Two New Winners!

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Madeleine’s War

I have my two winners. Congratulations go out to Jan Johnson and Kathy Noonan! You will each receive a copy of MADELEINE’S WAR by Peter Watson. They will come from the publisher. A huge thanks go out to Nan A. Talese, a division of Random House publishers.

I will send Jan and Kathy emails today asking for their mailing addresses.

Thank you to all of you for commenting. More giveaways are coming this summer. Hope you all are reading something really good.

 

The Rocks by Peter Nichols

Peter Nichols

The Rocks

THE ROCKS, by Peter Nichols, has a dream of a cover. This is the quintessential summer novel. I fell in love with the cover, then magically fell in love with the story. It’s extremely well-written with a secret from the beginning that keeps you reading all night long.

I opened the book not knowing what to expect. The novel begins with the end. Chapter one is a mind-popper!! Even now, just thinking about this unbelievably compelling beginning, my head is infused with excitement.

The Rocks is the name of a small hotel on the island of Mallorca, just off the coast of Spain, owned and operated by Lulu. Opened in the 1950’s this place has become a party destination for natives and expats alike. The characters you meet will not only keep you entertained throughout the novel, they will get into your head and mess with you.

Lulu and Gerald are octogenarians who haven’t spoken to each other in fifty years.  Two people who once married, briefly. They live within a few miles from one another. What on earth could have happened all those years ago to cause such a rift.?Such anger, such mystery. This is the shadow that has been cast over their families for all these years. What on earth could have happened?

THE ROCKS is not a happy-go-lucky beach read. But it’s full of all the things we look for in a book for summer: mystery; secrets; sexual intrigue; and enchantment with great characters. And, oh yes, pitch perfect sense of place. The cover already points that out.

Peter Nichols has worked in advertising, as a screenwriter, and as a shepherd in Wales, and has sailed alone across the Atlantic. He is indeed an interesting and arresting author. He has created a dream sense of place. I want to be on the island of Mallorca. That’s how good it is.

The Rocks

Peter Nichols

Although most of the action takes place on Mallorca, there are scenes in Paris and in Morocco. Great parts of the story are set in Morocco, another place I am in awe of.

Lulu is a complicated and unusual woman. At the age of 80 she is still sprite-like and youngish. With her long hair that has been totally white since she was in her 30’s, she continues to be sexual and vital. Gerald, on the other hand, is riddled with arthritis and stooped over a cane. He’s become an old man who acts like one.

Lulu is not the only complicated character here.  This fine novel is full of them. From family members to friends who’ve been coming to stay at Villa Los Roques for more than fifty years, they all are full of quirky parts and bring plenty to the plate of this story.

Much of THE ROCKS will remind you of THE ODYSSEY. And so it is intended. And almost makes you want to go back and read through it again.

I hope you will love THE ROCKS as much as I have. I am so grateful to the kind and insightful publishing marvels at Riverhead books for sending me this gorgeous finished copy.

And to all my readers out there: Sit back and relax and enjoy the “voyage.”

Giveaway! Madeleine’s War by Peter Watson

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Madeleine’s War

MADELEINE’S WAR, by Peter Watson, is one of those books I could not wait to get my greedy little hands on. I contacted the people at Nan A. Talese begging for a review copy long before any were available. And why was I so wild to read this novel, you might ask? A few years ago I was browsing the stacks in my favorite bookstore in NYC, The Strand. I was deep in the basement when I made a monumental discovery. This amazing bookstore has review copies of books on their shelves. Not upstairs, but downstairs. Hidden away. Some of them were even finished copies. I came across a copy of a book called THE CLOUDS BENEATH THE SUN, by Mckenzie Ford. I snatched it up and practically ran up the stairs to purchase it before someone told me I could not buy it. It was a beautiful finished copy. Half the price of what it would be once published. And it was not published yet. A big saga of Africa.

Now on to MADELEINE’S WAR. Ford is actually Watson. Disguised. The story is told entirely in the voice of Matthew Hammond, a former British military officer in WW11 who lost a lung while on the front lines. Now he’s unable to fight but is able to train new resistance fighters: both men and women.  He’s lost one lover tragically already. And now he’s training Madeleine to go behind the scenes and parachute into the French interior; an act to distract from the Normandy invasion. Of course military personnel are not supposed to fall in love. However, it’s wartime, and this happens quite often.

Who is Madeleine? She’s a French-Canadian beauty  who’s decided to fight for freedom.  She feels she’s got nothing to loose at this point and is a perfect candidate for just this sort of resistance. But she did not plan on falling in love…

Watson’s attention to detail comes from his infinite research on the matter at hand. He’s a spot-on historian who’s done his homework and then some.  He’s managed to capture our attention and keep it with the promise of romance and drama. His story keeps getting better. And the climax and ending are surprising.

I have two copies of MADELEINE’S WAR, by Peter Watson, for giveaway, compliments of the generous people at Nan Talese. Please leave a comment below. As usual, I can not send to P.O. boxes, and only U.S. addresses, please. Good luck! I will choose my two winners on Tuesday, May 26.

Announcing Winner for Cut Me Loose by Leah Vincent

Leah Vincent

Cut Me Loose

CUT ME LOOSE, by Leah Vincent is getting great reviews from early readers such as Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. I am so lucky to have one to give away. And without further ado, I am announcing my winner…

CONGRATULATIONS, Diane Sutta, you are my winner today! I will send you an email asking for your mailing address. You will have 48 hours to respond.

And a big thanks to all of your who added your comments.  Of course, I am thanking my sponsor Penguin for the giveaway.

 

I will be announcing the winner of BEACH TOWN, by Mary Kay Andrews, Monday.

Our Souls At Night by Kent Haruf

Kent Haruf

Our Souls At Night

OUR SOULS AT NIGHT, by Kent Haruf, is his last novel. This great novelist left us in the fall. He will be sorely missed. But he’s left us with a handful of great novels, all taking place in a small made-up town in Colorado called Holt.

OUR SOULS AT NIGHT, touched my heart. It sang to me from the first paragraph. I had no idea what to expect. That’s the beauty of Haruf’s work. He throws in stuff that seems unlikely. When the first paragraph went like this: ” And then there was the day when Addie Moore made a call on Louis Waters.” This was not just any visit, though. You see, Addie had a little something special to ask of Louis. And these were not just any two people: they both were older folk who had lost their spouses, recently. They were lonely.  And Addie finally asks Louis, after much skirting of the issues, “ I wonder if you would consider coming to my house sometimes to sleep with me.” Now the story truly gets going:)

Kent Haruf was blessed with his innate ability to use dialog to tell his stories. And to bring his simple characters to life. In OUR SOULS AT NIGHT, he tells the story of Addie and Louis, and their lives before and after their spouses pass away. It makes me think of all the lonely people living alone who may not have to be. People live lives of quiet desperation. Everyday, everywhere. We each need someone to share our lives with in some way or form.

I kept thinking about how as young people we are scolded about what we wear, who we hang out with, and what we do. Then, when we are older, it is once again, about who we hang with and what we do. Neighbors are nosey. Adult children poke their noses into our business and make assumptions, just because we are senior citizens. Old people have the right to live their lives as they see fit, as long as they are physically, mentally, and monetarily  able. Amen

We watch this lovely story become tense as children jump into the huddle and make a mess. And neighbors jabber away over fenceposts because they have nothing better to do, or are just jealous. Haruf handles his last novel with the poignancy and spare prose; all lovely and I find I will keep OUR SOULS AT NIGHT, to reread over and over again!

My review copy came from Random House, and I am so blessed to have it.  The opinions are all mine.

And The Winners Are…

Mary Alice Monroe

The Summer’s End

I have my two winners for THE SUMMER’S END, by Mary Alice Monroe. Two very lucky ladies. Lin and Alexis, you’ve each won a copy of THE SUMMER’S END. Congratulations! And many, many thanks go out to all of you who took the time to comment. I have two giveaways going right now, and, a big one coming up next week. So stayed tuned.

Lin and Alexis, I will contact you by email to get your mailing addresses.

And a big thanks goes out to the publisher, as always. Thanks Gallery!