Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Married Girls (The Girl With No Name #2)

32570674Wynsdown, 1949. In the small Somerset village of Wynsdown, Charlotte Shepherd is happily married to farmer Billy. She arrived from Germany on the Kindertransport as a child during the war and now feels settled in her adopted home.

Meanwhile, the squire's fighter pilot son, Felix, has returned to the village with a fiancée in tow. Daphne is beautiful, charming... and harbouring secrets. After meeting during the war, Felix knows some of Daphne's past, but she has worked hard to conceal that which could unravel her carefully built life.

For Charlotte, too, a dangerous past is coming back in the shape of fellow refugee, bad boy Harry Black. Forever bound by their childhoods, Charlotte will always care for him, but Harry's return disrupts the village quiet and it's not long before gossip spreads.

The war may have ended, but for these girls, trouble is only just beginning.

*May Contain Spoilers*

After WWII, England was in a time of rebuilding and her citizens were trying to move on with their lives. The Married Girls, the second in the series by Diney Costeloe, presents interwoven stories that explore marriage, love, family, finances, and loss after the war had ended focusing on members of a small village in Somerset.

Charlotte is the main character of the book and it seems that all other story lines revolve around her. She was a German refugee during the war and was taken in by foster parents during it. In this book, Charlotte (whose German name was Lisa) is married with two children. She's a strong character whose two main qualities are beauty and kindness. Many of the villagers like Charlotte and her sweet, caring nature are demonstrated with how she treats those around her. Through the novel, Charlotte has to face a few difficult situations and how she reacts to and handles these events define her strength and highlight her resolve. Readers will connect with Charlotte through her personality first and her reaction to events second. As the life she built seems to crumble in the second half of the book, readers will not only be cheering for Charlotte's emotional survival, they'll be hoping for a happy ending. 

Billy, Felix, Harry, and Daphne are the main supporting cast of characters. Billy is Charlotte's husband and is an amazing father to their children. Though he does present a bit of jealousy when Harry returns to visit Charlotte. Harry Black (also known as Victor) is a member of the criminal world. He's been hiding in Australia for a few years, hoping the England Police have forgotten him. He returns to finish up a bit of business for his dying boss and is emotionally pushed to find Charlotte again. This creates a cloud of gossip around Charlotte and marks the beginning of her struggles. 

Felix and Daphne are engaged (and married in the later parts of the book), but their relationship is one built on lies. Daphne wants to be happily married to a rich man that can provide her every wish. She sets her eyes on Felix and does everything she can to marry him. Yet, Daphne doesn't get the life she thought she would and starts to resent Felix. Her biggest secret, the fact that she has a daughter, threatens to come out and Daphne does everything in her power to keep it under wraps. Daphne is not a likeable character and readers will hope that Felix somehow escapes from her grasp. Felix is a  good, kindhearted, caring, and dependable man. When his father dies unexpectedly, he moves back to Wynsdown to care for his mother and restore the family estate. Though his married life is full of unhappiness, he tries to make it work. I think readers will feel a strong connection to Felix, as he certainly doesn't deserve the kind of treatment Daphne provides. 

The Married Girls follows the relationships of these characters as they rebuild their lives after the ending of the war. By focusing on the character's lives, this book provides readers with strong connections to its characters.  There are several side plots that build the action and evoke emotional responses from readers. Yet, the main focus of the story is love. By the end, readers will see that this whole novel has really only been about two characters who find happiness and peace with each other. However, the ending is a bit abrupt and I felt like I didn't get a sense of closure for all the characters. As this is the second in the series, I can't help but wonder if there will be a third installment. With Costeloe's writing style and her power to bring the past to life, accurately and thoroughly evoking the emotional and lifestyle struggles of the time period, I would definitely recommend this book as well as be excited to read anything else by this author. 

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

Thursday, June 22, 2017

For the Love of Katie

33844503Newlywed Katie Maxwell is ready to settle down and leave her amateur detective days behind. But when the veil of secrecy surrounding her husband’s latest project takes them to Europe, her penchant for sleuthing lands her in some serious hot foreign water.

Katie will need to think quickly to talk her way out of handcuffs and a Parisian jail cell. Too bad she doesn't speak French.

For the Love of Katie is the second madcap adventure in The Katie Chronicles. This book can be read as a standalone, but why would you want to skip the first?

*May Contain Spoilers*

Erica Lucke Dean combines romance with clumsy humor in her book, For the Love of Katie, the second in the Katie series. Though I didn't read the first book, which I think would have helped me connect with the main character, I did enjoy how funny this book was. 

Katie Maxwell is a very clumsy woman to the point where it's almost as if she's been cursed with extreme stair-tripping, incriminating-photography, can't-do-anything-right bad luck. Though it's funny for the reader as Katie repeatedly gets herself into hot water that she must expansively explain once she's gotten caught. This aspect of Katie is one that brings readers into her chaotic life. As a main character, she's kind of a mess, but in a humorous, light-hearted way. It makes it easy for readers to like her, as we've all done things that we're embarrassed about. With this major character trait, Katie becomes more down to earth. However, as I do admit I didn't read the first book, I thought that Katie was little... over-presumptuous, secretive, and untrusting when it came to her husband. 

Katie is a woman who likes to have all the info. And sometimes, to get it, she'll resort to lying and trickery. Even her husband calls her Nancy Drew. While, I can see these tactics useful in a few of the situations, I think if Katie was more open in the lines of communication, she'd get the answers she wanted faster and without as much drama. But, then again, where would the fun be in that? 

The book opens in Paris with Katie in a police station, arrested for trying to sneak on set of the film adaptation of her husband's book. When the police officer asks her to start at the beginning, Katie complies, happily, thus setting up the frame with which Dean shares the story. The book then flashes back to before the couple was engaged and shares the entire narrative of how Katie came to be in Paris and why she was pretending to be a movie extra when she was arrested. The book contains a lot of situational comedy and, as previously mentioned, hot water fiascoes. And although I didn't feel a deep connection with Katie (I was a bit annoyed at times), I did enjoy the book overall. It's a nice, easy read with funny characters, good plot action to propel the story forward, and a rewarding ending. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What's Next, Wednesday (60)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.


I'm looking forward to...

The Married Girls by Diney Costeloe. Set in England during 1949, this novel promises to be all about secrets and the trouble that comes along with keeping them. For two women in particular, lives are about to be upset as the war has ended and men are returning to Wynsdown Village. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (269)

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


For the Love of Katie (Kindle 74%)
    - Erica Lucke Dean

The Mission: Impossible theme played inside my head as we slunk along the passageway toward the stateroom I shared with my mother. My plan, as lame as it might have been, was to grab her phone, delete the image, and pretend the whole thing never happened.