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Archive for December, 2013

The American Heiress

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin.

Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin(March 27, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0312658664

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The American Heiress.

The story of Cora Cash, an American heiress in the 1890s who bags an English duke, this is a deliciously evocative first novel that lingers in the mind." –Allison Pearson, New York Times bestselling author of I Don’t Know How She Does It and I Think I Love You
Be careful what you wish for. Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts’, suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals. Money, Cora soon learns, cannot buy everything, as she must decide what is truly worth the price in her life and her marriage.
Witty, moving, and brilliantly entertaining, Cora’s story marks the debut of a glorious storyteller who brings a fresh new spirit to the world of Edith Wharton and Henry James.
"For daughters of the new American billionaires of the 19th century, it was the ultimate deal: marriage to a cash-strapped British Aristocrat in return for a title and social status. But money didn’t always buy them happiness." –Daisy Goodwin in The Daily Mail

I must be on a roll! (about time too!) I am not sure i knew what to expect with this book other than I had already known (heard?) about in “days gone by”, how the very rich Americans went to Europe (in this case England) to marry someone with a “title” (such as Duke) and hopefully with money of their own. 

After reading this book it seemed more that money was “one sided”.. love was discounted all together..and saving the “castles” / “mansions” were all that mattered.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book!  It was a bit of a surprise.  It had plenty of history of “money” and wealth and how it matters.  But the American Heiress had one thing going for her that no one else had.. love.

Now I am not a reader of “romantic” books  but add into the book all the history of what it was like back then and what choices were available and what many of the wealthy were like..its quite the read!

This is a novel not at biography or memoir but certainly the way it’s written it could be either!

I enjoyed it very much.. you might enjoy it too!

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The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place by David Bell.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade (October 2, 2012)
ISBN-10: 045123796X

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Sometimes it’s easier to believe a lie.

Twenty-five-years ago, the disappearance of four-year-old Justin Manning rocked the small town of Dove Point, Ohio. After his body was found in a shallow grave in the woods two months later, the repercussions were felt for years.…

Janet Manning has been haunted by the murder since the day she lost sight of her brother in the park. Now, with the twenty-fifth anniversary of Justin’s death looming, a detective and a newspaper reporter have started to ask questions, opening old wounds and raising new suspicions. Could the man convicted of the murder—who spent more than two decades in prison—really be innocent? Janet’s childhood friend and high school crush, who was in the park with her that day, has returned to Dove Point, where he is wrestling with his own conflicted memories of the events. And a strange man appears at Janet’s door in the middle of the night, claiming to know the truth.

Soon, years of deceit will be swept away, and the truth about what happened to Janet’s brother will be revealed. And the answers that Janet has sought may be found much closer to home than she ever could have imagined.

Book 2 (but not a series) by David Bell.. and once again he takes off at the speed of light and never slows down until the end!

This makes 2 very enjoyable and excellent stories in a row.  I do believe he has another book out and I will have to look it up because he sure is on a roll with “murder mysteries”!

Since my anxieties and over all feelings are taking a turn for the worse I am shocked I was able to read these two books.. but glad for the reprieve they gave me.  I don’t know that I will be able to read another book before the year is over but I will continue to try.

This was a totally different sort of mystery from the first book so if you happen to read that one I can promise that you will like this book also… excellent story teller!

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Cemetery Girl

 Cemetery Girl by David Bell.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade;(October 4, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0451234677

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Four years after Tom and Abby’s 12-year-old daughter vanishes, she is found alive but strangely calm. When the teen refuses to testify against the man connected to her disappearance, Tom decides to investigate the traumatizing case on his own. Nothing can prepare him for what he is about to discover.

Ummm… like.. holy cow!  This book took off running and never slowed down!

I enjoyed this book very much. Lot’s of stuff for me to like.. short, short chapters, double spacing, simple writing.. but boy it was a hard one to set down once I began to read it!   I don’t think I’d be exaggerating if I said I know some people who, if they begin to read this book… will read it in one sitting!

A number of twists and turns and a lot of wondering what happened during those 4 years that their daughter was missing.   We’ve probably heard most of things like this on the news at one time or another.  It always makes me wonder what makes some of the captives not try to escape and even not want to testify against them when found.  I won’t say that this book gives you answers but it will keep your mind moving at a fast speed!

The ending was a little less than I expected, but still.. a really good, fast read.  The sort of book one might take on a trip because of short chapters .

I have a second book by David Bell that I might pick up and see if his writing stays at warp speed or slows down some!

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Five Sisters

Five Sisters by James Fox.

Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster(May 2, 2001)
ISBN-10: 074320042X

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Amazon.com Review

With the same narrative panache and gift for good gossip that made White Mischief such fun, James Fox turns his attention here to the Langhorne sisters, Southern beauties who wielded a powerful influence in politics and culture during the tumultuous years from the turn of the 20th century through the Second World War. Lizzie (1867-1914) married a Virginian and stayed home, but her siblings conquered Yankee America and England. Irene (1873-1956) married Charles Dana Gibson and served as the model for that all-American icon, the Gibson girl. Baby sister Nora (1889-1955), dreamy and artistic, had a turbulent life scattered with lovers including, perhaps, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Nancy (1879-1964) entered English society through second husband Waldorf Astor and focused her formidable energies on politics as the first female member of Parliament and hostess to the notorious "Cliveden set." Sensitive, introspective Phyllis (1880-1937), the author’s grandmother, survived a bad first marriage and an affair with a British officer to happily wed the brilliant English economist Bob Brand. Fox makes excellent use of thousands of the sisters’ letters to reveal five dynamic personalities in their own words. His shrewd commentary provides context for a riveting tale of family ties, social commitments, and the complex interplay between them that shaped the Langhorne women’s lives.

Without realizing it, when I began this book, I couldn’t help but remember reading a book about “other sisters” called The Mitfords.  This was an unintentional thing but once it was in my 1/2 drugged 1/2 depressed brain I was stuck with it.

It didn’t help that the one sister that they talked the most about is named Nancy.. but it wasn’t Nancy Mitford!  agggg!

The book is about a family born In the beautiful state of Virginia in the very early 1900’s. As you can read in the Amazon Review they go off and marry “money”… Charles Gibson of the Gibson Girls and of course Nancy who marries Waldorf Astor. Known both in the USA and England.  In fact, most of the story takes place in England ! 

The book (to me) is not as well written as the book on the Mitfords, and at times I found it dragging.. but being still a bit of “history” I found myself staying with the book and reading it all, even though it took me a very long time. (also admitting my eyes and health have kept me from doing a lot of reading)

This is a book that unless you are into the time period and those who marry for money and status and yet most are lucky enough to also have brains.. you might not rush out and put this on your must read list.

I was glad when towards the end of the book it was the time of Roosevelt , and Churchill and Hitler and so a bit of that time period was covered also.

The book was interesting but a bit long in the tooth.. :o)  sorta like the person who read it..heh..

I’m glad I read it but not sure I’d tell anyone to put it on their wish list.

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