Tag: Historical Fiction

Audio ARC Review: Immortality: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz

Immortality: A Love Story
Series: The Anatomy Duology #2
Author: Dana Schwartz

Narrators:
Mhairi Morrison
Tim Campbell
To Be Published: February 28, 2023
Audiobook: 12 hours 2 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 12-19, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Hazel Sinnett is alone and half-convinced the events of the year before—the immortality, Beecham’s vial—were a figment of her imagination. She doesn’t even know whether Jack is alive or dead. All she can really do now is treat patients and maintain Hawthornden Castle as it starts to decay around her.

When saving a life leads to her arrest, Hazel seems doomed to rot in prison until a message intervenes: She has been specifically requested to be the personal physician of Princess Charlotte, the sickly daughter of King George IV. Soon Hazel is dragged into the glamor and romance of a court where everyone has something to hide, especially the enigmatic, brilliant members of a social club known as the Companions to the Death.

As Hazel’s work entangles her more and more with the British court, she realizes that her own future as a surgeon isn’t the only thing at stake. Malicious forces are at work in the monarchy, and Hazel may be the only one capable of setting things right.

Jessica’s Review:

Immortality is the second novel in the Anatomy duology and I enjoyed it just as much as the first! Hazel’s story continues and not always in the best of ways.  After trying to save a life, Hazel finds herself arrested until a turn of events happens: The King wants her to be the doctor to Princess Charlotte.  Hmm.. either that or rot in prison? What kind of choice is that?

Hazel finds herself in all kinds of situations she never expected and that even includes a secret society! And of course, possible romances pop up for Hazel.

This duology is quite the mix of historical fiction, gothic, romance and more. I really like Hazel, she is so ahead of the times, and so young as well! Who knows where she might have gone had she been born in modern times. She is very determined and independent. 

The novel was slower moving, but as it progresses it does speed up and I was fully involved in all the elements of the story.  Immortality answers questions that were left open in Anatomy and we do have an ending to this duology that I was pleased with. Definitely read both of these books if you like historical fiction, YA novels (though Hazel comes off as so much older than her actual age!) Gothic novels, and strong female characters that are way out of their element.

I really enjoyed both Anatomy and Immortality. Many thanks to Macmillian Audio for granting me an audio arc to listen to and review.  The only other thing I can say is: These covers are just gorgeous and are worth the price of buying this duology all on its own!  If you enjoy these books in the slightest, you will have to own your own copies!

Pre-Order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Audiobook Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author:
Taylor Jenkins Reid

Narrators:
Alma Cuervo

Julia Whelan
Robin Miles
Published: June 13, 2017
Audiobook: 12 hours 10 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 28- December 1, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Jessica’s Review:

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was a book club pick and one I would have probably never picked up on my own, but I am glad I ended up listening to it! This is a bit of a spoiler, but happens early on and it would be impossible to review without spoiling: It went in a direction I was not expecting on Eveyln’s sexuality, during a time period of the 1950s on where certain things were frowned upon.  But we have a lot of various representation in this novel: A bisexual, lesbian, and gay characters, along with two interracial characters.

We have present day where Evelyn Hugo is in her upper 70s and a recluse. She was a Hollywood Icon that men wanted to be with and women wanted to be. But she hid who she was in multiple ways. Now coming towards the end of her life, she is finally ready to tell her story, and she decides on seemingly unknown journalist Monique. Monique has no idea how Evelyn even knew of her, let alone picked her to tell her life story to, but she goes with it as it is the opportunity of a lifetime that many other journalists would kill to be in her place.

Evelyn tells her story to Monique and through this life story we see how 1950s Hollywood  was and how it currently is.  Hollywood is not a kind life, especially for the person who Evelyn actually is.  We see how things are turned in ways that certain people decide, and reality is actually far from the truth.  Over the course of the interviewing, we learn about Evelyn’s life and seven marriages and her one true love. 

This novel shows multiple kinds of love: romantic, love between friends, and the love between and parent and child. 

I think this is another novel that should be listened to, as we have multiple narrators who do a fantastic job! I’m not sure which narrators portrayed Evelyn, but those ladies just pull you in with Evelyn’s present life and the telling of her past.

You know somewhere/somehow that Evelyn and Monique are connected, but when the connection is revealed, the reader is as shocked as Monique is, and feels the same emotions as Monique.  Closer to the end the novel goes in a direction with Evelyn that also isn’t expected, and could be controversial. I can’t and won’t go into this as to me it is major, and this is an issue that people feel strongly about on both sides.  

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo  is one that leaves you thinking about so many things once you have put the book down. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Book Review: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doehr

Cloud Cuckoo Land
Author: Anthony Doehr

Published: September 28, 2021
626 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

When everything is lost, it’s our stories that survive.

How do we weather the end of things? Cloud Cuckoo Land brings together an unforgettable cast of dreamers and outsiders from past, present and future to offer a vision of survival against all odds.

Constantinople, 1453:
An orphaned seamstress and a cursed boy with a love for animals risk everything on opposite sides of a city wall to protect the people they love.

Idaho, 2020:
An impoverished, idealistic kid seeks revenge on a world that’s crumbling around him. Can he go through with it when a gentle old man stands between him and his plans?

Unknown, Sometime in the Future:
With her tiny community in peril, Konstance is the last hope for the human race. To find a way forward, she must look to the oldest stories of all for guidance.

Bound together by a single ancient text, these tales interweave to form a tapestry of solace and resilience and a celebration of storytelling itself.

Kim’s Review:

This is definitely an interesting book. You really don’t know what’s going on until the story resolves itself at the end. I was drawn in by the prospect of a lost manuscript but I stayed for the complicated multiple timelines. Unfortunately, not all of them were resolved sufficiently for me, but the big picture was revealed and I was happy overall. The lost story of Cloud Cuckoo Land was an interesting common thread throughout time. My favorite was the spaceship Argos and Konstance’s constant curiosity and search for the truth. This is one of those books that I can’t talk much about because:

A. I don’t want to give anything away.
B. It really is complicated.

This is a great mixture of history, sci-fi, and fantasy! I would recommend this book!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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