REVIEW: The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable

36481284

Expected publication: May 29, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

 

This is the first novel I’ve read from Michelle Gable. The first line of the book blurb:

 “New York Times bestselling author imagines the affair between JFK and Alicia Corning Clark – and the child they may have had.”

I was intrigued. The fact that this is based on the real-life romance between Jack Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark is fascinating.

Alica Darr (formerly Barbara Kopczysnka), came to America in hopes of a better life. Before the war, Alicia was an upper-class citizen with a loving mother and father. Now she’s a “Displaced Person”, alone and hoping that she’ll be allowed to stay in America.

Alica meets a handsome and charismatic man at the movie theatre where she works. She feels an instant connection to him. It’s not just that he’s handsome, “there remained something special about him, something beautiful that had little to do with actual presentation” and he also “had one hell of a smile”.

And then he introduces himself…..“My name’s Jack. Jack Kennedy”

He was one of them. Her friend, Irenka had told many stories of this family…the mischief and the trouble they caused. “They stole cars, broke limbs, and swiped food off one another’s plates.” After some harmless flirting, he leaves….leaving Alicia both charmed and bewildered.

And so begins a romance like no other. But this isn’t just about Alicia and Jack. It’s also about the other aspects of Alicia’s life. A woman with many names whose life was full of fascinating experiences and people. From Massachusetts to Hollywood and Rome; she had friendships and relationships with many well-known people. People like Kirk Douglas, Marilyn Monroe, and Katherine Hepburn, just to name a few. And of course Jack…“ how can I love him so much when he gives me so little in return”. 

But Alicia also had secrets and lived in fear of many things. We learn about her engagements and marriages… and the tough choices she had to make.

This was such a unique read for me. I’ve always wondered about the Kennedy’s but knew very little about them. I was so curious about what was true, what wasn’t true….or even what was partially true. Was Rose Kennedy really a cold mother obsessed with her children’s weight, weighing them weekly? Did she run her family like a business? Was Joe really warm and loving to his children but so blatantly obvious about his extracurricular activities?

I was constantly running to my laptop to check things out. It was interesting looking at old pictures and articles online. I’ve honestly never Googled so much about a novel I was reading before. Even if some of what I read wasn’t true… it didn’t matter to me. I was learning things while enjoying a great story.

This is a story about a love affair, a fascinating woman, and a family that was said to be more connected than the mob and FBI and apparently more deceitful than both of them put together. This is not a biography, but it is based on real people and events. A book with a lot of true facts mixed with fiction in order to tell a story. And what a story it was! I can tell how much effort went into this novel and I appreciate it. What’s the full truth? We may never know for sure. But this sure was an interesting read.

I’d like to thank St.Martin’s Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

Music Monday: Kesha – Learn To Let Go

musicmonday

Music Monday is a meme that was created by Drew from The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song and/or video and share it on Monday.

The song and video I am sharing today is:

Kesha – Learn To Let Go

I love this song and video by Kesha. This was one of the first songs she wrote for her album “Rainbow”. It expresses a message about embracing your past but not letting it define you today. The music video includes some clips of Kesha as a young child. She actually wrote this song with her mother, Pebe Sebert.

From an interview with Kesha:

“even though we all go through tough things in our lives, we all have the ability to make the decision to just let it go and move forward”

I hope you enjoy!!

 

 

Learn to Let Go by Kesha

Been a prisoner of the past
Had a bitterness when I looked back
Was telling everyone it’s not that bad
‘Til all my shit hit the fan
I know I’m always like
Telling everybody, “You don’t gotta be a victim
Life ain’t always fair, but hell is living in resentment
Choose redemption, your happy ending’s up to you”
I think it’s time to practice what I preach
Exorcise the demons inside me
Whoa, gotta learn to let it go
The past can’t haunt me if I don’t let it
Live and learn and never forget it
Whoa, gotta learn to let it go
Had a boogieman under my bed
Putting crazy thoughts inside my head
Always whispering, “It’s all your fault”
He was telling me, “No, you’re not that strong”
I know I’m always like
Telling everybody, “You don’t gotta be a victim
Life ain’t always fair, but hell is living in resentment
Choose redemption, your happy ending’s up to you”
So I think it’s time to practice what I preach
Exorcise the demons inside me
Whoa, gotta learn to let it go
The past can’t haunt me if I don’t let it
Live and learn and never forget it
Whoa, gotta learn to let it go
Hey-eh-eh-eh, yeah
Hey-eh-eh-eh, yeah
Learn to let go, learn to let go
Hey-eh-eh-eh, yeah
Hey-eh-eh-eh, yeah
Learn to let go, learn to let go
I’m done reliving my bad decisions
I see now maybe there’s a reason
Why, I, I, I, I, I, I been through hell and back
Yeah, honestly, it’s what made me who I am
Holding on to wasted time
Gotta learn to let go in life
So I think it’s time to practice what I preach
Exorcise the demons inside me
Whoa, gotta learn to let it go
The past can’t haunt me if I don’t let it
Live and learn and never forget it
Whoa, gotta learn to let it go
Hey-eh-eh-eh, yeah
Hey-eh-eh-eh, yeah
Learn to let go, learn to let go
Hey-eh-eh-eh, yeah
Hey-eh-eh-eh, yeah
Learn to let go, learn to let go
Songwriters: Stuart Chrichton / Kesha Rose Sebert / Pebe Sebert
Learn to Let Go lyrics © BMG Rights Management US, LLC, Words & Music A Div Of Big Deal Music LLC

REVIEW: Where The Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine

26210511

Published February 13, 2018 by Thomas Dunne Books

 

I don’t read a lot of historical fiction. However, now and then I will try a novel from the genre and I usually end up enjoying it. So when this novel with its gorgeous cover came my way, I was really hoping that I would like it….and I am happy to say that I did.
 

1919 – The war is over but Emeline Vane has lost so much….

Her uncle Andrew has been sent to watch over her. He doesn’t think she should be living alone. They wanted to send her on to England after her mother’s death, but she wouldn’t leave Hallerton. Her little brother, Timothy lives with their Uncle and Aunt though he wants to be home with Emeline.

Her uncle wants to sell the house. She doesn’t.

“I know this house as well as my own skin. I know its imperfections, its creaking floors and uneven walls, as well as one might know the signs of a hard life on a person’s face; weathered but beloved, nonetheless”

After an accident, her uncle makes a decision about her future and Emeline goes along with him. But at the last moment she makes a split decision that will completely alter the course of her life.

“I knew that I had to choose. I could sink back into the seat, give myself up, or I could run, I could risk everything”

1969 – William (Bill) Perch is a nineteen year old solicitor’s assistant. He’s excited to be handling his first real case. A family is trying to settle power of attorney over their father’s assets so that they can sell the family home. However, their Aunt’s name is on the deed to the house, and without her they cannot sell. But their Aunt is missing. They have no idea where she is but they say there are rumors she went mad.

Their aunt’s name is Emeline Vane and she went missing February 27, 1919.  Now it’s Bill’s job to figure out what happened to her. So he sets off on his first business trip to see what he can find at the Hallerton House. But time and neglect has left it looking less than impressive. Then Bill finds out that Emeline was his age when she went missing…. something changes for him. It becomes more than just a case. Bill is determined to find out what happened to Emeline. And then he finds her diary.

Soon Bill is also making a life changing decision that sets him on a journey to discover not only Emeline but himself. Will Bill be brave enough to do what he needs to do to find out what really happened to Emeline? Will the chances he takes be worth possible consequences?

This was a quick read. I picked it up in the morning and other than a few small breaks, I read it continuously, finishing it in just a few hours. Told in two different time frames 1919 (Emeline) and 1969 (Bill). The story flowed well and it was easy to keep up with everything that was happening.

Packed with emotions and many beautiful moments, this was a pleasure to read. I could “see” the beautiful landscapes and the descriptions of food make my stomach growl. The two different story-lines came together in a wonderful but bittersweet ending.

The author has written a wonderful story with many great characters, an incredible atmosphere, and a lot of heart.

I’d like to thank Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

Throwback Thursday – The Word Game by Steena Holmes

throwbackthursday

Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.

My choice for this week is: 

The Word Game by Steena Holmes 

25457240

Published November 3,  2015 by Lake Union Publishing

 

Goodreads Description:

 For overprotective parent Alyson Ward, any time her daughter, Lyla, is out of sight is reason to panic. So it’s a big step for her when she lets Lyla attend a sleepover at her cousin’s house. Comforted by the knowledge that her sister, Tricia, is the chaperone, Alyson does the one thing she never thought possible: she lets go and trusts that her daughter will be safe.

 But Alyson’s sense of peace is short-lived. When Lyla comes home the next morning, she reveals something that could tear apart not only their family but also the entire community. Now, Alyson and Tricia must confront their painful shared past as they come together to help a little girl who they fear might be harboring terrible secrets similar to their own. Will the sisters be strong enough to face their demons in order to protect the child, even if it means telling their most private truths?

 

 

My Thoughts:

I’ve been a fan of Steena Holmes for a long time. I especially enjoyed her “Finding Emma” series and the novel “The Memory Child”.  I read this novel a few years ago and it’s another one that has stayed with me.

Alyson Ward’s family members all think she is a “helicopter parent”, extremely overprotective and constantly hovering nearby. I can see how they would think that, but I can also understand why Alyson is so overprotective.

When Alyson gives in and allows her daughter Lyla to go to a sleepover, it’s a big deal for both her and Lyla. The sleepover is at her sister, Tricia’s house which makes Alyson feel confident that things will go fine. She even finds that she’s able to enjoy the child-free evening.

But when Lyla comes home the next day, she tells her mother about things that happened at the sleepover….things that just might tear their family apart.

“But the issue here isn’t a ‘she said versus she said’ one.”

“Of course it is. It’s a word game after all. Who’s telling the truth? Who’s lying? Who’s hiding something?”

I loved the relationship that Alyson has with her daughter. Lyla knew her mother would stand by her no matter what. The dynamics of the rest of the family are complicated. There are issues from the past that have never been dealt with.

Steena Holmes writes about relationships extremely well and handles the difficult subjects with sensitivity. Although the main issue in this book is upsetting, she is able to get across what happened without going into a lot of unnecessary detail.

In my opinion, this was an emotional but very well written and important read. I look forward to more from Steena Holmes.