A Love Story Dimmed by Nazi Brutality

Sarah Freethy’s debut novel intertwines the haunting past of Nazi Germany with a daughter’s quest for truth. 1920s: Bettina, a free-spirited German avant-garde artist, meets and falls in love with Max Ehrlich, a Jewish Austrian student. The rise of the Nazis shatters their dream of escaping Germany. Max is deported to Dachau, where his skill in creating exquisite figures at the Allach porcelain factory helps him survive. Desperate to protect their unborn child, Bettina marries a rising Nazi SS officer. 1993: Clara, who grew up not knowing her father, sets out to discover his identity after her mother’s death. Bettina left behind a single clue—a rare porcelain Viking figurine. Clara’s journey uncovers […]

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A Heart-Wrenching Tale of Love and Defiance

We Must Not Think of Ourselves is a moving story set in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. The novel follows Adam Paskow, an English teacher and childless widower, confined to the ghetto along with 450,000 others. Forced to leave his spacious flat, Adam now shares a cramped apartment with two other families, works in a soup kitchen, and teaches English to children in a bombed-out movie theater. Adam’s life takes a turn when Emanuel Ringelblum recruits him to join a secret group of archivists documenting their experiences. Through interviews with his students and fellow residents, Adam records their lives, dreams, fears, and survival strategies. One of these interviews […]

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A Mother’s Quest to Find Her Children.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4. Eleanor Shearer’s debut novel, River Sing Me Home, begins on the Providence sugar plantation in Barbados in 1834. The master announces the end of slavery, but the slaves must work as apprentices for another six years. Rachel, born on the plantation, escapes in the dead of night to find her five children, sold away years ago. Her dangerous journey takes her from Barbados through the dense forests of British Guiana across the sea to Trinidad. Along the way, she receives help from former tobacco harvesters and runaway slaves. In Bridgetown, Rachel reunites with her mute daughter, Mary Grace. They travel with a seaman named […]

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A High-Octane Thriller of Betrayal and Suspense

Jack and Gabe are the best in the business at breaking into buildings and hacking security systems. As top penetration specialists, they get hired by high-profile companies to test their security vulnerabilities. But after a routine assignment goes terribly wrong, Jack returns home to a nightmare—someone brutally murdered Gabe, and the police suspect her of doing it. Determined to clear her name, Jack goes on the run to find the killer. She uncovers a connection between Gabe’s death and a dangerous zero-day exploit, a vulnerability in a popular app that could be worth millions to the wrong people. Jack must stay one step ahead of the authorities and the killers. […]

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Russian Women’s Family Saga

This debut novel spans three generations of Russian women, from the 1917 revolution to the final days of the Soviet Union, with an enduring love story at its core. It starts with a young girl living happily in Moscow with her sister, father, and eccentric mother, who collects porcelain dolls and tells fairy tales. One summer night changes everything, leaving only the girl and her mother. A decade later, Rosie, studying at Oxford with an English name and a loving fiancé, seeks to understand and bury her past. When her mother dies, Rosie returns to Russia with her mother’s folklore and a single key. She uncovers a devastating family history […]

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A Sprawling Tale of Mafia Origins

The origins of the Mafia have always fascinated me. Loyalty explores the complex dynamics of good versus evil in a time of societal upheaval. Set in 19th-century Sicily, during the rise of the Mafia, the novel follows four main characters whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways: – Franco Fiorvanti, a determined lemon grower with dreams of owning his own lemon grove. To prove his loyalty to his boss, Baron Zito, Franco agrees to arrange the kidnapping of a little boy, Dante, setting off a chain of events that shape the future of the world’s first Mafia family. – Gaetano Catalano, an idealistic lawyer and member of the Beati Paoli, a […]

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A Cozy Whodunit with a Dash of Nostalgia

3.5 stars. Murder at Mallowan Hall by Colleen Cambridge is a cozy mystery set in the English countryside. The story follows Phyllida Bright, the housekeeper for the famous author Agatha Christie. Phyllida is loyal to and protective of Christie, who is as much a friend as an employer. When a dead body is discovered during a house party at the home of Agatha and her husband Max Mallowan, Phyllida leads the charge to solve the murder, using her keen observation skills and knowledge gleaned from Christie’s novels. The atmospheric setting captures the essence of a grand manor house with a cast of intriguing characters. Phyllida’s interactions with the staff and […]

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Love and Betrayal in the Vineyards of Champagne

Champagne, 1940: Inès has just married Michel, the owner of the renowned champagne house Maison Chauveau, when the Germans invade France. As danger mounts, Michel becomes involved with the Resistance. Inès fears exposure, while Céline, the half-Jewish wife of the chief winemaker, faces an even greater threat as rumors of Jewish deportations spread. Desperation leads Céline to a reckless choice for happiness, and Inès makes a dangerous mistake with a Nazi collaborator, risking the lives and legacy of those she loves. New York, 2019: Liv Kent is grappling with a recent divorce. When her eccentric French grandmother arrives and insists on a sudden trip to Paris for reasons unknown, Liv […]

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A Tale of Mystery and Enchantment

As a follower of Christ, Patti Callahan Henry understands our purpose and the promise of eternity in Heaven. Viewing The Secret Book of Flora Lea through this lens enhances its power. In this mesmerizing novel, Hazel Linden’s world is upended when she discovers a rare book revealing long-held secrets about her missing sister, Flora. The story begins in 1939, with fourteen-year-old Hazel and her five-year-old sister, Flora, evacuated to the English countryside during World War II. The sisters find solace with Bridie Aberdeen and her son, Harry, in a village along the River Thames. Hazel creates Whisperwood, a magical fairy tale world, to distract Flora from the war. But their […]

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A Gripping Espionage Thriller

In Moscow X, David McCloskey delivers a high-stakes espionage thriller set in modern-day Russia. CIA operatives, Sia and Max, enter Russia to recruit Vladimir Putin’s moneyman. Sia works for a London firm that conceals the wealth of the super-rich, while Max runs a family horse-breeding business in Mexico, a CIA front since the 1960s. They pose as a couple, targeting Vadim, Putin’s private banker, and his wife, Anna, who is both a banker and an intelligence officer. As they navigate a world of luxury and gangland violence, they hope Anna, who is playing her own game, will be their ally. Disgraced CIA officer Artemis Aphrodite Procter sees a chance to […]

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