Winter Sisters by Robin Oliveira

Robin Oliveira

Winter Sisters

From the publisher: After an epic snow storm ravages the city of Albany in 1879, former civil war surgeon Dr. Mary Sutter begins a search for two little girls, the daughters of close friends killed in the storm, who have vanished without a trace.  

Best known for  MY NAME IS MARY SUTTER and I ALWAYS LOVED YOU, Robin Oliveira brings us a stunning thriller filled with courtroom drama that is both heartbreaking and unputdownable!

author

Robin Oliveira

The blizzard of 1879 was very real. It crept upon the area and devastated many families. No one was prepared. The only weather reporting then was after the fact.  So when Claire and Emma’s parents got caught out in the horrific blizzard, they had no idea they would never make it home.  And the girls, making their way through snow drifts several feet high after the storm,  did not know that the nice man helping them was truly evil.

I love historical fiction. Novels that tell stories based on real events in history are right up my alley. This one does not disappoint.

Mary Sutter and her husband were Civil War surgeons who were great friends with the O’Donnell family who lost their lives. The two girls were known to them as part of their family. And, so, when the girls went missing, Mary and her husband went looking for them. And looking. And looking. All to no avail. And then the river broke free of its ice. And the manic flooding flushed out into a terrible truth. Someone had been hiding these sweet girls.  But, who was it? That is the question.

A sensational very public trial  ensues. Emma, who is just ten-years-old, has been raped and beaten repeatedly. Someone has to be brought to justice.  But is it “The Other Man?” or “The Man?” Are they two different men? Or is it only one man?

Told in unsparing prose that probes the senses and breaks the heart, WINTER SISTERS is sure to be a big book for book clubs this season. There is a lot to talk about without even mentioning the backward politics of the era.

Mary’s mother and her niece Elizabeth return from Paris where Elizabeth has been studying violin with one of the great masters of the time. Elizabeth has another reason to wish to return home, one that is a secret. Her story is almost as compelling as the courtroom drama surrounding the kidnapping of the girls and rape of Emma.

This is an all-nigher. A gripping nail-biter.  Even with a sinus headache, I found myself reading far into the night in order to quench my curiosity. It will make your heart pound.

My review copy was provided by Viking, a division of Penguin Random House , in exchange for an honest review. I loved it.

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Big Giveaway Winner!

Susan Meissner

As Bright As Heaven

Rarely, have so many readers entered my contests. This is huge. The publisher will be so pleased. I have chosen one winner, however. I wish I had more copies to give… Thank you all so very much for taking the time to enter.

Jeanne Pauly, you are my winner this morning! Congrats. I will be in touch with you this morning.

More giveaways are coming.

Thank you Berkely, for making this happen. You know I love this book.

Giveaway! As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

Susan Meissner

As Bright As Heaven

I am a fan of Susan Meissner’s A BRIDGE ACROSS OCEANS. So when I saw this new title coming onto the literary scene, well, I went after it. So glad I did.

The Bright family have been living in a small town near Philadelphia. Early 1900’s. They recently suffered a great loss. Their infant son died and they’ve just buried him. They decide this is a good time to move to the city. Pauline and Thomas take their three daughters to live in their uncle’s house in the city. Thomas is going to learn the undertaking business and work with his uncle. It’s a new start.

Meissner does a stellar job of showing us what it may have been like to live through the Spanish Flu pandemic that hit Philadelphia especially hard. Millions of people died worldwide. And, interestingly enough. the Spanish Flu did not originate in Spain. Many now believe that military troops actually took the flu to Spain.

This new novel has plenty to keep you reading far into the night. Very strong females. A superb mystery. And a story begging to be told.

As Bright as Heaven

Susan Meissner

I have one copy of AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN by Susan Meissner for giveaway. Please leave a comment below to get in the running. Only U.S. addresses, please. And, no P.O. boxes, as per usual. I will choose my winner on  Monday, February 12. Good luck! The generous people at Berkley Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House are supplying the book for giveaway. Thank you so much! I loved the book.

The Deceivers by Alex Berenson

Alex Berenson

The Deceivers

This one is for those of you who love a good thriller. I’ve heard it through the grapevine that Berenson writes somewhat like Daniel Silva. That intrigues me!!

This is the 12th in the series with John Wells. Berenson takes his character all over the world. And Berenson also travels to these locales. I love this.  I have not read any books in this series. But I love a great thriller.

I read the first page just to get a feeling for the writing. I like it. I like it a lot. I wanted to give a shout out for this book because I just have a feeling. I will post a review down the road. For now, my husband has confiscated the book and is about to begin it. I will let you know what he thinks!

As a reporter for The New York Times, Berenson

author

Alex Berenson

covered topics ranging from the occupation in Iraq–where he was stationed for three months–to the flooding of New Orleans, to the world pharmaceutical industry, to the financial crimes of Bernard Madoff. He graduated from Yale University in 1994 with degrees in history and economics, and lives in New York City.  THE FAITHFUL SPY won the 2007 Edgar Award for best first novel.

Thanks to Putnam, a division of Penguin Random House publishing, for sending.

A Winner And A Review

Chanel Cleeton

Next Year In Havana

A cover that immediately draws you in. A cover that tells a story. A wonderful cover with a story that does it justice!

NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA by Chanel Cleeton will resonate with an entire group of people. And then there are those of us who have long been fascinated with Cuba, their revolution, and the amazing people. This is your novel.

In 1958 the Perez family were gathering what they could of their belongs, then hiding jewelry and prized possessions in their backyard. You see, they were fleeing their homeland. Leaving everything behind. Why? To save their lives. The four daughters were called the sugar queens. Their dad owned a sugar plantation and they have lived sheltered and privileged lives. Their lives were filled with beautiful clothes, expensive jewels and parties.  But, no more. They flee what was once their island paradise in Cuba. They are off for the next adventure: Miami here they come.

Inspired by Chanel Cleeton’s family history, NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA charmed me. I have long had an interest in Cuba, Havana specifically. To find this timely novel right now is like a dream. Marisol has returned to Havana with her grandmother’s ashes. She’s smuggled them onto the island through much subterfuge. Truly, it is illegal to do this. Her grandmother died just a few months before Fidel Castro. She had always planned to outlive him. Alas, it was not meant to be. But Marisol has been given strict instructions on where to place these precious ashes. Only, she is not a mind reader, and her grandmother makes her work hard to figure it all out.

In the late fifties Elisa Perez fled Cuba with her sisters and parents. Yes, they left almost everything behind. However, there is one thing that Elisa brought with her to Miami. Something no one else knew about.

I learned new history about Cuba and its politics. I loved  following along the streets and walking the Malecon with the characters. And I loved the mystery that hung over and surrounded the story. So timely. So smart. Well done!

Yes, there is romance, but lots of history and so much atmosphere. It’s a win/win for more than one genre. Cleeton tells us how her own family left Cuba in 1967 hoping their exile would be temporary.  She grew up here in the United States but remembers hearing stories told by her grandmother. Her family also buried a box of valuables in their backyard before they left Cuba. The story is fused with this authenticity.

Fifty years later Cleeton’s family is still in the United States. They’ve built their lives here, thrived in the country that took them in and welcomed them.  Her grandmother died dreaming of her homeland, and now her ashes sit in an urn, waiting the day they can take her back to Cuba.

My gorgeous trade paper edition is provided by Berkley Books. They are providing my winner with a copy. And that winner is: Cindy Tichy! Congrats, you are my winner today. I will send you an email to get your mailing address. You are a lucky readers. This one is a real keeper.

 

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone

THE GREAT ALONE by Kristin Hannah is a novel that can change your life.

I’ve never really thought much about visiting Alaska. Not really. Too much snow and cold. But was soothing when I was reading an advance copy because it was oh-so hot here in S.W. Florida.  But when I started reading this story I almost changed my mind. Almost. And only in the very beginning…

The Albright family is celebrating the return of Ernt from his tour in Vietnam. The year is 1974 and we find  he  was held as a POW. Now he’s home and looking forward to being reunited with this wife Cora and their 13-year-old daughter Leni. Leni hardly remembers her dad.  But Ernt is suffering from PTSD and is having a hard time settling into a job. He’s having debilitating headaches and nightmares that are very unsettling to say the least.

When Ernt receives a letter telling him he’s inherited a piece of land  in Kaneq, Alaska, he jumps at the chance to move off the grid.  An old buddy died and left the land to Ernt knowing it was right up his alley.  He convinces Cora that he will be healthier in this new environment and off they go, half-cocked. Not nearly prepared for the raw harshness of the wild, untamed world, let alone a winter that needs a year of preparation.

The people they meet in Alaska are amazing. Hannah has outdone herself with the characters. Large Marge has to be my very favorite.  And Mad Earl kept me scared half to death through most of the book.

Hannah’s sense of place is picture -perfect.  You can not write something like this without having experienced the wildness of Alaska firsthand. The cold of the Alaskan winters is bleak and unforgiving. It can and will kill you.  Your neighbors are your lifeline. And you better get along.

author

Kristin Hannah

Sure enough, as winter approaches, and the nights come earlier and last seemingly forever, Ernt starts suffering nightmares even worse than before. Along with them he shows his ass. Cora has put up with his physical abuse for too long. And now Leni is seeing this and having to deal with watching her mom being beat to a pulp on a regular basis. Of course Ernt is always sooooo sorry after the fact. Isn’t that always the way with the abuser…

There are parts of this novel that are hard to read because of the physical abuse to Cora. And when Ernt begins threatening Leni it gets even harder.  A mother’s love is not like anything else in this world.  What Cora puts up with it to keep her Leni safe….

Leni loves living in Alaska. She even thrives on all the things her dad does to prepare her to protect herself. She can shoot a gun as good as anyone. She learns to put food on the table. And she is still going to school during all this. That’s where she meets Matthew Walker, and then falls in love.  You know there is going to be trouble now.

Cora’s parents gave up on her early-on when she decided to run off with Ernt against their wishes. She was pregnant with Leni and in love. What would they think if they could see her now?

Danger lurks everywhere.  They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Sometimes you just can’t imagine living through a situation.  And THE GREAT ALONE poses that reality.

I truly believe this is going to be the blockbuster of the season. As harrowing as it is, it’s wonderfully written and totally unputdownable. I can’t wait to be able to talk to you about it.

We will have brand new copies of THE GREAT ALONE at Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda on Tuesday, February 6th. This amazing new hardcover blockbuster will be discounted 20%.

My review copy arrived from St. Martin’s Press. I truly LOVED it !

Give Away! Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Chanel Cleeton

Next Year In Havana

Just look at this gorgeous cover! It sure draws you in.  I have one copy of NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA by Chanel Cleeton for giveaway.

Next Year in Havana

Chanel Cleeton

This mesmerizing new novel will transport you to the yesteryear of Havana.  Prepare for a unique experience as Chanel Cleeton tells a story based on her own family.

I will post my review on Monday.  Please leave a comment below to enter the contest. Only U.S. addresses, and, no P.O. boxes, please. I will choose one winner on Monday, Feb. 5. Good luck! The generous publishers of Berkley will be providing my giveaway copy. Thanks, guys.