Review

Hearts of Resistance by Soraya Lane

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Published: Lake Union Publishing
Date: 10th January 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 324
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating 4.5 stars
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At the height of World War II, three women must come together to fight for freedom, for the men they love—and for each other. When Hazel is given the chance to parachute into Nazi-occupied France, she seizes the opportunity to do more for the British war effort than file paperwork.

Alongside her childhood friend, French-born Rose, she quickly rises up the ranks of the freedom fighters. For Rose, the Resistance is a link to her late husband, and a way to move forward without him. What starts out as helping downed airmen becomes a bigger cause when they meet Sophia, a German escapee and fierce critic of Hitler who is wanted by the Gestapo. Together the three women form a bond that will last a lifetime.

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Hearts of Resistance starts with a short prologue filled with danger that immediately starts me both worrying and asking questions about will these women survive?

Then we are taken back in time and introduced one by one to three women, whom by the time the book finished I did not want to leave. Three women – one English, one German, one French and their lives are utterly changed by WW11.

There is Hazel – English – engaged and watching her fiance go off to war, and in an environment that did not believe women were capable of contributing significantly to the cause. Hazel will prove that wrong, once recruited by the SOE.

There is Sophia – a young German girl already helping Jewish people to escape from Berlin and hiding her Jewish boyfriend in her apartment. The horrors of the Nazi regime and her own father drive her from Germany and into the Resistance.

Finally Rose a young French woman married to her dearly loved husband and as the war carries on also finds herself by circumstance caught up in the covert operations against the Germans.

Eventually these three come together – work together – carry out mind and heart stopping work that really counts. They are highly trained, ready to kill if necessary and hugely passionate about the extremely dangerous work they do. Three powerful women.

These three women, while fictitious, do represent so many women who showed that they were very capable and courageous during this period of history.  Soraya M. Lane obviously researched this well, and she has presented an extremely wonderful tribute to these brave women.

I loved the strength of these three women and the bonds of friendship that they formed. While not always an easy read it was a very realistic and eye opening read. If you coped with Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale – you’ll manage this one too.

Review

Artefacts by Rebecca Burns

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Published: Odyssey Books
Date:  September 30th 2017
Format: e-Book
Pages:  157
Genre: Short Stories
Source: the Author

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A dandelion. A mayfly. A family, bereft. Items and mementos of a life, lived hard and with love, or long, empty, bitter.

In these sharply drawn and unflinching short stories, Rebecca Burns unpicks the connection between the lives we live and what we leave behind.

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Artefacts by Rebecca Burns has seventeen short stories, each of them containing a small vignette – a window into the lives of people in different times and settings. I am not usually a short story reader, yet I found myself reading each story and relishing its evocative writing and characters who mostly somehow wormed their way into my heart.

One of my favourite stories as The Greatcoat. The story of a man returned from World War 1 and yet to hand in his greatcoat. An item of clothing that had seen him through the war and kept him warm. This story details the difficulty of returning to civilian life and the lost comrades. At the end of it I found myself truly very moved and swallowing a tear.

Another interesting story was The Bread Princess – it takes a series of bonnets displayed at a parish museum, describes it and then tells a little of the lives of the girls who wore these bonnets and how on a certain day they handed out bread to the poor.

Many of the stories have a little mystery in them, for example where did the shiny sequin come from – found in the shower by a woman living in the far north and her husband away as a salesman. What is a grandmother saying as she lays dying. What is the story of a blue baby bootie found as a woman cleans a gîte.

Another story I really was moved by was of a heart surgeon on leave because of a medical misadventure – on her part. Visiting Scotland she meets up with an older man who walks the beach and leaves with her what I think is a most outstanding and beautiful gift.

These stories explore death, loss, friendship, betrayal, greed, dissatisfaction, illness and important intimate moments. They look into human values, motives, desires, fears and hopes.

Rather like poetry these stories deserve to be revisited, lifted out one at a time; pondered at more depth. One reading of them does not do them justice.

Review

The Girl From Munich Tania Blanchard

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Published: Simon & Schuster (Australia)
Date: 1st September 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 352
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating

Growing up in Hitler’s Germany, Charlotte von Klein has big dreams for the future. Her mind is full of plans for a sumptuous wedding to her childhood sweetheart Heinrich while working for the Luftwaffe, proudly giving her all for the Fatherland.

But in 1943, the tide of the war is turning against Germany, and Lotte’s life of privilege and comfort begins to collapsing around her. As Hitler’s Reich abandons Germany and the country falls to the Allied forces, Lotte is forced to flee from the unfolding chaos to the country with the darkly attractive Erich Drescher, her Luftwaffe superior.

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The Girl From Munich is set in Germany during WW11 and post war. It shows the lives of the ordinary people as they too coped with the war that their “beloved” Fuhrer had led them into. Lotte was one young woman who believed in the cause and wanted to help where she could and escape the confines surrounding her from her mother and others.  She is a keen photographer, however that has all to fall by the wayside as war sets limits on film. She is expected to marry Heinrich, a young doctor and life long friend. Although Lotte notices some things just don’t sit right with her, even though she does have love for him.

We follow Lotte through the last three years of the war, and in doing so see Germany coping with bombs being dropped on them, losing loved ones to the battlefield and not being able to find loved ones in other areas. Lotte like many believes what she has been indoctrinated with, until finally she realises what others might be saying could be true.  So often we see the war from the eyes of the allied forces, so I really liked being given the chance to empathise with those also caught up in war on the other side. It also highlighted for me the unswerving and unthinking loyalty that some give to a leader, blinkered – and it is happening today, which is the sad thing, many have not learned from our past.

This is a coming of age story for Lotte, a valuing of herself and a learning to trust her own heart and instincts.  I liked her courage, fortitude and ability to keep going.  Her relationship with Heinrich comes into question when she finds herself attracted to Erich, and it is this relationship that helps Lotte blossom into the person she becomes.

This is a debut novel written by Tania Blanchard, she is an Australian with an Italian father and a German mother. She was fascinated by the stories her German grandmother told her, and for me that gives this book a ring of truth, an inheritance that she shares in a work of fiction. I am pleased to see she intends writing a book to continue this story in the new chosen land, and I for one will be looking out for it.

As it happens I saw on a current events TV programme a piece interviewing an Austrian Willi Huber who came to New Zealand to see Mt Cook, in the Sth Island. He was an SS soldier at 17 and was a gunner on a tank until in hand to hand combat he received a bayonet wound. He is 94 now and was instrumental in setting up the ski slope at Mount Hutt. What struck me was the similarities in the history in this book and his story. It added to the realism of the book for me, plus I was hooked into his amazing story.

Review

The Song of the Skylark Erica James

Song of the Skylark book cover

Published:Hachette NZ
Date: 8th March
Format: Paperback
Pages: 386
Genre:Blended Historical/Contemporary
Source: Thank you to Hachette NZ
Rating:
5 stars              Add to Goodreads

Lizzie has always had an unfortunate knack of attracting bad luck, but this time she’s hit the jackpot. Losing her heart to her boss leads to her losing her job, and with no money in the bank, Lizzie finds herself forced to move back home with her parents. When she reluctantly takes a voluntary job, she meets Mrs Dallimore, a seemingly ordinary elderly woman with an astonishing past . . .

Now in her nineties, Mrs Dallimore is also reluctantly coming to terms with her situation. Old age is finally catching up with her. As she and Lizzie form the bond of unexpected friendship, Mrs Dallimore tells the story of a young girl who left America before the outbreak of World War Two and, in crossing an ocean, found herself embarking on a new life she couldn’t have imagined.

As Lizzie listens to Mrs Dallimore, she begins to realise that she’s not the only person to attract bad luck, or make mistakes, and maybe things aren’t so bad for her after all . . .

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I have never read a Erica James book before. Where have I been she has not entered my radar! Well she has hit it now, I loved The Song of the Skylark and I look forward to catching up with some of her other books.
The Song of the Skylark is the story of Lizzie – present day and Clarissa Dallimore – from the 30’s and 40’s. Lizzie has lost her job due to an unfortunate love affair and she pays for it. At first I didn’t really like Lizzie, but as the story went on I came to enjoy her and eventually she found a place in my heart. She has a twin brother Luke and her parents. Luke is married to Ingrid and they have a son Freddie. Family dynamics are in play throughout the book and added to its richness.
Clarissa is the other main character, she is now an old woman that Lizzie meets when she goes to volunteer at a rest home. A friendship springs up and Lizzie eggs Clarissa on to share her story with her. It is a fascinating one and highlights the fact that when you witness an elderly person there is a life’s experience behind that elderly face. In Clarissa’s case it has been a rich and rewarding one, but one very much filled with heartache as well as happy times.  
The friendship with Clarissa is wonderful for Lizzie and she grows and develops in this volunteer situation, and Clarissa is not above a little match making for Lizzie with Jed the new gardner. 
While the story is narrated mostly from Lizzie’s and Clarissa’s point of view, there are well placed chapters that gives us a little insight to some of the other members of Lizzie’s family.
I was swept away to another country and time in this novel and by the time it finished I was so sad to see my time with these people had come to an end.
Review

Wolfskin Juliet Marillier

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Wolfskin
Juliet Marillier
Published: Macmillan Australia
Date: 2002
Format: Large Paperback
Pages: 560
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Own book
Rating:
5 stars           Add to Goodreads

Eyvind can think of no more glorious future than becoming a Wolfskin, a warrior devoted to the service of the mighty war god Thor. His closest friend, Somerled, a strange and lonely boy, has his own very different ambitions – yet a childhood oath, sworn in blood, binds these two in lifelong loyalty. Meanwhile, far away across the water, on the Light Isles, the king’s niece Nessa is beginning to learn the ways of the mysteries – though neither the young priestess nor her people can realize what lies ahead for them.” “Eyvind and Somerled seem set to follow very different paths: one becoming a fearless servant of the Warfather, the other a scholarly courtier.

Then a voyage of discovery, led by Somerled’s brother Ulf, brings the two friends together again in accompanying a group of settlers to some beautiful islands rumoured to lie across the western sea. However, their good spirits are dampened by a tragedy on board, which Eyvind begins to suspect may not have been an accident.” Ulf’s new settlement begins in harmony with the native islanders, led by King Engus. But one day, on a trip to a holy place of the Folk, a brutal murder occurs and that peace is shattered. It is now that Eyvind begins to feel the restraining ties of his boyhood oath…and to realize what sort of future Somerled had in mind for himself all those years ago.

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Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier, my first book read in 2016 and the first time I have ever read a book by this author. I wish to thank Sheree from The Eclectic Reader for suggesting this author to me when I was searching around for New Zealand authors in early 2015. 
What a saga, eventually I was swept up into the magic of storytelling. It took me a little while to be immersed in it, but once I was, I was reading into the night and picking it up as I ate breakfast! 
Eyvind was a character that I just grew to love more and more. His desire in life has been to be a wolfskin, a warrior who is brave, at the forefront of battle. Not surprisingly not expected to see old age either! Eyvind never expected to change from that path, but circumstances decreed otherwise. As Nessa says to him “Things never stay the same, Evyi. People change. Paths change. You cannot know, when you are young, what life will hold for you as a grown man or woman….. It seems to me there is always a choice, there must be.  No blood oath could make me act cruelly, or falsely, or in defiance of natural laws, no matter how solemnly it was sworn”.

As Eyvind makes his way in life, always truth, loyalty, friendship and honour guide his heart. But sometimes that is not enough and tough decisions and choices have to be made. Sometimes courage is being at the forefront of the truth, whatever the cost.
Somerled is thrust on Eyvind when they are boys and he takes him under his wing, teaching him what he knows and making a blood oath to be brothers loyal to each other. While Somerled had some extenuating circumstances, it was difficult to like him. I hated how he undermined Evyind’s belief in himself in terms of intelligence. I hated him for a lot more, but I don’t want to say what, so as not to destroy the story for any reader.
Nessa the priestess in training and niece of the King of the Light Isles was a joy, full of wisdom and courage and love. Hers was eventually a burden of deep sorrow, but as she says there is always a choice. I loved her relationship with the priestess Rona, I loved how she found her way forward.
I loved how the beliefs and views mingled – there is the Christian viewpoint through the viewpoint of the holy man Tadgh, the god of the Norse and the ways and beliefs of the Folk on the island. In many ways they all held values and truths that were similar.
I am reluctant to leave these people. I held my breath, I wondered, I wept, I smiled. It won’t be too long before I will be seeking out Foxmask, the second book in this duology.
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Review

Along the Infinite Sea. Beatriz Williams

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Along the Infinite Sea
Beatriz Williams
Published: Penguin Group Putnam
Date: 3rd November 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 464
Genre: General Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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The Infinite Sea is a sweeping story of two women that ranges from the late 1930’s and into the 1960’s. It soon pulled me in to their lives and intrigues.

Annabelle is a young nineteen year old living in France with her father when she is pushed into helping out a Jewish German – Stefan Silverman when he is shot. An attraction springs up. However circumstances happen that sees her being paired with Johann von Kleist, a German Baron working with the German army.

Fast forward to 1966 and we meet up with Pepper Shuyler, she has just sold a 1936 Mercedes roadster to Annabelle Domerich, who once drove in this car to escape Germany in 1938. Pepper needs the $300 000 she sells the car for to help her with the child soon to be born. She believes she can’t turn to her parents for help, nor does she want the interference of the married senator who is the father of her baby.  Annabelle who was once in a similar situation to Pepper invites her back to her home at Cocoa Beach.

I really liked both Annabelle and Pepper. Both of them are strong women who deal with the challenges that life throws at them. I loved both their stories and groaned when I was dragged from their story into the others, yet was eager to go there too. I read into the night to find out who did Annabelle eventually live with at Cocoa Beach. I thought I knew and then I didn’t, so cleverly done is the story, clues dropped were at times a little misleading, although perfectly correct as well.

The less you know about this book, the more your enjoyment. I didn’t read the blurb before and really am very happy I didn’t, when I glanced over it after actually reading the book. In it is possibly a clue to how it might have ended up for Annabelle and quite frankly the suspense and mystery surrounding this book is its strength for me. (I am a bit of a back of the book reader, but on a Kindle book while I could do it, the temptation is far less! So happy I didn’t look!)

I hadn’t read the other two Schuyler sister books previously and I don’t think it mattered that much. (I will though!) The danger of the late 1930’s for the Jews in Germany, the question of who is Annabelle’s husband in the 1960s, the characters themselves and the clever transitioning from one time period to another, Pepper’s resilience, Annabelle’s compassion and love all combined to make this a book to embrace and enjoy.

4.5 stars
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Amy Snow by Tracy Rees

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Amy Snow
Tracy Rees
Published: Quercus
Date: 9th June 2015
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 534
Genre: Historical fiction
Source: Thanks to Hachette NZ
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Abandoned on a bank of snow as a baby, Amy is taken to nearby Hatville Court.  But the masters and servants of the grand estate prove cold and unwelcoming. Amy’s only friend and ally is the sparkling heiress Aurelia Vennaway. So when Aurelia tragically dies young, Amy is devastated.  But Aurelia leaves Amy one last gift.

A bundle of letters with a coded key.  A treasure hunt that only Amy can follow. A life changing discovering awaits… if only she can unlock the secret.

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Amy Snow by Tracy Rees is a debut novel that enthralled me from start to finish.  It is set in England in early Victorian times, and while in one sense it merely covers a matter of months, it also goes back in time, so that we the reader are slowly fed all the details.  This allows the mystery of the story to unfurl.
Aurelia Vennaway when she is a young girl of eight, discovers a baby blue with cold in the snow, yet still alive.  And so begins the life of Amy Snow. Where she came from, who she is nobody seems to know – or at any rate are not prepared to reveal.  Apart from the prologue and epiplogue the story is recounted by Amy.  She grew up in the Vennaway home, cared for by the cook and young gardener, despised by Lady Vennaway and forbidden to be seen anywhere by the family.  Amy’s life is cold and lonely.  However Aurelia befriends her and as they both grow they bond and grow in friendship and love.  When Aurelia dies Amy is cast out, a young woman of about seventeen years thrust out into a world she is unprepared for.
Yet Amy is not totally abandoned, even in death Aurelia reaches out to Amy through letters that are to guide her along a journey of self discovery and the revelation of secrets that surprise.  The letters are not straight forward, some of them are like a cryptic crossword that Amy must break the code of so that she can take the next step in the quest.  At times this aggravates her, she almost gives up annoyed with Aurelia, yet she perseveres to the end.
Along the way she meets all kinds of characters, mostly kind and compassionate and a few not so much.  All are colourful and add vitality and interesting detail to the story.  As Amy meets each one, her heart is warmed with what has been so lacking in her life so far, she is also challenged by some of those she meets and learns to stand on her own two feet and speak her mind.  All the while she struggles with who she is, who controls her and what are her own choices along the way.  
I really enjoyed this book, I liked Amy and felt for her in so many ways.  I was delighted with her spirit of loyalty and willingness to go on an adventure that she did not know where it would finally end and how.  I loved how the book underlined certain values that the main characters were insistent about and that they based their choices on.
Tracy Rees has written a well crafted and intriguing mystery, with characters that will long endure in my memory.  A big thumbs up for her first published book – I certainly hope she has another as equally readable in the wings.
4.5 stars
Read a little about Tracey Rees and the competition she won with Richard and Judy, which led to this book being chosen and published.
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Passing Through Perfect. Bette Lee Crosby

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Passing Through Perfect
Bette Lee Crosby
Published: Bent Pine Publishing
Date: January 2015
Format: ebook
Pages: 256
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: from the author
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It’s 1946. The war is over. Millions of American soldiers are coming home and Benjamin Church is one of them. After four years of being away he thought things in Alabama would have changed, but they haven’t. Grinder’s Corner is as it’s always been–a hardscrabble burp in the road. It’s not much, but it’s home.

When Benjamin attends a harvest festival in Twin Pines, he catches sight of Delia. Before their first dance ends, he knows for certain she’s the one. They fall madly in love: happily, impatiently, imprudently, in love. It doesn’t matter that her daddy is staunchly opposed to the thought of his daughter marrying a cotton farmer, never mind a poor one.

It’s true Benjamin has little to offer; he’s a sharecropper who will spend his whole life sweating and slaving to do little more than put food on the table. But that’s how things are in Alabama. Benjamin is better off than most; he has a wife, a boy he adores, and a house that doesn’t leak rain. Yes, Benjamin considers himself a lucky man until the fateful night that changes everything.

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Passing Through Perfect by Bette Lee Crosby is #3 in the Wyattsville series.  This is the story of Benjamin, his dad Otis, his wife Delia and his son Isaac. It has the warm depth of family weaving through its pages and sadly also discrimination is alive and active.
When the story opens in Alabama Benjamin has just returned from the war, he then works alongside his father to farm the land, a hard and sometimes rewarding work.  When he marries Delia they have a son Isaac.  
Benjamin is a hard worker, he loves his family and they mean everything to him.  Life is full of struggles and challenges but when there is love you can get through.  However Benjamin also experiences loss and it is that experience that catapults him into moving north.  
I loved meeting up with the Klaussners again and Paul and Ruby.  It was wonderful to see them so settled and happy and open to being good friends with Benjamin and Isaac.  I loved their loyalty, thoughtfulness and deep heartedness.  Really they embodied one path people can take in life, in my view the better path as opposed to those who were so bigoted. 
This novel explores the best of family and the thoughtfulness and kindness toward strangers.  It also explores the discrimination that African Americans suffered at that time, and sadly has not yet resolved yet in today’s world.  A book like this highlights the need for a change of heart. So where is Perfect? Well read the book and find out. It’s a perfect title I do believe.
4 stars
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Review

The Settling Earth. Rebecca Burns

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The Settling Earth
Rebecca Burns
Shelly Davies
Published: Odyssey Books
Date: December 2014
Format: ebook
Pages: 128
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: From the author
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Marriage transplants Sarah thousands of miles from home; a failed love affair forces Phoebe to make drastic choices in a new environment; a sudden, shocking discovery brings Mrs Ellis to reconsider her life as an emigrant — The Settling Earth is a collection of ten, interlinked stories, focusing on the British settler experience in colonial New Zealand, and the settlers’ attempts to make sense of life in a strange new land.

Sacrifices, conflict, a growing love for the landscape, a recognition of the succour offered by New Zealand to Maori and settler communities — these are themes explored in the book. The final story in the collection, written by Shelly Davies of the Ngātiwai tribe, adds a Maori perspective to the experience of British settlement in their land.

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The Settling Earth is a collection of short stories, all linked, vignettes of colonial New Zealand. There are nine stories by Rebecca Burns, the tenth one is by Shelly Davies.
Each story is complete, more or less, in itself.  Yet each story carries a kernel of and a link to the previous story.  It was so interesting to see what would be the link.  It was like a window was opened on a particular event, and then closed.  The following story would do the same.  The first story opens on the Canterbury Plains, other stories move to Christchurch, then on to Onehunga in the North Island and then Auckland.  The final stories bring us back to the homestead on the Canterbury Plains.
A station owner’s wife, a station owner, a Maori man, a ‘boarding house’ girl, a woman who ‘cares’ for children that are born out of wedlock, a ‘boarding house’ owner, a mission Bible carrying lady, mothers of children, a ghost, a farm hand and his wife and two step daughters are some of the characters we receive an insight into of what life is like for them in this – to the majority of them – strange new land.
As we see into their lives we are made aware of society and how it operates, its hypocrisy and values. Many have come to New Zealand for a new life and with hope, only to find the reality tough. Women in particular are fragile and vulnerable, often ignorant and too trusting. There is often loneliness and too often pregnancy.  Some women are unscrupulous, in a chilling kind of way.  It seems there are not that many choices open to women.  The ‘haves’ are contrasted with the ‘have nots’.  
The men we mostly see are the ones with the power.  Colonial New Zealand is mostly a man’s world. A couple of the men we are introduced too, are weak bullies, abusive, insensitive and overbearing, prejudiced and unlikeable.  Contrasted with them is Haimoana, a maori trader who is an observer of this way of life and his behaviour and beliefs stand out as vastly more preferable.  
The writing is excellent, the stories evocative – opening up a time and place in New Zealand colonial history.  As a New Zealander I could identify with the settings and ‘feel’ of the stories, it rings with authenticity.  
I would recommend this to any reader who likes historical fiction, or is interested in history.  It would also make excellent reading for book clubs. I have placed a recommendation to my local library that they buy it for the library! You never know!

5 stars
Rebecca Burns is an award-winning writer of short stories, over thirty of which have been published online or in print. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2011, winner of the Fowey Festival of Words and Music Short Story Competition in 2013 (and runner-up in 2014), and has been profiled as part of the University of Leicester’s “Grassroutes Project”-a project that showcases the 50 best transcultural writers in the county.
The Settling Earth is her second collection of short stories. Her debut collection, Catching the Barramundi, was published in 2012 – also by Odyssey Books – and was longlisted for the Edge Hill Award in 2013.
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Review

The Luckiest Lady in London. Sherry Thomas

The Luckiest Lady in London book cover

The Luckiest Lady in London
Sherry Thomas
Published: Headline Eternal
Date: November 2013
Format: Kindle
Pages: 304
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Own book
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Felix Rivendale, the Marquess of Wrenworth, is The Ideal Gentleman, a man all men want to be and all women want to possess. Felix knows very well his golden image is a hoax. But no one else suspects the truth, until Miss Louisa Cantwell comes along.

From their first meeting, Louisa has mistrusted his outward perfection.

Yet even she could not have imagined that The Ideal Gentleman would propose – to make her his mistress. She cannot ignore the pleasure his touch ignites. Nor can she deny the pull Lord Wrenworth exerts upon her. Dare she get any closer to a man full of dark secrets, any one of which could devastate her?

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The Luckiest Lady in London is the first in a London Trilogy by Sherry Thomas.  This book was my first read of this author but it will not be my last.  It is set in Victorian England and mainly features Louisa and Felix, any other character is on the periphery of this – their story.
I loved Louisa, a young woman with a conscience, she must find a suitable husband for herself who will be able to care for her and financially help out with her mother and sisters, one of whom has epilepsy. While Louisa feels she must make a good marriage, and sets about with a list of the things she must do, she is not prepared to sacrifice herself and her happiness.  She has a very good sense of herself and throughly enjoyed her own sexuality. She is also very intelligent and loves books.
Felix has had a tough childhood, his mother did not want to marry his father but was forced into it. From that point on she set out to make her husband’s and son’s lives miserable.  She succeeded, Felix has put a whole personna around himself as The Ideal Gentleman, he is determined never to feel in need or powerless or vulnerable for anyone.
There is a natural attraction between Felix and Louise and before long Felix is present wherever Louisa is during the London season.  He finds a very able, sparring partner in Louisa, she is no retiring, blushing young lady.  She speaks her mind.  When he propositions her with the offer of her becoming his mistress and being financially safe, she has much to say on the very idea of it.  Before long Felix is thinking marriage and surprises Louisa with a proposal.
It is obvious they are going to live happily ever after, but the push/pull tension of their relationship makes the reading of this novel highly entertaining.  Felix finds himself all at sixes and sevens and in a place he never envisioned.  For Louisa when she discovers something that deeply disappoints her and makes her question the integrity of Felix, she knows she is not prepared to be treated as a ‘thing’ or to see other people treated in that way either.  
Sherry Thomas’ writing is impeccable, so much of the dialogue rings with risqué double entrendre. Very hot without being graphic. The characters are delightful and the setting of the large country house beautiful.  I certainly look forward to more writing from this talented author.
4 stars
March 2015 Take Control of Your TBR Pile