I feel a bit out of practice with writing reviews. Its, unfortunately, been a busy few weeks. The good news is, I liked all three of these books. And they were VERY different stories.
First up, When Ashes Fall by Marni Mann. This book was heart breaking and inspired by a real life tragedy. Alix is a paramedic. She meets Dylan a wealthy owner of a private jet company and a pilot himself. Their romance is deep, all encompassing, not perfect, but beautiful. They get engaged and then Alix is somewhat abandoned. Dylan still visits her, but they can’t get married. Trust me- it’s complicated, don’t search for spoilers, just go with it. Months later, she meets Smith when she least expects it. Alix starts to feel something like love for him, too. But she still loves Dylan. They’re very different men and Alix struggles with who to choose, what to do. Definitely one of those, go in blind books. The writing is so good; I found it hard to put down. I listened to this and the narrators were excellent. I give this an A.
Next up, The Ingenue by Rachel Kapelke-Dale. I really enjoyed this one. It’s a VERY tough subject (CW: sexual abuse) to tackle and was well written. Saskia grows up the daughter of a musician and writer/artist. Her mother wrote a popular book series called, Fairytales for Little Feminists and this is how each chapter is set up, with a passage from one of her mother’s books. They’re not wealthy, but their family is from old beer baron money in Milwaukee. Saskia grew up in a huge house, nicknamed the Elf House because of the elf sculptures at the entrance. The house is well known and a source of pride, and enormous expense, for her parents. Saskia is a prodigy. She is magnificent on the piano and travels around the world playing. The story goes back and forth between Saskia as a child and Saskia as a grown woman. As a young teen, Saskia believes she has found love with a much older man. What she comes to understand as an adult is that their relationship wasn’t despite her age, it was BECAUSE of her age. She clearly starts to recognize what was taken from her, and the ending is explosive. Well worth a read! I listened to this one, too. Grade A
The last book, The Grump Who Saved Christmas by Claire Kingsley was my book club’s last read of 2022. This was cute. Easy, fun Hallmark-esque Christmas second chance rom-com. Here’s my confession, it was definitely inspired by A Christmas Carol. And I totally didn’t recognize that until my book club met. Such a big miss by me! Anyway, Elias Stoneheart (hahah…so obvious, right?) Is grumpy. He’s stingy, career driven and hates Christmas. His company is looking to buy the family farm of his high school girlfriend, Isabelle. Isabelle is all about Christmas. She loves it and her small town. It is a bit slow and cheesy. But…it was charming and I can take some cheese this time of year. Grade B