Creating ‘Black Cake’

Has a book ever made you long for home — only not your home, perhaps, but another’s. A stronger sense of identity? A feeling of culture, of connection, of deep community roots?

Black Cake did this for me — sucked me in like the unheeded hurricanes off the Island, ripping me down in its current. Rich, lyrical, beautiful, heartbreaking … Charmaine Wilkerson spins a multi-generational, multi-cultural saga like none I’ve read before.

What can I say? This novel has everything. Emotional resonance, complicated but relatable sibling and family relationships, deep love, heartbreaking separations, atmosphere and a sense of foreboding mingled with hope … I couldn’t get enough.

At the heart of the story is the titular dessert — a Caribbean black cake studded with soaked fruits, based on the author’s late mother’s recipe. But it’s not just about the food. As Wilkerson herself states, it centers around identity — innate and chosen. It was amazing to experience the transformations of each individual throughout the story.

And the water — it’s a character, too. Churning. Beckoning. At once welcoming and dangerous. Again and again, the Bennetts return to the ocean, and I found these slices of story deeply affecting. Perhaps because I’ve never learned to swim.

It’s been weeks now, and I’m afraid Black Cake has ruined me for other books. The audio was incredibly engrossing and well-done, with narrators Lynnette R. Freeman and Simone Mcintyre skillfully bringing the characters — their plights, joys, pains — to life.

Don’t miss it. Don’t sleep on it. Just run to this shoreline, friends, and dive in.


Seeds in the garden: Heroine Lucy Stone gets her due in new novel

Can women have it all?

In Katherine A. Sherbrooke’s moving Leaving Coy’s Hill, a strong fictional depiction of real-life heroine, abolitionist and suffragist Lucy Stone, the answer is one we’ve been asking for centuries. For as long as women have been daring to dream of a world beyond their own hearth, that is.

Like Alexander Hamilton, Stone is a prominent American figure who hasn’t been entirely awarded her time in the sun. A prominent speaker at a time when the mere idea of women talking to men in public could be scandalous, Stone took on such lighthearted topics as the abolishment of slavery and voting rights before contemptuous, angry crowds. She swears young that she will never marry, having seen how quickly women become the property of their husbands … and lose all property and autonomy themselves. Yet we know that Leaving Coy’s Hill is, at its heart, a love letter from a mother to her daughter.

Bold, sensitive, intelligent, committed—Lucy Stone was a force dedicated to the building of a better country, a better world. We know the names of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (if we stayed awake in high school history classes, anyway), but Stone herself? She’s faded into the mists of time.

Lucy Stone was completely unfamiliar to me. Going into the book without any preconceived notions was probably a good thing. It didn’t take long for me to feel like Lucy was a close friend and I, the reader, her confidante. I felt those tugs of sisterhood and solidarity, to be sure.

What amazed me most in Sherbrooke’s powerful story is how so many themes prominent in pre-Civil War America continue to be present today. I certainly related to Lucy: her struggles, fears, perceived failures. As a wife. A mother. A worker. As someone who must find a way to weave all three roles together … sometimes to her own detriment.

I wished I could explain to [my mother] how different I intended my life to be. I didn’t know how to tell her that the awful circumstances she endured had provided much of the inspiration to sculpt my life from different clay. It felt like a cruel compliment. I hoped she had found more happiness than had been obvious to me.

Leaving Coy’s Hill, p. 196 (review copy)

I thought about how each generation of women gains a few inches here, a foot there—enough that, eventually, we’ve walked miles and crossed mountains. I thought about suffragettes marching with hecklers lining the streets. I thought about women forced from their professions when they showed obvious signs of pregnancy. I thought about efforts to offer paid family leave and protections against workplace discrimination. I thought about the joy of witnessing our first female vice president take office. I thought about #MeToo.

I thought of my grandmother, a homemaker, who always had something delicious and comforting simmering on the stove when I bounced in after school. I thought about my mother pursuing one of the narrow career paths—secretary, nurse or teacher—open to her as a young woman, and how she has carved out both a successful career and family life just the same.

I thought of my own history, the new opportunities available to me … the trailblazers and world-shaker-uppers I’ve known, including all the strong women I work with now in health care. And, of course, I thought of my own daughter, hazel eyes flashing, asking me question after question about the planets and declaring she will see them all herself one day. Maybe Comm. Hadley Johnson will call her ol’ mom super, super long-distance from Mars someday. I can only hope.

Lucy Stone is our foremother. If I may paraphrase “Hamilton,” her legacy has meant planting seeds in a garden that she never got to see. But her spirit, determination and bravery begin to get their due in Sherbrooke’s capable hands. Best of all? Sherbrooke paints her as a real, live woman … human.

[My husband] was due home any day now. I reflexively looked around the house. Every surface was covered in dust. I had no fresh food on hand save what little I could pull from the garden and had yet to pick up a new block of ice … Eggs needed to be gathered and cream and bread made. [My daughter] and I could live on oatmeal, syrup, and apples for a few days, but even Harry would expect better than that. The thought brought a new wave of anger. I had spent a lifetime ensuring I would never be judged by such things. And yet, in my rage, I wanted to prove I was capable of doing it all.

Leaving Coy’s Hill, p. 232 (review copy)

This quiet, enveloping novel gains more power by not letting readers feel its tremors immediately. Leaving Coy’s Hill is unassuming, thoughtful, steady, retrospective. I loved the strong female friendships portrayed (and betrayed, if you will). I love the complicated push/pull of “balance” and its ever-elusive nature, even in the 19th century. I loved that I could relate to a story set in a very different time in a way that was simultaneously comforting and inspiring. I loved that it inspired googling … and plenty of soul-searching.

We have Sherbrooke—and Lucy!— to thank for that.

The seeds bloom, indeed.

4.5 stars

Published May 4, 2021, from Pegasus Books
Goodreads | Amazon | Author Website
Review copy provided by publisher for my honest review

Book chat: ‘Jane Austen’s First Love’ by Syrie James

Jane Austen's First LoveRomantic, wistful and richly engrossing, fans of the beloved Miss Austen will delight in Syrie James’ well-researched, evocative story of the summer Jane is believed to have first fallen in love.

For a month in 1791, 15-year-old Jane Austen is welcomed with her sister and brother to the vast, beautiful world of Goodnestone to celebrate the engagement of her brother, Edward, to Elizabeth Bridges, one of the young ladies of the estate. On their way to the celebration, their carriage meets with calamity — and Edward Taylor, a handsome and educated young man who lives nearby, comes to their rescue.

As their connection to the Bridges family brings them together, Jane and Edward pass many enjoyable weeks in each other’s company . . . much to the chagrin of the chaperones entrusted with making sure the reputations of both families remain unsullied. Though she knows a match between a wealthy heir and a reverend’s daughter is unlikely, their affection continues to grow — even as Jane meddles in the romances of those around her, causing disturbances and miscommunications.

Based on the scholarly belief that Jane did, in fact, meet one Edward Taylor through her brother — and snippets of letters in which she mentions both Him and Bifrons, Edward’s actual home — James has constructed a lively, entertaining tale of the man who may have stolen young Jane’s heart. With generous and creative nods to future characters (especially Emma Woodhouse, intrepid but misguided matchmaker), Jane Austen’s First Love is a treat for fans of the author and historical fiction alike.

The way Jane falls in love with Edward was sudden but believable — a feat not easily accomplished. As a young woman with little experience away from Steventon (and her mother’s grasp), Jane is enamored to be passing time as she chooses — and in the company of new, exciting, accomplished people. In addition to being handsome and well-traveled, Edward is adventurous and kind. Though a bit of a daredevil with a reputation to match, he has no trouble questioning the status quo: unique in a society that places propriety above all else.

Jane comes from different stock, of course. Visiting Goodnestone for her brother’s engagement celebration, she and Cassandra are under immense pressure to behave well and not present as “country folk.” At 15, Jane is too young to actually be “out” in society . . . but her mother relents for the special occasion, allowing her to participate in the many events and balls held in honor of two sets of soon-to-be newlyweds (the sister of Edward Austen’s intended is also to marry). This new independence delights Jane — but it comes at a cost.

The early feelings of love and affection blossoming between Jane and Edward Taylor — the nerves; the excitement; the desperation to see each other again — are familiar to all of us. Indeed, it’s tough to read Jane Austen’s First Love and not feel transported back to your own first brush with romance. James does a remarkable job of drawing us into the easy banter and camaraderie the two share . . . but of course, we know the ending of the story.

Is it a spoiler to talk of the fate of a famous author who passed nearly 200 years ago? Austen fans know that, for all her exquisite explorations of the human heart, Jane herself never did marry — nor did her sister, Cassandra, after losing a fiance as a young woman. Jane passed at age 41 and left an enormous legacy that still has us talking, speculating and daydreaming centuries later.

Knowing the end of her romance with Edward Taylor even before it began did nothing to harm it; in fact, James beautifully demonstrates how reasonable it was that Jane could have fallen in love . . . but how, in the end, first loves are not always forever loves. What could have been a bittersweet ending was, instead, satisfying and realistic.

I loved my time at Goodnestone — and any time spent in the company of dear Jane is always well spent. Syrie James does a remarkable job of returning us to Regency England in the company of “characters” that actually feel like friends, with a story that felt both familiar and fresh. Jane Austen’s First Love will be a welcome addition to the shelves of Janeites everywhere — and those interested in a good love story will rejoice in it, too.

4.5 out of 5

Pub: August 2014 • GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Paperback copy provided by publisher for review consideration

Book review: ‘Sedition’ by Katharine Grant

SeditionRacy, entertaining and unexpected, Katharine Grant’s Sedition was nothing like I expected and better than I had hoped.

Let me explain.

Though firmly in the historical fiction camp, Katharine Grant’s Sedition is and isn’t romance. Set in London during the 18th century, Grant’s romp is centered on a group of wealthy fathers eager to marry off their daughters — five spoiled, disinterested young women. As the men conspire to teach their girls piano by purchasing an instrument from an eccentric shopkeeper, the girls cook up schemes of their own . . . namely with Monsieur Claude, their new instructor. And he, in turn, has secrets to keep.

Though it seems rather complicated, everything is actually straight forward — at first. He wants her; she wants him; she wants her; he wants none of them. It’s a comedy of errors that often results in some entertaining misunderstandings — but there’s plenty of heart here, too.

The novel centers mostly on Annie Cantabile, the piano virtuoso daughter of the man who sells the families their pianoforte, as well as the woman she befriends and eventually loves. Though every woman takes a turn in the spotlight, we get to know Annie and Alathea Sawneyford the best — and I really felt for both. Born with a cleft palate, Annie is hidden in the shadows at the shop . . . but longs to play music and start a new life away from her callous father. Dedication to her sick mother keeps Annie rooted in London, but a friendship forged unexpectedly with Alathea gives her renewed purpose.

Grant’s story is engrossing, unique and captivating. Not really knowing what to expect going in, I found myself delighted by Sedition and stealing time on vacation to meet up with the characters. The racy content level is pretty high — higher than I would have guessed — but hey, I’m a married woman; I could handle it. Some may take offense to the content, however. (Also, there are some graphic depictions of incest. Just so you know.)

With its endlessly dark subject matter, Grant still managed to keep the tone and feel of the novel light. There were some disturbing messes going down, no doubt, and I did feel disgusted on several occasions, but I think that was intentional. To understand the struggle and longing, we must know the depravity. We must understand the hurt and betrayal and pain.

Sedition is about push-pull power struggles . . . the struggle of women to take control of their bodies and sexuality; a movement to break away from familial expectations. Still, the girls were without many options aside from marrying well . . . and they throw themselves into learning the pianoforte in order to dazzle at a concert attended by the gentlemen of London: a sort of debutante ball without the dancing.

And they dazzle, all right.

Memorable and titillating, Sedition was an enjoyable story. After I got over my initial shock at all the behind-closed-doors carryings-on, I really felt the emotional changes of the characters and thought them realistic. Grant writes with humor and a keen eye for pacing — enough to keep me flying through the pages.

This is a fairly quick read, but it wasn’t without depth and wisdom. I felt connected to Annie Cantabile long after I’d finished the story. Her plight — and desire to break free of expectation, of restraint — was moving. Though selfishly I longed for a happier ending for many of the women, I also knew Sedition concluded in just the way it needed to. Not a novel I’ll soon forget!

4 out of 5!

Pub: April 1, 2014 • GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for my honest review

Book review: ‘Letters from Skye’ by Jessica Brockmole

Letters from SkyePoet Elspeth Dunn isn’t sure what to make of her first fan letter. Arriving in Scotland’s Isle of Skye all the way from America, its author — a young college student named David Graham — has a way with words himself. As David reveals more of his life through their continued correspondence and Elspeth finds herself opening up, too, their friendship — flourishing just before the onslaught of World War I — gradually turns to love.

Having never left the Isle of Skye, any plans to meet in person are thwarted by Elspeth’s fears . . . until she pushes herself to venture outside the isolated landscape. They unite just before David leaves to volunteer as an ambulance driver in France, leaving Elspeth to savor and sort through their stolen days together. Two decades later, Elspeth’s daughter stumbles across the countless letters her mother exchanged with a mysterious American and struggles with her own romantic entanglements at the start of World War II. In 1940, Elspeth’s world has greatly changed — but it also hasn’t. Whatever became of David? Is the past really past?

Jessica Brockmole’s Letters From Skye has enough atmosphere and carefully-curated twists to keep readers invested in its wartime-era drama, spanning two battles and countless family struggles. Told entirely through letters, most passed between Elspeth and David, it’s a romance that unfolds on the page and emphasizes the power of the written word.

Given I’m such a mail nerd, I was all over this.

And I enjoyed it. I actually picked up Letters from Skye after my fiance began emailing me breathtaking photos from the remote Scottish area, his “subtle” way of suggesting we add it to our shortlist for honeymoon destinations. The Isle of Skye is undeniably beautiful, and the idea of anyone living in such an isolated area — especially 100 years ago, when communication was relegated to the occasional slow-moving letter and the ferry your only transportation option — was fascinating.

In terms of place, which plays such an important role in the novel, Skye didn’t disappoint. It was easy to picture Elspeth writing poetry and letters by candlelight, battening down the hatches as a cold wind blows. David’s letters from Chicago held the American warmth and charm one would expect from an optimistic young man on the other side of the Atlantic, and their chemistry on the page was clear. As they laid their hearts through cursive, especially Elspeth’s heavy burdens, it was hard to feel indifferent to their plight.

But something — maybe something small; maybe something big — was missing to push this novel up to 4-star status for me. David was dashing and their romance interesting, but I remained disconnected from Elspeth. Maybe part of it was switching so rapidly between time periods? One second we’re in 1913, the next in 1940. Bombs are falling in Edinburgh just before a younger Elspeth is writing in Skye. Though each chapter and letter is clearly marked, the transitions felt herky-jerky at times. Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, is enjoying a romance with a young British pilot, but I didn’t feel I really knew or understood her until the end . . . and because her character was never really explored, I couldn’t get psyched about the decisions she was making.

But maybe I’m being overly critical. For those who enjoy historical fiction, as I do, this World War I- and II-era love story spun in enough directions that I was never bored, never flipping pages just to flip ’em. I rooted for the young lovers, even as things got extraordinarily complicated, and the boom! of an ending was totally worth the price of admission. It’s a memorable scene and a powerful one — sweet, maybe not unexpected . . . but I can’t say I wasn’t pleased with how it all turned out.

If WWII-era London or Edinburgh gets your blood pumping or you simply love the epistolary format, Letters from Skye is an engaging read that satisfied my anglophile thirst. I was glad Brockmole didn’t leave us adrift in a loch, making sure to wrap up the messy ends, and I appreciated the additional explorations of family, sacrifice and love. A quick, enjoyable read.

3.5 out of 5!

Pub: July 9, 2013 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review

Book review: ‘The Last Camellia’ by Sarah Jio

The Last CamelliaIn 2000, American Addison Sinclair has packed up to live the dream of many an anglophile: she and her writer husband, Rex, are freshly arrived at a newly-purchased family estate in the English countryside. Livingston Manor’s past unfurls through the stoic and elderly housekeeper, Miss Dilloway, and the many botany books Addison discovers in the home.

Once she learns of Flora, an amateur botanist and fellow American once contracted to care for Lord Livingston’s four children as a nanny . . . and something more sinister. What became of her? As Addison learns more about the Livingstons’ camellia orchard and the ill-fated woman who once loved them, decades-old murder mysteries combine with the ghostly specter of Addison’s past to unearth a hotbed of secrets.

Sarah Jio is quickly becoming a star in the world of historical fiction. With The Last Camellia, her fourth novel, the dual narratives of two Americans marooned at Livingston Manor in England intersect in consistent — if somewhat predictable — ways.

So. The good. It’s impossible to traverse Livingston Manor without pausing to smell the roses, so to speak. The atmosphere Jio creates is intoxicating: a grand British estate; a severe but kindhearted housekeeper; mysterious children kept under lock and key; a glorious, hidden conservatory in the center of the mansion. Though all the camellia talk became tiring, especially when discussing the elusive Middlebury Pink, I appreciated the warmth and grandeur conveyed in this vivid story. I never forgot where I was — and the manor could easily have been something out of “Downton Abbey.”

Maybe that’s why I was initially drawn into the story? The talk of servants and lords, the distinctly British feel. The air of mystery is inescapable, having me question Addison’s present and Flora’s past in one fell swoop.

But then I figured everything out.

Look, putting the pieces together doesn’t always preclude me from enjoying a story. As a reader, I’m not always astute; sometimes I read for the sheer pleasure of it, refusing to slide the various clues into place. I’m the same way with movies. Though the answers seem obvious, I don’t play along. I just keep turning the pages, waiting to be surprised the way an author likely intended.

Other times, though? Well, other times I just can’t help but figure things out. Little clues feel learn toward sledgehammers instead of  subtleties. For as much as I enjoy Jio’s stories, I can’t shake the feeling that they’re a little too much “tell” and not enough “show” for me.

In the case of The Last Camellia, I was far more invested in Flora than Addison; an air of mystery lingered longer with our mysterious nanny-turned-flower-stalker than it did for our modern character. I never really got a sense of Addison — and her back story felt hokey, honestly. The transitions were clunky. We shuffle from 2000 to 1940 and then to “fifteen years earlier,” when a teenage Addison was taken in by a drunken aunt. The circumstances surrounding Addison’s childhood and formative years, meeting Rex, getting married — all left out. I never got a sense of Rex and the Sinclair family, either; they were just kind of . . . there. We know Rex is at Livingston Manor to write a novel and is, perhaps, drawing inspiration from his wife’s discoveries about previous tenants, but he feels a bit like a prop. The story isn’t about him, I know, but it was hard to ignore someone tossed into the action with no real part to play.

The Livingston family, on the other hand, felt much better realized. Eldest daughter Katherine was realistically drawn and sympathetic. Her interactions with Flora could be frustrating, but one can’t help but feel for a girl who has lost her mother. Flora’s yearning for her family was palpable, while the developing “romance” with a character connected to the Livingstons in an unexpected way was never fully developed. Because I never dug in deep with Flora and her beau, I couldn’t fully appreciate the dramatic conclusion. And the mystery that failed to really be a mystery just left me indifferent.

Despite my issues, I don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t enjoy this story — because I really did. I read the whole thing in a few days, tearing through it once I’d reached the halfway point. Jio has a talent for wrapping readers up in her stories and a gift for the dual narrative. The shifts between past and present weren’t always seamless, but it’s a quick read with enough historical intrigue to keep readers happy. If you’ve enjoyed Jio’s previous novels or are simply looking for a fun story with a modern and vintage vibe, The Last Camellia may be just the ticket.

3.5 out of 5!

Pub: May 28, 2013 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review

Book review: ‘Cascade’ by Maryanne O’Hara

CascadeI have to sort out my feelings on this.

Maryanne O’Hara’s Cascade has been on my radar since I caught a glimpse of its gorgeous cover last summer, and Audra’s review tipped this into “book lust” category. Why it took me another nine months to read it? Honestly, I don’t know.

But since finishing Cascade early Sunday morning, it’s been lingering behind my eyelids. I read the last 100 pages in a sitting, almost breathless to discover what would become of star-crossed Desdemona, but felt something akin to grief upon finishing O’Hara’s captivating story.

I didn’t want to say goodbye.

Sometimes books speak to us — uniquely, exclusively. The elements of a particular story combine to seem formed just for you . . . and so it was with Cascade. I should preface my review by acknowledging my deep, overwhelming fear of water. Of drowning. Of being pulled under. The idea of an entire town being purposely dismantled and flooded to form a reservoir — of a place that once existed but has since been razed, morphed into a lake — is both fascinating and horrifying.

Cascade, Massachusetts is the kind of quintessential New England town you’d imagine Norman Rockwell’s subjects to inhabit. It’s idyllic and quaint, filled with friends and gossips — a place where everyone truly knows your name. Desdemona “Dez” Hart Spaulding grew up here, buried her mother and brother here, and shelved her dreams of art and New York to provide for her father in the last months of his life. Broke and facing homelessness, Dez agrees to marry Asa Spaulding, a goodhearted pharmacist, so William Hart will be safe in his final days. She’s so absurdly grateful for a roof over her head that she never hesitates to bind her life to Asa’s.

It’s the 1930s. The Great Depression. After the Roaring Twenties, after the Great War changed everything. As news of dust storms blotting out the sun clutter newsreels and bread lines curve around buildings, Dez knows she should be content — grateful — for the relatively comfortable life she shares with Asa. But after her father’s death, a feeling like claustrophobia pushes the air from her lungs.

And things are heating up in town. Long rumored but never made official, word is spreading that the state is finally ready to build a new reservoir for Boston. With its proximity to water and the city, Cascade seems the ideal choice. When Massachusetts sends out Stan Smith, a portly worker for the Water Authority, gossip and worry seep into the town’s very pores. Dez befriends Stan after he stops into her husband’s pharmacy, trying to glean information or a shred of hope for Cascade’s future, but the flood waters already seem to inch around the town. If chosen, Cascade faces imminent ruin. Complete demolition. To be filled until nothing remains.

In that atmosphere of uncertainty, a friendship between Desdemona and Jacob Solomon begins to blossom. A Jewish peddler carrying on his father’s traditions, Jacob also has artistic ambitions — and finds a kindred spirit in Dez, the savvy and creative daughter of a play master. With an appreciation for Shakespeare thanks to her father, Dez is worldly and interesting and nothing like most of the folks in Cascade: a group typically content to drink their root bear floats at Asa’s soda fountain and malign Jacob’s good name because he’s “one of them.”

With tensions brewing in Europe and in New England, Dez is faced with an earth rapidly shifting beneath her feet. And it’s time to make a move.

Reading Cascade was such a lush, complicated experience. My description doesn’t do justice to half the threads weaving O’Hara’s moving novel together — but a girl has to try. Of the many elements happening in one 350-page book, the connection brewing between Dez and Jacob captivated me completely. My heart literally ached reading about their friendship, however brief, and the story’s progression found me desperately hoping for something I knew could never be. Without giving anything way, I felt splintered by the novel’s close. Just splintered. Gut-punched.

And that’s the mark of a great story.

And this was a great story . . . the first 5-star book I’ve read in almost a year. A wholly unique tale. One with which I sympathized, and empathized, and became completely swept inside. Between its mirroring of Shakespearean classics and historical tidbits of life just before Pearl Harbor, O’Hara does a masterful job of portraying a town facing imminent destruction just as millions face a gruesome end in Europe. The distrust of the Jewish population — and of Jacob — was devastating, and made me thankful for the intervening years since World War II.

Just as interesting was the art scene — a vivid world portrayed through Dez’s work and connections. New York seemed a wholly familiar and unfamiliar place through O’Hara’s pen: a world I know but do not know. I loved the descriptions of Dez’s paintings and plans, and the light-filled studio rooms in which she would recreate safe spaces. It was romantic and lovely. And the overarching theme — “nothing gold can stay,” if you will, or nothing and no one lasts forever — made me sad and reflective but ultimately . . . hopeful? Yes. Hopeful.

There’s so much I want to talk about, but so much I cannot talk about. This is a story you need to experience and devour yourself. Though it took me 80 pages or so to become fully invested in Cascade’s future, I feel changed as a reader for having read this book. It was magnificent. There aren’t too many novels I’d herald as “a triumph,” the hyperbole of that making me squint, but seriously: Cascade is phenomenal. It touched me. It made me cry. It broke my heart. It raised so many questions.

I absolutely loved it, and it’s time to discover it for yourself.

5 out of 5!

ISBN: 0143123513 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
in exchange for my honest review