#BookReview: The Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Maio

The Beautiful StrangersSummary:

A legendary hotel on the Pacific becomes a haven where dreams, love, and a beguiling mystery come alive.
1958. Kate Morgan, tethered to her family’s failing San Francisco restaurant, is looking for an escape. She gets her chance by honoring a cryptic plea from her grandfather: find the beautiful stranger. The search takes her to Hotel del Coronado, the beachfront landmark on the Southern California coast where filming is underway on the movie Some Like It Hot.
For a movie lover like Kate, it’s a fantasy come true. So is the offer of a position at the glamorous hotel. And a new romance is making her heart beat just as fast. But as sure as she is that Coronado is her future, Kate discovers it’s also where the ghosts of the past have come to stay. Sixty years ago a guest died tragically, and she still haunts the hotel’s halls.
As the lives of two women—generations apart—intertwine, Kate’s courageous journey could change more than she ever imagined. And with Coronado wending its way through her soul, she must follow her dreams…wherever they may lead.

Review:

Make room on our bookshelf for The Beautiful Strangers! This book is Epic! I was totally blown away!! I didn’t even realize that I have a penchant for ghost stories and old Hollywood, so I was definitely entranced with this story. I don’t want to give anything away.
I walked away wanting to know more about the main character of the book, and I am sure you will too. Or, at least a trip to Coronado!

Camille Di Maio wrote a story that I absolutely fell in love with. It was unlike any other book I’ve read. She took timelines sixty years apart and wrapped them up like a gift!

You already know the summary, so let me say that Camille really left me breathless.

Until the very last line.

5 Stars Plus.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this novel via Netgalley.

#BookReview ~ “The King’s Sisters” by Sarah Kennedy

The Kings SistersSummary:

It is now 1542 and another queen, Catherine Howard, has been beheaded for adultery. Although young Prince Edward is thriving, and the line of Tudor succession seems secure, the king falls into a deep melancholy and questions the faith and loyalty of those around him. Catherine has found herself in a unique position as a married former nun. Now she is a wealthy widow. She has two children, a boy who has successfully joined the young prince’s household and a daughter who lives with her at Richmond Palace, home to Henry’s cast-off fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, now designated “The King’s Beloved Sister.” Catherine also enjoys the attentions of widower Benjamin Davies, and in the festive court atmosphere, she has furtively indulged her passion for him. But England has changed again. Anne of Cleves hopes for reinstatement as queen―until questions arise about the finances of the houses she keeps. Catherine, as one of the king’s “reformed sisters,” is singled out, just as she realizes that she is carrying a third child. The King’s Sisters explores the Tudor court under an aging Henry VIII. He now has a son and heir, but his two daughters remain players in the political intrigues. The Cross and the Crown series follows the very private Catherine as she is thrust into the scheming. She is skilled enough to serve a former queen . . . but this may be the very quality that endangers her future.

Review:

Again, another wonderful cover!

This is the third book in Sarah Kennedy’s “The Cross and The Crown Series”. It is now 1542, and Henry VIII’s young queen Catherine Howard has been beheaded for adultery. Catherine Haven Overton is now a widow with her two children living with Sister Ann of Cleve.

This book was not as exciting as book two in the series. This was really a book that described their lives in this time in English history in such detail…I got a bit involved, as Sarah Kennedy writes with the depictions of someone that was truly there, as in all three of the books in this series. The only thing is that there was not a lot going in the beginning of the book….but, it picked up in the second half.

I was really invested in her character, Catherine, and I kept reading to find out her fate.

This was disappointing compared to “City of Ladies”, but if I did not have that to compare this book to, I think I would have given it more stars.

3.5 Stars

#BookReview: “City of Ladies” by Sarah Kennedy

City of Ladies.jpg

Summary:

It’s midwinter in 1539, and former nun, Catherine Havens Overton, has just given birth to her second child, a daughter. The convent in which she was raised is now part of her husband’s lands, lands that once belonged to Catherine’s family. With a son, Robert, and her new daughter, Veronica, her life as the mistress of a great household should be complete. But Henry VIII’s England has not been kind to many of the evicted members of religious houses. And in order to protect her old companions from the hostilities, Catherine has gathered about her a group of former nuns in hopes of providing them a chance to serve in the village of Havenston, her City of Ladies. Catherine’s past haunts her. Her husband begins to suspect that Robert is not his child. Then the women of Overton House begin to disappear and one of them is found brutally murdered nearby. Seizing the moment, under the pretense of ensuring her safety, William forces Catherine to enter service at Hatfield House where the young Elizabeth Tudor lives. Reluctantly, Catherine obeys, only to find herself serving not only the Protestant Elizabeth but also the shamed Catholic Mary Tudor. As the murders in Yorkshire continue to mount and her loyalty to the Tudor sisters grows more complicated, Catherine must uncover the secret of the killer and save her City of Ladies.

Review:

I loved this cover. It looks fabulous on my book shelf.

This was my second book by Sarah Kennedy, and it is book two in the “Cross and The Crown” Series. When I finished I was looking forward to getting to the third book. This is a series that I will never forget and they stand out as originals, as I never read books about this time in history. Sarah Kennedy writes such knowledge of historical facts that you feel like she was right there, walking among the women.

The book “City of Ladies”, is about the women from her first book. It is 1539, and Catherine Havens Overton gathers the women that she lived with in the Convent with her when they were removed by the king’s men. She has them all working at the Overton House, to have them remain together.

But, the women start disappearing. They are being murdered. Catherine is determined to find the killer and save the women in her “City of Ladies”

This book is an amazing tale of mystery and intrigue. You will be spellbound.

5 Stars

 

#BookReview: “The Altarpiece” by Sarah Kennedy

The AlterpieceSummary:

It is 1535, and in the tumultuous years of King Henry VIII’s break from Rome, the religious houses of England are being seized by force.

Twenty-year-old Catherine Havens is a foundling and the adopted daughter of the prioress of the Priory of Mount Grace in a small Yorkshire village. Catherine, like her adoptive mother, has a gift for healing, and she is widely sought and admired for her knowledge.

Catherine’s hopes for a place at court have been dashed by the king’s divorce, and she has reluctantly taken the veil. When the priory’s costly altarpiece goes missing, Catherine and her friend Ann Smith find themselves under increased suspicion. King Henry VIII’s soldiers have not had their fill of destruction, and when they return to Mount Grace to destroy the priory, Catherine must choose between the sacred calling of her past and the man who may represent her country’s future.

Review:

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love historical fictions, and this book delivers!! It is 1535 in Tudor England and King Henry VIII is creating the Church of England and his soldiers are overtaking the Catholic Churches, and Catherine Havens is hiding all of the important papers and other items that she does not want to be taken from Mount Grace (the Convent that she is raised in). This scavenging is how we are introduced to this story…and, it is exciting from the first page!

An altarpiece is missing, but there is much more to this story, than the Madonna and the baby statue…

Not only does Sarah Kennedy know her history, she also creates a story that will stay with you. I was in awe of Catherine and her dignity, and honor. She is a woman that believes in herbal remedies, and does not want to be taken for a witch. In these times, to have those beliefs is very difficult and Catherine tries to hold her secrets in.

Will she be able to?

Will the Altarpiece be found? And, will there be a personal cost?

Sarah Kennedy is a talented writer, and I am excited to read the other two books in this Cross and Crown Series.

4 Stars.