The Hamilton Affair

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By: Elizabeth Cobbs

Before he was killed over his honor by Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton had a life, with work and a thriving family. Although Aaron Burr pops every now and then, the fatal encounter is not the point of the book and is basically just the ending. This story is mostly about the relationship of Hamilton with his wife, Eliza. From the time that they first met until his untimely death, which left her a widowed mother of a whole passel of children.

Hamilton appears more human in this overly flowery depiction of his life. He seems to struggle with the pressure of building a new government and cannot manage to balance those pressures with his family life. He ends up having an affair with a woman who seems to entrap him and try to use it to ruin him politically, but it is a small part of the story.

I have not see the musical, so I can’t compare, but it is a sweet fictionalized story in which you will recognize several names and stories from your history book. If nothing else, you will love Eliza, she is a fantastic heroine!


English Manor Murder

By: Leslie Meier

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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.

This was my first time reading a Lucy Stone book and if it weren’t for Lucy Stone herself, I might have enjoyed it more. This is the 23rd book in the series though, so maybe there were just not many places left to go. In this edition, Lucy is invited to go and stay at an English Manor with her friend Sue, who is assisting the Earl with a hat exhibit. Which is weird to start out with, who invites someone they met once in a museum to come and stay with the in another country. But it does bring the story to a beautiful location complete with a stately manor and accompanying gardens.

This being a cozy mystery, there is, of course a murder (well two, but they really just ignore the first one) and a cast of suspects and police detectives. We don’t really get to see into the murder investigation very much and Perry the Earl and his hat show fade into the background as well. We mostly hear about Perry’s brother in law and elderly aunt who are absolutely horrible people.

Lucy spends very little time sleuthing, which I expected more of, this being a cozy mystery. Mostly, she whines about her son moving away with her grandson (and no time at all missing the two kids who are still at home.) There isn’t much need for the sleuthing anyway as it is pretty obvious who the murderer is from the start.

There were just no characters to like in this book or root for, most of the time you have to remember who they are. I think I might give Lucy another chance to see how she is back home in Maine, but this one is a no go!


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- Parts 1 & 2

By: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

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I held off on reading this one, although I picked it up on the first day. while I finished re reading the other seven books. I have been a Harry Potter fan from the first and was skeptically excited about this new story with my favorite characters. And that was the problem, these were not my favorite characters.

First, the format was a play script, so it was a little difficult to get in to the story with the scene and place changes. Once you got in to it, you didn’t notice it as much and it flowed better. The format didn’t seem as bad as I had at first thought it would be.

The story was ok, time travel and visiting some of our favorite moments from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The characters were the downfall of the whole thing. Harry was a shallow jerk, Hermoine kept changing the whole time and was soppy about Ron, who apparently lost all of his intelligence in the 19 years that had passed. It was almost sad to have to read about these versions of our old favorites.

If this is your first Harry Potter book, it should be enjoyable. If you are an old time Harry Potter fan, I would skip this one, as hard as it is to resist a new story, and go back and reread the old ones.


A Fine Imitation

By: Amber Brock (visit author’s web page here)

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Vera has spent her whole like doing what she “has to” according to her mother, her husband and society. Her story is told in alternating chapters, one from when she was a senior at Vassar and one years later as an adult in New York. The adult years are set in the building that Vera’s husband built and in which she lives in the penthouse. The cast of characters in the building are a wonderful bunch and they seem to have a tea or a dinner party every day. I loved reading about the party where the overworked maid poorly cooks all the food!

Vera’s college days center around her totally unsuitable best friend, Bea and all of the trouble that they get up to together. Their adventures end in a betrayal by Vera and they don’t speak after that, although they continue to run into each other in New York.

A wonderfully written story, you come to care about Vera and whether or not she can make the decisions that will lead her out of her society life and into a new adventure. A great period read and goes by quickly.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review.



By: Julian Fellowes (click here to go to author’s website)

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Yes, that Julian Fellowes! And if you are expecting a Downton like story, complete with upstairs-downstairs intrique, you are in the right place. Belgravia centers around two families who share a secret that is in danger of coming out. Set in 1850s London, Charles Pope, was raised by a country minister but he is actually the grandson of two of the more prominent families, one old money and one who has built his fortune along with half the new buildings in London.

If he is found to be legitimate, he will displace his cousin as heir to the Earldom. This creates a secret network of lovers and servants that all get involved in getting to the truth and finding out who the mysterious stranger is.

A fun, intriguing story that takes you upstairs and downstairs and even among the working class of London. The characters are a little shallow, but this is probably done on purpose to portray the world of the gentried. A great read, but it might have been better to hold on to until my beach trip.


Facing Forty

In less than a month, I will be turning the big 4-0 and I have decided to embrace it!

Looking back over 40 years, it has sure been a wild ride. I tallied it up, along the way, I have lived in 17 different dwellings, one of them four times (thanks, mom and dad). All the way from the little house out on CR149 in Oxford, where Martha and I decorated with Wal Mart’s finest to the 200 year old house with the creepy basement in Providence, RI. They have all held a special place and been representative of parts of our lives.

I have a wonderful family that has only been added on to over the years, a great husband, fabulous friends in all parts of the country and, of course, the two best dogs in the world, Jazzy and Zaela. Outside of having lived in so many places over the years, I have also had many opportunities to travel. Driving in a van all the way to Canada and California, in a church bus to Mt. Rushmore and Mexico, and seeing Scotland, Italy and Quebec City. And even last year getting to cross something off my bucket list- all four majors in one year (read all about them here)

Looking ahead from here; I want to do things for others, to make a difference. I guess it is natural as you hit “middle age” to want to start working on a legacy. To start, instead of presents (and I really mean it), I want to make a difference-making donation to the Atlanta Humane Society. I have been volunteering there and they really do all that they can to save the lives of pets and the people that adopt them. Below, is the link to my GoFundMe campaign. I have a goal of $1000 by my birthday on the 3rd. No pressure to make a monetary donation, here is a wish list. Many of these items are things you already have at your house- plastic bags, toilet paper tubes, old towels, etc. You can bring send them to me or directly to the humane society. I appreciate every bit of it!

Go Fund Me campaign

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared

By: Jonas Jonasson

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So when I picked up this book at the library, I thought I was in for a cute story about an old man like The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. This story, set in Sweden and flashing back to all over the globe, was so much more. This is really two stories in one. Allan, our centenarian, decides on his hundredth birthday, that he doesn’t want to waste away in the nursing home. He jumps out the window and heads to the train station. At the train station, he absconds with a suitcase that he doesn’t know is full of money.

The suitcase, and the people who want it back, lead him on a wild (and often criminal) adventure. The characters he picks up along the way are fascinating, including an elephant who is also on the run. There is a detective on their tale most of the time, and you do wonder if he will ever catch the hundred year old man who is evading him.

Even more fascinating are the flashbacks of Allan life before the nursing home. He is a very anti political man who ends up in all kinds of political situations. He makes friends with political leaders of many countries, including President Truman and Kim Jong Il. He unwittingly learns how to make a nuclear bomb and distributes this information to the wrong people. He influences wars he takes no side in, helps elect officials and frees a gulag.

This is an endlessly fascinating book. It is a long one, but worth every page!


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