Posted in June 2019

Gold Digger: The Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor by Rebecca Rosenberg

Synopsis:

One look at Baby Doe and you know she was meant to be a legend! She was just twenty years old when she came to Colorado to work a gold mine with her new husband. Little did she expect that she’d be abandoned and pregnant and left to manage the gold mine alone. But that didn’t stop her!

She moved to Leadville and fell in love with a married prospector, twice her age. Horace Tabor struck the biggest silver vein in history, divorced his wife and married Baby Doe. Though his new wife was known for her beauty, her fashion, and even her philanthropy, she was never welcomed in polite society.

Discover how the Tabors navigated the worlds of wealth, power, politics, and scandal in the wild days of western mining.

“Rosenberg’s rollicking Western adventure strikes gold with a gutsy, good-hearted spitfire of a heroine and action aplenty.”
—THELMA ADAMS, bestselling author of The Last Woman Standing

Gold Digger tells the true story of Lizzie “Baby Doe” Tabor, a beautiful young woman who in 1878 marries the son of a wealthy miner in order to save her family from penury. Shrewd and stubborn, Lizzie fights back-biting Victorian society, wins and loses vast fortunes, and bests conniving politicians in her larger-than-life story. A twisting tale worthy of Mark Twain, with a big-hearted heroine at the center. 
—MARTHA CONWAY, author of The Underground River 

My review:

Rebecca Rosenberg tells the intriguing story of Baby Doe Tabor in this page-turner, Gold Digger: The Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor. Baby Doe was a beautiful and strong woman determined to make it on her own in the Wild West after being abandoned by her husband. A historical, rollicking western with an inspiring love story! I can’t wait to read the next chapter in Baby Doe’s life!

About the author:

Rebecca grew up in Colorado exploring old mines, ghost towns and honky-tonks with her family, sparking her life-long love of the Rocky Mountains and obsession with the Tabors. She learned about Baby Doe when she was five years old, and read every dime-store brochure about her: the love triangle, her daughters, Silver Dollar and Lily, and the Matchless Mine. She began writing Gold Digger: the Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor fifteen years ago and has been rewriting it ever since, amidst writing other books. Rebecca is a devotee of spirited women who lived in the past. Her 2018 book, The Secret Life of Mrs. London (Lake Union Publishing) was an award-winning, Amazon bestselling book and a Wiki Marvelous Novel of the 20th Century. Her other books include Lavender Fields of America (2012) and Champagne Widows (2020). Rebecca is an alumni of the University of Colorado and holds a Stanford University Novel Writing Certificate. She now lives and writes on her lavender farm in Sonoma, California, where the she and her husband, Gary, founded the largest lavender product company in America. Their King Charles Spaniel, Maxcy, named after Maxcy Tabor, likes to roam the fields with his owners. The Rosenbergs support many causes in the Sonoma Community through volunteering, financial donations and board positions.

Posted in June 2019

Rouge by Richard Kirshenbaum

Synopsis:

Rouge is a sexy, glamorous journey into the rivalry of the pioneers of powder, mascara and rouge.

This fast-paced novel examines the lives, loves, and sacrifices of the visionaries who invented the modern cosmetics industry: Josiah Herzenstein, born in a Polish Jewish Shtlel, the entrepreneur who transforms herself into a global style icon and the richest woman in the world, Josephine Herz; Constance Gardiner, her rival, the ultimate society woman who invents the door-to-door business and its female workforce but whose deepest secret threatens everything; CeeCee Lopez, the bi-racial beauty and founder of the first African American woman’s hair relaxer business, who overcomes prejudice and heartbreak to become her community’s first female millionaire. The cast of characters is rounded out by Mickey Heron, a dashing, sexy ladies’ man whose cosmetics business is founded in a Hollywood brothel. All are bound in a struggle to be number one, doing anything to get there…including murder.

My review:

Rouge is the intriguing and often catty story of Josephine and Constance and their rise in the beauty industry. Mirroring the real life feud of Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein, Rouge has a bit of glamour, behind the scenes gossip, power struggles and sex! Loved it!

About the author:

RICHARD KIRSHENBAUM is CEO of NSG/SWAT, a high-profile boutique branding agency. He has lectured at Harvard Business School, appeared on 20/20, was named to Crain’s New York Business’s “40 under 40” list, and has been inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame. He is the author of Under the Radar, Closing the Deal, Madboy, and Isn’t That Rich? and the New York Observer’s “Isn’t That Rich?” column. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.

Posted in May 2019

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Synopsis:

In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.

Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government’s new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give to those who have nothing, a bookly respite, a fleeting retreat to faraway lands.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a powerful message about how the written word affects people–a story of hope and heartbreak, raw courage and strength splintered with poverty and oppression, and one woman’s chances beyond the darkly hollows. Inspired by the true and historical blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek showcases a bold and unique tale of the Pack horse Librarians in literary novels — a story of fierce strength and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home.

My review:

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a beautifully written story of Appalachia history and the love of books. In the midst of the Depression, Cussy Mary is the last living female of the Blue people and has been shunned because of the color of her skin. She takes a job as a librarian with the Pack Horse Library Project and attempts to spread her love of reading to the poverty stricken people of Appalachia. I had no idea that there were actually Book Women or Blue people. I loved this story! A must read for historical fiction fans!

About the author:

Kim Michele Richardson lives in Kentucky and resides part-time in Western North Carolina. She has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, building houses, and is an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence, partnering with the U.S. Navy globally to bring awareness and education to the prevention of domestic violence. She is the author of the bestselling memoir The Unbreakable Child, and a book critic for the New York Journal of Books. Her novels include, Liar’s Bench, GodPretty in the Tobacco Field and The Sisters of Glass Ferry. Her fourth novel, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek about the fierce and brave Kentucky Packhorse librarians, is available now. 

Posted in Author spotlight, May 2019

Author Spotlight: Andrew Lam

About the author:

Andrew Lam, M.D., is the award-winning author of three books. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Born in Philadelphia and raised in central Illinois, he graduated summa cum laude in history from Yale University, where he studied military history and U.S.-East Asian relations. He then attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by specialty training in ophthalmology and retina surgery at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, where he also served as chief resident.

Dr. Lam has authored numerous scientific articles and is a co-investigator for several national clinical trials. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Tufts University School of Medicine, a partner at New England Retina Consultants, and an attending surgeon at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

He resides in Longmeadow, Massachusetts with his wife and four children.

Repentance–On sale now!

A captivating new novel about one family’s darkest secrets and the lengths to which a man will go to set things right.

France, October 1944: A Japanese American war hero has a secret. A secret so awful he’d rather die than tell anyone—one so entwined with the brave act that made him a hero that he’s determined never to speak of the war. Ever.

Fifty-five years later, his son, Daniel Tokunaga, is a world-famous cardiac surgeon with a beautiful wife and successful kids. But Daniel’s outwardly perfect life is a façade. He despises his father who prized toughness and achievement above warmth or affection. And for other reasons…troubles from the past that he has never revealed to another soul.

As Daniel’s marriage threatens to crumble from his own indifference, and a medical crisis compels him to return to his parents’ home, he stumbles upon the darkest secret of all—his father’s.

Soon the quest for the truth between father and son opens wide the gulf between them but also Daniel’s deepest questions of life…what is honor? Redemption? And most important of all, what is love?

Drawn from the heroic true story of a Japanese American regiment that fought in World War II and became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history, this poignant drama also shows the sorrows of the internment camps where American citizens of Japanese ancestry were imprisoned solely because of their race.

Repentance is a swift, sweeping novel in which one family’s catastrophic past unfurls just as the foundation of their present lives begins to crack. What they learn is that the briefest of moments—a split-second of indecision—can echo across generations.

Some secrets are too painful to be shared.

Some secrets you wish you never knew.

Posted in March 2019

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts

Synopsis:

Maud Gage Baum, widow of the author of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, met Judy Garland, the young actress playing the role of Dorothy on the set of The Wizard of Oz in 1939. At the time, Maud was seventy-eight and Judy was sixteen. In spite of their age difference, Maud immediately connected to Judy–especially when Maud heard her sing “Over the Rainbow,” a song whose yearning brought to mind the tough years in South Dakota when Maud and her husband struggled to make a living–until Frank Baum’s book became a national sensation.

This wonderfully evocative two-stranded story recreates Maud’s youth as the rebellious daughter of a leading suffragette, and the prairie years of Maud and Frank’s early days when they lived among the people–especially young Dorothy–who would inspire Frank’s masterpiece. Woven into this past story is one set in 1939, describing the high-pressured days on The Wizard of Oz film set where Judy is being badgered by the director, producer, and her ambitious stage mother to lose weight, bind her breasts, and laugh, cry, and act terrified on command. As Maud had promised to protect the original Dorothy back in Aberdeen, she now takes on the job of protecting young Judy.

My review:

I have always loved The Wizard of Oz movie and couldn’t wait to read Finding Dorothy! Elizabeth Letts tells the story of a young Maud Gage Baum and her life with L. Frank Baum along with the making of the movie version of Baum’s famous book. I loved reading how Baum’s real life was woven into his book. This is a must read glimpse behind the scenes of one of our most cherished books and movie adaptation.

About the author:

Elizabeth Letts is an award winning and bestselling author of both fiction and non-fiction. The Perfect Horse was the winner of the 2017 PEN USA Award for Research Non-fiction and a #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller. The Eighty-Dollar Champion was a #1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2012 Daniel P Lenehan Award for Media Excellence from the United States Equestrian Foundation. She is also the author of two novels, Quality of Care and Family Planning, and an award-winning children’s book, The Butter Man. She lives in Southern California and Northern Michigan.

Book details:

  • Published February 12, 2019 by Ballantine Books
  • 351 pages
Posted in May 2019

Split-Level by Sande Boritz Berger

Synopsis:

In Split-Level, set as the nation recoils from Nixon, Alex Pearl is about to commit the first major transgression of her life. But why shouldn’t she remain an officially contented, soon-to-turn-thirty wife? She’s got a lovely home in an upscale Jersey suburb, two precocious daughters, and a charming husband, Donny. But Alex can no longer deny she craves more—some infusion of passion into the cul-de-sac world she inhabits. 

After she receives a phone call from her babysitter’s mother reporting that Donny took the teen for a midnight ride, promising he’d teach her how to drive, Alex insists they attend Marriage Mountain, the quintessential 1970s “healing couples sanctuary.” Donny accedes—but soon becomes obsessed with the manifesto A Different Proposition and its vision of how multiple couples can live together in spouse-swapping bliss. At first Alex scoffs, but soon she gives Donny much more than he bargained for. After he targets the perfect couple to collude in his fantasy, Alex discovers her desire for love escalating to new heights—along with a willingness to risk everything. Split-Levelevokes a pivotal moment in the story of American matrimony, a time when it seemed as if an open marriage might open hearts as well.

My review:

As a child of the 70’s, I jumped at the chance to read Split-Level. What happens when a married couple decide to have an “open” marriage and become swingers? I have often wondered how marriages can survive without monogamy. Sande Boritz Berger gave me a though provoking glimpse into a life style completely different than my own. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this captivating novel!

About the author:

After two decades as a scriptwriter and video/film producer for Fortune 500 companies, Sande Boritz Berger returned to her passion: writing both fiction and non-fiction full time. Her stories and essays have been published in The Rambler Magazine, Every Woman Has a Story by Warner Books, Ophelia’s Mom by Crown Publishing, Aunties: Thirty-five Writers Celebrate Their Other Mother by Ballantine and others. Sande received an M.F.A. in Writing and Literature from Stony Brook Southampton College where she received the Deborah Hecht Memorial prize for fiction. The Sweetness was a semi-finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel awards. The author lives with her husband in Manhattan. She has two daughters.

Book details:

  • Published May 7, 2019 by She Writes Press.
  • 320 pages

Posted in April 2019

Park Avenue Summer by Rene Rosen

Synopsis:

Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada as Renée Rosen draws readers into the glamour of 1965 New York City and Cosmopolitan Magazine, where a brazen new Editor-in-Chief–Helen Gurley Brown–shocks America by daring to talk to women about all things off limits…

New York City is filled with opportunities for single girls like Alice Weiss who leaves her small Midwestern town to chase her big city dreams and unexpectedly lands the job of a lifetime working for Helen Gurley Brown, the first female Editor-in-Chief of a then failing Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Nothing could have prepared Alice for the world she enters as editors and writers resign on the spot, refusing to work for the woman who wrote the scandalous bestseller, Sex and the Single Girl. While confidential memos, article ideas, and cover designs keep finding their way into the wrong hands, someone tries to pull Alice into this scheme to sabotage her boss. But Alice remains loyal and becomes all the more determined to help Helen succeed. As pressure mounts at the magazine and Alice struggles to make her way in New York, she quickly learns that in Helen Gurley Brown’s world, a woman can demand to have it all.

My review:
Park Avenue Summer is a fascinating glimpse into the early days of Cosmopolitan magazine(as we know it!) and it’s first female editor, Helen Gurley Brown. Rene Rosen’s research is always evident in her books but her work shines through in this novel! I lost sleep over this book simply because I couldn’t put it down and read into the early hours. Grab a copy of this book, a martini and settle in for an amazing read!