Review & Giveaway: Where The Light Enters by Sara Donati

 

Title: Where The Light Enters (The Waverly Place Series #2)

Author: Sara Donati

Published: September 17th 2019, Bantam

Status: Read September 2019, courtesy PenguinRandomHouse Au

From the international bestselling author of The Gilded Hour comes Sara Donati’s enthralling epic about two trailblazing female doctors in nineteenth-century New York

Obstetrician Dr. Sophie Savard returns home to the achingly familiar rhythms of Manhattan in the early spring of 1884 to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. With the help of Dr. Anna Savard, her dearest friend, cousin, and fellow physician she plans to continue her work aiding the disadvantaged women society would rather forget.

As Sophie sets out to construct a new life for herself, Anna’s husband, Detective-Sergeant Jack Mezzanotte calls on them both to consult on two new cases: the wife of a prominent banker has disappeared into thin air, and the corpse of a young woman is found with baffling wounds that suggest a killer is on the loose. In New York it seems that the advancement of women has brought out the worst in some men. Unable to ignore the plight of New York’s less fortunate, these intrepid cousins draw on all resources to protect their patients.

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My Thoughts:

Where The Light Enters by Sara Donati is an engrossing, complex story of historical fiction, a superb sequel to The Gilded Hour.

Though Where The Light Enters could be read as a stand-alone, I personally wouldn’t recommend it. The tale begins a few months after the end of The Gilded Hour with an exchange of letters, newspaper articles, and other correspondence between Sophie in Switzerland and her extended family, just before Cap’s death. It is Spring when she returns home to New York City, and once again the reader is drawn into the personal and professional lives of Drs. Anna and Sophie Savard, and a growing ensemble cast.

Donati combines heartfelt family drama and an intriguing mystery within a richly detailed historical setting.

I was delighted to return to Waverly Place, and reacquaint myself with the residents of ‘Roses’ and ‘Weeds’. The Drs. Savard remain strong, independent, compassionate women supported by a caring extended family of relatives and friends. Anna and her husband Jack are challenged by the loss of their charges, though kept busy be their respective positions. Sophie, while still in mourning, is making plans to establish a scholarship program, having moved into Stuyvesant Square, (later christened ‘Doves’ and ‘Lark’ by Lia). A handful of new characters are introduced as Sophie takes on staff, while others introduced previously take on a larger role.

I was very relieved that there was finally a resolution to the fascinating mystery involving the sensational murders of nine women that began in The Gilded Hour. Nicholas Lambert identifies another shocking murder he believes is related in Where The Light Enters which allows Jack and Oscar to reopen the case and follow up on new leads. I had correctly surmised the identities of the guilty parties (mostly), but when revealed, the motivation was more distressing than I expected.

With authentic and compelling detail Donati illustrates the physical and social dichotomy of New York City in the 1800’s. She highlights the hypocrisy of religious and moral fervour, the inequalities supported by law, the racism that results in warring immigrants, and the vibrancy of a busy city constantly reinventing itself., where apartment buildings with marble floors and crystal sconces, overlook crowded, vermin infested tenements.

Beautifully written, with absorbing storylines and richly drawn characters, this series is proving to be worth the investment. There are minor threads left unresolved in Where The Light Enters that no doubt will be explored in the next instalment of the Waverly Place series, which I’m very much looking forward to.

 

Available from PenguinRandomHouse

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GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of PenguinRandomHouse Australia,

I have 1 print edition of

Where The Light Enters by Sara Donati

to giveaway to one lucky Australian resident.

Please leave a comment on this post and

CLOSED

Congratulations Katy E!

*PLEASE NOTE: Only Australian residents are eligible to enter*

Entries close October 5th, 2019

The giveaway will be random drawing on October 6th and the winner will be notified by email within 48 hours

 

#WhereTheLightEntersTour

(Click to visit the tour participants)

See my thoughts on The Gilded Hour (The Waverly Place Series #1) by Sara Donati 

Review and Giveaway: All That Impossible Space by Anna Morgan

 

 

Title: All That Impossible Space

Author: Anna Morgan Twitter I Instagram I Goodreads

Published: June 25th 2019, Lothian Children’s Books

Status: Read June 2019, courtesy Hachette AU

Blurb:

Amelia Westlake meets My Favorite Murder in this debut from a terrific new voice in Australian YA. Combines a realistic story about high school drama and toxic friendship with true crime – the endlessly fascinating Somerton Man or Taman Shud mystery.

15-year-old Lara Laylor feels like supporting character in her own life. She’s Ashley’s best friend, she’s Hannah’s sister-she’s never just Lara.

When new history teacher Mr. Grant gives her an unusual assignment: investigating the mystery of the Somerton Man. Found dead in on an Adelaide beach in 1948, a half-smoked cigarette still in his mouth and the labels cut out of his clothes, the Somerton Man has intrigued people for years. Was he a spy? A criminal? Year 10 has plenty of mysteries of its own: boys, drama queen friends, and enigmatic new students. When they seem just as unsolvable as a 60-year-old cold case, Lara finds herself spending more and more time on the assignment. But Mr Grant himself may be the biggest mystery of all…

Interspersed with fictionalised snapshots of the Somerton Man investigation, ALL THAT IMPOSSIBLE SPACE is a coming of age novel exploring toxic friendships and the balance of power between teacher and student, perfect for fans of Cath Crowley and Fiona Wood.

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My Thoughts:

 

Anna Morgan’s contemporary young adult novel, All That Impossible Space, is an engaging debut exploring the themes of identity, friendship, family, and coming-of-age, framed by the enigmatic mystery of Somerton Man.

I was vaguely aware of the Somerton Man case before reading All That Impossible Space, and it was one of the main reasons that I was persuaded to read the novel. Given the current popularity of true crime, evidenced by podcasts such as My Favorite Murder (which I personally enjoy), and the plethora of documentaries on streaming services such as Netflix, it’s a savvy inclusion from the author. The Somerton Man case cleverly reflects Lara’s search for her own identity, as someone other than Hannah’s sister, and Ashley’s best friend. This in part explains her attachment to Mr Grant, who as a new teacher has no knowledge of Hannah’s accomplishments, and acknowledges Lara as an individual, rather than part of ‘AshleyandLara’.

I appreciated Morgan’s realistic portrayal of her characters. My teenagers are all of a similar age and I feel Lara, Ashley, Kate and Jos demonstrated appropriate attitudes and behaviours for their age group, which isn’t always the case in young adult fiction.

There would be few among us who wouldn’t be familiar with a ‘friend’ like Ashley, and Morgan skilfully portrays the codependent dynamic of their toxic relationship. I really liked that the author showed how difficult it was for Lara to extricate herself from the situation, struggling with her sense of loyalty to Ashley, and not wanting to hurt her feelings. The author underscores how destructive the friendship is by contrasting it with Lara’s interactions with Kate, the new girl, and Jos, the love interest.

Lara’s issues with her family are relatively benign for the genre, but I liked that Morgan showed that family problems don’t have to be dramatic (eg abuse, drugs, neglect etc) to have an effect on a teen’s sense of self. Lara’s parents are loving but have in a way lost sight of her, focused on her sister’s drama, even in Hannah’s absence. It’s clear Lara misses her sister, who is travelling on a gap year, but is also hurt by Hannah’s lack of communication.

I enjoyed All That Impossible Space, particularly the thoughtful examination of teen friendships and the intriguing study of Somerton Man (be prepared to fall down that rabbithole when you are done reading).

“Tamám Shud”

++++++

Available from Hachette in Paperback and Ebook

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko , or internationally from Book Depository

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GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Hachette Austalia , I have

1 print edition of

All That Impossible Space by Anna Morgan

to giveaway to one lucky Australian resident.

Please leave a comment on this post and then

Closed

Congratulations Claire Louisa 

*PLEASE NOTE: Only Australian residents are eligible to enter*

Entries close July 5th, 2019

The giveaway will be random drawing on July 6th, 2019 and the winner will be notified by email within 48 hours

Brooklyn winners!

Congratulations paper sign over confetti. Vector holiday illustration.

Congratulations to the following people who have each won a double pass to see Brooklyn in Australian cinema’s.

Diane V, Katy E, Benjamin T, Gloria B, Diane C,

Shannon, Kate W, Ross S, Marlene P, Rosemarie D

Emails have been sent.

Winners were drawn via random.org

Brooklyn_A4Poster

2[3]

 

Win 1 of 10 double passes to see Oscar nominated film, Brooklyn

Brooklyn_A4Poster

I have a special treat today, a chance for you to win 1 of 10 double passes to see the Oscar nominated film, Brooklyn.

Opening in cinemas Australia wide on February 11th, Brooklyn is based on the novel of the same name by Colm Tóibín.

The film follows Eilis (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish woman who leaves her small town in Ireland hoping for a bright future in 1950s Brooklyn. Despite her homesickness she falls in love with Tony (Emory Cohen), an Italian-American who opens her eyes to her new surroundings. But a family tragedy leads Eilis back to Ireland, and she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.

Watch the official trailer

FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN

1 of 10 in season double passes to see Brooklyn

valid for any regular screening of the film across Australia while it is in cinemas

courtesy KabukuPR

And the winners are

Diane V, Katy E, Benjamin T, Gloria B, Diane C,

Shannon, Kate W, Ross S, Marlene P, Rosemarie D

Entries close Tuesday Feb 9th 2016, winners will be notified via email.

*Open to Australian residents aged 16 and over only*

Brooklyn 1

2[3]

 

 

Review & Giveaway: Sweet Wattle Creek by Kaye Dobbie

Sweet Wattle Creek high res.

 

Title: Sweet Wattle Creek

Author: Kaye Dobbie

Published: Harlequin AU October 2015

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from September 30 to October 01, 2015   {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

With a narrative alternating between the past and the present, Sweet Wattle Creek by Kaye Dobbie, also known as Sara Bennett and Lilly Sommers, tells the story of Belle Bartholomew and Sophie Matheson, two women haunted by the secrets of their pasts.

When her father commits suicide after losing his wealth during the post war depression, Belle Bartholomew is stunned to learn of the secrets he had been keeping. Eager to know more, she travels to Sweet Wattle Creek to claim her inheritance, a rundown hotel bequeathed to her by Martha Ambrose, and though Belle’s questions put the locals offside, she is determined to solve the mystery of her birth.

Nearly sixty years later, reporter Sophie Matheson is enchanted by a vintage wedding dress donated to the Sweet Wattle Creek centenary celebrations. Intrigued by its mysterious provenance, Sophie begins to piece together the story of Belle and Charlie, and their connection to the old burnt out hotel on the town’s fringe, unaware that her own past is catching up to her.

Both Belle and Sophie are appealing and sympathetic characters. Though their situations are very different they share a similar spirit, facing adversity with courage and determination.

Dobbie’s portrayal of small town Australia during the 1930’s is very well done. The community of Sweet Wattle Creek is still struggling with grief for their loved ones lost and injured in the Great War, and are worried about the impact of the post war depression, particularly as ‘travellers’ pass through their town. Dobbie skilfully communicates this tense atmosphere, and Belle’s status as an outsider.

The mid 1980’s is a fairly bland era by comparison but Dobbie is careful to ensure the period is reflected in the storyline. The local paper where Sophie works still uses a mechanical press to publish, archives are stored in the basement, and the single computer that saves data to floppy discs is still a novelty.

Most importantly, I thought the story was very well structured, both the historical and contemporary timelines complement each other well, and advance the plot as a whole. The pacing is good and the suspense builds nicely. There are some neat turns to the plot and I thought the conclusion was satisfying.

Sweet Wattle Creek is a well crafted and engaging tale combining mystery, drama and romance, and I’m happy to recommend it.

To learn more , CLICK HERE for a guest post from the author published earlier today

Sweet Wattle Creek is available to purchase via

Harlequin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

and all good bookstores.

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Kaye Dobbie I have

1 Kindle edition of

Sweet Wattle Creek

Sweet Wattle Creek high res.

to giveaway to one lucky Australian resident.

Leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

*Sorry, entry is for Australian residents only, and must have a valid Amazon.com.au account*

Entries close October 11th, 2015

#SweetWattleCreek #KayeDobbie @HarlequinAUS #JAMPR

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Blog Tour: Sweet Wattle Creek by Kaye Dobbie

kaye

I’m delighted to welcome Kaye Dobbie to Book’d Out today, celebrating the release of Sweet Wattle Creek. Kaye Dobbie is an Australian author living on the central Victorian goldfields. She has been writing professionally ever since she won the Grafton Big River short story contest at the age of 18. Her career has undergone many changes, including writing Australian historical fiction under the name Lilly Sommers and penning romance novels as Sara Bennett. Kaye has written about, and been published in, many countries, but her passion for Australia shows in her current Harlequin Mira novels.

In Sweet Wattle Creek, the chance discovery of an antique wedding dress weaves together the fascinating stories of three women from different eras: Sophie, in hiding from a troubled past; Belle, who must lose everything to learn what really matters; and Martha, forced to give up those she loves in order to avoid exposure.

Sweet Wattle Creek high res.

It’s 1931 and Belle Bartholomew has arrived in rural Sweet Wattle Creek to claim her inheritance – a run-down grand hotel formerly owned by Martha Ambrose. Determined to solve the mystery of her birth and the reason why she was bequeathed the hotel Belle runs into difficulties with the townsfolk and their desire to keep their secrets safe.

Sixty years later Sophie Matheson is on a quest to find Belle and her family after discovering the wedding dress. The Sweet Wattle Creek Centenary brings more challenges when her past catches up and she must fight for all that matters to her. Who were Belle and Martha and what links their lives together?”

*****

To read my review of Sweet Wattle Creek and for a chance to win a copy, please CLICK HERE.  But first, please read on to learn more about the novel…

Animal Characters in Sweet Wattle Creek

by Kaye Dobbie

I happen to be an animal lover. Over the years I’ve had more pets than I can remember. Well, that’s not true, because I can remember them, they all hold a special place in my heart, every one of them. So it makes sense that I have animals in my books. Usually the animal plays some role, it isn’t just there to up the word count. And sometimes I like to write about a pet I have loved and lost.

In Sweet Wattle Creek I have three main Creature Characters.

cockatoo-583921_640In 1904 Martha and her daughter Belle are waiting on the platform at Spencer Street Station, Melbourne, for Martha’s brother Rory. Four year old Belle sees a pigeon that reminds her of Nellie, her pet sulphur crested cockatoo, and the bird is introduced to readers. Later on, in 1931, Belle returns to claim her inheritance in Sweet Wattle Creek, and this time we meet the real Nellie. She becomes part of the story, sitting on Belle’s shoulder, even participating in one of the crucial scenes in the book. And near the end, if you read very carefully, she’s there, a part of Belle’s family.

In 1986 Sophie Matheson comes to Sweet Wattle Creek to hide from a frightening past. Her son Dillon has always wanted a dog but their circumstances meant it was impossible. Now they are settled in the small country town, and suddenly fate throws Smithy in their path and into their home.

Smithy is a black and white border collie, and he belongs to an elderly woman who has had a fall and been taken to hospital. Dillon and Smithy immediately bond, and his arrival gives the reader an insight into the sort of boy Dillon is and how his life has been affected by the trauma of his, and Sophie’s, past. Smithy also gives a bit of comic relief from what is a serious subject.

border collieThe third Creature Character in Sweet Wattle Creek is BC, which stands for Black Cat. BC arrived on the doorstep of Sophie’s work place, the Sweet Wattle Creek Herald, with a litter of kittens. Sophie managed to find adoptees for the others, but BC was left and now he is her cat. BC is the boss of the house, very used to getting his own way, until Smithy the border collie arrives. Suddenly BC undergoes a character change, shedding his aloofness for the sake of more pats.

BC is a pseudonym for a real cat called Aussie, who later on became Old Black Cat. She arrived one Christmas, dumped in our street, and found her way to our house. She was my cat for twenty-two years, and for the last part of her life kept me company in my study while I wrote. I got so used to seeing her on the chair behind me, or stretched out in front of the heater under the desk, that when she grew so ill we had to let her go, I felt as if my writing partner had died. At times, during those last weeks, I was worried she wouldn’t make it to the end of the book, so afterwards my sadness was tinged with gratitude that she did.

I believe animals are important in real life, so why not in fictional life too? Are you an animal lover? Do you have a special Creature Character in your life?

Sweet Wattle Creek high res.

Sweet Wattle Creek is available to purchase via

Harlequin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

and all good bookstores.

#SweetWattleCreek #KayeDobbie @HarlequinAUS #JAMPR

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Giveaway & Review: Cloudwish by Fiona Wood

 

Title: Cloudwish

Author: Fiona Wood

Published: Pan Macmillan AUS September 2015

Status: Read from September 20 to 21, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Cloudwish is a delightful new contemporary young adult novel from Fiona Wood, author of Six Impossible Things and Wildlife.

Asked to choose a prop for a creative writing assignment, Vân Uoc Phan selects a small glass vial. Inside, a slip of paper says wish. Vân Uoc considers the possibilities, she could wish not be the only ‘scholarship/poor/smart/Asian’ in her privileged private school, or that the government would stop persecuting asylum seekers, but Vân Uoc’s most private and fervent wish, is for Billy Gardiner to like her.

Readers familiar with Wildlife might recognise Vân Uoc and Billy for their role in the book as minor characters.
Vân Uoc is the only daughter of Vietnamese refugees, she lives in a housing commission flat, attending the prestigious Crowthorne Grammar on an academic scholarship. She is quiet and studious, her parents expect she will become a doctor or a lawyer, though Vân Uoc dreams of becoming an artist.
Billy Gardiner is Crowthorne Grammar’s golden boy, he is smart but takes very little seriously. One of the first eight on the successful school rowing team, the son of wealthy parents, he takes his privilege for granted in a way Vân Uoc never can.

When Billy suddenly takes notice of her, Vân Uoc assumes she is being set up for a joke but as his attention persists, she begins to wonder if a wish really can come true. The ensuing relationship between Vân Uoc and Billy is sweet and believable, deftly handled by the author within the context of the story.

But this is not just a story about a teen romance, throughout the story, Wood sensitively explores the experience of diversity in all its forms with a focus on socioeconomic, racial and cultural difference. Vân Uoc keenly feels the divide between herself and her classmates, she can’t afford designer jeans or even a cup of coffee after school, her free time is limited to spending Friday nights watching movies in her neighbours flat, and she has responsibilities they can’t imagine. Vân Uoc is also haunted by her parents experiences as refugees. Though she knows few of the details, her mother’s annual slide into depression suggests unimaginable horrors.

With references to Jane Eyre, Vân Uoc’s idol, and Pretty in Pink, Australian politics and the legitimacy of asylum seekers, mean girls, Chapel Street, and magic, Cloudwish is a wonderfully observed and heartfelt Australian story about identity, belonging, love, and dreams.

“Jane had all the answers. Of course she did. When had she ever let Vân Uoc down? It struck her like a proverbial bolt from the blue that within Jane Eyre’s framework of realism – of social commentary on class, on charity schools, on imperious rich relations, on gender equality and the restricted opportunity for women, on love and morality…there was also some mad magic.”

Available to purchase from

Pan Macmillan Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

and all good bookstores.

#cloudwishblogtour2015

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Pan Macmillan, I have

1 print edition of

Cloudwish by Fiona Wood

to giveaway to one lucky Australian resident.

Leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

*Sorry, entry is for Australian residents only*

Entries close October 4th, 2015

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Book’d Out is 5!

Happy_BDay_Mixtape_Wall

Today I’m celebrating! Five years ago I published my first post here at Book’d Out.

In that time I have:

* Published a total of 2,059  posts

* Of which 1, 523 are book reviews

* Had 403,639 visitors

* From whom I have received 17,178 comments

* And gained  4,015 awesome subscribers

Thank you!

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate each and every person who stops by, reads a post, leaves a comment, or a ‘like’, or decides to subscribe to my blog.

Your support has been integral to my daily happiness.

I wish I could reward each and every one of you, alas I can only offer you the chance to win a token prize of appreciation.

*****

One lucky reader will win

A gift voucher to the value of $10 from Amazon (US or AU) *

amazon

or

A book to the value of $10AUD from BookDepository.com*

SNAG-0205

*where shipping/delivery is available

***

To Enter

Please leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE

Entries close September 6th, 2015

Winners will be randomly selected via random.org

Review & Giveaway: Long Bay by Eleanor Limprecht

 

Title: Long Bay

Author: Eleanor Limprecht

Published: Sleepers Publishing August 2015

Status: Read from August 15 to 16, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Drawing on official documents and extensive general research into the period, author Eleanor Limprecht blends fact and imagination to create a convincing narrative that tells the story of a woman forgotten by history in her novel, ‘Long Bay’.

Born in Paddington, New South Wales in 1885, Rebecca Sinclair was the fourth of six children, raised by her mother who was widowed when Rebecca was two. She married at nineteen, birthed a daughter, and four years later, alongside her husband, was convicted of manslaughter for the death of a mother of three who died after an abortion procedure performed by Rebecca went wrong. Rebecca was sentenced to three years hard labour in Long Bay and while imprisoned, Rebecca birthed her second daughter.

Limprecht builds on these known details of Rebecca’s life with her imagination, informed by research, creating a story that depicts a childhood of poverty, a marriage marred by bigamy and violence and the events that led up to the tragic event that resulted in her being jailed. Long Bay illustrates an era where women had limited control over their lives and often struggled under the weight of deprivation and hardship.

There is no doubt that Rebecca’s story is fascinating and I was intrigued by the details of her life, but the writing is often quite dry and unsentimental, lacking the emotion that could have breathed more vitality into the narrative. Yet the story is rich in period detail, evoking the city landscape and era well.

A thoughtful and readable novel, I did enjoy Long Bay. I feel it is a story that will interest readers of both historical fiction and non fiction, especially those curious about women’s lives and issues at the turn of the century.

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of the author, I have 1 print edition of Long Bay to giveaway to an Australian resident

Please leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries close August 30th

 

Long Bay is available to purchase via

Sleepers Publishing  Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

and all good bookstores.

LBTrailer from Sleepers Publishing on Vimeo.

Giveaway: Heart of the Country by Tricia Stringer

I’m delighted to have 2 copies of Tricia Stringer‘s latest novel, Heart of the Country, to giveaway today, courtesy of Harlequin Australia. I met Tricia last month when she visited my local library with the Australian Voices in Print Tour and spoke about Heart of the Country, the first novel in an epic historical saga of three Australian families.

Spanning several generations, this epic tells the story of the Baker, Smith and Wiltshire families forging their paths in a land both beautiful and unforgiving.
Lives are intertwined by love and community then ripped apart by hate and greed but remain always bound to the land they love…
1846. Newly arrived from England, Thomas Baker is young, penniless and alone. Eager to make his mark on this strange new place called South Australia, he accepts work as an overseer on a distant sheep property, believing this will be the opportunity he seeks. But when Thomas’s path crosses that of ex-convict, Septimus Wiltshire — a grasping con man hell bent on making a new life for himself and his family at any price — trouble is on the horizon.
But Thomas is made of stern stuff and his fortunes take a turn for the better when he meets spirited farmer’s daughter Lizzie Smith, and soon he envisages their future together.
But this land is like no other he has encountered: both harsh and lovely, it breaks all but the strongest. When his nemesis intervenes once more and drought comes, Thomas finds himself tested almost beyond endurance with the risk of losing everything he and Lizzie have worked for… even their lives.

Read an Extract

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Harlequin, I have

2 print editions of

 Heart of the Country by Tricia Stringer 

to giveaway to two lucky Australian residents.

Leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries close August 9th

 

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