Secrets of a Charmed Life-Best Read for 2015

Secrets of a Charmed LifeSecrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I won an uncorrected proof of Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner, after entering a contest on Goodreads.

Secrets of a Charmed Life, by Susan Meissner is a beautiful book. Kendra Van Zant, an American scholar is trying to win a place in the world and sets out to interview a reclusive survivor of World War II. Isabel MacFarland has a secret and is ready to tell her story about her life during and after the war. The novel takes place in Present day, Oxford, England and 1942, England.

Kendra is under the impression she is going to be told a simple story about one woman in World War II. The story is anything but simple. Before the famous Blitz, almost one million children are evacuated to the country in England, into homes of people they do not know. With tags around their necks and belongings, they leave their homes, and journey by train. Kendra learns of one 15 year-old who does not want to be sent away to the country with her sister. Emmy’s passion for drawing wedding dresses and her future, are very much on her mind, when her absentminded mother orders her to leave the city and travel with her younger sister to the country. Emmy is determined to return to the city, without her sister, to finish her dream of becoming a Wedding Dress Designer. Things don’t go as planned and something devastating happens.

Meissner has woven a portrait of life during World War II in England that is unforgettable. Some have compared this novel to The Orphan Train. Meissner takes the story of these children so much further than The Orphan Train ever did. Her writing is smooth, and hypnotic. She has captured the pain and struggle of those during WWII with ease.

I recommend this novel to everyone I meet. I look forward to reading more of Meissner’s work. Look for this book in February 2015. Make sure it is on your reading list!

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Independently Wealthy. A Novel by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Independently Wealthy: A NovelIndependently Wealthy: A Novel by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I won a copy of Independently Wealthy:A Novel, by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal, after entering a Goodreads 1st Reads giveaway. Published by Thomas Dunne Books, a divison of St. Martin’s Press.

Independently Wealthy is the 2nd book and sequel to New Money, also by Rosenthal. Independently Wealthy picks up where New Money left off. It is not a requirement to read New Money before, but, if the reader tends to get confused because of lack of back story in this novel, then by all means, check out New Money 1st. Thomas Dunne Books even offered to send me a digital galley link for New Money, if I needed it.

Independently Wealthy opens up with Savannah Morgan living in Manhattan during Christmas. Savannah inherited a massive amount of money after the death of her father, in New Money. She was united with a family she never even knew existed and starts a new richer life in Manhattan. She ends up going to work for her brother, who after their father’s tragic unexplained death, takes over the company. Savannah is obsessed with finding out the truth about her father’s death. The reader follows her as she tries to track down information and people, all under the radar of her very controlling bother.

Savannah is a southern girl who never knew who her father was and certainly did not know he was loaded. She takes to living in a expensive apartment in Manhattan and showering the people in her life with expensive gifts, even if they don’t like them. She has her own driver and gives him a big present for his family at Christmas. Savannah wasn’t born a rich heiress, yet, she at times comes across as flaky and out of touch. There are several, several references to they type of car her boyfriend is driving, a Honda and the type of clothes he is wearing and she is wearing, that almost makes the reader feel like Savannah is a snob. I don’t think this is what the Author was trying to do, but the constant references about clothes, shoes and cars, including their brands, made me not like Savannah at times. For a girl who has just become wealthy, she has a large appetite for expensive things and seems to have a good deal of knowledge about those items. There are times, when the type of shoe or car is not relevant to the story and becomes distracting.

This is an easy read and is a good snuggle and watch the snow fall book. It is lighthearted in places and captures the vibe of winter in NYC and Manhattan. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from Rosenthal and Thomas Dunne Books.

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