Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Julie's Review: The Wedding Veil

Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey
Series: None
Publication Date:  March 22, 2022
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 412
Obtained: Author
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: Strong Woman led story that doesn't disappoint
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab

Summary: Four women. One family heirloom. A secret connection that will change their lives—and history as they know it. Present Day: Julia Baxter’s wedding veil, bequeathed to her great-grandmother by a mysterious woman on a train in the 1930s, has passed through generations of her family as a symbol of a happy marriage. But on the morning of her wedding day, something tells her that even the veil’s good luck isn’t enough to make her marriage last forever. Overwhelmed and panicked, she escapes to the Virgin Islands to clear her head. Meanwhile, her grandmother Babs is also feeling shaken. Still grieving the death of her beloved husband, she decides to move out of the house they once shared and into a retirement community. Though she hopes it’s a new beginning, she does not expect to run into an old flame, dredging up the same complicated emotions she felt a lifetime ago. 1914: Socialite Edith Vanderbilt is struggling to manage the luxurious Biltmore Estate after the untimely death of her cherished husband. With 250 rooms to oversee and an entire village dependent on her family to stay afloat, Edith is determined to uphold the Vanderbilt legacy—and prepare her free-spirited daughter Cornelia to inherit it—in spite of her family’s deteriorating financial situation. But Cornelia has dreams of her own. Asheville, North Carolina has always been her safe haven away from the prying eyes of the press, but as she explores more of the rapidly changing world around her, she’s torn between upholding tradition and pursuing the exciting future that lies beyond Biltmore’s gilded gates. In the vein of Therese Anne Fowler’s A Well-Behaved Woman and Jennifer Robson’s The GownThe Wedding Veil brings to vivid life a group of remarkable women forging their own paths—and explores the mystery of a national heirloom lost to time.

Review: I am a huge fan of Kristy Woodson Harvey's Peachtree Series and was so excited when she announced The Wedding Veil because not only does it have a contemporary storyline but this time she intersects it with a historical one.  One thing that Ms. Harvey always does so well is generational, strong female relationships. This time it's the one between Julia & her grandmother, Babs. Babs has always been the force behind Julia to follow her dreams; no matter what that entails. So when some stuff goes down at her Bridal Brunch, it's Babs that tells her to listen to herself. For so long, Julia ran away when things got hard and she always ran back to Hayes, her fiancé. She's never known herself without him.

Babs herself is ready to make some changes to her life. To move out of the house she shared with her husband, Reid before he passed. Except her daughters, Meredith and Alice are vehemently against it so she takes the situation into her own hands She knows it's the right thing to do for herself. What she doesn't expect is to find someone from her past. 

The veil is how we get to go back to the 1914 and the Vanderbilt family and the history of it, the family and the Biltmore. Edith was quite the formidable woman and leader after her husband, George died. She helped take George's vision for Asheville and made it come true. Her daughter, Cornelia, is set to follow in her footsteps until something sets her off-course. Of course, her life going off course starts a tradition in Bab's and Julia's. 

It's all these strong women, Edith, Cornelia, Babs and Julia that show us how tradition, family, love and dreams are what makes it all worth it. 


Sunday, March 13, 2022

Sunday Skim



Currently Reading:

Looking Forward To:

I can't believe that A Flicker in the Dark is my 10th Audiobook of the year already! I've been cruising through them. Erika Robuck's books just keep getting better with each one she publishes and Sisters of Night & Fog is brilliant and a must read. 

March and April have a lot of books publishing and I know I over asked for some e-galleys plus my BOTM choices. Eventually I'll catch up (says every book lover ever). 


Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Monthly Rewind - February 2022

* Denotes Audiobooks

Home Run (You should run and get this): 


Triple (You really don't want to miss it):



Double (You could get on the waiting list at the library and be ok):


Single (Wait it out): N/A

StrikeOuts (Don't bother):  N/A

February was a great reading month with lots of variety for me. I had romance, historical fiction,  thrillers, espionage and social commentary. I absolutely LOVED Beautiful Little Fools and The Liz Taylor Ring. They both are historical fiction but very different and quality reads. I have to recommend This is My America if you are looking for social commentary and a look at our broken justice system. Jennifer Weiner never disappoints and only my 2nd time listening to one of her books. 

What books did you enjoy this month?


Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Julie's Review: The Fashion Orphans

Author: Randy Susan Meyers, M.J. Rose
Series: None
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Publisher: Blue Box Press
Pages: 338
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Families are complicated and sometimes it takes death for you to understand
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: Estranged half-sisters Gabrielle Winslow and Lulu Quattro have only two things in common: mounds of debt and coils of unresolved enmity toward Bette Bradford, their controlling and imperious recently deceased mother. Gabrielle, the firstborn, was raised in relative luxury on Manhattan's rarefied Upper East Side. Now, at fifty-five, her life as a Broadway costume designer married to a heralded Broadway producer has exploded in divorce. Lulu, who spent half her childhood under the tutelage of her working-class Brooklyn grandparents, is a grieving widow at forty-eight. With her two sons grown, her life feels reduced to her work at the Ditmas Park bakery owned by her late husband's family. The two sisters arrive for the reading of their mother's will, expecting to divide a sizable inheritance, pay off their debts, and then again turn their backs on each other. But to their shock, what they have been left is their mother's secret walk-in closet jammed with high-end current and vintage designer clothes and accessories— most from Chanel. Contemplating the scale of their mother's self-indulgence, the sisters can't help but wonder if Lauren Weisberger had it wrong: because it seems, in fact, that the devil wore Chanel. But as they begin to explore their mother's collection, meet and fall in love with her group of warm, wonderful friends, and magically find inspiring messages tucked away in her treasures — it seems as though their mother is advising Lulu and Gabrielle from the beyond — helping them rediscover themselves and restore their relationship with each other.

Review: I love sister stories, so I knew I had to read The Fashion Orphans. Now I'm no fashionista (I'm in sweats 98% of the time) but I can appreciate a closet full of Chanel. In fact, that might make me want to dress up. Although wearing Chanel in my basement office seems like a waste. 😁

Gabi and Lulu are two sides of the same coin but they don't see it that way. They see each other how their mother wanted them to see the other one: Gabi - The favorite older daughter and Lulu - the younger, less responsible daughter. While they were close when they were young, life pulled them apart as they grew up. Lulu always had her dad and grandparents to tether her to the real world; whereas, Gabi just had her mom. Plus their adult lives took very different paths with Gabi busy with her costume designer and Lulu raising kids and working in her in-laws bakery, they just didn't have much in common. The estrangement really begins when Lulu's beloved husband, Matt, drops dead from a heart attack and Gabi isn't really there for her. It doesn't help that Gabi is also dealing with her own marriage situation. 

It seems that Bette had grand plans for getting her daughters talking again and the included a closet full of Chanel. Of course there are things that they can't do and they need to figure out what to do with the vintage goods that would be something Bette would approve of and that her lawyer will sign off on. 

My favorite part of the novel was the meeting of Bette's friends who had their own club. This allows Gabi and Lulu to see their mom as a friend and woman, which they never got to see when she was alive. Within this group they find the love and support they desperately need to figure out what it is that they need to do with Bette's treasure trove. 

This book is a shout out to family, fashion and forgiveness. Definitely recommend this one to my fellow readers.