Stitching a Life: An Immigration Story by Mary Helen Fein

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Following the story of Helen from Lithuania to America was just wonderful. Helen is the kind of character you just need to see succeed. I loved reading about her story and her determination.

My Synopsis:

This historical fiction is based on the author’s grandmother’s experiences,but is a work of fiction. Helen (Hinde), just sixteen-years-old, lives in war-torn Lithuania where Jewish people are persecuted daily. At her brother’s 12th birthday, the army comes to take him away to force him into their ranks. After hiding him during the army’s visit, the family knows that they must leave to keep their children safe.

Helen’s father is first to go to America, working to save enough money to bring Helen over next so that she can assist in working and saving money to bring the next family member over until everyone is safely in America.

Helen travels by ship from Lithuania to America in search of a better, safer life for her and her family. She begins work in the garment section of New York and works hard to bring her siblings to America.

How I Felt:

Stitching a Life: An Immigration Story follows Helen on her journey to America and her life there. It was a beautiful story featuring a determined, hardworking main character, and her love for her family.

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The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The Jane Austen Society is filled with conversations about Austen’s work and characters. It was an absolute delight to read about people that loved her books and enjoyed discussing them.

My Synopsis:

It’s just at the end of World War II in England. We are introduced individually to a group of people that have one thing in common, a love for Jane Austen.
🙋‍♂️ A village worker who is lonely and living with his mother.
🙋‍♂️ A widowed doctor trying to find happiness without his wife.
🙋‍♂️ A lawyer for the Austen estate.
🙋‍♂️ An auction house employee.
🙋 A pregnant war-widow.
🙋 An American movie star in the twilight of her career.
🙋 A young housekeeper with a brilliant mind.
🙋 The Heir Apparent to a Jane Austen residence

That is quite the eclectic group of people! They each for relationships with one another through completely different avenues as the book progresses. This group takes one little idea and collaborates to build it into a functioning society when it looks like one of the Austen estates could change ownership.

How I Felt:

I think that I may have made my synopsis sound a bit like a game of Clue and that is not what this book is at all…so mystery readers…sorry. The Jane Austen Society is a beautiful story of building unlikely friendships, personal growth and overcoming loss and disappointment. Each character has their own troubles that they struggle with throughout the story, and the friendships they form help them to become the person they want to be.

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The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The Forgotten Home Child was about a historical event that I didn’t know much about. I really enjoy reading about people and situations that are new to me. The children brought from England to Canada have such heartbreaking stories, but I am so glad that I was able to read this beautifully written book.

How I Felt:

The story introduces us to Winnifred Ellis, our 98 year old main character in 2018. Her story is told through present day, 2018, as well as the historical view starting in 1936. Winnifred is moving in with her granddaughter and great-grandson and her granddaughter accidentally knocks a suitcase open, spilling some of its contents. This leads to questions about the suitcase and its contents, and Winny decides it is time to share her secrets with her family.

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A Child Lost by Michelle Cox

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I loved the details in this story. Michelle Cox writes with vivid descriptions providing depth and an immersive experience into her story. It was lovely to read!

How I Felt:

The story is set in the 1930s in Chicago, Illinois, as does the rest of this series. Henrietta has just had a miscarriage and is suffering from depression. Clive has been struggling to aid and console her and feels that a new case might be able to help. This new case is more than Clive expected though and connections between a case Henrietta takes on connects to Clive’s. Together they involve a psychic, an asylum, and a lost child.

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The Socialite by J’nell Ciesielski

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I loved the writing in this story! I felt completely sucked into the characters and the story. The mixture of action and relationships was perfect. It was wonderfully written and had a great romance subplot that I thoroughly enjoyed!

How I Felt:

The writing was beautifully done. The story felt fast-paced, but at times, there was a nice pace change that gave me enough time to settle in and understand the premise and the characters. The story was intriguing and filled will secrets and dangerous situations as well as such a lovely romance.

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Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon – Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

This was a beautiful story that I loved reading. The overarching idea behind this story was to show the hardships of traveling west for people in the 1800s. I was completely drawn into Where the Lost Wander from beginning to end by the descriptions of the travel and the people. I loved every single page of this story.

How I Felt:

Amy Harmon has quickly become one of my favorite authors! Her ability to write so many different types of stories leaves me speechless each time I finish a book. This is my favorite book she has written, however, I have enjoyed every book I have read, and I can’t wait to read more!

I’m going to start my review a little backward today because there is something at the end of the book I wish I would have known when I started the story! Amy Harmon provided an author’s note at the end of the book that was fascinating to read. She discusses that John Lowry, the male main character, is actually an ancestor of her husband’s. The family that the story follows out West are the May’s, who were Harmon’s own pioneer ancestors. In addition, many of the other characters like Lost Woman, Chief Washakie, and Chief Pocatello were real people. I started this book thinking it was historical fiction where the “historical” came from the overall event of westward migration. I would have loved to have known how much of this was founded in actual history when I started, so I wanted to share that with you!

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The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate – Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

No two readers read the same book, because we all see the words through different eyes, filter the story through different life experiences.

The Book of Lost Friends – Lisa Wingate

What I Loved:

Well, I loved EVERYTHING about this book. The Book of Lost Friends gave me an absolutely stunning story with amazing characters, adventure, a quest for answers and missing people, and above all, insight into the history of the time. It was a beautiful story, and I cannot say enough how much I loved this book.

How I Felt:

After reading Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, I knew that I wanted to get my hands on The Book of Lost Friends once the release had been announced. Her ability to write about a time in history is one-of-a-kind. She creates a dual-timeline for the story, giving you perspective into the historical timeline as well as the present-day timeline and the impact the history had on today.

I was drawn into the love of literature that is written about in this book. There were so many beautiful and poignant quotes that hit home for me. I’m sprinkling them throughout this review because they were amazing and I want to share them!

If there is magic in this world, it is contained in books.

The Book of Lost Friends – Lisa Wingate
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Sin Eater by Megan Campisi – Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I love historical fiction. I appreciate that an author took the time to research some event or timeframe in history and then spent countless weeks, months, or years to create a story about it. It’s especially exciting for me when I find a historical fiction book that surrounds an event or person that I didn’t know anything about previously.

I got everything that I wanted out of Sin Eater. I loved that this story was about a working position in history that I knew nothing about. I was fascinated by what the Sin Eater must do and the long list of things they must not do.

How I Felt:

I found Sin Eater as I was wandering the virtual shelves of NetGalley. I saw the cover, which has changed since I originally found it, but it just called to me. I KNEW it was a book I needed to read, and then Atria Books was kind enough to send me a copy! I am SO glad that I had the chance to read this book. It was just wonderful.

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A Reason for Living by Julian Jingles

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I really enjoyed the location for A Reason for Living. Set in Kingston, Jamaica in the 1960s, there were Civil Rights movements happening, and I really liked reading a story that was surrounded by this time in history. It was a new subject for me, and I appreciated learning about the events of the time and how people reacted to them.

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The Road to Delano by John DeSimone

What I Loved:

The Road to Delano is a wonderful mix of thriller, mystery, and historical fiction. I loved the way the author set this story. It was impactful and kept me on the edge of my seat!

How I Felt:

The characters were easy to relate to. I was so invested in Jack’s story. I wanted him to find out who killed his father and to find all the answers to his questions. My heart continued to go out to him as one incident after another happened. He was an excellent main character, and one I feel readers will enjoy!

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Matilda Empress by Lise Arin

What I Loved:

Matilda Empress had SUCH an intense world! I really appreciated Lise Arin’s creation of Matilda’s life. The buildings, people, and story just felt so real. It was just how a historical fiction should feel, and I loved it!

How I Felt:

The Characters: Matilda turned out to be a bit more of an unlikable character than I had anticipated. I really wanted to like her, but I found her to be a bit snobby. Her utter infatuation with her cousin was a lot to take, however, it didn’t turn me away from the book. That’s not the first time something like that would have happened in history!

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Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I didn’t really love this book. I’m just going to get that out in the open now. So, here’s what I did love.

The beautiful descriptive writing was lovely. Delia Owens can definitely describe things in detail.

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