The best novels to grab when needing excitement or the comfort of a caress

Kathleen Boston McCune Author Of Assignment Love: The Writer and Her Agent
By Kathleen Boston McCune

The Books I Picked & Why

Next Ship Home: A Novel of Ellis Island

By Heather Webb

Book cover of Next Ship Home: A Novel of Ellis Island

Why this book?

I personally enjoyed this book for the courage found by the Heroine in a world where women were considered 2nd class citizens, but she, through strength of character and love of a sister she loses due to illness and no monies to save her, gives her that impetus to forge ahead through unconventional, but effective ways and new friends of wealth in America. It could be called a Cinderella story with illegal immigrants as heroines.

A book of 1902, about a young woman who had been abused by her father to the point that a nun suggested she find refuge elsewhere. From Italy, she proceeds to save enough money to book passage with a ship for both herself and her younger sister who is already ill from similar abuse. She looks forward to Ellis Island, knowing she then will be on the safe harbor of America, until she learns that without someone to meet them as a sponsor, they might both be sent immediately back to Italy.

I would recommend this book for the depth of feeling given to the characters by Heather and her insight into how desperate the heroine knows she is. Ms. Webb used actual letters from those who had passed through Ellis Island and the instances of horror have since been proven true historically, though her characters are fiction. Very well written and reminded me of my own inner strengths rarely used of getting around the barriers set up for women, but managed when left alone without monetary help after divorce.

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Three Hours in Paris

By Cara Black

Book cover of Three Hours in Paris

Why this book?

I loved this book because the Heroine is a woman who is not only handy with a gun, but uses it to attempt to remove the Villain of WWII, in Paris on her own, but finding unique paths, as we all should, to make our way, no matter the doors closed in our path. As a historic book of WWII, our Heroine has lost what she most lives for and the British Intelligence takes advantage of her talents to use her in a ruse, whilst she outperforms even her own expectations.

Ms. Black manages to minute by minute follow our Heroine, Kate Rees, an American markswoman, through Paris after special training by British Intelligence, to her goal and that of the World, with all the details of the time, the place, the uniqueness of the people, including their dress, bodily differences, and human drives with such finesse that I felt as though I were Kate Rees myself.

I love this for its’ accuracy to history and the talent with which Ms. Black writes. Another tale of women involved with the important aspects of our world, but rarely noted.

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Jimmy Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend

By Michael Munn

Book cover of Jimmy Stewart: The Truth Behind the Legend

Why this book?

I love and recommend this accounting of Jimmy Stewart as what seems to be an honest and first person from his wife. She does not gloss over the tawdry but smiles at the sexual appetite of a man bigger than life to many. Whether best known for Rear Window, Vertigo, How the West Was Won, or Anatomy of a Murder, he was an actor I always admired for being able to act without seeming pompous even when getting the accolades from fans and press.

Michael Munn, using Jimmy’s widow for referencing much of his assertions of Jimmy’s character, gave me the feeling that at least in this appraisal of an artist, Munn had gone the extra yardage to actualize his impressions of Jimmy. Munn has been cast as a fraud, but I don’t think so in this instance. Jimmy admitted himself that acting was not so much an art, as it was work, well focused on and studied by the best of its’ participants.

Insight into his family was enlightening to me, as I’m pretty sure we are related on my fraternal side, with Stewart the surname of my Great Grandmother, Mary Evelyn Stewart, whose father was Reverand David Ira Harris of Ontario, Canada. Their work ethics and family honor codes parallel ours and the looks do as well.

However, without the family connection, I would still recommend this book to any and all folks who enjoyed any or all of Jimmy Stewart’s movies, as for me, they were all works of art, because of his studied portrayal of the men he made human for his audience.

Perhaps the only aspect of his personality which also further identifies him as family was his natural acumen for sexual fulfillment for his lady friends and thus himself, of course. A great read!!

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By Isabel Allende, Frances Riddle

Book cover of Violeta

Why this book?

I love this book for how honest it is, whether one is poor or wealthy, you will find yourself understanding Violeta somewhere in her life, spanning 100 years, Violeta Del Valle, the main character of this South American treatise, shares her story; which includes wars, comedy, passion, pain, travesty (during the socialist occupation), loss of souls, and the sage review at the end of a woman of that many years giving her view of her life in Chili, Argentia, Los Vegas, Miami, and farmland in between.

Beginning at birth, we learn the pattern of wealthy families, and others, in the role of women in 1920 until today, with much the same familiarity of our America during that same period, though with greater comfort, such as running water, plumbing, and more jobs in such areas as manufacturing, etc.

This book is detailed from the outlook of a woman born of wealth, but losing that advantage while still a child when WWII breaks out and German refugees come to South America to hide and make their own new lives. I enjoyed this book because it is history which is accurate, but also because Allende is a natural storyteller, revealing the feelings of most of the characters, in turn, giving the reader a feeling of being a part of the story.

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The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen

By Syrie James

Book cover of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen

Why this book?

I recommend Lost Memoirs for finally giving us a love story from an author we all have enjoyed since 5th grade. A true artist in “putting us in her life,” Syrie James accomplishes this while giving us readers the feeling of friendship with Jane Austen within these pages of her lost memoirs...

This book is of the recently found letters and diaries of Jane Austen of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility fame in not only books, but movies made over the years. It begins with the Austen Family Tree, which revealed that Jane had not only her sister, Cassandra, but six brothers, all either clergymen or military men with titles and at least a modicum of wealth. This was quite enlightening to me, who has read her forever, but somehow I’d missed this important aspect of her life, which gives her insights into the minds of men, better than most writers.

We are gradually invited through coquetry into her life at four and thirty years on a trip to the water at Lyme, England with her brother, wherein climbing over rocks, she slips and (well I won’t go on, or the reader will miss the fun of this event). The rest of the book follows that after sharing time with a man her mental match and many, many times her match in property, money, and standing in the community, it is assumed she will soon be wedding a child half his age of four and thirty as well. Losing her father and thus their home (he being the clergy which is not given retirement benefits of either home or wages), she, Cassandra, and their hypochondriac mother must flitter from one abode to another, on the cuffs of their brothers and their wives, most of which would prefer they move on.

Throughout their required moves we as readers are acquainted with the areas of England including Bath, Chawton, Portsmouth, London, France, Dorset, and other smaller bergs all colorfully drawn for readers as only Jane Austen can render. A great read that everyone who had no prior knowledge of a love interest in Jane’s life, will enjoy.

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