Thursday, 21 December 2017

#MiniReviews A Certain Age, The Wicked City and Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams @authorbeatriz @WmMorrowBooks @Marablaise

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

New York in the Roaring Twenties – a time for love, secrets and scandal…

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue – a beautiful socialite of a certain age – has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young lover, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. But though times are changing, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question.

When Theresa’s bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the youngest daughter of a newly wealthy inventor, Theresa enlists her lover to present the family’s diamond rose ring to pretty ingénue, Miss Sophie Fortescue – and to check into the background of this little-known family. Yet even as he uncovers a shocking secret, Octavian falls under Sophie’s spell…

Divided loyalties and dangerous revelations lead to a shocking transgression and eventually, Theresa must make a choice that will change them all forever.

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Since A Certain Age, The Wicked City and Cocoa Beach are all connected with each other, but can be read separately will I do some mini-reviews of them all on the same page. I read them all in reversed order, and you can without any problems do as I did or some other orders, but here have I put the reviews in the order the books are published.

Certain Age is fabulous historical fiction with the setting placed in the glamours 1920s. The story is inspired by Der Rosenkavalier and I was totally charmed with this interpretation. For me, was this book extra interesting to read since I have read the other two books that come after A Certain Age, and now I get the full background story to Sophie Fortescue and here sister Virginias life before we once again met Virginia in Cocoa Beach. One thing I really enjoyed about this book is the way Theresa Marshall is written. It was pretty obvious that her young lover, Octavian, become madly in love with Sophie after meeting her, but Theresa who obviously tried to keep her lover never become a villain in this story. To be honest, I liked her. She was the character whose POV I loved the most in the book. I had nothing against Sophie, her POV was also good, but I never truly enjoyed here storyline as much as I enjoyed Theresa's.

The ending is bittersweet and perfect. I truly enjoyed reading this book and it made me eager to someday re-read Cocoa Beach now when I have read this book. 

The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams recreates the New York City of A Certain Age in this deliciously spicy adventure that mixes past and present and centers on a Jazz Age love triangle involving a rugged Prohibition agent, a saucy redheaded flapper, and a debonair Princetonian from a wealthy family.

When she discovers her husband cheating, Ella Hawthorne impulsively moves out of their SoHo loft and into a small apartment in an old Greenwich Village building. Her surprisingly attractive new neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement at night. Tenants have reported strange noises after midnight—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano—even though the space has been empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the place hid a speakeasy.

In 1924, Geneva "Gin" Kelly, a smart-mouthed flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway known as the Christopher Club. Caught up in a raid, Gin becomes entangled with Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather Duke Kelly, one of Appalachia’s most notorious bootleggers.

Headstrong and independent, Gin is no weak-kneed fool. So how can she be falling in love with the taciturn, straight-arrow Revenue agent when she’s got Princeton boy Billy Marshall, the dashing son of society doyenne Theresa Marshall, begging to make an honest woman of her? While anything goes in the Roaring Twenties, Gin’s adventures will shake proper Manhattan society to its foundations, exposing secrets that shock even this free-spirited redhead—secrets that will echo from Park Avenue to the hollers of her Southern hometown.

As Ella discovers more about the basement speakeasy, she becomes inspired by the spirit of her exuberant predecessor, and decides to live with abandon in the wicked city too. . . .


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The Wicked City has a dual timeline story, in the 1920s do we meet Gin Kelly a flapper who frequently visits the Christopher Club until the club is raided and she got an "offer" she can't refuse from Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson who is after her step-daddy Duke Kelly, an infamous bootlegger. Several decades later has Ella Hawthorne moved into the house the Christopher Club used to be housed. At night strange noises can be heard from the basement, clinking classes, jazz piano voices, even though the speakeasy was closed down years ago...

I read this book and thought "wait a minute" could that be the guy from that other book by the author? I know now after reading A Certain Age, The Wicked City and Cocoa Beach that there are no coincidences. I also know if it feels like there are loose ends in any of the books is it probably a reason for that. A reason that only Beatriz Williams knows. The Wicked City has two different storylines, and although both were enjoyable did I enjoy the present one a bit more, could be Hector, the hot neighbor, could be the strangely haunted basement, or it could be the mysterious discover that Ella did or her awesome Great-Aunt Julie who gave Ella some great advice, when she didn't talk about all the men she slept with. Loved that chapter in the book when Ella was visiting her Great-Aunt, the dialog was cracking.

Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The New York Times bestselling author of A Certain Age transports readers to sunny Florida in this lush and enthralling historical novel—an enchanting blend of love, suspense, betrayal, and redemption set among the rumrunners and scoundrels of Prohibition-era Cocoa Beach.

Burdened by a dark family secret, Virginia Fortescue flees her oppressive home in New York City for the battlefields of World War I France. While an ambulance driver for the Red Cross, she meets a charismatic British army surgeon whose persistent charm opens her heart to the possibility of love. As the war rages, Virginia falls into a passionate affair with the dashing Captain Simon Fitzwilliam, only to discover that his past has its own dark secrets—secrets that will damage their eventual marriage and propel her back across the Atlantic to the sister and father she left behind.

Five years later, in the early days of Prohibition, the newly widowed Virginia Fitzwilliam arrives in the tropical boomtown of Cocoa Beach, Florida, to settle her husband’s estate. Despite the evidence, Virginia does not believe Simon perished in the fire that destroyed the seaside home he built for her and their young daughter. Separated from her husband since the early days of their marriage, the headstrong Virginia plans to uncover the truth, for the sake of the daughter Simon never met.

Simon’s brother and sister welcome her with open arms and introduce her to a dazzling new world of citrus groves, white beaches, bootleggers, and Prohibition agents. But Virginia senses a predatory presence lurking beneath the irresistible, hedonistic surface of this coastal oasis. The more she learns about Simon and his mysterious business interests, the more she fears that the dangers that surrounded Simon now threaten her and their daughter’s life as well.


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When I started to read Cocoa Beach did I not know that the previous two books A Certain Age, The Wicked City were loosely connected to this book. I only realized that when I started to read The Wicked City. Do I regret reading them in reversed order? Not at all, although I wish I could read them all again since I absolutely loved reading the books. Coca Beach takes place both in after-war Florida and on the battlefield of France during WW2. It's in France Virginia Fortescue meets the dashing Captain Simon Fitzwilliam who she falls in love with. But, five years later is she living alone with her daughter after leaving Fitzwilliam after marrying him.

Now, there is nothing I love more than a good mystery and here we get several. What really happened to Simon Fitzwilliam in Florida, why did Virginia leave him and could Virginia be in danger?

As much as I enjoyed this book was there moments towards the end of the book when I thought Virgina took things for face-value a bit too much. Honestly, woman, how about not trusting someone you hardly know and believe what he said. Do some investigations yourself instead. However, I do love the twists in the story towards the end of the book and the open ending, well now I know why Beatriz Williams left the story hanging that way...

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