Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid is a must for reading groups, we joined in on this book club gem and read it with a group of friends. It lead to an exciting and fun discussion. The story provokes a few questions and it was interesting to see everyone’s thoughts and insight into the story.

This just might be the perfect one right now to find some friends and connect online to discuss this one. I know a group you could read it in!!! lol

For us here we had some different thoughts here that affected our overall enjoyment to the story. We could really see the different types of readers come out while reading this one and in our reviews. So on to our reviews.

Brenda’s review

The story starts with an exchange caught on video between our main character Emira and a security guard in a grocery store. This could have of went in a familiar way to exploring racism and the number of viral incidents, however, things that a fresh, more interesting direction than I expected.

Kiley Reid takes a simpler, enjoyable, entertaining yet still thought-provoking approach here and explores the other side, not everyone wants to be seen. Emira doesn’t want the video on social media, and what she as her own person not as a black woman wants out of life is explored in the story.

The dynamics between the characters are insightful and also refreshing as Kiley Reid explores the ownership the characters feel over Emira as a black woman. She skillfully weaves this in while exploring privilege, race, employee/employer dynamics, motherhood, and friendship. I enjoyed the dynamics between Emira and Briar, who she babysits but felt something was missing there. I wanted to feel that Emira’s role with Briar was more important than I did.

The biggest question I had and we had a few different answers in our discussion was, “What age was such a fun age?” and What is the title referring to?

Norma’s review

Thought-provoking, powerful, and absorbing!

SUCH A FUN AGE by KILEY REID was a book that I was extremely excited to receive and I am happy to say that I was just as excited about it after finishing the book. This was such a surprisingly great debut that starts off with quite the opening scene and then mellows out a little bit where the mood switches to being a light, easy-breezy story but to be totally honest it was nothing but. It was such a complex and layered story that was packed full of heart.

KILEY REID delivers a clever, captivating, and intriguing story here that is told in an empathetic and sincere voice that really makes the reader think. The narrative was fun and satirical and never once did I feel like it was intended to be any other way. I didn’t feel that the author was making us feel a certain way she was allowing us to feel it all on our own and come to our own interpretations of how we would react if we were put in the same scenarios as they were. I was definitely putting myself in these characters shoes and examining my own feelings. This book definitely made me think!

I wouldn’t necessarily say that I really connected or liked any of these characters, except for maybe little Briar. She definitely stole the show. It was the story in a whole that definitely made this such a great read for me!

Lindsay’s review

 An easy read that lacked the emotional connection and powerful punch that I had expected.

This book is all the buzz lately. I couldn’t wait to dig in and see what all the hype was about. I’m not sure if the overhyping is what made me feel like I was missing something or this simply wasn’t a powerful book for me. Yes, there are some very heavy topics covered within these pages, but the way they are presented didn’t impact or resonate with me.

From start to finish the narrative made me feel distanced from the characters and storyline. I never felt completely immersed in their lives. It was like I was being told this story without being given the opportunity to truly experience it. Often times the dialogue felt awkward and somewhat forced which further distanced me from the characters. I didn’t like the way the changing perspectives overlapped – it often felt choppy and lacked flow.

Overall, it was an easy, quick read, but not one that lived up to my expectations. 

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel @stephwrobel @SimonSchusterCA

Yahoo!! It’s pub date for Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel This is a great one to self isolate with because once you start you might not want to stop reading this one.

Darling Rose Gold is pure gold here and is one exciting read. This was a highly anticipated Traveling Sisters group read. Once we started reading this story, we could not put it down until we finished. Those twisty turns kept us guessing and those reveals are something to talk about.

Brenda’s review

Darling Rose Gold’s subject matter is disturbing; however, Stephanie Wrobel explores the dynamics between mother Patty and daughter Rose after the abuse takes place. Patty returns home after spending time in jail for abusing Rose. Rose is no longer Patty’s weak little daring, and she might be out for some sweet revenge. It’s all about these fascinating unreliable, so unlikable and compelling characters and the dynamics between them. What made this fascinating for me was that we now see how Rose feels about her mother’s abuse and how it all affected her. An exciting game develops between them that left me guessing who would come out the winner in this twisty story. The tension and suspense rise with each page, making this one quite the page-turner.

Now things do get disturbing here in the clever, layered twists and focusing on picking up one those clues makes this one an entertaining read. Things wrapped up well for me with the layered, convincing revelations. I highly recommend!!

Norma’s review

Compulsively readable, disturbingly fascinating, & an absolutely unputdownable psychological thriller!

DARLING ROSE GOLD by STEPHANIE WROBEL is one disturbing, dark, twisted, and original thriller that was quite the gripping book to read. I was immediately sucked into the narrative and could not put this book down.

STEPHANIE WROBEL delivers an interesting, fascinating, and well-written read here that offers quite the original and suspenseful plot with complex and dysfunctional characters. The story is told in alternating points of view between Rose Gold and her mother Patty. We get a firsthand look into both of their disturbing thought processes and what motivates each of them.

I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed or liked either one of our main characters here but they were definitely quite the entertaining pair though. I didn’t know which one of them to trust and who was playing who. I did have my suspicions though and I did puzzle together some of the stories plot points with the help of the author’s subtle clues. But it didn’t disrupt the flow of the novel for me or how compelling this book was to read. I was getting a little bit fed up and disappointed with one of the character’s actions which did affect my total enjoyment for this novel. 

Lindsay’s review

Oh my!! What a deliciously dark and twisty tale!

Rose Gold’s mother, Patty, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for abusing Rose Gold for eighteen years by poisoning her and making her appear critically ill. When Patty is released, Rose Gold is there to pick her up from prison along with her two month old son. Rose Gold knows her mother has no one to turn to and feels she has paid her dues for her crime. But, has Patty moved on from her controlling and deceitful ways? Will Rose Gold’s son be her next victim?

I inhaled this book barely coming up for air. This is an outstanding debut! The writing grabbed me from page one and kept me gripped and fully invested until the very last sentence. The suspense is thick, each chapter left me on edge and anxious.

The story unfolds in a dual narrative through Rose Gold and Patty’s perspectives. These characters were done to perfection! I was fascinated by their thoughts and decisions, trying to figure out what their ultimate goals were.

This book is not an easy read. There are plenty of disturbing and unsettling scenes, but the writing is so addictive and engrossing that it is impossible to put down.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Suffocating, striking, suspenseful, eye-catching and a great representation to storyline. I’m absolutely in love with this beautiful cover!!
Title: A simple, intriguing, effective, and fitting representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, easy to follow, entertaining, engaging and readable.
Plot: Complex, dark, twisted, disturbing, fascinating, interesting, creepy, fast-paced, twisty, and entertaining.
Ending: An ending that didn’t really take me by surprise but regardless that I was expecting it I thought it was a thrilling resolution that I was totally satisfied with.
Overall: 4.5 Stars! I wouldn’t necessarily say that I had fun with this one but the characters and the storyline definitely made for an entertaining and compelling read. Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing and Simon and Schuster Canada for kindly sending us a copy of this book!

Behind the Pages Q & A with Tosca Lee Author of The Line Between & A Single @ToscaLee

Tosca Lee joined us in our Behind The Pages Goodreads group and shared some insight into her writing process and her The Line Between Series The Line Between & A Single Light. I am excited to share some of Q & A here today on our blog.

Brenda: Thank you, Tosca for joining us!

Tosca: Hello, Traveling Sisters!! Thank you for inviting me to join you this evening!! It’s been such a pleasure to get to interact with you this last year as these books have come out, and I so appreciate your readership, reviews, and the way you advocate for books, readers and authors!

Brenda: How did you choose the names for your characters? I personally love the name Chase. It’s my son’s name.

Tosca: I’m starting with the question of how I come up with character names, and the answer is that some of my choices are very deliberate, and some just happen. On the deliberate side, there’s Wynter, who is named after my step-daughter, who was the same age when I began writing The Line Between. Chase (love this name!) was a name that came along as I was looking for something that would go with his rugged but restless spirit.

Then there is the Reverend–a minor character who was named Carolyn Richtel after the real Carolyn–a hospice worker in AZ–bought the spot in a charity auction. I haven’t always gotten to do this, having written books that were biblical or historical in nature in the past, so it was really fun for me to be able to offer a spot up in this way.

One of my favorite names was for Piper’s husband, Jax–nicknamed Jax Daniels. Btw, Piper was original Carolyne before the charity auction happened.

Brenda: How did you go about creating your characters? Were any of the characters harder for you to write than others? Do you have a favourite character that you liked writing more than any others?

Tosca: In the sequel, my new favorite character, Otto, was named after one of my longtime fans’ last name. I really love incorporating the first and/or last names of fans and sometimes post while I’m writing asking for volunteers–with the caveat that I reserve the right to make them jerks or kill them. ;D

I really like the idea of slipping into another character’s shoes and skin. Generally, writing characters is one of my favorite parts of creating stories because it seems like you can never make them too complex or multi-faceted–because real people are like that. Every now and then I have to revisit a character because I just know there’s more to them–and I need to dig that out a bit more. This was the case with my initial pass with Wynter. I had to find where she was walking that line between knowing something was off in the cult, but also trying to adhere to the only world system she knew. It took a few tries, and ultimately I had to rely on my own very strict and sometimes difficult religious upbringing for reference. It was hard to go there, but once I did… things made more sense. That’s the common ground I met Wynter on.

As for favorites… Otto in A Single Light has become my new favorite. I knew there would be someone to come along in that story–I just didn’t know who or what he’d be like until I got there. And then there Otto was. I don’t think I’ve giggled quite as much as I did writing his scenes

Brenda: What does your writing day look like to you? What is the one thing you struggle with the most in your writing process?

Tosca: I don’t have much of a typical writing day–every day can be different depending on what stage of writing I’m in: brainstorming, outlining, drafting, rewriting, editing… And often in between books, I don’t write–mostly because I’m playing catch up with everything else and trying to pick up all the balls I dropped while working. That’s the hard part for me: I seem to only be able to focus well on one thing at a time!

The other thing that makes my schedule unpredictable is that when I married my single father husband (you can learn more about him at @TheFarmerBryan on Instagram), I became an insta-mom to four. So this-single-city-girl-turned-farmer’s-wife-and-mom-of-four has had some steep learning curve lessons in country life, kids, and trying to find time for everything! 😀 But I’ve loved every minute of it

I can tell you that drafting is probably my least favorite part of writing. I know that’s where the magic happens–and fun, unexpected things do occur! But it’s also a very messy process and is the least contained part of it. I really love rewriting because finally those sentences start to sound smoother and things make more sense. 🙂

As for “typical,” though, don’t be fooled by images from awards banquets and trips to NYC–98% of this job involves sweatpants with dog goobers on them and ponytails with dirty hair. 😉

Brenda: How did you come up with the idea for this series?

Tosca: I was on my way to meet with my publisher about what my next two books should be and I had just seen a headline a few nights before about a reindeer in Siberia that melted in the permafrost. The carcass turned out to be filled with anthrax and a nearby village got sick and a young boy died. I remember thinking this was fascinating and terrifying, and added the idea of a disease coming out of the permafrost to my list of idea scenarios–which also included a story about a young woman leaving a cult and starting over in the outside world, among others.

My publisher, when we met, said, “I like these two. I think you should put them together!” I thought he was crazy at first. But then I went home and started putting it together, and really enjoyed the story!

Brenda: Did you plot out the stories or did it come together as you were writing? Did you have The Line Between completed and then wrote A Single Light or did you mapped out them together?

Tosca: Hahaha, I ought to let my editor friend who goes through all my manuscripts before I turn them in to my publisher answer this.

The short answer is that I normally plot a little more than I did on my initial draft of The Line Between. There are two genera camps in the novel-writing community–the plotters and panthers (who write by the seat of their pants). I am a plotter with some pantsing tendencies. But I still have to plot. So the initial draft of The Line Between did not come together. It was a mess. I had to rewrite it from the ground up a couple times before it finally worked.

My editor friend said, “Um, we need to talk before you start the sequel.” And we did, and I laid that baby out in enough detail that I knew what was going on and the writing flew by and was SO much easier. You’d think after a dozen books (I’ve got a couple that haven’t sold yet) I’d know better, but we all keep learning along the way.

To the other part of your question: the smart thing to do would probably be to plot the second book before writing or at least finishing the first one. But in both my duologies, I did not do this. So by the time I finished the first one, I knew I had written myself into a challenging corner, and that my job in the second book was to write myself out of it–preferably at a faster pace with higher stakes than the first book, if possible. 🙂 And I think that was kind of the fun of it–that I was in the same situation as my characters. But I have to admit that it has made for sleepless nights. I remember gearing up to write Firstborn (the sequel to The Progeny) and thinking, “How does one take down an entire European cabal???” 😀

Brenda: Things get pretty intense in A Single Light and became quite the action-packed race against time. How were you able to maintain that tension? Was that something you mapped out or did the story guide you?

Tosca: So this time I mapped it–mostly. I always leave some wiggle room and I didn’t realize that there’d be as much to the drama underground at the beginning of the book. But when I got in there, I really loved exploring it and the claustrophobic feeling of the situation. So there’s always a little discovery along the way, but in order to make up for the time I spent rewriting the first book so many times and to maintain the relentless pace of the action, I had to be very cognizent about events and the passage of time vs. the stakes Wynter and Chase were up against. It was a very intense three months of writing for me with a lot of all-nighters or 4am bedtimes.

Brenda: Is there anything you hope readers will get from your books?

Tosca: The first thing is entertainment. I really hope readers who come to my stories get the escape that we look for in fiction. Beyond that, I hope they get a few heart palpitations (:D), or that they sigh or laugh or are just so in the moment that time slips by and suddenly it’s well past bedtime. I hope they’re inspired and learn or think about something new, too. But above all, I hope they enjoy themselves.

To read more of our Q & A with Tosca Lee you can find here

Thank you so much Tosca for our copies of both books!

Not To Be Missed Monday: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James @BerkleyPub

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is available tomorrow February 18, 2020 and it’s one not to be missed. Read this one, eat, drink and be scared!! We highly recommend!

Brenda’s review

Boo Hah! Hot spooktacular Diggity dang that was one fa-boo-lous scary good read that had me shaking my boo-ty to the creepy good vibe to this story. (I know how many puns can I get in one sentence) Hehee! It is one not to be missed!

The Sun Down Motel is an exciting, gripping, entertaining supernatural thriller, with one of the best characters here with the setting that I have read. The rundown motel takes on a life of its own and had me wanting to pull the covers over my eyes while reading it.

This is some excellent storytelling by Simone St. James that doesn’t tell a story but draws you into the story and makes you feel you are living in it. It had my heart pounding right from the start with the suspense and tension that rises with each page. It has a cinematic feel to it that makes it exciting and entertaining.

The mystery and secrets hidden in the walls of this eerie and haunting setting are brilliantly woven together. The characters are interesting, quirky and are so fun and entertaining. I loved everything about this story!!

Norma’s review

Spooky, spine-tingling suspense, and creepy!

THE SUN DOWN MOTEL by SIMONE ST. JAMES is an engrossing, dark, gripping, chilling, and fabulous gothic mystery/thriller that I was immediately drawn into. I was totally immersed in this tale and completely devoured the supernatural aspects in this story. The story was so darn entertaining with that creepy and eerie haunted motel setting that I found this to be absolutely irresistible and un-put-down-able!!!!

SIMONE ST. JAMES delivers quite the atmospheric, captivating, engaging, mysterious, suspenseful and well-written story here told in dual timelines and perspectives between the past and the present. I sometimes enjoy one timeline and perspective over another but this one I am happy to say that they both equally intrigued and fascinated me.

Lindsay’s review

A dark, engrossing, chilling, gothic, suspenseful, atmospheric, mysterious thriller! Loved it!!!

After her mother’s death, Carly moves to the small town of Fell, to investigate the disappearance of her mothers sister, Vivian. Decades earlier, Carly’s aunt Vivian took a job as the night clerk at the remote Sun Down Motel. Unexplained strange things happen at this motel including the disappearance of Vivian from her shift one night. Police investigation provides no answers as to what happened to Vivian. Haunted by the tragedy that happened before she was born, Carly begins her search at the Sun Down Motel, only to be offered a job as the night clerk. Carly finds herself in the same role that her aunt Vivian had before she vanished. Will Carly be able to uncover the long buried secrets and get the answers she hopes for?

I loved this book! The atmosphere was thick! I felt every spine-tingling scare that Carly felt. I was with her there in that run down motel, holding my breath in anticipation of what would happen next. The author, Simone St. James, created a storyline that completely engrossed me within the suspense and mystery. I felt like I truly knew the characters, the small town and the motel. The story is brilliantly narrated in two timelines/perspectives – through Carly in 2017 and her aunt Vivian in 1982. Loved the pace and flow – it kept me curious and hungry to read “just one more chapter.” My one tiny critique is that I felt a couple things near the end were a stretch for me to accept.

I will warn you that this novel is quite ghost-y. I am not one who generally attracts to ghost-y type novels, however, this story simply felt so real and kept me fully immersed and invested that I never doubted the supernatural element.

I read and loved Simone St. James’ previous novel, The Broken Girls. This book was just as good! I’m a huge fan and look forward to what this author comes out with next! I must make note of how much I LOVE THIS COVER!!

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: That cover is absolutely perfect for a creepy and haunting story!! I think it is such a striking & welcoming design that immediately caught my eye and definitely enticed me into needing to read this book.
Title: A simply perfect, chilling, impactful and fabulous representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, fluid, suspenseful, and engaging.
Plot: Engrossing, creepy, captivating, haunting, interesting, riveting, fast-paced, and entertaining.
Ending: Whoa! Absolutely loved it!
Overall: 4.5 Stars! This was an all around fabulous book for me and the perfect ghost story! Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for gifting us a copy!

Not To Be Missed Monday: Behind Every Lie by Christina McDonald @Christinamac79

It’s no secret how much we love Christina McDonald. She is one of the kindest authors out there who loves to share her time with her readers. We had the pleasure of her joining us twice for an author Q & A. She joined us in our Behind the Pages Goodreads group and talked a bit about Behind Every Lie. At that time, we hadn’t read Behind Every Lie. Today we are excited to share our reviews with you all!

Behind Every Lie is available tomorrow February 4, 2020 and we suggest not missing this one if you love a fast-paced, head spinning, twisty domestic thriller with a bit of drama to it.

We loved The Night Olivia Fell and highly recommend if you haven’t read that one to read it. It’s one not to be missed. Behind Every Lie is quite a bit different from The Night Olivia Fell and it’s best going into it knowing that and trying not to compare the two. I found The Night Olivia Fell to have more emotional depth to it and Behind Every Lie to be a twisty and suspenseful mystery with unreliable characters.

Brenda’s review

Behind Every Lie is a domestic thriller with all the elements that make for a readable, fast-paced, intense and suspenseful one. The characters are unreliable and interesting and left me guessing who to trust and not. There is quite of bit of drama here that left my head spinning and I felt like I was doing the twist with those layered twists and turns in all that drama. There are a few things explored here within this mystery and the mother-daughter relationship and there is plenty to unpack here with the secrets and lies that add some tension to the story.

Norma’s review

Unsettling, illuminating & wholly absorbing!

BEHIND EVERY LIE by CHRISTINA MCDONALD has quite the opening scene and a premise that definitely hooked me and kept me entertained and completely invested in. It was such an emotionally intense, suspenseful, enjoyable, and entertaining mother-daughter domestic thriller. It is packed full of drama and atmosphere. The vivid descriptions added to the tension for me and definitely helped to set the mood.

CHRISTINA MCDONALD delivers a complex, captivating, dark, character-driven, gripping, intriguing and well-written read here that is told in alternating perspectives from Eva’s after being hit by lightning and Kat’s mysterious past. I thoroughly enjoyed our main character here and it was extremely fun trying to figure out if her memory was affected by being struck by lightning or if there was something else going on here. My absolute favourite is an unreliable character.

I absolutely love it when a book starts out with a bang and has plenty of questions for us to ponder but gives me this firm grasp that I know exactly where the story is headed. These types of stories are so satisfying for me as I like it when an author guides us to the conclusion and then throws in a surprising twist ending that totally works then I’m one happy reader. She writes these emotionally-charged stories that taps right into all your emotions as well as this deep sense of foreboding to make it quite the suspenseful storytelling.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Impending doom, ominous, foreboding, haunting, eye-catching and a fitting representation to storyline.
Title: Intriguing, suspenseful, affecting and an extremely fitting representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Engaging, taut, readable, beautiful, and well-written.
Plot: Steadily-paced, complex, fascinating, foreboding, vivid, atmospheric, suspenseful, and moving.
Ending: A dazzling, clever, and twist ending that was extremely satisfying! There were some aspects to the storyline that I felt were easy to predict but that ending totally took me by surprise!
Overall: An emotionally charged & intriguing storyline, realistic & believable familial dynamics, and a well-crafted & intense mystery. Would highly recommend!

Expected Publishing Date: February 4, 2020

Thank you so much to Christina McDonald for our copies to read and review.

From our Q & A with Christina McDonald

Brenda Can you give a sneak peek into what Behind Every Lie is about?

Christina BEL is about Eva Hansen, who wakes up in the hospital after being struck by lightning and learns that her mother, Kat has been murdered. Eva was found unconscious down the street, but she can’t remember what happened, which of course makes the police very suspicious of her. To clear her name and to find out if she is capable of something so terrible, Eva heads to London—Kat’s former home—and begins to unravel the mystery behind her mother’s murder.

Brenda How did the idea for Behind Every Lie come to you?

Christina There were two things that really factored into the idea behind BEL. The first is I randomly saw a picture of Lichtenberg figures, which are the branching electrical marks sometimes left on the skin of people who’ve been struck by lightning. I was so fascinated that I began researching more about lightning strikes, particularly how it affects short-term and long-term memory.

During this time I read the impact statement for Emily Doe, who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner at Stanford University. It really impacted me and I thought: how do you go on after that? Your self-trust and worth would be eroded.

Now I know that sexual assault in a story can be incredibly unsettling for some readers (I don’t show it, but do reference it in this book), but I felt it was so important for women (and men, of course) to know they have a voice. Sexual assault has often been covered in stories, but not often is the pain explored through the victim’s eyes. It’s so common to see men presented as both attacker and savior, while women as powerless, and I wanted to flip that around, to show a woman taking control after that trauma and learning to trust herself again.

So I wrote BEL, which takes a thriller concept and places Eva, my protagonist, around a similar past. Now she’s been struck by lightning and can’t remember if she murdered her mother, and this further erodes her self-trust. So she embarks on a journey to find out who she really is and what she’s capable of, while trying to solve the mystery of who murdered her mother.

For more of our Q & A can be found here on our blog or in our Behind the Pages Goodreads group here

Get It Today Tuesday: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain @D_Chamberlain @StMartinsPress

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain was a highly anticipated read for The Traveling Sisters and we loved it!! I recommend running to your nearest bookstore or device and getting it today!! It’s one not to be missed!!

Brenda’s review

Well, that is some mighty fine, creative writing here by one of my favourite authors. I loved this one!!

Big Lies is a Small Town did start off a little slow for me and I was feeling a bit worried that I wasn’t quite getting where the story was going here by almost halfway. I was intrigued but at first, felt like I was being strung along a bit. Then I reminded myself that I have nothing to worry about because this is Diane Chamberlain. Well, well my patience was rewarded and around the middle of the book, the pace took off me and things started falling into place. I started piecing together this well-layered story and flew through the second half.

After reading so many books, things can get a little boring at times and I seem to lose my groove a lot and it is getting harder to find that one that is creative and a bit different from the rest. Diane Chamberlain creates a very unique and compelling story here. She brilliantly weaves the two timelines here with our main character Morgan and Anna. I was so pleased with the way everything wrapped up in the end so perfectly for me. After reading this one, I was marching around the house cheering with excitement for finding another one that kept me in my groove. I highly recommend it.

Lindsay’s review

A suspenseful and captivating mystery set in a small town.

Told in the dual narratives of 1940 and 2018, the two main characters, Anna and Morgan are young artists looking to find their way. Before finishing a mural project for the small town of Edenton, Anna goes missing in 1940. Almost 80 years later, Morgan is asked to restore the unfinished mural project so it can be hung in a local art exhibit. Little does Morgan know the hidden secrets she will find while researching and restoring the mysterious mural.

I adore small town settings and this one was no exception. The atmosphere engrossed and intrigued me from start to finish. I felt as though I was right there in Edenton with the characters. I loved the dual narrative, although I felt a deeper connection to and investment in Anna’s life in 1940. The plot unfolded smoothly while moving back and forth between the timelines, leaving a large sense of mystery at the end of each chapter which made me want to keep reading. Please be warned that there are some heavy topics covered within these pages: racism, physical abuse, rape, harassment.

One issue I had was that Morgan’s romance felt cliche and unnecessary, however, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment. There were parts of the ending that I found predictable, yet I still felt connected to and invested in the storyline and it left me with a good sense of closure and contentment.

If you are a fan of Diane Chamberlain, like I am, you will not be disappointed. This book showcases her usual captivating writing, unique storyline and unforgettable characters which has left me hungry for what she comes out with next.

Thank you to St Martin’s Press for our copies!