Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Review: Where The Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine

Posted March 1, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 13 Comments

Review: Where The Wild Cherries Grow by Laura MadeleineWhere the Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine
Series: standalone
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on February 13th 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I closed my eyes as I tried to pick apart every flavour, because nothing had ever tasted so good before. It was like tasting for the first time. Like discovering colour . . .
In 1919, the cold sweep of the Norfolk fens only holds for Emeline Vane memories of her family, all killed in the war. Whispers in the village say she’s lost her mind as well as her family - and in a moment's madness she boards a train to France and runs from it all.
She keeps running until she reaches a tiny fishing village so far from home it might as well be the end of the world. Transfixed by the endless Mediterranean, Emeline is taken in by Maman and her nineteen-year-old son, and there she is offered a glimpse of a life so different to the one she used to know: golden-green olive oil drizzled over roasted tomatoes, mouth-wateringly smoky red spices, and hot, caramel sweetness.
But it's not just the intense, rich flavours that draw her to the village, and soon a forbidden love affair begins. One that is threatened by the whispers from home that blow in on the winds from the mountains . . .

In 1919 Emeline Vane has lost most of her family to war and her mother to the flu. When her uncle decides the fate of her house, her youngest brother and her, for her, Emmeline unable to cope with it decides to run away.

Now in 1969 Timothy Vane (her youngest brother) is dying and his descendants want to sell the abandoned family home to a developer. Bill Perch a local young solicitor in training is tasked with finding Emeline Vane or find proof that the great aunt was as crazy as they were said to believe.

This was a beautiful, poignant story of self discovery in the face of self perseverance, family and romance, brimming with rich vivid detail of food and French landscape.

I loved the book, I loved the strong willed, driven characters. I loved the setting and the descriptions made me feel like I was in France watching the tale unfold. I felt so wrapped up and invested in Emeline story and how she overcame everything, that I found it difficult to part with.

I found that the story was never dull as we follow the journey of both Bill and Emeline and the pages flew rather quickly. Thought that being said, I did find Emeline story much more richer not only in the setting that the author enveloped us in but also in quality. The love story between her and the boy that discovers her grows slowly despite the stakes that seemed to rise against them.

The ending did feel a little abrupt to me. Bill’s story was left a little open ended, but provided a world of possibilities for the young solicitor. Emeline’s ending thought a happy one, also was a bit sad.

Overall, this was a great book. It didn’t feel long, it didn’t drag and the author was a master at creating a rich atmosphere with vivid details of the landscape and the food described in the book. I adored both the characters and their story and am looking forward to more from this author.

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Review: Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey

Posted February 23, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 9 Comments

Review: Letters to the Lost by Iona GreyLetters to the Lost by Iona Grey
Series: standalone
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on May 26th 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4.5 Stars
Heat:two-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London…Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five.
… He promised to love her foreverSeventy years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan's words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late?
Now forever is finally running out.

Step back into 1943, into a world during World War 2. Set against the backdrop of London, Letter’s to the Lost is a love story that transcends time, that is both beautiful and heartbreaking.

He was an American bomber pilot, whose chance of survival was only one in five. She was newly married. They met by chance, and didn’t mean to fall in love, especially with everything stacked against them.

This story was lovely, so beautiful, emotional and quiet a bit heart breaking.

We follow two time lines. In our main time line, we follow Stella, who is a young woman during World War 2 that comes from the poor school so all she really wants is a family and a roof over her head. She marries Charles the preacher and her marriage is off to a rough start right from the beginning. Stella does not seem to understand why Charles treats her more like a housekeeper instead of a wife, with no physical relationship between them, including during the wedding night.

When her husband volunteers to be a Chaplin during the war, Stella is further confused why her new husband found volunteering and leaving her behind so easily. Plus his friend Peter seems to be a very big influence in Charles’ life.

She meets Dan, an American bomber pilot during his brief break while searching for her bracelet, that she happened to lose during an unfortunate encounter. The attraction is instant, but it takes a bit for them together. It started with a bracelet, which led to letters, to a sort of friendship that morphed into a beautiful but heartbreaking relationship.

I was glued to the pages wanting to know what happened between them and the fate that awaited them in the end.

I do love how the author explored the relationships during this time period, as well as some stereotypes. Stella is pretty shy, quiet, kind of meek. She just wants a family and a home life as oppose to other women during this time that took on much larger roles and filled the shoes of men when they went off to war. So in that respect, that take on her character growth and how she progressed on events that surrounded her was really interesting.

The second couple we follow is Jess and Will. Jess escapes from an abusive relationship and stumbles into an old abandoned house running away from her boyfriend with nothing but 50 pounds in her pocket. While squatting in the old house that seems to be trapped in time, she finds a letter delivered by the postman entitled, Urgant, please forward if possible. Unable to help herself, Jess opens the letter and finds herself invested in its author and finding what happened between Stella and Dan. Through her, we get to see Dan’s side of the letters, as she reads them. With the help of Will, a man who she meets while he is trying to find the owner of the house – together the two investigate Dan and Stella’s story while slowly growing attracted to one another.

I have to say, I adored this book so much. The writing was so wonderful, Stella and Dan were both wonderful. I don’t usually like books with affairs, but once you get the whole picture between Charles and Stella and everything that happens, the pieces fall together and it makes Stella’s and Dan’s story all that much more heartbreaking – especially during this time when Stella felt she had very little rights.

I found Jess’ and Will’s story good enough. They weren’t the main focus of the book and I felt if it wasn’t for the way the book was structured, I would have been fine with Stella’s and Dan’s story alone, seeing as how that was the main focus and my favorite part. The characters were much more fleshed out and I found myself emotionally attached to the two of them. Also, I found parts with Jess and Will a bit slow moving.

I don’t know if I can say that this story has a completely happy ending, but I did like the way things wrapped up, despite a few tears shed at the end of the heartbreak and pain the two had suffered and the unfairness in all of it.

I highly recommend this book to all Historical Fiction readers who love a good story set in two different times and enjoy a timeless romance.

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