The Lovers

Every so often you come upon a book you know will be an all time favorite. As you go through it, you want to keep reading, yet don’t want it to end. And as an author, you’re both enamored with the story and almost jealous you didn’t think of it first! I found that with the audiobook The Lovers: Echos From the Past by Irina Shapiro, read by Wendy Wolfson.

Heat Level: ❤️❤️

Genre: Historical/Contemporary Romantic Drama

Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

In 1665 Elise de Laseppes has been biding her time, waiting to announce her secret betrothal to a common lad to her father. But one morning, her father calls for her, telling her to prepare for her wedding to Lord Asher. Lord Asher is rich, widowed, twice her age, and able to save the de Laseppes from ruin. While she wants nothing more than to run away with the boy who promises her the world, she can’t. Her two little sisters depend on her to keep the family afloat, even if they don’t fully understand it. So she leaves her childhood home to become the literal lady of the manor. But her well-bred husband hides more than one secret and Elise will be tasked with not only saving her family, but herself as her husband strives to get an heir.

In 2013 London, Dr. Quinn Allenby is straight off a nasty breakup and home from a successful archeological trip to Jerusalem when she receives a new task. A pair of skeletons was found in a chest, a makeshift coffin with evidence to show that neither person was dead when they were left alone in the dark. She’s approached by a producer who wants her to head a historical drama show, featuring the mysterious skeleton, and implores her to find the true story by any means necessary. Using her special skills, Quinn sets off to give them back their identities. But as she works to discover the skeletons’ pasts, her own comes into clearer focus.

Two women, centuries apart, brought together by chance and a blue brooch that holds the secret behind the hidden chest.

One of the hardest parts about writing reviews is that sometimes you need to leave out some of the best parts, as to not spoil anything. All I can say is that Quinn has certain abilities that ties her to Elise in a way she can’t fully explain. As more of Elise’s life is revealed, the deeper Quinn’s character development goes. She lives her life alongside Elise’s past in a seamless way that Shapiro should be congratulated for. It’s difficult to time hop without confusing readers or muddling the stories, but everything is crystal clear in this book by the end.

As a historian, I love to take note of the bits and pieces in all historicals I read. Shapiro’s book was a a fine example of a well researched piece. The food, clothing, ailments, and accessories such as birthing chairs and plague doctors were slipped in naturally, setting up the time period without it being forced. Still, Elise and her loved ones had personalities that transcended time.

The narration of The Lovers was wonderful. Wolfson’s voice was clear and easy to get lost in. The pace was perfect and the slight changes in the characters through their own voices wasn’t overdone or cartoonish as some are. Usually I limit my audiobook listening to car rides and dog walks, but I found myself listening to this one almost nonstop until the end.

Overall, if you couldn’t tell, I loved this book. I could see it as a movie with the same thrilling, dramatic feel as The Da Vinci Code or Tulip Fever. In ebook, paperback, or audiobook, this is the perfect read for lovers of thrillers, romance, and mysteries.

  • For the ebook click HERE
  • For the audiobook click HERE
  • For the paperback click HERE

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The Silent Woman

I’ve been on a historical kick lately, finding myself looking for the corseted gowns, gentleman callers, and times of days gone by. Well, instead of hunkering down with the latest in heaving bosoms and kilted men, I picked up The Silent Woman by Terry Lynn Thomas.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

When we meet Cat Carlisle in 1937, she’s in her fine Kensington home, wondering when love had snuck out of her marriage to Benton. It may have been after the miscarriages, or after he took a mistress, but either way, it was gone. She had tried to fit into Benton’s high society world, but his sister has always despised her and the rules of their life was stifling. But it was nothing like what was happing in Germany, where Benton’s distant cousin Michael had just escaped from, having to leave his imprisoned wife behind.

As Cat tries to find some light in her loveless, monotonous, life, she has taken a small job with a man named Reginald. She uses her Carlisle connections to deliver letters for him across the city. She doesn’t care what she carries, as she needs to money and something to do. But when someone tries to steal one of her mysterious envelopes, Cat begins to suspect there’s something more to the notes, and soon she’s asked to step deeper into the unknown. Will she weather the storm unscathed or will the far-off whispers of war come closer than she ever dared think?

My summary does not do this book justice, but it’s so hard to create one when every small detail is like a breadcrumb leading to something big. Thomas paints a picture of pre-war life, down to the last vestiges of high society expectations and the dark beer of the Germans. Immersing yourself in a historical is truly part of the charm of reading and Thomas embraces it.

I liked poor Cat, pitying her loveless, childless marriage and her inability to escape from the bonds of the Carlisle household. She’s kind to the servants and long for both her own identity and a bit of human compassion that isn’t just in the form of people feeling sorry for her. As you read, you really want to find a bit of happiness. But it’s hard to want her to completely retire to the quiet life when it becomes very clear that Cat Carlisle is about to step into a world far more exciting and dangerous than anything she has ever known.

I highly recommend this book to both lovers of historical fiction and those that have an interest in pre-war Europe as a whole. And when the book is only $0.99, how can you not pick up a copy? Get yours HERE and see what’s in store for Cat.