Sunday, 20 June 2021

Ena's Surrender - Madeline Martin

Ena's Surrender (Prequel to the Borderland Ladies Series) by Madeline Martin

As mentioned this is the prequel to the Borderland Ladies Series, there are five other books in this series and this prequel is certainly enticing enough to make me want to the read the rest. This is the back story of Bran and Ena, siblings supporting each other since their mother's murder.

Ena is our feisty Scottish woman who stirs the heart of Renault, an English spy.  Living along the border Ena and Renault are sworn enemies but Ena also harbours a deep revenge as the English killed her mother and older brother.

Ena's surrender is a classic enemies to lovers story which takes place between the unstable and often bloody borders of England and Scotland.  This is a quick and powerful novella with a good dose of charm and wit.

immediately took to Ena's character and I could imagine myself riding to the borders with her.  Madeline did a wonderful job of bringing all the characters to life and expressing their emotions.  

This novella was a free copy but with no obligation to review.  The above is my honest opinion and review.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

The Dressmaker's Gift - Fiona Valpy

Blurb from Goodreads website.

Paris, 1940. With the city occupied by the Nazis, three young seamstresses go about their normal lives as best they can. But all three are hiding secrets. War-scarred Mireille is fighting with the Resistance; Claire has been seduced by a German officer; and Vivienne’s involvement is something she can’t reveal to either of them.

Two generations later, Claire’s English granddaughter Harriet arrives in Paris, rootless and adrift, desperate to find a connection with her past. Living and working in the same building on the Rue Cardinale, she learns the truth about her grandmother – and herself – and unravels a family history that is darker and more painful than she ever imagined.

In wartime, the three seamstresses face impossible choices when their secret activities put them in grave danger. Brought together by loyalty, threatened by betrayal, can they survive history’s darkest era without being torn apart?

The Dressmaker's Gift is our most recent read for the WhatsApp book club.  It was a book I couldn't wait to finish but I also didn't want it to end.  I was really hooked on the story of Claire, Harriet's grandmother and her determination not only to survive WW2 but her courage to fight back.  

It was fascinating to see these two worlds and lives come together and cross over.  A story set over two time periods is obviously not a new concept but I do think it can be a hard one to get right.  It has to be completely succinct and not lead to any confusion for the reader.  That's the only way to tell the whole story and bring every detail together.  I think the author did an amazing job and tied everything together perfectly.  I found it an interesting, exciting and captivating read from start to finish.  

It has mixed reviews on Goodreads and some people seem very disappointed by it.  I admit that I preferred reading the chapters with Claire living through WW2 but that's really because I find that period so interesting, and have always had a bit of fascination with the French resistance.  If the book had just been told by just Harriet or just Claire I don't think I would have loved it quite so much, the interesting part of Harriet's story was her discovery of what her grandmother did and the coming together of these two woman.  For me, it was a compelling read and one of the best books I have read recently.