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100 Pages A Day...Stephanie's Book Reviews

I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way.  I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.

Currently reading

The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy)
Sally Christie
Dying Embers
Betty Adams
Vengeance of the Gods
Obinna Anagwu

Madame Presidentess

Madame Presidentess - Nicole Evelina

Victoria Woodhull was a woman far ahead of her time.  From the time of her birth, she was named for greatness; and though she would never be queen, Victoria will reach for the Presidency before women even have the right to vote.  Raised by quite a controversial family, her father a swindler and her mother a staunch Spiritualist, Victoria and her sister Tennessee are set up as mediums and healers as children.  However, Victoria’s spirit guide shows her going far in life and her experience with all types of people helps her through.  Victoria is helped out of her messy childhood first by Dr. Canning Woodhull, who turns out to be no better than her father,  but then Victoria meets Colonel James Blood, a civil war hero who helps her with her cause.  Victoria and Tennessee are swept up into the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and then become the first women of Wall Street with the help of Commodore Vanderbilt, start their own newspaper and eventually Victoria runs in the 1872 election.
Since I have learned of Victoria Woodhull, I have become slightly obsessed with her life.  In Madame Presidentess there is a very good mix of Victoria’s supernatural predilections along with events that truly happened in her life.  The Spiritualist side of Victoria’s life fascinates me, especially since it seemed to help her achieve everything that she dreamed for herself.  I loved reading about her and Tennie’s time spent with Vanderbilt and how he came to know the sisters.  I also enjoyed Victoria’s meeting with other historical figures that I know of such as Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and President Grant.   Through Victoria’s eyes, some of these figures are seen in a very different light than what history has shown.  Another aspect of Madame Presidentess that I enjoyed was the focus on the political dealings that Victoria had to go through in order to run.  It was interesting to see everything that Victoria had to do in order to run.  Once again, I'm glad that I had the opportunity to learn more about Victoria as an important historical figure. I wish she would have appeared in my history textbooks as well, but she has fallen to the wayside as a victim of censorship and impropriety, which is exactly what she fought so hard against.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Haven: Chronicles of Warshard

Haven: Chronicles of Warshard - Katherine Bogle

Queen Haven of Rythern never thought that she would have to fulfill her duties as Queen.  However, when both of her parents and two older brothers die gruesomely from the incoming war, Haven must step up.  Born with the gift of being able to heal from any injury, she is dubbed The Immortal Queen.  With war on her doorstep, Haven must quickly step into her new role.  The insane Queen Kadia has been quickly taking over each of the six Kingdoms of Warshard.  Using her black magic, Kadia seems impossible to defeat and Haven is hesitant about sending her kingdom into war.  Haven’s gift, with the help of another, might be exactly what is needed to defeat Queen Kadia.

Haven jumped right into the action with an assassination attempt and warfare.  It was nice that Haven’s abilities were brought right out into the open and no one was afraid of her.  Haven’s abilities reminded me of a kinder, gentler Deadpool.  Haven also continuously put herself in harm’s way to the benefit of her kingdom.  Queen Kadia was a very interesting character and I do wish that I could have seen more into her motivations and history, there were some glimmers of what might be driving her, but nothing concrete.  The second half of the book moved very quickly as the suspense picked up with Haven’s meeting of Kadia and a larger battle. I do wish that there was more description of the Kingdoms and especially the tunnel path to Seaburn, there was a lot of hype over this mysterious tunnel, but I felt that when they passed through, a lot was glossed over.  I had a good general understanding of each Kingdom, but I just wanted a little more.  Hopefully, more will be explained in the next installment, which I will be interested in reading.
This book was provided for free in return for an honest review. 

The Last Relicuin

The Last Relicuin - Hargus Montgomery

In the 22nd century the world is very different.  Fearing diseases spread by human contact and believing that the outside air is too contaminated to sustain them, the metro population lives far above the ground level surrounded by glass and mostly in a virtual reality.  In order to preserve history, the Federal Museum Administration runs authentic living history museums that encompass many periods throughout history.  The museum dwellers must give up mainstream life, go through intense training and fully immerse themselves into the time period that they wish to live.  Many do not make it through.  Metro Senator Steven Kane opposes all museums and wants them shut down believing that they steal children, harbor diseases and are a hub for the drug trade.  However, Senator Kane’s son, Alexander has a fascination with the past and when he chooses to enter a 1950’s farmstead museum, Alex sets off a chain of events with lasting impact.
I have always loved visiting living history museums and may have wanted to live there from time to time, so I absolutely could not resist a book that took place within them.  However, this book is a whole lot more.   There is a struggle as past and future collide, political espionage, family conflict, secrets and mystery and suspense.   I was taken in by Alex’s character and his fascination with people who lived outside the glass.  Alex struggled with being different, especially under his father’s watchful gaze.  When he finally entered the museum school, everything clicked for him.  This reminded me of people telling me that I seem better suited for a different time.  I loved the authenticity of each of the time periods that were showcased.  Alex’s chosen period, with his wife Kat and son Tom was perfect.  I could imagine the long, winding driveway, the wooden farmhouse with the barking dogs and the fruit orchard perfectly.  Even the speech patterns were on.  As the characters travelled to museums in 12th century France and the 17th century Pacific island, I became immersed in each period with them.  Overall,  The Last Relicuin provided a whole lot more than I could ever ask for.  It is wholly unique, not fitting neatly into any genre, fast paced and with wonderfully built worlds and characters.  Masterful writing combined with a wholly unique plot has easily made The Last Relicuin one of my favorite books of the year. 

This book was provided for free in return for an honest review. 

The Lady of the Tower

The Lady of the Tower - Elizabeth St. Cloud Muse

Lucy St.John is an orphan in English at the pivotal time of the rise of James I.  Throughout her youth, she has been raised by her Aunt Joan and with her sister Barbara.  Joan and Barbara seem to have found a common alliance against Lucy and only care about their own rise within English Society.  As the women grow, Barbara finds a way to friendship with the influential and corrupt Frances Howard and Lucy find a courtly romance with Frances' brother, Theo.  However, Barbara ensures that Lucy will not find happiness there and poisons their relationship.  Lucy moves on with her life, travels and takes in knowledge of medicinal plants and when all seems lost, she meets Sir Allen Apsley.  They marry and Allen takes a position at the Tower of London, leaving Lucy as Mistress of the Tower. 

As someone who loves reading about Tudor England, I was excited to read about the time period directly after but that took place within one of the most iconic settings of the Tudor reign, the Tower of London.  Lucy was a character that I automatically connected with, she was incredibly strong in spirit, refusing to be beat down by her aunt and sister; I also loved that she found solace and purpose within plants and medicine.  Barbara was one of the most entertaining characters, with her scheming and backstabbing, she reminded me of the ultimate Mean Girl.  In addition, the settings were all tremendously described.  From the court of James I, with it's corruption and festivities to the bustling Naval yards to the rooms and grounds of the Tower itself, I felt immersed in the time.  As a bonus, the book is authored by Elizabeth St. John, a descendant of the St. John family, and has taken extra care to write stories of her family. 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Geis Volume 1: A Matter of Life and Death

Geis: A Matter of Life and Death - Alexis Deacon

A Geis is a curse, a vow or a spell where, if broken, the infractor will suffer dishonor or death. 

The chief matriarch is on her deathbed with no heir to rule in her place.  She has decided that a contest will be held to find the one worthy to rule in her place. Fifty people have signed her will to participate, unknowingly being placed under a geis by a powerful sorceress.  Now, the participants must complete the challenges or face the consequences.  


I am just starting to read more comic books, so I am not the greatest judge.  However, I was really pulled into this story and it's cast of characters.  There is a wide variety of people who are competing for the position including a judge, Councillor, village witch and a young girl, a Kite Lord's daughter.  I enjoyed seeing the first challenge from several of the characters perspectives.  The artwork uses a muted pastel palate which brings the focus to the characters and keeps the tone classic and serious.  The story leaves us on quite a cliffhanger with the end of the first challenge.  I would have really liked to learn more about the curse itself and some of the characters and I'm hoping book two of the trilogy will answers these questions. Appropriate for middle grade readers and up, a suspenseful, exciting story with a little bit of a dark streak. 


This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Swear on This Life

Swear on This Life: A Novel - Renée Carlino

Emiline is just trying to figure out her life after a childhood of tragedy.  She is now a writer, still unpublished and and adjunct writing professor at UC San Diego.  Her boyfriend, Trevor was an up and coming football star until his shoulder injury and now floats along in life.  One day, Emiline's roommate Cara introduces her to a new bestseller called All the Roads Between by a mysterious new author.  From the first sentence Emiline is blindsided, somebody has written about all of the nitty gritty ups and downs from her childhood.  Only one person could have written something so specific about her life, Emiline's best friend, first love and the person who she has spent the last twelve years trying to get over, Jason.  Will reading his book about her experiences help her get over her past or just bring back the memories that she has been repressing?

A story of love, loss, getting over it, and beginnings and endings.  As soon as Emiline realized that a book had been written about her by her childhood friend, I went through the rollercoaster of emotions with her; anger, sadness, disappointment, love, relief, forgiveness and realization.  Much like the book infers, I had no idea how anything would end. I really did like that there was a story within a story to tell of Emi and Jason's childhood adventures, instead of just flashbacks.  This book made me feel so much, so quickly and I devoured each page just as quickly.  This is a deep love story, but so much more.  For anyone who has ever had to get over something from their past, Emi's emotional journey will seem all too real and familiar.  Overall, a unique, powerful story that will have you gasping for air the entire way through.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Her Dangerous Visions

Her Dangerous Visions (The Boy and the Beast) (Volume 1) - Brandon Barr

Two worlds are being ravaged by evil, two women desperate to help.  On the World of Loam, the entire population works as impoverished farmers in order to feed the Baron and his Watch.  As debt is passed from generation to generation, contempt grows.  Anyone who attempts to leave or speak of rebellion is killed. Aven and Winter are all too familiar with the Baron's rage. Their loved ones were killed as they were planning escape.  Now, the siblings are trying to survive day to day.  However, Winter  has been made a Seer by the Guardians, the gods of her world and has seen some of the tragedies that have befallen others.  Now, she has chosen to do something about them and attempt to change the future.  On Hearth, two kingdoms war against each other instead of their common enemy. Meluscia wants to stop the fighting and will have the power to do so if her dying father appoints her as Luminess; however, her stubborn father would rather appoint someone that will continue the fighting and make she Meluscia never gains power. 


A unique and well crafted fantasy universe emerges in Her Dangerous Visions.  Two worlds riddled with issues and people who will sacrifice everything to make it better.  The story is told through several  alternating points of view: Aven and Winter, siblings who have lived under the Baron's watchful eye for too long.  Aven simply wants peace, even if it's under the Baron.  Winter's visions have encouraged her to fight back.  Then Meluscia and Savarah, siblings of a sort, both desperately want Meluscia to be Luminess, but Savarah has alternate motives.  The points of view varied from person to person and I felt like some points of view were elongated and some cut short.  I felt that I got to know Meluscia best and I could feel her passion, anger and longing. A lot is still left to be explained in both worlds, we are left on the precipice of disaster, change and revolution within both worlds.  I would love to know how everything and everyone is connected and hopefully I will find out in book two!


This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

The Villain

The Villain - May Nicole Abbey

What if your hero was also your villain? Rosemary Mayfield has survived a terrifying journey from New York to the Montana Territory with her brother Benjamin and sister Emily in tow. Along the way their train was robbed by bandits and their parents killed. With nothing left to lose, 19 year old Rosemary follows the path that her father had set up to Dannock, Montana where he was planning on setting up a cattle ranch. With nothing to their name except the clothes on their back and a small cabin in the wilderness, Rosemary and her siblings try to make do. Struggling in their dangerous new surroundings, fate crudely crashes Nicolas through the Mayfield’s roof. Injured, Rosemary nurses the wild stranger back to health. Nicolas keeps telling them that he cannot be trusted, but his presence and knowledge is more of a comfort than a hazard. Striking a deal, Rosemary and Nicolas agree to marry for business purposes and keeping the cattle ranch afloat. However, Nicolas’ dangerous secret of his traveling ways and just how and why he crashed through the Mayfield’s roof might pull them apart.

I loved being taken back to the very wild and untamed West with Rosemary and her siblings. Rosemary put on an exceptionally strong front for the protection of her siblings, but showed true bravery, perseverance and kindheartedness in the face of adversity. When Nicolas came crashing into her life, Rosemary took a huge chance in trusting him, changing both of their lives. As with the other books in The Fall series, the romance was natural and sweet. I did figure out Nicolas' secret rather early, but it didn't take away from the suspense at all. The time travel element in this book isn't as prominent as with some of the others, but is subtly woven in with hints and glistens throughout. If you haven't read the other books, there might be slight confusion in the beginning, but most of the details are explained near the end. A big surprise for me was Rosemary's sister, Emily, she seemed to have her head lost in the clouds, but at the same time she knew more about what was really going on than anybody else. With a super-sweet ending, The Villain is a fast-paced, clean, time-travel romance, great for a quick summer read.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Tides of Honour

Tides of Honour - Genevieve Graham

Danny Baker leaves his small fishing village of East Jeddore, Nova Scotia in 1916 for war-torn France.  While marching through France, Danny is fortunate enough to meet Audrey Poulin, an artist, free spirit and a woman who brings light and color to the bleak landscape of war.  Through an exchange of letters, Danny and Audrey fall in love and decide to marry.  However, at the battle of the Somme Danny loses more than he can imagine, most of his friends have died and he has lost part of his leg.  Now in a battle with his own emotions, Danny is sent home to Canada.  Audrey soon meets him there and they are married.  Danny struggles with his own shortcomings and the impacts of the war.  He decides that a move to Halifax and a job on the docks with his brother is for the best.  When catastrophe strikes again, this time in Halifax, Danny’s world is completely changed, but his love for Audrey will help him pull through.


A story of war, tragedy, love, family and transformation, Tides of Honour is  touching and powerful.  From the beginning, I knew that Danny was going to be a strong character, his journey, though tumultuous, is one that many veterans dealt with and still face today.  In alternating narratives, Danny's story is filled out and another needed perspective is seen with Audrey's view.  Audrey is a survivor as well and her story is just as  important.  The historical setting  was unique and well researched.  I was very happy to read about Canadian's fighting in the Great War, as they are often overlooked as well as the little known Halifax explosion.  I was very interested in this since my great-grandmother lived nearby at the time.  What impressed me the most was the incorporation of Danny and Audrey's love story into the events surrounding them.  Their love story is not perfect, but it is lasting.  Like the tides rolling in and out, Audrey and Danny's love is for better or for worse.  

This book was received for free in return for an honest review

Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall

Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall - Aaron Safronoff

The world of Cerulean seems ideal, a world of forests floating on an ocean around a star;  a variety tree top creatures,called Arboreals live among the woven together tree tops.  However, their light has been slowly diminishing and the threat of the Creepervine from below has been slowly making its way to the treetops.  Barra Swiftspur, a young Listlespur has found her father's diary that documents the Creepervine.  After her father's death from the Creepervine Barra and her friends Plicks and Tory want to save their world from the Creepervine, but it will be dangerous and they will have to travel to what seems like a whole other beneath the treetops, beneath the Fall.

Sunborn Rising is an absolutely grand adventure in a wonderful world.  Meant for middle-grade audiences, I was still absolutely fascinated by the world of Cerulean, the characters and their quest.  The world building was magnificent.  At first I thought I would have some trouble picturing this world of trees on an ocean, but I loved all of the descriptions of the woven together tree tops, the dwellings that were created, the unique animals that were often combinations of two animals that we know (my favorite is definitely the Kolalabat) and each of the environments.  The vibrant, detailed pictures helped with this and added an extra element to the world of Cerulean.  Barra, Tory and Plicks were awesome characters.  They each have different personalities, strengths and weaknesses but manage to work together and use their strengths to navigate beneath the fall.  Overall, this is an exciting middle-grade adventure that has enough excitement for everyone.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Floor 21

FLOOR 21 - Jason Luthor

An infestation of the Creep has taken over the world.  A living, reactive, muscle-like, goop, the Creep has spread out over the surface of the Earth and forced the remaining people to the higher levels of tall towers.  When you touch the Creep or live around it, the Creep can give you hallucinations and make you see demons out of the corners of your eye. However, the deeper you go into the Creep, the more dangerous it becomes.  The Creep has the ability to entangle a person and dissolve them.  With humans living at the top of towers, Tower Authority has emerged.  The more privileged live on the top floors, while the less privileged live lower.  They all follow the rules set by the top floor, Floor 1.  Jackie lives on Floor 4.  She is super inquisitive and wants to know all about the Tower, the Creep and the world outside that she has never seen. However, none of this is allowed.  Jackie would love nothing more than to be a Scavenger, those who go to the lower, uninhabited levels to find supplies and food to bring up to people.  Jackie's friend Mike and her hero, Vick are Scavengers, but they have to keep going lower and lower to find things, this Scavenging though, Mike wants to try to find the source of the Creep's power and eliminate it.

This is a YA dystopia book with a splash of horror.  I was very intrigued by the idea of the Creep, a different and unique threat that caused a trying set of circumstances for those in the Tower. The story is told through a series of recordings, first by Jackie, then by Vick, then Jackie again.  Jackie has a lot of questions that she isn't even supposed to be asking, so the recorder is a good outlet for her.  Jackie's character is a bit typical for a teenager, but her investigative skills and bravery are commendable.  She does end up figuring out some things about the Creep and the Tower itself. Vick's recording were very enjoyable for me, he was literally in the thick of the Creep with his Scavenging team and the action and danger really picked up. There are still a lot of questions left to be answered, such as: Where did the Creep come from?  Is there anyone else out there in the world?  How long have people been forced up into Towers? and How the heck are they still Scavenging meat? Overall, a fresh breath in the YA dystopian genre.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 


Longreave - Daniel Barnett

Things are not going well for Mark Currier.  Six years ago his three year old son died tragically, neither he or his wife, Alice have dealt well with the loss.  Now, Alice is filing for divorce and living with her mentally unstable brother in his house.  On top of that, Mark learns that the hotel where his father worked, he has grown up in and worked in his entire life is being sold off and demolished.  Jobless and homeless, Mark decides to stay and Longreave and fix up its crumbling walls.  Obsessed, Mark patches up Longreave brick by brick.  But as the electricity gets shut off and the water shut off, he notices strange shadows that move when they shouldn't and water that drips even though there's not any water there.  Things don't seem to stay dead in Longreave, Mark doesn't seem to mind most of the things that come back, his job as caretaker is reinstated and his life has purpose again.  However, one thing in Longreave does scare Mark and sometimes the things that have died need to stay dead.


At first I thought this was going to be an interesting story of a haunted hotel.  While I would definitely classify it as horror, there is a good mix of psychological thriller, mystery and family drama that also lends some heartfelt and tender moments. I was very impressed with the character development throughout, from living to dead; I even had a good feel for Mooney the dog's personality.  Mark's character intrigued me the most, as everything in his life crumbled around him, he felt the need to rebuild.  I also had a very hard time figuring out just what was happening with Mark, was it all in his head? Was it the hotel itself?  This is where the excellent writing comes in, there is a very slow build to the horror, done tactfully and in a way that left me guessing if the dead were in Mark's head or the hotel. I especially loved Mark's new found relationship with his son, Tommy and his dog, Mooney.  These scenes, while having fear lingering in the background of Longreave were mostly sweet. Sneaking slowly, the danger unravels and the mystery grows as Mark and Alice try to rebuild.  I have to stay, the mystery had me guessing until the very end and while I wasn't quite sure what was happening every step of the way, I definitely enjoyed the ride.


This book was provided for free in return for an honest review. 

Indiana Belle

Indiana Belle (American Journey Book 3) - John A. Heldt

Cameron Coelho is a doctoral student studying 1920’s America.  He has become completely enraptured by a photo of a popular social column editor from Indiana that was in a bundle of personal effects belonging to Candice Bell.  As Cameron reads through her letters, news columns and diary, he learns about Candice’s life.  He is shocked when he finds out that she was murdered at a young age and intrigued that her diary holds some strange passages about her father and a mysterious cave that allowed him to travel through time.  Cameron seeks out a professor to learn more about time travel who eventually leads him to an expert on time travel and a relative of Candice Bell.  Upon meeting Geoffery, Cameron takes the opportunity to go back to the time period that he has been studying and to meet and maybe even save the woman in the picture that he has fallen far.

Time travel and time travel romance can be incredibly tricky, but I loved reading another of John Heldt’s books and Indiana Belle did not disappoint.  First, there is a very creative mode of time travel with a crystal system, a code and a specially built room.  This time, Cameron was transported back to a time period he loved and studied, which helped him blend in almost seamlessly.  All aspects of the 20’s were brought to life during Cameron’s visit-the good and the bad: the ease of the era, the Jazz, women gaining ground with their rights, Prohibition, bootlegging, speakeasies, and the prominence of the Ku Klux Klan.  I felt like the true feeling of the era was revealed, which was wonderful to read and what Cameron’s character really wanted to experience.   Now, one of the issues with time travel is that you cannot change the past or you will disrupt the present; Cameron went back in time fully intent on changing Candice’s path and preventing her murder.  The suspense of knowing what Cameron wanted to do and its potential impact gripped me throughout the book.  I love how everything tied up, with some things changed and some things not.  The glimpse into the future was pretty insightful also.  Overall, a creative, imaginative and well-constructive time travel romance; I will definitely be checking out the rest of the series.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

The Memory Painter

The Memory Painter: A Novel - Gwendolyn Womack

Lovers, friends, enemies- souls that are continuously playing out their roles in each successive life until they remember their purpose.  In the present, Bryan Pierce wakes up from an extraordinary dream and feels the need to paint everything that occurred.  He can recall everything about the life of the person he has dreamt about, including the ability to speak their language and perform any special skills that they had.   Bryan isn’t just recalling a dream, he is remembering an entire past life, all of the memories have come flooding back at once.  Most of all, he remembers the woman from his dream and when he finally meets her in his current life as Linz Jacobs after she recognizes one of his paintings from her dream, he sets in motion a chain of events thousands of years in the making.

The Memory Painter is incredibly unique with vivid writing that pulled me into the book much like people were pulled into Bryan’s paintings.  I love the idea of past lives and The Memory Painter used the concept in a creative, magical and intense way.  First of all, the past lives that Bryan and eventually Linz remember took me back in time to a wide range of periods and different historical figures.  A mystery is teased out with each progressive life as Bryan and Linz are able to piece together their memories, an antagonist appears.  One soul has been tearing them apart and killing them off in every lifetime, this aspect had me completely engaged.  I thought I had everything figured out as to who the soul was and why they were acting how they were; however with a roller-coaster of twists and turns and finally remembering their first lives in Egypt, everything is turned around.  I was continuously pulled into the story as each past life was revealed and Bryan and Linz currently tried to figure out their entwined pasts.  Overall, this story is incredibly engaging and inventive, a perfect story to sink your teeth into and devour in one sitting.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Heroes Haven

Heroes Haven Graphic Novel - Mario Simone

A new drug, V-1 has been developed.  It has amazing abilities to awaken superpowers in humans.  However, while the drug has the ability to induce super strength, visions of the future and ability to move objects, it can also cause some people to go mad or become ill. Inevitably, the drug is stolen and used on death row inmates to create a team of super soldiers.  With the success of the testing, the fate of mankind may be on the line.

I am not a huge graphic novel reader, but I will indulge occasionally and Heroes Haven the premise and graphics looked pretty good.  This is a dark tale, definitely suited for adults.  At first, it seems like a classic story of good vs. evil as two different factions battle for control of the V-1 drug. When I began reading, the timeline seemed a bit all over the place, and I was a bit confused about where the drug came from, what it did and what people were doing with it, but I stuck with it and each chapter explained a bit from different characters perspectives in different points in time.  I became more and more interested in the story as the plot was explained, characters backstories were introduced and the twists and turns came about that made this story unique.  I found myself very invested in the character’s stories and I can’t wait to see the full power of the V-1.  As for the artwork, which I am by no means a great judge, the gritty and dark style fit the ominous tone of the story very well.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

The Girl From the Savoy

The Girl from The Savoy: A Novel - Hazel Gaynor

Dorothy Lane, Dolly to her friends, has always dreamed of more for herself than to be a maid.  However, as World War I approaches, her love, Teddy is sent off and things change drastically for them both.  Teddy returns with shell shock and Dolly has endured much in his absence.  Now, Dolly chases adventure in London where she finds employment as a maid to the stars at the Savoy. While at the Savoy, Dolly takes up an advertisement for a musician looking for a muse.  Perry Clements is a struggling composer, his sister Loretta May is a starlet of the stage.  Dolly agrees to inspire Perry while Loretta teaches her to stand out in a crowd and brings Dolly closer to the life she has dreamed about.

A tantalizing story about love, loss, recovery and ambition that spans World War I through the Jazz Age in London.  Switching points of view between Dolly, Loretta and Teddy there is a very full view of the damaging effects of the war from every angle.  Dolly's was the most intriguing for me as her secrets kept during the war unravel and she begins to finally realize her dreams.  Dolly is a true dreamer and adventurer.  I admired her resilience and ability to chase her fantasy life.  Teddy's point of view was also crucial for me, even though it didn't quite fit in with the Dolly and Loretta's shared experiences.  His struggle with shell shock and remembering what he could have had was very delicately done and drew me into his experience.  Finally, what drew me into the book was the setting and time period, the glamour of the Savoy was brilliantly described and the mood of the time could be imagined through the descriptions of music, theatre, dance and dress.