My April 2023 reads


April was another month of great reads. Of my five novesl, three were NetGalley reads. Three were also new-to-me authors.

My April reads had me lounging on a California beach, fixing up an historical home. Next I journeyed to medieval France and an adventurous journey to escape the bread guild. Following that, I was transported to an elegant, exclusive apartment complex in glitzy Paris to live beside some of then creepiest neighbors you could imagine while solving a missing person (murdered person?) mystery. Afterwards, I was transported to beautiful Tuscany in a dual timeline story, contemporary and WWII era. And to wrap up the month I read a collection of short stories about the trials, tribulations and triumphs of motherhood.

April 2023 Reads

As always, I enjoyed these great reads, and being whisked off to new places and time periods. I knew I was in good hands with Fiona Valpy and Lucy Foley, and enjoyed discovering new-to-me authors, including début author Dorette Snover.

You can find my reviews here below.

Happy reading to all!


Seabreeze InnThe Seabreeze Inn cover

Jan Moran

I was in the mood for a contemporary women’s fiction, with romantic elements. This novel had a lot that I love in women’s fiction. Ivy is a widow living in Boston and grappling with difficulties after her husband – first and foremost, the financial mess he’s left her to deal with following his accident.

One of his spending sprees was the purchase of – unbeknownst to Ivy – an historical, beachside home in southern California. Ivy flies there, with her sister in tow. Together, they decide to convert the neglected home into a coastal inn. It’s a plus that her large family is nearby, and the town seems friendly, despite their difficult relationship with her deceased husband. Ivy herself uncovers unflattering information about her husband that makes her question her entire marriage.

So far, so good.

My real problem with this novel is that I did not like Ivy. She was constantly rude and abrasive, and then would be offended when others were rude to her. This was especially notable with the love interest, and made it hard to believe he would be so attracted to her. The turning on a dime from waxing on about her idyllic marriage to realizing she was never really in love with her husband was also too abrupt for me. These elements weakened the novel for me, despite liking the premise. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.


Tales of The MistressTales of the Mistress cover

Dorette Snover

This imaginative and descriptive debut novel follows the adventure of Epi Gerroux in sixteenth century Languedoc, France.

As a young girl, Epi suffers from the disappearance (death?) of her mother, Antaia, a bread baker, enemy of the Bread Guild and member of the secret agrarian society, Psomi. Knowing her daughter will be left to fend for herself, Antaia urges her daughter to disguise herself as a boy to continue work as a baking apprentice. This is how Epi lives, in solitude, for many years – baking the bread that will go to the French nobility and steering as far as possible from the Guild.

But when Epi learns the Guild wants to charge her in her mother’s alleged murder, she departs on a long journey, where she pieces together her past, discovers unexpected family ties and, most importantly, begins the voyage of internal discovery and her search for her place in the world.

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


The Paris Apartment coverThe Paris Apartment

Lucy Foley

A whole new take on each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way

I enjoyed this mystery/thriller set in the chic streets of Paris.

Jess hasn’t had an easy life, and with her latest workplace drama, she wants to lay low for a while. Fortunately, her half-brother Ben is more successful, and he’s landed on his feet working as a journalist and living in a luxurious Parisian flat.

Jess reaches out to Ben from the train to Paris. Ben lets her know he’ll be waiting up for her, but when she arrives, Ben is nowhere to be found. The frosty residents of the apartments not only show their disinterest in helping Jess locate her brother, but make it clear her presence is not welcome in their elegant domicile.

As Jess begins to follow clues, the story quickly unfolds through fascinating alternating POVs from the residents of the apartment building. Everyone seems to possess deep-held secrets. How much do they know? A highly enjoyable read.


The Cypress Maze coverThe Cypress Maze

Fiona Valpy

I enjoyed this dual timeline tale set in contemporary and WWII Tuscany, Italy. Tess is a young, grieving widow, who is still processing her husband’s painful battle with a degenarative disease and eventual death. When Beatrice, an old childhood friend of Tess’ grandmother, requires assistance, Tess is happy to escape the UK to go to Tuscany to aid the elderly woman.

Beatrice is living in a grand but decaying villa in the lush hills of Tuscany. Beatrice left Scotland years ago and has resided her entire adult life in Italy – and, since WWII, in the stately villa. Throughout the pages of this dual timeline, Beatrice reminisces about the painful war years. Back then, Beatrice assisted Francesca, the villa’s owner, as they took in evacuated children from the bombs that rained down on Italy’s industrial north.

The son of one of those children is now set to take over the villa, and as time runs out, Beatrice reveals to Tess her story of love, loss, secrets, guilt and lifelong hope. In doing so, Beatrice also helps to ease Tess’ aching heart.

This was the beautifully told story of love, loss and the hardships of war. The location was lovely, and as someone who often visits this region, I enjoyed the details and history. A highly enjoyable read.

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


A Million Ways coverA Million Ways: Stories of Motherhood

I love short stories, and so I greatly enjoyed this collection centered around the theme of motherhood. Since this is an anthology, the collection was a nice mix of writing styles and stories with varying geographical settings and a wide age range – but all touching upon the joys, tribulations and complexities of motherhood.

One young woman miscalculates the difficulties involved in becoming a stepmother to her new husband’s two children, and the pain she’ll experience being on the receiving end of the ex’s animosity. A young mother grapples with her cancer diagnosis and treatments – all while praying she’ll have the privilege of watching her young son grow up. A young girl from a poor, rural hillbilly family channels her mother’s support and pride to aim for seemingly impossible goals.

These and the other engaging stories in this collection are a beautiful tribute to motherhood.

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


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