Friday, September 23, 2016

Looking Through Walls by Hal Holbrook

LookingThrough Walls has 4.6 stars out of 5 on! An amazing true story about an architect and his wife against the vibrant backdrop of 20th century New York!

The year is 1916 and life of a man from humble beginnings and a woman he could have never envisioned would play such a huge role in his life are about to be tested, time and time again as tragic events unfold around them. Hailing from South Carolina, Harold Deal knows what it means to work hard and never lose sight of his small town values, but when the young architect accepts a position far from home, his life and the lives of those left behind are forever changed. 

Mae is instantly smitten when she meets handsome Harold. He’s unlike any man she’d ever met before. His drive and ambition are only matched by his warm heart and unwavering zeal for life. But, no sooner does their love affair begin when the world around them is rattled by a deluge of disturbing events. On top of that, another threat looms; this one, determined to disrupt their lives and pull them apart. 

Set against the backdrop of a time of great change in the United States and the world, a young couple struggle to hold onto their love in the face of turmoil, both on the home front and in the place Harold holds near and dear to his heart. Will their love withstand the strain or will the bond between mother and son prove to be too much for them to bear?

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Monsoon Summer by Julia Gregson

By the award-winning author of East of the Sun, an epic love story moving from England to India, about the forbidden love between a young Indian doctor and an English midwife.

Oxfordshire, 1947. Kit Smallwood, hiding a painful secret and exhausted from nursing soldiers during the Second World War, escapes to Wickam Farm where her friend is setting up a charity sending midwives to the Moonstone Home in South India.

Then Kit meets Anto, an Indian doctor finishing his medical training at Oxford. But Kit’s light skinned mother is in fact Anglo-Indian with secrets of her own, and Anto is everything she does not want for her daughter.

Despite the threat of estrangement, Kit is excited for the future, hungry for adventure, and deeply in love. She and Anto secretly marry and set off for South India—where Kit plans to run the maternity hospital she’s helped from afar. 

But Kit’s life in India does not turn out as she imagined. Anto’s large, traditional family wanted him to marry an Indian bride and find it hard to accept Kit. Their relationship under immense strain, Kit’s job is also fraught with tension as they both face a newly independent India, where riots have left millions dead and there is deep-rooted suspicion of the English. In a rapidly changing world, Kit’s naivetĂ© is to land her in a frightening and dangerous situation...

Based on true accounts of European midwives in India, Monsoon Summer is a powerful story of secrets, the nature of home, the comforts and frustrations of family, and how far we’ll go to be with those we love.


I have always been fascinated with relationships from two different cultures and all the conflicts that can arise from it. In MONSOON SUMMER, author Julia Gregson explores this topic.

The novel is set in the aftermath of India's victory for independence from British colonialism, in the year 1947. The political and governmental atmosphere is one of near scrambling to establish laws and processes and regulations. Kit is a nurse with experience in World War II, and aspires to specialize in midwifery. In England, she meets and falls in love with a handsome Indian doctor named Anto, and when they marry, they experience a bit of prejudice from her own family. When Kit travels to India to work, she leaves her family's disapproval behind only to encounter the same within his family who struggle to accept her. As Kit struggles to establish a midwifery clinic and practice, she struggles with Indian societal norms and expectations, and a heap of trouble soon plagues her.   

Julia Gregson did an outstanding job of making her characters real because of her strong understanding of the cultural differences between Britain and India. She was able to demonstrate each characters personality and beliefs shaped by societal taboos and practices. There was  plenty of discord between the various characters in the story too, and as each character evolved and changed, I experienced understanding and satisfaction with the story. The author skilfully explored racism, courage, betrayal, resilience and much, much more in this portrayal of a young woman determined to breach the limitations imposed upon her because of her sex. This a wonderful family saga that evokes the sights, smells, and painful struggles of India.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog,, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in this fast-paced historical debut.

When Dr. Catherine Bennett is wrongfully accused of murder, she knows her fate likely lies with a noose unless she can disappear. Fleeing with a bounty on her head, she escapes with her maid to the uncharted territories of Colorado to build a new life with a new name. Although the story of the murderess in New York is common gossip, Catherine's false identity serves her well as she fills in as a temporary army doctor. But in a land unknown, so large and yet so small, a female doctor can only hide for so long.


This book is a pleasant read about a young woman doctor who struggled to become a doctor and later becomes embroiled in an occurrence for which she is being blamed. She soon finds herself blamed for murder and forced to flee. With an assumed identity, she ends up in Texas and prepares to leave with a wagon train bound for Colorado Territory.  While she waits to leave, she works as a doctor at an army fort, but her identity and secret are at risk of discovery and trouble finds her anew.

I found myself completely absorbed by this story and Catherine's plight. There were plenty of surprises that kept me eagerly reading. The book ties off many of the loose ends, and leaves only one or two that will resume in the following book. My only concern is the misleading tagline of the book - it is nothing like Outlander by Diana Gabaldon except for the fact the heroine is trained in medicine. All will be well as long as you don't expect it to be similar. 

Definitely a 5 star read - interesting from first page to last.   

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog,, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Propetic Queen by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer

Do you believe in prophetic dreams? I never used to believe in them, but then something happened that forever changed my mind and convinced me otherwise. I dreamed the lottery numbers. Yes, I did!

In my dream, a friend approached me with a lottery ticket we had purchased together. He told me that our ticket had won a $46 million dollar jackpot and that we would split it. In my dream I took the ticket into my hand and studied the numbers. 3, 18, 21, 38, and my excitement grew. That’s when I began to awaken, and as I slowly rose out of my slumber, I suddenly sprang out of bed in a frantic search for pen and paper. By the time I stumbled around the kitchen and found what I was looking for, I had forgotten the last two numbers and could only remember those precious first four numbers.

As a non-believer of prophetic dreams, I didn’t make too much of it. That was my first mistake! I did, however, go to the grocery store on my way to work that night and bought  lottery ticket. The jackpot was $10 million dollars. Of course I played those four numbers – 3, 18, 21, 38, but then used 46 and 23 as the missing numbers because they were the other two numbers mentioned in my dream – the $46 million divided by the two of us – hence $23. That was my second mistake. I should have bought enough tickets and played every combo of numbers to replace those two numbers I could not remember.
That entire day, I experienced very strong feelings that I was going to win. During my drive to work, I even planned what to do with the winnings. In the middle of my shift, I took a break and called the lottery line. The four numbers I recalled had won, but my choice of 46 and 23 were wrong. Instead of $10 million dollars, I won a mere $87.00.
I am now completely convinced in the veracity of prophetic dreams. Abraham Lincoln dreamed of his death. Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity came to him in a dream. Mark Twain dreamed of his brother’s death on a steamship. And there are many, many more examples throughout history.

It is no wonder that after my own personal experience, the topic of prophetic dreams has fascinated me for years. When I accidentally stumbled upon a bio of a little know woman of history named Matilde of Ringelheim, one phrase caught my attention – her prophetic dreams. It immediately sparked my imagination. The more I delved into her life, the more fascinated I became. In Matilde’s case, her dreams foretold of her family’s successes and their deaths. The most famous of her dreams happened when she lay upon her deathbed and was visited by her grandson. She had dreamed about his death and before he left her bedside, she insisted he take her last possession, her burial garments. A few days later, he died an accidental death.

I recently released a fictionalized biography about her life entitled THE PROPHETIC QUEEN. The book follows history as closely as possible, while exploring her thoughts, emotions, and reactions to her ability to prophesize the future through her dreams. A truly fascinating woman of history!

Friday, September 16, 2016

The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner

A sweeping saga about four generations of a family who live and love on an enchanting island off the coast of Italy—combining the romance of Beautiful Ruins with the magical tapestry of works by Isabel Allende.
Castellamare is an island far enough away from the mainland to be forgotten, but not far enough to escape from the world’s troubles. At the center of the island’s life is a cafĂ© draped with bougainvillea called the House at the Edge of Night, where the community gathers to gossip and talk. Amedeo Esposito, a foundling from Florence, finds his destiny on the island with his beautiful wife, Pina, whose fierce intelligence, grace, and unwavering love guide her every move. An indiscretion tests their marriage, and their children—three sons and an inquisitive daughter—grow up and struggle with both humanity’s cruelty and its capacity for love and mercy.
Spanning nearly a century, through secrets and mysteries, trials and sacrifice, this beautiful and haunting novel follows the lives of the Esposito family and the other islanders who live and love on Castellamare: a cruel count and his bewitching wife, a priest who loves scandal, a prisoner of war turned poet, an outcast girl who becomes a pillar of strength, a wounded English soldier who emerges from the sea. The people of Castellamare are transformed by two world wars and a great recession, by the threat of fascism and their deep bonds of passion and friendship, and by bitter rivalries and the power of forgiveness.
Catherine Banner has written an enthralling, character-rich novel, epic in scope but intimate in feeling. At times, the island itself seems alive, a mythical place where the earth heaves with stories—and this magical novel takes you there.


On a small island off the coast of Italy is a small close-knit community. Their society revolves around a cafe dubbed The House at the Edge of Night. It is run by the Esposito family. The story revolves around a young doctor who comes to Castellmare to begin his practice. There he meets and marries a young woman and raise a family. And so begins a tale that spans 100 years of the doctor's family as they face adversity by the economy, an unscrupulous count and his wife, and a colorful cast of townsfolk. 

If you like family sagas like I do, then this is one to read. With its authentic Italian flavor, beautiful descriptions, and ever-developing characters, this became one of my favourite sagas. I loved it! 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog,, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit