Friday, May 28, 2021

Cosmic Queries by Neil DeGrasse Tyson with James Trefil (TLC Book Tour)

 Cosmic Queries has the subtitle “StarTalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going.”  I’ve listened to and enjoyed StarTalk a couple of times and have enjoyed Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s interviews on various programs.  I love science, but I don’t know that much about astrophysics.  I thought it was a good time to learn more.

Cosmic Queries is written in an interesting and humorous manner and I read through it quickly.  It is written for someone like me who likes science but is not an expert in astrophysics.  It goes through the history of the study of astrophysics, what makes up the universe, life in the universe, and the beginning and end of the universe. 

Sections of the book are short and interesting, and the pictures are beautiful.  Interspersed throughout are funny tweets from Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  There were also interesting side bars often with biographies of important people in astrophysics, such as a tidbit about Henrietta Leavitt.  She worked as a human computer at Harvard in the late 1800s and made a major breakthrough in astrophysics.  Of course, the work was published under a man’s name and she did not get credit until after her death.  I also loved reading about Galileo.  His story fascinates me.

Favorite Quote:

“Just because you can’t figure out how ancient civilizations-built stuff, doesn’t mean they got help from Aliens.”  - Don’t tell this to my Dad!!

Overall, Cosmic Queries is a fascinating and often humorous book about the history and future of astrophysics. I greatly enjoyed it!

Book Source:  Review Copy from Hachette Books as part of the TLC Book Tour. Thank-you!  For more stops on this tour, check out this link.

About Cosmic Queries

• Publisher: National Geographic (March 2, 2021)
  • Hardcover: 312 Pages 

  In this thought-provoking follow-up to his acclaimed StarTalk book, uber astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tackles the world's most important philosophical questions about the universe with wit, wisdom, and cutting-edge science. 

 For science geeks, space and physics nerds, and all who want to understand their place in the universe, this enlightening new book from Neil deGrasse Tyson offers a unique take on the mysteries and curiosities of the cosmos, building on rich material from his beloved StarTalk podcast. 

 In these illuminating pages, illustrated with dazzling photos and revealing graphics, Tyson and co-author James Trefil, a renowned physicist and science popularizer, take on the big questions that humanity has been posing for millennia--How did life begin? What is our place in the universe? Are we alone?--and provide answers based on the most current data, observations, and theories. 

  Populated with paradigm-shifting discoveries that help explain the building blocks of astrophysics, this relatable and entertaining book will engage and inspire readers of all ages, bring sophisticated concepts within reach, and offer a window into the complexities of the cosmos. 

For all who loved National Geographic's StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos: Possible Worlds, and Space Atlas, this new book will take them on more journeys into the wonders of the universe and beyond.

Purchase Links

National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Legendary astrophysicist NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON is the host of the popular podcast StarTalk Radio and Emmy award-winning National Geographic Channel shows StarTalk and Cosmos. He earned his BA in physics from Harvard and his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia. The author of more than a dozen books, including the best-selling Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Tyson is the first Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children. Follow him on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie


What do you like about mysteries?  Do you have a favorite Agatha Christie mystery? 

 I read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie in April as part of the Read Christie 2021 Challenge.  It is a mystery set before World War II, which meets the prompt for the month.  I knew nothing about this novel going in. I loved it and was completely surprised by the ending.  How does Christie do this to me every time?

 Hercule Poirot has retired to the countryside.  Even in retirement, excitement finds him when a local wealthy man, Roger Ackroyd, is found murdered.  This novel is narrated by the local Dr. Shepard who writes a narrative of the investigation like a Dr. Watson figure to Poirot.  He is single and has a delightful sister Caroline who is in tune with all of the gossip in town.  Who is the killer?  Is it his stepson?  The mysterious maid?  His niece?  The man servant?  Poirot uses his little grey cells to solve the mystery.

 I enjoyed this mystery and the small-town setting.  The characters were great, and I loved the ending.  I really want to talk about the ending, but don’t want to ruin it for others!  Feel free to comment if you’d like to discuss the ending.  I think Christie really turned the genre on its head when she wrote this mystery in 1926.

 Favorite Quote:

“Our hobbies and recreations can be summed up in the one word, ‘gossip.’”

 Overall, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is another superb mystery by Agatha Christie.

 Book Source:  Purchased from

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Title:  Daisy Jones and the Six

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Read by:  Sara Arrington, Jennifer Beals, Arthur Bishop, Fred Berman, Benjamin Bratt, Jonathan Davis, Ari Fliakos, Holter Graham, Judy Greer, January Lavoy, Robinne Lee, Peter Larkin, Henry Leyva, P.J. Ochlan, Robert Petkoff

Publisher: Random House Audio

Length: Approximately 9 hours and 3 minutes

Source: Checked out on Overdrive from the Kewaunee Public Library.  Thank-you! 

Daisy Jones and the Six was the May pick for the Rogue (aka FLICKS) Book Club.  I feel like I’ve heard about this book for so long, it was great to finally be able to read and discuss it.

Daisy Jones and the Six is told in a documentary style to discuss the band, how it got it together, and why it broke apart. The Six was a band that was started by brothers Billy and Graham Dunne in their suburban Pittsburgh garage.  They start to gain fame but explode into another level of fame when Daisy Jones joins them for an album and tour.  Daisy was a wonderful singer but is very much into the drug and alcohol scene.  She is just drifting through life before she joins the Six.  The band is volatile and hanging on by a thread.  Will they be able to make it through their tour?  What caused them to break up in the end?

I listened to Daisy Jones and the Six on audiobook and it was fantastic.  I don’t know how this would read as a physical book, but I love that they had a full cast of actors for all of the different characters.  There were a lot of characters.  I followed the main character storylines, but I would mix up some of the minor characters.  I thought it was hilarious on how one of them completely didn’t know what was going on the entire time and read all situations incorrectly.

Those that read or listened to this in book club seemed to like the story as well.  The one complaint was that it actually seemed like a real band and the book made you want to listen to the music, but when you went to look for it, you found out it was all fiction.  I would love to hear the songs.  I read that this was loosely based on Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac.  I don’t know much about them, so this was all new to me.  I was overall amazed that these people could have survived the 70’s with their drug and alcohol use.  I really loved how the ending tied it all together.

Overall, Daisy Jones and the Six is a fantastic audiobook about the highs and lows of a seventies rock band.  The story will draw you in and keep you enthralled until the end.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Dusk’s Darkest Shores by Carolyn Miller (Blog Tour Review and GIVEAWAY)


I LOVE Regency romance.  Even better are clean Regency romances.  I’m excited to discover a new to me Regency author, Carolyn Miller. 

Mary Bloomfield is firmly on the shelf.  She is a nice, but plain woman and is a wallflower at any party.  There is a lack of men with the Napoleonic Wars raging and she unfortunately has not found someone to love. Her life is nevertheless fulfilling as she helps her father, who is a doctor, as a nurse in their neighborhood in England’s Lake District. 

Mary finds herself caring her brother’s childhood friend, Adam Edgerton, after he returns from the Napoleonic Wars with a disease.  He struggles with how to continue on with his life with his newfound handicap.  He is depressed and frustrated, but with the help of caring Mary, will he be able to find a new path in life?

I greatly enjoyed this story.  I really cared for the characters.  I loved how caring Mary was, but to tell the truth, I really enjoyed her very annoying and selfish sister as well. I like that Mary was deeply rooted in her faith and used prayer to help those cases that were the hardest.    I also like that this book really looked at the struggles they both faced and how they worked through them with the power of their faith. 

There was also a sad side story about a young woman who is a victim of rape and is shamed by the village.  Her story really saddened me.  I liked that Mary had compassion for this young woman.

I loved the author’s note at the end of the novel explaining her research and her faith journey.  It was very interesting.

Favorite Quotes:

“Music and laughter swirled through the assembly room, a shiny, animated scene within a life-sized bauble.” – What a great first line!!

“Perhaps such was the nature of love, that one could be blind to the folly of the chosen object of affection.”

Overall, Dusk’s Darkest Shores was a great Regency romance that focused on the characters faith journey.  I enjoyed it.

Book Source:  Review copy from Kregel Publications for being a part of the Blog Tour.  Thank-you!


Enter to win a fun prize pack inspired by the book and its English setting that includes:

- a copy of Dusk’s Darkest Shores
- a canvas bag to carry your latest reads
- a fun pair of Jane Austen socks
- Novel Teas’ English Breakfast tea
- “Drink tea, read books, and be happy” tea spoon
- “Let your faith be bigger than your fear” mug
- Black currant preserves from England
- Wax Lyrical candle from England

Enter the giveaway by using the following link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Eleanor in the Village by Jan Jarboe Russell


Title:  Eleanor in the Village

Author: Jan Jarboe Russell

Read by:  Samantha Desz

Publisher: Simon & Shuster Audio

Length: Approximately 5 hours and 7 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Shuster Audio.  Thank-you! 

The subtitle of Eleanor in the Village is Eleanor Roosevelt’s Search for Freedom and Identity in New York’s Greenwich Village.  I love to read about first ladies and had not read much about that time in Eleanor’s life.  I was happy to be able to listen to and review this audiobook.

Eleanor in the Village gives an overview of Eleanor Roosevelt’s life starting from her parents getting together through her death.  It discusses Eleanor’s troubled relationship with her parents and how she became an orphan early.  She fell in love with Franklin Roosevelt, and it built up her self-confidence that he loved her as well.  Her marriage was troubled as she had an overbearing mother-in-law that took away Eleanor’s control over her own household and children.  She limped along at least secure in Franklin’s love, until one day she discovered letters in a suitcase from his mistress and discovered he really loved somewhere else.  That was the end of their physical marriage and they were a political partnership from that point on.  How did they work together and how did Eleanor become a powerful woman herself?

I loved reading about how Eleanor really came into her own once she discovered Franklin’s affair.  It was during this time that she lived in the Village and became friends with lesbian couples, free thinkers, and potential communists.  It was also during this period that J. Edgar Hoover started having her surveilled even though her husband was not in political office at the time.  I thought it was amazing to learn that there are still about twenty pages of secret files on Eleanor Roosevelt that the United States Government has not released to her grandson.  I thought it was also interesting that she had so many assassinations attempts against her with her work with civil rights in the South, and that the FBI did not work on trying to solve them.

Franklin Roosevelt was a great president, but a terrible husband.  I thought it was interesting how he was the “love of their life” for Eleanor and at least two other women.  This book examines Eleanor’s sexuality, but comes away with few conclusions.  She did have friends that were lesbian couples, and she had a love affair with a woman and a man.  It is not clear whether the relationships were consummated.  It also discusses how times were different back then where the press shielded the fact that Franklin and Eleanor did have an unconventional marriage.

My only negative was that I thought the book was going to really focus on Eleanor’s time in the Village.  It talked about it somewhat but was really more of an overview of her life with an emphasis on the Village.

Samantha Desz was a great narrator and I enjoyed listening to this audiobook.

Overall, Eleanor in the Village is a good overview biography of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Bookstore on the Beach by Brenda Novak


Do you have any favorite books featuring mothers?

 The Bookstore on the Beach is a multi-generational story set in a charming beachside town of Sable Beach.

 Mary owns a bookstore half and half with her best friend Laurie.  She lives a private life and is excited that her daughter Autumn is coming to visit with her two grandkids, Caden and Taylor.  As Autumn starts to ask questions about her father, Mary worries that the past she has kept secret will come out.  Autumn’s husband went missing 18 months ago.  When she runs into an old high school flame, she feels like perhaps she can move on.  Should she try to start afresh or continue to search for her husband?  Taylor misses her father, but at the beach, she makes a new friend and realizes that she may want to take a different path in life. 

 I loved the multi-generational story of The Bookstore on the Beach.  Mary, Autumn, and Taylor’s story line were all equally strong and very engaging.  The story was very dramatic. I loved the family relationships, but I also loved the look into how secrets can change your life and impact your family.  The big reveals in the story pulled on my emotions and kept me looped into the story.  I liked the mystery of a couple of the storylines as well as the contemporary issues.  I also loved the great romance that was in the story as well.  I’m being a little vague here as I LOVED the surprises, and I don’t want to ruin them for anyone else.  There is a great epilogue you also get if you sign up for Brenda Novak’s newsletter.

 I read this in April for the Brenda Novak Book Group.  We had the book club meeting last month and it was fun as always.  You can still access it on Brenda Novak’s Facebook page.   There will be a deeper discussion on Brenda Novak’s Birthday on May 15th.

 Favorite Quote:

“She’d never forget wandering down the aisles, touching the spines of the books she’d already enjoyed.  As an only child, the fictional characters they contained were her first friends, and even though she had plenty of real friends as she grew older, she was always eager to retreat into the imaginary world created by a good storyteller.”    - I love this description of the bookstore and reading!

 Overall, The Bookstore on the Beach is a great multi-generational family drama that makes the perfect beach read.

 Book Source:  Purchased from

Monday, May 10, 2021

Replaced Parts by Stephanie Hansen (TLC Blog Tour)

 Are you ready for a new sci fi young adult novel?  Author Stephanie Hansen has written a unique story for anyone looking for a new book and series to read.  Replaced Parts is set in a dystopian future.  Sierra is a rebellious teenager who is searching for her father.  He was a Nobel Prize winner, but he disappeared about ten years previously, rumored to have run off with a younger woman.  After finding a secret message from her father, Sierra decides to run away to the planet Vortex to find him.  Will she be able to save her father?

 Replaced Parts had very interesting world building and the plot was action packed.  The characters were very interesting as well.  I really liked the science and technology parts of this story.  It started with Sierra getting in trouble for releasing lab Koala bears, which hooked me right away into the story.

 Overall, Replaced Parts is an action-packed new sci fi young adult novel.

 Book Source:  Review Copy as part of the TLC Book Tour.  Thank-you!

About Replaced Parts

• Paperback: 240 Pages
  • Publisher: Fire & Ice Young Adult Books (January 5, 2021) In the year 2163 a corrupt World Government controls everything on our planet and beyond. Sixteen year-old Sierra has been so caught up in her own world of saving animal test subjects and her father’s disappearance, she hasn’t paid much attention. When she finally finds his location, she and her friend set off on a covert interplanetary mission to rescue him, she begins to see the corruption first hand. Discovering that her father has been on the front lines secretly trying to save human test subjects inspires her to join a revolution. But she is afraid of the collateral damage of hurting the people she loves. Will she find the strength to make a deal with the mad scientist Cromwell to save not just her friends and family but everyone? 

Purchase Links

Fire & Ice | Barnes & Noble

About Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen is a PenCraft Award Winning Author. Her short story, Break Time, and poetry has been featured in Mind’s Eye literary magazine. The Kansas Writers Association published her short story, Existing Forces, appointing her as a noted author. She has held a deep passion for writing since early childhood, but a brush with death caused her to allow it to grow. She's part of an SCBWI critique group in Lawrence, KS and two local book clubs. She attends many writers’ conferences including the Writing Day Workshops, New York Pitch, Penned Con, New Letters, All Write Now, Show Me Writers Master Class, BEA, and Nebraska Writers Guild conference as well as Book Fairs and Comic-Cons. She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Find out more about her at her website, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet by Chelsea Wald


Title:  Pipe Dreams:  The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet

Author: Chelsea Wald

Read by:  Lisa Flanagan

Publisher: Simon & Shuster Audio

Length: Approximately 8 hours and 8 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Shuster Audio.  Thank-you! 

 If there ever was a book written just for me, Pipe Dreams is it.  Pipe Dreams:  The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet is a fascinating look into sanitation.  It covers all aspects from how toilets work around the world, to how sanitary sewers and wastewater treatment plants are designed, to current problems and new ideas on how to deal with them.  I am an environmental engineer and work in the wastewater industry.  This was the perfect book for me to listen to while I drove around to wastewater treatment plant inspections.  This book was very interesting and was correct on the technical information.  If you’ve ever wondered what happens after you flush the toilet, author Chelsea Wald does a great job explaining everything in this book.  She is factual, but also full of humor which made it so fun.

 I enjoyed that the policies and psychology of toilet use were also discussed.  It’s interesting how different parts of the world differ on how a toilet is used (squat versus sit) and whether to use toilet paper versus water.  She also talks about testing of the wastewater.  The single most interesting fact to me was the doing testing around the United States for drugs, it’s  been found that drug use is consistent among all socioeconomic levels and within different races/ethnicities.  The rush for toilet paper during COVID was discussed as well as newer items in the wastewater field such as PFAS chemicals.

 Items near and dear to my heart were also discussed including the American Society of Civil Engineers Report Card and the sad state of infrastructure in the United States and world.  I worked on the wastewater section for the state of Wisconsin.  She took me out of my hard infrastructure bubble and got me thinking about other solutions for sanitation around the world.  Wald visits wastewater plants worldwide, which I thought was fascinating besides being a life goal of my own.  She also mentions the Milwaukee wastewater treatment plant and their inventive reuse of biosolids with their milorganite fertilizer product.

 Wald does an excellent job of explaining a lot of information in a fun way.  This type of information is often overlooked as no one likes to think about what happens after you flush the toilet.  It’s important to know for health reasons and for making prudent political choices to update infrastructure.  I could wax on about my great love for this audiobook for eternity, but I’ll stop now. Listen to this book and be prepared to learn and laugh. Lisa Flanagan is a great narrator.

 Overall, Pipe Dreams:  The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet is a fascinating and humorous look into toilets and sanitation.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Spark: How Genius Ignites, From Child Prodigies to Late Bloomers by Claudia Kalb (TLC Book Tours)

 Have you ever wondered why some people are child prodigies while others hit their genius in middle or old age?  I have often wondered about this.  Spark looks into this phenomenon through the exploration of the lives of twelve geniuses from Pablo Picasso to Grandma Moses.    These stories offer “New insights into the relationship between brains, talent, willpower, and circumstance, illuminating the history, science, psychology – and humanity – of genus.”  Each chapter in the book is a biography of a genius in chronological order by the age in which their genius ignites. 

I found this entire book to be both enlightening and fascinating.  I love to read biographies of great people.  I really liked the fresh angle of this book focusing on when and what caused the spark of genius to ignite.  Some of my favorite people that I have read a lot about were included such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Maya Angelou, but there were many others such as Pablo Picasso, Alexander Fleming, Peter Mark, etc. that I had previously not known much about.  I enjoyed learning more about all of these people and loved the fresh perspective from author Claudia Kalb.

Favorite Quotes:

“What role do our personality traits play in the livelihoods we pursue?  Are we born with talent or lured by passion?  How do we discover the spark that fuels our souls?  And how do we know when we’ve found it?”

“Creative people in the arts – poets, writers, painters, sculptors – often emerge from troubled pasts.” 

Overall, Spark is an inspirational book for people of all ages.

Book Source:  Review Copy from Hachette as part of the TLC Book Tour. Thank-you!  For more stops on this tour, please check out this link.

About Spark: How Genius Ignites, From Child Prodigies to Late Bloomers

• Publisher: National Geographic (April 27, 2021) • Hardcover: 368 pages Yo-Yo Ma’s ear for music emerged not long after he learned to walk. By the age of seven, he was performing for President Kennedy; by fifteen he debuted at Carnegie Hall. Maya Angelou, by contrast, didn't write her iconic memoir, I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings, until she was 40. What propels some individuals to reach extraordinary creative heights in the earliest years of life while others discover their passions decades later? Are prodigies imbued with innate talent? How often are midlife inspirations triggered by propitious events, like Julia Child's first French meal at the age of 36? Do late bloomers reveal their talents because their skills require life experience and contemplation?  

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About Claudia Kalb

CLAUDIA KALB is an award-winning author and journalist who reports on a wide variety of health and science topics. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History's Great Personalities. A former senior writer at Newsweek who has also contributed to Smithsonian and Scientific American, Kalb has written cover stories for National Geographic that explore genius through the lens of biography, history, culture, and science. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia. Find out more about Claudia at her website, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson (Blog Tour)

Join the virtual blog tour of ISABELLE AND ALEXANDER (Proper Romance Victorian), Rebecca Anderson’s highly acclaimed historical romance novel, May 3–16, 2021. Over forty popular blogs specializing in historical fiction, inspirational fiction, and Victorian romance will join in the celebration of its release with spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new Victorian-era novel set in Manchester, England. 

Isabelle Rackham is a new bride in Manchester England in 1850.  She barely knows her new husband, but knows he is a handsome successful mill owner.  Marriage does not go as Isabelle has expected.  She knows they didn’t marry for love, but she had hoped they would be able to form a relationship.  That seems unlikely as Alexander spends all of his time at the mill and barely talks when he is at home.  Alexander makes an effort to spend more time with his wife by bringing her to his beloved country estate.  While there, an unfortunate accident occurs that changes their entire world.  Will they be able to recover and have a more loving union?

 Isabelle and Alexander is a heartwarming love story.  It’s about two people learning to understand one another and open themselves up for love.  Isabelle and Alexander both work towards understanding more about each other.  It’s a slow burn novel that starts from the two of them as silent strangers to learning to love.  I greatly enjoyed this novel.

 I was also fascinated as the novel is set during Victorian times and deals with disability.  This is not something I have read about much.  I do know that during this time, it was common to send away family members who did have a disability.  Besides weathering Alexander’s disability, Isabelle befriends the Kenworthy family who have a very special daughter, Glory.  Although she goes through manic phases, the family cares for her at home and she is a very special young woman.  I love how Alexander dismisses her at first, but then over time, realizes he has underestimated Glory.

 I also loved learning about mills in this novel.  Isabelle opens herself up to learning about Alexander’s business and getting to know how it works and the people who work there.  I thought it was fascinating.

 I enjoyed Isabelle’s development as a character.  She gathered strength throughout the novel and the courage to speak out for what she believed in.  I love that she was open to learning new things and to go beyond the training as a lady that her mother provided.

 Favorite Quotes:

“You are a great deal more than well enough.  You have offered your strength when I had none, your patience as I pushed you away again and again.”

 “No decision you make affects you alone; therefore, you cannot decide crucial things in isolation.  All choices made about our family should be made by us together.”

 Overall, Isabelle and Alexander is an inspirational Victorian nontraditional romance.  I read this one quickly and enjoyed every minute of it!

 Book Source:  Review Copy from Shadow Mountain Publishing as part of the Blog Tour put together by Laurel Ann Nattress from Austenprose.  Thank-you!


Title: Isabelle and Alexander (Proper Romance Victorian)

Author: Rebecca Anderson

Genre: Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction, Victorian Romance

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing (May 4, 2021)

Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (368) pages

Tour Dates: May 3-16. 2021


Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time to combine the upper-middle-class wealth of her father's coal mines with Alexander Osgood's prospering Northern country textile mills. Though not a man prone to romantic gestures, Alexander is well-known as an eligible bachelor. His good looks have turned more than one head, so Isabelle is content to think of herself as Alexander's wife.

However, her marriage is not what she expected. Northern England is nothing like her home farther west in the lake country. Cold, dreary, and dark, the soot from the textile mills creates a gray hue that seems to cling to everything in the city of Manchester. Alexander is distant and aloof, preferring to spend his time at the mill rather than with her at home. Their few conversations are brief, polite, and lacking any emotion, leaving Isabelle lonely and desperately homesick.

Sensing his wife's unhappiness, Alexander suggests a trip to his country estate. Isabelle hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know her new husband without the distractions of his business. But the change of scenery doesn't bring them any closer. While riding together on horses, Alexander is thrown from his and becomes paralyzed. Tragedy or destiny? The help and care that Alexander now needs is Isabelle's opportunity to forge a connection and create a deep and romantic love where nothing else could.


"Anderson’s first foray into historical romance is an atypical, yet satisfying story set in Victorian Manchester’s upper middle class. Hand this to readers looking for a book that navigates the peaks and valleys of two strangers attempting to make a life together despite the hardships life throws at them."— Library Journal

"Isabelle transitions from an unaware, leisure-class woman to a more enlightened spouse and supporter of the working class. Intimacy and romance develop between Isabelle and Alexander because of simple gestures, like a long look or a thoughtful gift, and their conversations. Their slow, stately courting is reader appropriate for any age or audience. Manchester also gets its due as a place of grit and incredible production. Descriptions of bustling mills reveal their impact on the couple’s family and its fortunes. Isabelle and Alexander is an intimate and touching romance novel that focuses on women’s lives in the business class of industrial England."— Foreword Reviews

"Isabelle must use her quiet spunk, busy mind, and compassionate spirit to woo her husband in a wholly new way. Anderson's debut is a lovely northern England Victorian romance about confronting the seemingly impossible and the power of empathy. Anderson also addresses the time period’s treatment of physical and intellectual disabilities. Most of all, she beautifully depicts love in its many forms beyond romance, such as compassion, patience, and vulnerability; and her characters illustrate the ways that these expressions of love carry us through even the darkest hours. Isabelle’s loving and persevering fervor and devotion will resonate with any caregiver’s heart."— Booklist


Rebecca Anderson is the nom de plume of contemporary romance novelist Becca Wilhite, author of Wedding Belles: A Novel in Four Parts, Check Me Out, and My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions. Isabelle and Alexander is her debut historical romance novel. 

High school English teacher by day, writer by night (or very early morning), she loves hiking, Broadway shows, food, books, and movies. She is happily married and a mom to four above-average kids.



May 03 Lu Reviews Books (Review)

May 03 Timeless Novels (Review)

May 03 Our Book Confessions (Review)

May 04 Literary Time Out (Review)

May 04 My Bookish Bliss (Review)

May 04 The Book Diva's Reads (Excerpt)

May 05 Heidi Reads (Review) 

May 05 Laura's Reviews (Review)

May 05 Wishful Endings (Review)

May 05 Gwendalyn's Reviews (Review)

May 06 Margie's Must Reads (Review)

May 06 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Excerpt)

May 06 Relz Reviewz (Review)

May 07 Randi Loves 2 Read (Spotlight)

May 07 The Reading Frenzy (Review)

May 07 Nurse Bookie (Review)

May 08 The Christian Fiction Girl (Review)

May 08 The Bibliophile Files (Review)

May 09 Reading with Emily (Review)

May 09 Fire and Ice (Spotlight)

May 10 My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt)

May 10 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Review)

May 10 Booked Solid (Review) 

May 10 From Pemberley to Milton (Spotlight)

May 11 Greenish Bookshelf (Review)

May 11 Captivated Reading (Review)

May 11 The Green Mockingbird (Review)

May 12 For Where Your Treasure Is (Excerpt)

May 12 Bookworm Lisa (Review)

May 13 Books, Teacups & Reviews (Spotlight)

May 13 Library of Clean Reads (Review)

May 13 Robin Loves Reading (Review)

May 13 So Little Time (Excerpt)

May 14 Eli's Novel Reviews (Review)

May 14 The Lit Bitch (Review)

May 14 The Bluestocking (Review)

May 15 Reading Is My Superpower (Review)

May 15 Christian Chick's Thoughts (Review)

May 15 A Darn Good Read (Review)

May 16 The Silver Petticoat Review (Excerpt)

May 16 CozyNookBooks (Review)