This month was definitely filled with lots of reading. Some books took me longer than others to get through (and others were finished in only a few days) but there isn’t a single book this month that I wouldn’t recommend putting on your must-read list.
All but one of the books were advanced copies, so there will definitely be some waiting involved, but I find that pre-ordering can be so much fun (especially when it’s time to start the countdown for the book to arrive in my mailbox!)
This month I read a variety of genres from thriller and historical fiction, to romance and women’s fiction. While I enjoyed all of the books this month, there’s one in particular that I loved the most, but you’ll have to keep reading to find out!
This book will keep you in rapt attention from beginning to end. From the very first chapter, you keep wondering if a nine-year-old is capable of murder. Is violence transferred through families? Will the truth of what happened on the cliff’s edge ever come to light?
Written by award-winning crime fiction and thriller writer, Rick Mofina, Every Thing She Feared was the first book I’ve had the opportunity to read from this author and let me tell you it did not disappoint.
“Every mother worries about their child. But Sara Harmon fears hers…
When a teen falls while taking a selfie at the edge of a cliff, the last thing she sees before plummeting to her death is Katie Harmon, the nine-year-old girl she was babysitting, looking down at her.
Investigators gather at the scene, and Katie’s mother, Sara, rushes to comfort her daughter. Yet there’s a small, secret ping of alarm in Sara’s heart that she cannot share—though rookie detective Kim Pierce senses it.
For years, others have tried to unravel this secret. From true-crime podcasters to a haunted journalist searching for a killer who vanished after being released from prison several years ago. And now, with detectives tightening the focus of their investigation, Sara is consumed by her darkest fear—that the babysitter’s death was not an accident.”
I’ve been a fan of Julia Kelly’s work since The Last Garden in England was released in 2021 and I had the to opportunity share an interview with Julia. In 2022 came The Last Dance of the Debutante which turned out to be yet another page-turner, and just this month Julia’s latest novel, The Lost English Girl arrived. The storyline was intriguing and sometimes heartbreaking as it often is in novels set during this time period, but that fact that through it all the main character Viv made it through every hurdle with sometimes nothing more than pure determination to keep her going.
“Liverpool, 1935: Raised in a strict Catholic family, Viv Byrne knows what’s expected of her: marry a Catholic man from her working-class neighborhood and have his children. However, when she finds herself pregnant after a fling with Joshua Levinson, a Jewish man with dreams of becoming a famous Jazz musician, Viv knows that a swift wedding is the only answer. Her only solace is that marrying Joshua will mean escaping her strict mother’s scrutiny. But when Joshua makes a life-changing choice on their wedding day, Viv is forced once again into the arms of her disapproving family.
Five years later and on the eve of World War II, Viv is faced with the impossible choice to evacuate her young daughter, Maggie, to the countryside estate of the affluent Thompson family. In New York City, Joshua gives up his failing musical career to serve in the Royal Air Force, fight for his country, and try to piece together his feelings about the family, wife, and daughter he left behind at nineteen. However, tragedy strikes when Viv learns that the countryside safe haven she sent her daughter to wasn’t immune from the horrors of war. It is only years later, with Joshua’s help, that Viv learns the secrets of their shared past and what it will take to put a family back together again.
Telling the harrowing story of England’s many evacuated children, bestselling author Julia Kelly’s The Lost English Girl explores how one simple choice can change the course of a life, and what we are willing to forgive to find a way back to the ones we love and thought lost.”
The Dutch Orphan plunges you into the realities of WWII Holland. Johanna and her husband are living a happy life together in their adopted city of Holland, Johanna is a singer in the vibrant music scene, and her husband Willem looks after the animals in the local zoo. When the Nazis invade their beloved city in 1941, everything changes. Their Jewish friends are forbidden from performing onstage, and each week more and more Jews disappear from the city. Even Johanna’s sister Liesbeth finds herself caught between her sister who supports the Resistance and her husband who is loyal to the NSB a group loyal to the Nazis.
This is definitely a must-read! Check out my interview with Ellen coming out on 4/18!
“From the author of The Dutch Wifecomes a riveting novel set during World War II about a woman who offers shelter to a Jewish baby, and her sister, who must choose between family loyalty and her own safety.
Amsterdam, 1941. When the Nazis invade Amsterdam, singer Johanna Vos watches in horror as the vibrant music scene she loves is all but erased, her Jewish friends forbidden from performing with her onstage. Alongside her friend Jakob, Johanna helps organize the Artists’ Resistance, an underground network allowing Jews to perform at house concerts hosted by their allies. When Johanna hears of a Jewish orphan headed for deportation, she does not think twice. She takes the baby in as her own, hiding the truth from even her own sister, Liesbeth.
Meanwhile, Liesbeth finds herself in a dilemma, as she knows of her sister’s staunch support for the Resistance, but her husband supports the Nazis. When a charming member of the Dutch Fascist Party sets his eyes on her, her predicament only deepens. As secrets continue to grow between the sisters, severing their once-unbreakable bond, they are both forced to make choices that will alter their lives forever.”
If I had to pick my favorite book (out of all of the wonderful books I’ve had the pleasure of reading this month), My Heart Will Find You by Jude Deveraux would be it. The characters of Etta and Henry are so endearing, and the fact that there’s time travel… I was hooked before I even made it through the first chapter. My Heart Will Find You is one of those books that you just don’t put down until you’ve finished it from cover to cover. I finished it in a single day, and by the final sentence, I already wanted to read it all over again. Jude’s vivid descriptions of both the present and 1870s Kansas were so vivid that you really could picture everything as it played out, right down to the smells around the town.
“When the world is brought to a standstill in the early days of a global pandemic, Etta Wilmont finds herself suddenly stranded in Kansas City. Desperate to secure a roof over her head, Etta crosses paths with Henry Logan, a lonely older man in need of a caretaker. His invitation for Etta to stay with him seems to be the solution to both their problems—and maybe the spontaneous adventure Etta’s life has been missing.
As Etta and Henry settle into a companionable living arrangement, Etta indulges in Henry’s library. The compelling historical accounts of life in the Midwest soon inspire vivid dreams of Kansas City in the 1870s, dreams in which she’s a mail-order bride, married to a handsome but guarded rancher named Maxwell Lawton.
Haunted by the story unfolding in her mind, Etta realizes her dreams of the past and the familiar faces featured within are starting to have an impact on the present, altering her current reality. Perhaps these dreams are Etta’s chance to finally claim something for herself after so much time spent caring for others. More than anything, Etta wonders if the captivating man she’s falling for while she sleeps might be real, might be out there—true love waiting to be found and which would change both their lives forever.”
Cassandra is one of those truly unique characters that you can’t help but love all the little ‘quirks’ that make her uniquely herself. If only everyone else in her life felt the same way. When Cassandra has a particularly bad day (her boyfriend of four months dumps her, her boss at the PR firm she works at fires her and to top it all off, her local cafe runs out of her favorite muffin) this in turns Cassandra’s life completely upside down. It’s then that she discovers she has the power to turn back time. To redo any given situation and try to get a better outcome the second time. Through many ‘undos’ Cassandra learns not only more about herself but more about others around her.
“If you had the power to change the past…where would you start?
Cassandra Penelope Dankworth is a creature of habit. She likes what she likes (museums, jumpsuits, her boyfriend, Will) and strongly dislikes what she doesn’t (mess, change, her boss drinking out of her mug). Her life runs in a pleasing, predictable order…until now.
She’s just been dumped.
She’s just been fired.
Her local café has run out of banana muffins.
Then, something truly unexpected happens: Cassie discovers she can go back and change the past.
Now, Cassie should be able to find a way to fix the life she accidentally obliterated. And with time on her side, how hard can it be?”