weekly wrap-up 3/19

• Happy Sunday! Can we just go back to Friday night and do the weekend over again? I am not ready for Monday, y’all. #weekendmode forever.

• I posted photos in my IG stories, but we celebrated my mama’s birthday Friday night! ♥ Love you!

• Haaa I feel like I’m always talking about the weather in my wrap-ups but for real. Second winter is here. Pittsburgh was SO spoiled this year – record-breaking temperatures, hardly any snow – and now we’re paying for it.

Last week I talked about how I was (still!) listening to The Romanovs and, guys, I did NOT want to say goodbye! If you’re into Russian history, epic family sagas, biographies, or audiobooks, I highly recommend it!

MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK? Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens had me glued to the page. Chevy pulled all the stops with this one: a man is released from jail and suddenly his ex-wife (who he had abused for years) notices things moving around her house, feels she’s being watched. He swears he doesn’t have anything to do with it and that he’s a changed man, but can she believe him? So, so good – though there was a character I just couldn’t get behind. Still, I absolutely recommend this one!

When Allan Wolf was a teen, a boy in his school was brutally murdered. Who Killed Christopher Goodman? is heavily inspired by that boy’s death. The novel is told through multiple characters – including the killer’s POV – and kept me hooked until the end, though it wasn’t nearly as engaging as I had hoped.

This week’s the saturday six. features bees (surprise, surprise), a television adaptation of one of my favorite novels, a recipe, podcast love, a slideshow of terrible decor trends, and more!


 
 

The Sisters of Blue Mountain by Karen Katchur
Hahaha I have a million copies of this book. I received an ARC from the author, another from the publisher, and now the hardback. Back in 2015 I read (and adored) Karen’s debut, The Secrets of Lake Road and am ridiculously excited for her new one! I mentioned it a few months ago when I discussed the mystery and suspense novels of 2017 that I couldn’t wait to read – a tiny Pennsylvanian town, hundreds of geese mysteriously die, a B&B owner has her life turned upside down when, not only does her estranged sister come back into her life and their father is the lead investigator in the geese incident, but a body is discovered on her property. This sounds bonkers and I am SO there. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press!

Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg
A gothic novel about a utopian commune gone wrong OH YES. From the blurb: And we had Foxlowe, our home. Where we were free. There really was no reason for anyone to want to leave.. That right there makes me want to drop everything and dive in. I’m expecting some moody creepiness! Thank you, Penguin!

The Map That Leads to You by J.P. Monninger
I love when publicists reach out with books I’ve never heard of. I swear sometimes it’s like they know my taste better than I do. This one is definitely outside my typical thriller-type reads, but there was something about it that grabbed me: after graduating college, Heather and her friends go traveling around Europe. This is her last chance at freedom, the summer after school responsibilities and just before Real Life begins. What Heather never expected was Jack. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press!

Beyond the Wild River by Sarah Maine
This is another novel I couldn’t wait to get my hands on, so imagine my utter delight when I was invited to be part of the blog tour! Set in the 1890s, a Scottish heiress unexpectedly runs into a childhood friend in North America…five years after he disappeared from her family’s estate the night a brutal double murder took place. The Chicago World’s Fair is featured (home of America’s first serial killer!) and comparisons to both Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams. Yep, total Leah book! Thank you, Atria!

The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley
Another tour I’ll be participating in! The English countryside, British aristocracy, BEATRIX POTTER, clues to a journey that begins in an antiquarian bookshop. Yes, yes, yes. Thank you, Atria!

the saturday six.

 
• YUM. Linguine with Broccolini and Walnut Pesto.

• Earlier this week Cheerios announced their #BringBackTheBees campaign by giving away seeds. All you had to do was sign up on their site. The outpouring of support and interest was so extreme, they gave away 1.5 billion seeds before running out!

• One of my FAVORITE reads in the past few years is being turned into a television show!! AMC will air The Age of Miracles – and the production company is the same that did Stranger Things, so I am VERY confident in this one! My 5-star review

• #goals! A 70 year old woman ran a marathon on every continent in a single week.

• Fun! The worst decor trend from the year you were born…okay, so these are pretty terrible, but I feel by the 2000s, they were really reaching.

• Joy is after my heart: she recently listed her favorite true crime podcasts

Who Killed Christopher Goodman? by Allan Wolf

Who Killed Christopher Goodman? by Allan Wolf
Pub. Date: March 14, 2017
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, Candlewick!)
Summary: Everybody likes Chris Goodman. Sure, he’s a little odd. He wears those funny bell-bottoms and he really likes the word ennui and he shakes your hand when he meets you, but he’s also the kind of guy who’s always up for a good time, always happy to lend a hand. Everybody likes Chris Goodman, which makes it especially shocking when he’s murdered. Here, in a stunning multi-voiced narrative including the perspective of the fifteen-year-old killer and based on a true and terrible crime that occurred when he was in high school, author Allan Wolf sets out to answer the first question that comes to mind in moments of unthinkable tragedy: how could a thing like this happen?
Genre: True Crime, Historical

Having moved from sunny California, Christopher Goodman was always a little odd, not afraid to be his own person. With his love of bell-bottoms and his insistence on shaking hands when meeting someone new, he certainly caught the attention of everyone around him, but he was a nice guy, always ready to lend a hand. Unfortunately for Chris, his kind-heartedness cost him his life.

Back in the late 70s Allan Wolf was in high school when one of his classmates was murdered, shot after offering a ride to two boys. Who Killed Christopher Goodman? is Wolf’s way of honoring his friend as well as relieving friends and family of the blame they’ve been carrying all these years: if I had invited him over for pizza he would still be alive, if I hadn’t kept him out so long he wouldn’t have been there for those boys to get into his car, etc.

Told through multiple voices – including the killer’s – this is a novel that focuses on a boy’s murder and explores the weeks leading up to his death. A group of students who otherwise wouldn’t have had any reason to talk to one another are brought together after Christopher’s murder following a town festival. From the boy who discovered his body to the girl who had a crush on him, these kids are all linked to Chris in a way that binds them together.

Because this is ultimately a story based on a personal tragedy and a very real crime, I feel hesitant to critique it. However, I found myself enjoying the idea, the premise far more than the actual book. I never felt a real connection to any of the characters, I was only reading to find out who had killed Christopher. The perspective jumps so rapidly from character to character that they never came across as individuals to me – this was partially due to Wolf’s nicknames. Any time the narrative shifts, the character is always introduced with, not just their name, but also a label, so the story would bounce from Squib Kaplan – The Genius to Hazel Turner – The Farm Girl to Doc Chestnut – The Sleepwalker and so on.

As a side note: I read this book in November in the midst of NaNoWriMo. Since NaNo was at the forefront of my mind, I couldn’t help but notice little quirks about Who Killed Christopher Goodman?: from the aforementioned character labels (that were used every time the narrative switched) to scenes being replayed through each character’s eyes. I couldn’t help but compare this book to a NaNoWriMo story – Wolf did several things I personally have used to reach 50,000 words!

At the end of the book Allan Wolf includes a bit about the actual crime: the murder of Ed Disney and how it put an end to the town’s yearly festival. I won’t give anything away, since it would spoil the entire mystery, but the boy who did it had originally been sentenced to 41 years after being tried as an adult and was paroled after serving 13 years. However, he was back in prison within the year and is now serving three consecutive life sentences. The festival was brought back a decade later after having gone through a complete overhaul. Instead of Deadwood Days it was renamed Steppin’ Out and went from being a street fair to a more family-friendly event.

While Who Killed Christopher Goodman? wasn’t as engaging as I had hoped, the true story and murder that the book was based on certainly got my attention and kept me reading until the end – I needed to know what happened and who killed Chris! The addition of the author’s notes at the end was very welcomed. I’m someone who loves to know more about the real story behind events, to dig deeper into history, so knowing the true story behind a classmate’s murder really made this novel for me.

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens
Pub. Date: March 14, 2017
Source: ARC + finished hardback via publisher (Thank you, St. Martin’s Press!)
Summary: Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband was sent to jail and she started over with a new life. Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her ex-husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she’s cut all ties. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller

A few years ago I had an unfortunately lackluster introduction to Chevy Stevens. To be fair, I mostly blame the narrator of the audiobook. Typically I’m the kind of reader that doesn’t give second chances: if you didn’t pull me in with one book, that’s it; there are far too many books waiting to be read to take a gamble on a potential disappointment. HOWEVER, something caused me to give Stevens another try and I ended up being completely wowed by Those Girls!

So when I found out Stevens was working on a new novel I was ecstatic. Even more so when I read the summary: after a whirlwind romance, Lindsey and Andrew married young, eager to start their lives together. It wasn’t long, however, until Lindsey began noticing a chance in Andrew, a darker side that wasn’t there before, but she could only blame it on a stressful job and alcohol for so long before finally admitting that Andrew was abusive – physically and mentally. It took even longer before she was able to leave. That fateful night Andrew landed in jail and Lindsey started a new life with their daughter. When Andrew is released eleven years later – and strange things begin happening to Lindsey (her e-mail is being read by someone, her keys are being moved around, her new boyfriend has been threatened) – it’s no surprise where fingers start pointing. Andrew swears he’s a changed man, but can Lindsey really believe him?

Never Let You Go uses one of my favorite storytelling devices: dual eras! This one is only a matter of 20 years, rather than the decades-long time skips I love so much, but I was enraptured nonetheless. Lindsey was working in a hardware store the day Andrew came in. It was an instant attraction and a wedding happened shortly after. So what if they didn’t live together beforehand, not every couple does, and besides, they had the rest of their lives to be together was Lindsey’s way of thinking. Their early years of marriage seemed perfect: still in his twenties, Andrew started his own construction business and it was booming. It was doing so well, in fact, that there was no need for Lindsey to continue working in the hardware store – especially not if they were planning on starting a family.

A doting, attentive provider of a husband who catered to her every whim, Lindsey truly had it all in Andrew. Until the cracks began to show. Andrew became quick to anger, why wasn’t dinner ready on time, like he’ll fall for the line about traffic being to blame for an overly long shopping trip, the mileage on the car doesn’t add up – the grocery store isn’t that far away. At first it was a beer or two at night. Of course Andrew would want to unwind after a long day at work, who wouldn’t? But soon those few beers doubled, tripled, and with each sip Andrew turned into someone Lindsey didn’t know. The name-calling and screaming was one thing, but everything changed the night their daughter witnessed Lindsey being pushed. Suddenly Lindsey realized she needed to leave. Now.

Never Let you Go lets the reader in on those early, blissful days in a seemingly happy marriage and it’s so easy to get caught up in Andrew’s actions. His business is a wild success, there’s no need for Lindsey to work. On the surface it seems completely harmless: Andrew’s bringing in more than enough money and they won’t have to leave their young daughter in the care of strangers. A total win-win, right? There’s even a happy turn when Andrew readily offers Lindsey’s father a job as foreman. It’s what her father had always done and is excellent at it, but when her mother fell ill, his absences piled up and he was ultimately let go and where is a 50-year-old man going to find another job like that? It’s only when you look deeper that you realize Lindsey is trapped: she has no income of her own, no way of getting help, and if she did leave, what would happen to her parents? Andrew would get rid of her father in an instant and her mother desperately needs medical care.

In the present, Lindsey has made a new life for herself running her own cleaning business and religiously attending a support group for domestic violence survivors, complete with a weekly trainer who teaches these women self defense tactics. Though it has been over a decade since the night Lindsey left Andrew, she still can’t shake the past, always looking over her shoulder, instilling in her daughter an unceasing vigilance in staying safe, making sure the alarm is set, keeping doors locked. The night Lindsey and her daughter left, Andrew followed. In a drunken stupor, he chased them down and ended up killing a woman. He’s been locked away all these years and now Lindsey has received word he’s been released.

I’m just going to stop myself there. Clearly Never Let You Go is a novel I can ramble about for days. Where Lindsey had once been naive and quick to trust, she’s now extremely cautious and protective of her daughter – and has only just recently got back into the dating scene where she found a nice guy. Sure they don’t have that passionate chemistry, but they enjoy each other’s company and he doesn’t set off any of Lindsey’s internal alarms.

Sophie, on the other hand, is the definition of a free spirit. She lives her life in a barrage of color: purple hair, patterned leggings, wild art. She loves her mom, but doesn’t understand Lindsey’s absolute terror when it comes to her dad. Sophie was only six when they left, but she remembers Andrew as a great dad who loved to take her with him wherever he went. (Lindsey, naturally, remembers those daddy-daughter outings as more of a threat on Andrew’s part: look how easily I can take her away from you.)

There’s a boy at school, the most popular boy, who begins to notice Sophie and, I’ll be honest, the storyline with him made me angry. I have a really good friend who’s a social worker and her stories of the women she sees every day are heartbreaking. Because of that, I had a hard time giving this relationship my support. Jared came off as a mini Andrew, an abuser in the making, and I honestly thought that was where the book was headed. His parents are outrageously wealthy and are rarely at home – the perfect equation for teenage parties, right? What Sophie assumed was going to be a huge party, turned out to be an excuse for Sophie’s best friend and the boy she likes to have a way to hook up. Alone with Jared, Sophie is talked into drinking and drugs, though she is firm on her stance that she’s not ready for sex. Later in the book, however, she relents, though she doesn’t remember agreeing. I’m convinced Jared slipped something into her drink and it’s never brought up again. As their relationship progresses, he basically pulls all the moves that Andrew did: wants to know where Sophie is all the time, why didn’t she immediately reply to a text, Jared begins making plans for them even though Sophie says she doesn’t want to do that or go there. Prior to them dating, they received acceptance letters to the same college. Sophie and her BFF always dreamed of going to the same school and getting their own place. It was pretty much set in stone until Jared decided that obviously Sophie would much rather share an apartment with him – he’s even going to put down money for it. He’ll “punish” her by ignoring her and not responding to texts or calls. One of the houses Lindsey cleans is Jared’s parents’ and he insists on calling her by her first name, innocently saying that’s what he calls her when she’s cleaning, but he knows exactly how it comes across – Lindsey is merely the help and doesn’t deserve any semblance of respect. Lindsey is right in being weary of this boy. I didn’t like him one bit and the fact that he was a good guy gives me pause.

I think part of the reason I loved this book so much was because it paralleled Behind Closed Doors, one of my favorite books of 2016. Also, it says a lot about a novel when it’s 400 pages and I read it in a sitting. It was that good.

Again, Never Let You Go is a book I clearly enjoy discussing – the good parts AND the bad. The characters felt all too real. Lindsey became so good at smiling, putting on a happy face for the world to see, that it really frightens me to think of how many people I pass on the street every day that could be going through exactly the same situation. Once the scene is set and Lindsey notices she’s being watched, her things are being touched, the action kicked into high gear and I was thoroughly hooked. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and stayed up WAY too late to see how it would all play out. While I do have some issue with the ending (forgiveness came very quickly to a character who didn’t deserve it at all) and Jared’s disturbingly abusive tendencies of his own were brushed aside, I SO heartily recommend this one. Chevy seriously pulled at the stops and I know this is a novel I’ll be thinking about – and recommending – for months to come!

weekly wrap-up 3/12

• This week has been full of ups and downs. I’m going to get into the really terrible downs, but one of the not-so-awful ugh moments came on Monday. Last week I mentioned how my company treats us to Food Truck Friday, but that it was canceled due to weather. Again, every other day was gorgeous and VERY spring-like…except Friday. Ha! So, once again, it was canceled. Also, heading to work Friday morning I got a ticket. Not the best way to start the day, right? When I walked into our kitchen, I saw someone had not only made coffee, but also put up a really sweet post-it. Thank you, coworker!

• And I guess the big bosses felt bad for canceling the food truck two weeks in a row – not only did they order pizza for the entire building (we’re not MASSIVE, but there are over 100 of us!) but they also told us all to leave early. Win-win!

• If you follow me on instagram, be prepared: this afternoon Matt and I are heading back to my hometown to see a production of Shrek Jr and I am pumped!

• I no longer recap what I read/am reading, but I can’t not talk about The Romanovs. This huge, sweeping history of the tsars begins in the 1600s and ends with the Russian Revolution. For two weeks I’ve been pacing myself but now I’m coming to the end and am not ready to say good-bye! Highly, highly recommended for anyone interested in the time period!

MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK? I’ll admit I was a little hesitant going into Susan Meissner’s A Bridge Across the Ocean, I mean, ghosts + WWII, really? BUT IT WORKED and I was totally blown away! This one is told in three voices: two women fleeing the war and one woman in the present and you know I love me a good dual-era novel! No lie, I loved this one to the point that it’s honestly a possible candidate for a top read of 2017. Yeah. It was excellent and I’m about to get on her other books STAT.

the saturday six was another assortment of mixed goodies: there’s a vegan recipe, a podcast list, Jane Austen, Buffy, and some flailing over a super cool new theater that opened up in town!

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
I received an e-ARC of this one a few months ago, so the arrival of a beautiful hardcover was such a surprise! Violet and Finn are meant to be – Violet certainly believes it and everyone else says they’re the perfect couple – so why did Finn suddenly leave one day? As if abandoning her in their hotel room wasn’t bad enough, he also took their son with him. Soon Violet realizes just how little she knew about the man she married. Although Caitlin has been best friends with Finn forever, she’s faced with a terrible choice: Finn shows up at her door demanding she hide him and his son since he’s wanted for kidnapping. If she doesn’t, Finn threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her whole family. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press!

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
CUE THE SHRIEKING! I’ve only read a few of Lippman’s Tess Monaghan series and discussed one of her novellas in a post about side stories, but Wilde Lake is a standalone and I. Am. Ready. Lu Brant, the newly elected and first female state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, sees her chance at making her name with a case involving a mentally disturbed drifter. As she prepares for the trial, however, memories resurface of the night her brother saved his best friend…at the cost of another man’s life. AJ was eighteen at the time and the jury cleared his name, but Lu was a child. Were there details she never knew? Did that night really play out the way she remembers? As she digs deeper, she’s only met with more questions and the dawning realization that her beloved legal system might not hold all the answers. YESSSS I CAN’T WAIT TO DIVE IN!! Thank you, William Morrow!

Date with Death by Julia Chapman
Ooh, the first in a new series (and I am a huge fan of cozies)! When Delilah Metcalfe, owner of The Dales Dating Agency, accepts she just can’t keep her business afloat, she begrudgingly rents out the other half of her office space to Samson O’Brien. Samson had been a detective on the police force until he was let go. Branching out on his own, Samson takes on new cases – while fighting his own in an attempt to clear his name. His latest case, however, leads right back to Delilah’s Dating Agency. Cozies are so, so fun and this one looks like it’ll be a quick and entertaining read! Thank you, Minotaur!

the saturday six.

Raw chunky monkey banana cream pie holy moly yes.

• This month Buffy the Vampire Slayer turns 20 WHAT. This short but interesting piece highlights why the show’s most hated season is also its most important.

• I love me some podcasts – I highlighted four favorites a few months ago – and this list of eight vegan podcasts looks super neat! I love how it’s a total mix: there are some dedicated to cooking and recipes, one that focuses on running, some with in-depth interviews, there’s even one dedicated to lawyers discussing animal law cases!

• Earlier this week saw A Day Without Women and one Pittsburgh restaurant went so far as to give the seven women on staff (out of a total 11 employees!) a paid day off. VERY cool!

• I’m so so thrilled that a new indie theater just opened in my town! I haven’t been there yet, but it looks like it’ll be incredible: they’re currently showing Lion, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Hidden Figures, 20th Century Women, and the French film Jules and Jim. They have advance tickets for Beauty and the Beast and I’m seriously considering seeing it there!! It also looks like each month they’re be highlighting a cultural film (for March it’s a Russian documentary on artistic treasures), Classic Tuesdays (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD!!), and a family friendly film (they’ll be screening the entire Harry Potter series).

• I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have never read a single Jane Austen novel. Don’t hurt me! HOWEVER, I’m a total history nerd and couldn’t help but be intrigued when I came across this article suggesting arsenic might have been the cause of her death.

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner
Pub. Date: March 7, 2017
Source: e-ARC + ARC via publisher (Thank you, Berkley Books!)
Summary: February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark…

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.
Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII, Paranormal

Told in three voices, A Bridge Across the Ocean is a novel that truly surprised me. ..as in, this very well could be a top contender for a top read of the year. Yeah. It was THAT good.

Annaliese grew up with a love of dance. That love, however, soon caught the eye of a Nazi officer. Forced into a marriage she never wanted, Annaliese dreams of escaping, running back to her beloved best friend, and never returning to the horrible, abusive man that is her husband. Simone’s papa and brother were part of the French Resistance before being brutally gunned down in the middle of the street while Simone watched. While fleeing, Simone does something that immediately has the Gestapo tracking her down. Her father always told her of a place where she would be safe – will she be able to make it there in time? Brette comes from a long line of women born with an otherworldly ability, an ability to see spirits (Brette calls them Drifters). Though she has always tried her best to ignore these ghosts, a high school acquaintance calls out of the blue one day desperately needing her help and pulls Brette into a mystery she can’t shake.

A Bridge Across the Ocean stretches from World War II to the present day as it follows each of these women and I was immediately hooked. There are thousands of war brides travelling across the Atlantic on their way to their soldier husbands back in America…and one of those women is carrying a terrible secret. To the reader it’s known from the very beginning, but watching it play out over the course of the book was captivating. The famous Queen Mary ties the past and present together and its even more famous ghosts lie at the very heart of the story.

Brette’s high school friend who needed help? His wife recently passed and his little girl insists she saw her mother on the ship. Inconsolable and refusing to believe otherwise, she demands they keep returning to the ship, to her mother, and Trevor hopes Brette can say for certain his wife’s spirit is not there. Begrudgingly Brette accepts, but the moment she steps foot onto the Queen Mary, she’s instantly embroiled in a mystery that had me flipping the pages. Could it be possible the war bride who is said to have committed suicide didn’t? Could she have been pushed? Oh, I was SO there.

I will say there was a twist that was revealed that, while I understand why it played out the way it did, in my mind I had imagined something far different and – for a time – was disappointed the book didn’t go that direction. However, looking back, I realize there was no other way it could have possibly gone; Meissner knew exactly what she was doing and the book proves it.

The entire time I was reading, A Bridge Across the Ocean was firmly planted in the really good, 4.5 stars category. It wasn’t until the end when another reveal happened – this one involving a spirit – that I was floored and instantly knew this book was something truly special. One tiny a-ha moment of Brette’s and a subsequent chapter from the spirit’s perspective completely took this book to a new level for me, though I have a feeling this reveal will either make or break the novel for readers. Either you’ll love it just as I did, or you’ll find it so outlandish that the book is ruined. I’m hoping it’s the former, because I thought it was excellent and tied everything together beautifully – AND reminded me of some of my favorite novels, so!

A Bridge Across the Ocean was a total surprise. I went in expecting a fun WWII/present day back-and-forth and got that and so much more. Please don’t let the supernatural element turn you off – not for a second does this ever stray into Sookie Stackhouse or Patricia Briggs territory. I’m slightly appalled that this is my first time reading Meissner’s work but am absolutely delighted to have found such a fantastic author to devour! Luckily for me, she has quite a hefty backlist and looking at 2015’s Secrets of a Charmed Life it looks as though her publisher found its groove with her covers and I’m positive her next release will also feature a similar design (I like it!). I highly, highly recommend this one – I was enchanted, I gasped, I laughed, I even teared up at the end, and – best of all – it caused me to spend an entire night reading up on war brides. I’m the kind of reader that loves to go off and do my own research on whatever interesting and intriguing topic I’m reading and A Bridge Across the Ocean had that in spades.