Tag Archives: 1920’s

Review: Newport by Jill Morrow

I received an advanced review copy of this title from the publisher, William Morrow.

My Review:
Newport-428x648-198x300What drew me to this book was the time period in which it is set, between the Great Wars in the Roaring Twenties when Prohibition is firmly entrenched and wealthy families vacation at their summer “cottages” in Newport.  Most of the drama takes place at the Chapman family’s sprawling estate in Newport and at the very core of this drama is a contested will.  Bennett Chapman is in his eighties but he is about to remarry a woman forty years his junior and change his will to make her the primary heir of his textile fortune.

Bennett’s two children, Nick and Chloe, stand to be mostly cut out of their father’s will if he manages to draft a new one.  Nick and Chloe think that their father is completely out of his mind and try to convince Bennett’s lawyers, Adrian and Jim, that Bennett is not mentally capable of making such a decision.  Nick and Chloe’s main evidence for their father’s mental instability is the fact that he has been having séances in which his first wife, dead for over thirty years, is the one who is telling him to remarry and change his will.  Are these séances a farce and an attempt to cheat Bennett out of his inheritance or are they legitimate messages from his wife from beyond?

The plot twist at the end was interesting and the descriptions of Newport in the twenties are the strongest aspects of this book.  The part of the story I had trouble with are the séances and the talking to dead people beyond the grave.  The author used this supernatural aspect to advance the plot which made the whole thing seem silly to me.  But that is just my particular preference for stories that do not involve the supernatural.  The historical setting, the bad behavior of spoiled, rich families and the contested will, in my opinion, could have all stood on their own to make an interesting story without inserting the ghost of a dead wife.

I would love to hear other reader’s opinion about this if you have read the book.  Are there certain additions or twists added to a novel that either distract you or cause you to give it a lower rating?

About The Author:
Jill-Morrow-200x300Jill Morrow has enjoyed a wide spectrum of careers, from practicing law to singing with local bands. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Towson University and a JD from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She lives in Baltimore.


Filed under Historical Fiction

Review, Author Q&A and Giveaway: The Bootlegger’s Wife by Terri Lee

I received a review copy of this historical fiction novel from the author, Terri Lee.  I invite you to read my review, learn more about the author and enter to win your own copy of The Bootlegger’s Wife and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

My Review:

23285853 (2)If you had to make a choice between incredible wealth and the love of your life, which would you choose?  Frances Durant is faced with this very dilemma.  She has grown up in a family that still exudes the wealthy and prestige of The Gilded Age, with luxurious apartments in Manhattan, country homes in Vermont, and parties with the rich and famous.  In 1919, Frances has just finished her first year at Bryn Mar and her parents fully expect her to marry someone that will bring further wealth and prestige to the Durant family.

But Frances has always had a mind of her own and when she meets a handsome and charming Marine named Frankie, she has no intentions of marrying anyone else.  The first part of the book describes the tension between Frances and her parents and their refusal to even meet with her beloved.

The relationship between Frances and her parents is sad because they never bestow any parental tenderness on their daughter.  The fact that Frances calls her mother “Lena” instead of “Mom” points to the fact that a mother-daughter bond was never forged between them. The rift in the family, I felt, is really the fault of Frances’ parents since she has no positive feelings or emotions to fall back on when they give her an ultimatum.

The second part of the book describes Frankie and Frances’ life with its ups and downs.  Like everyone else, they are affected by the market crash in 1929 and the resulting Great Depression.  What I loved about this book was the fact that they never lose sight of what is important, which is their love for each other.  When they are faced with horrible tragedy, they get through it because they are able to lean on each other for support.

If you like historical fiction set in the early 20th Century then I highly recommend THE BOOTLEGGER’S WIFE.  Terri Lee has given us a great love story with strong characters.



About The Author:
Born and raised in northern California, that part of the country will always have a piece of my heart. My family moved to Missouri in my teenage years and when the love of my life walked through my door at my summer job, that is where my heart truly found its home. As with all good things, when I least expected it. Of course it didn’t hurt that the first thing he did was buy me a chocolate malt.

Forty years later I am still married to my High School sweetheart, who has always been my biggest cheerleader in whatever scheme I dream up. And believe me, I’m capable of dreaming up almost anything. We have a golden/lab named (Elizabeth Bennett) Lizzie, who is my muse and my steadfast writing partner. She offers only the kindest critiques.

Not to be outdone, our cat, Baby Kitty, is a card carrying terrorist, whose only mission in life is to thwart any goodness that comes my way. I make my home in a small rural town outside of Springfield, MO, the sort of place where the adventures reside only in the stories I spin, which is just the way I like it.  Visit Terri at her website: www.terrileeauthor.com


Author Q&A:
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer?

I’m sure my answer is typical of every writer; I’ve been scribbling away at things for my entire life. I always knew that one day I’d write a book. And when I was ready, the stories starting bubbling up like a dam had been removed from some secret stream. The fact that I didn’t write my first real novel until I was in my fifties, should serve as inspiration to all the budding authors out there. It’s never too late for your dream to find you.

2. This story is based on your grandparents. How did you go about doing the research for the book? Did you interview family members?

The short answer is, for a host of reasons I won’t go into here, I didn’t have access to any family members. So the bits and pieces of the tale as I remember hearing it over the years became the framework for this book. Because I wasn’t writing a biography, per se, I didn’t have to get lost in the minutiae. Love is the story. That being said, I did have to do quite a bit of research regarding Prohibition and the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Two major events that drive this narrative. I was extremely thankful for the information I gathered from Ancestry.com. From there I was able to fill in a few of the names and dates that had been left blank.

3. What happened to Lena and William Durant during the crash of 1929? I am assuming that they were affected by the crash?

Like most people they didn’t come out unscathed. I don’t want to give too much away here, as I’d hate to spoil the story for the next reader.

4. What is your next project? Will you continue Frankie and Frances’ story? Or are you planning something different?

Readers will hear something else from Frances and Frankie, but not in a sequel. One of my future projects is a a memoir of my early childhood. And the two of them are right there where they should be. But there are other stories to be told first. My current work in progress is set in the south in 1963. I’m excited by the fact that all of my novels are so different from one another. I haven’t been locked into a certain type of book. I’m free to dance among various time periods. As with The Bootlegger’s Wife, this book too requires a good deal of research on the period. Lucky for me, I adore the entire process. Time spent in research is time well-spent. After a while, I begin to feel quite comfortable walking around in those vintage shoes. That’s when I know that I’m ready to write.

Thanks Melissa for sharing my book with your audience. It’s been an honor to be featured here on your website.

The author is generously giving away one hard copy of the book and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.  Please just leave a comment below and let me what aspect of this book appeals to you.  It’s that easy! Giveaway is open to residents in the U.S. and Canada.  The winner will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond.  Ends 11/28.




Filed under Author Interviews, Historical Fiction