Tag Archives: Katherine Reay

Top 10 Tuesday — Professional Book Pushers

10 May

Happy Tuesday! This week’s prompt is a joy. It’s all about bookish characters. I chose to focus on books in which the main character(s) is a professional book pusher — one who gets paid to get someone to read. (As opposed to those of us who just do it for fun. ūüôā ) Basically booksellers and librarians. I am currently listening to The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar. It is riveting, and naturally it is on my list. With the variety of genres represented, I hope you find a book to pique your interest.

For more lists of bookish characters, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Professional Book Pushers

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

Camino Island by John Grisham

Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

Miss Zukas And The Library Murders by Jo Dereske

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

The Secrets of Paper And Ink by Lindsey Harrel

Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

Top 10 Tuesday — Love Letters

8 Feb

Writing letters is a lost art. We shoot off texts, DM someone, or if needing to provide a bit more info, we email. I wonder if anyone even sends love letters anymore. I was under the weather last Thanksgiving and our trip to a family gathering was cancelled, so my husband decided to retrieve the Christmas decorations from the attic. He ended up strolling down memory lane when he found my letters written during our dating years. Oh my! They weren’t as embarrassing or sappy as I thought they would be. ūüėČ My youngest son and daughter-in-law started their courtship with letter writing. They were both in high school and had met on a trip to England. Their friendship continued and grew into their love story through the letters sent back and forth over the summer that first year.

I have a short TTT list this week. I decided to share books in which letters play a role in the romances of the characters. I hope you find a book you’ll love.

For more Love TTT posts, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books Featuring Letters

Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay

Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others‚ÄĒnamely, her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story‚ÄĒby giving that story to a complete stranger.

Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.

But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.

Hope Between The Pages by Pepper Basham

Uncover the Story Behind a One-Hundred-Year-Old Love Letter

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

An unforgettably romantic novel that spans four Christmases (1914-1918), Last Christmas in Paris explores the ruins of war, the strength of love, and the enduring hope of the Christmas season.

New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes‚ÄĒas everyone does‚ÄĒthat it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently‚Ķ 

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict‚ÄĒbut how?‚ÄĒand as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father‚Äôs newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears‚ÄĒand grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris‚ÄĒa cherished packet of letters in hand‚ÄĒdetermined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him‚Ķ

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle‚Äôs forte‚ÄĒin life or on screen. But everyone knows who to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.

When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.

Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther‚Äôs Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father‚Äôs disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she‚Äôs always wanted‚ÄĒsomething straight from the heart.

Set in stunning upcountry South Carolina, The Love Letter is a beautifully-crafted story of the courage it takes to face down fear and chase after love, even in the darkest of times. And just maybe, all these generations later, love can come home in a way not even Hollywood could imagine.

The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano

Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1865 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.

Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings‚Äďmostly negative ones‚Äďabout the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa‚Äôs search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words.

Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.

With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

Lt. Mellie Blake is a nurse serving in the 802nd Medical Squadron, Air Evacuation, Transport. As part of a morale building program, she reluctantly enters into an anonymous correspondence with Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an officer in the 908th Engineer Aviation Battalion in North Africa. As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, Tom and Mellie develop a unique friendship despite not knowing the other’s true identity. When both are transferred to Algeria, the two are poised to meet face to face for the first time. Will they overcome their fears and reveal who they are, or will their future be held hostage to their past? And can they learn to trust God and embrace the gift of love he offers them?

Combining excellent research and attention to detail with a flair for romance, Sarah Sundin brings to life the perilous challenges of WWII aviation, nursing, and true love.

If You Liked . . . Last Christmas in Paris

30 Dec

My book club really liked Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb. The novel was set in WWI and told almost exclusively through letters between the characters. It was complex, yet unputdownable. If you liked it too, here are more recommendations.

An Epistolary-ish novel — The London House by Katherine Reay

Uncovering a dark family secret sends one woman through the history of Britain’s World War II spy network and glamorous 1930s Paris to save her family’s reputation.

Caroline Payne thinks it’s just another day of work until she receives a call from Mat Hammond, an old college friend and historian. But pleasantries are cut short. Mat has uncovered a scandalous secret kept buried for decades: In World War II, Caroline’s British great-aunt betrayed family and country to marry her German lover.

Determined to find answers and save her family‚Äôs reputation, Caroline flies to her family‚Äôs ancestral home in London. She and Mat discover diaries and letters that reveal her grandmother and great-aunt were known as the ‚ÄúWaite sisters.‚ÄĚ Popular and witty, they came of age during the interwar years, a time of peace and luxury filled with dances, jazz clubs, and romance. The buoyant tone of the correspondence soon yields to sadder revelations as the sisters grow apart, and one leaves home for the glittering fashion scene of Paris, despite rumblings of a coming world war.

Each letter brings more questions. Was Caroline’s great-aunt actually a traitor and Nazi collaborator, or is there a more complex truth buried in the past? Together, Caroline and Mat uncover stories of spies and secrets, love and heartbreak, and the events of one fateful evening in 1941 that changed everything.

In this rich historical novel from award-winning author Katherine Reay, a young woman is tasked with writing the next chapter of her family’s story. But Caroline must choose whether to embrace a love of her own and proceed with caution if her family’s decades-old wounds are to heal without tearing them even further apart.

WWI-Era Novel — The Far Side of The Sea by Kate Breslin

In spring 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries on the front, receives a message by carrier pigeon. It is from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life‚Äďa woman he believed to be dead. Traveling to France to answer her urgent summons, he desperately hopes this mission will ease his guilt and restore the courage he lost on the battlefield.¬†

Colin is stunned, however, to discover the message came from Jewel’s half sister, Johanna. Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence, found Jewel’s diary and believes her sister is alive in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them.

Set at Christmas, But Not Really A Christmas Book — Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher

Elfrida Phipps, once of London’s stage, moved to the English village of Dibton in hopes of making a new life for herself. Gradually she settled into the comfortable familiarity of village life — shopkeepers knowing her tastes, neighbors calling her by name — still she finds herself lonely. 

Oscar Blundell gave up his life as a musician in order to marry Gloria. They have a beautiful daughter, Francesca, and it is only because of their little girl that Oscar views his sacrificed career as worthwhile. 

Carrie returns from Australia at the end of an ill-fated affair with a married man to find her mother and aunt sharing a home and squabbling endlessly. With Christmas approaching, Carrie agrees to look after her aunt’s awkward and quiet teenage daughter, Lucy, so that her mother might enjoy a romantic fling in America.

Sam Howard is trying to pull his life back together after his wife has left him for another. He is without home and without roots, all he has is his job. Business takes him to northern Scotland, where he falls in love with the lush, craggy landscape and set his sights on a house.

It is the strange rippling effects of a tragedy that will bring these five characters together in a large, neglected estate house near the Scottish fishing town of Creagan. 

It is in this house, on the shortest day of the year, that the lives of five people will come together and be forever changed. Rosamunde Pilcher’s long-awaited return to the page will warm the hearts of readers both old and new. Winter Solstice is a novel of love, loyalty and rebirth.

After The Great War — As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters ‚Äď Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa ‚Äď a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without‚Äďand what they are willing to do about it.

As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.

Top 10 Tuesday — Best Books Read in 2021

28 Dec

I read a lot less books in 2021 than I did in previous years. Some of that was by design, and some was because, well, life. But fewer books did not mean less enjoyment — I had a lot of great reading experiences! Limiting my list to 10 is too hard, so I have split the books into categories: historical, time-split, contemporary and suspense. There should be something for everyone!

For more Best of The Best in 2021, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Best Books Read in 2021

Contemporary

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

Let It Be Me by Becky Wade

When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser

Historical

The Barrister And The Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson

Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner

A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy

Under The Bayou Moon by Valerie Fraser Luesse

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin

Suspense

Burying Daisy Doe by Ramona Richards

Everywhere to Hide by Siri Mitchell

Lights Out by Natalie Walters

Network of Deceit by Tom Threadgill

Never Miss by Melissa Koslin

Port of Origin by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

Time-Slip

The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark

The London House by Katherine Reay

Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox

Book Review: The London House

10 Nov

Uncovering a dark family secret sends one woman through the history of Britain’s World War II spy network and glamorous 1930s Paris to save her family’s reputation.

Caroline Payne thinks it’s just another day of work until she receives a call from Mat Hammond, an old college friend and historian. But pleasantries are cut short. Mat has uncovered a scandalous secret kept buried for decades: In World War II, Caroline’s British great-aunt betrayed family and country to marry her German lover.

Determined to find answers and save her family‚Äôs reputation, Caroline flies to her family‚Äôs ancestral home in London. She and Mat discover diaries and letters that reveal her grandmother and great-aunt were known as the ‚ÄúWaite sisters.‚ÄĚ Popular and witty, they came of age during the interwar years, a time of peace and luxury filled with dances, jazz clubs, and romance. The buoyant tone of the correspondence soon yields to sadder revelations as the sisters grow apart, and one leaves home for the glittering fashion scene of Paris, despite rumblings of a coming world war.

Each letter brings more questions. Was Caroline’s great-aunt actually a traitor and Nazi collaborator, or is there a more complex truth buried in the past? Together, Caroline and Mat uncover stories of spies and secrets, love and heartbreak, and the events of one fateful evening in 1941 that changed everything.

In this rich historical novel from award-winning author Katherine Reay, a young woman is tasked with writing the next chapter of her family’s story. But Caroline must choose whether to embrace a love of her own and proceed with caution if her family’s decades-old wounds are to heal without tearing them even further apart.

Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. KnightleyLizzy and Jane, The Bront√ę Plot, A Portrait of Emily PriceThe Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop. All Katherine‚Äôs novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flairKatherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and is a wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL.

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My Impressions:

I just closed the cover of Katherine Reay‘s latest novel, The London House, and all I can manage to say is WOW! Okay, that is not going to suffice for a review, so bear with me as I try to put into words all the feelings and emotions and ruminations that accompanied my reading experience. First, let me say that The London House is an exceptionally well-written novel. It is told from the first person POV of Caroline Payne, a young woman who has been dealing with emotional turmoil, grief, and perceived rejection for most of her life. She is our modern-day connection to the history of her family, and specifically her grandmother, Margaret and her great-aunt Caro. Their two stories are told in a series of letters and diary entries that Reay masterfully wove into a tale of betrayal and unforgiveness, courage and triumph. Caroline is determined to set the story straight about just what happened to her great-aunt during WWII and the examine the impact her choices made on the whole family from that point on to the present. Helping her is Mat, a long lost friend who shatters Caroline’s equilibrium. All of the characters within The London House are flawed and real and highly relatable. Their past sins and past failures resonated with this reader. All have a long way to grow, and Reay does a great job of exposing and exploring their personalities. The main story is full of mystery. What-ifs of the spy rings of the early days of the war kept me turning the pages. I have to admit that I did have a hard time with the beginning of the book — there seemed to be a lot of chaos surrounding the characters and their stories. But I think that was the point. The book takes all those loose ends and weaves a story full of hope and redemption. There is an overarching theme of perception vs truth. We often think that a thing is true because we perceive it to be. But as the character’s discover reality or history based on perceptions alone is flawed from the beginning. I loved how Reay inserted C. S. Lewis’ radio broadcasts that were part of the time period and used them to assert that there are absolute truths, whether we care to believe that or not. I found this message in The London House pertinent for today — not only in the world in which we live, but in my own personal life. This book made me think! And isn’t that a great bonus to a riveting story?! The historical details are fascinating, and I loved vicariously visiting modern day London and Paris.

The London House is perfect for those who like time-slip novels, WWII tales, and family relationship dramas. It is also for those who love an excellently told story. It is also perfect for a book club. You will want to talk about this book. As an additional bonus, one of the characters cooks. I found a new favorite recipe inspired by my reading — Lemon Olive Oil Cake. Google it and then make it, You will love it too! ūüėČ

Very Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to the publisher for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Fall TBR

21 Sep

Happy Tuesday! After a few challenging TTT topics, I am relieved to have an easy one — Fall 2021 TBR. I can always come up with lots of books that I will be reading soon. As always I have a mix of genres, so you can find a book to suit your tastes or whims. Let me know if any books on my list made yours.

For more Fall TBR lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Books on My Fall TBR List

A Christmas in The Alps by Melody Carlson

Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard

Everywhere to Hide by Siri Mitchell

In The Shadow of Your Wings by JP Robinson

Labyrinth of Lies by Irene Hannon

The London House by Katherine Reay

Out of The Water by Ann Stewart

Point of Danger by Irene Hannon

A Season on The Wind by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox

Top 10 Tuesday — Illustrated Covers

15 Sep

Illustrated covers are a bit of an exception in Christian Fiction. Mostly you get women in beautiful dresses (historical romance), women in bonnets (Amish), lovely women with sometimes hunky men (contemporary romance), or landscapes (general or literary). I find illustrated covers refreshing. For this week’s Top 10 Tuesday Cover Freebie, I have chosen some books that I have already read and some that are in the TBR pile. Let me know how you like them.

For more cover fun, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Illustrated Covers

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

A Gift to Cherish by Victoria Bylin

 

The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel

Perennials by Julie Cantrell

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

 

Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

When He Found Me by Victoria Bylin

Where The Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

Congrats to The 2020 ACFW Carol Award Finalists!

22 Jun

A big congratulations to the talented authors who make up this year’s Carol Award Finalists. No matter what genre you prefer, you will find a winner of a read! I have read a few of these books — more are on the TBR list. Hope you find an award winning book to enjoy!

Contemporary

The Death of Mungo Blackwell by Lauren H. Brandenburg
On a Summer Tide by Suzanne Woods Fisher, Revell 
The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

 

Historical

Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson
The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke
The Seamstress by Allison Pittman

 

Historical Romance

A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund
A Pursuit of Home by Kristi Ann Hunter
The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

The Gryphon Heist by James R. Hannibal
Laynie Portland, Retired Spy by Vikki Kestell
Midnight on the River Grey by Abigail Wilson

 

Novella

Always by Jody Hedlund
The Groom She’d Thought She Left Behind from The Runaway Brides Collection by Darlene Panzera
The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings

 

Romance

Driftwood Bay by Irene Hannon
A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson
Love You, Truly by Susan L. Tuttle

 

Romantic Suspense

The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey
Living Lies by Natalie Walters
Knox by Susan May Warren

 

Short Novel

A Rancher to Trust by Laurel Blount
The Rancher’s Unexpected Baby by Jill Lynn
Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey by Barbara M. Britton

 

Speculative

Flight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse
The Story Raider by Lindsay A. Franklin
Brand of Light by Ronie Kendig

 

Young Adult

Romanov by Nadine Brandes
Coral by Sara Ella
Something I Am Not by Cher Gatto

 

Debut

A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff
Above the Fold by Rachel Scott McDaniel
Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens

 

2020 Inspy Award Nominees

13 May

Congratulations to the 2020 Inspy Award Nominees! What a great bunch of authors and books. So if you are wondering what to read next, here’s your list!

Recognizing the need for a new kind of book award, the INSPYs were created by bloggers to discover and highlight the very best in literature that grapples with expressions of the Christian faith. (Inspy.com)

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano 

Sweet on You by Becky Wade

Just One Kiss by Courtney Walsh

 

Debut Fiction

Heart of a Royal by Hannah Currie 

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens 

 

General Fiction

All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner 

How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim 

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay 

 

Historical Fiction

The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

Until the Mountains Fall by Connilyn Cossette

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

 

Literature for Young Adults

Evermore by Jody Hedlund

Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill

Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

 

Mystery/Thriller

The Wind Will Howl by Sibella Giorello

Storm Rising by Ronie Kendig

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

 

Speculative Fiction

Flight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Brand of Light by Ronie Kendig

Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Top Books Read in 2019

31 Dec

It is always hard to compile a best of list every year. I read a lot of really good books in 2019. A. Lot. But in going back through the archives, I found the following eleven that captured my imagination, touched my emotions, and made me think about my world and myself long after I closed the cover. The books are a mixed bag of genres — speculative, allegory, dual timeline, contemporary, and historical — so basically something for every taste. I hope one grabs your interest and you find a great read! (The links are to my reviews.)

For more Best Books of 2019 lists, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Best Books Read in 2019

All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

 

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

The Secrets of Paper And Ink by Lindsay Harrel

 

A Silver Willow by The Shore by Kelli Stuart

The Story Peddler by Lindsay Franklin

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green