The Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White (2022)
Team W has done it again! When I first heard they were writing a story set among the famous and fabulous Newport mansions, I was so excited because I've loved visiting there, and this story did not disappoint. The story is told in three timelines - in 2019, a historic preservationist leads a reality tv home makeover show in Sprague Hall; in 1958, Lucky Sprague's difficult marriage comes to a head; and in 1899, Ellen is hired to be the music teacher for the mistress of Sprague Hall, Maybelle. I always love reading a story from these three authors; their writing flows together so seamlessly. Although the present day storyline was perhaps a little weak, the 1958 and 1899 storylines were so atmospheric. I loved getting to know Lucky, Ellen, and Maybelle, and the glamour and richness of the times really came through. Sprague Hall was just as much a character as the women, too - a fictitious mansion set in a very real place, it has seen its share of secrets. There is a bit of mystery in the story that I was able to figure out about halfway through the novel, but that didn't hamper my enjoyment; I was interested to see how the authors would tie everything up. Overall, a gorgeous historical fiction novel that will transport you to Newport! 4.5 stars (I received a free copy from the publisher; all thoughts are my own)
Running Wild (Wild #3) by K.A. Tucker (2022)
Marie has been in love with her best friend for years, but now that he's married, she knows she must move on. When she meets Tyler, she feels the spark between them, but his past may keep them from becoming something more. After loving Calla and Jonah's story, I was eager to stay in Alaska and explore more of the characters there. While I enjoyed Marie's story, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. I liked the parts of this story that didn't have to do with Marie's love life - learning more about the Iditarod, the issues with her sister, how her vet practice and her family life collide. Marie is a complicated woman who is juggling a lot, and so I wanted more for her from a love interest. I wanted her to realize that Jonah wasn't the only man out there and stop wasting time on this unrequited love. Even after she met Tyler, she still seemed hung up on Jonah, constantly comparing the two. Did she love Tyler only because he reminded her of Jonah? I appreciated Tyler's backstory and how it made him reluctant to start something new, but I didn't like the back and forth he put Marie through. And the ending just felt so abrupt! 3.5 stars
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