Review: To Have and to Hoax

Title: To Have and to Hoax
Author: Martha Waters
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention—and maybe just win each other back in the process.

Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?

With charm, wit, and heart in spades, To Have and To Hoax is a fresh and eminently entertaining romantic comedy—perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory and Julia Quinn.

Review:

In Regency England, James and Violet met during her debut into society and instantly fell in love. They had a whirlwind romance and married right away. Now it is five years later, and they haven’t spoken for the past four years. They are still married, but they had a mysterious fight that ruined their relationship. Even though they aren’t close, when Violet gets the news that James has had an accident while horseback riding, she rushes across the country to be by his side. On her way there, she meets him, perfectly healthy and on his way home. Violet is outraged and decides to give him a taste of his own medicine by faking an illness. This sparks a competition between the lovers, with each trying to prove how much they dislike the other.

I love stories set in this time period, the early nineteenth century in England. The characters didn’t act in the way that characters in a book written during that time period would behave. There was lots of gossip, affairs, and sex. It was fun to see how James and Violet kept competing to prove how much they didn’t like each other. This included faking illnesses and having affairs.

I laughed out loud many times while reading this book. The characters were witty and quick with their responses. I especially liked Violet’s friend Diana. She was a widow who liked to speak her mind and had to know all the gossip. I’m so excited to see that she will be featured in a sequel.

This is a great Regency romance!

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

What to read next:

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Have you read To Have and to Hoax? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Woman Before Wallis

Title: The Woman Before Wallis: A Novel of Windsors, Vanderbilts, and Royal Scandal
Author: Bryn Turnbull
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

This novel is the fictionalised story of the American divorcée who captured Prince Edward’s heart before he abdicated his throne for Wallis Simpson.

In the summer of 1926, when Thelma Morgan marries Viscount Duke Furness after a whirlwind romance, she’s immersed in a gilded world of extraordinary wealth and privilege. For Thelma, the daughter of an American diplomat, her new life as a member of the British aristocracy is like a fairy tale—even more so when her husband introduces her to Edward, Prince of Wales.

In a twist of fate, her marriage to Duke leads her to fall headlong into a love affair with Edward. But happiness is fleeting, and their love is threatened when Thelma’s sister, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, becomes embroiled in a scandal with far-reaching implications. As Thelma sails to New York to support Gloria, she leaves Edward in the hands of her trusted friend Wallis, never imagining the consequences that will follow.

Review:

In 1926, American divorcée, Thelma Morgan, married Lord Furness in England. Throughout their marriage, Thelma split her time between her husband and her sister Gloria Vanderbilt, who has her own struggles with the death of her husband and her custody battle over her daughter. After Lord Furness begins having an affair, Thelma sets her sights on another man, the Prince of Wales. When Thelma has to travel to help her sister, she leaves her friend Wallis Simpson to look after the Prince, which leads to a romance she never expected.

I love stories about British royalty. This one was about two infamous families in both America and England: the Vanderbilts and the Windsors. The Vanderbilts fought to have custody of Gloria’s daughter, Little Gloria. Gloria’s mother also fought alongside the Vanderbilts to get her granddaughter away from her own daughter. Meanwhile, Thelma had an affair with Prince Edward. Ironically, the title mentions Wallis by name, yet she doesn’t come into the story until halfway through. Since she is named in the title, it’s assumed that the reader will know that Wallis Simpson eventually marries Prince Edward, leading him to abdicate the throne. Though I knew who the Vanderbilts were, I wasn’t familiar with the custody case of Little Gloria, so I learned a lot in this story.

Motherhood was a major theme of the story. Gloria Vanderbilt’s custody case was one of the main plots. Gloria wasn’t considered a suitable mother because of her wild lifestyle. At the same time, her own mother fought against Gloria by trying to get custody of Little Gloria. Thelma had a child, but she spent significant time away from him to stay in London and stay with the Prince. Even though Gloria fought for her daughter and loved her, she faced the threat of losing custody, whereas Thelma and Gloria’s own mother were not judged as harshly or forced to face the same consequences.

This was a fabulous debut novel!

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul

The Queen’s Secret by Karen Harper

About the author:


Bryn Turnbull
is a writer of historical fiction with a penchant for fountain pens and antique furniture. Equipped with a Master of Letters in Creative Writing from the University of St. Andrews, a Master of Professional Communication from Ryerson University, and a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from McGill University, Bryn focuses on finding the stories of women found within the cracks of the historical record. When she’s not writing, Bryn can be found exploring new coffee shops, spending time with her family in cottage country, or traveling. She lives in Toronto, and can generally be found with a book in hand.

Have you read The Woman Before Wallis? What did you think of it?

Review: Code Name Verity

Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: February 6, 2012
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Code Name Verity is a compelling, emotionally rich story with universal themes of friendship and loyalty, heroism and bravery.

Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in “Verity’s” own words, as she writes her account for her captors.

Review:

Verity is an upperclass Scottish girl, who has been captured by Nazis during WWII. She has to write down all of the information she knows about the war in England. She was captured when she was in a plane crash with her best friend, who has the codename Kittyhawk. Verity has to document her time in captivity, while knowing there is only one way her story will end, and she won’t survive it.

The details about the espionage in this story were fascinating. Some of the details that caused the spies to be captured were based on real events. They were caught due to small details, such as looking the wrong way when crossing the road. These minor details made the story exciting.

The format of this story was confusing. Verity told her story using her information about England, while also documenting what was happening to her in the present. Sometimes it was confusing to flip back and forth between the present and the past. She also used codenames and alternate identities for people in her story, and spoke about herself in the third person. The second part of the story was much easier to follow because it was told linearly. The story was difficult to figure out due to this unconventional format.

This story was interesting, but a little confusing due to the format.

What to read next:

They Went Left by Monica Hesse

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

Have you read Code Name Verity? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Black Swan of Paris

Title: The Black Swan of Paris
Author: Karen Robards
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A world at war. A beautiful young star. A mission no one expected. 

Paris, 1944

Celebrated singer Genevieve Dumont is both a star and a smokescreen. An unwilling darling of the Nazis, the chanteuse’s position of privilege allows her to go undetected as an ally to the resistance.

When her estranged mother, Lillian de Rocheford, is captured by Nazis, Genevieve knows it won’t be long before the Gestapo succeeds in torturing information out of Lillian that will derail the upcoming allied invasion. The resistance movement is tasked with silencing her by any means necessary—including assassination. But Genevieve refuses to let her mother become yet one more victim of the war. Reuniting with her long-lost sister, she must find a way to navigate the perilous cross-currents of Occupied France undetected—and in time to save Lillian’s life.

Review:

Genevieve Dumont is a famous singer in Paris, known as the Black Swan. While she performs for Nazis at night, she works with the Resistance during the day with her manager, Max. Genevieve’s estranged mother, Lillian de Rocheford, is captured by Nazis. Lillian has information on an invasion, so they plan to torture her until she tells and then kill her. Genevieve has to use her secret contacts to find her mother in time.

This story was so suspenseful. There were many twists. I became invested in the story very quickly because it was so detailed. It wasn’t clear at first how Lillian and Genevieve were related, but it was revealed a few chapters in. There were some details about their relationship that weren’t revealed until later in the book, which kept me guessing throughout my reading.

I find the stories of spies during the war so fascinating. They had to use subtle ways to communicate, so as not to be noticed by the enemy, yet they were often found out. Without technology they had to rely on small scraps of paper and nicknames. It’s amazing the way the espionage worked back then.

This story was a tearjerker. The setting of World War II gave the story a dark atmosphere. Even without the war, Genevieve had a heartbreaking past. The story was upsetting at times, but so good.

This is such a great story!

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Queen of Paris: A Novel of Coco Chanel by Pamela Binnings Ewen

The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham

About the author:

Karen Robards is the New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than fifty novels and one novella. She is the winner of six Silver Pen awards and numerous other awards.

Where to buy:

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

Have you read The Black Swan of Paris? What did you think of it?

Review: The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1)

Title: The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1)
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

Review:

In 1872, Celine Rousseau moves to New Orleans after being forced to flee Paris. She moves into a convent with some other girls who have just arrived from Europe. When a wealthy woman asks Celine to create a dress for her, Celine gets involved in a secret society, causing death to those around her.

I loved this setting. Both the time period and location made it so mysterious and extravagant. This was also a time period with a lot of change in society. Celine is biracial, but she can pass for white. She notices that there are people of different races working in the city, which is something she hadn’t seen before. She commented on what a big change this was for society. It’s a shame that 150 years after this book takes place, there is still so much racial inequality.

This story was really exciting. I liked the mystery surrounding the deaths. The ending was surprising and left me with a lot of questions. I hope they will be answered in the next book.

I really enjoyed this story!

What to read next:

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin

Grim Lovelies (Grim Lovelies #1) by Megan Shepherd

Have you read The Beautiful? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Jo & Laurie

Title: Jo & Laurie
Author: Margaret Stohl, Melissa de la Cruz
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Bestselling authors Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz bring us a romantic retelling of Little Women starring Jo March and her best friend, the boy next door, Theodore “Laurie” Laurence.

1869, Concord, Massachusetts: After the publication of her first novel, Jo March is shocked to discover her book of scribbles has become a bestseller, and her publisher and fans demand a sequel. While pressured into coming up with a story, she goes to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration—museums, operas, and even a once-in-a-lifetime reading by Charles Dickens himself!

But Laurie has romance on his mind, and despite her growing feelings, Jo’s desire to remain independent leads her to turn down his heartfelt marriage proposal and sends the poor boy off to college heartbroken. When Laurie returns to Concord with a sophisticated new girlfriend, will Jo finally communicate her true heart’s desire or lose the love of her life forever?

Review:

Jo March has just published Little Women. Since it has been so successful, her publisher wants her to write a sequel about the March sisters becoming wives. However, since her sisters haven’t gotten married and moved on in their lives, Jo doesn’t know how to continue the story. While she is struggling to write the continuation of the story, Jo has to deal with her family growing up and changing in ways she isn’t ready for.

This story combines the real life of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, and Jo March, the main character of Little Women. Louisa based Little Women on her life with her sisters, with Jo being herself. I could see the influences of Little Women, yet there were anecdotes that seemed to come from real life. After reading this story, I’m interested in reading about Louisa May Alcott’s life.

As a reader and a writer, I found the storyline of Jo writing her book fascinating. She was pressured into writing something she wasn’t comfortable with because of the success of her first novel. She had to rewrite the story multiple times in a short period of time, which I imagine would be incredibly difficult. Jo had to keep rewriting it because her male editor wasn’t satisfied with her ending. It wasn’t until she was satisfied with her own life that she could finish the story.

I really loved this story!

Thank you G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel: A Modern Retelling of Little Women by Rey Terciero, Bre Indigo

About the Authors:

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter

Margaret Stohl is a #1 New York Times bestselling nerd, world-builder, video game creator, comic book writer and festival founder.

As an award-winning young adult author, she has been published in fifty countries and thirty-two languages and has sold more than ten million books worldwide. Beautiful Creatures debuted as the Amazon #1 Teen book of the year; seven of Margaret’s books have reached bestseller lists around the world.

When not roaming the halls of Seattle game developer Bungie -where she oversees the creation of new global IPs -Margaret can often be seen at a Comicon or at one of the teen and youth book festivals she co-founded, YALLFEST (Charleston, SC) and YALLWEST (Santa Monica, CA), thelargest in the country. Wherever she goes, you can find out more about her (and invariably her cats) at @mstohl on twitter or margaret_stohl on instagram or margaret_stohl on snapchat or at mstohl.com

Blog Tour Schedule:

https://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/2020/04/tour-schedule-jo-laurie-by-margaret.html

Have you read Jo & Laurie? What did you think of it?

Review: Sky in the Deep (Sky in the Deep #1)

Title: Sky in the Deep (Sky in the Deep #1)
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Review:

Eelyn is a warrior for her Aska community. She fights alongside her father in their rivalry against the Riki. When she is almost killed in a battle, she sees her dead brother among the enemies. Her father assures her that he couldn’t have been there, but when she meets her brother again on the battlefield, he takes her as a prisoner. Eelyn has to figure out how to get back to her father and how to deal with the betrayal of her brother.

This story had a Nordic setting. They were like a viking community. I’ve never read a book like this, but I learned about vikings in school, so I found it really interesting. I really liked that the women were considered warriors alongside the men in this community. In many stories set in ancient times, the women have to stay home while the men fight, leading the main female character to figure out a way to fight. However, Eelyn was able to focus on other issues, since she was already a warrior.

The story started out quite fast paced. The moments where Eelyn saw her brother on the battlefield to when she was captured happened very quickly. The story slowed down a bit once she got to her brother’s new community. However, I was pleased with the ending. I thought the next book in the series would be a continuation of this story, but it has a new plot. I’m looking forward to reading it because I loved this setting.

Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Girl the Sea Gave Back (Sky in the Deep #2) by Adrienne Young

Other Books in the Series:

  • The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Have you read Sky in the Deep? What did you think of it?

Review: Romanov

Title: Romanov
Author: Nadine Brandes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.
 

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are to either release the spell and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

Review:

When her parents and sister were sent away from her home, Anastasia’s father, the Tsar, gave her the task of smuggling a special Russian doll with a hidden spell to their new hideaway. However, the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them and he knows that Anastasia has the secret magic. Her situation is further complicated by her sudden attraction to one of the soldiers who is guarding her family. Anastasia will only be able to use the spell when the moment is right, so she has to hang onto the doll until she can save her family.

I knew of the Romanov’s before reading this book, but I didn’t know the details of what happened to them. It was a tragic story. I kept looking up the details of the real Anastasia’s life while I was reading, to find out what was fact and what was fiction. This story follows the real history of what happened to the Romanov’s quite closely.

One part that is fictional is the fantasy aspect. Anastasia wasn’t the keeper of a special spell to save her family. However, the fantasy aspects serve to fill in a gap in Anastasia’s story. Her body wasn’t discovered with her family’s bodies. There were women over the years following their death who claimed to be Anastasia. That was a fascinating story to read about! I don’t want to give anything away, but this story attempts to give an alternate history for Anastasia Romanov to account for the reason her body wasn’t buried with her family.

This was an amazing historical fantasy story!

Thank you Thomas Nelson for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies #1) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Have you read Romanov? What did you think of it?

Review: The Paper Girl of Paris

Title: The Paper Girl of Paris
Author: Jordyn Taylor
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Now:

Sixteen-year-old Alice is spending the summer in Paris, but she isn’t there for pastries and walks along the Seine. When her grandmother passed away two months ago, she left Alice an apartment in France that no one knew existed. An apartment that has been locked for more than seventy years.

Alice is determined to find out why the apartment was abandoned and why her grandmother never once mentioned the family she left behind when she moved to America after World War II. With the help of Paul, a charming Parisian student, she sets out to uncover the truth. However, the more time she spends digging through the mysteries of the past, the more she realizes there are secrets in the present that her family is still refusing to talk about.

Then:

Sixteen-year-old Adalyn doesn’t recognize Paris anymore. Everywhere she looks, there are Nazis, and every day brings a new horror of life under the Occupation. When she meets Luc, the dashing and enigmatic leader of a resistance group, Adalyn feels she finally has a chance to fight back. But keeping up the appearance of being a much-admired socialite while working to undermine the Nazis is more complicated than she could have imagined. As the war goes on, Adalyn finds herself having to make more and more compromises—to her safety, to her reputation, and to her relationships with the people she loves the most.

Review:

Alice and her parents take a trip to Paris to visit the apartment that her grandmother left her in her will. The apartment was a surprise, because they didn’t know her grandmother had an apartment in Paris. They discover that the apartment has been preserved in the same state since the 1940s, and that her grandmother had an older sister named Adalyn. Alice is curious about her grandmother’s mysterious sister so she starts to translate her diary. However, when she finds a photo of Adalyn at a dinner with Nazis, she wonders if she wants to keep exploring this family history.

I loved this story! I’ve read stories that are similar to this one for adult readers, where a contemporary woman travels around the world to discover her family’s secrets from an important time in history. I’m so glad this one was for a young adult audience, because it will teach young people about things that happened in World War II.

The story followed two narratives, Alice’s point of view in 2020 and Adalyn in the 1940s. Though they were both sixteen, they had very different lives. Alice’s life was relatively safe, with her going around the city, researching Adalyn’s life. However, Adalyn was involved in dangerous relationships and espionage. It’s amazing to see how different their lives were between the different decades, though they were the same age and in the same place.

This story was fast paced, with romance and suspense. I couldn’t put this story down. Many chapters ended with a cliffhanger, and I had to keep reading. I was surprised at the ending. It didn’t end the way I thought it would, but I liked it.

This is a great historical fiction novel!

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

They Went Left by Monica Hesse

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Have you read The Paper Girl of Paris? What did you think of it?

Review: The Kingdom of Back

Title: The Kingdom of Back
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Source: Owlcrate
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she’ll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke and The Hazel Wood.

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart. 

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish—to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Timesbestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

Review:

Nannerl Mozart was the older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. She was an excellent musician, but since she was a girl, she couldn’t write her own music or perform as a career, like her brother could. One day, she meets a mysterious stranger, Hyacinth, who promises to make her dream come true. If she helps Hyacinth regain his throne in the mysterious Kingdom of Back, he will make it possible for her to be a musician. However, this promise comes at a high price.

This story was based on a real history. Nannerl was the older sister of Mozart, and she was an excellent musician as a child. Since she was a girl, she wasn’t allowed to put her name on any compositions or perform past childhood. It’s scary to think about how many talented people weren’t allowed to practice their talent because of their gender, nationality, or race. I’m glad that Nannerl’s name is known now, but she could have made a contribution to the musical community if she was allowed to follow her dream.

I loved the way the fantasy was mixed into the historical narrative. The Kingdom of Back was like Narnia or Oz, because it was a magical place that the children could travel to through doorways and dreams. The Kingdom of Back is based on a story that Nannerl and Wolfgang made up. It was a great detail about their childhood that was expanded in this fantasy story.

I loved this historical fantasy novel!

What to read next:

The Mozart Girl by Barbara Nickel

The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising #1) by Kiersten White

Have you read The Kingdom of Back? What did you think of it?