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review 2017-02-08 00:31
Always
Always: A Novel - Sarah Jio

By: Sarah Jio

ISBN:1101885025

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Sarah Jio returns following The Look of Love (2014) with her eighth novel, ALWAYS. Written with the passion, past love, romance, relationships, the music of the 1990s, TBI, and of course the art, beauty, and charm of "spectacular" Seattle. When love never lets go.

“To old love and new, but, most of all, to the kind that lasts, always.”

It is 2008 in Seattle, Kailey Crane, a writer for the Seattle Herald has it all. A successful career, a charming new Craftsman bungalow and an upcoming wedding to the perfect guy, Ryan. He has wealth, looks, and the entire package.

As the book opens, the couple is having a leisurely dinner at the upscale French restaurant, making their upcoming wedding plans. As they are leaving, Kailey comes face to face with a homeless man and his piercing eyes. Shockingly, she recognizes him. Cade McAllister, the love of her life.

Cade was part of her past. They had dated back in the 1990s. A famous record label owner. He loved music. They had matching tattoos. Skin inked a decade prior- a glaring reminder of the past that did not become a future, of the dreams that evaporated into thin air. How he goes from success to thin, bony, and homeless? The sight of him haunts her. Why did he disappear so long ago?

Their tattoos. The word: Toujours, French for “always,” remained on her shoulder. Thinking of Cade reminded her of Tracy her best friend and former roommate. They both had been wide-eyed and idealistic. They believed in true love and happy endings. She and Cade had planned their future.

Kailey is working on an article for work, regarding a series about Pioneer Square and the homeless. Ryan, of course, does not agree with her opinions. They agree to disagree on the areas where their professional interests diverge. Ryan is a developer and thinks they should dynamite the six-block radius. He thinks there is nothing but addicts and vagrants. The homeless.

She wants to help the Hope Gospel Mission, the non-profit organization to help offer shelter to the homeless. The new proposal would entail demolishing thousands of low-income units and shelters. Currently, they were in the midst, of a gridlock with the city.

She believed these establishments needed to keep their doors open. Ryan worked with builders which were ready to throw up apartments, displacing the lifeline for hundreds of homeless people in the process.

Kailey cannot get Cade out of her mind. They had been in love and he left. She had tried to locate him and never found him. He did not recognize her. She must help him and find out what happened to him.

She begins searching the streets for him and ultimately finds him to learn, he has TBI. Traumatic Brain Injury. She puts Ryan, and her wedding plans aside since she is obsessed with helping get Cade off the streets and getting him the medical help he needs.

We revisit the 1990s and the early days of the couple's relationship. Kailey now is torn between her loyalty and love for Cade, and the man she is about to share her future with. Why did Cade leave without a word to her?

A little different novel than some of Jio’s typical historical fiction (have read them all). She brings forth all the charm of Seattle and the strong emotions of a woman, who has to make a difficult choice between two different men.

However, the story of Cade, his former business partner, and his ten years on the street were very undeveloped. The story was quite intriguing, keeping you hooked; however, like most reviewers and readers, we all were hoping for more to "fill in the blanks." I would love to have a POV from Cade. His voice would have been a nice enhancement to the overall story. The ending was tied up in a neat bow; however, left you wanting to learn more about the events leading up the night Cade lost his memory and after.

Possibly more research and discussions regarding TBI, and the homeless social issues. I am a huge fan of Seattle and have spent a lot of time in Pioneer Square, the jazz bars, quaint B&Bs, coffee shops, (ArtWalk, MusicFest), markets, as well as charming inns by the sea in Puget Sound and Snohomish. One of my favorite cities. Nice to revisit through the book.

An intriguing subject, since we learn —as in the book, every homeless person has a story. Any one of us could find ourselves in the same situation, if not for the help of others. We never know their “real” story or their journey. Instead of judging, we all need to join forces to help our communities continue with resources to assist.

The cover is stunning (received the paperback copy) as well as the digital copy. The cherry blossoms, the red scarf, the music, the setting, and the love story. As always, Sarah Jio continues to entertain, with compelling topics and those proposing critical life changing heart-wrenching questions/life choices. What would you do when faced with this difficult choice?

For fans of Colleen Hoover and contemporary romantic fiction.

A special thank you to Random House, NetGalley, and LibraryThing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 



On a side note: I reside in the urban downtown area Arts & Entertainment, West Palm Beach and walk everywhere; we have many homeless people, while surrounded by wonderful funky art, grunge, and flair and old converted lofts with a similar vibe to Pioneer Square. There are similar projects here facing the same controversial issues of billion dollar condos going up and replacing the low-income housing, leaving these people displaced and nowhere to turn.

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/06/05/Always
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review 2016-09-30 20:34
Small Great Things
Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult

By: Jodi Picoult

ISBN: 9780345544957

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 10/11/2016

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars +++

A special thank you to Random House, LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Top Books of 2016! 5 Star +++

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are."–Benjamin Franklin

In the prequel, SHINE we were introduced to a special girl, Ruth as a child. Ruth experienced firsthand how color, privilege, and prejudices affected even children in school at an early age. The injustice, discrimination, and the constant struggle to be accepted. To fit in.

Even when she was five she couldn’t blend, no matter how hard she tried. Caught in the middle of two worlds. Black and White. Will things change as she goes into adulthood?

“The piano keys are black and white but they sound like a million colors in your mind.”— Maria Christina Mena

In Jodi Picoult's riveting, SMALL GREAT THINGS, Ruth Jefferson, African-American, now an adult, thirty-nine years old, with a son, Edison, seventeen years old- a single mom. Her husband, Wesley had been overseas when he was born and died then years earlier in Afghanistan.

Ruth Jefferson: Presently an (L&D) labor and delivery nurse and had been for over twenty years in Connecticut. She is proud of her son who had made the highest honors list for every semester of his high school career. Like her son, she knows all too well, how few black kids in high school wind up on the honors list in a predominantly white school.

She had worked hard for her education. A full scholarship, a prestigious white private school instead of Harlem, where her sister felt comfortable. She went to SUNY Plattsburgh and then to Yale Nursing School and now works at Mercy-West Haven Hospital on the birthing pavilion.

Turned out she really did not fit in at Dalton, or Harlem. She was a straight A student that did not blend. When she got into Cornell, there were whispers. She couldn’t have done it without her mama’s hard work and support. She had helped her get a good education.

Her mom had been a housekeeper for a wealthy white family with a daughter, Christina about her age her entire life. They are still friends. Her mama still works for Ms. Mina, on the Upper West Side, even since Christina is married and gone and her husband had died.

Ruth has always treated everyone based on their individual merits as human beings, not on their skin color. Without prejudice. They lived in a white neighborhood with good schools. She had spent her life making sure her son will get the best education. The fact she was of lighter color got her privileges.

Her sister, Rachel (Adisa) was a darker color. Her sister did not care about education or career. She still lived in Harlem, with her children. She was cynical and liked to play the victim. (also very witty). She made fun of her sister and was not playing the game. She did not care about fitting in.

Present Day - Ruth and Edison: Her son now is experiencing a similar problem, since his best friend is white and never been a problem all these years. They had always been best friends and even vacationed together . . . Until he started dating the sister. Then things changed.

At the hospital, Ruth gets caught up in a difficult situation which may jeopardize her career, reputation, livelihood, and ultimately affect everything she has worked for. As a nurse, Ruth encounters a father who does not want her touching their baby. He goes to her supervisor and demands she be taken off their case. She reads the file “No African American personnel to care for this patient.” She is the only African-American nurse on the ward. She was not acceptable to Turk and Brittany Bauer. This is no ordinary couples.

She is confronted with an impossible situation. Another nurse has an emergency and leaves Ruth in charge of the baby. The baby is dying. There are complications beyond their knowledge. What is she to do? Now she is faced with a moral dilemma. What happens next turns into a nightmare.

Davis the baby dies and now Ruth is held responsible. She was trying to save him. However, everything is not as it appears. The hospital is not supportive. She has lost her job. She is no monster, a good wife, mother, and an exemplary nurse. Not negligent. Was it the hospital’s fault for overlooking something? Why is she to blame?

Should she follow the orders of her supervisor and the misguided wishes of the baby’s parents? Or should she do whatever she possibly could to save this life? However, what she did or didn’t do- could it have made any difference?

 



Readers hear from different points of view: Ruth, Turk, and Kennedy.

Kennedy McQuarrie (white female) went to law school at Columbia, graduated in the top 5 percent of her class and spent three years clerking for a federal judge, and now with the Public Defender Services.

Her husband Micah (funny and intelligent) was at Yale when they met. If she had not married him she would most likely follow everyone else and worked in some big corporate city firm. Instead, he went into practice and she stopped clerking to give birth to Violet. Thanks to his salary as a successful doctor, she chose to make a difference as a public defender. She was never going to be rich, but she would be able to look herself in the mirror.

She lived by the philosophy since we live in a country where justice is supposed to be meted out equally, no matter how much money you have, age, race, ethnicity, or gender— shouldn’t public defenders be just as smart and aggressive and creative as any attorney for hire? Of course, her mom who grew up in North Carolina on the debutante circuit is all about appearances.

Kennedy is determined to be Ruth’s public defender. They even live in the same white affluent neighborhood. Something about this case does not add up. She believes in justice. She may not have tried a murder case before, however, she has done dozens of drug, assault, and domestic jury trials. (I am a huge fan of The Guardian, and strongly reminded of the show with Kennedy/Ruth/Turk.)

She does not want a grandstand with Rev Wallace Mercy. She also knows you cannot play the race card during a trial. Suicide in a courtroom. Or can she? She has to find something else to latch on to –something for twelve men and women to go home still pretending that the world we live in is an equal one. However, has she really thought down deep, about what people of color really have to face every day of their lives?

Turk: Age twenty-five. Married to Brit. Baby, Davis. A White supremacist--- a racist ideology centered upon the belief, and promotion of the belief, that white people are superior in certain characteristics, traits, and attributes to people of other racial backgrounds and therefore white people should politically, economically and socially rule non-white people. He cannot stand black people, Asians, gays, or anyone else who isn’t like him. A white power skinhead.

His father-in-law and wife are also a part of the group. A terror squad. From blacks, Jews, to gays. He is in for a fight and determined to win this case against Ruth. He is going to war. In addition, there is also a background with his father. In the courtroom, their supporters would not be happy with any verdict short of a public lynching. Revenge.

Turk thinks White Supremacists were more academic, publishing treatises; Skinheads more violent, preferring to teach a lesson with their fists. No matter the movement or brotherhood they all come together one day of the year to celebrate the birthday of Adolf Hitler, like the old KKK.

Lost in grief and pain, they wanted to find a scapegoat. If they could not have their son alive and healthy, they wanted someone else to suffer, mainly Ruth.

How can Ruth tell her mom about this? A daughter her mom broke her back for her to end up like this – in a jail cell? The best lies are the ones that are wrapped around a core of truth. How can she use her son’s college savings to fight a legal battle? However, if she cannot work, how will she support them? Her mom had told her she was destined to do small great things.

Just like Dr. King. “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

Now she has bigger problems than keep her job. A criminal prosecution has been filed. The state is holding her responsible for the death of the baby. They are targeting her because they think she failed as a nurse. However, Ruth disagrees. They are targeting her because she is black. She is under arrest. Murder and involuntary manslaughter.

A trial. An attorney, a victim, a villain, an accuser. However, there is a twist which is a major game-changer, taking readers to the final explosive conclusion. Some may have to look within to find the root of the problem.

Thought-provoking, emotional, and timely- Picoult once again delivers an extraordinary message – a well-researched, “stand out" character driven novel– social justice. Thank you, for having the courage to write so eloquently regarding subjects which make some feel uncomfortable--with honesty, clarity, and compassion.

The most critical part of the novel is defining “active and passive” racism. This really should challenge readers to think about their own hearts and daily behavior at home, school, and work.

As most whites do not consider themselves as active --which to most is extreme. However, what about passive racism? It is noticing there’s only one person of color in your office and not asking your boss why. It’s reading your kid’s fourth-grade curriculum and seeing that the only black history covered is slavery, and not questioning why. Glossing over the things which matter. The unintentional.

“People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.” –Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

From the Author’s Note (Powerful)! Inspired by a true story of an African American nurse in Michigan, the author writes from the point of view of a Black nurse, a skinhead father, and a white woman public defender. Her journey to getting this book in form.

Exploring racism and prejudice; whereas racism is more than just discrimination based on skin color. More importantly, it is also about who has institutional power. Just as racism creates disadvantages for people of color that make success harder to achieve, it also gives advantages to white people that make success easier to achieve. A wonderful tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words. It is through small acts that racism is both perpetuated and partially dismantled.

(An extensive Bibliography and additional reading included). Ideal for book clubs and group discussions.

Ruth and Kennedy both are two women different in many ways, and alike in so many others. They do small things, that has great and lasting repercussions for others. They are both fighting for their clients, patients, and their family.

As the author reiterates, “There is a fire raging, and we have two choices: we can turn our backs, or we can try to fight it." Talking about racism. Educate. Listen to the voices unheard. Create fair paths to success for everyone that accommodate those differences. The American dream isn’t quite so accessible to all. Racism is not just about hate. There are biases. It is about power— and who has access to it. Prejudice goes both ways; some who suffer, some who profit.

A great example of racism, prejudice, and privilege - from a child, teen, and a parent’s viewpoint. From black to white, everyone "can" make a difference, in order to change our world for the better. A Top 2016 MustReadBooks!

JDCMustReadBooks

 

"Picoult’s gripping tale is told from three points of view, that of Ruth, Kennedy and Turk, and offers a thought-provoking examination of racism in America today, both overt and subtle. Her many readers will find much to discuss in the pages of this topical, moving book. " Booklist (Starred review)

 

 

"Jodi Picoult is never afraid to take on hot topics, and in SMALL GREAT THINGS, she tackles race and discrimination in a way that will grab hold of you and refuse to let you go…this page-turner is perfect for book clubs." -Popsugar

 

 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/03/03/Small-Great-Things
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review 2016-06-07 20:20
I Almost Forgot About You
I Almost Forgot About You - Terry McMillan
ISBN: 9781101902578
Publisher  Crown
Publication Date: 6/7/2016
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 Stars

 

A special thank you to Crown, LibraryThing, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Terry McMillan, the “queen” of reinvention, returns with her latest I ALMOST FORGOT ABOUT YOU —no matter the age, she always has you covered.

Through love and hate. A multi-generational tale, from wit, steamy sex, sass, regrets, romance, love, inspiration, and a feisty protagonist, keeping readers glued to the pages for more second chances.

A fitting title!

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift. – Mary Oliver, The Uses of Sorrow

Georgia Young is a baby boomer, (myself included), like many of us, as we approach this age, she is reflecting on the next half of her life, and looking back at the first half. She is a successful optometrist in the San Francisco Bay area, a home owner, attractive, and independent.

She has a nice practice; however, something is missing. She has two daughters, two granddaughters, and no romance. After two ex-husbands and discovering a former boyfriend who has died, she begins to wonder about the other men passing through her life. Where are they now? What are they doing? Life is short. Time flies by.

She wants to find them and figure out if she was important to them, and why they loved her at one time. Why it did not last. Some soul-searching. Did she become a better person because of the time she spent with him (them). To let him know what she gained from him (them)? Before this point she had never given it much thought.

Men had occupied almost thirty-five years of her entire adult life. Now it appears that the way we were raised had a major impact on what kind of person we turn out to be-- so does who we love. She wants to forgive them, and wants to find out if they’ve forgiver her. She wants them to know she did not forget about them.

Were they old flames or just sparks? Is the best part of life behind you?

I image Kerri Bradshaw (Sex and the City) writing these same questions. No matter the age, if we have a past, there is reflection. However, more stories, as we age.

Of course, McMillan's (Georgia's) journey would not be complete without her fun loving BFFs, daughters, and her feisty mother. They are getting older and each takes a different path. She is ready for a change, without or without a man. They of course all weigh in on the subject.

As Georgia grows older she realizes there’s something to be said for nostalgia and not getting rid of stuff that holds memories which is pretty much your personal anthropology, and can document your evolution on so many levels.

After receiving the low down on all the characters, you will laugh out loud as you follow Georgia’s journey. Just because you are getting older, does not mean life stops. She has some options which include selling her practice, moving, travel the world, or become an artist, and possibly a man. Romance? However, you have to let go of past anger and grudges to move on. The good with the bad.

As always, Terry keeps you laughing (especially if you are in my age group) you can appreciate. Entertained and engaged. However, the novel is for any age woman. Everyone is about second chances, self-discovery and reinvention.

There are many boomers (single women) either divorced or husbands have died who enjoy being single (myself included), those of us who do not care about ever dating or marrying again. With grown children, can finally enjoy life and be independent. The solitude. Would have loved for McMillan to have taken Georgia on a path without men (an option). In today’s world many boomer women are self sufficient without the need for a man to complete them.

Otherwise, the author always delivers wisdom, courage, entertainment and lots of laughs. Some good life lessons, with McMillan’s unique trademark style—the people in our lives have been there for a reason or season (not to confuse the two, of course). Always a lesson to be learned. At the time, we may not know the what. Years later we may just figure it out.

Always liked this quote: “Some people come into your life for a season, and some come for a lifetime. Never mix seasonal people up with lifetime expectations.” A firm believer in letting some people off the elevator of our life, which become toxic.

I also listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author--always a good time, and hours of enjoyment!

On a personal note: McMillan is only one year older than myself, so yes, it is a shocker being a senior--it creeps up on you at 60 (we are in good company). I reside in an independent living high rise apartment--waterfront prime location (I happen to the the youngest tenant in the building, in a group of mainly 70+). I just barely made the cut. You either will feel young; looking at them (fortunate not to be in a wheel chair), or depressed thinking this will be you in ten years. A scary thought! When your kids turn forty, reality hits you smack in the face. Of course I have the 84 yr. old feisty mom, as well. So there is hope yet for the good genes.

"Your genetics load the gun. Your lifestyle pulls the trigger."Mehmet Oz

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!I-Almost-Forgot-About-You/cmoa/56746c630cf2c2b7798a81a7
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review 2016-06-04 21:20
The Girl from the Savoy
The Girl from The Savoy: A Novel - Hazel Gaynor
ISBN: 0062403478 
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 6/7/2016
Format:  Paperback
My Rating: 5 Stars

 

A special thank you to HarperCollins and LibraryThing Early Reviewers for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Glamorous Cover.

Talented Hazel Gaynor returns following A Memory of Violets(2015) and The Girl Who Came Home (2014) with her latest,THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY —Impressive, evocative, and captivating— rich in history, culture, art, and charm.

. . “Men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

A young woman working as a chambermaid in a luxury historical hotel in London, dreaming of a dazzling career on stage, a chorus girl, a flapper, an actress, and beyond—from difficult choices, life altering changes, and devastating aftermath of soldiers, and the women left behind, during the war and post war.

From London stage -entertainment, allure, and glamour of the stars and the roaring 1920s!

Set in the years just after the Great War, when social boundaries were changing and women especially were fighting for greater independence. Told from three POV and narrators: Dolly, Loretta, and Teddy.

“That’s the beauty of a life on the stage. One can be whomever one chooses to be.”

The novel opens with a Prologue, Lancashire, England, March 1916—Teddy is going off to war, leaving Dorothy (Dolly) behind. Hope. Love. Adventure is their motto. Teddy was always her inspiration to be better. To strive for something far beyond her reach.

Then a brief chance meeting. An intriguing man. A composer.

“It is only by trying and failing, by losing something we really love, that we discover how much we want it.”

Flash forward to London 1923 with Dolly. She was a nicknamed “Dolly Daydreamer” from the other maids. She is delighted to begin a new position as a maid at The Savoy Hotel London. Where she can be surrounded by the rich and famous. A maid with ambition.

An opulent hotel with an impressive guest list, Hollywood stars, privileged American heiresses, and the darlings of London society. A place where the utmost discretion is required at all times. She will share a room with three other maids. Dolly gets a glimpse of the magic-from the dresses, shoes, glamour, and glitter of those around her. She longs to dance on the London stage. She wants an audition.

Her life takes a turn when she responds to a songwriter’s ad for a “muse” and becomes immersed into London’s theater scene. Will she ever be good enough? She was told fortune favors the brave. Nobody made it in this business by being coy and demure.

We also meet iconic star of the stage, the darling of the West End, Loretta May and her brother Perry. Dolly is now a part of this world and Loretta has everything Dolly wants and desires. Loretta is the darling of London society. The rebellious society, dressed, photographed, and painted and written by the best names in the world.

 


She was the reason everyone saved their money for their wages to buy ticket to her performance, and stand for hours to get a glimpse. They swoon over the star. However, Loretta’s life in crumbling yet all her fans are unaware of her pain. With secrets of her own. Loretta and Dolly may have more in common than they may think.

Dolly wonders if Teddy hears music. If he remembers how they used to love dancing. She wonders if he thinks of her all. A butterfly. Will the butterfly spread its wings in search for adventures? Life dances on.

Two men. Teddy and Perry. They mingle and change and she can’t stop dancing. When she closes her eyes, Dolly sees Perry. When she rests her check against the pillows, it is Teddy’s cheek she rests against.

If only the past could be locked away in the darkness and forgotten.

With flashes and heartbreaking letters to Teddy at war from Dolly, now in a hospital. Someone reading the letters to Teddy (perhaps a nurse, he thinks). From conditions they do not understand from the war, treating with hypnosis, electric shock, and warm baths. The guns are silent and yet he is still fighting his war.

He has his memories of Dolly, if he can remember. The War, the nurse reading the letters, and the butterfly in the window. Teddy always said she would be special. Teddy was always chasing butterflies. He never kept them. He liked to admire and let them go. A love so strong.

The highs, lows, and intensity of the time. From emotions, the damage, brokenness, friendships, shame, loss, loyalty, the aftermath of the war, romance, and aspirations and dreams of women of this era. From dazzle, scandal, love, music, success, and glamour. All intriguing to an ordinary girl like Dolly.

How does war change people and lives?

Gaynor poignantly captures the difficulties and impacts of war on the young men who survived during this time with the characters of Perry and Teddy. The burdens of war—a part of our history and the realities of war. I liked the contrast between the different social classes, and the two women, as well as time and place. Three distinct voices: the (Teddy) war, (Dolly) a maid, and a (Loretta) star.

“Get a job in a shop. Marry a nice young chap. Leave the dancing to someone else.”

Impeccably researched, Gaynor’s vivid and dazzling descriptions makes you feel as though you were re-living the era and the characters come alive on each page. I enjoyed the creative format of the novel with each chapter clearly defined by its voice and characters, and a lead in quote intro, setting the stage, broken out in Acts One (Hope), Two (Love) and Three (Adventure). The stages of life. Many metaphors and lovely quotes.

From a broken solider; shell shock (psychological disturbance caused by prolonged exposure to active warfare, especially being under bombardment.) what we call today PTSD. Gaynor offers vast references and additional reading regarding women and men in the 1920s as well as a wealth of historical and insightful information, and as an added plus, an entire playlist of music from the era.

With Loretta’s character, the author captures the essence of these amazing women, and the private life of a woman behind the spotlight. Dolly’s character is based on The Gaiety Girls and Cochran’s Young Ladies —working-class girls’ dreams. Where young girls flocked to the theater night after night, known as gallery girls. Where they watched their favorite stars perform, to forget their troubles at home. The wanted to laugh, sing, dance, and dazzle.

Music: Adore listening to music from this era with the jazz bands such as the Savoy Orpheans, the resident band at the sumptuous Savoy during the period in which the novel is set. Gaynor provides a playlist, and enjoyed watching/listening to all of her recommended songs, via YouTube.

I love the 1920s! As always, love reading of the "inspiration" (behind the scenes). A blending of fact and fiction, infusing lost stories and forgotten voices from the past. Gaynor breathes new life into her characters, with her imagination and powerful prose. (Definitely agree with her about the hats).

Fascinating additional reading of Rupert D'Oyly Carte (1876 –1948) an English hotelier, theatre owner and impresario, best known as proprietor of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company and Savoy Hotel.

Highly recommend! For fans of Beatriz Williams, Kathleen Tessaro, Susan Meissner, and Karen White. Have also pre-ordered the audio, narrated by Jennifer Jones, Lucy Rayner, and Paul Fox. As mentioned previously, I am quickly becoming a fan of historical fiction, drawing me away from my typical mystery suspense thrillers. Have not read Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War, quickly added to my TBR list.

 

 



* * * * *

On a personal note:

 

In reference to a previous Tweet, I cannot help but think about this era, the characters, the novel (especially Dolly) and the Hotel Savoy London, and the American Bar--when I look out my window at legendary 5-star oceanfront Palm Beach, FL Breakers Resort.

The music from the HMF is a prime example of this era. Named for The Breakers’ founding father, Henry Morrison Flagler and designed by the internationally-renowned Adam D. Tihany (Per Se, Restaurant Daniel, Le Cirque 2000, MO Bar London), this thrillingly glamorous retreat is an ode to golden era Palm Beach, with all of its high style, and unapologetic decadence.

Today, life is faster, more complex and more austere, and we all crave the grace and unapologetic decadence of eras past. At HMF they take the social rituals of cocktail culture as the perfect antidote to the incivility of modern life. Reminiscent of a bygone era –"a celebration of glamour and indulgence in true classic Palm Beach style. " (Our own Savoy)

If you are ever in the area, highly recommend this experience. When stepping into room, the ambiance, the mood, takes you back: Listen to the Music It awakens your spirit, and resonates the glamour and sophistication of the exciting and dazzling 1920's. (all of these selections are on my personal playlist).

 


 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!The-Girl-From-The-Savoy/cmoa/56c147f00cf2b079d126fd06
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review 2016-05-19 06:53
All Summer Long
All Summer Long: A Novel - Dorothea Benton Frank
ISBN: 9780062390752
Publisher: HarperCollins 
Publication Date: 5/312016 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating:  4 Stars

A special thank you to HarperCollins and LibraryThing Early Reviewers for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Stunning Hardcover!

Dorothea Benton Frank, the "Queen" of Southern Fiction, returns following All the Single Ladies (2015) with her kickoff annual summer beach read—ALL SUMMER LONG. It just wouldn't be complete without our DBF fix!

From glamorous Manhattan, Nantucket, Spain to Sullivan’s Island, SC- a couple from different walks of life. A crazy tumultuous summer; coming to find happiness through life’s storms in unexpected ways: Belonging. A powerful story of renewal and magic in the LowCountry.

Meet Olivia, a New York highly successful top interior designer. Over the years she has had the privilege of observing the private and personal habits of the rich and famous. She has worked hard to rebuild her life after her first philandering financially irresponsible medical student husband, had taken everything and left.

She was determined this would never happen again. She buried herself in her work and built her business, one gnarly client at a time. Single life was lovely; however, she was fortunate to meet another man—a Southern gentleman from the Lowcountry. They remarried and have had a happy life. She still managed her independence at the same time.

Nick was like Olivia in that he also collected things. He loved leather bound books for his study. They loved to travel. He was a professor and the bulk of their money came from her and her business. She handled their finances.

However now, it was time to downsize—(necessary) the economy and her business was slowly shrinking. She has not told her husband their dire situation. She keeps thinking she would attain more clients, but she fears in the minds of her clients- she would be washed up. Moving away from New York would be horrific. Why in the world would a client in Manhattan hire an interior designer from anywhere else?

She had promised Nick, a confirmed bachelor, when they married fourteen years ago, when he moved in with her, they would retire to Sullivan’s Island, SC-- the land of his ancestors and boyhood. He was so excited . . and looked forward to their simpler life. He wanted to share every part of the South with her.

Olivia was not so sure. She has purchased a big old house to keep up her image, which needed a lot of work; however, how would they be able to afford the renovation and lifestyle without the money coming in? She knew the house would be far too grand for Nick’s taste. She hoped to build her business once back in SC, and as usual she was in a panic.

In the meantime, they are globetrotting, cruises and jetting around the world with the rich and famous, hoping for more work from these clients. She liked being younger than Nick, and the only other person she could depend on besides her husband, was her assistant Roni.

With her Manhattan lifestyle behind, can Olivia survive in the LowCountry, with no housekeeper, clients or contacts in Charleston,--places to shop, or get her hair done? She was stripped of her possessions. She had been playing the denial game for far too long. It was either Nick or Charleston---he had always had a desire for beautiful things—the big city. Whereas Nick’s parents lived a modest island life, but they gave him a world of things to feel passionate about and to love—encouragement. Olivia’s parents gave her none of those values.

Now Nick, age sixty-seven, an historian, had come back to the Lowcountry and slipped right back into his boyhood life without missing a beat. Olivia on the other hand was adapting slowly and her heart carried some gloom—she loved him and was determined to rise above the feeling that she was the proverbial fish out of water.

From their billionaire friends, Bob and his wife Maritza. and their differences, a cast of other eccentric characters—the ups and downs, dramas, Nantucket, and Roni---possibly Olivia might get used to the South. From friends, and lots of life’s curve balls—the enchanted waters of Sullivan’s Island might wash the urban demons out to sea.

An opening of heart and mind Believing, Faith, Love. Relationships, bonds, and marriage—trusting and loving. Money does not always buy happiness.

Dorothea Benton Frank once again brings her love and passion of the LowCountry to the pages making her characters come alive. From wit, charm, drama, and local flavor-from fresh fish, dogs, dolphins, music, seagulls, seaside, laughter—and dreams, a powerful place, happiness-home at last.

Not as extreme opposites as Green Acres, the American TV sitcom, starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, couple who move from New York City to a country farm. 1965-1971. However, quite entertaining! 
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!All-Summer-Long/cmoa/56d12dc30cf29064e5f415dd
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