Hello Lovelies! Please excuse our dust while we do a bit of construction on the blog. We will still be posting exciting reviews, brilliant guest posts, and exciting giveaways but we are in the process of transforming the blog and adding new content and features for you to enjoy.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Review: Beyond the Horizon

Title: Beyond the Horizon
Author: Ella Carey
Publisher: 15th October 2019 by Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 326 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction, world war II, womens fiction
My Rating: 3.5 crowns

From the author of The House by the Lake comes a powerful novel of friendship during World War II, fighting for the truth, and making peace with the past.
At the height of World War II, Eva Scott’s dream comes true. Accepted into the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), she leaves balmy California and the man she loves for grueling training in Texas, ultimately landing at formidable Camp Davis in North Carolina.
Vastly outnumbered by men and amidst contempt, discrimination, and sabotage, Eva and her closest friends, the unconventional Nina and straightlaced Helena, remain loyal to their mission and to each other. They stay focused on the horizon, determined to prove themselves capable women pilots. Until a fatal mission sends Eva’s dream crashing to earth . . .
Now, decades later, is it possible to discover the truth about the night that changed her life? Is there any hope she’ll recover all that she’s lost? When Eva finds herself embroiled in the fight to get military recognition for the WASP, she’s forced to confront the past, and to make a decision that could forever change her future.
Thrilling and inspiring, Beyond the Horizon is a portrait of love, friendship, and valor in a time of war—and a tribute to the brave women who risked their lives for their country.
My Thoughts

“Ferrying planes around might seem glamorous and exciting, but believe me, the excitement will wear thin once the reality of military training hits.”

I have thoroughly enjoyed Ella Carey’s previous novels (found HERE) and looked forward to her latest story which recalls the heartbreaking story of the Women's Airforce Service Pilots(WASP) program during WWII. A definite must read for historical fiction fans. 

I was intrigued by the whole premise as the WASP program was not something that I was familiar with. The way Ella has also structured the novel demonstrates that the recognition these women were owed was still an outstanding and ongoing issue. Written both during the war period of 1944 and then later at the Hearing of 1977,  it is a dual timeline that works well. The snippets given from the Hearing are just enough to both highlight the battle for recognition and lead into the next passage from the supporting storyline of the war period, providing an in depth view of the events.

Although the story is a little slow in parts laden with many flying details, you cannot help but appreciate the accuracy and detail regarding the untold story of these courageous and selfless women whose valiant efforts and sacrifices provided essential support to the war effort. I believe the author captures well the difficult journey these women endured from their flight training, to the rampant sexism of the time, to the logistical difficulties and the heartbreak of losing fellow pilots. 

Fans of unique historical fiction are bound to appreciate this tale as it provides a realistic portrayal of both the facts and fallout of this program for WWII. Were they to be accepted as part of the official military campaign or were they just supportive civilians?

Are you telling the committee that you honestly believe your contribution to the war effort was equal to any man’s in the war and so you were worthy of a full military release?

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Review: Love Letters from Montmartre

Title: Love Letters from Montmartre
Author: Nicolas Barreau
Publisher: 26th November 2019 by Hachette
Pages: 250 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: contemporary
My Rating: 3.5 crowns

Julien Azouly, the famous French writer of beautiful romance novels, has stopped believing in love. When his beloved wife, Hélène, dies at the age of thirty-three, leaving him alone to raise their young son, Arthur, he is so devastated that he loses faith in the happier side of life—and along with that his ability to write.
But Hélène was clever. Before her death, she made her husband promise to write her thirty-three letters, one for each year of her life. Six months after the funeral, Julien finds himself standing in the most famous cemetery in Paris, the painful first letter in his hand. Little does he know that something strange—and wonderful—is about to happen.
An ode to love, Paris, and joie de vivre, Love Letters from Montmartre brings the reader down narrow streets, past the cozy red bistro on Rue Gabrielle, and all the way to Montmartre cemetery with its beautiful stone angels, where we will discover the truth we all hope to find: that love is real, that miracles can happen and that—most of all—it’s never too late to rediscover your dreams. Empathetic and wise, this is the deeply profound yet very human story of a man who finds love just when he thinks all is lost.
My Thoughts

‘Maman told me that you have to trust in life itself and that, in the end, everything will make sense. But when it comes to your death, my darling, I still can’t see any sense at all.’  
How would it feel to lose the love of your life as you are just beginning your journey together? The author here presents a truly telling tale of the utter devastation felt by the main character, Julien. When his wife died, leaving him to care for his young son, we are witness to the complete grief and helplessness he feels.
His wife, Helene, cleverly made a last request that Julien promise to write one letter to her for each of her 33 years. Struggling to fulfill this last request, Julien finally begins and ultimately finds the whole process somewhat therapeutic. The letters are placed in a secret compartment of an angel statue found at his wife’s grave site located in the Montmartre cemetery in Paris. 
‘Where are these letters leading me, Hélène? Are they even leading me anywhere? Or are they simply a nice pastime, a kind of self-gratification for a man who has lost his wife and can’t stop feeling sorry for himself and thus clings to the last little trace of hope? Clings to a dead woman who is lost forever? What kind of pointless game is that? But what am I saying?! No, my love, forgive me! None of my letters to you are pointless.’
One day the letters vanish and he sees this as a sign. Thus proceeds the moving tale of both his quest to understand what is going on and also the mystery to see who is indeed responsible. Is it a sign from his wife or a gesture by another kind being to engage with Julien and bring him back to the land of the living?
This is a heartfelt story as you feel the plight of Julien trying to recover from his loss and the kind people around him who never give up in their attempt to draw him back into a life worth living. 
‘You once told me that writing the letters would possibly help me - and you were right, my clever wife. When I write these letters to you, I feel distracted. They knit my life back together, open a new perspective, keep me going. And the prospect of finding an answer at the grave naturally heightens these feelings all the more.’

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This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher Hachette Australia.