Historical Fiction

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Let me preface this review with a couple things:

1. Kristin Hannah is hands down my favorite author! This woman’s stories are gorgeously written, heart-wrenching, and so vividly executed. I just adore her.
2. The Nightingale is my favorite book of all time.
3. Favorite author + author of favorite book = very excited for The Four Winds

Now, all of that being said, here’s the let down. This was not my favorite Kristin Hannah novel. It wasn’t even in my top 5. It was beautifully written (as always). This woman knows how to string words together in a way that makes people feel something. And I particularly liked being immersed in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression era. But the story itself dragged and dragged and dragged. Perhaps this was intentional to make the reader feel the monotony, despair, and hopelessness the migrants felt during this period. Mission accomplished. Once I got closer to the end, I felt the story start to pick up (yay!) but it took a somewhat strange direction and then ended rather abruptly. The story didn’t feel resolved and I didn’t love the direction it took toward the end.

All in all, I liked this one but did not love it. I won’t be raving about it like I have with so many other of Hannah’s works. I’m confident that her following will continue to sing her praises though even if The Four Winds isn’t their favorite book in her collection.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Kristin Hannah, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-



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Historical Fiction, Romance

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

The Last Train to Key WestThe Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out June 16th!

I fell in love with Chanel Cleeton after reading her books Next Year in Havana and When We Left Cuba. They both oozed Cuban culture and history. And although I wouldn’t technically classify them as a series, some of the characters translate from one book to the next. So I was ecstatic when I heard that Cleeton had a new book coming out titled The Last Train to Key West.

Told from the perspective of three strong female leads, The Last Train to Key West tells the story of each woman’s will to survive. Set during a hurricane in the Florida Keys in the 1930’s, they each are in search of something. Escape. Family. Love. Independence. And when their paths cross, their lives will be changed forever.

I always adore Cleeton’s writing and this novel was no exception. I always feel like I’m watching a movie in my head when I read her work. I can see everything so vividly. The story was captivating and I could not wait to see what happened next.

One thing that surprised me was the lack of Cuban history present in this story. The other two books were so rich in Cuban culture, I was expecting more of the same. While there is quick mention of Cuban government in Mirta’s story, the remainder of the book is lacking mention of Cuba. Instead, Cleeton swerved, focusing on the history of the Florida Keys post-Great Depression and WWI. It was equally intriguing but I just want to level set for anybody who has read her previous work and may be expecting another Cuban experience.

Overall, this was another strong novel by Chanel Cleeton. I think I prefer the first two books if I had to compare, but this is still a solid 5 star read.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Chanel Cleeton, and Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

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General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Mystery

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Big Lies in a Small TownBig Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out January 14th!

I fell in love with Diane Chamberlain’s writing last year when I read The Dream Daughter. She has this way of telling a story that draws you in and doesn’t let you go until the very end.

I honestly devoured this book. Told in two timelines (one of my favorite formats), Chamberlain created a story that combined the past and the present in such a beautiful way.

1940: Anna Dale is an artist who will a mural painting competition in a small town in North Carolina. During the painting of the mural, she finds that living in the South with its prejudices is a different ballgame than living in her hometown up North.

2018: Morgan Christoper is a young woman who finds herself mysteriously being released from jail early in exchange for restoring Anna Dale’s mural. And she will end up engrossed in learning about Anna Dale’s history.

Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t stop. It was a wonderful novel from start to finish with rich prose and descriptions that made me feel like I was in the story. It reminded me a little bit of Where the Crawdads Sing which was one of my favorite books in 2018. Overall, I would highly recommend this one to anybody who enjoys historical fiction with a touch of mystery.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Diane Chamberlain, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Historical Fiction

Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

Keeping LucyKeeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I fell in love with T. Greenwood last year when I read Rust & Stardust. So I was very excited to read her newest book Keeping Lucy. While I don’t think it was quite as good, I still did enjoy it.

Let’s rewind several decades. Now imagine you give birth to a child with Down Syndrome and your husband sends the baby to an institution for the mentally impaired against your wishes. Now imagine you have an opportunity to reunite with your child but you see that the conditions at the institution are more atrocious than you could imagine. What would you do?

I enjoyed this story and felt like I could relate to the mother. This is a pretty heartbreaking story. But that being said, there were pieces that were perhaps a tad over the top or unbelievable which is why I ended up giving it 4 stars instead of 5. Overall, really enjoyable read.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, T. Greenwood, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Audiobook Review, Historical Fiction

The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve

The Stars Are FireThe Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the July pick for my book club. Genre: historical fiction.

It’s a tad hard to summarize The Stars are Fire because it’s kind of just an ongoing series of events. I didn’t really feel like it had a hook that drew me in and kept me wanting more. It was kind of just a story about a woman’s life from Point A to Point B.

Grace has a husband and two kids. Her husband is kind of a jerk. One day a fire takes over her home and her husband goes missing. Alone with two children she finds herself trying to start over. But as an isolated and sheltered housewife she will need to learn a whole set of life skills she hasn’t previously had to use.

The story was good and interesting so please don’t interpret my previous statements as overtly negative. I enjoyed the characters and appreciated their lives as told by the author. But, I did find myself losing interest along the way due to the lack of overall direction.

In addition, other than being set in the 1940’s it didn’t feel all that “historical.” Removing some of the references to the past, this story could have taken place in present day.

All in all, this one was just okay for me. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it.

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