Featured

The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of The Room on Rue Amélie and The Sweetness of Forgetting, along with several other novels. Her work has been featured in PeopleWoman’s Day, Men’s Health, and Ladies’ Home Journal, among many other media outlets. She lives in Orlando, Florida.

The Grateful Reader Review: By Dorothy Schwab

This is a novel for those that love France, Champagne, and stories of love, regret, and forgiveness. The lives of Ines, Celine, and Liv intersect across the years of World War ll and present day. The reader will learn of Nazi collaborators, members of the Resistance, and Liv’s “impossibly spry” grandmother and her connection to Paris and Champagne Chauveau. The descriptions of hidden caves, secrets of “riddling” the Champagne, along with the winding roads to Reims and Epernay, keep the reader anxious to get to the “bottom of the bottle” to discover the true outcome of the lies and secrets held for so long. The Grateful Reader “sipped and savored” every page of this ‘gold medal’ read. 5*

Reims is a city in northeastern France’s Grand Est region. It’s the unofficial capital of the Champagne wine-growing region, and many of the champagne houses headquartered there offer tastings and cellar tours. For more than 1,000 years, French kings were crowned at its Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims. This grand cathedral is known for its stained-glass windows and Gothic carved portals, including the Smiling Angel.

Views of the vineyards in the Champagne wine-growing region of France.

Map showing Reims, France
Place Drouet-d’Erion https://www.reims-tourism.com/

The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis

Featured

Fiona Davis is the nationally bestselling author of THE MASTERPIECE, THE DOLLHOUSE and THE ADDRESS. She began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater. After getting a master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down as an author of historical fiction. Visit her at http://www.fionadavis.net, facebook.com/FionaDavisAuthor/ and on Instagram and Twitter @fionajdavis.

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/600308/the-chelsea-girls-by-fiona-davis/9781524744588/
Coming July 2019

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

A USO Tour in Naples, Italy, 1945, brings entertainers Hazel Ripley and Maxine Mead to the same stage. For Hazel, this was an opportunity to be on stage while supporting her country and also honor her brother’s memory. Maxine, an aspiring Hollywood actress is in Italy hoping to live in the “real world” for a change. The girls become close friends, even though quite the opposites- “Hayseed Hazel” and a rising Hollywood star? This incongruous relationship continues after the war as the friends are rejoined when Maxine leaves Los Angeles to find Hazel at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. Hazel-the playwright in residence, has been gathered into the loving bosom of the collective at the Chelsea- the left-wing organizers, the refugee families, and the creative artists; actors, musicians, designers, photographers. and especially Lavinia Smarts. Lavinia has used her influence to put Hazel in touch with a producer and director, who think she is the next Lillian Hellman. Hazel’s play, Wartime Sonata, inspired by her experiences as a USO tour performer, is being cast and will be performed on Broadway at the Biltmore Theater.

The United States was recovering from World War ll, but 1950 was the beginning of a period in the United States in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion. Due to these fears many believed that spies had infiltrated the United States federal government, universities, film industry, and elsewhere. Fiona Davis puts this era right on center stage and the house lights shine brightly in the garrish faces of those involved in the House Un-American Activities Committee, HUAC. The Chelsea Girls brings a tumultuous time in our history to the forefront for younger readers who haven’t heard or read about the Hollywood Ten and “McCarthyism.” In between the accusations, subpoenas, and questioning, there’s a story of love and friendship, that will have your heart and mind switching sides several times.

The reader learns that on Broadway the reviewers dash out of a play to get their copy into the late edition of the newspapers. The producer waits for the papers and scans quickly in search for the theater section. The reviews are read and if he enters the after-party holding the issues above his head, then the champagne corks begin popping. If he tosses the papers into the trash and joins the party empty-handed then the party turns into a wake. The Grateful Reader would enter the party for The Chelsea Girls with “newspapers aloft!” Pour the champagne! Cheers to The Chelsea Girls!

Joseph Raymond McCarthy (November 14, 1908 – May 2, 1957) was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period in the United States in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion.[1] He is known for alleging that numerous Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers had infiltrated the United States federal government, universities, film industry, and elsewhere. Ultimately, the smear tactics that he used led him to be censured by the U.S. Senate. The term “McCarthyism”, coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy’s practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist activities.

Featured

Meet Me in Monaco by Heather Webb & Hazel Gaynor

“Heather Webb is the international bestselling author of six historical novels set in France, including her latest Last Christmas in Paris, which became a bestseller and also won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association STAR award. In 2015, her novel about famed sculptors Camille Claudel and Rodin called Rodin’s Lover, was a Goodreads Top Pick. Next, check out her novel inspired by Grace Kelly’s royal wedding called Meet Me in Monaco, co-written with bestselling author Hazel Gaynor. To date, Heather’s novels have sold in a dozen countries worldwide. She is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend. She lives in New England with her family and one feisty rabbit. https://www.amazon.com/Heather-Webb/e/B00E96TVOC%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and Irish Times bestselling historical novelist.

Hazel’s 2018 release The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, inspired by true events surrounding the life of Victorian lighthouse keeper, Grace Darling, was a top 10 Irish Times bestseller for five consecutive weeks.

Summer 2019 will see the publication of Meet Me In Monaco, Hazel’s second collaboration with Heather Webb. The book is set against the back-drop of the iconic wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco.

All Hazel’s novels have been received to critical-acclaim and are translated into ten foreign languages and published in seventeen countries to date. Hazel lives in Ireland with her husband and two children and is represented by Michelle Brower at Aevitas Creative, New York.

https://www.hazelgaynor.com/

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

The Cannes Film Festival of 1955, was the site of the momentous meeting of the international film star, Grace Kelly, and Prince Rainier III of Monaco. A short year later, on April 19, 1956, the two were married in a Catholic ceremony at St. Nicholas Cathedral, in front of 600 guests and the world stage of television. The well known love story between a movie star and the world’s most eligible bachelor is well documented in print and documentaries. This iconic “royal wedding” is the backdrop for Meet Me in Monaco; the superbly co-authored novel of Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor.

The stars of the novel are Sophie Duval, the daughter of a parfumeur in Grasse, France, and the sometimes lucky English photographer, James Henderson. Sophie’s alcoholic maman, her unbelievably wealthy boyfriend.Lucien, shop assistant Natalie, and of course, Grace Kelly, all have a role in the making or breaking of Sophie’s perfume factory in Grasse, and her boutique in Cannes. The fragrant descriptions of the lavender fields in Grasse, and the smell of the sea blended with roses and mimosas in full bloom in Cannes will sweep you right out into the Mediterranean Sea! The reader will want to explore the well documented articles and wedding photographs of Her Serene Highness and discover today’s top ten fragrances in French perfumes, but most of all become intoxicated by the fragrant formula for love on the Cote d’Azur. It’s not complicated like the formulas in Sophie’s journal of perfume notes; it’s quite a simple formula to follow: Read Meet Me in Monaco by Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor. ( July ’19)

Meet Me in Monaco by Heather Webb & Hazel Gaynor

Meet Me in Monaco is available NOW! Grace Kelly fans, REJOICE!

The Grateful Reader

“Heather Webb is the international bestselling author of six historical novels set in France, including her latest Last Christmas in Paris, which became a bestseller and also won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association STAR award. In 2015, her novel about famed sculptors Camille Claudel and Rodin called Rodin’s Lover, was a Goodreads Top Pick. Next, check out her novel inspired by Grace Kelly’s royal wedding called Meet Me in Monaco, co-written with bestselling author Hazel Gaynor. To date, Heather’s novels have sold in a dozen countries worldwide. She is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend. She lives in New England with her family and one feisty rabbit. https://www.amazon.com/Heather-Webb/e/B00E96TVOC%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and Irish Times bestselling historical novelist.

Hazel’s 2018…

View original post 388 more words

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Experience World War 2 through the eyes of two very different women in this captivating New York Times bestseller.https://www.amazon.com/Postmistress-Sarah-Blake/dp/0425238695

Sarah Blake is the author of the novels Grange House and the New York Times bestseller The Postmistress. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two sons. Sarah’s newest book The Guest House is also available now!

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

A postmistress not only holds the key to the mail delivery, she also holds the “keys to the city.” She knows the comings and goings of the citizens, whether each one reveals clues or not. My grandmother was a “postmistress” during this same time; early 1940’s, in a small rural community in south Louisiana. I really cannot imagine her dismay at the thought of holding a letter and not delivering it to the recipient. Even though we’d all like to think we’d do the right thing, what is the right thing? In Sarah Blake’s novel, Frankie Bard, “radio gal,” is with Edward Murrow, CBS radio in London and Europe, during the early years of World War ll. She introduces the reader to the conundrum of how to handle the delivery of news. Frankie was impressed by Murrow’s ability to narrate over the incoming drone of the Luftwaffe, and wanted to add her voice so that Americans would sit up and pay attention and certainly not look away.

Returning to her London flat after a night of bombing, Frankie finds the back of the flat has vanished along with Harriet, her roommate. Harriet’s quest had been to collect the stories of Jews in Europe and to make people aware of what was happening. Frankie takes on this challenge and begins a journey across France by train, to interview and record the voices and stories of those she meets. In her head Frankie’s not sure how the “voices” will come together in a broadcast, but in her heart she knows she must gather the depth of feelings she glimpses in the eyes of the Jewish mothers and fathers, and in the tears of the children.

Meanwhile, stateside, two young women cross paths in the small town of Franklin, Massachusetts. One is Iris, the Postmistress, and the other, Emma, who marries the town doctor. At this point the United States has not entered the war, and most of the town folks are not too concerned-except for Harry-who keeps up a nightly vigil for U-Boats and wants the town flag pole lowered so it doesn’t attract attention from off- shore.

The reader will feel the jolting of the train creeping through the darkness, as Frankie begins her journey to record the stories of the Jews; feeling the stress of those traveling toward Strasbourg, Lyon, and Lisbon, hoping for an escape to America. Sarah Blake’s descriptions and storytelling keep the reader anxious, yet eventually fulfilled, as she takes you on a ride on the radio waves with Frankie all the way from London back to lands’ end in Massachusetts. Pack lunch and a suitcase for a satisfying ride with Sarah Blake’s The Postmistress.

Edward Roscoe Murrow, April 25, 1908 – April 27, 1965) was an American broadcast journalist and war correspondent. He first gained prominence during World War II with a series of live radio broadcasts from Europe for the news division of CBS.

Keep Calm and Carry On is a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for World War II. The poster was intended to raise the morale of the British public, threatened with widely predicted mass air attacks on major cities.

Crescendo-The Story of a Musical Genius Who Forever Changed a Southern Town by Allen Cheney with Julie Cantrell

” Allen Cheney was born and raised in Thomasville Georgia. Ever close to his southern Georgia roots while navigating through his many creative endeavors in Los Angeles, Allen Cheney finds sharing his grandparents, Fred and Winnie Allen’s life story the pinnacle project for his career. “I have always had an unbelievable bond with my grandparents, Fred and Winnie Allen. They instilled in me a creative drive and dedication to excellence that has been the cornerstone for my success,” – Allen Cheney

“As I share the story of Fred Allen, I write not to tell you who he is but to examine why he is and to learn all we can from this musical prodigy, who overcame absolute brokenness to become one of the most influential music mentors ever known.” Prologue; Crescendo

” I’m very excited to announce the release of my first collaborative work of creative non-fiction, CRESCENDO, co-authored with Allen Cheney. I hope you’ll enjoy this inspirational story based on the lives of Fred and Winnie Allen as well as the incredible people (and music) of Thomasville, Georgia. “

The Grateful Reader Review: by Dorothy Schwab

In LaGrange, Georgia, 1935, Fred Allen is born; immediately deemed a caulbearer, due to a chalkey shroud over his head. Some called it “born behind the veil; others said the baby was cursed. Mayhayley Lancaster, teacher and oracle, but most importantly, midwife-life-giver and a godsend, was on hand to say, “Nonsense!” “You’re a special one, aren’t you?”

Lots of folks in this poor cotton mill town were suffering the devastating effects of the Depression. The evil behavior of many had a lifelong emotional impact on young Fred’s life. Born with the gift of playing music “by ear, a voice known as “heldentenor,” and handsome good looks, all carried Fred Allen to unbelievable places:  the Juilliard School in New York City, Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University, and eventually the professional music scene.  God certainly placed many people in Fred’s life as he climbed out of the drudgery of that small Georgia town: There was Noah, his grandfather and educator, Eleanor, recently out of prison who became his protector, and eventually the love of his life, Winnie Langley.

“We are the company we keep,” is proven over and over again as Allen Cheney and Julie Cantrell, share the true story of his grandparents. The belief of just one person can restore hope when one feels all is lost. Fred Allen who survived abuse, hunger & poverty; was saved by God’s mercy and grace, to have a lasting impact on thousands. He was surely a “Music Man” to many.

The author shares many letters of thanks and appreciation that were written to Fred Allen, his grandfather, and to Winnie, his grandmother. When the reader reflects on this body of “life work” surely a teacher or mentor will come to mind. Someone that should be thanked and appreciated for their love and belief in you, that was maybe that one spark of hope when needed most.

Crescendo is the true story of a musical genius. Authors Allen Cheney and Julie Cantrell have composed a beautiful score to accompany the life of Fred Allen. The Grateful Reader is soothed by the gentle gift of mercy and hope revealed in Crescendo. Miracles DO happen.

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams

“Beatriz Williams is the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of The Summer Wives, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, A Hundred Summers, A Certain Age, and several other works of historical fiction. A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA in Finance from Columbia University, Beatriz worked as a communications and corporate strategy consultant in New York and London before she turned her attention to writing novels that combine her passion for history with an obsessive devotion to voice and characterization.”

https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062834775/the-golden-hour/

Coming July 9, 2019

Government House
Wallis & Edward at Government House
Harry & Eunice Oakes- Richest man in the British Empire

Research & Rabbit trails! As I was searching for images I found a wonderful site that I’d like to share. It has much of the historical background you’ll need for The Golden Hour! Historian & author: Caroline Harris http://www.royalhistorian.com/author/carolynharris/ http://www.royalhistorian.com/miami-and-a-murder-mystery-the-duke-of-windsor-as-governor-of-the-bahamas-1940-1945/

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

The former King of England and his American bride,Wallis Simpson, the Bahamas, World War II and an unsolved murder in 1943: the “golden” setting for The Golden Hour.

The plucky young American, Leonora Thorpe, is in the Bahamas to give the American readers of the Metropolitan Magazine an inside view of Nassau society-meaning the Duke & Duchess of Windsor. The world famous, Edward and Wallis, are serving as governor and live at Government House. (Americans have always had an appetite for the “royals,” which continues to this day.) Leonora, Lulu, also known as the “Lady of Nassau” for her column in the Metropolitan, entrenches herself in high society and becomes a confidant of the Duchess. As Lulu gets involved with the rich and famous of the islands, she also begins to unravel the story of her husband’s family dating back to Germany and Switzerland in the 1900’s. The saga of Elfriede & Gerhard, and her quest for love and a united family takes the reader on a journey of pain and suffering, but also “wonderment” – questioning loyalties and how far love and devotion should extend. This novel is laced with joy and heartache, but is worth the emotional “royal rollercoaster,” to the very last page. It’s a 5 star golden read!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

“A painfully beautiful first novel that is at once a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative and a celebration of nature…. Owens here surveys the desolate marshlands of the North Carolina coast through the eyes of an abandoned child. And in her isolation that child makes us open our own eyes to the secret wonders — and dangers — of her private world.”
— THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

https://www.deliaowens.com/home/#order-book

Delia Owens is the co-author of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa—Cry of the Kalahari, The Eye of the Elephant, and Secrets of the Savanna. She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in Nature, The African Journal of Ecology, and International Wildlife, among many others. She currently lives in Idaho, where she continues her support for the people and wildlife of Zambia. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel.

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

“Kya remembered Ma always encouraging her to explore the marsh: “Go as far as you can-way out yonder where the crawdads sing.” The North Carolina coastal marshes and swamp, a murder, and a young girl abandoned since she was 7, are mushed into the most glorious novel of a young girl finding her power and voice among the seashells, fireflies, and mushrooms; all the while surviving on her own gumption and sass. The descriptions are so delicately painted by Delia’s prose that it seems The Sea Shells of the Eastern Seaboard, by Catherine Danielle Clark, should be available on Amazon!

The novel has a dual timeline; alternating between Kya, the Marsh Girl’s childhood, and the accidental death, or was it murder- of Chase Andrews, a former standout quarterback at the local high school. The exquisite details of the sunsets, fog, marshes, and close up views of insects and plants are woven among the tense, prejudice-filled opinions of the locals and how they feel about the uneducated, “marsh trash”, so aptly named, the Marsh Girl.

Where the Crawdads Sing has been on the New York Times Bestseller list for 27 weeks, currently. This is for extremely good reason! Readers will feel the music of the gulls’ wings as they flock to be fed, followed by the haunting verses of poetry recited by Catherine as she explores the marshes. Catherine confronts her own feelings of loneliness & abandonment, trusting people again, forgiveness and the empowerment of sheer survival. If she can survive, anyone can.

If only the rare sea shells, bird feathers and marsh grasses, so beautifully described, were actually in watercolor and print; but you do have Where the Crawdads Sing, to read over and over, until the glorious images are imprinted in your mind. Sheer Joy!