Monday, September 30, 2019

Review: The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld

Title: The Butterfly Girl
Author: Rene Denfeld
Series: Naomi Cottle, #2
Published: October 2019, Harper
Format: ARC Paperback, 272 pages
Source: Publisher

The Butterfly Girl is a riveting novel that ripples with truth, exploring the depths of love and sacrifice in the face of a past that cannot be left dead and buried. Margaret Atwood raved on twitter about this "heartbreaking, finger-gnawing, yet ultimately hopeful novel."

A year ago, Naomi, the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children, made a promise that she would not take another case until she finds the younger sister who has been missing for years. Naomi has no picture, not even a name. All she has is a vague memory of a strawberry field at night, black dirt under her bare feet as she ran for her life.

The search takes her to Portland, Oregon, where scores of homeless children wander the streets like ghosts, searching for money, food, and companionship. The sharp-eyed investigator soon discovers that young girls have been going missing for months, many later found in the dirty waters of the river. Though she does not want to get involved, Naomi is unable to resist the pull of children in need—and the fear she sees in the eyes of a twelve-year old girl named Celia. Running from an abusive stepfather and an addict mother, Celia has nothing but hope in the butterflies—her guides and guardians on the dangerous streets. She sees them all around her, tiny iridescent wisps of hope that soften the edges of this hard world and illuminate a cherished memory from her childhood—the Butterfly Museum, a place where everything is safe and nothing can hurt her.

As danger creeps closer, Naomi and Celia find echoes of themselves in one another, forcing them each to consider the question: Can you still be lost even when you’ve been found? But will they find the answer too late?

My thoughts: Two years ago I read The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld and I absolutely loved it! So of course, I was thrilled to learn she had written a follow-up book in this series and it became a most anticipated read for this fall. I was quite fortunate to pick up this gem at BookExpo this past Spring.

Now, while this latest book does stand on it's own, I highly recommend reading the previous book. Not only is it also a fantastic book, but you will get a better idea of just who Naomi is and what drives her. It really does set the stage for this book.

Once again, I found myself completely captivated by Rene Denfeld's writing. It is both lyrical and haunting. She has again taken the mystery thriller and given it her own spin, alternating voices from that of the eyes of a child to that of the private investigator. And with just the slightest hint of magical realism once again coming into play without any parts of that genre in the book actually being there. It is again more through the child's imagination that any use of magical realism and this truly is the beauty of this book, this is what sets this book, and this author, apart from anything I've read.

I love Naomi. I'm so glad that the author decided to write another book about her, because after the first book I just knew we weren't done with her. I love how she uses her past to build her career, finding children and bringing them home or at least bringing closure to those parents whose children have been murdered. She is one strong, fierce character, yet incredibly vulnerable to what her past has done to her. 

There is such a poetic way that this author approaches the darkness that lies within this book. And it touches on some dark and horrible things - the street kids and the way the foster system fails so many children. But she is able to balance it with lightness, too and it leaves you with a sense of hope. 

I hope this is not the last we have seen of Naomi Cottle. But whether it is or not, it is certainly not going to be the last I read of Rene Denfeld...she is most definitely going on my must-read list, for sure!


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Review: Little Voices by Vanessa Lillie

Title: Little Voices
Author: Vanessa Lillie
Published: October 2019, Thomas & Mercer
Format: Paperback, 336 pages 
Source: Author / Little Bird Publicity

The voice in her head says he’s guilty. She knows he’s innocent.

Devon Burges is in the throes of a high-risk birth when she learns of her dear friend’s murder. The police quickly name another friend as the chief suspect, but Devon doesn’t buy it—and despite her difficult recovery, she decides to investigate.

Haunted by postpartum problems that manifest as a cruel voice in her head, Devon is barely getting by. Yet her instincts are still sharp, and she’s bent on proving her friend’s innocence.

But as Devon digs into the evidence, the voice in her head grows more insistent, the danger more intense. Each layer is darker, more disturbing, and she’s not sure she—or her baby—can survive what lies at the truth.

My thoughts: It's no surprise that I love a good psychological thriller, but when you read so many, it's hard to find one that sticks out, one that you can say held you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Luckily I can without a doubt, say that Vanessa Lillie's debut novel...I repeat, debut novel... does just that. 

What I loved most about this book is that it captures so many different emotions. It was so easy to feel all that Devon was going through throughout the story - the whole spectrum of emotions that she went through. It is completely relatable and understandable, yet it also gives you that sense that just maybe she isn't quite reliable and so that question niggles in your mind as to whether you can totally trust her. She is a deeply flawed character, yet that makes her so compelling.

I also loved that Devon is so driven to solve the murder of her friend despite going through her own issues. She has severe postpartum depression and it is manifesting as voices in her head. You could feel her anxiety as she was working this case; she desperately wanted to get to the bottom of it, but it was trying for her, being out in certain situations. And what a case it turned out to be. This was definitely not a run-of-the-mill murder by any means. 

I loved that this book kept me guessing all the way through. I kept thinking I had figured out who the killer was, only to find out my guess was way off when new information was uncovered during Devon's investigation. This definitely kept me on my toes and eager to see how it would all play out.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It totally consumes you and once you start reading it, you will be hard-pressed to put it down. I loved that not only were there a few twists that took me by surprise, but there was one final shock that totally shook me! I am still flabbergasted that this is a debut novel...Vanessa Lillie is most definitely going on my list of must-read authors! I cannot wait to see what she writes next!!!


Review: The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

Title: The Last Book Party
Author: Karen Dukess
Published: July 2019, Henry Holt & Co
Format: ARC Paperback, 256 pages
Source: Publisher

A propulsive tale of ambition and romance, set in the publishing world of 1980’s New York and the timeless beaches of Cape Cod.

In the summer of 1987, 25-year-old Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer languishing in a low-level assistant job, unable to shake the shadow of growing up with her brilliant brother. With her professional ambitions floundering, Eve jumps at the chance to attend an early summer gathering at the Cape Cod home of famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie. Dazzled by the guests and her burgeoning crush on the hosts’ artistic son, Eve lands a new job as Henry Grey’s research assistant and an invitation to Henry and Tillie’s exclusive and famed "Book Party"— where attendees dress as literary characters. But by the night of the party, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer entanglements and understands that the literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.

A page-turning, coming-of-age story, written with a lyrical sense of place and a profound appreciation for the sustaining power of books, The Last Book Party shows what happens when youth and experience collide and what it takes to find your own voice.

My thoughts: I admit that what drew me to this book is the title...I am absolutely a total sucker for any and all books about books, plain and simple. And I am sure that all my fellow book lovers will agree - we all love books about books and this one was an absolute delight - the perfect palate cleanser to read between all the heavier reads I've been devouring lately.

This is a great coming-of-age story of a young woman who is trying to find herself as both a woman and a writer. All the characters, including our main protagonist, Eve, are equally fascinating, and it was easy to be pulled into this story. Plus, you all know how much I love when family dynamics are involved in a story and we get that in spades here!

I loved the idea of the big book party held at the end of the summer - how I would have loved to have gotten an invitation to that party! The entire time I kept wondering just who I would dress up as...and I'm still not quite sure. This definitely is not a decision to make on the spur of the moment because everyone has to guess who you are without you telling them!

I enjoyed this book and will definitely be keeping an eye out for what comes next from Karen Dukess.  


Saturday, September 28, 2019

Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (print/audio)

Title: The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Author: Heather Morris
Series: The Tattooist of Auschwitz, #1
Narrator: Richard Armitage
Published: September 2018, HarperAudio / Harper Paperbacks
Length: 7 hours 25 minutes / 272 pages
Source: Audio via the library / Print via personal copy

This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

My thoughts: This book had been on my list to read for quite a while and it wasn't until I heard that a second book was coming out in October, Cilka's Journey, that I knew I couldn't put it off any longer. It wasn't that I didn't want to read it, but I just knew it would be an emotional read and that is exactly what it was.

It's always hard to write reviews and give ratings on these types of books. Afterall, the author is taking someone's history and writing a story about it. And this one is about such an atrocious time in history. But I think these types of stories need to be do we learn about them and how do the people who went through them process what has happened if they don't talk about it? I recently went to a book signing about concentration camps here in the US and the child of someone held in one of those camps said his parents didn't really talk about it and it really affected them for the rest of their lives after they were released.

But back to this story. Yes, it is historical fiction, so their is fiction blended in with fact, but overall, I thought is was a story well-written. One of the reasons I read these types of books is that I want to learn about what happened and this gives us Lale's experiences during his time in Auschwitz-Birkenau. I didn't realize that they made prisoners do the tattooing or some of the other jobs around the camp. 

While this was a very dark time in history, this story is filled with some hope and endurance. Lale made the best of a very awful situation. He could very well have given up as some of the other prisoners did. But he didn't. He used his privileged situation to not only help himself survive but others as well. 

There are lessons to be learned here. Not only about this terrible event itself, but about the spirit of survival and about hope. While I am not excited to read Cilka's story, I am looking forward to it...I think Heather Morris is a very talented author and she has masterfully given us a story that needs to be told.

Audio thoughts: I went back and forth between the print and audio version of this book. Richard Armitage does an amazing job with this audio - his voice is captivating and never once does he let his emotions get the best of him. 


Friday, September 27, 2019

Short & Sweet Review: Shattered Mirror by Iris Johansen

Title: Shattered Mirror
Author: Iris Johansen
Series: Eve Duncan, #23
Published: April 2018, St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover, 339 pages
Source: Library

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes Shattered Mirror, a new explosive thriller featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan.

Iris Johansen returns with a thrilling novel of action and danger where fan favorite Eve Duncan is thrown once more into a deadly game of intrigue. It begins when Eve receives a package containing a skull—and instructions for Eve to do her work reconstructing it. When she does, a beautiful woman’s face emerges. But when Eve is introduced to the dead woman’s mirror image, a game is on where her twin’s life hangs in the balance.

***Short & Sweet Reviews are short, quick reviews. These will mainly be used for series books where I have already done full reviews on some of the earlier books or for books that I feel will suffice with a quick review. These will not be used for review requests or blog tours.

My thoughts: I'm so glad to be catching up on this series...I really have missed reading it. I love Iris Johansen's writing and at book 23, she is still going strong! And let me tell you, I was so happy to see that the old Eve was back in this book. This is the Eve I fell in love with all those years ago and I was so happy seeing her doing what she does best - reconstructing skulls once again. After all, this is what the series is all about - her as a forensic sculptor, so it was nice seeing her in action!

The skull that Eve was given brought a host of issues for her family. It ended up bringing Cara and Michael into the fray and that did not sit well with Eve at all. No one messes with Eve's kids without a fight. But that did mean that since Cara was involved Jock was too and I love seeing them together - there is definitely some chemistry there, now that she is older and I can't wait to see that be explored further. 

This book is fast-paced and intense. I love that things are always moving, but I also love that we get a lot of character development - one of my favorite parts of this series. A big part of this book focused on Cara and I liked that. She has become a big part of Eve's family and that is a bond that has been formed by love not by blood. 

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series...and the other spin-offs. I read Iris Johansen's books by publication date as her spin-offs - the Kendra Michaels series and the Catherine Ling series - tend to be sometimes involve Eve Duncan and I want all the character development I can get!

Books in this series:

     1.   The Face of Deception               16.   Taking Eve
     2.   The Killing Game                       17.   Hunting Eve
     3.   The Search                                   18.   Silencing Eve
     4.   Body of Lies                                 19.   Shadow Play                           
     4.5   Dead Aim                                   20.   Hide Away
     5.   Blind Alley                                   21.   Night & Day
     6.   Countdown                                  22.   Mind Game
     7.   Stalemate                                     23.   Shattered Mirror
     8.   Quicksand                                    24.  Dark Tribute
     9.   Blood Game                             25.   Smokescreen
   10.   Eight Days to Live
    11.   Chasing the Night        
   12.   Eve
   13.   Quinn
   14.   Bonnie
   15.   Sleep No More


Thursday, September 26, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig & Karen White

Title: The Glass Ocean
Author: Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, & Karen White
Published: September 2019, William Morrow Paperbacks (Reprint Edition)
Format: Paperback, 432 pages
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

The lives and loves of three remarkable women—two in the past, one in the present—and the tragic final voyage of the HMS Lusitania.

From the New York Times bestselling authors of The Forgotten Room comes a captivating historical mystery, infused with romance, that links the lives of three women across a century—two deep in the past, one in the present—to the doomed passenger liner, RMS Lusitania.

May 2013...Her finances are in dire straits and bestselling author Sarah Blake is struggling to find a big idea for her next book. Desperate, she breaks the one promise she made to her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother and opens an old chest that belonged to her great-grandfather, who died when the RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-Boat in 1915. What she discovers there could change history. Sarah embarks on an ambitious journey to England to enlist the help of John Langford, a recently disgraced Member of Parliament whose family archives might contain the only key to the long-ago catastrophe. . . .

April 1915...Southern belle Caroline Telfair Hochstetter’s marriage is in crisis. Her formerly attentive industrialist husband, Gilbert, has become remote, pre-occupied with business . . . and something else that she can’t quite put a finger on. She’s hoping a trip to London in Lusitania’s lavish first-class accommodations will help them reconnect—but she can’t ignore the spark she feels for her old friend, Robert Langford, who turns out to be on the same voyage. Feeling restless and longing for a different existence, Caroline is determined to stop being a bystander, and take charge of her own life. . . .

Tessa Fairweather is traveling second-class on the Lusitania, returning home to Devon. Or at least, that’s her story. Tessa has never left the United States and her English accent is a hasty fake. She’s really Tennessee Schaff, the daughter of a roving con man, and she can steal and forge just about anything. But she’s had enough. Her partner has promised that if they can pull off this one last heist aboard the Lusitania, they’ll finally leave the game behind. Tess desperately wants to believe that, but Tess has the uneasy feeling there’s something about this job that isn’t as it seems. . . .

As the Lusitania steams toward its fate, three women work against time to unravel a plot that will change the course of their own lives . . . and history itself.

My thoughts: Is there anything better than reading a book by three of your favorite authors? I love that these three gals have written yet another stellar book together...and one that is impossible to tell who wrote what part. I adored their first adventure as a writing team - The Forgotten Room, so I couldn't wait to see what came next...and I definitely was not disappointed. 

 This book is such a beautifully written story about the fateful voyage of the Lusitania - a voyage I am ashamed to admit I didn't know much about. I loved the way the story was told - this time with one of the characters, Sarah, being in the present day (2013), and two of the characters, Caroline and Tessa, being in the past (1915) in the same time period. I haven't seen that before and found it very interesting. 

All three women are very strong, well-developed characters and I was equally invested in all their story lines...each time the book would switch to another section, I was disappointed to leave the one we were just with, but looking forward to catching up with whoever we were now joining up with, if that makes sense. The characters just beg you to want to follow them and care about them.

The mystery that is set up will keep you engaged and is quite intricate and well thought out. It slowly unravels and there are some unexpected little twists and turns to keep you on your toes. And of course, it wouldn't be a 3W book without some romance thrown in. There are love triangles that will keep you guessing all the way through, and might not go the way you expect!

I loved this book - it has a little bit of everything and as much as I devoured it, I had to pace myself so as to not read it too fast because I didn't want it to end too soon. I definitely recommend this book to fans of historical fiction - you won't be disappointed! 

***This review was originally posted on October 19, 2018 for the hardcover edition. I have reposted it here for the blog tour. The link to my original review can be found here.

About the authors:

About Beatriz Williams: A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz Williams spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons, before her career as a writer took off. She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore.

Author links:  Website | Facebook  | Twitter  | Instagram

About Lauren Willig: Lauren Willig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several novels. She lives in New York City with her family.

Author links: Website  | Facebook  | Twitter  | Instagram

About Karen White: Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and currently writes Southern women’s fiction. She lives in Georgia with her husband and two Havanese dogs.

Author links: WebsiteFacebook  | Twitter  | Instagram

Purchase Links:   HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour and follow the tour on Twitter (hashtags:  #TLCBookTours & #theglassocean).


Short & Sweet Review: Ambush by James Patterson

Title: Ambush
Author: James Patterson
Series: Michael Bennett, #11
Published: October 2018, Little, Brown & Company
Format: Hardcover, 303 pages
Source: Personal copy

Only Detective Michael Bennett stands in the way of two lethal cartels fighting for New York City's multi-million-dollar opioid trade. And they know where Bennett, and his family, live.

An anonymous tip about a crime in Upper Manhattan proves to be a setup. An officer is taken down--and, despite the attackers' efforts, it's not Michael Bennett.

New York's top cop is not the only one at risk. One of Bennett's children sustains a mysterious injury. And a series of murders follows, each with a distinct signature, alerting Bennett to the presence of a professional killer with a flair for disguise.

Bennett taps his best investigators and sources, and they fan out across the five boroughs. But the leads they're chasing turn out to be phantoms. The assassin takes advantage of the chaos, enticing an officer into compromising Bennett, then luring another member of Bennett's family into even graver danger.

Michael Bennett can't tell what's driving the assassin. But he can tell it's personal, and that it's part of something huge. Through twist after twist, he fights to understand exactly how he fits into the killer's plan, before he becomes the ultimate victim.

***Short & Sweet Reviews are short, quick reviews. These will mainly be used for series books where I have already done full reviews on some of the earlier books or for books that I feel will suffice with a quick review. These will not be used for review requests or blog tours.

My thoughts: One of my favorite aspects of this series is that we see not only get  to  see Detective Michael Bennett do his job, but we see him with his family - both are equally important to him and that point is made very strong over and over again. In this book, Michael's family is targeted a few times and that of course does not go over well.

I feel that this book was more about character development than anything. The case itself - the paid female assassin - that is trying to take out Detective Bennett, was interesting, but nothing crazy. I liked the new priest - what a surprise he turned out to be! - and I loved that things are moving forward in the relationship between Bennett and Mary Catherine.

This series is still a favorite of mine and I will continue to read it, but this particular installment was not the best one. That being said...I am glad I read it. As I just mentioned, there was some good character development that takes place that for the series overall I am glad to see happen and I am looking forward to the next book to see where things go next!

Books in this series:
     1.  Step on a Crack
     2.  Run For Your Life
     3.  Worst Case
     4.  Tick Tock
     5.  I, Michael Bennett
     6.  Gone
     7.  Burn
     8.  Alert 
     9.  Bullseye 
     9.5  Chase  (BookShots)
     10.  Haunted
     10.5  Manhunt  (BookShots)
     11.  Ambush  
     12.  Blindside - due out Feb 2020 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Review: Cold Woods by Karen Katchur (audio)

Title: Cold Woods
Author: Karen Katchur
Series: Northampton County, #2
Narrator: Lauren Ezzo
Published: August 2019, Brilliance Audio
Length: 9 hours 1 minute
Source: Publisher

Buried bones of the past rise to the surface in this chilling mystery from the bestselling author of River Bodies.

When the long-buried bones of a man turn up in the middle of December, Pennsylvania homicide detective Parker Reed knows he’s in for a cold case.

Trisha and her friends were teenagers when Trisha’s stepdad went missing. Now, thirty years later, his remains have been found in the mountains. The women have always known there was more to his disappearance than meets the eye, and they must confront their grim past. Secrets can stay secret a long time in the lonely Appalachian foothills—but not forever.

When Parker and his partner identify the remains, their investigation leads them to Trisha’s childhood home. But the deeper Parker digs into the crime, the more he realizes that the truth isn’t always simple. In fact, it’s so complicated that even Trisha and her friends don’t fully understand what really happened in those cold woods.

My thoughts:  Last year I read River Bodies by Karen Katchur, the first book in her Northampton County series and really enjoyed it. And I knew after finishing that book that I would be reading more of this author. I have been eagerly awaiting the next book in this series and I was not disappointed.

This book, like the prior one, is every bit as compelling and pulls you into the story right from the start. It expertly moves and back forth in time, slowly revealing secrets about three best friends from thirty years ago. Now that one of the girl's step-father's remains have been found, it is up to Detective Parker to find out what really happened thirty years ago. Problem is, no one quite remembers events the same way.

I loved the way the characters in this book were developed. I might not have liked them all, and I might not have agreed with all their choices, but I loved the way we got to know these characters. We hear from quite a few different perspectives, which I always enjoy, and the moving back and forth in time really works here, as slowly bits of truth are revealed. 

This is an intense, atmospheric psychological thriller. Karen Katchur really knows how to use nature to her benefit in the story - the small rural town, the harsh winter, the cold snow - all come into play and really add an interesting dynamic. You feel the bone-chilling cold here and there and it plays with your mind as you are reading, or listening, to this book. It definitely adds another layer to this book.

While this book can be read as a stand-alone, I always recommend reading the series as it is meant to be read. There are threads that are carried through and it will enrich your reading experience if you have read the prior book.

I highly recommend this book and now is the perfect time to pick it up - this is definitely a great book to cozy up with on a fall night with a warm beverage and won't regret it!

Audio thoughts: I listened to this book and it was a chilling experience to say the least! Lauren Ezzo, one of my favorite narrators, did a fantastic job with this audio book. She gave each character their own unique voice and personality and really made this book come alive. I didn't listen to the previous book, but I do know she does narrate that one, so for anyone looking for consistency with narrators in this series, it is there. Her pacing with this book was great and I would definitely consider listening to the next book if Lauren is the narrator!

Books in this series:

  1. River Bodies
  2. Cold Bones 
  3. Spring Girls - due out June 2020

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Light Over London by Julia Kelly

Earlier this year, I read The Light Over London by Julia Kelly when it was first released in hardcover, and I really enjoyed it! You can read my thoughts on the book here

Today the book is being released in paperback and to celebrate, I am helping the publishers get the word out. I also have 1 copy of the book to giveaway - be sure to read all the way to the bottom of the post for details!

Title: The Light Over London
Author: Julia Kelly
Published: September 2019, Gallery Books
Format: Paperback, 336 pages

Told from the present-day perspective of a British antiques dealer who specializes in helping families sell the contents of estates, the acclaimed author of the Governess series transports us to World War II London through forgotten treasures in this entrancing, heartbreaking novel, reminiscent of Martha Hall Kelly's Lilac Girls.

For Cara Hargraves, burying herself in the past is easier than confronting the present, which is why working with a gruff but brilliant antiques dealer is the perfect salvation. While clearing out an estate, she pries open an old tin that holds the relics of a lost relationship; among the treasures, a World War II-era diary and a photograph of a young woman in uniform--the same one Cara's grandmother wore during the war. Eager to find the author of the hauntingly beautiful, unfinished diary, Cara embarks on a journey to untangle the affair, and just maybe uncover her grandmother's deeply guarded secrets, too.

In 1941, nineteen-year-old Louise Keene's life had been decided for her--she'll wait at home in her Cornish village until the wealthy son of her mother's best friend returns from war to ask for her hand. But when Louise unexpectedly meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base, everything changes. But their whirlwind romance is cut short when Paul's unit is deployed.

Desperate for a larger life, Louise defies her parents and joins the women's branch of the British Army in the anti-aircraft gun unit. As bombs fall on London, she relishes in her growing friendships with the gunner girls and knowing she and Paul will be together when the war is over. But when a bundle of her letters to Paul are returned unanswered, she learns that wartime romance can have a much darker side.

Perfect for fans of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, these remarkable women reveal the power within, no matter the generation, as they search for love, freedom, and the truth.

What readers are saying: 

"Sweeping, stirring, and heartrending in all the best ways, this tale of one of WWII's courageous, colorful, and enigmatic Gunner Girls will take your breath away." Author: ―Kristin Harmel, International bestselling author of The Room on Rue Amelie and The Sweetness of Forgetting

“Deftly weaving together past and present, Kelly tells a fresh, heartfelt story of sisterhood and sacrifice, culminating in a gut-punch finish. Perfect for fans of The Alice Network.” –Michelle Gable, New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment

"The Light over London is a poignant reminder that there is no limit to what women can do. A nostalgic, engrossing read."
Julia London, New York Times bestselling author of Seduced by a Scot

"Kelly weaves an intricate, tender, and convincing tale of war and romance with skill and suspense." 
Publishers Weekly

“Kelly deftly balances intrigue with mystery and historical detail in her latest novel… A charming imagining of the historical gunner girls.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Kelly has crafted two convincing, conflicted heroines in Cara and Louise, and the resolution of Louise’s romance is satisfyingly empowering. Hand this to fans of Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach (2017) and other tales of the vital roles played by women in wartime.”

"Readers who adore a richly detailed period piece will be immediately drawn in by the world of The Light Over London. Julia Kelly has delivered her most elegant effort yet: a deeply rewarding and moving novel."
Apple Best of the Month

“A sweeping and beautifully written novel… an epic saga of love and friendship.”
Women's World

"Historical fiction fans won't be able to wait to get their hands on Julia Kelly's The Light Over should bookmark [it.]"

"Kelly doesn’t disappoint us–and readers will be engrossed in Louise’s story of love and war juxtaposed with Cara’s present discoveries...We root for both Louise and Cara, understanding their fears, hopes and chances."


Giveaway Details -- (US Only) 
Thanks to the publicist, one reader will win a copy of  The Light Over London by Julia London. To enter the giveaway, please fill out the rafflecopter by September 30th.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends September 30th.

Good Luck!!! 
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