My November 2023 reads

Another month, another great journey through books.

My November started out following American Wallis Simpson who moves to London with her second husbands and shifts from standing on the sidelines of glamorous parties to a position of power as the lover of the Prince of Wales. As someone who never spared a kind thought for Wallis Simpson, I enjoyed being in her head and having the chance to explore a more sympathetic perspective of the woman who led the British King to abdicate.

November 2023 reads

Next I got into the Christmas spirit with two holiday-themes novels: one a thriller-borderline horror film that explodes when a  young, heartbroken, newly single woman unwisely decides to take a Christmas holiday alone. The second was a sweet love story set in small town northern England.

This wrapped up another interesting month in books. You can read my full reviews here below.


The DutchessThe Dutchess cover

Wendy Holden

“She could almost hear the collective sigh as all present considered all David had given up, her own slight black figure providing an equally slight reason for such sacrifice. She knew they were musing in opportunities lost, talents wasted, a heritage thrown away. Of the much he could have done and the little he did. But what did they know? And what had they done, anyway.”

In The Duchess, these are the thoughts playing out through Wallis Simpson’s mind in church when she returns to the United Kingdom, for the first time in over three decades, to attend her husband’s funeral. To be fair, this pretty much sums up my views of the infamous American divorcée who was the catalyst for King Edward’s abdication as king in 1936.

This novel was a fascinating dual timeline novel, told through the perspective of Wallis Simpson in the period of 1928-1936 and King Edward’s funeral in 1972, told through alternating chapters. This novel presents the moving story of Wallis, newly married to her second husband after escaping from an abusive first marriage, who moves to London for her husband’s work, and finds herself decidedly outside of good London society.

Her fascination with the Bright Young Things and the glamor of 1920s London grows proportionally to the fading of her republican principles, and she is quickly drawn into fascination with the royal family. This leads to a fateful meeting with Edward (known to his friends as David), Prince of Wales.

A fully engaging story about a “forbidden” love story, and the sacrifices made to carve out happiness, even if it threatens custom and tradition. Highly recommended read.

I’ll Be Alone For ChristmasI'll Be Alone For Christmas cover

Meyer Matthews

What happens when you blend a Hallmark Holiday Story with Horror?

This is not my usual read, but I picked it up on a whim because it sounded quirky, and I’m glad I did.

It starts out, in typical holiday -women’s fiction fashion. Romee can’t wait for Christmas. She’s booked a remote cottage in the mountains anticipating a romantic Christmas holiday with her boyfriend. After all, it’s been two years together and she’s convinced he’ll propose. Sadly, boyfriend has other ideas and dumps her unceremoniously in the lead-up to the holiday, breaking not only her heart, but also her wallet when she discovers the deposit is non-refundable.

But Romee’s a modern woman. She ignores advice from friends and family and opts for a solo holiday – lots of self-pity, TV binging and wine. Things get odd very quickly. Are her items being moved around in the house? Are the sounds the creaking of a cottage, or someone creeping around in the house? And will the blinding snowstorm ever let up?

The tension keeps ratcheting up, until full mayhem explodes … all set to cheery Christmas tunes.

An unusual, but fun read, and since it’s a novella, it reads quickly. Enjoy this quirky Christmas read … just … uh …. not all alone in a remote mountain cabin.

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


Snowflakes and Surprises in Tuppenny BridgeSnowflakes and Surprises cover

Sharon Booth

This was a feel-good, romantic story set in fictional Tuppenny Bridge, small-town northern England. Clemmie is devastated when, at a town Christmas raffle, she wins a portrait painted of her by hometown painter, Ross Lavender. The portrait is meant to generate publicity for the town’s new Lavender Art Institute.

Clemmie should be thrilled, but Ross was her first true love and they split up six years ago and haven’t spoken since. The story is told through alternating perspectives of Clemmie and Ross as circumstances bring them together.

There was a lot to like about this sweet holiday read set in a tight-knit English village with locals who have a penchant for gossip. It did drag for me a bit mid-way, when Clemmie was striking me a lot more like a petulant fifteen-year-old than a woman in her late twenties, while Ross seemed too good to be true. Luckily, it improved as we journeyed towards a Happy Ever After. A sweet, heartwarming holiday romance that is part of a larger series.

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

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