My July 2022 Reads

Summer reading continues – yay!

I had a great July in books. Here are the novels I read and the accompanying reviews. Have you read any of these? What did you think?

I’m always open to book recommendations – so drop any novels you recommend into the comments section.

July 2022 reads


The Lonely Hearts Lido Club

Charlie Lyndhurst

Women’s Fiction, General Fiction

The Lonely Hearts Lido Club coverThis novel had a hook I love, very different people at a low point who are thrown together by chance and form an unlikely friendship that helps them to overcome their hardships.

As an avid swimmer, the fact that this friendship takes place at a London community swimming pool was even better.

Gabriela is a beautiful, grieving widow with two young children finding it hard to make it through each day. Ian is a happily married gay man whose world falls apart when he loses the job that provided him with his whole sense of self – and it’s getting harder to keep his joblessness hidden from his husband. Helen is a middle-aged empty nester who is tired of being virtually invisible to her retired (but still workaholic) husband.

The novel started strong, but it grew a bit flat for me midway. Even though we get a lot of page time with the characters, I didn’t feel I “knew” them that well. It sometimes felt there was too much telling and too little showing, and, especially with the female characters, I didn’t feel we were digging down deep enough beneath the surface.

But still an enjoyable (poolside) read about unlikely friendships and second chances.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy – all thoughts are my own.



The Nanny

Ruth Heald

Women’s Fiction, Domestic Psychological Thriller

The Nanny coverThis was a fast-paced, dual timeline domestic thriller.

The modern storyline is set in the suburbs of London, following Hayley, a university administrator. Hayley and her Swedish businessman husband, are struggling financially, while raising their young daughter, Alice, and caring for Hayley’s mother, whose dementia is rapidly worsening. Taking in a Swedish university student helps to ease some of their financial woes.

A past storyline follows nineteen-year-old Hayley, who travels abroad for the first time on her gap year to Bangkok. Quickly in over her head financially, she’s forced to take a job as a live-in nanny to a well-off but troubled expat couple. Hayley cares for their two young girls and newborn daughter, Chloe. Hayley’s life changes forever when Chloe goes missing and initial suspicions are focused on the young and inexperienced nanny.

This novel unfurls at a brisk pace as it weaves between present and past, London and the Thai capital, as the story and Hayley’s past are slowly revealed. An enjoyable page-turner, with strong character development, and which also briefly touches upon many of the problematic aspects of expat life.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy – all thoughts are my own.


Daughter of the King

Kerry Chaput

Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction

Daughter of The King coverThe year is 1661, and Isabelle is a Huguenot living in La Rochelle, France. The Edict of Nantes that was signed by King Henry IV at the end of the previous century was expected to ease tensions between the majority Catholics and minority Protestants in France, and the Thirty Years’ War that ravaged northern Europe was concluded a little over a decade earlier with a peace treaty that managed to diffuse many of the long-simmering religious tensions, but the violence still persists in this French port city.

Isabelle and her fellow Huguenots who choose not to convert to Catholicism survive as second-class citizens on the edges of society, worshiping in secret and finding creative ways to sew their Bibles into their clothing. But as the violence mounts, Isabelle and her community are forced to leave their community.

Alone and unprotected, Isabelle eventually converts and will become one of the filles du Roi –the Daughters of the King, who were sent to the French settlement in Quebec, Canada. In exchange for a financial arrangement and a new life, they agree to marry one of the French settlers in “New France” and to help populate and forge this new society.

Although I’ve always been fascinated by European history in general, including the religious wars in Europe, I did not know about this Daughters of the King campaign. I was especially drawn to this segment of the novel, and following Isabelle along on her journey to this new, wild land, where she and the other filles must learn about survival in their new reality and select a husband. The scenes of the “matchmaking events”, hosted by the nuns, were beautifully portrayed.

One aspect niggled. I was surprised how much Isabelle rallied her fellow filles against the idea of predestination – that God’s will is predetermined. The Huguenots are the French version of Calvinists, and this is a central tenet of their religion, so it left me wondering if Isabelle’s strong connection to her religion was more cultural than spiritual, but I note this is the first novel of a series, so Chaput may explore this aspect in future episodes.

Beautifully researched and written, with rich descriptions and details, Chaput’s novel is a fascinating story of seventeenth century religious tensions in Europe and the shift towards creating a new society in the New World. Highly recommended.


Caper Crush

Kathy Strobos

Women’s Fiction, Romance, Mystery

Caper Crush coverThis is the third Strobos novel  read, all part of the loosely connected New York Friendship series.

This is the story of Miranda,a young, struggling artist trying to make it in the Big Apple. To make ends meet, Miranda plays in a rock band and waits tables while she awaits her big break in the art world. With a prestigious, new art show on the horizon, it seems this may be the moment she’s been waiting for … until the central canvas in the exhibition is stolen, jeapordizing her participation icn the show.

William is the handsome, but unimaginative accountant who is the nephew of her unle’s husband. Their paths have crossed at family events, but they have never been close, until Miranda enlists William to assist with an investigation into who stole her artwork., and slowly realizes she may have misjudged the smart and sexy businessman.

This was a quickly paced and fun opposites-attract story, with the added attraction of mystery surrounding the art heist. I’m not a series reader, but I like this formula of loosely connected stories and mutual friends, that allows a reader to see familiar characters, without necessitating complicated back stories or enjoying the novels as stand-alones. A fast and enjoyable read.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy – all thoughts are my own.


In The Shadow of The Apennines

Kimberly Sullivan

Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction

Until you publish your own novel, you do not realize how the process necessitates reading your own work a gazillion times…

During July, I did my gazillionth plus one reading of my new novel, In The Shadow of The Apennines, to prepare it for posting on NetGalley for early reviews before its release date October 21, 2022.

This is a dual timeline story I love, of  a region I’ve grown to love – the mountainous region of Abruzzo.

Here’s the short blurb:

An American divorcée. An Italian shepherdess.
Separated by a century, united by common dreams

Shunned and increasingly isolated in her new mountain home in Abruzzo, Italy, Samantha seeks solace in the letters and diaries she discovers in her attic, written by a past tenant in her home – a survivor of the devastating 1915 Pescina earthquake.

If you’re on NetGalley, hope you’ll consider requesting my novel.

And I hope you’ll follow along as I prepare to launch my new novel in October!


Enjoyed my great month in books in July – and hoping you’ve been enjoying a great month in summer reading, too!



  1. Kathy Strobos on August 5, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    Thanks so much for your review of Caper Crush! And I’m off to request a copy of your new book on NetGalley!

    • Kimberly Sullivan on August 7, 2022 at 11:40 pm

      A pleasure, Kathy! I’m loving your series – and enjoying my vicarious return to NY!

Leave a Comment