#BookReview- Two Memorable #Reads From @AHarmon_Author and @NinadeGramont #WomensFic


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I’ve had a productive week writing and reading.

That’s right, I said WRITING, lol. After what feels like forever, I finally warmed up my middle finger (not for that!) and started pecking away at my keyboard. If you look up procrastination in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure you’ll find my picture 🙂

I’ve also read two very different but memorable books. Amy Harmon is now one of my go-to authors (If you haven’t read The Song Book of Benny Lament, I urge you to give it a try) and I’ve been working my way through her backlist.

Click the covers to learn more:

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Description via Amazon.com

Ambrose Young was beautiful. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

Biography

Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Her books have been published in eighteen languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Utah.
Amy Harmon has written thirteen novels, including the USA Today Bestsellers, The Smallest Part, Making Faces, and Running Barefoot, and the #1 Amazon bestselling historical, From Sand and Ash. Her novel, A Different Blue, is a New York Times Bestseller. Her USA Today bestselling fantasy, The Bird and the Sword, was a Goodreads Best Book of 2016 finalist. For updates on upcoming book releases, author posts and more, join Amy at http://www.authoramyharmon.com.

My Review

Making Faces is a story of love, courage, and unlikely heroes- powerful and unforgettable!

Fern Taylor has been in love with Ambrose Young since she was ten and he killed a spider to protect her and her cousin, then helped her give it a decent burial. Ambrose has always been larger than life with his handsome looks, extraordinary physique, and popularity (though he’s not self-centered in the least), the type of guy an awkward teen wallflower like Fern can dream about but never hope to have.

Ambrose’s mother left him as a child, and it’s affected his trust in women. He prefers to focus his love on the wrestling ring. At least there, he’s the master of his own destiny. Fern Taylor’s uncle is Ambrose’s coach. She and her cousin, Bailey, are often on the sidelines during practice and matches, so he knows who she is with her fiery red hair and shy smiles. He even thinks she’s kind of cute, until she pulls a stunt he finds unforgiveable.

Bailey Sheen, Fern’s cousin, has Muscular Dystrophy. He knows his time on Earth is limited, but that doesn’t stop him from living it to the fullest. He’s an honorary member of the school wrestling team and idolizes Ambrose, who he associates with a hero from one of his favorite books- Hercules. He knows Fern has had a crush on the big guy forever and urges her to show Ambrose how great she is before it’s too late.

Then 9-11 happens and Ambrose realizes there is a higher purpose to life- protecting his country. He convinces his best friends to sign up with him and soon, they’re off to the war-torn country of Afghanistan. A tragic accident later, Ambrose comes home alone, disfigured, and bitter. Broken and angry, he blames himself for his friends’ deaths and questions why he was allowed to live.

Fern is heartbroken. Fern doesn’t know how to help him recover from the horrible circumstances of the war, but her love won’t let her leave him alone to grieve. She begins to leave him little messages and after a long while, a connection is made. Their relationship begins to grow into more than she could ever have hoped, though both carry scars they must overcome if they want to give their love a chance.

Just when their relationship looks promising, a horrific chain of events throws Ambrose, Fern, and the rest of the community into a tailspin they may never recover from.

Favorite Lines

“Have you ever stared at a painting so long that the colors blur and you can’t tell what you’re looking at anymore? There’s no form, face, or shape—just color, just swirls of paint?”

“I think people are like that. When you really look at them, you stop seeing a perfect nose or straight teeth. You stop seeing the acne scar or the dimple in the chin. Those things start to blur, and suddenly you see them, the colors, the life inside the shell, and beauty takes on a whole new meaning.”

Making Faces- Amy Harmon

This book is heart wrenching on so many levels. Fern is the manifestation of many young girls; awkward, shy, plain- invisible. Yet, right from the start, Ambrose, handsome, tall, strong, and intense, notices her and is drawn to her quiet sincerity. The start of an epic love story, right?

Except, this book is so much more than a romance. It’s about taking life by the horns and going for it against impossible odds. It’s about the hero that resides in each of us, and yes, it is about love- family, friends, soul mates.

Description via Amazon.com

Nina de Gramont’s The Christie Affair is a beguiling novel of star-crossed lovers, heartbreak, revenge, and murder—and a brilliant re-imagination of one of the most talked-about unsolved mysteries of the twentieth century.

Every story has its secrets.
Every mystery has its motives.

“A long time ago, in another country, I nearly killed a woman. It’s a particular feeling, the urge to murder. It takes over your body so completely, it’s like a divine force, grabbing hold of your will, your limbs, your psyche. There’s a joy to it. In retrospect, it’s frightening, but I daresay in the moment it feels sweet. The way justice feels sweet.”

The greatest mystery wasn’t Agatha Christie’s disappearance in those eleven infamous days, it’s what she discovered.

London, 1925: In a world of townhomes and tennis matches, socialites and shooting parties, Miss Nan O’Dea became Archie Christie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted and well-known wife, Agatha Christie.

The question is, why? Why destroy another woman’s marriage, why hatch a plot years in the making, and why murder? How was Nan O’Dea so intricately tied to those eleven mysterious days that Agatha Christie went missing?

Biography

Nina de Gramont’s latest novel, The Christie Affair, will be available In February, 2022. She is the author of a collection of short stories, Of Cats and Men, as well as the novels Gossip of the Starlings and The Last September. She has written several YA novels (Every Little Thing in the World, Meet Me at the River, The Boy I Love, and — under the pen name Marina Gessner — The Distance From Me to You). Nina teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She lives in coastal North Carolina with her daughter and her husband, the writer David Gessner.

Learn more about Nina at http://www.ninadegramont.com

My Review

Never underestimate a mother’s love…

Nan O’Dea tells this captivating tale in her own words. She doesn’t sugarcoat the fact she almost killed a woman or that she planned the affair she’s now having with Agatha Christie’s husband. Her intent? To end their marriage, so she can become the next Mrs. Christie, but not for the reasons you may think.

Subjugation of women’s rights in the 1920s meant pregnancy out of wedlock was a horrific sin and must be kept hidden at all costs.

When Nan finds herself pregnant with the love of her life’s baby, and afraid of her father’s reaction, she makes her way to Ireland, sure that he will marry her and all will be well. But instead, she finds him on his deathbed. The parents ship her off to a convent for unwed mothers and that’s where the horror truly begins.

Years later, Nan is on a mission and the only one standing in her way is Agatha. Then the author goes missing and all of England is in an uproar.

This story is based on true events on Agatha’s disappearance and the ensuing manhunt. I was shocked by the cruelty shown by the nuns and priest, though there’s been proof of it over the years.

Nan is incredibly strong, considering all she’s been through, but I don’t agree with her final decision. I’ll let you read the book to find out what that is. Archie didn’t deserve to have either woman in his life- he’s a creep who thinks with his little head instead of listening to his heart.

I felt the most sorry for Finbarr, who loved Nan and only wanted to make her happy. This is one of those books that doesn’t end with a happy-ever-after. Instead, it leaves the reader with an aching heart and a sadness for lost loves.

“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”

Did you know about Agatha Christie’s strange disappearance? Have you read Amy Harmon yet? Let’s talk!

It’s Thanksgiving this weekend in Canada and hubby booked extra days off work, so I may not be around the bogs much, but I’ll be thinking of you while I fill up on cabbage rolls and perogies! lol

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39 thoughts on “#BookReview- Two Memorable #Reads From @AHarmon_Author and @NinadeGramont #WomensFic

  1. I did know about Agatha Christie’s disappearance, but not the details. These both sound like very intense reads. Your reviews for both are really compelling.
    I’m also sending my congrats that you’ve dived into writing again!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. No we don’t. I don’t eat turkey so I make it only once a year for hubby, at Christmas. I do spend the day being thankful though. Nobody else celebrates it here as it is not a European thing so we dont do anything special. When we lived in Tsawwassen I would make a salmon for Thanksgiving, often one hubby caught. Maybe I’ll make mom’s perogies or her famous kuchen this year. Is it on the 11th?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. How wonderful to hear that you are writing again, Jacquie!! I read and loved The Songbook of Benny Lament, so I will definitely take a look at this book by Amy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on both of these!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. petespringerauthor

    Glad to hear that those fingers are getting back to work. Are you sure you didn’t have a little pregame exercise first?🤣 Both books sound great, but I find myself leaning more toward the second one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Making faces sounds excellent!

    In my early 20s, I did a little research into Agatha Christie’s disappearance. I don’t remember discovering anything, but I enjoyed delving into it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. petespringerauthor

    Hmm! A box shows up to respond to your question, but after I typed in my response, there was no way to post the comment. That’s why I’m answering down here. Yes, I used to read quite a few Agatha Christie books as a young adult. I seem to be branching out into different genres these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Weird. I switched themes, hopefully it’s not the culprit!
      This book has brought out my curiosity about Agatha Christie. I read the true account of her disappearance on the link I shared in the post, and now I want to try her mysteries 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The first book is a romance, but the main story is Fern and her cousin, Bailey. His inner strength and the humorous way he handled his disease is inspirational.
      I was drawn to the cover of The Christie Affair, and again, Nan’s story of her experience in the convent is the emotional catalyst of the story.
      Both were re-read material!

      Like

    1. Me too, if I know that’s how it ends. The worst I’ve seen is The Cowboys with John Wayne. How could they let him die?? (Actually, I just read that was his final screen performance)

      Like

  6. Pingback: #BooKReview- Infinity + One and A Different Blue by @AHarmon_Author #Romance – Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

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