{Review} The Royal Secret by Lucinda Riley

the royal secret book cover photo of a crown with bokeh lights in the foreground I love a good romantic chick lit. They’re fun and light, if not a bit predictable. In between the “heavier” stuff I read, it’s good to get lost in some fantasy world. I was pretty sure The Royal Secret would be a book like that, and it is, but with a little twist.

Joanna Haslam, our strong female lead, is a striving journalist waiting for her big break. When she’s sent to cover the funeral of Sir James Harrison, a venerated actor (I kept thinking of Charlton Heston, for some reason…), she comes to the aid of an elderly woman in attendance.  This act of kindness turns out to be fateful as Joanna is plunged headlong into a royal mystery featuring a dizzying array of characters, all with their own stories to reveal. The ending is anything but predictable, and Lucinda Riley keeps us guessing until the very end.

The origins of the book itself even has some intrigue. Originally scheduled to be published back in the early aughts, the Royal family put the kibosh on the book, causing the author to lose her contract with the publisher. I guess enough time has passed at this point that the earlier censorship is now reversed and the book is back with a new title.

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Photo of Author Lucinda Riley wearing a rust-orange sundress, standing on a walkway in lush green scenery. The author is leaning on the railing with arms crossed.
Credit: Boris Breuer

FIND LUCINDA RILEY ONLINE:

Website: http://www.lucindariley.com

Twitter: @lucindariley

Facebook: @Lucindarileyauthor

Lucinda Riley is the New York Times bestselling author of The Orchid House, The Girl on the Cliff, The Lavender Garden, The Midnight Rose, and the Seven Sisters seriesHer books have sold more than fifteen million copies in thirty-five languages globally. She was born in Ireland and divides her time between England and West Cork with her husband and four children.

 

 

 

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{Review} The Farm by Joanne Ramos

the farm by joanne ramos

My Review

Women’s bodies are a battleground– a political battleground, a social battleground, a religious battleground. Bodies that are valuable and glorified at the same time that they are dispensable and interchangeable. They  are a commodity, for men, certainly. And for women, they  are a commodity, whether it’s their own body or another woman’s body.

And that’s what The Farm is about. Joanne Ramos has conjured up a world that will be familiar to anyone that has read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Except that at The Farm, women are compelled to give up their bodies as surrogate wombs with the promise of money and maybe some notion that they are helping another woman in need.

It’s a good story, with an interesting mix of characters to keep the plot moving along, enough to make me emotionally invested in the story.

But don’t expect the depth or complexity of The Handmaid’s Tale. On the surface, this is a commentary on women’s bodies and how they become weapons in a class war. Underneath, it’s just your run-of-the-mill chick lit with on-trend hot button issues layered over it.   A good  beach read, but don’t expect to arrive at any profound revelations.

Pre-Order The Book (Available May 6, 2019)

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NetGalley Description

Life is a lucrative business, as long as you play by the rules.

“[Joanne] Ramos’s debut novel couldn’t be more relevant or timely.”—O: The Oprah Magazine (25 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2019)

Nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley is a luxury retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, personal fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you’re paid big money to stay here—more than you’ve ever dreamed of. The catch? For nine months, you cannot leave the grounds, your movements are monitored, and you are cut off from your former life while you dedicate yourself to the task of producing the perfect baby. For someone else.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is in desperate search of a better future when she commits to being a “Host” at Golden Oaks—or the Farm, as residents call it. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her family, Jane is determined to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on the delivery of her child.

Gripping, provocative, heartbreaking, The Farm pushes to the extremes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.

Advance praise for The Farm

“This topical, provocative debut anatomizes class, race and the American dream.”The Guardian, “What You’ll Be Reading This Year”

“Wow, Joanne Ramos has written the page-turner about immigrants chasing what’s left of the American dream. . . . Truly unforgettable.”—Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story and Lake Success

“A highly original and provocative story about the impossible choices in so many women’s lives. These characters will stay with me for a long time.”—Karen Thompson Walker, New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Miracles and The Dreamers

“Ramos has written a firecracker of a novel, at once caustic and tender, page-turning and thought-provoking. This is a fierce indictment of the vampiric nature of modern capitalism, which never loses sight of the very human stories at its center. . . . Highly recommended.”—Madeline Miller#1 New York Times bestselling author of Circe

 

 

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