Review: Fatal Inheritance

Title: Fatal Inheritance
Author: Rachel Rhys
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Get swept away to the enchanting South of France with this suspenseful historical novel, where perilous secrets lurk under the glitz and glam of seaside wealth. 

She didn’t have an enemy in the world…until she inherited a fortune.

London 1948: Eve Forrester is stuck in a loveless marriage, isolated in her gray and gloomy house when out of the blue, she receives a letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mysterious inheritance but in order to find out more, she must travel to the glittering French Riviera.

There, Eve discovers she has been bequeathed an enchanting villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and suddenly, life could not be more glamorous. But while she rubs shoulders with the rich and famous, challengers to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge—challengers who would love to see Eve gone forever.

Alone in paradise, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest—before her unexpected twist of fate turns deadly…

Fatal Inheritance is an intoxicating story of dysfunctional families and long-hidden secrets, set against the decadence of the Côte d’Azur.

Review:

I was excited to read this new suspenseful, historical fiction novel. It didn’t disappoint.

This story was set in the South of France. I’ve never been there, but I would love to go after reading this book. The setting was incredibly descriptive. It was set in various villas along the coast. Though the story was tense, the setting was calming.

The tension of the story built slowly. The plot began immediately, when Eve was told that she had been given an inheritance by a mysterious man. There wasn’t much progression in that plot until the last third of the story. There were a couple of interesting subplots, that didn’t really have anything to do with Eve’s mystery. The ultimate resolution made sense, and I was happy with where Eve ended up.

This is a great historical read for the summer!

Thank you Simon and Schuster for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys

The Temptation of Gracie by Santa Montefiore

Have you read Fatal Inheritance? What did you think of it?

Review: The Daughter’s Tale

I loved this story. It was fast paced, with short chapters, so it was a quick read for me.

Title: The Daughter’s Tale
Author: Armando Lucas Correa
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The internationally bestselling author of The German Girldelivers an unforgettable family saga of love and redemption during World War II, based on the true story of the Nazi massacre of a French village in 1944.

New York City, 2015: Elise Duval, eighty years old, receives a phone call from a woman recently arrived from Cuba bearing messages from a time and country that she’s long forgotten. A French Catholic who arrived in New York after World War II, Elise and her world are forever changed when the woman arrives with letters written to Elise from her mother in German during the war, unravelling more than seven decades of secrets.

Berlin, 1939: Bookstore owner and recent widow Amanda Sternberg is fleeing Nazi Germany with her two young daughters, heading towards unoccupied France. She arrives in Haute-Vienne with only one of her girls. Their freedom is short-lived and soon they are taken to a labor camp.

Based on true events, The Daughter’s Tale chronicles one of the most harrowing atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis during World War II: the 1944 massacre of all the inhabitants of Oradour-Sur-Glane, a small, idyllic village in the south of France. Heartbreaking and immersive, The Daughter’s Tale is a beautifully crafted family saga of love, survival, and hope against all odds.

Review:

I loved this story. It was fast paced, with short chapters, so it was a quick read for me. 

The story was mostly set during World War II. The beginning and the end were in 2015, which looked at the main character in her later life. The first chapter didn’t really make sense until about halfway through the book. There was so much that happened, so it was always exciting. 

The concept of family was fluid in this story. Depending on the situation they had to call different people family. For example, parents had to give up their children to give them a better life, with the strong possibility of never seeing them again. This sometimes meant giving them to friends or even strangers, and hoping that they would be looked after. It was heartbreaking to see families being separated like that, but it was necessary for their survival. 

This was a powerful story! I highly recommend it. 

What to read next:

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa

Have you read The Daughter’s Tale? What did you think of it?

Review: The Temptation of Gracie

Title: The Temptation of Gracie
Author: Santa Montefiore
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Never give up on your dreams, no matter how long you hold on to them . . . 

Gracie Burton is a grandmother, living quietly in Devon. She has rarely left the village over the past forty years. Her daughter, Carina, is immensely high-powered with her own fast-paced business in London. She has very little time for her 17-year-old daughter, Anastasia, away at boarding school, and even less time for her aging mother. In many ways, the three of them barely know each other. Then Gracie stumbles upon an advertisement for a weeklong cookery course in the heart of the Tuscan countryside. She cannot resist and ploughs her life savings into the trip. Carina and Anastasia accompany her. They have no idea why Gracie has been drawn to this venture. They have no sense of her past; she has never spoken about it. They have no idea that Gracie is harbouring the secret of an extraordinary life that preceded them . . . 

Review:

This is a great book to start off the summer. It is set in beautiful Tuscany. I feel like I have been there after reading this book!

I loved the mystery of this story. Gracie lived a secret life in her youth, which she has always kept from her family. Her mysterious past slowly unraveled throughout the story. There were huge revelations in the last couple of chapters, so even when you think it’s finished, there is more to learn.

There was a lot of symmetry in this story. Gracie’s life in Italy is slightly reflected in the experiences her granddaughter has on their trip. I love it when books are mirrored in this way.

The only part that I found a little strange was the way the story sometimes returned to the town where Gracie lives in Devon. The story only returned there a couple of times, and I didn’t see any connection to the main plot about Gracie. This may have been changed in the final edition.

I really enjoyed this new historical novel!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Juliet’s Answer by Glenn Dixon

Songs of Love and War by Santa Montefiore

Have you read The Temptation of Gracie? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Hummingbird Dagger

Title: The Hummingbird Dagger
Author: Cindy Anstey
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Historical
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

1833. After young Lord James Ellerby witnesses a near-fatal carriage accident on the outskirts of his estate, he doesn’t think twice about bringing the young woman injured in the wreck to his family’s manor to recuperate. But then she finally regains consciousness only to find that she has no memory of who she is or where she belongs.

Beth, as she takes to calling herself, is an enigma even to herself. She has the rough hands of a servant, but the bearing and apparent education of a lady. Her only clue to her identity is a gruesome recurring nightmare about a hummingbird dripping blood from its steel beak.

With the help of James and his sister, Caroline, Beth slowly begins to unravel the mystery behind her identity and the sinister circumstances that brought her to their door. But the dangerous secrets they discover in doing so could have deadly ramifications reaching the highest tiers of London society.

Review:

I love Cindy Anstey’s books! They are set in the 19th century, which is my favourite time period to read about. However, the subject matter is something that couldn’t have been written about during that time. In this story, there is a kidnapping and murder.

The cast of older teenagers have to search out the answers as to who the young lady is that was involved in an accident. She lost her memory, so they have the difficult task of finding her identity. I loved the characters. They reminded me of Jane Austen characters. Their family friend, Mrs. Thompson, especially reminded me of Mrs. Bennet in the way that she was really clueless to the things that were going on around her.

The mystery of the story kept me guessing until the end. I loved the ending. This is a great historical, YA mystery!

What to read next:

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey

About the Author:

Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester.

Author Links:

https://twitter.com/CindyAnstey
https://www.cindyanstey.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13795420.Cindy_Anstey
https://www.facebook.com/Cindy-Anstey-1495828024028504/

Buy the book:

Amazon: https://books2read.com/u/b5xWN6?store=amazon
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-hummingbird-dagger-cindy-anstey/1128119401?ean=9781250174895#/
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/the-hummingbird-dagger/id1394085034?mt=11
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-hummingbird-dagger

Thank you to Expresso Book Tours for letting me participate in this blog tour.

Have you read The Hummingbird Dagger? What did you think of it?

Review: The Mozart Girl

Title: The Mozart Girl
Author: Barbara Nickel
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical
Publisher: Second Story Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 18, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Nannerl Mozart’s twelfth-birthday wish is to become a famous composer. She’s already considered a brilliant musician, touring eighteenth-century Europe with her little brother, Wolfgang, and playing for queens and kings in the great courts. But Papa doesn’t take her seriously as a composer, Mama usually has a list of chores for her, and Wolfi always manages to steal everybody’s attention. Can Nannerl defy everyone’s expectations and capture some of the spotlight that shines on her brilliant younger brother?

Review:

This is a great historical middle grade novel.

I didn’t know this story about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s older sister. She was also a musician, but since she was a girl, she wasn’t given the same opportunities or credit as him. It’s a shame that just because she was a girl, she wasn’t able to pursue her dreams of playing music. Still today, we know his name but her name isn’t as recognizable.

I found it fascinating to read about how they learned and played instruments in the 18th century. I play the piano, but not as well as those kids, and I only started to learn when I was a teenager. It must have been amazing to see the children play their instruments so well.

I loved this story!

What to read next:

The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi

Have you read The Mozart Girl? What did you think of it?

Review: The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts

Title: The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts
Author: Avi
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

High adventure from a master storyteller about one boy’s attempt to fend for himself among cruel orphan masters, corrupt magistrates, and conniving thieves.

In the seaside town of Melcombe Regis, England, 1724, Oliver Cromwell Pitts wakes to find his father missing and his house flooded by a recent storm. He’s alone in his ruined home with no money and no food. Oliver’s father has left behind a barely legible waterlogged note: he’s gone to London, where Oliver’s sister, Charity, is in trouble. Exploring damage to the town in the storm’s aftermath, Oliver discovers a shipwreck on the beach. Removing anything from a wrecked ship is a hanging offense, but Oliver finds money that could save him, and he can’t resist the temptation to take it. When his crime is discovered, Oliver flees, following the trail of his father and sister. The journey is full of thieves, adventurers, and treachery–and London might be the most dangerous place of all.

In the tradition of his Newbery Honor book The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Avi mixes high adventure and short, page-turning chapters with a vivid historical setting featuring a cast of highwaymen, pickpockets, and villainous criminal masterminds.

Review:

This is an exciting, fast-paced story.

Oliver’s story starts out as a series of unfortunate events. His sister goes to London to find a better life, but it isn’t the life she thought it would be. Then his father disappears to go save his sister. Oliver is caught at a shipwreck, suspected of stealing, and then sent to a poorhouse. Then he has to travel to London with highwaymen who steal from carriages along the way.

This story was very fast-paced. Oliver never stayed in one place for very long, so the setting was always changing. He met many different people throughout the story and most of them were connected in some way.

I liked the ending of the story. There was a lot of tension while Oliver was in London! I’m excited to see where the story goes in the next book, The End of the World and Beyond.

What to read next:

The End of the World and Beyond by Avi

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Have you read The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts? What did you think of it?

Review: The Golden Tresses of the Dead (Flavia de Luce #10)

Title: The Golden Tresses of the Dead (Flavia de Luce #10)
Author: Alan Bradley
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 22, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Although it is autumn in the small English town of Bishop’s Lacey, the chapel is decked with exotic flowers. Yes, Flavia de Luce’s sister Ophelia is at last getting hitched, like a mule to a wagon. “A church is a wonderful place for a wedding,” muses Flavia, “surrounded as it is by the legions of the dead, whose listening bones bear silent witness to every promise made at the altar.” 

Flavia is not your normal twelve-year-old girl. An expert in the chemical nature of poisons, she has solved many mysteries, sharpening her considerable detection skills to the point where she had little choice but to turn professional. So Flavia and dependable Dogger, estate gardener and sounding board extraordinaire, set up shop at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, eager to serve—not so simple an endeavor with her odious little moon-faced cousin, Undine, constantly underfoot. But Flavia and Dogger persevere. Little does she know that their first case will be extremely close to home, beginning with an unwelcome discovery in Ophelia’s wedding cake: a human finger.

Review:

I didn’t know what to expect from this book, since it’s the 10th in a series and I haven’t read any of the others. It was so good! The Boston Globe described Flavia as Eloise meets Sherlock Holmes, and I think that’s a perfect description of her.

Flavia is a great character. She’s a twelve-year-old who loves chemistry and solving crime. Along with her family’s butler, Dogger, she sets out on solving murders. Though Flavia is mature since she is solving the crimes in her small English town, she is still a kid. She personifies her bicycle, called Gladys. That gives her an innocence and reinforces the fact that she’s still a little girl. Though she’s a child, the subject of this book is for adults, not kids.

The ending of the story was good. Some clues were left unsolved, however I think this makes it realistic rather than unfinished. In real life, not every clue will lead to the solution, so I think this is reflected in the end of this mystery.

I loved this book and I will definitely read more books in this series!

What to read next:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan Bradley

The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place (Flavia de Luce #9) by Alan Bradley

Have you read The Golden Tresses of the Dead? What did you think of it?