historical fiction

Book Review- The First Emma by Camille Di Maio

I am excited to bring you my book review of The First Emma by Camille Di Maio on book blogger tour with Suzy Approved Book Tours. This book is based on a true story and I am thrilled to share my thoughts with you.

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About The Book: 

Publication Date: May 5, 2020

Camille Di Maio’s fifth novel THE FIRST EMMA is the true story of Emma Koehler, whose tycoon husband Otto was killed in a crime-of-the-century murder by one of his two mistresses—both also named Emma—and her unlikely rise as CEO of a brewing empire during Prohibition. When a chance to tell her story to a young teetotaler arises, a tale unfolds of love, war, beer, and the power of women.

Miss W’s Review:

5 incredible stars! 

I am a huge fan of Camille Di Maio having read The Way of Beauty and The Beautiful Strangers.

I was really excited to read The First Emma and boy was I blown away.

This novel is based on true events, which I found fascinating.

The First Emma is an extremely well written story of Emma Koelher. Emma Koehler is the widow of Otto Koehler who had owned a Brewing company in the early 1920’s.

Emma has not lived an easy life and her late husband has extramarital affairs with two other women named Emma who were immigrants from Germany. After enduring a car accident the other two Emma’s came to care for the “First Emma”, one of whom possibly killed Otto.

About 20 years later , The First Emma hires an assistant to tell her story, and that is when we meet Mabel.

I was ABSOLUTELY captivated by this story. The research the author did is authentic and quite impressive.

I very much enjoyed the alternating timelines between the 1920’s and 1943 when Mable was helping Emma write the book about her life.

Emma is fiercely independent and does not care so much about the affairs as she does about keeping power in the brewing company.

The First Emma is a fast paced historical fiction story that will leave you on the edge of your seat. I fell in love with Emma and her fierceness and determination.

This book is a MUST READ ! I wish I could give this more than 5 stars!

About the Author:

 Camille recently left an award-winning real estate career in San Antonio to become a full-time writer. Along with her husband of twenty-one years, she enjoys raising their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending, and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far), and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college, but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She overdoses on goodies at farmers markets (justifying them by her support for local bakeries) and belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes. There’s almost nothing she wouldn’t try, so long as it doesn’t involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal.

https://www.camilledimaio.com/

Her books include: 

THE MEMORY OF US – Amazon bestseller, finalist for the Holt Medallion Award for Literary Excellence.

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS – Holt Medallion finalist, GDRWA finalist

THE WAY OF BEAUTY – Amazon bestseller in the UK and Australia

THE BEAUTIFUL STRANGERS- Pulpwood Queens Book Club Pick, Once Upon a Book Club Pick

Pre-order your copy of The First Emma HERE!

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Until the next chapter,

Wilfrieda

Book Review- Don’t Put the Boats Away by Ames Sheldon

Welcome to my stop on the Book Blog Tour with Suzy Approved Book Tours for Don’t Put the Boats Away by Ames Sheldon.

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About The Book: 

Release Date: August 27, 2019
She Writes Press

 

In Don’t Put the Boats Away, World War II has just ended. The Suttons are struggling to rebuild their lives after the death of a beloved family member. Daughter Harriet goes to Madison for graduate work in chemistry at a time when women weren’t supposed to have careers. Son Nat flunks out of Yale in the hope that his father will finally agree to send him to music school because he’s passionate about becoming a jazz musician. Instead, Nat winds up working as a sweeper in the Malt-O-Meal Mill in Northfield during the frigid winter of 1947. Eventually he makes his way to Minneapolis and works as a jazz musician until he discovers he can’t support his family playing jazz. This novel is a deep dive into postwar history from 1945 through the 1960s. Issues like sexism and alcoholism are embedded in the novel but ultimately it’s a family saga about resilience.

Praise for Don’t Put the Boats Away

2019 Best Book Awards Finalist in Historical Fiction

“Don’t Put the Boats Away is chock-full of well-researched historical details about political events, medical advancements, and even food trends of the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, and it also offers important commentary on professional opportunities for women during these decades. The author creates believable characters with complex interior lives. Overall, it’s a touching tale that examines the ways in which grief, regret, and unmet expectations can reverberate through generations.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Reading Don’t Put the Boats Away is like being enveloped in a family, a real family bound by love and loss, music and science. It’s a testament to the danger of secrets and the hope we place in future generations. I enjoyed it thoroughly.” Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg, Eden and The Nine

“Don’t Put the Boats Away is a richly detailed family saga of the Suttons’ post-WWII lives—and a wonderful sequel to Ames Sheldon’s first novel Eleanor’s Wars. Ames’s knack for period authenticity is paired with a keen portrayal of the inner lives of major characters that transcend common narratives of ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s America. Complex relationships, dedication to music, science, and family loyalty, and the haunting legacy of war even on privileged families make this a compelling read.” Barbara Stark-Nemon, Even in Darkness, Hard Cider

“Don’t Put the Boats Away is a timeless portrait of life’s loves and losses… the novel has raw and dark undertones… Sheldon explores the furtive topics of mental illness and social conflicts with modern clarity… Her characters are empathetically real.” Minnesota Monthly

Miss W’s Review:

5 Stars ! 

Don’t Put the Boats Away is a thought provoking and well written story. The story takes place after World War 2 and the timeline encompasses 25 years. I enjoyed the alternating timelines of the past and present. There are certain components of the writing that were quite impressive to me. The themes of loss and forgiveness were evident to this reader. I appreciated the way that the author dealt with grief , PTSD, and alcoholism especially in post war time. The research the author did was quite apparent. The discussion of societal and class changes following the war were vivid and well described. I cannot commend the author enough for the vivid imagery that she was able to create. The description of the summer home on Cape May were fantastic. The characters were well developed, complex, authentic, and well fleshed out. This is a historical fiction novel that I would highly recommend. 

About the Author:

Ames Sheldon worked as a reporter for two small-town newspapers before in southern Minnesota before becoming lead author and associate editor of Women’s History Sources: A Guide to Archives and Manuscript Collections in the United States, a monumental reference book which ignited her passion for studying and writing about the history of women in America. After that, she worked as a development officer, raising funds for the Sierra Club in San Francisco, the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, the Minneapolis Public Library, and other nonprofits. Her first novel Eleanor’s Wars won the Benjamin Franklin Gold Award for Best New Voice: Fiction in 2016. www.amessheldon.com

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amessheldonauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amessheldonautr

Pick up your copy HERE!

Until the next chapter,

Wilfrieda

Book Review-A Man Called Smith by Tanya E. Williams

Miss W Reviews A Man Called Smith by Tanya E. Williams

  • Publisher: Rippling Effects
  • Publication Date: August 13, 2019

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About the Book:

A battle-scarred father. A disillusioned daughter. Can a grieving widower rebuild his splintered family to find peace at last?

South Dakota, 1949. WWII veteran John Smith longs for the life he lost after the tragic death of his wife during childbirth. But in the desperation to provide for his two small children, he is manipulated into an unsuitable marriage by a young woman with a dark neurosis. Tormented by his own grief and the ravages of war, John is blind to his children’s turmoil and pain.

Washington State, 1964. John’s sixteen-year-old daughter Calla dreams of a life beyond her vindictive stepmother. Forced to care for her younger siblings with a list of household demands larger than she is tall, Calla knows it’s only a matter of time until she can escape the abuse and begin anew at college. But her dreams crumble when her heartless stepmother claims the college fund for her own selfish purposes.

As John fears he is too late to stop the war within his home, Calla vows to build a new life worth living.

Can John survive the consequences of war on the home front? Can Calla find the strength to rediscover the meaning of family?

Man Called Smith is the heartwarming and heart wrenching story following the life of John Smith. If you like courageous characters and narratives told over multiple generations, then you’ll love Tanya E. Williams’ emotional tale.

Miss W’s Review

4 Stars from Miss W. 

I went into this book not knowing that there were two books before it. I do wish I had known that but I was still able to read without much confusion. I will say after reading this book , I would like to go back and read the other two books to understand the background and the characters better.

I really enjoyed the characters , they felt very authentic to me. They were well developed, complex and complicated.  My heart was sad for these characters. I didn’t find Mr. Smith to be a likeable character, and I am not sure if he was meant to be.  He annoyed me so many times and frustrated me, but I think that was the brilliance of the story. 

This story will stay with me for a while. I look forward to more stories from this author. 

 

About the Author:

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A writer from a young age, Tanya E Williams loves to help a reader get lost in another time, another place through the magic of books. History continues to inspire her stories and her insightfulness into the human condition deepens her character’s experiences and propels them on their journey. Ms. Williams’ favourite tales, speak to the reader’s heart, making them smile, laugh, cry, and think.

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Until the next chapter,

Wilfrieda

When We Left Cuba-Chanel Cleeton

I am excited to be on the amazing book blog tour for When We Left Cuba by the very talented Author Chanel Cleeton. I have a special giveaway for you today too!

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Book Summary:

In 1960s Florida, a young Cuban exile will risk her life–and heart–to take back her country in this exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.

Beautiful. Daring. Deadly. 

The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez–her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost. 

As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future–but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything–not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart…

 

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Miss W Book REVIEW:

Review 5 Amazing Stars! When We Left Cuba is a fantastic Historical Fiction Novel that explores the very turbulent, uneasy time period of history in the 1960’s .

This novel has intrigue, politics, scandals, romance, and espionage with elements of a political thriller.

This novel is beautifully written with rich, multi-dimensional characters that create a complex story.
There are so many elements to this novel that had be turning pages.

When we Left Cuba is a follow up to the equally fantastic Next Year in Havana but stands as a stand alone novel. If I were you, I would read BOTH!

I highly recommend this book and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Book Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ICxV06

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2KQM6MG

iBooks: https://apple.co/2IjgX3m

IndieBound: https://bit.ly/2LoZFUz

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2rINd9V

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38193131-when-we-left-cuba

 

Learn more about When We Left Cuba including downloading the book club guide and more at: http://www.chanelcleeton.com/when-we-left-cuba

 

Author Information:

 

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Chanel Cleeton is the USA Today bestselling author of Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick Next Year in Havana. Originally from Florida, Chanel grew up on stories of her family’s exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England where she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master’s degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics & Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She loves to travel and has lived in the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. 

 

Author Links:

 

Website:   www.chanelcleeton.com

Facebook:   www.facebook.com/authorchanelcleeton

Facebook Reader Group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1545366192398558/

Instagram:   www.instagram.com/chanelcleeton/

Twitter:   www.twitter.com/chanelcleeton

Goodreads:   www.goodreads.com/chanelcleeton

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/2GFim2N

I think I mentioned a GIVEAWAY!!!!!

There is a Rafflecopter giveaway for the tour for a $100 Amazon Gift Card, Lilly Pulitzer palm tree necklace and earrings set, When We Left Cuba coffee mug, Besame cosmetics vintage-inspired lipstick, signed When We Left Cuba recipe cards, and signed When We Left Cuba bookmarks. The giveaway will run from April 7th-20th. Click HERE to enter!

I hope you enjoy When We Left Cuba as much as I did!

Until the next chapter,

Wilfrieda