It Happened in Tuscany by Gail Mencini

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was a story of friendship, hardship, family, and love. I was surprised by the deep emotions this book drew out of me! It was a lovely journey.

We follow Will and his neighbor, Sophie, as they travel to Italy. Their friendship seems impossible, but grows into a bond that is absolutely lovely. I love what an absolute grump Will is. His attitude creates the best payoff for the reader as Sophie works to thaw him and their friendship forms.

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The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Tea Cooper continues to create amazing historical fiction stories that are impossible to put down! This one is told through a dual timeline, providing a view of the 1860s as well as the early 1900s.

Strong female characters always make it easy for me to connect with a book, and these characters were definitely that! They are smart and headstrong. They are confident, and are impossible not to love!

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Rhapsody by Mitchell James Kaplan

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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I loved the setting for this story. The descriptions of NYC in the 1920s were wonderful and really helped to create the world and environment for the characters. The characters were people that I never really knew more about outside of their music, so I was really excited to learn more. I had no idea there was a decade long affair between Kay and George. It was surprising, and I enjoyed learning about it.

The musical references were an exciting portion of this book. I loved the way the author portrayed Kay and George’s love for music. As we jump through time, the thing I found most consistent about these two people was that while they both seemed to love each other, truly they were IN love with music, and that was the actual love story in this book.

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The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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A woman helping women kill their husbands in the 1790s through her apothecary shop? That got my attention! I loved the way this story was told through present and past day! It was a beautifully written, gripping novel that I thoroughly enjoyed!

The two characters we are focused on are Nella in the 1790s and Caroline in the present day. Nella is using her apothecary shop to help women kill their husbands with poisons. She has very strict morals about this killing. It must always be men, never women. She will destroy potions and refuse service to any request that has the intent to harm another woman. I really enjoyed her character. She was smart and resourceful, but also emotionally wounded, creating a character that I was deeply invested in.

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I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 by Lauren Tarshis

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you have not yet discovered this fabulous historical fiction series for kids, then you are in for a treat! My son absolutely loves this series, and we excitedly await the release of new books!

I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 was originally written as book 9 in the I Survived series. This newly adapted version is in graphic novel format, which is really exciting. We own the original version of this book as well, and found that both formats are exciting, and a great way to tell an important story!

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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Okay, this book is a beautiful, amazing, stunning journey that you MUST read! I was completely and utterly in love with Addie and her invisible life. I am now a complete V.E. Schwab fan and must go devour all of the other books by her!

Addie LaRue’s deal with the devil reduces her to a fleeting, forgotten memory to every single person she meets. She can’t die, but she can’t leave a mark on the world. I loved reading about her journey as she learns how to live with each stumbling block.

Just think about it, you can’t rent a room because the person will forget that you paid, you can’t start a relationship because you are forgotten the moment you use the restroom, your family doesn’t remember you, and you live forever…

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The Secret Diaries of Juan Luis Vives by Tim Darcy Ellis

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a great book for historical fiction readers that enjoy the Tudor time-frame! It has wonderful characters and a story that draws you right in!

Juan is a Spanish Jew, but is hiding his religion by pretending to be a “New Christian”. His journey was filled with exciting situations and some great romance. I loved his character arc, and couldn’t stop thinking about what was happening while I wasn’t reading the story.

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From the Moon I Watched Her by Emily English Medley

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book was a heavy, difficult read. I want to preface this review with a very strong content warning. This book will not be for everyone. Make sure to read the content warning before you decide if this is for you if you have sensitivities or triggers when reading.

Stephanie is our narrator and the main character in this book. We follow her as she ages, but her first narrative is at five-years-old. We find out that Stephanie’s father is the local preacher, extremely against the act of abortion, and yet, we soon discover that inside the preacher’s home and private life, things are disgusting, ugly, and awful.

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Beauty Among Ruins by J’nell Ciesielski

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book was absolutely lovely! It’s a clean romance set in historical Scotland. The location of this story was amazing! I felt like I was right there, and I loved it! The descriptions were beautiful and perfect!

I loved that the main character is completely out of her element as she is sent from America to Scotland. I liked seeing her off-balance throughout this. It made her character journey so fulfilling! Her nursing position during the Great War made the historical aspect of this story wonderful. I liked the details and research that clearly went into making this feel so real.

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The Children’s Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Wow, this was such an emotional journey! The children’s blizzard of 1888 is an event that I was aware of, but reading about it has brought on an entirely new view of the horrors and devastation brought on by this snowstorm.

This was a story that was based in fact on the blizzard alone. The characters and events that transpired are completely fictional, but the author used real events to inspire her story. It is a character-rich story and takes a bit to get to know each person and how they fit into the story.

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Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was everything I wanted it to be! It was well-researched, well-written, and utterly drew me in. I could NOT put this book down, and then I could wait to come write about it!

Pheby is a slave, but has been promised freedom on her 18th birthday by her father & master. When the master falls ill and her mother dies, Pheby is sold to traders and taken to a jail to be held for auction. After catching the eye of the owner of the jail, she is moved into his home and soon becomes his mistress. This story follows Pheby’s life as she navigates the horrors of the jail created by her husband, Rubin. She must keep her children safe, but also finds the atrocious actions by Rubin to be more than she can handle. How can she balance the life she now lives?

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News of the World by Paulette Jiles

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was stunning! I read it in a day, less than a day, I mean hours. I couldn’t put it down! It is a historical fiction that brings a lovely story of a 71-year-old man and a 10-year-old forming a bond as they travel across Texas to return her to her family. This book is being made into a movie, and I cannot wait to watch it now!

If you are interested in any of the following, I think this is a book for you!
✔️ 1800’s historical fiction
✔️ Texan history
✔️ Western lawlessness
✔️ On-the-road adventures
✔️ Unlikely friendships

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