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I love to read, mostly historical fiction with a little historical romance and some ghosty stories thrown int.

  • A Rip in the Veil, Anna Belfragea-rip-in-veil-anna-belfrage
  • 378 pages
  • historical fiction, time travel
  • released August 2012


Summary:  When Alexandra Lind is unexpectedly thrown several centuries backwards in time, she lands at the feet of Matthew Graham – an escaped convict making his way home to Scotland. Matthew doesn’t quite know what to make of this concussed and injured woman who has seemingly fallen from the skies – what is she, a witch?

Alex gawks at this tall, gaunt man with hazel eyes, dressed in what (to her) mostly looks like rags. At first she thinks he might be some sort of hermit, an oddball, but she quickly realizes the she is the odd one out. Catapulted from a life of modern comfort, Alex grapples with this new existence, further complicated by the dawning realization that someone from her time has followed her here – and not exactly to extend a helping hand. Potential compensation for this brutal shift in fate comes in the shape of Matthew – a man she should never have met, not when she was born three centuries after him. He quickly proves himself a willing and most capable protector, but he comes with baggage of his own, and on occasion it seems his past will see him killed.


Alex finds her new situation desperately exciting, but also longs for the structure of the life she used to have. Can Alex get home? And does she want to? – Amazon




When I started this book I was so excited.  I loved Alex and Matthew.  They were working together to survive in the moor, and their friendship really grew due to the struggles that they faced.  They had each other’s back and I liked that.  Some of the events became a bit repetitive, and the writing was jumpy, but I was genuinely interested in their story, which was developed very well.  The story of Alex’s friends and family was a bit confusing at times, but I couldn’t wait to find out how it all came together.


The first thing about this novel that got me worried was the use of the f-bomb.  I do not like this word in a novel, it is completely unnecessary in my opinion.  But it popped up once, and then a few more times, and then I got a break, and than BAM, there it was again.  It just didn’t fit the scene or the characters and was jarring and distracting.  For a book that I really love, I could get past that, maybe, but it will definitely lower my rating.


A little less than half way though this book, when Alex and Matthew’s surroundings changed, this book changed.  I mean drastically.  It was like another author wrote it.  Matthew changed his whole attitude towards woman, he became a pig.  Alex turned into a brat.  Their behaviors became even more repetitive and had no point.  The dialogue became forced.  The plot became choppy and disjointed. The new characters were flat.  At one point it stopped being a “now and then” plot, as there was no more story to Alex’s family at home.


I don’t know why I kept reading.  I probably should have quit, but I just kept hoping that it would become as good as it was in the beginning.  I read to the end, and the flaws continued to out weigh the storyline.  When I first posted about this book, I had such high hopes.  I had plans to read the whole series (3 books currently).  But when I finished, I couldn’t even bring myself to read the bonus first pages of the next book.


On a positive note, Ms. Belfrage did a wonderful job with her descriptions.  She developed the moor, and the lifestyle, and the setting beautifully.  I had no problem “seeing” the characters, and their surroundings.  She included details about little things, such as earlobes, and horses and clothing, that I really enjoyed.

Friday Finds, July 26th

FRIDAY FINDS, is a weekly meme that showcases new bookfinds for the week.  Books can be new purchases, library loot, or just books added to your TBR pile or wish list.  Did you find any new (or new to you) books this week?  Head over to Should Be Reading and add you list.


For the past few months I have been thinking about starting a weekly post highlighting my wishlist additions.  My book wishlists are out of control.  I have some on amazon, some and goodreads, and a few jotted down on my Evernote app.  I even take pictures of books I might be interested in out in the “real” bookstores to look into at home.  So, you can imagine how happy I was when I saw this meme on Monday.  I must have been living under a rock, because I have never seen it until now. I kept careful track this week a have ended up with a good selection of wishlist books.


  1. The Palace of Illusions, Chitra Divakaruni:  I could not pass up this cover.  I love novels set in India.
  2. Murder at Rosamund’s Gate, Susanna Calkins:  I have seen this book several times and dismissed it because it was a mystery and a series at that, but I read a review this week and something clicked…. onto the wish list it went.
  3. Delia’s Shadow, Jamie Lee Moyer:  Historical Ghost Story….. YUUUP
  4. The Vanishing, Wendy Webb:  Seems very Kate Morton-ish.  Can’t wait for January.
  5. The Letter, Kathryn Hughes:  Reading this now.
  6. The Parting Glass, Emilie Richards:  This is a sequel to Whiskey Island.  That one was on my wish list so this one had to be too.  I hope there is not too much romance in these.  I can’t wait to find out.

Do any of these look interesting?  What’s new on your wish list this week?

The Last Letter from Your Lover

The Last Letter from Your Lover - Jojo Moyes I like Jojo Moyes. Last year at Christmas, I read The Girl You Left Behind, and I loved it. When I finished, I went straight to Amazon and put a few of her books on my wishlist. This book was one of them. I had been saving it for the perfect moment. That moment came this week. I was having a hard time getting into any book. I have one in particular for review, and I can’t seem to get past the first chapter. When I saw this on my iPad, I knew it was time to read it.Everything about this novel is what I expected from Ms. Moyes. It was easy to read and perfectly paced. There were no spots that dragged on. The plot was interesting and the characters were well developed.We started the book in the 1960′s. As Jennifer is trying to piece together her memory after the accident, she finds the love letters, which are obviously not from her husband. She tries to figure out who they might be from, and pretty early on, a few different men have potential. Eventually we discover who “B” really is.I don’t usually enjoy infidelity in novels, but Jennifer’s story is written in such a way that it didn’t bother me too much. Jennifer was not lacking morals, it seemed that she was just in a bad situation. Plus, it was obvious that the love between her and “B” was genuine. As the book went on I really felt sorry for her and wanted her to be happy.Now, the “present” storyline starred Ellie, who is “seeing” a married man. She bothered me because she was selfish and shallow and pretended to be naïve about John’s wife. I was not as interested in her story, unless is helped to further Jennifer’s plot.I liked the ending, it was expected, but enjoyable. There were a few holes towards the end that were pretty obvious to me, but they were far enough along that it didn’t bug me that much.girlbehindI would not consider this book to be historical fiction, or historical romance even. Although it was partially set in the 1960′s, I didn’t feel like I was in that decade much. It was more women’s fiction, and it was done very well. However, I like a bit more history and a bit less love story in my books.I struggled with a rating for this book. I did not like it as much as The Girl You Left Behind, which I thought was near perfect. It should be 3.5 diet coke goblets, but because of the wonderful writing, I rounded it up.Checkout this review and MORE at Momwithabook.com

The Woman Who Lost China

The Woman Who Lost China - Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang When I read a really good historical fiction set in a specific locale, I tend to choose more books set in the same place (just look at my Where Am I Reading map, poor England is almost covered). A couple of years ago, I could not get enough of China. Of course, I moved on, but when I saw this book on Library Thing, with its beautiful cover, I decided to revisit the country.Readers are introduced to Manying in the first pages. Her situation was very urgent and I was immediately wrapped up in her story. The writing was fabulous and the first two chapters had me glued to my trusty iPad. I was so excited and was really looking forward to reading the rest of the story.By chapter 5 we are whisked back to 1894 and start following the lives of Manying's relatives. By this point the story changed. Not just location, and characters, but in tone and focus. I started to have problems keeping the characters straight. It seemed that many were introduced in order to facilitate meeting other characters, or to move their stories along. While I was reading I could not always figure out if the characters (aside from Manying), were going to become key players or not. Other characters would disappear and then come back again at a different time in the story. Again, the list of characters was helpful here.The 1894 story moved along and brought us up to speed on the political, cultural and religious climate of China though the years. Actually, there was a lot of religion in this story. It wasn't preachy really, but Manying's Christianity was a big part of her story, and explained some of the struggles that she experienced. I was surprised about it though, because I hadn't seen it mentioned in any of the blurbs.Eventually we caught up with Manying's life in 1949, from the beginning of the book. However, by this time, I had started to struggle with the novel. It was interesting, but it dragged. At 70% I really didn't see the point of the novel. The author did not provide me a "hook" that gave me a reason to keep reading. Sadly, I had become detached from the characters, and I didn't "have' to find out what happened to them. When it was over my first thought was, "how long was this"? I was shocked to see it was only 357 pages. It seemed longer.So, even though I thought I would love this story, I didn't actually. The author certainly knew her history, but in the end, I wish that she had developed the characters and their interpersonal relationships, as well as the plot and the history. I never felt the same attachment again after the first two chapters. Although this novel wasn't for me, it was still interesting enough to finish. Plus, I stopped to Google more about a few things that stood out, such as the Chinese symbol for horse (which was described in detail), foot binding, lepers, and cheongsam dresses (which are beautiful and I wish I could wear one).Checkout this review and MORE at Momwithabook.com

Redeeming Brother Murrihy: The River To Hiruharama

Redeeming Brother Murrihy: The River To Hiruharama - Antony Millen When I started reading this I thought it was way out of my comfort zone. It is set in 2004, so it isn’t historical fiction, and there was no old family secret to unearth. But, as I continued reading, I realized that it wasn’t so terribly different from what I usually read. And, there WAS a big family mystery that had to be figured out after all.And while it was the familiarity of solving that mystery that kept me turning the pages, it was the main character’s journey that really made me think. Conrad went of a journey not just from Canada to New Zealand, but also on a journey of faith and family.I will admit that it was a bit more theological than I had expected, and than I normally enjoy. I didn’t mind the religious plot, but some of the ideas were beyond me. I tried to keep track, but I did get confused in some places.The author definitely created a compelling story though. I could not wait to finish this book because I HAD to find out what happened to Frankie. The ending was not a disappointment. It made sense. It was right.As I followed Conrad all around New Zealand I thought about how much research Mr. Millen must have done. He combined the catholic religion with the beliefs and language of the native people. He used these characters and beliefs to show what faith and family really means.I am so thankful to Mr. Millen for giving me the opportunity to read and review his novel. If you are looking for something a little different, something that will make you stop and think, then I suggest you give it a try.

The Keeper of Secrets: A Novel

The Keeper of Secrets - Julie  Thomas This is another book that I won for early review. It was a quick and easy read, and very enjoyable. It followed the now popular formula that I have been loving lately, a now and then plot line that comes together in the end. This one was a bit different though, in that a priceless violin was one of the main “characters”.There were so many really lovely characters in this novel. Truly though, this is a story of the Horowitz family, both during the 30s and 40s, and the present day. I think that my favorite had to be Simon Horowitz. I loved his passion for music and his pride in his family’s beautiful instruments. He was in awe of his father’s priceless violin and dreamed of the day when he would be able to play it. Of course WWII and the Nazis ruined his dream. The scenes in the concentration camp were hard to read, but at the same time, I could not put the book down until I found out what happened to him.The present day story of Daniel Horowitz was written very well. I can see a teenage boy being torn between sports and friends, and the demands of an incredible talent. Although I couldn’t stand his mother, I think the way that Rafael Gomez was able to help him was wonderful.Probably my favorite part of this novel was the history of the violin. It was interesting to follow it’s travels through the different people who tried to claim it as their own.Overall, I would recommend this novel. It has a wonderful well developed characters and an intriguing plot that kept me turning the pages.Checkout this review and MORE at Momwithabook.com

The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession

The Bookman's Tale - Charlie Lovett Even though I really liked this book, I am having a hard time gathering my thoughts. It is a truly a novel for literature lovers. The Bookman’s Tale is really three stories woven together, Peter’s past, Peter’s present, and the history of the manuscript. As you can see by my rating, I liked a lot about this novel. There was just a few little things that confused me. Lets start with what I enjoyed.I loved the ENTIRE story of Peter and Amanda. It was obvious how much Peter cared for her from the way he described her. She was straightforward, funny, confident, focused, and he loved her for it. She was written beautifully and was easy to visualize. Their life together was so, well, real that it was easy to see how he would be shattered after her death.Peter’s developing passion and talent for books was a delight to witness. It was very interesting to learn about the restoration of books. I enjoyed the relationships that he had with his mentors. They recognized his talent and were very supportive. Additionally the information about book forgery was fascinating.I liked Shakespeare. He had a VERY small role in this novel, yet he was discussed at length. His time in the plot was short, but he was portrayed as an honorable person.Towards the end, when Peter meets up with Liz, things got very exciting. I literally did NOT want to stop reading.Tracing the history of the manuscript was very interesting, but I will admit that I got a bit confused. There were a lot of people who handled and owned this thing over several centuries. I just couldn’t keep track, and that is probably my brain, and not the fault of the author. Owners were mentioned both in the past and the present and since I read this on the iPad, it wasn’t that easy to flip back to double check who was who.The plot was a bit all over the place. We started with this mysterious watercolor and then quickly shifted to a rare original of a work that inspired Shakespere. So ingrossed was Peter with this manuscript that, for a while, he even forgot what started him off in the first place….. the watercolor. Throw in the fact that each time we went back to the manuscript’s history we were following someone new. The jumpy feeling could have had something to do with all the storylines, but I usually read books set in more than one time with no problems.These two points did not detract much from my enjoyment of this novel. As with all multi time zone stories, this one all came together in the end. It was wrapped up in a believable way that felt very satisfying. I would recommend this book to readers that enjoy a little bit of everything in their novels. This one had literature, history, romance, and even some action and adventure. I’m really leaning towards 4.5 diet coke goblets.Checkout this review and MORE at Momwithabook.com

Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh

KIYA: Hope of the Pharaoh - Katie Hamstead 1. Book read: Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh2. Words that describe the book: Ancient Egypt3. Characters you meet and/or Settings where it took place:1. Kiya (Naomi). Naomi is a Hebrew living in Thebes after Akhenaten left to build his new city honoring the Aten. When the Pharoah’s commander Horemheb tries to take her sisters to become concubines, Naomi steps up and offers to go in their place. Once she gets there, she is given the new name of Kiya2. Hoemheb. Horemheb is the right hand man of Pharaoh Akhenaten. He was ordered to obtain a new wife for the Pharaoh, one that would finally be able to produce a son and heir for him. Horemheb is fiercely loyal and convinces Kiya to be his eyes and ears among the women. In return he looks after her as much as he can. Eventually they become allies.3. Nefertiti. Nefertiti is Akhenaten’s primary wife. She has given him three daughters and rules the wives and concubines with an iron hand. She is jealous and power hungry, and immediately dislikes Kiya. I know that she is historically very powerful, but in this book she is a mess.4. Things that you liked and/or disliked about the book:1.I really enjoyed the way Akhenaten was portrayed. He was a fair King and tried to show love and concern for his wives and concubines. There were a few key wives mentioned in the book, and he was tender and compassionate with each of them. He loved Kiya and enjoyed her company the most. He rewarded her with travel and special events. Akhenaten was known for his deformities and in this book we was sickly and prone to anxiety attacks. However, Ms. Hamstead also gave him a good personality and a decent sense of humor, which softened him a bit.2.Oooh, I loved Commander Horemheb. He was young and powerful. Smart and loyal. He was by far my favorite character in this book. He became such good friends with Kiya. The whole time I was reading this book, I kept hoping that she would end up with him. It was obvious how much he cared about her, whether it was just strengthen his relationship with the Pharaoh, who knows…….3.Nefertiti was a hot mess and I loved it. Oh my. She would try her hardest to kill, hurt or embarrass poor Kiya, and she was always outwitted. Every time. Pharaoh always found out, and even though he loved her, she ended up reprimanded. She was so sure that she and her daughters deserved to rule Egypt, that she would do anything to get rid of “problems” in her way. 4.Although this has nothing to do with the book, I really hated the cover. In fact, when I read a review on Amazon, someone mentioned that despite the cover, it was a good story and shouldn’t be missed. Thank goodness I read that because I was about to pass on it.5. Goblets or less for a rating I am giving this 3 diet coke goblets. As much as I enjoyed the characters and the plot, the writing just didn’t compare to the 4 and 5 goblet novels I have read. It was a quick and easy read, but in the end it was just too simple. One review mentioned that it was a young adult novel. I didn’t notice that indicated on Netgalley, but I may have missed it. It could be true though because it did read like one, although I don’t think young adult has to be simple. Also, the end of this book had decent potential for a sequel, but I don’t think it will be at the top of my list.Checkout this review and MORE at Momwithabook.com

A Half Forgotten Song

A Half Forgotten Song - Katherine Webb I originally heard about Katherine Webb when I was looking for authors similar to Kate Morton. I read and enjoyed her first novel, The Legacy, so reading this one was a no brainer for me. I was so thrilled to win a review copy from LibraryThing.I’m going to start things off a bit differently for this review. I have to mention this cover at the start. It is beautiful and perfectly captures the feeling of the story. I smiled each time I saw this book on my nightstand.Okay, anyone who had read even just a few of my blog posts knows that I LOVE dual time novels. LOVE. I know that some people can’t stand it, but I really enjoy following the two stories and trying to figure out how they will come together in the end. I always try to guess and I am rarely right, but I am always entertained.I didn’t read any reviews for this book before I started so I was a little surprised at how slow going it was. For the first 100 pages or so, I was mildly interested in the characters and didn’t connect with one storyline over the other. There was a lot of description involved in both stories and neither seemed to be getting off the ground. I like Ms. Webb and knew this novel would be good, so I didn’t give up. Then by page 240 I was hooked.Surprisingly, it was Zach and Hannah’s story line which hooked me. I really liked Zach. He was a good guy trying to do the right thing. I liked how committed he was to his daughter and how passionate he was about Charles Aubrey. Zach was the kind of person I would like to meet. On the other hand, I didn’t like Hannah that much. Zach obviously saw something amazing in her, but I never really felt it myself. She seemed too tough and hard. She didn’t seem to want or need anybody. I know she had reasons to be reserved, but I never warmed up to her, even in the end.I felt so sorry for Mitzy (later Dimity) throughout this novel. Her life added a darker. sadder element to the story. Her mother was horrible. The whole way she had to live was horrible. It was no wonder she hung on to Charles and his family with everything she had. And although she was depressing, she was still very interesting and well written. Just not my favorite character.Overall, I liked this book. I put it down for a few days and started another book. I knew I had to review it, so I picked up again, and I am glad I did. The second half of this book was fabulous, and I really couldn’t put it down.Checkout this review and MORE at Momwithabook.com

Letters from Skye: A Novel

Letters from Skye - Jessica Brockmole I put this book on my wishlist the minute I found out about it. It promised everything I love in a novel: two stories from two different times that come together in the end, a bit of England, historical fiction and a touch of romance. I was so happy to win a review copy from Goodreads, and I started it the minute it arrived at my house.I had forgotten that the whole book is written as a series of letters, and when I first started I was a bit apprehensive. Would that epistolary style distract me and make it harder for me to get into the story(a bit ADD I guess)? Well, I shouldn’t have worried. I am happy to say that it Ms. Brockmole eased us into these written relationships beautifully. Both storylines were developed and written equally well, although I personally enjoyed the Elspeth/World War I storyline better.There was so much to love about Elspeth. She was ahead of her time being a published female poet. She was honest with her feelings and had a real fun sense of humor. She did what needed doing and took chances when it came to love, even when it wasn’t always the easiest thing to do. I also loved David. He was just so American and the way he described himself was perfect. I could easily picture him doing all the crazy and dangerous things he wrote about.Margaret’s storyline was good too, but to be honest rushed through her story just a few times in order to get back to Elspeth.Many times while I was reading this I paused to think about the way people communicated during these two wars. I read their letters to each other as quick as I could have read real time texts between my husband and I. But actually, it took weeks or more for the letters to cross the Atlantic, especially during wartime. I know the second my hubby receives and then reads my texts. It would drive me crazy to wait so long for a reply. Of course texts are brief and these letters were more detailed, eloquent, and personal. They had to be, they mattered more and were saved and revisited.I recommend this book to anyone who loves historical romance and dual storylines. It is a quick easy read. The entire story revolves around Elspeth and Davids’s developing relationship. It is heavier on the romance than I usually read (lovey dovey, not physical), but I expected that and really enjoyed it in this novel.Checkout this review and MORE at Momwithabook.com

The Girl in the Glass

The Girl in the Glass - Susan Meissner This book went on and off my wish list several times. The plot sounded so wonderful to me, but since I don’t read Christian fiction, I kept putting it off. I guess I had put it on hold at the library, so when it came in I checked some reviews before I picked it up. Many people liked it, but one reviewer said that it should not even be considered Christian fiction. So, with that review, I decided to give it a try.I will tell you right from the start that I really liked this book. I agree with the above mentioned review. There wasn’t much of the usual God vibe present in most Christian fiction. But where that bothered her, I was happy about it. I was able to focus on what was going on in the story and enjoy it for what it was. Plus this story combined most of what I have been loving in my fiction lately, two story lines coming together, historical fiction and art. I really seem to be on a art trend lately.We start off Meg in San Diego. I lived in San Diego for 12 years and I loved it, so it was easy to picture her time there and the places that she went. Meg had a pretty sad life in California though. Her absent father kept promising to take her to Florence, but never followed through. She seemed to live her life around that promise and ended up in a holding pattern.Once in Italy, Megs life takes off, and so does this novel. I have never been overly michaelangelos_david_handinterested in Renaissance art or Florence for that matter, but this book changed all that. Ms. Meissner’s descriptions of Florence and the beautiful art was almost tangible. I stopped many times to look up a building or a sculpture or painting. The description of David’s hands really stuck with me. It was amazing what was achieved out of a slab of marble. Through Meg, we saw so many iconic attractions. Sophia was indeed the perfect tour guide.Meg went to Italy to mend the relationship with her father, but ended up with so much more. This book was a pleasure to read and I loved the ending.Checkout this review and MORE at Momwithabook.com

The Sisterhood

The Sisterhood - Helen Bryan Before I start this review, I want to mention that I have a lousy memory. So bad in fact, that it is the butt of many jokes among my friends. Because of this I rarely remember much about a book’s plot once I have moved on to another one. Good book or bad, it really doesn’t matter. I read this book in March and have read six books since. Yet I still remember the general plot and many of the details. And this book is full of details. I really wish that I had written this review sooner, but I actually took notes on the iPad while I was reading. So here is my unedited reaction to the book:“Yes yes yes! loved it. Consuming read. Could not stand to be away. Perfect blend of historical fiction and addictive plot. Best from NetGalley yet. Some very convenient coincidences in the beginning and I thought “oh no”, but no worries. The dual time is done well. I can always tell when I’m happily lost in a book because I don’t sneak around looking for my next read. The cover did nothing for the story but this time I did not care. I really need to read Ms. Bryan’s previous book, which I have already downloaded.”So, in summary:This is one of my top 5 books of the year, I knew it would be as I was reading. At 36 percent done I actually commented that I was already sad that it was going so fast. I knew I would miss it when it was all done, and I do. This novel spans centuries, so as I mentioned above, there are a lot of details and characters. I tried to pay attention to these details because I knew they would come up again. Many times I had to jot down who was who and how people were connected. This did not bother me because the story was that good. Plus I loved the ending. I was hoping that it would turn out the way it did, and I was so happy with the end. I don’t usually reread novels, but if I ever did, I would start with this one.Checkout this review and MORE at Momwithabook.com

The Ambassador's Daughter

The Ambassador's Daughter - Pam Jenoff This is the first Pam Jenoff novel I have read. Her books have been on my wishlist forever, and I have the Diplomat’s Wife on my TBR shelf. So, when I heard that this was a prequel to that “series”, I requested it from NetGalley. Even though these three books a mildly connected, it is still best to start at the beginning….I spent the first portion of this novel confused. In developing her story, she threw a lot of names, and places at the reader. I admit that I know next to nothing about WWI and it’s aftermath. So, yes, the politics and rebellion and spies…. I was struggling a bit. I will say though that Ms. Jenoff did a wonderful job setting the tone of post war France. The destruction of places, people, and lives was obvious. Even though the war was over and the countries were working on peace, it felt as though many, more personal wars were just starting. It feels weird saying this, but I felt bad for the Germans. They were invited to the peace keeping conference only to be treated as an ugly step-sister, and have their ideas ignored.Once I got a sense of what was going on politically and where the characters fit, I was able to relax and fall into a very good story. Of course once Georg arrived on the scene I could hardly put the book down. He was such an honorable, proud, and optimistic man. He was perfect for Margot, allowing her to use her education and intelligence.There were some interesting twists and turns in the story. Some that I guessed and some that I didn’t. Some conclusions were a bit drawn out for my taste. And more than once I found myself yelling at my iPad, “just tell him the truth… tell someone what’s going on!”Oh, and about the cover. I always, always forget to mention the covers in my reviews. But not this time. Although this isn’t particularly beautiful, it perfectly depicts what I loved most about this book. Margot in an embrace while off in the distance and in the back of her mind there is someone else. The embrace isn’t passionate, but is part love and part anguish. Perfect Plus the artwork fits in well with the other books in this series.Overall, I am glad that I requested this book and got an opportunity to read it. While reading this , I realized that while I do love historical fiction, I also crave a fantastic story with strong relationships and well developed characters. That is my dream meal, while historical fiction is my favorite restaurant. Once The Ambassador’s Daughter hit this magical combination, it became a fantastic read. I just wish it had happened sooner.Thank you to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

The Secret of the Nightingale Palace: A Novel

The Secret of the Nightingale Palace - Dana Sachs I read this book three months ago, but for some reason I never got around to finishing the review. I feel bad because even though I know I liked the book, I don't remember all the details of why. This will teach me to wait to long before writing reviews. To start off, this book is right up my alley. Historical fiction, two stories from two different times woven together, a little romance, and a big secret. Plus, I am a sucker for Japanese culture. This book had it all, and it was done well. As with any book with multiple story lines, I ended up liking one over the other. This time (as usual) I enjoyed the "old" story better, which in this case was Goldie's. However, Anna's story was important for this novel. She gave the framework necessary for Goldie's story to be told. In the beginning, I didn't like Anna much, but she grew up and grew on me. I was proud of her at the end. I think the minor story of her and Dr. Naveen Choudary showed how she changed during the road trip.Goldie's story was amazing. There was no way I could put the book down while I was reading about her. I wanted to live in the 1940's and I wanted to know her. This is the beauty of historical fiction. When I read I like to be whisked away into the story. Ms. Sachs firmly planted me back in time and I didn't want to leave.Even though I didn't want the book to end, the ending was my favorite part. I didn't see it coming, but I was so happy about how it turned out. I confess to shedding a tear or two. Checkout this review and MORE at Momwithabook.com

A Certain Summer

A Certain Summer - Patricia Beard Overall, this was a nice story but it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. I received this book from Netgalley and started it right away. However about 20% in I stopped and started reading something else. Actually I read a bunch of other books. To be honest, if I didn’t have to review this, I probably wouldn’t have finished it. Oh how I hate saying those words. I know how hard authors work on their novels and how much they love them. And, really, I could do no better.The bulk of this novel was set on the vacation island. This was a problem for me because I didn’t like the island. It was a snobby island with nosy inhabitants and strange rules. They say nothing ever changes in Wauregan, and that may be true, but the author and characters put in a lot of time forcing that issue. Maybe some things needed to change. It was just boring to me.Also, the story was depressing. Poor Helen didn’t know whether her husband was dead or alive and all she could do was wait. It seemed as if she spent the summer just going through the motions. Of course this is understandable, just boring.So why did I give it three stars? First off I loved the Peter character. I thought that he was the only person on the island that even seemed awake. He could see through the behavior of the islanders to what was really going on with them. And we can’t forget his dog. I may have liked his dog even better. Their relationship was just beautiful. Peter was also wonderful with Helen and Jack. They both seemed to come alive when interacting with Peter. I was never tempted to put the book down while he was on the scene.Secondly, once this story finally got off the island and went oversees it was wonderful. It moved along and kept me thinking. Helen was finally doing something to find out about her husband’s fate. I will say that I really enjoyed that part of it.So in the end, I guess I am happy that I had to review it. The ending saved the book. I just wish the whole novel was as interesting.Checkout this review and MORE at Momwithabook.com

The House at Tyneford

The House at Tyneford - Natasha Solomons This was one of the books that was recommended to fans of Downton Abbey. I am a fan of Downton Abbey, so I put it on my wishlist and got it from the library. Then I got it again. I have check it out three times already and it is due Monday, so made myself read it. I don't know why I kept putting it off, it is right up my alley. I guess other books kept butting in. Books can be such bullies. So here are my thoughts.I really felt sorry for Elise in the beginning.... well for most of this book. But in the beginning she was almost portrayed as the ugly duckling, living in the shadow of her beautiful and talented mother and sister. Oh, they loved her, as did her father, a novelist, but she didn't feel as if she fit in. When the others were expecting easy passage to the US, Elise's only option was to go to England as a house maid. Even when she arrived in England, she still didn't know how to fit in, she was used to being "upstairs", and had to really change her thinking at Tyneford. Eventually she found her place and did a lot of growing up. She experienced happiness and sadness along with the other occupants at Tyneford.There were so many good characters in this story. Elise missed her parents and sister terribly, and even though they didn't have any interaction with each other for most of the book, they were always "present". There were many other characters who helped shape Elise's life. The Master of the house, Mr. Rivers, was handsome and pleasant, and at the same time serious and reserved. But, he cared about Elise and her situation, which was thoughtful. Kit (his son), was a breath of fresh air. He was my favorite character and his friendship with Elise was so enjoyable. I could have read about just the two of them the whole time. Lady Diana, whom I hated, was just horrible and mean spirited. She was a minor character, and seemed to be thrown in just to cause problems. I guess every good novel has someone you love to hate.Over all, this story was well paced and well written. Sadly, I did see the end coming, but that was more historic reality, not predictable writing. I won't say I liked the way things turned out, but the ending did have some bright spots.So, did I think it was very Downton Abbey-ish? Well, maybe a little. I think that I was able to visualize Elise serving meals, and the Butler standing in white gloves during dinner a little better. Words like valet seemed more common and the idea that a man would not have ever shaved his own face was believable But overall, it didn't feel like Downton. This story was a bit darker. This was probably a more realistic view of an estate house during war time, where as the show really put a glamorous spin on it. One thing that was similar was the theme of "change is coming". At one point in the story it was mentioned that Tyneford would never be the same, and it really was true. Change came quicker in this novel than for the show.If you enjoy WWII era historical fiction/romance, then this would be a good book for you.