Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Author LORETH ANNE WHITE--award-winning, internationally bestselling author of thrillers, mysteries, and romantic suspense--richly atmospheric, compelling characters, involving story lines

A Dark Lure (A Dark Lure, #1)



Twelve years ago, Sarah Baker was abducted by the Watt Lake Killer and sexually assaulted for months before managing to escape. The killer was caught, but Sarah lost everything: her marriage, her child, and the life she loved.
Struggling with PTSD, Sarah changes her name to Olivia West and finds sanctuary working on Broken Bar Ranch. But as her scars finally begin to heal, a cop involved with her horrific case remains convinced the Watt Lake Killer is still out there. He sets a lure for the murderer, and a fresh body is discovered. Now Olivia must face the impossible—could the butcher be back, this time to finish the job?

As a frigid winter isolates the ranch, only one person can help Olivia: Cole McDonough, a writer, adventurer, and ranch heir who stirs long-dormant feelings in her. But this time, Olivia’s determination to shut out her past may destroy more than her chance at love. It could cost her her life.


The Dark Bones (A Dark Lure, #2)



She’s come back to solve the mystery of her father’s death and confront her own dark past.
 
When Detective Rebecca North left her rural hometown, she vowed never to return. Her father’s apparent suicide has changed that. The official report is that retired cop Noah North shot himself, knocked over a lantern, and set his isolated cabin ablaze. But Rebecca cannot believe he killed himself.

To prove it, she needs the help of Ash Haugen, the man she left behind. But Rebecca and Ash share more than broken hearts. Something darker lies between them, and the investigation is stirring it back to life. Clues lead them to the home of Olivia West and her deeply troubled twelve-year-old daughter, Tori. The child knows more about the murder than anyone can imagine, but she’s too terrified to say a word.

And as a cold-blooded killer resurfaces from the past, Rebecca and Ash begin to fear that their own secrets may be even harder to survive.


In the Dark



A secluded mountain lodge. The perfect getaway. So remote no one will ever find you.

The promise of a luxury vacation at a secluded wilderness spa has brought together eight lucky guests. But nothing is what they were led to believe. As a fierce storm barrels down and all contact with the outside is cut off, the guests fear that it’s not a getaway. It’s a trap.

Each one has a secret. Each one has something to hide. And now, as darkness closes in, they all have something to fear—including one another.

Alerted to the vanished party of strangers, homicide cop Mason Deniaud and search and rescue expert Callie Sutton must brave the brutal elements of the mountains to find them. But even Mason and Callie have no idea how precious time is. Because the clock is ticking, and one by one, the guests of Forest Shadow Lodge are being hunted. For them, surviving becomes part of a diabolical game.



Pieces of You

Pieces of You 

(re-released as "THE SLOW BURN OF SILENCE")
 
From award-winning romance author Loreth Anne White comes a story of justice, loyalty, and unbreakable bonds that is both a thrilling mystery and a moving love story. Newly exonerated ex-con Jeb Cullen is determined to prove his innocence to his former neighbors and win back the heart of Rachel Salonen, the only woman he’s ever loved.

Nine years after her testimony helped put Jeb behind bars, Rachel’s life is finally getting back to normal. But it’s turned upside down by the sudden death of her sister and her new responsibility for her sister’s adopted daughter, Quinn. Now Jeb is back in his hometown, and he’s willing to risk everything to discover who was really responsible for the crime he was accused of. But there are people in Snowy Creek who will do anything to keep the truth buried, a truth that could tear the sleepy town apart and cost Jeb everything he holds dear.

National Readers' Choice Awards Finalist.
2014 Readers' Crown - Best Romantic Suspense.
2014 Readers' Crown - Best Book of 2013
2014 Booksellers Best Finalist


MY REVIEW:  Richly atmospheric with its rural Canadian setting, "Pieces of You", from author Loreth Anne White, is a terrific romantic suspense thriller. An engrossing story line and compelling characters will keep readers involved from beginning to end. Small towns like the ski resort community of Snowy Creek sometimes hold big secrets. People are very interconnected. What happens to one person affects someone else, and the ripple effect is started. Rachel Salonen and Jeb Cullen met in school and formed a deep friendship which later turned to young love. Jeb was from "the wrong side of the river", his mixed cultural heritage and dark good looks giving him an air of danger. Rachel was a "golden girl", a star athlete and darling daughter of Snowy Creek. Few approved of the relationship, but the bond between them was intense. A heated argument about the course of their involvement had tragic, lasting consequences for Jeb and Rachel. An impetuous mistake placed Jeb in the wrong place at the wrong time, setting him up to take the fall for a brutal rape and kidnapping. Just as his young adult life was beginning, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison for a crime he didn't commit. Rachel was devastated, and her hurt led to a traumatic skiing injury which ended her career as a medal-winning competitor. After almost a decade, Jeb's conviction is overturned, and he returns to Snowy Creek determined to find the real perpetrator so that his name can be truly cleared. He also dreams of making amends with Rachel, whom he has never stopped loving. There's someone else he needs to find--the daughter who was conceived on the night that changed all their lives forever. Jeb's return to Snowy Creek brings unease to those who bear the weight of guilt, and violence is once again the outcome. There's more than one danger in the close-knit community, and the real evil is more heinous than anyone suspects. As Rachel and Jeb make their way back toward each other, they are threatened and harassed, and they try desperately to protect Jeb's daughter, Quinn. Rachel's sister Sophia and her husband had adopted Quinn as a baby without telling anyone the identity of her real parents. After Sophia and her husband were killed in a fire, Rachel became Quinn's guardian. But can she guard her heart from Jeb? Can Jeb prove his innocence and protect the lives of his child and the woman who holds the key to his heart? Human horrors are not the only things to be feared as drought conditions turn into a raging fire which threatens to consume the community. What truths will be revealed? Who will survive? Author Loreth Anne White has created an intriguing tale, perfectly placed in the mountains of Canada, which become a character unto themselves.

Book Copy Gratis Author



In the Waning Light 



Two decades after her sister’s brutal attack and murder, Meg Brogan has finally found happiness…or so it appears. A bestselling true-crime writer, Meg has money, fame, and a wealthy fiancĂ©. But when a television-show host presses her to tackle the one story everyone claims she cannot write—the story of her own family’s destruction—her perfect life shatters.

Determined to finally face her past, Meg returns to her hometown of Shelter Bay. Shrouded in cold, brooding fog, the close-knit coastal town harbors dark secrets and suspicious residents. One of the few people to welcome Meg back is Blake Sutton, her high-school sweetheart and the marina’s new owner. Desperate for clues, Meg digs through her family’s files. As Pacific storms brew outside, her passion for Blake reignites.

But someone doesn’t want Meg digging up the past. And that person will go to deadly lengths to prevent the writer from revealing a terrible truth.

Loreth Anne White  Amazon Books Page


Loreth Anne White

Loreth Anne White

Loreth Anne White is an internationally bestselling author of thrillers, mysteries, and romantic suspense. A three-time RITA finalist, she is also the Overall 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award winner, and she has won the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, the National Readers' Choice Award, and the Romantic Crown for Best Romantic Suspense and Best Book Overall, in addition to being a Booksellers' Best finalist, and a multiple CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award winner.

A recovering journalist who has worked in both South Africa and Canada, she now resides in the haunting mountains of the Pacific Northwest with her family ... where she tries to avoid the bears, albeit unsuccessfully! When she's not writing, you will find her skiing, biking, or hiking the trails with her dog (aka the Black Beast). Or open water swimming. She calls this work, because that's when the best ideas come.

www.lorethannewhite.com

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"Healthy Meal Prep Instant Pot® Cookbook: No-Fuss Recipes for Nutritious, Ready-to-Go Meals"-- combine the speed and ease of Instant Pot® cooking with optimal ingredients and fix great food that’s good for you in no time

Healthy Meal Prep Instant Pot® Cookbook: No-Fuss Recipes for Nutritious, Ready-to-Go Meals

 
 
Healthy, ready-to-go meals―Instant Pot® fast

Healthy eating is suddenly fast and simple with The Healthy Meal Prep Instant Pot Cookbook. Combining the speed and ease of Instant Pot® cooking with meal prep hacks, this Instant Pot cookbook will have you fixing great food that’s good for you in no time. You’ll also have plenty left for ready-to-go meals so you eat well all week long.

Never used an Instant Pot®? Don’t know much about meal prep? The Healthy Meal Prep Instant Pot Cookbook teaches you everything you need to know. From proper food storage to multitasking with your multicooker, discover how perfectly healthy meal prep and the Instant Pot® go together.

The Healthy Meal Prep Instant Pot Cookbook includes:
  • BECOME AN INSTANT POT® PRO―Become an electric pressure cooker expert with handy guides and tips―plus recipes developed specifically for the Instant Pot®.
  • MASTER MEAL PREP―Learn the secrets of advanced preparation, planning, and storage that make meal prepping a snap inside this Instant Pot cookbook.
  • 75 RECIPES―From Spicy Sausage and Potato Hash to Lemon-Garlic Shrimp Scampi, enjoy delicious food that tastes just as great when you bring it back out of your fridge or freezer for grab-and-go meals.
Make healthy meal prep easier than ever with the Healthy Meal Prep Instant Pot Cookbook.


”Cooking and eating whole food meals from scratch is an important part of the healing process for many with chronic health conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Yet, meal prep can be tedious and time-consuming. Not anymore! This beautiful cookbook demystifies getting a healthy, delicious meal on the table, quickly and easily, using the Instant Pot.”―Amy Medling, author of Healing PCOS and founder of PCOSDiva.com
 

MY REVIEW:  When I first opened "Healthy Meal Prep Instant Pot® Cookbook: No-Fuss Recipes for Nutritious, Ready-to-Go Meals" and looked at the recipes, I immediately said "YUM"! Author Carrie Forrest has put together a terrific collection of 75 fabulous recipes, guidelines for healthful eating, Instant Pot usage tips, a meal prep guide, and so much more. One very important tip: always use a minimum of one cup of cooking liquid with each recipe. Follow safety procedures as recommended by the manufacturer.  Pressure cooking became popular with American cooks in the 1950's, and it has evolved through the years into the Instant Pot cooking method that we know and love today. This cookbook is actually authorized by the Instant Pot brand, and it includes many delicious recipes like these: "Cinnamon-Apple Steel-Cut Oats"; "Broccoli and Cheddar Crustless Quiche"; "Spanish Rice"; "Vegetable Minestrone with Pasta"; "Lemon-Garlic Shrimp Scampi"; "Honey Sesame Chicken"; "Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes"; "Hawaiian Pineapple Pork"; and "Polish Sausage with Sauerkraut:'. I had the ingredients on hand to make "Loaded Baked Potato Soup", and it was so good! Save time, use less fat and more healthful ingredients, follow helpful meal prep techniques, and enjoy a variety of "clean eating" dishes that you have prepared for yourself and your family and friends. 

Book Copy Gratis Callisto Publishers

  
Carrie Forrest

Carrie Forrest

Carrie Forrest, MBA, MPH, is the creator of the website and YouTube channel, Clean Eating Kitchen, where she shares easy gluten-free and dairy-free recipes and tips to help women recovering from chronic disease.

Carrie has masters degrees in business and public health nutrition, but, more importantly, has used a real food diet to recover from and manage multiple health conditions including PCOS, chronic migraines, anxiety, autoimmune disease, and thyroid cancer.

Carrie lives with her husband and two rescue cats on California’s beautiful Central Coast.

You can reach Carrie on her website, www.cleaneatingkitchen.com, or on Instagram or Facebook @cleaneatingcarrie. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

"My Phonics Workbook: 101 Games and Activities to Support Reading Skills"--coloring, tracing, mazes, puzzles, word searches and more keep kids motivated to learn from beginning to end

My Phonics Workbook: 101 Games and Activities to Support Reading Skills



The biggest collection of games and activities to have a BLAST learning phonics

Building phonics skills is the first step to reading success―and now it’s F-U-N too! My Phonics Workbook helps new readers ages 4-6 become phonics all-stars with extra fun and educational games.

Watch kids learn the alphabet from A-Z and connect letters to sounds and words. With mazes, puzzles, word searches, and more, this workbook is play-packed with “aha” moments that pave the way to becoming a stellar reader.

My Phonics Workbook teaches:
  • Letters A-Z―Start off with the building blocks of individual vowel and consonant sounds.
  • Sounds to words―Cumulative lessons allow new readers to progress from letter sounds to word blends.
  • 101 Awesome activities―Coloring, tracing, mazes, puzzles, word searches and more keep kids motivated to learn from beginning to end.
The best lessons leave the biggest smiles―this phonics workbook makes sure of that on every page.

MY REVIEW: "My Phonics Workbook: 101 Games and Activities to Support Reading Skills" starts off on an encouraging note: Three pages with a "star" for each one of the 101 activities. Children can color in the star for each activity that they complete, and then they can review their progress in a simple visual manner. This workbook is designed to help children ages 4 to 6 build the pre-reading skills needed for kindergarten. Activities and games are fun, and they hold a child's interest while developing essential phonics skills which will aid them in learning to read. Each colorful page features a different type of activity, and the difficulty level gradually increases as the child progresses through the book. Here are some of the cute page titles you'll find: "Busy, Buzzy Bee"; "In the Doghouse!"; "Dress the Dragon"; "Gorilla Grows Grapes"; "Henry Hunts for H Words"; "Jackrabbit Jumps for Joy"; "Lizard's Lawn Sale"; "Skunk's Skates"; "Vicky's Vacation"; and "Yak's Yacht". My favorite is "One Sweet Town"--Color the words on the path that begin with the "sw" sound. Then you can color the rest of the full-page picture. At the end of the book, there is a "Congratulations Certificate" to fill in with the child's name when all the activities are completed. Author Laurin Brainard has created a helpful and happy learning guide that will be enjoyable for children and parents to use together.

Book Copy Gratis Callisto Publishers


LAURIN BRAINARD, M.Ed

Laurin Brainard M.Ed.

LAURIN BRAINARD, M.Ed., is the founder of and curriculum designer for The Primary Brain (ThePrimaryBrain.com). In 2013, she began her teaching career as a first grade teacher in California. Through her blog, Laurin shares preschool through first grade ideas, fun activities including crafts, and teaching tips. Laurin is also a mom to preschoolers. When she isn't teaching or designing children's resources, Laurin enjoys baking, writing, and making memories with her family.

"Liberty Blue Dinnerware"--by Debbie and Randy Coe, is a very special read for collectors of Liberty Blue Ironstone--also a treat for history buffs and folks who are enamored of Americana

Liberty Blue Dinnerware



Blue and white ironstone dinnerware has been collected for many years, and the introduction of the Liberty Blue pattern in 1975 by Enoch Wedgwood of England, with its fifteen different historic scenes of colonial America, brought forth keen interest. Here the Old North Church, Minutemen, West Point, Independence Hall, Mount Vernon, and many more historic sites are shown. The Liberty Blue promotion coincided with America's Bicentennial celebrations, causing more people to become interested in owning a set for themselves. Color photographs beautifully illustrate all the pieces in a complete set, and interesting facts are given about each historic scene. Updated prices are included in the captions and the associated glassware and ceramic pieces are carefully described. Original advertisements and brochures are included to provide extensive accurate information. This is the first book about Liberty Blue dinnerware and is sure to become a valuable reference guide for collectors trying to build a complete set.

Staffordshire Liberty Blue 5 Piece Place Setting

MY REVIEW:   "Liberty Blue Dinnerware", by Debbie and Randy Coe, is a very special read for collectors of Liberty Blue Ironstone. I have this dinnerware, and it is really beautiful--so much deep blue! It has great sentimental value because Mom and I collected the pieces each week from the local A&P grocery store during the Bicentennial Era of the late 1970's. The pieces were just 69 cents each! I only have the plates, saucers, small bowls, and teacups, I would love to have a complete set which includes the serving pieces. This book is very informative about the beginnings of Liberty Blue in 1975 when it was commissioned by the Benjamin Franklin Savings & Loan to offer to account holders in celebration of the S&L's 50th anniversary. Historic scenes from Colonial America are depicted in detailed artwork on each piece. The book is filled with photos and illustrations, including the original advertisements run by the S&L. I was amazed to see the extensive variety of the pieces which goes way beyond my collection, and it made long to collect some of those unique items. Whether you are a Liberty Blue collector, a history buff, or are enamored of Americana, you will greatly enjoy this book.


ABOUT DEBBIE & RANDY COE
 
Long time collectors and dealers in American glassware. They started dealing in antiques in 1980 and by 1986 were full time antique dealers. Their goal is to help educate the buying public by providing information about the items they sell. They are passionate about preserving our American heritage of glass making. Debbie and Randy Coe are important dealers in American glassware and ceramics whose previous book, Elegant Glass, Early, Depression, and Beyond, has been highly regarded among experienced glass enthusiasts. They live in Oregon.

http://www.coesmercantile.com/aboutus.html

Sunday, May 19, 2019

"THE SOLDIER'S WIFE" by Margaret Leroy is a thoughtful, well-told tale based on the true German occupation of the small Channel Island of Guernsey during World War II

The Soldier's Wife



As World War II draws closer and closer to Guernsey, Vivienne de la Mare knows that there will be sacrifices to be made. Not just for herself, but for her two young daughters and for her mother-in-law, for whom she cares while her husband is away fighting. What she does not expect is that she will fall in love with one of the enigmatic German soldiers who take up residence in the house next door to her home. As their relationship intensifies, so do the pressures on Vivienne. Food and resources grow scant, and the restrictions placed upon the residents of the island grow with each passing week. Though Vivienne knows the perils of her love affair with Gunther, she believes that she can keep their relationship and her family safe. But when she becomes aware of the full brutality of the Occupation, she must decide if she is willing to risk her personal happiness for the life of a stranger.

"With its stunning and evocative description of the Guernsey landscape, its subtle and astute depiction of a woman's relationship with her children, her lover, and her husband, this absorbing novel is utterly beguiling."―Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister

MY REVIEW: I have just read a wonderful book which brought home to me how precious freedom really is, and how high the cost is of preserving that freedom. "The Soldier's Wife" by Margaret Leroy is a thoughtful, well-told tale based on the true German occupation of the small Channel Island of Guernsey during World War II. After I read the novel, I researched the facts of the occupation, and the real story is just as compelling as the fictional account. Reading them both enhances the collective story content. Vivienne de la Mare is the wife of an English soldier, and she and her two daughters live with her mother-in-law at the family home in Guernsey. Vivienne's husband was absent from her life long before he went off to war. His affair with an actress alienated him from Vivienne's heart. Left to care for her mother-in-law, who is rapidly succumbing to dementia, Vivienne makes life as pleasant as possible for her two young daughters. When the German occupation arrives in an intense and violent manner, many rapid changes occur in the life of the islanders. German soldiers take over the empty house next to Vivienne's, and she becomes involved with one the officers. Theirs is a poignant, passionate, and ultimately improbable affair. During the time of the occupation, Vivienne is faced with many difficult decisions, some of which may have dangerous consequences for those she loves. "The Soldier's Wife" is written in a beautifully descriptive style, and it offers glimpses into both sides of the horror of the Second World War. The shades of survivorship are well represented.

My mother and grandparents often talked about food shortages and rationing during the Great Depression and also later during World War II. My grandparents were very resourceful, skilled in gardening and preserving food, and they were practical in making the most of what was available. As a matter of survival, the characters in "The Soldier's Wife" had to learn to do the same thing. Used to the bountiful produce from the land and the sea, and the superior dairy products from the famous Guernsey cows, the islanders suddenly were faced with scrambling to find substitutions for everyday foods. They learned to use vegetables in many different ways including making flour from dried ground beans and coffee from roasted and ground parsnips. I am not sure that I would be that resourceful, but we never know what we are capable of until we are faced with great challenges. One of my favorite scenes in "The Soldier's Wife" involves the rapture of Vivienne's struggling family's enjoyment of an unexpected gift of overripe peaches. The fruit was sweet and succulent, and it seemed like a taste of Heaven. The juice from the peaches ran freely down their chins as they gratefully devoured their fruity treasure.

Book copy Gratis Hyperion VOICE
 



Margaret Leroy 

MARGARET LEROY SAYS:

"I grew up in the New Forest. As a child I wrote elaborate fantasy stories that I never showed to anyone. But around age 12 I stopped writing, and didn't start again till my mid-twenties.

I went to Oxford to study music, at St. Hilda's College. In my twenties I tried all sorts of things - music therapy, play-leading with children with disabilities, work in a toy shop, teaching. I also got married - and divorced. Finally I found work I really enjoyed, as a social worker: I qualified at Leicester University, and worked in psychiatry and then in child protection. It's a reviled profession but I found it fascinating: though, intriguingly, in my writing social workers are more likely to be villains than heroes. Around this time I met Mick, who is now my husband - and I started writing again. I became a full-time(ish) writer after our younger daughter was born."


"WINTER BLOOM"--author TARA HEAVEY tells the story of five people who work together toward a common goal and discover much about themselves and each other along the way

Winter Bloom



There would be tunnels of roses, beds of strawberries, fountains of overflowing herbs. And there might even be love. . . .  

In the heart of bustling modern Dublin is a littered, overgrown garden of tangled weeds and a stagnant, hidden pond. Belonging to an iron-willed elderly lady named Mrs. Prendergast, who is rumored to have murdered and buried her husband there, the garden draws Eva Madigan, a young mother struggling to move on from the pain of her past. Eva is joined by Emily, a beautiful but withdrawn college dropout; Uri, an old-world immigrant; Seth, his all-too-handsome son; and occasionally even Mrs. Prendergast herself. But what drives Eva to transform the neglected urban wilderness? What makes the others want to help her? Even as Mrs. Prendergast puts the land up for sale, the thorny lives of all the gardeners are revealed and slowly start to untangle. Overgrown secrets are dug up and shared. Choices are made; a little pruning is in order. Now Eva is about to discover that every garden is a story of growth toward a final harvest.

MY REVIEW: Just as the garden of "Winter Bloom" is lovingly and skillfully brought back to life, so are the lives of the characters revived and renewed. Tara Heavey tells the story of five people who work together toward a common goal and discover much about themselves and each other along the way. When young widowed mother Eva Madigan spies the sadly neglected walled garden of the elderly Mrs. Prendergast, she is struck by the desire to restore the wasted space to its former glory. It takes some convincing, and Mrs. Prendergast warns her that the garden is meant to be sold, but Eva is given permission for her project. She places an ad at the grocer for help with a community garden, and only two people respond to the ad: Uri, a distinguished older gentleman, and Emily, the clerk from the grocer. Soon they are joined by Uri's son Seth, and after a time, even Mrs. Prendergast begins to help with the work. Each of the gardeners has been touched by tragedy, and their individual stories are woven throughout the telling of the restoration. Uri, a tailor by trade, was taught much by his own father, who was a master gardener. Seth, who inherited his love of cultivating the soil from his father and grandfather, has his own landscaping business. Emily, stuck in her clerk's job, longs to further her education and move on with her life. Mrs. Prendergast, a lady of impeccable social grace, is nonetheless rumored to have killed her husband and buried him somewhere in the garden. It is her greedy, needy son, Lance, who is pressuring her to sell the land. Eva's husband took their baby daughter for a drive to settle her crying, and they were both killed in a terrible accident. Eva was left to care for their young son, Liam, and to manage her survivor guilt. These are remarkable people, trying their best to live "ordinary" lives. I was touched by their heartaches, and I celebrated with them their joys. Their shared experience was an affirmation of life, not only for the characters, but also for the reader. I will definitely read more work by the wonderful storyteller, Tara Heavey!

Book Copy Gratis Simon & Schuster



Tara Heavey
Tara Heavey 
A former lawyer, Tara Heavey has been writing all her life. She has had five novels traditionally published and is now an independent author.

Tara specializes in themes such as healing through nature and redemption, all served up with a healthy dose of humor and warmth.

She lives in the heart of the Irish countryside, cradled on all sides by rolling green fields and undulating hills. She resides with her lovely children and an assortment of pets that vary drastically in levels of IQ and smelliness (the pets, not the children).



You can find her at:
www.taraheavey.com or
www.facebook.com/taraEJH
 

"RESTORATION"--by Olaf Olafsson--a book which will make you want to read it all in one setting--you will want to know how the final pieces of the puzzle fall into place--a very good read.

Restoration



Acclaimed novelist Olaf Olafsson brings us Restoration, a sweeping story of love tested by human frailty and the terrors and tragedies of war.  Departing from the landscapes of his native Iceland—so beautifully evoked in Absolution, The Journey Home, and other previous works—Olafsson sets Restoration in the gorgeous Italian hills of Tuscany during the World War Two years of the early 1940s. He captivates readers with a deeply emotional story in the vein of The English Patient by Michael Ondaajte, Ian McEwan’s Atonement, and other contemporary literary classics, spinning a tale of passion, art, war, and betrayal centered around a pair of love triangles and a forged Caravaggio. 

Raised within a cosseted circle of British ex-pats in Florence, Alice shocked her family and friends when she married Claudio. Despite the protests of both families, they found a crumbling villa on a windy Tuscan hilltop, called San Martino, and they poured themselves into the house and the land–and what they built together bound them together. They had a son. They finished the house. They were happy.

But away from her family and the ease of life to which she was accustomed, Alice begins to slip into a vast and encompassing loneliness. She stumbles into an ill-advised affair with a childhood sweetheart that increasingly takes her away from San Martino and into the social swirl of wartime Rome. She is with her lover when her young son dies from meningitis…and her unbearable sorrow is compounded by terrible guilt. Her indiscretion is noticed by a careful pair of eyes–those of Robert Marshall, the master restorer and dealer of renaissance art. In exchange for his silence, he demands Alice hide a priceless Caravaggio at San Martino, a national treasure that he has sold to the Germans. Neither knows, however, that the Caravaggio is, in fact, a fake, painted by Marshall’s assistant as revenge for Marshall’s scorning her as a lover and returning to his pregnant wife. 


Kristin had merely hoped to privately humiliate Marshall. But his sale of the forgery has placed him in far great danger than she anticipated. Compelled to make things right, she travels to San Martino in an attempt to destroy the painting. Meanwhile, inconsolable at the death of his son and at his wife’s betrayal, Claudio retreats first into silence, and then into an actual absence. He has left, without saying good-bye, without offering the grieving Alice a chance to redeem herself for her ghastly sin. As WWII moves towards its inexorable conclusion, as the front lines sweeps closer and closer to San Martino, Alice and Kristin not only have to confront the onslaught of soldiers and the destruction of everything they hold dear, but also the consequences of their past mistakes. 

MY REVIEW:  It has been a while since I have read a book where the overall story was the star, and the characters were necessary components to reach the final page. I enjoyed "Restoration", by Olaf Olafsson, very much. The human failings and strengths of each character add shaded complexities to the horrific World War II story line. The contrast of the settings of glorious Tuscany and the destruction from bombing, killing and marauding invaders is piercing. There is no hero or heroine in this story, but a collection of people and lives that you hope will somehow be set to rights. There are secrets, betrayals, devastating loss, and mysteries which propel the characters toward resolutions and new beginnings. Alice is the wealthy daughter of a class-conscious British family. She shocks everyone by marrying Claudio, an entitled minor-landowner, and moving with him to Tuscany. They begin their life together in a once-beautiful villa in need of much repair. As they work side by side to build a dream life, they try to ignore their underlying differences. A much-loved son, Giovanni, is born, and they find a measure of contentment. However, as the villa and its lands begin to flourish, more and more demands are made upon both Claudio and Alice. He is very much a man of the land and his dependents, and she begins to long for tastes of the life she left behind. She recklessly reaches out for greater fulfillment, and yet she is not without guilt and self-recrimination. The illness and eventual death of young Giovanni pushes Claudio and Alice further apart. Her intended reparation to their marriage is halted by Claudio's strange disappearance. Alice is left to manage the villa and its lands with the help of a devoted family friend, Pritchett. As the war progresses, more and more seekers of sanctuary descend upon Alice and her home. One of them, a young woman named Kristin, comes bearing a serious wound and deep secrets which could gravely affect many in their wake. The effects of our actions and missteps are very much evident here, and those with survivor guilt must find a way to move forward. Chose to live, and live the life you are given. This is a book which will make you want to read it all in one setting. You will want to know how the final pieces of the puzzle fall into place. A very good read. 

Book Copy Gratis Amazon Vine



Reviews

 

“An elegant meditation on the interplay among politics, aesthetics, and personal ethics. It’s also a surprisingly moving story about two women, each of whom struggles with grief and guilt as she navigates life during wartime….Gently paced [and] satisfying.” (Boston Globe)

“[Olaf’s] literary skills bring Restoration to life on a windy Tuscan hilltop north of Florence...[and] shows the reader the permutations of love betrayed, and the enormous losses that war will claim.” (Shelf Awareness)

“[A] beautifully realized novel…Olafsson masterfully depicts the interior lives of these women, creating a richly complex portrait of love and passion at work even as his harrowing depictions of daily life in war-torn Italy add additional depth and power to the novel.” (Library Journal)

“With a backdrop of the ravages of WWII, particularly as they affect the civilian population, Olafsson casts a keen eye on Germany’s wartime acquisition of artistic masterpieces. A beautifully written literary novel of love, betrayal, reconciliation, and art.” (Booklist)

“RESTORATION is an elegantly constructed work of fiction, seamlessly moving between the past and the present, but what makes Olafsson’s novel so compelling is his empathy and compassion for Alice Orsini, a woman trying to redeem her life in a country ravaged by war.” (Ron Rash, bestselling author of SERENA and THE COVE)



Olaf Olafsson


Olaf Olafsson


Olaf Olafsson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1962. He studied physics as a Wien Scholar at Brandeis University. He is the author of three previous novels, The Journey Home, Absolution and Walking Into the Night, and a story collection, Valentines. His books have been published to critical acclaim in more than twenty languages. He is the recipient of the O. Henry Award and the Icelandic Literary Award, was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize, and has twice been nominated for the IMPAC Award. He is the Executive Vice President of Time Warner and he lives in New York City with his wife and three children.

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