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March 1, 2018

4 Books to Read Before the End of Winter

by Susan Roberts

I don't know about you but I sure am ready for spring.  We've had more snow in NC than normal and I've seen enough snow for this winter.  The only good things about these cold and snowy days is that there is more time to read.  I have reviews of four January and February books that I've read that will help spend your time until the warm weather arrives.
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Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal
Talk about a book that reflects what's in the headlines this month! This is a story about privilege and rape and treatment of women. I'm sure when the author wrote the book she wasn't aware of how timely it would be.

Kate is a barrister in London and has the opportunity to try a very headline-grabbing case - that of a high profile politician, James,  who is also one of the Prime Minister's best friends.  James is accused of raping one of his staff members and is on trial for the charges. They had been having a consensual affair but after it was over, he attacked her on an elevator - according to her story. According to him, the encounter on the elevator was consensual. Also, a big part of the story is James' wife Sophie, who has to decide who to believe and if she should 'stand by her man'.  Who knows the real truth - Kate or James or Sophie? or is the real truth somewhere in-between.

Buy Anatomy of a Scandal at Amazon

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

The Girlfriend
Wow - what an intense psychological page-turner. Once I started, I couldn't put it down because I just had to know how it would end. It's so well written that it's difficult to believe that this is a debut novel - I can't wait to see what this author writes next.

This is kind of a love triangle. Daniel and his mother, a TV executive, have always been close. Even though Laura is married, her husband is too involved with his job and his mistress to pay much attention to her or to their son. Daniel is 23 and starting medical school when he meets THE ONE. Cherry works in a rental agency and when she meets Daniel does she see dollar signs or true love? She is very manipulative but continues to profess her love for Daniel. Laura sees Cherry for who she really is and Cherry goes all out to break the relationship between Daniel and his mom and make Daniel totally dependent on her. We have a mother with a too close relationship with her son and a girlfriend who wants him all to herself. It's a fantastic read to find out the answer to that question.

Buy The Girlfriend at Amazon

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Nexy Year in Havana
Marisol goes to Cuba in 2017 to scatter her beloved grandmother's ashes in the country that she loved. Marisol had grown up hearing stories about the beauty of Cuba from her grandmother and family but that is not the Cuba she finds when she visits. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking story told in two timelines - Marisol's story in 2017 and Elisa's (her grandmother) story in the late 1950s/early 60s.

Elisa and her family are rich and live in a beautiful house in Havana in the 50s. Her father has made his money from sugar and as the revolution is starting up, he backs Batista as do most of the well to do in Cuba at that time. When Castro's people start to take over the island, Elisa and her family are exiled to the United States. For the rest of their lives, they and other Cuban exiles long to return to the Cuba of their memories. When Marisol goes to Cuba, she is surprised to find so much suffering and such a lack of modern-day luxuries. She struggles to join her grandmother's stories with what she sees while still carrying out Elisa's final wishes.

This love story is not only between characters in the book but it is also a love story to Cuba. Along with a wonderful story, I learned a lot about the history of the revolution and the main people involved. I recommend this to everyone who enjoys historical fiction.

Buy Next Year in Havana at Amazon

Wrapped in the Stars by Elena Mikalsen

Wrapped in the Stars
It's difficult to believe that this great book is a debut for the author. I can't wait to see what she writes in the future. This well-written written book with beautiful locations, dual timelines, mystery, and love sprinkled with just a bit of magic.

In the modern day timeline, Maya is a resident in medical school who has traveled to Europe to try to find her way beyond a tragedy at her hospital. She finds a ring in a small shop in Edinburgh that she feels she must buy and it changes her life. She starts having flashbacks and dreams of an earlier time and feels that she has to explore the ring's history. In her travels from Paris to Switzerland, she meets David who wants to help with her quest. In the historical timeline, the main character is Rebecca. Her story takes place before and during WWI when she goes to medical school against her parent's insistence that her goal should be to find a husband. While at school, she meets a poor Russian student and falls in love. He gave her the ring to show her his love. Can a ring bring happiness to two women who live over 100 years apart?

Usually, when I read dual timeline books, I like one story more than the other but in this book, I enjoyed Maya's story as much as I did Rebecca's. This is a beautiful love story in both time periods and I highly recommend it.

Buy Wrapped in the Stars at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads,  or Twitter.

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