Weekly Reading Round-Up

Now that the revisions for the Smith book are in– yay!– I’ve found I can finally read new books again.

I ventured into pure Gothic with Rebecca James’s The Woman in the Mirror, in which a present day gallery owner and a World War II era governess both lose themselves in a Cornish mansion by the sea where the waves beat against the cliffs and a witch’s curse haunts the inhabitants.  If you liked Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions or Eve Chase’s Black Rabbit Hall, Wendy Webb books, creepy haunted children, atmospheric Cornish manor houses, and unexpected inheritances, this might just be your cup of tea.

In keeping with the Gothic thing, I have Jennifer McMahon’s The Invited queued up next, but I couldn’t resist an ebook sale on a Mary Roberts Rinehart mystery I hadn’t read yet, The Swimming Pool, so I’m dipping into 1950s murder and scandal in Westchester  before heading back to more modern fare.

After a steady diet of nothing but Patricia Wentworth and Charlotte MacLeod, it feels so good to be able to read other books again!

Speaking of other books….  One of the things that happened this week was the descriptive copy (basically, the back of the book stuff) for the Smith Book, Band of Sisters!  It’s one of those things that makes a book feel that much closer to actually being a book, so I can’t resist sharing it with you:

A group of young women from Smith College risk their lives in France at the height of World War I in this sweeping novel based on a true story—a skillful blend of Call the Midwife and The Alice Network—from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig

A scholarship girl from Brooklyn, Kate Moran thought she found a place among Smith’s Mayflower descendants, only to have her illusions dashed the summer after graduation. When charismatic alumna Betsy Rutherford delivers a rousing speech at the Smith College Club in April of 1917, looking for volunteers to help French civilians decimated by the German war machine, Kate is too busy earning her living to even think of taking up the call. But when her former best friend Emmeline Van Alden reaches out and begs her to take the place of a girl who had to drop out, Kate reluctantly agrees to join the new Smith College Relief Unit.

Two weeks later, Kate and seventeen other Smithies, including two trailblazing female doctors, set sail for France. The volunteers are armed with money, supplies, and good intentions—all of which immediately go astray. The chateau that was to be their headquarters is a half-burnt ruin. The villagers they meet are in desperate straits: women and children huddling in damp cellars, their crops destroyed and their wells poisoned. 

Despite constant shelling from the Germans, French bureaucracy, and the threat of being ousted by the British army, the Smith volunteers bring welcome aid—and hope—to the region. But can they survive their own differences? As they cope with the hardships and terrors of the war, Kate and her colleagues find themselves navigating old rivalries and new betrayals which threaten the very existence of the Unit.

With the Germans threatening to break through the lines, can the Smith Unit pull together and be truly a band of sisters?

More about the Smith book soon!  What have you been reading this week?


  1. Bev Fontaine on May 1, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Being quarantined with my husband who suffers from dementia, I have needed escapism! I’m working my way through Grace Burrowes’ Windham series and Teresa Grant’s Rannoch mysteries. And occasionally I pick up an old favorite like “Madam Will You Talk” by Mary Stewart.

    I have to say that I can hardly wait for the Smith book. It sounds terrific!

    • Betty Strohecker on May 1, 2020 at 1:47 pm

      Both are wonderful series. Tracy Grant is getting ready to release the latest Rannoch book. I love the Windham also.

  2. DJL on May 1, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    The Eversley Saga by Alice Chetwynd Ley was very entertaining, light romances set in England circa 1790s-early 1800s, it’s a trilogy of books encompassing “A Clandestine Betrothal, “”The Toast of the Town” & “A Season in Brighton.” All highly recommended!

  3. Betty Strohecker on May 1, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    I’m reading the 4th and final book in Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Cavendon Hall series, The Secrets of Cavendon.

  4. Jane on May 1, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    Just found Elizabeth Bailey’s series Lady Fan Mysteries and read The Gilded Shroud. Enjoyed it and would recommend.

  5. Kristen A. on May 1, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    I read The Book of Esther by Emily Barton.

  6. Pat Dupuy on May 1, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    I finished an ARC of Dianne Freeman’s A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder. This is the third in her series about Lady Harleigh and I absolutely love it. I reread Beatriz Williams’ A Certain Age and followed up one of the story lines with Cocoa Beach. I’m currently reading House of Lies by Terry Lynn Thomas. It is set in WW2 England and is the third in a series. I am enjoying it!

    • Lori on May 2, 2020 at 1:42 pm

      Love the Lady Harleigh series

  7. Car on May 1, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Your new book looks amazing, I can’t wait!
    I’m reading The Borrowers!!!! A friend dropt it off for my daughter and since she was eeafing something else i grabbed it 😉 also reading Jenny Colgans latest.
    Women in the Mirror looks great, I’ll have to order it.

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