The Truth About Hope by Kate James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
💚💚💚💚💚 The residents of Canyon Creek, TX are nursing a grudge against Hope Wilson and her father, Jock. Ever since Jock abandoned the town and closed down his manufacturing plant that employed many of the people of Canyon Creek, and Hope seemingly followed suit by carelessly and abruptly leaving over a decade later, the town is not particularly fond of either one of them. Now that Hope is back with intentions to make good on all of the hurt her father caused so long ago, it’s apparent that it will take more than a good deed to earn this town’s trust again. Even her boyfriend Luke who was a casualty to her leaving seems put off and aloof by her return. But in life things are not always as transparent as they might seem, and that’s certainly true in Hope’s case with regard to why she left Canyon Creek. Turns out even her father had his reasons. Will the truth about Hope turn a town around, and will she find love again with the man whose heart she broke when she left him behind years earlier?
I loved this story right from the start. As it progressed I was pulled in and fully absorbed by the perseverance, determination, persistence and dedication of Hope Wilson. Her ex-boyfriend, Luke Carter, was a character that you could easily root for. I liked his level-headedness, bullheadedness and charismatic charm. Add to it a lovable old dog named Einstein, angry townsfolk and a couple that’s destined to be together but just as likely to have obstacles keep them apart, and you’ve got a page-turner that will delight you to the tear jerking end. The pace was great, the story was heartwarming and the ending was flawless. This is a sweet romance that’s not to be missed.
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Tempest in a Teapot by Amanda Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sophie Taylor’s Manhattan restaurant, In Fashion, has failed, so she returns to Gracious Grove in upstate NY where her grandmother runs Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House to get a little respite and rethink her future goals. Sophie’s nana is getting up in age and can use her help running the much beloved teahouse. Sophie’s glad to be of help even as one of the upcoming venues includes a wedding shower tea for her longtime friend Cissy Peterson. The problem is Cissy’s own grandmother, Thelma Mae Earnshaw, owns a competing tearoom nearby, La Belle Époque, and Thelma Mae, former friend of Rose Freemont, has been holding a grudge against her for over 60 years for supposedly stealing Thelma Mae’s beau when they were just teenagers. How can Cissy do that to her own grandmother? Well, only the best for Cissy Peterson, and that means Auntie Rose’s wins out over the vastly inferior La Belle Époque. Even so, to appease Thelma Mae and assuage her own guilty conscience, Cissy commissions her grandmother to host an engagement tea for her at La Belle Époque. Who knew that Vivienne Whittaker, Cissy’s soon to be mother-in-law, would meet her demise at the engagement tea to the horror of everyone present. Who could possibly want Vivienne Whitakker dead? Perhaps a lot of people? Or was the intended victim someone other than Vivienne and did she just happen to get in the way?
I enjoyed this cozy….particularly the setting and cast of characters which ranged from crooked politicians to sweet old grandmothers to embittered relatives to jilted lovers. I had a fun time watching Sophie as amateur sleuth snooping around and asking markedly pointed questions to find out once and for all who killed Vivienne Whittaker. This was a first in the series, and although I found that in order to keep the list of characters straight in my head I had to read this one at a slightly slower pace, that was just fine since it was worth the extra time spent on it. I found that I really liked Thelma Mae Earnshaw’s character, Cissy’s crotchety old grandmother who I found hilarious. One of my favorite lines from her when being questioned by the detective regarding the murder went like this….
DETECTIVE: “Mrs. Earnshaw, can you tell me in your own words what happened?”
THELMA MAE: “Well, now, who else’s’ words would I use? Stupidest thing I ever heard.”
LOL!! I thought that was too funny and it gave me a glimpse as to what I could expect from the likes of Thelma Mae Earnshaw.
In conclusion, I thought this cozy could be classified along with the best of them and I recommend it to those who love to savor a good cozy mystery.
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The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
THIS WAS AN AUDIOBOOK. Elise Landau is a Viennese Jewess and lives contentedly in Austria with her beloved parents, Julian and Anna; housemaid Hildergard and her sister, Margo. Elise is the least gifted of the clan; her mom a renowned opera singer, sister an accomplished viola player, and her father Julian, a novelist. Nevertheless, Elise is loved and nurtured just the same. However, as WW2 is on the horizon, her family must make preparations to emigrate from their home in Vienna to escape the harsh realities of war which are already bringing persecutions to their people. With no other recourse, Elise’s parents will leave for the United States, and so will her sister Margo with her husband, Robert. Without an American visa and insufficient time to attain one, Elise will be sent to England to work as a parlor maid in a manor house belonging to a Mr. Rivers until her parents can retrieve her. Elise’s relaxed and happy life in Vienna quickly changes when she arrives at the work agency in England, where she is acknowledged as nothing more than a refugee and domestic servant. What awaits her as she settles into life at Tyneford House? Will Elise be relegated to the life of a servant girl forever, or will she find love and a new sense of home in this foreign land?
The House at Tyneford is a beautifully written historical novel with richly detailed characters that bring the story to life. I felt instantly transported back in time to England and into the lives of Elise and her benefactor, Mr. Christopher Rivers (affectionately called “Daniel” by Elise). The more than one dimensional secondary characters, which included staff that resided in and around Tyneford House, friends, family members and associates, added depth to the story and increased my enjoyment of the book. Part of the ending was predictable for me, but the remainder was imbued with sentimental elements that I never expected and found deeply moving. Overall, The House at Tyneford was a gratifying listening experience and I recommend it highly.
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After the Silence by Rula Sinara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
💜💜💜💜💜 Hope Alwanga needs a break. Interning in the emergency room of a public Nairobi, Kenya hospital with limited staff, working feverishly on the sick and injured for little money and with hardly any sleep is challenging even for a person in optimum health. So when Hope’s brother Simba sees her faltering in his lab during a visit after work, he insists that she take some time off from her hectic job. Simba’s friend and colleague Jack Harper has recently lost his sister Zoe. Zoe’s husband, instant single dad and Marine Ben Corallis, is caring for their three children back in Pennsylvania, USA with the assistance of Zoe’s parents. But when Simba and Jack suggest that Hope take a vacation to the U.S. to help out Ben with his kids as a nanny of sorts for a few months, Hope is skeptical. How can caring for three young children, one of which hasn’t spoken since her mother died, be considered a relaxing vacation? After some gentle prodding from both men she agrees and heads to America. Will Hope be satisfied with a few months of respite from her demanding job and return to Kenya rejuvenated and ready to dive back in, or will she find that the needs of a broken family are too important to leave behind? Will she discover that dreams come in many forms, and that it’s always best to follow your own rather than those that others have mapped out for you? After the Silence is Book 2 of the From Kenya, With Love series—The Promise of Rain is the first in the series. After having read The Promise of Rain I eagerly anticipated the sequel, and as expected it fulfilled my expectations in the form of a deeply emotional and thoroughly gratifying read. (Although this is Book 2 in the series it can be enjoyed as a standalone as some backstory details are interwoven in the narrative to acquaint the reader with the characters and circumstances.) I loved the way the characters from The Promise of Rain were incorporated into After the Silence. Rula Sinara did a beautiful job of alloting many of the characters an inner conflict of their own that kept me fully engaged and wondering how each one would overcome their challenges and embrace the life that was meant for them to live. I also felt that the characters’ stories could be further expounded on, in what I hope will be Book 3 in the series. A tender and deeply moving story of loss, love, absolution and healing. After the Silence will grip your heart and won’t let it go until it concludes and you feel warm and comforted from the inside out. View all my reviews