Friday, June 29, 2012


Story Description: 

Baker Publishing Group|June 1, 2012|KOBO e-Reader Edition 

Long maligned as a prostitute or a woman of questionable reputation, Mary Magdalene’s murky story seems lost to the sands of time.  Now a portrait of this enigmatic woman comes to life in the hands of an imaginative master storyteller.  Diana Wallis Taylor’s Mary is a woman devastated by circumstances beyond her control and plagued with terrifying dreams – until she has a life-changing confrontation with the Savior.  Lovers of historical and biblical fiction will find this creative telling of Mary’s story utterly original and respectful as it opens their eyes to the redeeming work of Christ in the lives of those who follow him. 

My Review: 

The story of Mary Magdalene was so well-written that I read it quickly and in one sitting.  At a young age, Mary is kidnapped from her bed in the middle of the night and when she is finally found is prone to fits and wild rages.  No one knows what to do with her.  Her father, Jared, has already taken her to see several Rabbi’s in the hope that they’d be able to cast-out the demons who were haunting his daughter, however that was not to be. 

Then one day while building boats at his shipyard, Nathan, Mary’s husband who married her when she was just a young woman heard about a teacher who seemed to have some mysterious way of healing people.  Immediately Nathan thought of his beloved Mary and knew he must seek out this teacher immediately! 

For those of you who do not know this story, I won’t ruin it by giving it any more detail than what is already here contained within the story description above.  You’ll just have to read the book to find out, but let me tell you, I was very, very good!!  Diana Taylor Wallis always pens unique novels and I’ve not missed one yet and don’t plan on missing any of her future novels either.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Grand Central Publishing|January 31, 2012|Trade Paperback

Story Description: 

Madora was seventeen, headed for trouble with drugs and men, when Willis rescued her.  Fearful of the world and alienated from family and friends, she ran away with him and for five years they have lived alone, in near isolation.  But after Willis kidnaps a pregnant teenager and imprisons her in a trailer behind the house, Madora is torn between her love for him and her sense of right and wrong.  When a pit bull puppy named Foo brings into Madora’s world another unexpected person – Django Jones, a brilliant but troubled twelve-year-old boy – she’s forced to face the truth of what her life has become. 

An intensely emotional and provocative story, LITTLE GIRL GONE explores the secret hopes and fears that drive good people to do dangerous things…and the courage it takes to make things right. 

My Review: 

Madora Wells, at twelve years of age loses her father.  He walked into the desert one day and put a bullet in his brain. Yuma, Arizona is located on the flats with single-story buildings and a lot of heat and wind.  Madora’s Mom, Rachel, told her that Yuma killed her father and was killing her too.  Rachel, not dealing well with the loss of her husband soon forgot about Madora and stopped caring for her.   Madora never really understood why and no one talked to her about it.  This, of course, had huge repercussions on this youngsters developing mind. 

Madora was failing in school, drinking and getting herself into the drug craze and at age seventeen tries the drug crank for the first time.  Her: “…head exploded in white light and there was no yelling or talking, no music anywhere, just a burning pain as if her head were an egg and someone had thrown it against the wall.”  She stumbled out onto a porch where she met Willis Brock who told her: “Willis won’t let anything bad happen to you.”  This would be the beginning of five years of hell. 

Madora, now twenty-two and Willis were living in the Laguna Mountains in Evers Canyon.  The closest town was Arroyo and San Diego lay only 30 miles west of them.  They had lived in their three bedroom house at the end of Rock Road for almost four years.  Out back of the house was a run-down trailer where Willis kept a pregnant sixteen-year-old girl he had kidnapped and kept tied.  Madora’s days were filled with cleaning the girl and feeding her while Willis worked as a health care provider and prior to that as a Medic in the Marine Corps which he figured gave him licence to deliver a baby.  Wills wanted to attend medical school and was selling Linda’s baby to lawyer for $25,000 to help fund his education. 

Django was a twelve-year-old boy who had just lost both his mother and father in a car accident.  His father was a millionaire and one of the best known rock guitarists of all-time.  They lived in a sprawling mansion in Beverly Hills.  After their deaths, Django ended up living with his aunt, Robin Howard, who he’d never met and she’d never married and wasn’t used to children.  She lived in Arroyo. 

One day while riding his bicycle, Django comes upon Madora and Willis’s house and begins to visit Madora during the day while Willis is at work.  Willis would have a fit if he knew that Madora allowed this young boy, or anyone else for that matter, to visit their home.  She had to be extremely careful that no traces of the boy were left behind or that Linda didn’t tell Willis that Madora had company during the day. 

Willis is a strange, strange man who closes himself off to the people closest to him but acts the part of an intelligent and friendly person during his work hours.  Is he prone to extreme mood changes and one just never knows what exactly he is thinking.  He is one sick individual.  However, Madora puts up with him because she feels that was the price she paid for being loved and knowing that Willis would never leave her, she thought that he needed her as much as she needed him.  Madora wasn’t the smartest bulb in the pack and Willis was able to manipulate her mind and get her to do anything he wanted.  That is until Django happened upon the scene. 

Django is an extremely intelligent boy who pours his heart and soul out to Madora but she thinks half the stories he tells herare  bogus and a figment of his imagination.  Well, she soon finds out that what Django presented himself as was completely true and the stories that he told her were also true. 

This was a remarkable story and reads like a work of non-fiction.  We’ve read so many news stories about the very issues presented in this book that you have to keep reminding yourself that the story is really fiction.  Drusilla Campbell certainly knows her way around penning a dramatic page-turner.  This is one novel you won’t want to miss reading!

Monday, June 25, 2012


Story Description: 

Scribner|June 5, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4516-8699-9 

Macau: the bulbous nose of China, a peninsula and two islands strung together like a three-bead necklace.  It was time to find a life for myself.  To make something out of nothing.  The end of hope and the beginning of it too. 

After moving with her husband to the tiny, bustling city of Macau, Grace Miller finds herself a stranger in a foreign land – a lone redhead towering above the crowd on the busy Chinese streets.  As she is forced to confront the devastating news of her infertility, Grace’s marriage is fraying and her dreams of family have been shattered.  She resolves to do something bold, something her impetuous mother would do, and she turns to what she loves: baking and the pleasure of afternoon tea. 

Grace open a café where she serves tea, coffee, and macaroons, the delectable, delicate French cookies colored liked precious stones to the women of Macau.  There, among fellow expatriates and locals alike, Grace carves out a new definition of home and family.  But when her marriage reaches a crisis, secrets Grace thought she had buried long ago rise to the surface.  Grace realizes it’s now or never to lay old ghosts to rest and to begin to trust herself.  With each mug of coffee brewed, each cup of tea steeped and macaroon baked, Grace comes to learn that strength can be gleaned from the unlikeliest of places.  

A delicious, melt-in-your mouth novel featuring the sweet pleasures of French pastries and the exotic scents and sights of China.  THE COLOUR OF TEA is a scrumptious story of love, friendship and renewal. 

My Review: 

Grace and Pete Miller have moved to Macau for Pete’s job and they are dealing with some devastating news that affects their relationship deeply and they avoid talking about the issue pushing a wider wedge into their marriage. 

Grace is also dealing with leaving her mother, Lillian, and hasn’t seen or communicated with her in quite some time except for the letters she writes to her about remembrances of time together, but she never sends them. 

Growing bored and needing something to do instead of sleeping around the clock, tossing down sleeping pill after sleeping pill to mask her emotions, she decides to open a café.  She calls it “Lillian’s” and her biggest seller is the beautiful and tasty macaroons she bakes.  Her greatest passion is serving afternoon tea and baking the macaroons that look like semi-precious stones.  Soon she carves out a place where she feels completely safe and comfortable among the expatriates and locals she befriends.  Things are finally running along smoothly for Grace until Pete confides something that completely turns her world upside-down. 

Eventually Grace realizes that she simply cannot continue in the mindset she is in and learns that strength, independence, love, and families can come from the unlikeliest of places.   

One of the things I loved about this novel, aside from the beautifully written story, was the use of very decadent French names for her “macroons” as chapter headings.  How utterly clever and delicious!  An added love to this story was the fact that Hannah Tunnicliffe’s talent for writing had me totally lost and mesmerized in Lillian’s Café.  I really felt that I was sitting inside the café and could see, hear, and feel everything going on around me.  I was a single observer seated at a table watching and listening – it was an incredible experience! 

For a debut novel this was bang on and Hannah Tunnicliffe is an author to watch!

Friday, June 22, 2012


Grand Central Publishing|October 1, 2010|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-446-53578-6

Story Description: 

Nine-year-old Merell knows what she saw in the pool that day.  And her call to 911 immediately put her mother, Simone, under suspicion for an unforgivable crime.  But as usual, Simone’s older sister, Roxanne, has come to the rescue.  In the glare of national media attention she tries to help her vulnerable niece make sense of the family’s tragedy.  And while striving to hold her own marriage together, she struggles with her always troublesome relationships with the beautiful Simone – who suffers from crippling postpartum depression – and their cold, narcissistic mother, Ellen.  Unflinchingly honest and moving, THE GOOD SISTER is a novel of three generations of women seeking to overcome a legacy of violence, secrecy, and lies…as they discover just how far sisters, mothers, and daughters will go to hurt and help one another. 

My Review: 

This was a very interesting and intense read!!!  Nine-year-old, Merell, witnesses her mother attempting to drown her baby sister in their swimming pool and calls 911.  Knowing full well that she’d be charged with attempted murder, her mother and older sister, Roxanne, come to her rescue telling the police that is not the way it happened and that Merell being young was mistaken.  However, Simone is eventually charged with the attempted murder of all four of her children and under goes a trial. 

This is a story about postpartum depression, depression, narcissism, dependency and co-dependency which has been going on in this family for three generations.  My feelings really went out to Roxanne who is always there for Simone to the detriment of herself and her own happiness.  Simone just cannot function without Roxanne after having been taught to be totally “helpless” by her family growing up.  Due her to delicate condition she was literally waited on hand and foot, carried when she should have walked, never had to figure anything out on her own, and didn’t learn how to cope with any type of stress whatsoever.  

Simone’s husband keeps her pregnant having had eight or nine pregnancies within a few years along with some miscarriages.  His plan was not to stop until Simone produced him a son.  I felt he took advantage of Simone in a lot of ways but other people may not see it the way I do. 

Of course, I also felt sorry for Simone who was a product of her environment and the way she was raised.  She didn’t ask to be raised ‘helpless’ and unable to cope with ordinary every day stresses never mind having four children in such a short span of time. 

The interesting thing is that this story was similar to the life the author, Drusilla Campbell, lead as she writes in her “Note from the Author” near the end of the book.  Having now read the book, I wonder how much more of this fictionalized version was really true.  In any event, the book was intense yet very, very sad for all those concerned.  Every character in this story was affected in some way, an incredible read, really. 

We all know about the horrors of postpartum depression but rarely do women also encounter a psychosis along with it like Simone does, or women like the very real life “Andrea Yates” who also killed her own children.  Although written as fiction, this story is a reminder to us all to remember to seek help for any new Moms we know who may be suffering from postpartum depression because it is very real.  I would definitely and most highly recommend this book to other readers.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Story Description: 

In 1922, only a few years before she will become a famous film actress and an icon for her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita for a summer in New York City and the avant-garde Denishawn school of dance.  Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone.  Cora Carlisle is neither mother nor friend, just a respectable neighbor whom Louise’s parents have hired for propriety’s sake.  But upstanding, traditional Cora has her own private reason for making the trip. 

Of course, Cora has no idea what she’s in for; young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob, is known for her arrogance, her disregard for convention, and her keen intelligence.  By the time their train pulls into Grand Central, Cora fears that supervising Louise will be at best exhausting and, at worst, impossible.  Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will be the most important of her life. 

For Cora, New York holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the center of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in a strange and bustling city, she embarks on her own mission.  And while what she discovers isn’t what she anticipated, it liberates her in a way she could not have imagined.  Over the course of the summer, Cora’s eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive. 

In this beautifully written and deeply moving novel, fact and fiction blend together seamlessly to create a page-turning story of two very different women who share a desire for freedom and fulfillment. 

My Review: 

Cora Carlisle is a thirty-six-year-old woman in 1920 married to, Alan, a successful lawyer and living in Wichita.  Together they have twin boys who are away working on a farm for the summer and will be entering college upon their return.  Cora is a strong woman, very traditional with her dress and a strong sense of right and wrong. 

Abandoned as a child and living in an orphanage in New York, she is put on a train and adopted by the Kaufmann’s and raised in the Midwest on a farm.  She has always wanted to return to New York to try and find her birth mother so when an opportunity arises for her to “chaperone” fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks to New York for five weeks during the summer she jumps at the chance.  Alan is busy at work and with her boys away it’s the perfect time for her to go. 

Louise Brooks is an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous young girl with black hair cut into a very short bob.  She is a dancer and will be attending the Denishawn Dance Studio for the summer in the hope of being chosen as their star dancer and moving onto bigger and better things. 

Cora soon realizes that her chaperoning job isn’t going to be quite as easy as she first thought when Louise disappears at the train station while waiting with their families to see them off.   When Cora excuses herself to find Louise who said she was going to the bathroom, she instead finds her outright flirting with a man.  Once on the train it doesn’t take Cora long to realize that Louise is going to run circles around her, is a tad mouthy, arrogant, and quite openly flirtatious.  Cora tries to lecture her about respectability and being moral but Louise just scoffs at her.  Cora has always tried her best to do what society and everyone else expects her to do rather than seek her own happiness, however that is about to change. 

Upon her return from New York, she learns something about Alan that she’d rather not know and this provides her with the courage to abandon her old ways and begin living for her own happiness rather than what other people’s expectations of her happiness should be. 

During the last two-thirds of the book, we see a completely different Cora whom I came to admire.  I think she showed a lot of courage and perhaps some may see her as being less than honest but I was rooting for her all the way.  If anyone deserved a true sense of peaceful fulfillment and happiness, it is Cora Carlisle. 

The Chaperone is a wonderful novel of self-courage that is filled with insight yet gracefully poignant.  I loved this book and might just read it again!


Penguin Group Canada|March 6, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-14-318257-3
Story Description: 

The youngest of six daughters raised by a widowed mother, Meena is a young Indo-Canadian woman struggling to find her place in the world.  She knows that the freedom experienced by others is beyond her reach.  But unlike her older sisters, Meena refuses to accept a life dictated by tradition.  Against her mother’s wishes, she falls for a young man named Liam who asks her to run away with him.  She must then make a painful choice – one that will lead to stunning and irrevocable consequences. 

Heartbreaking and beautiful, Everything Was Good-Bye is an unforgettable story about family, love, loss, and the struggle of living in two different cultural worlds. 

My Review: 

I loved the fact that this book was set in lower mainland British Columbia, Canada.  It’s always great to see novels set in Canadian cities. 

Meena is a seventeen-year-old Indo-Canadian and the youngest daughter of six who is struggling to find her place in the world.  She tries hard to adhere to the traditional values of her family but at the same time wants the freedom that other Canadian girls have. Her mother is widowed and raising the girls on her own and doesn’t want to disappoint her but faces some very difficult choices in her life that eventually lead to catastrophic consequences for everyone involved. 

Meena’s mother has a heavy burden as the only parent raising six daughters and trying to ensure that each daughter is successfully placed in acceptable arranged marriages.  Meena, of course, is included in this plan but it is not what she wants.  Meena deeply desires to have the freedom to choose her own husband but suffers inner turmoil in trying to be true to her mother and her rules, yet have the freedom to choose for herself and refuses to totally accept this role that is expected of her. 

At school she doesn’t fit in, doesn’t have any friends and is often mocked until she meets, Liam.  Liam is totally different from anyone she’s met before as he appears to accept her for who she is.  Her mother absolutely forbids her from seeing Liam or even to be seen walking with him as she fears it will perpetuate rumours in their close-knit Punjabi community, but Meena, wanting her freedom and to make her own choices, disobeys her mother’s warnings.  Liam wants to run away to Toronto and asks Meena to go with him but she is torn between her family’s traditions and rules and her desire to be and choose for herself.  She waits too long to make up her mind and when she decides to go, Liam has disappeared. 

Eventually Meena marries, Sunny, a successful lawyer and the son of a prominent Indo-Canadian family but neither of them really loves the other and only marry to keep their parents happy and to keep with the tradition.  Feeling trapped in a marriage she doesn’t want to be in, Meena concentrates on her career until she is invited to an art showing and runs into Liam whom she hasn’t seen in years.  Now she must decide whether to stay true to her marriage and the expectations of her family, or follow her heart and do what she feels deeply within herself. 

I’d love to tell you what Meena decides and what follows but it would spoil the entire book and I’m not going to do that.  I will say, however, that my heart bled for Meena throughout the entire book and I absolutely despised Sunny but adored Liam who had always, always accepted Meena for who and what she was with no strings attached. 

The book had a superbly startling ending which I didn’t see coming at all and left me literally in tears, sobbing as I continued to read and tears dripping on the pages.  I haven’t stopped thinking about it since, it feels so real to me although the book is a work of fiction, I had come to befriend, from my side of the book, Meena and her troubled life.  Gurjinder Basran has done an exceptional job at writing Everything Was Good-Bye and that title has more meaning to me now that I’ve completed the book.  It was the perfect choice for a title for this particular story. 

There is an interview with Gurjinder Basran at the end of the book as well as some discussion questions that will have you really thinking about and peeling away the layers of the story which gives you an added experience to tale.  I not only highly recommend this book but look forward, with anticipation, to further work by this author.  For a debut novel, it was a phenomenal piece of work and was short-listed for’s 2008 Breakthrough Novel Award.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Harpercollins Publishers|February 15, 2012| Trade Paperback| ISBN: 978-0-06-212612-2

Story Description: 

The legend begins… 

Greece in the age of heroes, Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden boy, Achilles.  The best of all the Greeks, strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess.  Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not.  Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions.  Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine, much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals. 

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped,the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name.  Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, torn between love and fear for his friend.  Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice. 
Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career

My Review: 

I looked at this book many, many times on the shelf at Chapters trying to decide whether I really wanted to read this book or not and if it would be something that would interest me.  I’m happy to report it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!  The novel is packed with a story like no other.  The deep friendship that develops between Achilles and Patroclus, who eventually become secret lovers, is a testament to the bonds of attachment and companionship that often happened during this era.  Protecting each other at all costs was a high priority on their list.  But when a crossroads has come and something needs to be done it is Patroclus was steps up to the plate on behalf of Achilles and what happens is truly heartbreaking bringing tears to my eyes. 

The Song of Achilles is timeless, rich with historical detail and full of promised destinies that don’t ever quite come to fruition.  I would highly, highly, recommend this book to everyone. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012


McClelland & Stewart|April 10, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-7710-3797-9

Story Description: 

Elizabeth Hay’s highly acclaimed, national bestseller now in a deluxe paperback edition. 

Hay’s runaway bestseller novel crosses generations and cuts to the bone of universal truth about love and our relationship with the past.  In 1930, a school principal in Saskatchewan is suspected of abusing a student.  Seven years later on the other side of the country, a girl picking wild cherries meets a violent end.  These are only two of the mysteries in the life of the narrator’s charismatic aunt, Connie Flood. 

As the narrator Anne pieces together her aunt’s lifelong attachment to her former student Michael Graves, and her obsession with Parley Burns, the inscrutable principal implicated in the assault of Michael’s younger sister, her own story becomes connected with that of the past, and the triangle of principal, teacher, student opens out into other emotional triangles – aunt, niece, lover, mother, daughter, granddaughter – until a sudden, capsizing love changes Anne’s life.  Alone in the Classroom is Elizabeth Hay’s most tense, intricate, and seductive novel yet.  

My Review: 

Hmm….what to say about this book.  I’m not really sure I enjoyed it all that much, I think being nosy more than anything is what kept me reading until the end rather the story itself.  I was more interested in finding out the ending to this Parley Burns character who I absolutely despised.  I just wanted, wished, needed this man to meet a fateful end and kept reading for that reason alone.  I found the story quite mundane and slow going and not all that interesting and don’t understand all the hype I heard about this novel.  This is the second Elizabeth Hay novel I’ve read and had difficulty reading both so I think I’m done with this author.  

Perhaps you will enjoy it and think it to be the greatest the story ever.  All I can say is “to each his own.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Kensington|May 29, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-7582-7353-6

Story Description: 

Once upon a time in China, the most beautiful and gifted women were known as “skeleton women” – the ultimate femme fatales who could bring a man to his knees, or to his doom…When Camilla, a young orphan girl in Shanghai, is adopted and brought to live in luxury, it seems like a stroke of luck.  But as Camilla grows to womanhood, she realizes that her “rescue” was part of gang leader Big Brother Wang’s scheme.  Camilla is trained in singing, dancing, knife-throwing and contortion – all to attract the attention of Wang’s enemy, the ruthless Master Lung. 

Forced to become Master Lung’s mistress, Camilla meets two other intriguing women.  Shadow is a magician and rival for Master Lung’s affections, while Rainbow Chang dresses like a man and wields power through her incendiary gossip column.  Both pose risks to Camilla’s safety and status.  But an even greater danger comes in the form of Master Lung’s eldest son, Jinying, who despises his father’s violent lifestyle – but loves Camilla.  Only by plotting to eliminate Lung can she make her escape, but at what cost? 

Mingmei Yip author of Peach Blossom Pavilion and Song of the Silk Road has created a captivating story filled with intrigue and opulence, peopled with extraordinary characters impossible to forget. 

My Review: 

I’ve always said that Mingmei Yip’s Song of the Silk Road was my favourite of her novels but I must say after reading Skeleton Women they’re running even at this point!  What a phenomenal novel!! 

Nineteen-year-old Camilla was adopted as a young orphan by a gang leader named Brother Wang who once Camilla reached her teenage years schooled her in contortionism, knife-throwing, singing, and dancing.  She is a spy for Wang and has ingratiated herself into Master Lung’s world and become his main squeeze.  With her beauty, amazing singing voice, and her tiny twenty-one inch waist, the old man can’t help but love her.  Her mission is to kill him or be killed by Wang.  He wants to take over Master Lung’s empire as the toughest gangster in Shanghai, but how is she going to do accomplish this? 

Thrown into the mix in Master Lung’s own son, Jinying who was schooled at Harvard and has fallen madly in love with Camilla and wants to take her away from his father whom he despises and live somewhere together but Camilla is trapped into her mission and can’t reveal anything to him. 

Camilla also meets two adversaries: one is Shadow, a magician who also wants to be Master Lung’s number one main squeeze and at times sets up Camilla to take a fall.  Then there is Rainbow Chang, a woman who dresses like a man and is a newspaper journalist who uses her columns to duke it out between Camilla and Shadow stirring up the pot and causing trouble.  It’s amazing how “words” can cause so many difficulties.  

The only way Camilla is going to escape this horrible world of gangsters she tangled in is to plot to kill Master Lung but how is she going to do that and what will it cost her? 

The characters are well-developed and the storyline is amazing and reads quite fast.  So much is going on you won’t be able to put the book down and you’ll be turning the last page before you know it.  I would highly recommend this novel to anyone.  Great job Mingmei!!! 

At the end of the book there are some fantastic book discussion questions that will really get you back into the story and picking it apart layer by layer by answering them.  Just fabulous!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Story Description:
Harpercollins (UK)|April 12, 2010|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-729927-0 

Story Description: 

When Mandy learns her much-loved Grandpa is dying, she is devastated and returns to the house where she spent so many wonderful summers as a child.  But the childhood visits ended abruptly and those happy days are now long gone.  Having lost touch with the rest of her family, Mandy returns as a virtual stranger to her aunt’s house to nurse her grandfather. 

Mandy hardly recognizes the house that she loved so much as a child and it is almost as though her mind has blanked it out.  But as certain memories come back to her, Mandy begins to piece together the events that brought a sudden end to her visits that fateful summer.  What she discovers is so painful and shocking that she understands why it was buried and never spoke of by the family for all those years.  

My Review: 

Twenty-three-year-old, Mandy, spent many happy, wonderful summers with her cousin Sarah at her aunt and uncle’s home and becoming close as sisters.  They played as toddlers on the swings, had tea parties and as they grew into teenagers their discussions become more serious and age appropriate, each telling the other they had a crush on each other’s fathers which sent them into peals of laughter. 

Suddenly at the age of thirteen she was hauled out of her aunt and uncle’s home by her irate father with a threat to the family that if they ever contacted his family again he would have them all arrested.  Mandy never saw Sarah again for ten long years and never understood why she’d been suddenly dragged out of her cousin’s home.  She had blanked everything out and buried deep within herself, somewhere. 

Mandy’s beloved Grandfather is dying and is being looked after in his final days at her aunt and uncle’s home and Mandy decides after ten years or not, she was going there to help look after him in his final days.  However, when she arrives she realizes that she doesn’t remember being in the house before after spending so much time there as a youngster.  As the days pass she begins to experience flashbacks and feelings of déjà vu and has an unsettling feeling that something terrible has happened but doesn’t know what.  No one in the family will tell her anything about what happened so long ago and why she is having these flashbacks and sudden snippets of memory. 

As the story continues it comes to a stunning and surprising end that I wasn’t expecting at all which kept me reading faster and faster until I’d completed the entire 308 pages in one sitting!  The Girl in the Mirror really packs a punch and Cathy Glass has done a superb job in penning this novel.  One of her best, I think and I would highly recommend it to anyone.  Way to go Cathy!!


Penguin Group Canada|April 4, 2006|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-14-305502-0

 Story Description: 

A powerful and passionate novel, Obasan tells, through the eyes of a child, the moving story of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.  Naomi is a sheltered and beloved five-year-old when Pearl Harbor changes her life.  Separated from her mother, she watches bewildered as she and her family become enemy aliens, persecuted and despised in their own land.  Surrounded by hardship and pain, Naomi is protected by the resolute endurance of her aunt Obasan and the silence of those around her.  Only after Naomi grows up does she return to question the haunting silence. 

My Review: 

Not at all the book I expected.  I found it tedious and boring and didn’t like the author’s writing style at all.  I persevered and completed the reading but I really had to force myself as I kept hoping it would improve as the chapters went by.  However, that doesn’t mean that YOU won’t like it from the reading the story description above.  This just wasn’t the book for me.  Disappointing.


Story Description: 

Baker Publishing Group|May 1, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-8007-2038-4 

Lucy Banning may live on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago’s rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere.  Expected to marry an up-and-coming banker from a respected family, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon her charity work – and the classes she is secretly taking at the newly opened University of Chicago.  When she meets an unconventional young architect who is working on plans for the upcoming 1893 World’s Fair, Lucy imagines a life lived on her own terms.  Can she break away from her family’s expectations?  And will she ever be loved for who she truly is? 

Readers will love being swept away into a world of mansions, secrets, and romances as they follow Lucy through the streets of the Windy City during one of the most exciting times in the city’s history.  From opulent upper-class homes to the well-worn rooms of an orphanage, Olivia Newport breathes life and romance into the pages of history – and everyone is invited. 

My Review: 

This was like reading two stores in one, the upper-class families of Chicago’s well-to-do and the lives of servants who serve and work for these people every day.  Mired in secrets and confidences this story will appeal to a wide audience. 

Lucy Banning is a girl of her own mind who doesn’t want to buckle to the rules and regulations of high society that her mother so strives for each and every day.  From large social gatherings to opulent dinner parties, Lucy plays her part well but that is not where her heart lies.  Engaged to be married to Daniel, an up-and-coming banker, she keeps secrets from him and he doesn’t like the fact that she volunteers at the local orphanage.  Even her family doesn’t know that she is secretly taking classes at the newly opened university. 

A new servant has been hired on staff, a young girl, Charlotte, who has her own secret that she is hiding inside the household and if caught will mean immediate dismissal.  However, Lucy soon figures out that something is amiss and befriends Charlotte and they become friends and allies together.  Lucy helps Charlotte with her “problem” and Charlotte helps Lucy in keeping tabs on the goings on in the household during her absences. 

Then along comes Will, a new architect that her brother has befriended who is working on the plans for the World’s Fair and he has his eyes set on Lucy from the beginning and we soon learn that Lucy has eyes for him as well but she’s an engaged woman!  Daniel’s behaviour suddenly becomes questionable and everyone is trying to figure out what is going on with him and in the meantime, Lucy’s father is storming around the mansion yelling that someone is stealing items from his private office.  Of course, Charlotte being the newest hire is under immediate suspicion but Lucy knows in her heart it’s not Charlotte. 

There is so much going on in this story that you won’t be able to put it down.  The good news is that there is a Book #2 coming out in 2013 titled: The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow which I’ll definitely be picking up.  The Pursuit of Lucy Banning is one great read!!

**Special thanks to Baker Publishing for the preview copy!**