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The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart

If you know me, you know I love authors.  I love to listen to them talk about their books, about their writing process, about their view the world, about the books the love to read.  I’m also loyal to authors.  If I like a book, I will continue to follow that author to see what they will come up with next.

If you know me, you also know I’ve been in a reading slump – planning a wedding and getting married takes a lot of brain power and time!  So when Nicole Baart, (an author I’ve followed since I read her book The Moment Between in 2009) posted on Facebook that she was looking for members of a “street team” for her newest book, The Beautiful Daughters, I applied!  The opportunity to read an Advanced Reader’s Copy, offer it for a giveaway, and then to receive a copy of the book when it is published on April 28, 2015 – I love stuff like that!  I was tickled to be chosen for her Street Team and for The Beautiful Daughters to be the first book I read in 2015.  Bonus:  She sent her favorite chocolates, book marks, signed book plates, and homemade soap made receipt of the package even sweeter!

Below is the description of the book from the Digital Catalog at Atria Publishing (a branch of Simon and Schuster), the tentative cover design, and a little info about Nicole Baart, the author.

Below that is my review and details on how you can get your hands on my ARC!!

The Beautiful Daughters – 

The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart
The Beautiful Daughters
by Nicole Baart

From the author of Sleeping in Eden, described as “intense and absorbing from the very first page” (Heather Gudenkauf, author of The Weight of Silence), comes a gripping new novel about two former best friends and the secrets they can’t escape.

Adrienne Vogt and Harper Penny were closer than sisters, until the day a tragedy blew their seemingly idyllic world apart. Afraid that they got away with murder and unable to accept who they had lost—and what they had done—Harper and Adri exiled themselves from small-town Blackhawk, Iowa, and from each other. Adri ran thousands of miles away to Africa while Harper ventured down a more destructive path closer to home.

Now, five years later, both are convinced that nothing could ever coax them out of the worlds in which they’ve been living. But unexpected news from home soon pulls Adri and Harper back together, and the two cannot avoid facing their memories and guilt head-on. As they are pulled back into the tangle of their fractured relationships and the mystery of Piperhall, the sprawling estate where their lives first began to unravel, secrets and lies behind the tragic accident are laid bare. The former best friends are forced to come to terms with their shared past and search for the beauty in each other while mending the brokenness in themselves.

Nicole Baart’s lush and lyrical writing has been called “sparkling” (Publishers Weekly), “taut and engrossing” (Booklist), and “evocative and beautiful” (Romantic Times). The Beautiful Daughters is another exquisitely rendered, haunting story that will stay with readers long after the last page.


Nicole BaartNicole Baart is the mother of four children from four different countries. The cofounder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of seven previous novels, including, most recently, Sleeping in Eden. Find out more at NicoleBaart.com.

My review:

I really enjoyed this book.  I love books with rich character development.  I love beautiful descriptions.  This book has all that, plus a suspenseful plot with insight into how tragedy affects people.  The book also tackles sensitive topics, but I don’t want to spoil the suspense.

Some of the passages that I re-read and bent the pages for include:

Regarding Adri’s father, Sam:

“Her father was one such daydreamer, the kind of man who spoke volumes in silences and heard God whisper in the song of distant stars keeping watch over the land that he plowed.”

Regarding Adri’s fiance’, David:

“In his personal life he was sensible and composed, able to take up and set aside the mantle of a playboy as easily as donning a coat.  To laugh and joke and drink until his imposing mother slipped into the room, a quiet and watchful revenant whose presence instantly sobered and reined in her son.”

Regarding The Five:

“Jackson was hand in hand with Nora, a new girlfriend who didn’t quite fit.  Harper couldn’t help resenting her.  When Nora was around, they were quick to pair up, but when it was just the five of them, they were a unit.  A fist clenched tight.”

This book is about young adults who meet at a small college in Blackhawk, Iowa.  Adri and her brother Will grew up on a farm in Blackhawk, and David grew up at Piperhall, a mansion down the road.  Along with Harper and Jackson, The Five become fast friends and spend most of their out-of-school time playing grown-up at Piperhall and when Harper suggests a trip to commemorate their college graduation and mark endings and new beginnings, they are unaware of the tragic event that will happen and change their lives forever.  They scatter – Adri to Africa and Harper into dark relationships – and are called home five years later when the matriarch of Piperhall dies.

This is a page-turner and I’m so thankful it was the first book I read in 2015!

Now, to get your hands on my Advanced Readers Copy, please COMMENT BELOW with the FIRST BOOK YOU READ OR ARE READING in 2015!  If you share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter (and share the link), you 10933699_10152994556774210_1188091013014551439_nwill get extra entries!

I’ll pick a winner WEDNESDAY JANUARY 28.

My Wish List: A Novel

My Wish List cover
My Wish List

See below for the form to fill out to win an ARC paperback or ebook of this book!

In the midst of coursework, I took the time to read this book for a blog tour.  I loved the premise (who doesn’t dream of winning the lottery?) and it is a mere 176 pages, so it was a quick read.  I read it with a highlighter in my hand (a little bit of the student coming through?) because some of the sentences and passages called out to be reread and read aloud.  Wow.  I loved the language.

Jocelyne is a 47 year old woman who married a man named Jocelyn (“One chance in millions.  And it happened to me.”)  Jo and Jo have two children, they both work hard and have what they need but little more.  They were in that place in their marriage where they were happy, content.  Their children were raised, they were comfortable being together, and their dreams were small.  He worked for Haagen Daz and she owned her own fabric store (haberdashery) and started a blog.  He dreamed of a big screen TV and a fancy car.  She dreams of being happy and having her father with a failing memory well-cared for.

She wins a large sum of money (18,000,000 Euros) and doesn’t tell anyone.  She hides the money in a shoe and then creates lists – lists of things she needs, lists of things she want – and she worries about how the money will change her life.  And change her life, it does.

Being rich means seeing all that’s ugly and having the arrogance to think you can change things. All you have to do is pay for it.”

I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the care that the translator took with the language – I loved the writing, period!  The chapters were short, but for example, one chapter was infused with “I dreamed…” sentences.  Another is full of “I am happy with Jo” sentences.  I love that.  I love that the things on our “need” lists are called our “daily little dreams” that keep us going.   There was so much of the language of the book that really was beautiful.  It was spare but meaningful.  But the book does have a surprising twist which packs a powerful punch, so it is not without plot.

There is much I could highlight about this book in this blog, as is shown by the highlights in my book!  Whoever borrows the book from me will have to contend with the orange highlights throughout. But as the book uses few words to make its point, so will I.

This book would lend itself to great discussion and would be a great book club book.  Who doesn’t like to dream of winning the lottery?  Who also doesn’t want to dream about how money would change their life?  And it sounds like it’s going to be made into a movie!  French or American, I’ll see it!

Good stuff.  And this good stuff can be yours!  I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY!  Tomorrow I’ll give the details on how you could win an ebook or Advanced Readers Copy paperback of this book of your very own (you won’t have to see my highlights!).  Stay tuned!

Thanks Emma for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour!  More info can be found by clicking here:

My Wish List banner
http://francebooktours.com/2014/01/21/gregoire-delacourt-on-tour-my-wish-list/

Fill out this form to be entered in random drawing for a book of your own!

SYNOPSIS

A cathartic, charmingly tender, assuredly irresistible novel, MY WISH LIST (Penguin; ISBN: 9780143124658; On-sale: March 25, 2014: $15.00) imagines one answer to the question: If you won the lottery, would you trade your life for the life of your dreams? With sales of more than half a million copies in France alone, rights sold in twenty-five countries, and a major motion picture in development, this slim yet spirited tale has sewn up the interest of the literary world.

Jocelyne Guerbette is a forty-seven year old who runs a modest fabric shop in a nondescript provincial French town. Her husband—instead of dreaming of her—wants nothing more in life than a flat-screen TV and the complete James Bond DVD box set. And to Jocelyne’s two grown-up children, who live far from home, she’s become nothing but an obligatory phone call. Perpetually wondering what has happened to all the dreams she had when she was younger, Jocelyne finally comes to terms with the series of ordinary defeats and small lies that seem to make up her life.

But then Jocelyne wins the lottery: $25,500,000! And suddenly she finds the world at her fingertips. But before cashing the check, before telling a soul, she starts making a list of all the things she could do with the money. While evaluating the small pleasures in life—her friendship with  the twins who manage the hairdresser next door, her holidays away, her sewing blog that’s gaining popularity—she begins to think that the everyday ordinary may not be so bad. Does she really want her life to change?

MY WISH LIST is an essential reminder of the often-overlooked joys of everyday life and a celebration of the daily rituals, serendipities, and small acts of love that make life quietly wonderful [provided by the publisher]

***

 

Release date: March 25, 2014
at Viking and Penguin BooksISBN-13: 978-0143124658
176 pages
PRAISE FOR MY WISH LIST

“A runaway bestseller that looks set to follow the success of The Elegance of the Hedgehog.” — Elle (France)

 “Delacourt has hit the jackpot… [He has a] knack for finding exactly the right words and for evoking feeling” — Le Nouvel Observateur

 “Delacourt has a keen eye for everyday life and for the extraordinary challenges that ordinary people face” — Le Parisien

***

Grégoire DelacourtABOUT THE AUTHOR

Grégoire Delacourt was born in Valenciennes, France, in 1960. His first novel, L’Écrivain de la Famille, was published in 2011 and won five literary prizes. MY WISH LIST has been a runaway number-one bestseller in France; publication rights have been sold in more than twenty-five countries. Delacourt lives in Paris, where he runs an advertising agency with his wife.

See more on his French website: Grégoire Delacourt
Follow him on Facebook  | Goodreads

 

“Freud’s Mistress” Giveaway!

Freud's MistressThanks to the TLC Book Tour and the authors of the book, one person who comments on this post or the post with the review of “Freud’s Mistress” will win a copy of the book!

We are coming up on the first day of autumn – tell me about your favorite autumn activity or food or memory!  Or just tell me how much you love my blog!  Haha Any comment gets an entry into the book giveaway.  I’ll announce the winner on September 23.

Good luck!

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