Authors Showcase: Secrets of the Past

The Book:  Charlotte: The Pride and Prejudice Continues

The Author: Karen Aminadra

The Story: When Charlotte Lucas married Mr. Collins, she did not love him but had at least secured her future.

However, what price must she pay for that future? She once said she was not romantic, but how true is that now after almost one year of marriage?

Mr. Collins is submissive in the extreme to his patroness, and his constant simpering, fawning and deference to the overbearing and manipulative Lady Catherine de Bourgh is sure to try the patience of a saint, or at least of Charlotte.

As Charlotte becomes part of Hunsford society, she discovers she is not the only one who has been forced to submit to the controlling and often hurtful hand of Lady Catherine.

She feels trapped and realises her need for love and affection. She is not as content as she once thought she would be. The easiest thing to do would be to maintain the peace and do as she is told. But as Charlotte witnesses the misery around her due to her inimitable neighbour, she must decide to remain as she is or to begin a chain of events that will change not only her life but also the lives of those around her in the village of Hunsford forever.

But…after all, doesn’t every girl deserve a happy ending?

Review by C. E. Davis: WOW !! Loved this book. This continuation takes us into the unusual direction in that it is not about Darcy and Elizabeth. This story is about Charlotte and Mr Collins and how there story continues on. Mr collins is the toady sycophant that we all know and cringe about.

The story starts out just before Darcy and Elizabeth’s wedding and we see Mr Collins as his usual self. Charlotte is wonderful in how she handles him and does make Mr collins see thing diferently. It was diverting to see Charlotte handle him and also the “The right Honourable Lady Catherine DeBourge.”

The characters were well done, I just wish that Colonel Fitzwilliam’s role in this story was different. I’m just a little partial to him and want him to have a happily ever after. Maybe Ms Aminadra can write about him next!! Anyway this is a must read for all the JAFF readers out there. Wonderful story!

A Review by John Oswald: I always wondered about Charlotte Lucas. I often thought that despite getting married that she’d be unhappy and I was excited to find this book.

Charlotte is well written and funny in many places. The author has really got the feel of Jane Austen’s book here. The characters are great and I love the new ones she’s added too.

Lady Catherine was at her nasty best here and I agree with one of the other reviewers that it would be nice to see her redeemed! Any chance of a sequel?

I will admit that by the end of the book I did like Mr Collins and I was rooting for him. I often wondered about Colonel Fitzwilliam and the author has added more mystery to his character. I wonder if his feelings were true? (again something for a sequel?

All in all, this is a great book and a must read for any Jane Austen fan. The blurb asks ‘doesn’t every girl deserve a happy ending?’ and I wanted one for Charlotte and I am really happy for her.
I totally loved this and fully recommend it!

The Book: A City of Broken Glass

The Author: Rebecca Cantrell

The Story: In Rebecca Cantrell’s A City of Broken Glass, journalist Hannah Vogel is in Poland with her son Anton to cover the 1938 St. Martin festival when she hears that 12,000 Polish Jews have been deported from Germany. Hannah drops everything to get the story on the refugees, and walks directly into danger.

Kidnapped by the SS, and driven across the German border, Hannah is rescued by Anton and her lover, Lars Lang, who she had presumed dead two years before. Hannah doesn’t know if she can trust Lars again, with her heart or with her life, but she has little choice. Injured in the escape attempt and wanted by the Gestapo, Hannah and Anton are trapped with Lars in Berlin. While Hannah works on an exit strategy, she helps to search for Ruth, the missing toddler of her Jewish friend Paul, who was disappeared during the deportation.

Trapped in Nazi Germany with her son just days before Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, Hannah knows the dangers of staying any longer than needed. But she can’t turn her back on this one little girl, even if it plunges her and her family into danger.

Review by Kathryn B. Wadsworth: What intrigues me most about Cantrell’s work is her ability to bring Nazi Germany alive through the plight of ordinary people caught up in the horror. While I have relatives who lived through these times, and have heard stories first hand, Cantrell’s ability to shine the light and expose the intimate details of daily life filled with fear and dread is remarkable.

That being said, I love the twists and turns this story takes. While I can usually guess the outcome of most mysteries I read, there were several incidents in this book that I did not see coming! Needless to say about a book by Cantrell, the pacing is spot on, as usual.

I still love Hannah. She is as sharp, smart, funny, ascerbic as ever. Her wit fits perfectly, works perfectly in the context of the story.

And Anton continues to be an interesting new man/child presence in the work. He has always been a wonderful character and I missed him in Game of Lies. As he grows he’s becoming an even more commanding voice and character in the story. Really well done! I love seeing that.

Lars is still a compelling enigma. Clearly he still loves Hannah, but he is much changed since she last saw him. He’s quite a chameleon, from high-ranking policeman/almost Nazi to resistance fighter to . . .what now?

I hope this series continues for many more years so that I can read more about these compelling characters who, buffeted by life’s most horrific events, continue to grow and change and face challenges with humor, compassion, and grace.

A Review by Harriet Klausner: In 1938, Using the Swiss identity Adelheid Zinsli, American journalist Hannah Vogel and her adopted thirteen years old son Anton are in Poznan, Poland where mom is covering the annual November 11th St. Martin’s Day festival for her newspaper. She learns that the Nazis have begun deporting Polish Jews in mass so she follows the lead to learn first-hand more about the refugee situation.

Her inquiry leads Hannah to Miriam the pregnant wife of her friend Paul Keller. Miriam, who dislikes the journalist, despondently tells Hannah she left her two years old daughter Ruth behind in Berlin when she was forced to leave. Hannah and Anton agree to rescue the baby.

The latest Hannah Vogel historical thriller is an exciting tale that brings to life the growing Nazi terrorism spreading anti-Semitism like a plague from Germany into Poland though the plights of Ruth and Miriam, and other displaced refugees. Fast-paced and loaded with suspense, fans will appreciate heroic Hannah and awesome Anton as they mount a rescue attempt though they land in too many perils more than Pauline.



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