The first book of Orna Ross’ Irish trilogy, After the Rising tells the tale of a family, with the vivid backdrop of Ireland’s struggle for establishing its identity as an island nation. As Jo returns to her native land and unravels the past, the readers get a glimpse into the Irish Civil War. The story covers multiple generations, detailing the involvement of her family in the war, a cold-blooded murder, her lost love, and the repercussions of revolution.
Now coming to the second installment Before the Fall, the story dives deeper into the family history of Jo. The grief-ridden past of her foremothers gets uncovered before her, as she goes through the letters left by her grandmother and great aunt. The unpleasant family secrets take up a large chunk of the novel, while the other sections deal with issues like AIDS, immigration, and other social issues. The book raises significant questions about the consequences of freedom and the heartbreaking truths that lurk in the past. With these discoveries, Jo finally realizes that perhaps it’s not possible to detach herself from the haunting past that her family has been carrying across generations.
In both these parts, author Orna Ross’s brilliant storytelling brings this historical romance story to life. This compelling family saga reaches great heights with the author’s careful characterization. Ross explores humanity through a unique lens and unravels the bitter mysteries and secrets of Jo’s family with wonderful literary flair. While the first book brings up the question of love, the second book delves deeper into it. The pain and agony of discovering and carrying along a painful truth have been brilliantly portrayed in this work.
These novels take place in Jo’s homeland of Ireland, and others in the U.S.. The author clever and skillfully handles these multiple settings, with each having its own feel.
The gripping narrative and powerful storytelling makes After The Rising and Before The Fall a fantastic historical fiction novel that was hard for me to put down. This is a thick book, because it comes with both novels, but it ensures that readers will have a much richer and fuller experience by the end. If you’re interested in learning about Irish history through a riveting fictitious account, you would thoroughly enjoy Orna Ross’s enthralling story.
Pages: 544 | ASIN: B08JY91NW5
Tags: After The Rising and Before The Fall: Centenary Edition: Two books in one, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fiction, historical romance, history, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, nook, novel, Orna Ross, read, reader, reading, romance, story, writer, writing
Change of Scenery by Davalynn Spencer follows the life of Ella as she tries to reclaim her life by moving to Colorado. And while she has made peace with the fact that her love for riding and romance had been permanently taken away from her by a tragic accident, a chance meeting with Cale changes everything.
Throughout the story, we get insight into both Cale and Ella’s lives and the tragic events that have shaped who they are. Although the story is based in the 1900s, many of their problems are quite relatable, especially their grief.
The main themes of this emotionally-charged novel are; love, family, healing and second chances. And the author does a splendid job at bringing them to life. Davalynn Spencer brings us into Ella’s pain, making it relatable and easy to empathize with. We are also given details into the life of Cale’s grief-stricken brother, Hugh as he struggles to move on in the wake of his wife’s death.
Another important character is Hellen, a mother figure to both Cale and Hugh who takes up the care of the latter’s young children, eventually filling a big hole in their family. Ultimately, this story is as tender as it is personal. The plot is solid though somewhat predictable and the characters are well developed. The author has really excelled in bringing the 1900s to life, successfully building a narrative that combines both the age of horses and that of the automobile.
The one thing that I did not expect was how Cale behaves towards Ella – he pushes her to be better and not settle for less. Otherwise, most of the narrative tallies with what I expect from a western romance novel. The writing style used matches the typical style of historical fiction, perfect for fans of the genre looking to be immersed. When it comes to catering to historical romance audience, the author has truly excelled.
If you love elegant and heartfelt historical romances, filled with intriguing characters, and set in the western frontier, then Change of Scenery by Davalynn Spencer is the book for you. This was a western that was hard for me to put down, and stayed with me long after the last page.
Pages: 254 | ASIN: B08RWJBTWG
Tags: A Change of Scenery: The Canon City Chronicles, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian, christian fiction, christian romance, Davalynn Spencer, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fiction, historical romance, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, western, writer, writing
Nantucket Summer follows Greg Williamson, a seventy-one year old man, who has recently lost his wife. He decides to visit his younger sister in Clearwater Florida. While he is packing for the trip, he comes across a box filled with some items from his past and he remembers the summer he spent on Nantucket Island when he was a young man in 1946, before he started attending Purdue University. During that summer, he worked as a night watchman at a hotel where he meets a woman named Sydney MacKluskie. They fall in love, but ultimately part ways and lead different lives, until a chance encounter in a hospital. Was it Sydney that saves Greg’s life in the hospital? Greg must find out.
Author Gerard Shirar provides readers with an impassioned romance story following two intriguing characters that are easy to empathize with. I found the author’s writing style engaging and the story kept my interest all the way to the end. This sentimental novel reads very much like a real-life account, and there were times when I forgot that I was reading a fictional story. I liked the setting of the holiday atmosphere at the beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the descriptions of the quaint shops and cottages in the villages on Nantucket Island. The author has a knack for creating a scene and letting the readers live in it. The same is true for the historical time period the novel is placed in. The story always felt authentic and realistic, keeping the story grounded and focused on the emotional obstacles Greg faces. A small portion of the book takes place during Greg’s time fighting in the Korean War, and this section of the story makes a striking contrast to the carefree days Greg spent while working in Nantucket.
This is a character driven story that successfully pulls you along with emotionally charged plot developments that rely on your connection to the characters. I was not a fan of Sydney’s character when she was first introduced, but learning about the tragedy in her past helped me to understand her actions and attitude.
Nantucket Summer is a historical romance novel filled with wonderfully detailed observations and characters that you will love following.
Pages: 170 | ASIN: B0791M6Q2Y
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Dual Duplicity by Patricia Catacalos is an enchanting story of Julie Maxwell, a young eligible bachelor who becomes involved with Lord Wesley, a doctor working during the cholera crisis. While she becomes quickly intrigued with her new love interest, she quickly realizes the complexities within their developing relationship, adding some conflict and challenges to their acquaintanceship. As close family and the relationship’s intentions are called into question, Julia must explore much more than she initially expected.
The story progresses quickly, giving the reader a clear picture of each character, their place within Julia’s life, and where they stand in greater society. Julia quickly learns how integrated her life becomes with Lord Wesley, even from a respectable distance. As her brother works with the doctor as an intern, these developments wield incredible attention within an ever-expanding circle of associates and connections.
As the characters develop, a few unexpected plot twists emerge, changing the storyline’s trajectory and building the reader’s anticipation to discover more. The book’s pace moves quickly and steady enough to keep the reader engaged without missing any details or diminishing any events. You discover that every description is key to the characters, their goals, and the story’s direction.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story’s development and how one layer of plot twist unravels carefully to unveil another. Each chapter paves the way for another exciting shift in events that keeps the reader turning one page after another. Lady Maxwell is a spectacle that doesn’t disappoint, and she’ll keep you and the other characters on your toes with her unparalleled sense of wit and intelligence.
Good storytelling is what gives readers incentive to enjoy a page-turner from beginning to end. Dual Duplicity is an exceptional example of fantastic narration, offering readers a bird’s eye view of every move and twist without revealing too much at once. The characters are exciting and fun to follow from one scene to the next. I highly recommend treating yourself to a thrilling story with captivating characters with nostalgic visuals of a decadent era.
Pages: 228 | ASIN: B07GWX74HJ
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Dual Duplicity, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fantasy, historical fiction, historical romance, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, Patricia Catacalos, read, reader, reading, regency, romance, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Searchers by Stephen Finlay Archer is the first book of the series The Irish Clans, a historical fiction that follows some of the events that occurred after the sinking of the RMS Lusitania. The book starts with the tragedy of the Lusitania and from there, it follows the lives of our main characters. There are many aspects about the lives of the Irish that are shown in the book: poverty, immigration, colonialism and the pursuit of freedom. The characters presented offer a way in which the reader can immerse into their lives and their struggles, thus giving a better understanding of some of the history behind the Irish revolution, which surely will be dealt with in more depth in the next books in the series. There are two different stories that are being told in the book. Collin O’Donnell is an Irishman living in Canada, he meets Samuel Finlay, who helps him leave behind the bad life that he was living after losing his family to find his place in the world. Tadgh McCarthy is a sailor living in Ireland and a revolutionary, his life takes a turn after meeting one of the survivors of the Lusitania, through him we get to see the oppression of the English over the Irish, and get a better background of the first steps that were about to be taken to free Ireland.
It was hard to understand the story that was being told in the beginning of the book, but halfway through the novel everything started to make sense and it was then that I was truly gripped and enthralled by the dramatic turn of events and the intriguing characters. It took some time to warm up to the characters, but as the story progressed they start to show more of themselves and became more real. Once I could empathize and connect with the characters the story became truly riveting, and I appreciated the methodical build up of tension.
I felt like Searchers does a fantastic job of setting the stage for the upcoming novels because we get to meet the characters and understand the background of the revolution. My favorite story was the one set up in Ireland, Tadgh and Morgan became my favorite characters and I desperately want to read the next books to find out what happens to them. I enjoyed how the author was able to mix different themes into the story: although he gives many details that surround the revolutionary history of Ireland, he also cares to show the humanity of the characters, giving importance to the family dynamics and showing themes of love and romance, a guiding light through the dark periods that surround every war.
I highly recommend Searchers: The Irish Clans to readers that enjoy dramatic historical fiction novels and to anyone who wants an authentic dive into the history of the Irish revolutionary period.
Pages: 578 | ASIN: B01L1V35BC
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Devyn’s Dilemma follows a young woman trying to escape her past and finds much more than a job at The Towers castle on Dark Island. How did the idea for this novel start and change as you wrote?
I took three trips to Singer Castle (The Towers) with the docent of the island. What a joy it was to envision Devyn walking and working there! Her story developed deeper with each trip to the island, and so did her backstory as her brother got meaner and meaner.
Devyn is a charming character that I loved following. What were some sources that informed her character development?
I love interweaving the real characters (the Bournes) and imaginary characters like Devyn and Brice, though sometimes it’s challenging. As Devyn’s relationship grows with the other characters, she developed quite naturally. But, I must admit, there were times when she decided to do something unusual and I had to question her motives. Smiles.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Hope is a theme woven throughout all of my books because it’s so needed in this day and age. But with Devyn, I wanted her to journey through healing from family abuse and a low self-esteem—and she did.
This is book two in your Thousand Islands Gilded Age Series. What can readers expect in book three?
I’m writing chapter twenty at present, and it’s contracted to release Spring 2022. I must admit, I’m having a blast with this one.
It’s called Peyton’s Promise, and here’s the idea: It’s the summer of 1902. Peyton Quinn is tasked to prepare the grand Calumet Castle ballroom for a spectacular 200-guest summer gala. But when her pyrotechnics father becomes ill, she takes over the plans for the fireworks display despite being socially ostracized.
Patrick Quinn, Calumet’s carpenter and Peyton’s childhood chum, hopes to win her heart, but her unconventional undertakings cause a rift. Peyton must ignore prejudices and persevere, or she could lose her cool, lose Patrick’s love and respect, and forever become the talk of local gossip if she fails.
Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books.
Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma, and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and book three, Peyton’s Promise, comes out Spring 2022. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise, and her newest, Reagan’s Reward, are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including two Illumination Book Awards, the American Fiction Award, the Indie Excellence Book Award, and two Literary Titan Book Award. Reagan’s Reward is also a finalist in the Selah Awards. Visit http://www.SusanGMathis.com for more.
Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian, christian fantasy, christian fiction, christian romance, Devyn's Dilemma, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fantasy, historical fiction, historical romance, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, Susan G Mathis, writer, writing
Devyn is full of uncertainty regarding her summer job at The Towers. From her lack of confidence in the ability to perform her duties, to the fear that someone might learn her dreaded secret, to the constant views of the river she hates, everything about it makes her nervous. However, she was given no choice, and soon Devyn is surprised to find how comfortable she’s becoming in the huge house. Her employers are generous, loving people who show her what a family can be, and almost all the rest of the staff do all they can to help as the days pass- especially Brice, the handsome Irishman that Deyvn can’t help but imagine a future with!
In Devyn’s Dilema by Susan Mathis, Devyn comes to Dark Island, and the grand castle known as The Towers, scared and uncomfortable. Her life at home with an emotionally abusive mother has taught her that she has little to offer to anyone and is mostly incapable of the simplest tasks, but since someone needs to earn money for the family, Deyvn is sent off for the summer. The characters we meet throughout this heartfelt novel are all unbelievably close and loving. But the cast of characters are peppered with intriguing characters that break up the stereotypes; the rough around the edges love interest that is almost out of reach, the villainous staff member hellbent on destroying the main character’s happiness with no apparent motive, and the group of friends who seamlessly accept that character as one of their own without question. Mathis nonetheless makes them all engaging, but what she is most masterful at is making The Towers seem like a character of its own. As Devyn explores all its nooks and crannies and secrets of The Towers it becomes a character that is central to everything else. It is something that is simultaneously safe and terrifying, a physical embodiment of how Deyvn views life.
Devyn’s Dilema is a dramatic Christian romance story that is ultimately about shaking off the past and embracing the future. For years, Devyn has been shackled by the guilt of what occurred the day her father died and it has prevented her from enjoying anything in life. As she comes to realize that guilt, lies, and secrets only succeed in creating more pain, she finally begins to grow as a person, seeing for the first time that she might deserve the happiness and joy she has always denied herself. The message to not be so hard on yourself is one that many readers could use.
Although the image of The Towers will stay in your mind long after any of the human characters, it was still exciting to follow them through the summer and see each of them get what they might deserve, for better or worse! Devyn’s Dilema is a touching historical fiction novel that will leave you entertained and smiling.
Pages: 279 | ASIN: B0817GQXSJ
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian fiction, christian romance, Devyn's Dilemma, ebook, fantasy, goodreads, historical fiction, historical romance, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, science fiction, story, Susan G Mathis, writer, writing
★★★★★ “Hampshire Stories: A Collection of Tales Set in 19th-Century England by Joe Giampaolo is a stellar collection of short stories!… These are stories of pure delight and feature a lovable cast of characters… Giampaolo’s writing is reminiscent of Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell” (Editorial Review by Literary Titan, 2020).
‘Hampshire Stories’ is an award-winning collection of short narratives set in nineteenth-century England. It has been ranked several times on the Top 100 Best Seller List on Amazon in the Victorian and Regency Historical Romance categories. This compilation was written with particular attention to historical accuracy and is recommended for teen and adult readers who enjoy charming love stories or poignant dramas of the Regency and Victorian periods. You will enjoy this journey back in time to nineteenth-century England.
AWARDS: GOLD MEDAL, LITERARY TITAN BOOK AWARD 2020
-Amazon.com (USA): Ranked #20 on the Top 100 Best Seller List in the Victorian Historical Romance category and #36 in the Regency Historical Romance category (February 2021).
-Amazon.ca (Canada): Ranked several times on the Top 100 Best Seller List in the Victorian Historical Romance and the Regency Historical Romance categories.
Posted in book trailer
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