House Of Gold by Natasha Solomons

Natasha Solomons

House of Gold

Great cover! Great story! Great writing!

What does banking have to do with war? Almost everything.  The Goldbaum family are a fabulously wealthy and wildly influential Jewish family who pretty much are in charge of the money in Europe’s banking system. With a chain of banks centered in all the big hubs of Europe, they are huge. London, Paris, Vienna, and on and on.  They may be super wealthy  and unbelievably powerful, however, they are also quite human and vulnerable.

Greta is a young Goldbaum who has recently become betrothed to a distant Goldbaum cousin. He lives in England; she in Vienna. They have yet to meet.  The wedding bells have all but pealed when the story begins.  She is not the type of young woman who bows down to tradition.  But she knows it’s her duty to marry this man and off she goes by train with family members. First stop is Paris where she is already in trouble when she accepts the gifts of designer duds made by an infamous dressmaker.  As the wedding date closes in on her she begins to panic.  No one can save her. Her brother is there for support. Her cousin Andre is by her side. She seriously starts thinking of escape…

Albert is the soon -to- be bride groom. How does he feel about the upcoming nuptials? Albert is only interested in his bug and butterfly collection.  He is the dutiful second son to the English Goldbaum fortune and banking hierarchy.  He does as he is told. What a boring guy. But he is very good looking.  And he totally steps outside his comfort zone the morning of the wedding…

So what sort of match is this, anyhow? Wait and see. What starts out slowly, begins to blossom. I am going to just say this: It took me some time to get into this book. But once I did, I loved it. I’ve not read a lot about World War One. And what I have read was totally different than this novel.  This is a very sophisticated story of love, duty, banking, and love. It shows how even though these people were filthy rich and  unbelievably intelligent, because they were of Jewish heritage, they were outsiders.

This is a story of women, and their plight to keep on going even with the threat of war on their doorsteps.  Gardening becomes a huge part of their lives. I loved the scenes in the gardens. Have never read anything so comprehensive about gardening yet fascinating.  The writing is superb.

As the relationship between Albert and Greta changes I became more and more entranced. Solomons has managed to create a world apart from war even while inside of it.

I became quite attached to both Albert and Greta, although I think I may have even favored Albert by the story’s end. Didn’t see that coming. This big fat saga will satisfy the biggest historical fiction lover out there.  Grab yourself a copy and curl up for a story to sink your teeth in.

My review copy came from Penguin Random House through Copperfish Books.  I loved it.

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Sold On A Monday by Kristina McMorris

Kristina McMorris

Sold On A Monday

This wonderful new novel by Kristina McMorris had a cover worth a thousand words. It sure drew me in. The story and writing kept me reading…

SOLD ON A MONDAY was inspired by an actual newspaper photo from the 1930’s.  Times were tough then and that was a gross  understatement during the Great Depression.  McMorris decided to devise a story around the story. And boy oh boy has she got a winner.

Ellis Reed  is looking for a big story. He needs something to help him get out of writing a society column in the paper.  That’s women’s work.  He’s depressed.  He comes across a sign on a porch which says, 2 kids for sale.  He takes a photo. Never intending to actually expose these people in print. But the picture gets away from him and before he knows it this picture is getting a lot of attention.

Newspaper

Actual Sign

The photo to the left is the actual newspaper photo with article that ran in the local paper. There were 4 children here. The novel has two. Takes your breath away.

Who is Lillian Palmer? She works as secretary to the editor of the paper where Ellis works.  And she is harboring a secret that she fears could lose her her position at the paper.

author

Kristina McMorris

I have it on good merit that McMorris has been in touch with one of the children who was for sale. This woman is now in her 70’s and I sure hope we hear more about her.  What a story.

This novel is available in a trade paperback form; perfect for book clubs. I was able to pick up my copy at SIBA compliments of Sourcebooks Publishers.   We have it in stock at Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda.  We would love to see you there soon.

The Reckoning by John Grisham

John Grisham

The Reckoning

Okay, some of you are probably grumbling and wondering why I am reviewing a John Grisham thriller. Well, because it’s knock-it-out-of-the-park good, that’s why. I can’t tell you when I remember ever seeing a review copy of a John Grisham book. They just don’t happen. While attending SIBA I saw that Doubleday was offering them. Wow. I read a blurb inside by a  well-known Independent Bookstore owner, Mitchell Kaplan. He was praising it up one side and down the other. I was in.

I actually asked my husband to read the book first. He was a big fan. Karen, one of my bookseller friends at Copperfish, also liked it. I read it in a day and a half. I would say it’s more like  A TIME TO KILL. That’s a good thing.  I’m just going to give you part of the first paragraph. It will set the tone and draw you in.

” On a cold morning in early October of 1946, Pete Banning awoke before sunrise and had no thoughts of going back to sleep. For a long time he lay in the center of his bed, staring at the dark ceiling, and asked himself for the thousandth time if he had the courage. Finally, as the first trace of dawn peeked through a window, he accepted  the solemn reality that it was time for the killing.”

I was all in after reading this.   What a ride. And believe me, you will not imagine the outcome. Huge surprise.  Written with deep understanding of this area of the country and with a sense of community second to none.

THE RECKONING goes on sale Tuesday, October 23. We will have copies at Copperfish Books.  Come on in. I’ll be there.

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

Virginia Price

Mr. Buttons reads The Traveling Cat Chronicles

Meet Mr. Buttons! He’s Virginia Price’s adopted kitty. Virginia is one of our favorite Penguin Random House reps.  She became a cat person after reading THE TRAVELING CAT CHRONICLES and sent me this amazing photo of her cat with the book!

So, what’s the book about? “With simple yet descriptive prose, the novel gives voice to Nana the cat and his owner, Satoru, as they take to the road on a journey with no other purpose than to visit three of Satoru’s longtime friends. Or so Nana is led to believe…”

The story begins when a homeless cat gets hit by a car and ends up with a broken leg.  Satoru discovers him on the top of his silver van one morning and quickly takes him under his wing. They live in Japan and since the cat’s tail is crooked Satoru names him Nana for the Japanese word for seven. Also it’s supposed to be good luck. Looks like poor Nana can use all the good luck he can find.

After five years living together Satoru tells Nana that they are about to go on a journey. He is no longer going to be able to care for the cat. WHAT!!! Oh no. No explanation is given at this time and you will have to follow the story and see what happens.

This simple yet deeply emotional novel is so much more than just a feline roadtrip across Japan. But you will enjoy the sense of place as well as the amazing story.

For those of us who are ardent cat lovers, this is pure joy! Perfect gift for the holidays. Quick read and very wise.

Thanks Penguin Random House! And thanks Virginia for allowing me to use your fabulous picture~

Giveaway! The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

Lisa Gabriele

The Winters

An eerily beautiful cover. What does it mean?  In the tradition of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca,  THE WINTERS is a suspenseful new novel by Lisa Gabriele.

“On an island in the Caribbean, a young woman–unnamed and self-described as “unremarkable”–lives a quiet simple life working for a sailing company and trying to pay off her debts.”  Then along comes a wealthy senator from New York and sweeps her off her feet. Off he takes her to his mansion in The Hamptons.  But all is not well in this new world.

I have one copy of THE WINTERS for giveaway which will come straight from the wonderful publishing company of Viking, which is a branch of Penguin Random House. Please leave a comment as to why you would like to read this novel. I will choose one winner on Monday, October 22. Please, only U.S. addresses, and no P.O. boxes. Good luck!

author

Lisa Gabriele ( Photo credit: Vanessa Heins)

Oh, and I will be posting a Q&A with Lisa on Monday when I announce the winner.

Family Trust by Kathy Wang

Kathy Wang

Family Trust

Stanley Huang is dying of pancreatic cancer. His family is lurking like vultures. He has millions, right?  His first wife divorced him almost ten years ago. His second wife is much, much younger, and maybe she’s been digging for gold. His son and daughter both live beyond their means. It all adds up to greed. Sounds a little like THE NEST.

There’s  much drama in  Silicon Valley where this Taiwanese-American family live. Kate, the daughter, lives with her do-nothing husband and young children. He’s supposed to be starting a business.  What does he do all day? Is there another woman? Or is it just sloth?  Kate pays all the bills. Wonder how long that will last?

Fred, the son, is about to get himself in deep, deep trouble.  Trouble with work, and trouble with his girlfriend.  This is not the kind of trouble anyone wants.

Linda is the ex-wife. She is my favorite character.  She made me laugh. A woman of almost seventy, she gets involved with internet dating.  Can this even be a good thing?

Then there’s Mary, the second wife. The woman half Stanley’s age. Is she sincere, or is she  just plain conniving? You’ll find yourself wondering and second-guessing…

In the end this cast of characters are all jostling for position as the clock ticks down toward the end of the patriarch’s life. Tick, tick, tick.

author

Kathy Wang

With shades of THE NEST, FAMILY TRUST deserves a place of its own. But it shares the same sense of humor. And Kathy Wang is a fresh new novelist who is hitting the book world running.

Kathy sent me such a nice note of thanks recently. I had gotten in touch with the wonderful people at William Morrow to let them know how I loved the book. Kathy then made it a point to call me at Copperfish to thank me again.  She was working on a new manuscript in a coffee shop in California.. I love this girl.

My review copy came from William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I loved it!

Promised Land by Martin Fletcher

Martin Fletcher

Promised Land

PROMISED LAND is a great sprawling saga that begins where Leon Uris’s EXODUS leaves off.  It’s after WWII.  A refugee family of Jews migrates from Cairo to Israel for a better life, leaving behind the boiling pot Egypt has become.  But it’s not quite the wonder they had imagined. And they find themselves living in a tent city.  Their teenage daughter Tamara is lured into the city one day and befriended by two brothers.  Thus begins a love triangle  that will define their lives and the lives of their families, forever.

I have long been interested in the history of Israel, the seemingly unsurmountable war between the Arabs and the Palestinians.  Fletcher says he began writing with the intent of writing non-fiction. However, he finds fiction seems to humanize the tumult and I for one am thrilled with the results.

Two Jewish brothers and their parents  were forced to leave their home in Nazi Germany.  Fourteen-year-old Peter was sent to America while Arie the younger brother and his parents were shipped off to death camps, Peter was educated and raised with a loving American family. We discover that only Arie survived the horrors of the camp.  And when the novel begins Arie has become a very successful and cocky businessman in Israel, while Peter has become a top Mossad agent in charge of the largest and most dangerous operations.

There’s a lot going on here. Once I found my pace I was off to the races. This is not  an ordinary love story.  Men and women will love this book. It was certainly a learning experience for me.  I had to pay attention and it paid off.

author

Martin Fletcher

Fletcher’s depth of knowledge shines brightly here.  And lucky us, I’ve discovered this is the first in a trilogy. He’s working on the newest segment which takes us through the next twenty years of history. I am enthralled.

I presented this book as one of twenty big books of the season just last week. It was one of the most requested books. There is quite a lot of interest.

We’ll be carrying this novel at Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida. It will be discounted at 20% off the list price. You can buy in- store or online. We’d love to see you.

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books