Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.
Here’s what I added to the shelves since mid-November:
After the War Is Over by Jennifer Robson — from William Morrow
After four years as a military nurse, Charlotte Brown is ready to leave behind the devastation of the Great War. The daughter of a vicar, she has always been determined to dedicate her life to helping others. Moving to busy Liverpool, she throws herself into her work with those most in need, only tearing herself away for the lively dinners she enjoys with the women at her boardinghouse.
Just as Charlotte begins to settle into her new circumstances, two messages arrive that will change her life. One, from a radical young newspaper editor, offers her a chance to speak out for those who cannot. The other pulls her back to her past, and to a man she has tried, and failed, to forget.
Edward Neville-Ashford, her former employer and the brother of Charlotte’s dearest friend, is now the new Earl of Cumberland — and a shadow of the man he once was. Yet under his battle wounds and haunted eyes Charlotte sees glimpses of the charming boy who long ago claimed her foolish heart. She wants to help him, but dare she risk her future for a man who can never be hers?
As Britain seethes with unrest and post-war euphoria flattens into bitter disappointment, Charlotte must confront long-held insecurities to find her true voice…and the courage to decide if the life she has created is the one she truly wants. (publisher’s summary)
Secret of a Thousand Beauties by Mingmei Yip — from the author
Spring Swallow was promised in marriage while still in her mother’s belly. When the groom dies before a wedding can take place, seventeen-year-old Spring Swallow flees rather than become a ghost bride. In the city of Soochow, she joins a community of renowned embroiderers. The women work for Aunty Peony, whose exquisite stitching once earned her the Emperor’s love. But when Aunty Peony agrees to replicate a famous painting, betrayal and jealousy emerge within the group.
Spring Swallow becomes entangled in each women’s story of heartbreak, even while she embarks on a dangerous affair with a young revolutionary. On a journey that leads from the remote hillsides around Soochow to cosmopolitan Peking, Spring Swallow draws on the secret techniques learned from Aunty Peony and her own indomitable strength to forge a life that is truly her own. (publisher’s summary)
The Falmouth Connection by Joana Starnes — from the author
Just as Mr. Darcy finally decides to propose to the enticing Miss Elizabeth Bennet, she is summoned to Falmouth, to meet a relation she never knew she had.
Thus, the ill-starred Hunsford proposal is avoided, but before he could even begin to understand his luck, adverse circumstances hasten to conspire against him, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is compelled to follow the woman he loves to the far reaches of Cornwall, into a world of deceit and peril, where few — if any — are what they seem to be… (publisher’s summary)
The Muse by Jessica Evans — from Meryton Press
Elizabeth Bennet, the newest corps de ballet dancer at Ballet Theater of New York, dreams of rising through the prestigious company’s ranks to become a prima ballerina. When she’s cast in superstar choreographer William Darcy’s newest work, she believes she’s one step closer to realizing her dream — until she meets him.
William Darcy, the former dance legend and ballet bad boy, is a jaded perfectionist who dancers both fear and admire. Although touted as the next big thing in the ballet world, he secretly battles a bad case of artist’s block — until he meets Elizabeth Bennet.
Tempers ignite between Elizabeth and Darcy, but he’s irresistibly drawn to the stubborn and beautiful corps de ballet dancer. Could she be the muse he needs to reignite his passion for ballet? (publisher’s summary)
Hummingbirds in Winter by Anna Franco — from the author
Composer Ben Solansky is determined to bring himself and his family to safety, as the Nazis take over Europe. He relies on his compositions for strength, as he tries to establish a new life. (publisher’s summary)
Jane Austen: Her Life and Letters, A Family Record by William Austen-Leigh and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh
Written by her descendants, this book reveals the real Jane Austen few people have had the pleasure to meet, from her frolicking childhood to the sadness of her final days. This book is an in-depth look at her life and literature, her admirers and detractors, and her early failures and ultimate triumphs. From birth to death, the Jane Austen story is here as she speaks for herself through letters reflecting her brilliance and independence; the rest of the story comes from the painstaking research pieced together by the authors. (publisher’s summary)
Memoir of Jane Austen by James Edward Austen-Leigh
James Edward Austen-Leigh’s Memoir of his aunt was published in 1870, over fifty years after her death. Together with the shorter recollections of James Edward’s two sisters, Anna Lefroy and Caroline Austen, the Memoir remains the prime authority for her life and continues to inform all subsequent accounts. These are family memories, the record of Jane Austen’s life shaped and limited by the loyalties, reserve, and affection of nieces and nephews recovering in old age the outlines of the young aunt they had each known. They still remembered the shape of her bonnet and the tone of her voice, and their first-hand accounts bring her vividly before us. Their declared partiality also raises fascinating issues concerning biographical truth, and the terms in which all biography functions. (publisher’s summary)
Emma and Elizabeth: A Story Based on ‘The Watsons’ by Jane Austen by Ann Mychal
‘When a young woman on whom every comfort in life is bestowed, has the misfortune to inhabit a neighbourhood in which peace and harmony reign, her ability to perceive and understand the world must be diminished and, consequently, in need of adjustment.’
Based on ‘The Watsons’, a novel fragment by Jane Austen, ‘Emma and Elizabeth’ contrasts the fortunes of the Watson sisters in a world where the alternative to marriage is poverty. Emma returns to her family home penniless when her widowed guardian remarries. At a local assembly, she is admired by more than one suitor, but her lack of fortune has the potential to ruin her happiness. Elizabeth, a woman on the verge of spinsterhood, has little hope of love. But when duty to the family is tested, one sister is obliged to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of the other.
Set in Surrey in 1795, ‘Emma and Elizabeth’ blends passages from the original fragment into the narrative, creating a unique story which is faithful to Jane Austen’s style and subject matter. (publisher’s summary)
Mrs. Dashwood Returns: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility by Lucia Edgerton
It’s been 10 years since Mary Dashwood and her daughters Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret were forced to leave Norland Park after losing their husband and father. Things are going wonderfully for all the Dashwood women, until a duel between a family member and someone from the past jeopardizes Norland’s legacy, and the arrival of a mysterious stranger from America leads Mary Dashwood unexpectedly back to Norland Park. This impromptu pilgrimage sends Mary on a journey of personal discovery, where she finds answers to many old questions as new ones emerge, forcing her to question her values, and see not only her world, but those she loves most, in a different light. (publisher’s summary)
On Hosting Your Regency-Era Christmas Party: A Companion to Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron
The latest installment in Stephanie Barron’s richly historical Jane Austen mystery series takes place over the twelve days of Christmas, a Regency-era tradition unlike the holiday we celebrate today. In the pages of this companion, you’ll find authentic ways to celebrate your own Georgian Christmas — from decorations to recipes to parlor games — for full immersion into the world of our heroine. (publisher’s summary)
The Storm Gathers: Europe Between the Wars by Paul A. Myers
Four historical novels set between 1928 and 1936 featuring enchanting romances, characters at the center of exciting historical events, and personal dramas behind the larger march of events leading to the Second World War.
A Farewell in Paris. Two American veterans in 1928 Paris collaborate on the great American novel portraying the grinding end of the Great War, a doomed romance in post-war Germany between an American officer and a German nurse, and the tragedy of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference which resulted in “the peace to end all peace.” Americans in Jazz Age Paris live the expatriate life to its fullest against the bittersweet fears of an unseen but coming war.
Paris 1934: Victory in Retreat. Newspapermen and women pursue stories and each other starting with riots in Paris that almost topple the Third Republic. Sorbonne student Sandrine joins hard-partying Americans as they drink and dance their away across the summer of 1934, while in autumn dark secrets from the 1920s French occupation of the Rhineland return to cloud the present as the Nazi menace rears its deadly head.
Vienna 1934: Betrayal at the Ballplatz. The Austrian government slides towards an Italian-style fascist state when suddenly German Nazis move to overthrow the government in a summer putsch. A British foreign correspondent and his beautiful Austrian fiancée are caught in a deadly web of intrigue in this dramatic tale of accurate historical event and dashing fictional romance.
Paris 1935: Destiny’s Crossroads. An American diplomat strikes up a romance with a beautiful foreign policy aide close to the top of the French government as the French government struggles to maintain the alliance between Italy, France, and Great Britain in the face of the 1935 Ethiopian crisis. In 1936, with the allied Ethiopian policy in tatters, Germany opportunistically re-militarizes the Rhineland as France and Great Britain wobble and German boots march. The path to the Second World War begins. (publisher’s summary)
Love & Sorrow by Jenny Telfer Chaplin
Glasgow, the 1900s. Nothing was more shaming than to give birth to an illegitimate child. Meg and her young daughter Becky live in constant fear of their secret being exposed. But it is not just the shame of being an unmarried mother that troubles Meg. She must raise her beloved daughter through the great disasters and traumas of the early twentieth century.
The threat of Bubonic Plague in Glasgow in 1900. The Ibrox Disaster of 1902, when the newly built West Tribune Stand collapsed due to heavy rainfall the previous night. The Great War which claimed the lives of the city’s young men. The Great Depression which robbed it of so many jobs. And the trials and tests of World War Two, the great national struggle in which every person was involved. Through it all, Meg experiences the extremes of both Love and Sorrow (publisher’s summary)
What Happens at Christmas by Victoria Alexander
You are cordially invited to Christmas at Millworth Manor. . .
Camille, Lady Lydingham, requests the pleasure of your company at a festive house party, as she endeavors to coax a marriage proposal from Prince Nikolai Pruzinsky of Greater Avalonia. The hostess’s relatives will be in attendance — in this case, a troupe of actors hired to impersonate a proper English family in order to fool the Prince. Gate-crashing, distractingly handsome first loves like Grayson Elliott are most unwelcome.
Games will be played. Motives will be revealed. Mayhem may ensue. And hearts will be won — and lost — in the most romantic, magical season of all.
Please RSVP (publisher’s summary)
Cry of the Peacock by V.R. Christensen
An illustrious marriage, a fortune, a position of wealth and influence. These are the dreams and ambitions of any Victorian woman of sense. Or are they?
Perhaps not for Arabella Gray.
The death of Abbie’s father, the overseer of a large country estate, leaves her without means or resources, without even a place to live. Her landlords, in an extraordinary display of charity, invite her to live at Holdaway Hall. But the invitation is as puzzling as it is generous. Why are the Crawfords, who have never paid her any notice before, so concerned with her well being now?
It’s a question the younger Crawford brothers would like to have answered as well. Certainly Miss Gray is a mercenary upstart. Certainly their brother is mad for fancying himself in love with her. Such a union would make them a laughing stock. They mean to put a stop to it, but when they learn that her past is closely — even disturbingly — connected with their own, they are brought up short, forced to ask themselves some very hard questions.
As Abbie herself soon learns, there is a great mystery at the heart of her landlords’ extraordinary offer. Everything she has ever dreamt of might be hers for the taking, but is the price worth it? More than her happiness alone rests upon her decision. If she refuses Ruskin Crawford’s offer of marriage, will she be able to live with the consequences? If she does, will she be able to live with herself?
In the end, all must ask themselves some very hard questions. What does it mean to be a man or woman of honor and integrity? What does it mean, after all, to be a gentleman? And what, exactly, is the price of a woman’s heart? (publisher’s summary)
Susanna and the Spy by Anna Elliott
What if the man you loved was a smuggler–or a spy?
Jobless and nearly destitute, Susanna Ward intends only to find work as a governess. She certainly has no intention of contacting her family, who cast off her father and scorned her mother years ago. But a chance encounter with a figure from her past suggests that her estranged grandfather was murdered, and that his death was connected to a local ring of smugglers, led by a mysterious figure who calls himself Captain Clark.
When Captain Clark himself appears at her door, wounded and in need of her help, Susanna must decide where her true loyalties lie. And she must also discover the truth of her grandfather’s death. Otherwise the man she is rapidly falling in love with may be hanged for treason and murder. (publisher’s summary)
The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner
London, 1816. Cavalry captain Gabriel Lacey returns to Regency London from the Napoleonic wars, burned out, fighting melancholia, his career ended. His interest is piqued when he learns of a missing girl, possibly kidnapped by a prominent member of Parliament. Lacey’s search for the girl leads to the discovery of murder, corruption, and dealings with a leader of the underworld. He deals with his own disorientation transitioning from a soldier’s life to the civilian world at the same time, redefining his role with his former commanding officer making new friends –from the top of society to the street girls of Covent Garden. Book 1 of the Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries. (publisher’s summary)
The Sweetest Seduction by Christa McHugh
Lia Mantovani has created one of the hottest restaurants on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, but all that could disappear if she loses her lease with Kelly Properties. Having had her dreams ripped away from her before, she’ll do everything in her power to keep her restaurant. Her fate hangs on the whims of the frustratingly handsome Adam Kelly.
Adam has spent years trying to convince world famous chef Amadeus Schlittler to open a restaurant in Chicago, but he wants the prime location held by Lia. Business has always come first…until sparks fly when Adam meets her. When things get hot outside the kitchen, though, they’re both in danger of getting burned.
Warning: Contains a hero who always gets what he wants; a heroine who is just as deadly with gamberi as she is with a baseball bat; meddlesome, match-making mothers; and a Great Pyrenees with a penchant for sweeping the heroine off her feet. (publisher’s summary)
What books did you add to your shelves recently?
© 2014 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.