joy, and her horse is her best friend.

But not everyone on the mountain is happy to see her.

Living in a crumbing cabin at the highest, most isolated point of Ada’s route, there’s a family that catches her attention. The father keeps to the shadows. There is no mother to dote on the happy, curious children. But soon Ada comes to love them just as fiercely as the woman they lost.

And makes it her mission to bring them the world.

TENDERLY ROMANTIC.

This was a read that was recommended to me where I was a bit nervous initially diving in. The first chapter is a present moment that then flashes back to a story. I was worried we would go back and forth, but NEVER FEAR, the entire story in 1937 is told before the last chapter that flips back to the present. You won’t be taken out of the story, read away my friends!

I got completely wrapped up in the romance between Ada and Jonah. Oh my goodness it was so dang sweet. It was a slow-burn with a lot of past to work through. I LOVE having both points of view because it allowed me to really appreciate both sides. Struggling through grief, isolation, and wondering if you’ll be able to provide for your family. The hardships of this time were very much realized. It was beautiful getting some hope in this couple and the surrounding plot.

This is a historical fiction about the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky! I’ve read one other book about this time and so I was happy to read another. The setting, characters and background are really well written. I felt transported to this time and felt the rawness of all that happened. A romance built on the resilience of Ada and Jonah and the love of their families (past and present) was resonating.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses to open and closed door scenes
  • Violence: animal attacks, near death experiences, gun violence, physical altercations, murder, car wreck
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a spouse(s), loss of a parent(s), home invasion, domestic abuse (Ada notices this about a small side character), attempted sexual assault

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Book Review

Book Review: The Widow and the Highlander (Tales from the Highlands #1) by Martha Keyes

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 290 pages
Author: Martha Keyes
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: February 27th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

She needs to be protected. He’ll take on the job…for a price.

Christina MacKinnon is secretly relieved to be a widow. She is equally desperate to distance herself from the clan of her dead husband, but as the heir to his estate—one she needs in order to support her siblings—she must first stave off both the advances and threats of the man next in line to inherit. It seems the only person she can turn to is a nearby stranger who seems inclined to help her. But he has a request…

Freshly returned from the war, Lachlan Kincaid has one aim: to see justice served to the MacKinnons for betraying his family years ago and depriving him of his inheritance. While biding his time at a nearby inn, he discovers the death of the MacKinnon laird—whose widow has inherited everything. The way to accomplish his goal is becoming more evident, but the path is murkier than he could have foreseen.

As Christina’s and Lachlan’s lives intersect, it becomes clear that their separate aims may well only be achievable if they join forces. But to do so is to court more danger, and it requires a sacrifice Christina isn’t sure she’s prepared to make.

DRAWN TO THE HIGHLANDS.

Really though, put a book in a Scottish setting and I am drawn like a moth to a flame. I love how well written and put together this novel was.

There was a tender, unmitigated romance that I found myself getting wrapped up into. I adored the two strong leads, Christina and Lachlan. Both with vastly different backgrounds that came together in a marriage of convenience (MY FAV) to outwit some unruly family members. I even found myself okay with another trope (which has a spoilery nature so I won’t say here) that I’m generally not a fan of. Keyes wrote both characters with passion and thoughts that made sense and I could get behind even when they were upset or frustrated.

I felt transported to the highlands and saw the set-up for book two that I know I’m going to love. These characters made the story and I love the pacing and how in depth it was even at a shorter page length (under 300).

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses to closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, mentions and recounting of past spousal abuse (physical), near drowning, war injuries

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Book Review

Book Review: A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction Romance
Length: 993 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Delta
Release Date: September 27th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A Breath of Snow and Ashes continues the extraordinary story of 18th-century Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his 20th-century wife, Claire.

The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.

With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence — with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie’s death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future. 

HURTS SO GOOD.

That’s this series so far to me. Heart strings continually pulled, near-death moments, kidnappings, murders, the threat of war, oh my goodness, how do I even keep up? How do I even look away? The answer: YA DON’T. I have been swept up in another great Outlander installment and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love the slow pace and intricate story telling. The ability for this book to span hundreds of pages and an immense amount of information, yet keep me enthralled is no small feat. This series is a gem.

Jamie and Claire y’all. How I continue to love them more and more. Oh yes, I will say there romance is timeless. I can’t get enough of them fighting for each other, being together, working as one, and more. Same with Bri and Roger. Good heavens I’m hooked on them too, and now I NEED TO KNOW WHERE WE GO FROM HERE.

I don’t know where book seven will lead, but I’m here for the ride. This review is short because it feels impossible to cover so much and convey to y’all to read it (without spoilers at this point). It’s entrancing, and will have you completely wrapped up.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: a handful of scenes ranging from kissing to open-door love scenes (brief and extended)
  • Violence: see TW/CW below; physical altercations, guns, thievery
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault, slavery, torture, kidnapping, arson, murder (including a pregnant woman), suicide attempt, suicide ideation [I know I have missed some; please research and take caution before reading this series]

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Book Review

Book Review: Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction
Length: 464 pages
Author: Ariel Lawhon
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Release Date: March 31st. 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

This book is based on the life of Nancy Wake, an Australian expat who worked as a reporter for Hearst in Paris just before WWII and later as a spy for the British. Lawhon throws readers into the middle of the action, as Nancy, under the alias Hélène, prepares to parachute from an RAF plane into France to help the Resistance in 1944, carrying in her head memorized lists of vital data, including bridges targeted for destruction and safe house addresses. After she lands, the story flashes back eight years, as Nancy struggles for respect and recognition as a journalist; despite her firsthand observations of Nazi brutality in 1930s Vienna, her editor is reluctant to publish a story about what she’s seen. Frequent jumps in time draw out the arc of Wake’s remarkable life; despite her statement early on that women’s weapons of warfare were limited to “silk stockings and red lipstick,” by the end she’s proven herself skillful at physical combat as well.

I’M CRYING.

Oh, I have found another book to make me cry and hug it to my chest upon closing. I loved this one that much.

Nancy Wake is a flippin’ bada**. I loved the way she was portrayed in this historical fiction version of her life. It was magnificent. Her ability to stay brave and courageous in the face of such horrid evil.

I love the converging timelines and how this kept me on my toes. It’s some tiny word/big page writing, and yet I never felt like it dragged. Ever. The absolutely beautiful writing combined Nancy’s story with dialogue and descriptions of the French countryside. It was truly a new tale for historical fiction in the World War 2 sub-genre. I know it’s often said that there are too many WW2 books, but this one proved that all wrong.

Nancy’s romance with Henri was, EVERYTHING. Oh my goodness I love him so much. I was smitten with his love and devotion to Nancy (and hers with him). I love a beautiful portrayal of marriage. They never gave up on each other and I couldn’t help but cry at the ending of the war.

This is without a doubt one of my new favorites in historical fiction. I loved getting to read the author’s note at the ending about the real Nancy Wake and I want to learn more about her and her missions. What a powerful woman.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical Fiction [WW2]
  • Language: some strong throughout (often in French)
  • Romance: kisses; one fade out closed door scene
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: this is a book about war; a lot of violence and murder; mentions of rape, horrendous war crimes (descriptive and intense)

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