Set sail on a true adventure and the unusual life of a young woman who escapes the drudgery of service and some cutthroats by masquerading as a cabin boy on a pirate ship. Hannah will need to keep her wits about her just to keep her head above the deep blue sea now that she is part of the crew to the infamous pirate Ned Low. Her adventures lead her from sea battle to storm to treasure hunt which are all immortalized in a journal. The second part of the story takes place in 1930 with the discovery of the journal and proposed hunt for the missing treasure by an enterprising undergrad to her college professor whose father is a famous adventurer. We follow these women all trying to think outside the box and wanting to follow a path that is different from what society thinks they should follow. The absolute best part is that much of this story is based in the life of the author's third great aunt giving it authenticity seasoned with the colorful writing style of the author. Set sail for the perfect blend of riveting sea adventure mixed with the story of three very different women who aren't afraid to forge new paths. Fans of THE ADVENTURES OF AMINA AL-SIRAFI will love this. 4 1/2 stars
Lady Petra is a young widow who is financially independent and has decided not to remarry - aghast!
This being Regency England, the lords, with the exception of her father, are beside themselves. Imagine a mere woman handling an estate herself and making decisions other than menu planning and ball gowns! When several wives begin to have strange episodes of hysteria or go missing Petra starts asking questions which lead her to a dangerous path - one where she may disappear as well. The cheeky wit of BRIDGERTON mixed with the all too frightening and real demise of independent thinking women at the hands of self important men many of whom were locked up and stripped of their inheritance and power. I listened to the audiobook of this and it was delightful and eye opening. 4 stars
In a small Texas town a man who tries to stay away from danger and drama gets pulled into a family feud. He undertakes a journey to help a pregnant woman and her son flee an abusive husband and family. In doing so he himself finds purpose, friendship, love and family. This is the morality of Don Quixote meets great characters of NEWS OF THE WORLD. Written in authentic language with a clear balance of chivalry and violence of post Civil War Texas this makes Elizabeth Crook one of the Western.greats. 4 stars
Stella is not a damsel in distress or femme fatale but when her best friend is suddenly engaged and not to her, her new book project is a huge challenge to write, her dad moves in with her and she meets a flirty antiques dealer who is more than helpful with her research, her ordered world is off its axis. Compiling a book in record time on the history of English food is a departure but soon she enjoys traveling around the countryside looking for tidbits and old recipes. Freddie is all too happy to escort her showering her with compliments and edits but is this what she wants. As Stella gets in deep with relationships both professional, familial and romantic she needs to draw a line in the sand. Is this the book she wants to write? A tasty look at a single career woman in 1930's England looking to live life they way she wants not as others see it. I really enjoyed the anecdotes of the origins of some of Britain's culinary staples and heritage. A cross between MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING and LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY with a side order of Julia Child. 4 stars
A generational saga of love, loss, religion and roots that begins in Madeira and continues in the United States. As a child John and his mother flee Madeira with Mary and her father and escape to the United States. They become separated and over the years John becomes a teacher of deaf children while Mary and her father are gardeners for a wealthy landowner in Illinois who is trying to grow pineapple. John and Mary find each other again but it is too late for John as Mary is engaged to Edward her patron. They have bad timing, different religions and the Civil War is looming but theirs is a love for the ages. A very different immigration story that incorporates the promise of freedom, ingenuity by newcomers to the US and the war that will separate families, lovers and communities. Written in what feels like an authentic voice this story will enchant readers who want a different version of the Civil War. 4 stars
Based on the author's great grandmother's memoir this is a tale of danger, adventure and greed in Alaska's Yukon Territory. 1895 Yukon is no place for a woman let alone two but that is where Alice follows her sister after the family hits a major gold vein. Alice yearns to escape from home and is eager to find adventure but gets frustrated that her role is little more than housekeeper and companion to her fragile sister. When a major theft happens and the suspects, a native brother and sister, are not reported Alice takes matters into her own hands. She further asserts herself by marrying her brother in law bonding the two families twice over. With great wealth should come great responsibility but as we see in two generations this is not the case. A fascinating account of adventure, success at incredible odds, greed and who has rightful ownership of the land and its riches.
For any Jack London fan or those of us who think we would have wanted a stake in the wild west - this is your historical adventure dogsled into the promised land. 4 stars
Claudia lives in the all black town of Freedom Mississippi in the 50's. She knows all too well the hurdles she will face later in life and is determined to succeed. A decision to help a white boy found almost dead will change her life and force her out of Freedom. She goes on to have a career in banking even with the added challenges of not only being a woman but being a black woman and is supported by her husband. Her path also takes her to Italy where she finds love again. This is a unique story of one woman's quest to find true freedom, success and love during the Jim Crow South, Civil Rights Movement and Women's Liberation. Taking place on two continents gives us a very different vantage point but also highlights the similarities in cultures. Claudia has a lifetime of love and strives for the full acceptance of the world around her. 4 stars
In the British Isles in the 20's spiritualism is all the rage but Evelyn is not prepared when her mild mannered husband announces that he feels connected to the spirit world and has decided to become a medium. At first she hopes this is just an unfortunate hobby. Her family is appalled and even Evelyn's sister turns her back but as Robert's fame and success "helping" people grows Evelyn is pulled into the open doors and invitations from high society and influential people. She is a woman searching for answers - afraid of what she will learn as much as she is of not getting any answers at all. Evelyn struggles with insecurity and her new found freedom. This is historical fiction with shades of gothic mystery and an examination of a nation dealing with mass grief from war and disease coupled with a ghost of dry humor.
3 1/2 stars
Two sisters grow up with their grandmother deep in the forest of Norway practicing magic. Now with their grandmother's passing Kaija sees her chance to return to the village and live a regular life without magic while Minna feels the powerful need to obliterate the village that burned her mother at the stake. Living apart both women will use magic in secret for good and evil purposes and each will lose something because of it. A beautiful fairy tale of Norwegian lore and ancient magic mixed with a story of persecution, fear and the need to blame someone for bad luck and natural events. This book will be enjoyed by adults and young adults for fans of WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING meets THE VIKINGS. 3 1/2 stars
Andy has gone from the Navy to being a cop and is currently known as the gay P.I. whose office is above a gay bar. It is the 50's and while it might be getting a bit easier in San Francisco being gay is still a secretive and somewhat dangerous way to live. When his old boyfriend shows up as a client Andy wants to toss him out but his heart of gold won't turn away anyone who needs help. James is being blackmailed and he needs Andy to find who it is or kiss his big Navy promotion goodbye. The case will reunite him with his two closest friends but will also churn the shark infested waters around his heart. Hopefully it will also gain him some new clients and trust in the community. Violent but heartfelt and soul tugging this story speaks to anyone who feels lonely in a crowd, hungers to be understood and left alone to be who they really are. This is book two in what is a new kind of crime noir with a Mickey Spillane style featuring what has been up till now an untold and hidden group of people and stories. Readers of Stephen Spotwood's SECRETS TYPED IN BLOOD will enjoy this immensely. 4 stars
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