Sep 082016
 

letters from paris

Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell
Historical Fiction/Women’s Fiction
Setting – Paris, France
Berkley Books (September 6, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451473707
E-Book – ASIN: B01BS7FY5Y
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Key comes the story of a mysterious work of art and the woman inspired to uncover its history in the City of Light.

After surviving the accident that took her mother’s life, Claire Broussard has worked hard to escape her small Louisiana hometown. But these days she feels something is lacking. Abruptly leaving her lucrative job in Chicago, Claire returns home to care for her ailing grandmother. There, she unearths a beautiful piece of artwork that her great-grandfather sent home from Paris after World War II.

At her grandmother’s urging, Claire travels to Paris to track down the century-old mask-making atelier where the object, known only as “L’Inconnue”—or The Unknown Woman—was created. Under the watchful eye of a surly mask-maker, Claire discovers a cache of letters that offers insight into the life of the Belle Epoque woman immortalized in the work of art. As Claire explores the unknown woman’s tragic fate, she begins to unravel deeply buried secrets in her own life.

*Note there are mentions of suicides in this story.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Claire/Chance Broussard goes home to Louisiana to be with her grandmother as she lives out her last days. When she finds a broken piece of artwork in the attic. Her grandmother tells her to go to Paris. There is a story that goes with the artwork she found but she will only hear it in Paris. Soon after her grandmother passes Claire heads to Paris and the trip changes her life forever.

the unknown woman

www.smh.com.au

As soon as Claire found the broken mask I was on the internet so I had the right picture of the mask in my head. But this story was about so much more that a mask. Ms. Blackwell takes us back in time where we meet Sabine, a young woman working as an artist’s model. It was not the life she had imagined. Then we alternate and come to present day and Claire’s experiences in Paris. The author entwines these stories together to give us a wonderful story. One I had a hard time putting down.

The characters from past and present feel so alive and real. I found myself immersed both of their stories at times not wanting to switch back and forth, but the author’s way of doing this made each of the stories even more powerful. These characters are unique but in certain ways the same. The were both searching for something and what they found was so unexpected. There is a twist toward the end the totally just floored me. I just didn’t see it coming at all.

I enjoyed the description of the setting in both time periods and how over the years many of the places are virtually the same. I was so moved by Blackwell’s book The Paris Key that I ended my review of that book hoping to someday travel there. This book has me wishing even harder. I want to see with my own eyes and feel with my own hands these magnificent places.

I enjoyed learning the story of “The Unknown Woman of the Seine” even though yet again there was that suicide element. Learning about death masks was very interesting too. Somehow I feel as my son is nearby as I read these passages and he helps me know I can handle it and to just keep reading. The story overrides my moments of pain.

Letters from Paris is a story of discovery and strength, heartwarming and heartbreaking. A story that will resonate with everyone who reads it.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Juliet Blackwell on her webpage here.

While both of these stories are set in Paris, they are stand alone novels.



Also by Juliet Blackwell

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Sep 112015
 

It’s my turn today on this wonderful
Great Escapes Book Tour!
cancans large banner 640

Cancans, Croissants and Caskets
by Mary McHugh

 

cancansCancans, Croissants, and Caskets
(A Happy Hoofers Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington (August 25, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1617733635
E-Book ASIN: B00QDYYJR2
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Synopsis:

You can’t tiptoe when murder’s afoot…

It’s Bastille Day in Paris. The Happy Hoofers—Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini—are all set to kick off the fete by dancing the cancan on a beautiful sightseeing cruise down the Seine. As the leggy ladies soak in the magic of the city of lights, everything is magnifique…until a very important patron goes belly-up on the top deck.

On the heels of their French debut, murder takes center stage. The five daring dancers will need to step lively to stop the crafty killer fast…or their grand finale will turn out far more explosive than the fireworks over the Eiffel Tower…

Includes Fashion Tips And Tasty Recipes

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I want to be a Happy Hoofer! They travel to awesome places and dance. Sometimes they tap their way right into a bunch of trouble but they always seem to shuffle their way out!

If you haven’t met the Happy Hoofers they are a group of friends that love to dance.

  • Tina is leader of the group. She keeps everything organized. She is the Travel Editor at Perfect Bride magazine.
  • Janice is an actress and director in community theater. She is divorced with a daughter in college.
  • Pat is a family therapist and the mother hen of the group.
  • Mary Louise and Tina have been friends for over 30 years. She has 3 children and a very trying husband named George.
  • Gini is a redhead with a temper to match. She is a documentary filmmaker and while making a film in India fell in love with a little girl she hopes to adopt.

Janice narrates the story this time. The girls are in Paris and are booked to perform for a week on the Bateau Mouche, a touristy sightseeing boat that travels down the Seine.  At the end of their first night passengers are guided to the top deck of the ship to see the Bastille Day fireworks but what they find is a dead body. This is not the first murder the Hoofers have found. They have become pretty well versed in police investigations and they can’t stop themselves from doing a bit of investigating on their own. They are going to have to kick up more than their heels to catch this killer.

This is the second book I have read recently that takes place in Paris. Mary McHugh does an excellent job or describing the “City of Light”. The dancers are staying in a rented apartment and their schedule leaves them plenty of time to see the famous landmarks and partake in some of the culinary delights from places around the city.  They even take a trip to Versailles castle and gardens.  I would really love to actually visit Paris someday. For now I have to settle for these virtual trips.

The mystery is fun too. Following the clues right along with the ladies. I figured it out a bit before them and I wish I could have let them know because one of them gets themselves into quite a pickle. The story wraps up almost too quickly for me though. I liked the way it played out but a few more pages of danger would have really added to the suspense level.

A very entertaining read with some tempting recipes and some amusing travel tips are included throughout the book.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

mary mchugh

About This Author

Mary McHugh graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, with a B.A. in English literature and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. She is the author of the first two books in the Happy Hoofers series, Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses and Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities; 19 nonfiction books; and two other novels. She was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan, an articles editor at Woman’s World, Travel Holiday, and Bridal Guide, and has written articles for The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, and Family Circle. She loves to tap dance and to travel—two passions that inspired her to write the Happy Hoofers series. She lives in the New York area.

Author Links:

http://marymchugh.org/

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22891459-cancans-croissants-and-caskets

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mary.mchugh.77

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Tour Participants
September 1 – Brooke Blogs – Spotlight
September 2 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Spotlight
September 3 – readalot – Review
September 4 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review
September 5 – Frankie Bow – Interview
September 6 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too ! – Spotlight
September 7 – Laura’s Interests – Review
September 8 – Nadaness In Motion – Spotlight
September 9 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – Spotlight
September 10 – View from the Birdhouse – Interview
September 11 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
September 12- Book Babble – Review
September 13 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
September 14 – Deal Sharing Aunt – SpotlightDisclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Sep 042015
 

the paris keyThe Paris Key
Published by New American Library (September 1, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Women’s Fiction
Setting – Paris France
Trade Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451473691
E-Book ASIN: B00SI027FA
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An American in Paris navigates her family’s secret past and unlocks her own future, in this emotionally evocative novel by New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell.

As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle’s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband.

Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle’s shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Genevieve Martin returns to Paris after her uncle passes away to take over his locksmith shop. There is so much bureaucratic red tape for her to be able to work as a locksmith in Paris so she is unsure how long she will actually be able to stay, but she hopes things work out. Her aunt is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s and her cousin has no desire to take over her father’s business. Before Genevieve has time to sleep off the jet lag she has customers at her door. The neighbors are friendly for the most part and take her under their wing.  She tries to settle in but then she starts to discover secrets about her mother that could change her entire life. What a story!!!

The story travels between Genevieve’s life now, and when she visited Paris in 1997, and her mother Angela’s life in the early 80’s. It does get a little confusing at times because so many people intersect over all three time periods but the chapters are clearly labeled which helps. These are rich characters and some things they go through are heartbreaking. They both have escaped to Paris, Angela questioning her life and her marriage, Genevieve after her mother dies and now as her divorce is close to final. It was so nice to see Paris through their eyes. The descriptions were vivid and easy to envision. How different things looked from Genevieve the child to Genevieve the adult. Love for Paris shines brightly.

The story itself was all about family, the journey, the good times and the bad, unlocking memories and secrets. This story has much more depth than I originally expected.  I found myself absolutely and totally escaping into this book.  I have enjoyed Juliet Blackwell’s mysteries so I knew I would enjoy the story but I was truly blown away. I hated to reach the last page.  I have never been to Paris but after reading this book I hope to travel there someday.

Thank you Ms. Blackwell for taking me on this amazing journey.

paradise5 STARFISH5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Juliet Blackwell on her webpage here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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