A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander -- third in the Belmont Mansion series; This book is about Rebekah who wants to play in an orchestra, but is unable to because she's not a man. She does, however, qualify to assist the maestro, Tate Whitcomb, whom she greatly dislikes because he is the conductor who refused to let her play in his orchestra.The Devil's Puzzle by Clare O'Donohue -- final book in the Someday Quilts Mystery featuring Nell Fitzgerald; the town of Archers Rest is planning a founders day celebration, and a skeleton is found in Nell's grandmother's garden
The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott -- At the last minute, Tess secures a spot for herself aboard a ship sailing for the United States as a maid for Lady Duff Gordon. Tess wants to learn from the famous designer and get out of servitude. Along the way, the ship sinks, but Tess and the Duff Gordons make it onto lifeboats, and come to the US with stories to tell of what happened aboard the Titanic.
The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen -- This is book 2 in her first-ever series, Tales from Ivy Hill. I liked it, but would have enjoyed it better in the beginning if I could have better remembered what happened in book one. It's been a few months since book one, and I've read a lot of books since then. And, I guess the old memory just doesn't remember as well as I'd like. But this book follows Rachel as she looks for a way to support herself and decides to run a subscription library (since she inherited her father's vast book collection.) It continues more with other characters from Ivy Hill - Jane the innkeeper; and Mercy and Matilda who run the girls' school at Ivy Cottage where Rachel lives with them. Nice book. (I jotted down a few notes which I put in the calendar in the kitchen drawer; that way when book 3 comes out, maybe I can remember a bit better.)
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate -- an interesting story about Riss Foss aka May who was taken to the Tennessee Children's Home along with her four siblings after her parents were tricked into signing over their rights; I looked up Georgia Tann, a truly wicked woman who stole and trafficked children for several years starting around 1939
The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers -- Two adults with tough childhoods meet when Roman Velasco hires Grace Moore as a personal assistant from a temp agency. Roman deals with his childhood, growing up with a mother who entertained men in order to support the family, and Grace dealt with her own issues dealing with her parents dying when she was 7. Pretty good book; not my favorite from this author
A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott -- ever wonder what it would be like to be a personal assistant to a star? And what it was like to be on the set of a movie so famous, such as Gone With the Wind? In this book Julie is in Hollywood trying to make a name for herself as a writer. In the meantime she catches the eyes of Carole Lombard and becomes her PA during the time of life when the actress is hoping to marry Clark Gable. This isn't my typical type of book, but I'd read two others by this author and enjoyed them so I read this one. Pretty interesting.
The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden -- I nearly put this book aside in the first few pages because I was distracted by the slave dialect as they talked among each other, but I kept at it, and found this a pretty good book. The ending confession was a surprise.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams -- a gift from a friend about "rediscovering the lost city one step at a time;" Peru seems like such a fascinating country with strenuous hikes and gorgeous views and so much history! What a way to learn more about it. Now I'd kind of like to go!
Masquerade by Nancy Moser -- When Charlotte Gleason and her maid Dora leave England to meet the Tremaines of New York, they devise a plan where Charlotte gets to go on an adventure while Dora becomes Charlotte with the hopes of marrying the wealthy Conrad Tremaine. What could go wrong?
The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti -- A small Pennsylvania town with economic troubles + a thousand dead starlings falling onto a high school baseball field. An accusation of an affair between a coach and his student. What is up with Lucia and all those other teens? Friends or foes?
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman -- Josef and Lenka were married around the time things were greatly deteriorating for Jews living in Europe. When Josef's father secures passage for his family and Lenka to escape to New York, Lenka chooses to stay behind with her own parents and sister with hopes that Josef can sponsor all of them later. Soon after Josef's family leaves, Lenka's family is moved to Terezín where Lenka and her family struggle to survive with thousands of other Jewish people.
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake -- This book was just okay to me. Parts were somewhat exciting, and I did like the message of it as it pertains to immigrant populations today, but I didn't really love any of the characters except maybe Frankie, the American lady who was in London reporting on the war, and somewhat Otto, who was watched because folks in this small town thought he might be a German spy. The author's final sentence in "the story behind the story" on page 326 was thought-provoking, though!
The English Wife by Lauren Willig -- I saw this in the new books online and decided to try out this author. I enjoyed this book about Bayard Van Duyvil's trip to Europe and his chance meeting with a struggling actress, Georgie Evans. The book goes back and forth from Bay and Georgie's meeting to their eventual marriage and coming back to New York as "Bay and Annabelle" where Bay's family is a prominent member of society. The circumstances surrounding their deaths is a mystery. Was it a murder-suicide? If so, who killed whom? And why?