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The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

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The Fortune Hunter is Daisy Goodwin’s second novel. I purchased the Audible edition of this book not too long after its release, but I didn’t listen to it right away because I was saving it. Well, I saved it for almost three years- and I even read Goodwin’s third novel Victoria– but The Fortune Hunter was absolutely worth the wait.

Charlotte Baird is a young heiress. She inherited her fortune from her mother, who died in a horseback riding incident when Charlotte was very small. Now that Charlotte is older, she has to consider whether the young men who seek to form an acquaintanceship are interested in her or her fortune.

Bay Middleton served in the army with Charlotte’s brother. He finds her to be charming, but he also knows that his situation makes his actions seem more predatory, and that he is merely a fortune hunter. Continue reading

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Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have been waiting for the Victoria miniseries for several months after seeing a trailer on Facebook. When I found out that there was going to be a companion novelization, I was very excited. When I found out it was being written by Daisy Goodwin, I was absolutely ecstatic. I enjoyed reading her Victorian era novels, and was not aware that she was the creator of the television series.

The Victoria novel covers the events on the first season of the television series beginning with an adolescent Victoria learning that her uncle has died, making her Queen of England. Victoria grew up in virtual isolation, and now she must navigate the choppy world of 19th century politics. There are many who doubt her ability to lead, but she develops a rapport with Lord Melbourne, the Prime Minister. His advice and companionship prove to be invaluable in the first years of her reign. It’s clear that she’s infatuated with Melbourne, but she must choose a royal husband. Victoria’s uncle tries to steer her toward her cousin Albert, but Victoria is skeptical; she remembers an awkward youth who came to visit her three years ago. She is pleasantly surprised to discover that Albert has changed considerably. Continue reading

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A Terrible Beauty by Tasha Alexander

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have read a few of Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily mysteries, so I was looking forward to reading A Terrible Beauty.

As the story begins, Emily and her husband Colin are preparing for a trip to Greece, where Emily has a villa that she inherited from her first husband. Philip has been dead for over ten years, but Emily suddenly finds signs that remind her of him. She even thinks that she sees him at one point, but that’s impossible- isn’t it?

Emily and Colin are joined on their trip by their friends Margaret and Jeremy, the latter of which is desperately in need of respite after the events of the previous book. They plan to while away their days in a leisurely fashion, while taking in all that the cradle of civilization has to offer. Upon their arrival at the villa, they are surprised with the revelation that the Viscount Ashton is there. It seems impossible, but this strange man appears to be Ashton- he looks vaguely like Ashton (although ten years have elapsed), and he repeats stories that no one else would know. Colin was one of Ashton’s closest friends, so this is quite an awkward situation for everyone involved. It should be noted, however, that Colin and Emily did not marry until three years after Ashton’s death. They had every expectation that he was truly dead. Continue reading

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The Queen’s Accomplice by Susan Elia MacNeal

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have read several of the books in Susan Elia MacNeal’s Maggie Hope series, and I was looking forward to reading The Queen’s Accomplice, which is the newest entry.

For those of you unfamiliar with Maggie Hope, she is a young woman living in England during WWII. She’s very clever, and this leads to government positions working with powerful people, like Winston Churchill.

As the book begins, Maggie has returned from her American sojourn, and is working with British Intelligence translating the encoded messages the office receives from agents working in Occupied France. Some of her superiors are less than thrilled about female agents, and they ignore Maggie’s concerns that one of the female agents may have been captured.

Continue reading

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Poppy by Mary Hooper

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, so I was very excited about the opportunity read Poppy by Mary Hooper.

Poppy Pearson is a young woman living in England during World War I. She is working as a maid in a grand house, but she has bigger dreams. Poppy did well in school, but she needed to take the position in the de Vere household to help supplement her family’s income.

Poppy receives the opportunity to train as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse. The bulk of the novel deals with her experiences working in a hospital in England that receives injured soldiers as they return from the battlefields in France. Hard work and taking orders are not as much of an adjustment for her as they are for some of the girls who come from more affluent backgrounds. Continue reading

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Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

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I found Outrun the Moon on a Goodreads list a couple of months before it came out. My interest was piqued, and I added it to my queue. I found it in the New YA Books section at my town library.

Outrun the Moon is a YA novel by Stacy Lee. It takes place around the time of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. There have been a couple of recent books across various genres set during the same milieu; this is not surprising- it is the 100th anniversary of the great tragedy.

Mercy Wong is a hard working young woman living in Chinatown. She does not have any opportunities for school beyond the 8th grade in her community, and she wants nothing but the best for herself. That includes a position for herself at St. Clare’s, an exclusive girls’ school. This school is not open to Chinese girls, but Mercy finagles a position for herself. Continue reading

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The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe

51o3tkgzznlI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I love reading novels set in the 19th century. I was not familiar with Anita Hemmings, the first African American woman to graduate from Vassar College, and I was intrigued by the premise of Karin Tanabe’s The Gilded Years.

Anita Hemmings is considered to be one of the great beauties of the class of 1897 at Vassar. She seems to have it all: she is a talented singer, and a gifted scholar. But Anita is hiding a terrible secret: her skin is light enough to pass as white, but she is actually a black woman. At the end of the 19th century, there are very few colleges that admit black women, and Vassar is not one of them. If anyone found out the truth about Anita, it would ruin her. Continue reading