Book Review: Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

Lost For WordsLoveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she’ll never show you.

Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can’t hide any longer.

My Thoughts:

I was thrilled to discover this book and couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. I enjoy reading books when they involve bookstores and bookish people. Alas, I must admit in first half of the book, I was frustrated and was ready to ditch the book. However, I rallied on and certain aspects of the story became a bit stronger about almost half way in.

The story is written in Loveday’s POV and she is an interesting character. I must admit at first I wasn’t sure she was going to grow on me but as I read on she came out of her shell-if you will- somewhat and I began to sympathize with her.

Loveday works in a second hand book shop and her boss Archie is quite the character! He seemed to know everyone and has been everywhere. I wanted that to be explored more. There can be a whole other book written about him in my opinion. I felt he was the life of the story.

The story has a subject matter about unhealthy and often times abusive and deadly relationships. There are some areas of this matter where I felt it was weakly portrayed and areas where it was strong. After thinking about it for a while, my only contingent would be that maybe the overall story would have been stronger if there was more background on the people’s life experience as to why their relationships were unhealthy. Another thing that bothered me was the tragedy that Loveday experienced as a child wasn’t satisfactory for the plot.

Having said that, I enjoyed reading this story. The premise is a good one, the ending was heartfelt and I loved the poetry included as part of what helps brings two people together in this story. I will be on the lookout for more stories by this author.

I rated this book three stars.

I obtained a copy of this book from Bonnier Zaffre through NetGalley.

An Oldie but Goodie

As a book reviewer, I always enjoy going back and checking out older reviews I have written. It’s funny because sometimes I think, “What in the world was I thinking when I wrote that?!” Not that I have a different mind about the story but the words I wrote to describe my feelings about the book or I had wish I had been further in-depth. It must be the mood I am at the moment, if I’m tired or whatever. This past weekend I was in the mood to look back at my review of The Sister Queens I wrote in 2013 and it’s not half bad. Check it out. – It’s an oldie but goodie. 

Book Review: The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot

the-sister-queensThe Sister Queens is the second novel I have read about Marguerite and Eleanor, who both became Queens. The two sisters grew up together at their father’s-Count Raymond of Provence-court. They are separated at an early age to marry, they find their life as they know it completely changed and become two extraordinary women who face many challenges.

Marguerite married King Louis of France and is often neglected by him. She struggles to fulfill her role as Queen by his side. The reason for her struggles is due to her domineering and often time’s cruel mother-in-law, Blanche of Castile. Blanche’s influence over her son is strong as is her involvement in the governance of France.

Eleanor, whose husband is King Henry III of England, is not considered a strong leader to his kingdom but is a good husband and adores her. But as the years go by their marriage becomes strained and Eleanor struggles to bring back that spark in their relationship.

Although this story centers on Marguerite and Eleanor, they have two other sisters- Beatrice and Sanchia- who married the brothers of King Henry and King Louis. Their marriages help bond the relationship between the two countries. The marriages of all the sisters were obviously for political advantage and more power. Which is intriguing to read about and I find that I admire their courage, strength and their amazing resilience to adapt to any situation they encounter.

At the beginning of each chapter you read a letter from Marguerite to Eleanor and vice versa- as they corresponded through the years. As I read their letters, I found myself enthralled with their devotion to each other. For me, the letters were the highlight of the story told.

The alternating point of views told by the two sisters was well developed and easy to follow along. One can tell Perinot takes pride in her work and it shows through the pages and the character’s voices as their lives unfold. The compelling interpretation of Marguerite and Eleanor is believable and admirable. Stories such as this are timeless and Perinot brings the 13th century back to life through this captivating novel. That is one of the reasons why I’m so drawn to historical fiction. I hold this story in high affection and it is certainly praiseworthy!

I rated this story four and a half stars.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Review: A Death Along the River Fleet (Lucy Campion Mysteries #4) by Susanna Calkins

A Death Along the River FleetLucy Campion, a ladies’ maid turned printer’s apprentice in 17th-century London, is crossing Holborn Bridge over the vilest portion of the River Fleet one morning when she encounters a distraught young woman, barely able to speak and clad only in a blood-spattered nightdress. The woman has no memory of who she is or what’s happened to her, and the townspeople believe she’s posessed. But Lucy is concerned for the woman’s well-being and takes her to a physician. When, shockingly, the woman is identified as the daughter of a nobleman, Lucy is asked to temporarily give up her bookselling duties to discreetly serve as the woman’s companion while she remains under the physician’s care. As the woman slowly recovers, she begins-with Lucy’s help-to reconstruct the terrible events that led her to Holborn Bridge that morning. But when it becomes clear the woman’s safety might still be at risk, Lucy becomes unwillingly privy to a plot with far-reaching social implications, and she’ll have to decide how far she’s willing to go to protect the young woman in her care.

My thoughts:

A Death Along the River Fleet is the first book I have read by Susanna Calkins and probably the first historical fiction book I have read that takes place soon after the great London fire. The title of the book, the cover and the premise really drew me in. I was completely absorbed in the story from the very beginning.

I’d have to say that Lucy Campion is now one of my favorite female heroines. She is strong, intelligent, wise even. I love her process of thought and her desire to help people. The fact that she works as a printer’s apprentice helps a great deal too! Also, how the people around her respond to her is fascinating. Really strong character development here.

There are solid historical aspects to this story and I was thrilled with the intrigue! How the story unfolded and how the clues were stacking up was brilliant! This is about the best mystery story I have read in a long time. I really can’t say enough great things about this book. I highly recommend it. Now I will be sure to go back and read the other three books that came before this one!

Rated: Five Stars!

I obtained a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Review: Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James

Lost amog the living

England, 1921. Three years after her husband, Alex, disappeared, shot down over Germany, Jo Manders still mourns his loss. Working as a paid companion to Alex’s wealthy, condescending aunt, Dottie Forsyth, Jo travels to the family’s estate in the Sussex countryside. But there is much she never knew about her husband’s origins…and the revelation of a mysterious death in the Forsyths’ past is just the beginning…

All is not well at Wych Elm House. Dottie’s husband is distant, and her son was grievously injured in the war. Footsteps follow Jo down empty halls, and items in her bedroom are eerily rearranged. The locals say the family is cursed, and that a ghost in the woods has never rested. And when Jo discovers her husband’s darkest secrets, she wonders if she ever really knew him. Isolated in a place of deception and grief, she must find the truth or lose herself forever.

And then a familiar stranger arrives at Wych Elm House…

My thoughts:

I love reading about independent women in period pieces, old houses in countryside’s with secrets, family curses, a ghost and war world I stories. When these elements are blended together-well-you have me hooked! There was tension and action in all the right places.

I adore Jo! I could read about her all day. I have to say, I wanted her not to be so submissive to Dottie, her aunt. Though I get why she was. She needed to work after all and in those times, it was hard for women to find employment.

Dottie is a strange bird for sure. Tough, smart, secretive, and a go getter. On the down side, she is rude and uncaring at times but it works for this story.

Jo’s husband, Alex is one I really didn’t warm up too. Alas, I can’t tell you why because I don’t want to spoil the story.

Now for the other characters. Well done! They add so much to the story. Love it when that happens!

I found this story to be atmospheric and well written. The plot is excellent and I didn’t want to put the book down!

Something about the story bothered me though and for a while I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I think it must be the relationship between Jo and her mother.  I think the author intended it to be a back story but I wanted more out of it. There is a situation that seemed so abrupt and final. I wanted more answers. I wanted there to be more feelings toward that situation. But I’m okay with how the author told the story. Though I kept thinking there is a bigger story there. Anyhow, it doesn’t take away from how I feel about the book at all.

I am looking forward to reading more books by this author!

I have rated this book four and a half stars.

I have obtained a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

 

 

 

Review: No One Knows by J.T. Ellison

No one knows II

In an obsessive mystery as thrilling as The Girl on the Train and The Husband’s SecretNew York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison will make you question every twist in her page-turning novel—and wonder which of her vividly drawn characters you should trust.

The day Aubrey Hamilton’s husband is declared dead by the state of Tennessee should bring closure so she can move on with her life. But Aubrey doesn’t want to move on; she wants Josh back. It’s been five years since he disappeared, since their blissfully happy marriage—they were happy, weren’t they?—screeched to a halt and Aubrey became the prime suspect in his disappearance. Five years of emptiness, solitude, loneliness, questions. Why didn’t Josh show up at his friend’s bachelor party? Was he murdered? Did he run away? And now, all this time later, who is the mysterious yet strangely familiar figure suddenly haunting her new life?

My thoughts:

When I began reading this story the jumping back and forth to the present and past was getting on my last nerve. I think it was the way it was done starting in the beginning. At first I couldn’t see where it was going and I thought it might be too much back story on things that did not matter to the plot. Well, I was dead wrong. I started to see a pattern and when I thought I had the whole story figured out, BAM-there is a total plot twist that had me so shocked! I did not see it coming at all!

For the characters, Aubrey actually annoyed me. I disliked Daisy until I realized that she was right about a few things and I sort-of changed my opinion of her. Okay, I really didn’t but I sympathized with her a little. Though she was wrong about a lot of things. As for the other characters they are just as messed up.

This psychological thriller has all the right twisted, disturbing, dysfunctional characters and situations. I found myself about half way racing through the pages to see what happens next. Things get really intense and when you think you have it all figured out, everything you thought will turn out differently in the end.

I rated this book three stars.

I received a copy from NetGalley for an honest review.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Review: The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

The madwoman upstairs

In Catherine Lowell’s smart and original debut novel, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family’s long-rumored secret estate, using only the clues her eccentric father left behind, and the Brontës’ own novels.

Samantha Whipple is used to stirring up speculation wherever she goes. Since her father’s untimely death, she is the presumed heir to a long-rumored trove of diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts passed down from the Brontë family—a hidden fortune never revealed to anyone outside of the family, but endlessly speculated about by Brontë scholars and fanatics. Samantha, however, has never seen this alleged estate and for all she knows, it’s just as fictional as Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights.

Yet everything changes when Samantha enrolls at Oxford University and long lost objects from the past begin rematerializing in her life. Her father’s distinctive copy of Jane Eyre, which should have perished in the fire that claimed his life, mysteriously appears on Samantha’s bed. Annotated in her father’s handwriting, the book is the first of many clues in an elaborate scavenger hunt derived from the world’s greatest literature. With the help of a handsome but inscrutable professor, Samantha must plunge into a vast literary mystery and an untold family legacy, one that can only be solved by decoding the clues hidden within the Brontës’ own writing.

For readers who devoured The Weird Sisters and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, The Madwoman Upstairs is a suspenseful, exhilarating debut by an exciting new talent who offers a moving exploration of what it means when the greatest truth is, in fact, fiction.

My thoughts:

When I was a teenager, I absorbed the stories written by the Brontës’. I would re-read them many times and would day dream about the characters and their plight. The prose and the character’s actions stayed with me for a long time. These stories to me were so atmospheric and wrought with overemotional heartache. I loved it!  Another aspect of the stories that fascinated me were the social norms of the period portrayed in the story. As a young person living in modern times I found that to be extraordinary and the injustice of it all would provoke so many feelings in me about it. I believe the story of Jane was the most meaningful for me. Her misfortunes and journey was powerful and I was moved by the narrator’s voice.

As I got older, I put these books aside. I think it’s because of my own situations in life hindered me from wanting to revisit them. I’ve really never explored my reasons why. Maybe I will one day. Anyhow, currently I have been rediscovering the sister’s stories again and now in a broader approach one might say.

The Madwoman Upstairs has stirred up so many of my old emotions about the Brontës’ and new emotions as well. Samantha Whipple became my new favorite heroine. Her qualities appealed to me and her search in finding the answers to her Father’s clues to the untold family legacy had me hanging on to every word she uttered. Her strange childhood with her Father has me even more intrigued.  The dynamics of the relationship building between Samantha and Orville are spellbinding to say the least. I think I feel a little in love with Orville. I found is him to be very Brontë-ish, if you know what I mean.

All the elements of the Brontës’ in the story was superbly written and alluring. We see many things come to light about the Brontës’ one might not have thought of. There is lots of enthralling material and insight to mull over. I will have to say that I was a little surprised and-maybe- disappointed in the way the story ended. I have two minds about how it could have ended but I will say that just gives me more to ponder on so I don’t mind at all!

I really cannot say enough about The Madwoman Upstairs. My review seriously cannot do this book justice. I highly recommend this story.

I obtained a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publishers for an honest review.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Review: The Temple of Light by Daniela Piazza

The Temple light

It is the early fifteenth century, and the Italian peninsula is ravaged by war. While Milan fights for its political and economic life, Duke Filippo Maria Visconti lies on his deathbed with no heir to succeed him. But the old nobleman has a secret: He has a son.

Visconti hands over the one-year-old child to the archdeacon Onorio, who agrees to keep him safe. Little does young Niccolò know that when he comes of age, he will inherit the great Visconti fortune and become the city’s next duke.

Years later, in the shadows of a new cathedral, the members of a secret brotherhood practice alchemy and plot court intrigues, working to fulfill the ancient prophecy of the goddess Belisama. The brothers, sustained by blind faith, will do whatever it takes to achieve their Grande Opera, but first they need peace in the city, and Niccolò is the only one who can help. But when he starts to witness mysterious rites and killings, Niccolò will be forced to reconsider his destiny.

Review:

The story begins with a brutal rape scene and it turned my stomach. In my opinion this is not a way to start a story. I have to admit; I didn’t think I would finish this book. Though I am used to writers writing violence in stories-when needed-I felt this story focused on too much brutality and took much away from other themes of the story. Though I do realize this story takes place in a period of history ravaged by war. Still, too much brutality for my taste.

I was intrigued with certain aspects of this story. Milan captured my attention and the political and economic life during that time. However, I found it hard to follow due to the fact that some of the names were not known to me. Which I will be researching on my own time. Also, I would like to add that I felt like I was back in history class.

The premise of a Visconti dying and had no known surviving male heirs intrigued me at first but did not hold my attention.

None of the characters appealed to me. I am all about character development AND wanting to find a connection to the characters. That did not happen for me in this story.

I lost interest in this story quickly and as an avid reader of Historical Fiction I found that very disappointing. I do like the book cover and title. That is what first captured my attention and had high hopes going in. I am sad to say I have rated this book two and a half stars.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Book Review: Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

01_Mist of Midnight

Publication Date: March 10, 2015 Howard Books Formats: eBook, Paperback Pages: 384

Series: Daughters of Hampshire Genre: Historical/Christian/Romance

 **********

Mist of Midnight is an opening story of a series I’m told. Set in Victorian England is the perfect backdrop for this story. A young girl, Rebecca Ravenshaw, returns to England from India. Her parents-missionaries-died in the Indian Mutiny. When she arrives no one believes who she says she is. A year before someone else claimed to be her and was quite convincing. The imposter died and Rebecca’s Father’s estate and his investments where given to a distant relative. His name is Captain Luke Whitfield. He and Rebecca quickly form an attraction for each other. However, her rights and who she says she is hasn’t been proven and you soon wonder what her fate will be. So begins the challenge or adventure I should say to convince everyone that she is the real Rebecca Ravenshaw.

I enjoyed the gothic mystery feel to the story and how Byrd portrays each of the characters. Even the secondary characters play an important role in the story. I was really intrigued with the details and culture of India that Byrd includes and she gives you a richly sense of time and place. Beautiful prose throughout, suspense in the right places and Byrd proves yet again you can write a good story without the vulgarity and foul language one finds often in books. This story is considered Christian Lit and Byrd does a splendid job with her characters dealing with real life situations. Often times I read in this genre and have been disappointed. I felt the characters weren’t believable and there realities seemed artificial. Sandra Byrd will not disappoint you with Mist of Midnight. In fact, she is one of my favorite writers and one of the few writers who I think can write brilliantly in this genre. I am so thrilled with this story and I will be on the lookout for more! Can’t wait!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

 Praise for Mist of Midnight

“Intriguing secondary characters and lush scenery contribute to the often sinister, even creepy, moments readers will come to anticipate. Infusing her story with mystery, tension, and emotion, Byrd (To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn) strikes a fine balance between the darkness of a Gothic mystery and the sweetness of a captivating love story. Byrd—and Brontë—fans will enjoy this first of the new Daughters of Hampshire series.” – Publishers Weekly

“A marvelous mingling of mystery and deeply moving family and romantic love, Mist of Midnight kept me guessing until the very end. A house on a cliff, a Victorian-Gothic atmosphere, a cast of suspicious characters including a dark, brooding hero and a strong heroine: shades (or mists) of Jane Eyre and Rebecca! I look forward to the next novel in this compelling new series.” (Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of Mistress of Mourning)

“Mist of Midnight is wonderfully atmospheric, with all the right elements for a true Gothic novel, from sounds that go bump in the night to characters who are not at all what they seem. The spiritual underpinning is solid, comforting, even as we’re trapped in the author’s finely spun web of mystery, romance, and a sense of foreboding that doesn’t lift until the final page. Charlotte Brontë? Victoria Holt? Meet Sandra Byrd, the modern mistress of Gothic romance!” (Liz Curtis Higgs, New York Times bestselling author of Mine Is the Night)

“Among the many things I love about reading a Sandra Byrd novel is knowing that her words will transport me to another place and time, that she will win me over with intriguing and complex characters, and that I’ll savor every word. Mist of Midnight is no exception. I loved this book! Sandra Byrd could belong to the writing group of the Bronte sisters if they’d had one. Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre along with crumbling mansions, mysterious distant cousins, and one woman’s journey to prove who she really is are just few layers that ripple through the mists. Bravo, Sandra! Another winner.” (Jane Kirkpatrick, award-winning author of A Light in the Wilderness)

“Richly written and multi-layered, Mist of Midnight blends traditional England and exotic India in a historical feat worthy of Victoria Holt. Breathless danger, romance, and intrigue made this series opener by the ultra-talented Sandra Byrd a compelling must-read!” (Laura Frantz, author of Love’s Reckoning)

“Once again, Sandra Byrd delivers a richly layered story that will leave you eagerly awaiting the next book in this brand-new series. Mist of Midnight has it all: intriguing and memorable characters—including a central female protagonist who is both complex and inspiring—a plot chock-full of mystery and suspense, and a Victorian gothic setting, impeccably researched and artfully and evocatively relayed. Prepare to be transported!” (Karen Halvorsen Schreck, author of Sing For Me)

“Mist of Midnight is a beautiful, haunting tale. Sandra Byrd masterfully weaves together both romance and suspense among a cast of mysterious characters. I was immediately swept into the wonder of this story, and I loved unraveling all the secrets and discovering exactly what happened at the old Headbourne House.” (Melanie Dobson, author of Chateau of Secrets and The Courier of Caswell Hall)

“Sandra Byrd’s trademark attention to historical accuracy combines with an eerily building intrigue to envelope readers in a sense of dark foreboding that hinges precariously between hope and desperation. Mist of Midnight is a subtly haunting, beautifully atmospheric, and decadently romantic Victorian tale that will find a comfortable home among the best Gothic romances of days gone by.” (Serena Chase, author of The Ryn and contributor to USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog)

“Not since Jane Eyre have I read a Gothic romance that has captured my heart so completely. From the exotic India to an English estate shrouded in mystery, Byrd’s eye for detail shines through on every page. Romance lovers are sure to devour the tale of Rebecca Ravenshaw and her search for the truth behind the mysteries of Headbourne House and the handsome young captain who lives on the estate.” (Renee Chaw, reviewer at Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot)

“From the first word to the last, Mist of Midnight is a completely absorbing romantic, and mysterious, novel. Ms. Byrd’s writing is splendid, and her characters are so complex and endearing that they leap off the pages. I couldn’t put it down. An absolutely irresistible read!” (Anne Girard, author of Madame Picasso)

Pre-Order/Buy the Book

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About the Author

03_Sandra Byrd Author

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I published in April, 2013.

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens including the Secret Sisters Series, London Confidential Series and a devotional for tweens.

A former textbook acquisitions editor, Sandra has published many nonfiction articles and books. She is passionate about helping new writers develop their talent and their work toward traditional or self-publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year.

Please visit www.sandrabyrd.com to learn more, or to invite Sandra to your bookclub via Skype. You can also connect with Sandra on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Mist of Midnight Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 2 Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, March 3 Review at A Chick Who Reads Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, March 4 Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, March 5 Review at Reading the Past Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation Review & Guest Post at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Friday, March 6 Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, March 9 Review & Giveaway at Historical Readings & Views

Tuesday, March 10 Review at Just One More Chapter Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, March 11 Review & Giveaway at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, March 12 Review at Book Drunkard Spotlight at Books and Benches

Friday, March 13 Review & Giveaway at Forever Ashley

Monday, March 16 Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, March 17 Review at Layered Pages

Wednesday, March 18 Review at The Eclectic Reader Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter

Thursday, March 19 Review at CelticLady’s Reviews Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, March 20 Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

04_Mist of Midnight_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

 

 

 

Review: The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff

cover48919-medium

The Winter Guest

By Pam Jenoff

Harlequin

Harlequin MIRA

Pub Date   Aug 26 2014

  • ISBN9780778315964
  • Price14.95
  • Currency USD
  • Edition Paperback

Review:

Two eighteen year old twin sisters-Helena and Ruth-are living in the mist of war and the Nazi occupation in Poland. Their father dead and their mother in the hospital, they struggle to take care of their younger siblings. Food is sparse and they are in fear of the constant threat of the Nazi’s arresting them or worse. Helena and Ruth couldn’t be more different in personalities. Helena has a daring, and courageous spirit-ventures out to the local village almost every day, to buy food. (A village where children grew up and married and the sons worked the same jobs their fathers did….no one left until the war…. For the daughters, marriage was the best option.) Every time she ventures out it becomes more and more dangerous and she can trust no one….

One day Helena discovers an American Soldier stranded and helps him. He is wounded, needs food and in the constant threat of the Nazis discovering him, she continues to help him. And even more dangerous is that he is a Jew. As she helps him, their relationship grows and her resolve to not abandon him even though she is keeping him a secret from her sister makes their situation more dangerous as Helena and the soldier make plans to flee, taking her family with them.

Ruth taking the role of care-giver to her younger siblings in her mother’s place, clothes them, makes sure they are clean and feeds them with what little they have, all the while longing for a husband and a home of her own (She was the sister that expected to marry). As Ruth discovers Helena’s secret of helping the soldier and sees how her sister feels for this soldier, Ruth becomes jealous and makes an unwise choice and betrays Helena that could put all their lives in danger. The choices that the two sisters make forever changes their lives and changes the course of their families’ future. Without giving too much detail away, I couldn’t help thinking throughout the story if that only Ruth would have realized the importance of her role to her siblings and their survival….would the outcome have been different then it was.

This story touches on several themes that really made an emotional impact. Betrayal and the effects of that, the importance of family, survival, the realities of war, persecution, and love. The author gives vivid and realistic details throughout the story and her flow of speech has you hanging on to every word. This book is one you won’t want to put down and when you are finished reading, you will remember for a long time after.

Stephanie Moore Hopkins

Book Review for Sinners and the Sea by Rebecca Kanner

02_Sinners and the Sea

Publication Date: April 2, 2013 Howard Books Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audio CD

The young heroine in Sinners and the Sea is destined for greatness. Known only as “wife” in the Bible and cursed with a birthmark that many think is the brand of a demon, this unnamed woman lives anew through Rebecca Kanner. The author gives this virtuous woman the perfect voice to make one of the Old Testament’s stories come alive like never before.

Desperate to keep her safe, the woman’s father gives her to the righteous Noah, who weds her and takes her to the town of Sorum, a haven for outcasts. Alone in her new life, Noah’s wife gives him three sons. But living in this wicked and perverse town with an aloof husband who speaks more to God than to her takes its toll. She tries to make friends with the violent and dissolute people of Sorum while raising a brood that, despite its pious upbringing, develops some sinful tendencies of its own. While Noah carries out the Lord’s commands, she tries to hide her mark and her shame as she weathers the scorn and taunts of the townspeople.

But these trials are nothing compared to what awaits her after God tells her husband that a flood is coming—and that Noah and his family must build an ark so that they alone can repopulate the world. As the floodwaters draw near, she grows in courage and honor, and when the water finally recedes, she emerges whole, displaying once and for all the indomitable strength of women. Drawing on the biblical narrative and Jewish mythology, Sinners and the Sea is a beauti­fully written account of the antediluvian world told in cinematic detail.

My review:

I have to admit I grew up with the story of Noah but never really thought about his wife or what they might have really gone through while in the ark during the great flood. In the story of Noah, God sees great evil in the world and decides to wipe out mankind. However he found righteousness in a man named Noah. God wanted Noah to build an ark for him, his family and two of all living creatures so they could replenish this earth after the flood. And from the story in the Bible, we know Noah obeyed God’s commands given to him.

Noah had three sons named Shem, Ham and Japheth. And the Lord told Noah and his sons, “Be Fruitful and increase in number and fill the Earth.” (Genesis 9:1)

Sinners of the Sea is told in Noah’s Wife’s point of view. She shows a side of Noah that we might not often think of. We see him as he might have been with feelings, faults and so on… He wasn’t perfect but he did obey God and wanted to do right. But if you think about it, maybe those faults (that an ordinary person would think) that are portrayed in this story is due to his sole focus on God. And I think in many ways he could have been tormented by what he knew would happen to the people of the earth and this story shows that….

When Amy Bruno approached me about participating in the book tour, I have to be honest and say that the book cover is what first caught my eye and then as I read what the book was about and the fact it was fiction, I was more intrigued. I wanted to see how the author portrays Noah. And she portrays him a man of God and I was happy she did…..

I also admire the author’s character development and I believe she really captured the true culture and human conditions of the period. Many will read the book and feel the pace is a bit slower than they are used too but will find it intriguing all the same.

There were a couple of scenes towards the end that bothered me a little but I got through it okay. I’m not one for mythology added to bible stories, fiction or not. But I’m sure many will find it interesting…

I recommend that every adult read this book. I believe you will come away with something and that is for you to find out what it is on your own journey through this story.

Watch book trailer

Praise for Sinner and the Sea

“Rebecca Kanner has created an autobiography of Noah’s wife, and an imaginative one it is.” – American Jewish World

“[Kanner] gives an intelligent voice to Noah’s wife.” – Jewish Book Council

“First-time novelist Kanner has written an utterly absorbing novel, one that flows seamlessly.” – Historical Novel Society

“A fascinating look into a feral civilization of turmoil and hardship.” – Historical Novel Review

“A stirring, fascinating story written beautifully.” – Historical Fiction Connection

“Kanner beautifully evokes life on the claustrophobic, smelly vessel. Riveting… It will certainly spark hours of book club discussions.” – St. Paul Pioneer Press

Buy the Book

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About the Author

03_Rachel Kanner

Sinners and the Sea is Rebecca Kanner’s debut novel. Rebecca is a Twin Cities native and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction Writing from Washington University in St. Louis. Her writing has won an Associated Writing Programs Award, a Loft mentorship Award and a 2012/2013 Minnesota State Arts Board Grant. Her personal essay, “Safety,” is listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2011. Her stories have been published in numerous journals including The Kenyon Review and The Cincinnati Review.

Along with other authors including Anita Diamant, Michael Cunningham, Joyce Carol Oates, Russell Banks and Ron Hansen, Rebecca will be featured in the upcoming title Truthful Fictions: Conversations with American Biographical Novelists.

You can learn more about Rebecca, and find links to selected stories and essays, at www.rebeccakanner.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, April 14 Review & Giveaway at West Metro Mommy

Tuesday, April 15 Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Thursday, April 17 Review at A Bookish Girl

Friday, April 18 Review at Reading the Ages

Monday, April 21 Review at Booktalk & More Review at Judith Starkston

Wednesday, April 23 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Friday, April 25 Spotlight & Giveaway at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, April 28 Review at JulzReads

Tuesday, April 29 Review at The Most Happy Reader

Wednesday, April 30 Review & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, May 2 Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, May 5 Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, May 6 Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, May 7 Review at Ink Sugar Blog

Friday, May 9 Review at Our Wolves Den

Monday, May 12 Review at The Calico Critic

Tuesday, May 13 Review at From L.A. to LA

Wednesday, May 14 Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Thursday, May 15 Spotlight at The Tower of Babel

Friday, May 16 Review at Layered Pages

Monday, May 19 Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Wednesday, May 21 Review at My Reader’s Block

Friday, May 23 Review at Seaside Book Corner

Tuesday, May 27 Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, May 29 Review at bookworm2bookworm’s Blog

Giveaway Link

To enter to win one of 2 copies of Sinners and the Sea or a $25 Amazon Gift Card, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form by clicking on the link above. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on May 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 30th and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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