Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin – Audiobook Review & Giveaway

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm has delighted readers for over 100 years. Published in 1903, when girls were inevitably depicted as pretty, gentle and proper, Rebecca Rowena Randall burst onto the scene of children’s literature. Sent to live with her prim and proper Aunt Miranda, who is expecting her much more demure sister, Rebecca is a “bird of a very different feather”. She has “a small, plain face illuminated by a pair of eyes carrying such messages, such suggestions, such hints of sleeping power and insight, that one never tired of looking into their shining depths…” To her Aunt Miranda’s continual dismay, Rebecca is exuberant, irrepressible, and spirited – not at all “proper” or “demure”. She wins over her aunt soon enough, and the whole town, and thousands of readers and listeners everywhere.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Published 2017 by Post Hypnotic Press (Originally Published 1903)
Format: e-audiobook; 8 hours, 11 minutes
Classics / Young Adult
Also By This Author: The Bird’s Christmas Carol, Mother Carey’s Chickens
Goodreads | Audible
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

Surprisingly, I had never heard of this novel until very recently, which shocks me because it’s the type of classic young adult novel that I usually gravitate towards. I was also pretty surprised at the similarities between this novel and L.M. Montgomery’s novels Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon, especially since Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm was published several years beforehand.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm follows the journey of Rebecca Randall as she leaves her family home to live with her two polar opposite aunts. When Rebecca arrives, she is rather plain and unbecoming, but her personality and imagination are quite the opposite. Her guardians, especially Aunt Miranda, do their best to raise Rebecca into a respectable young lady. If you’re familiar with L.M. Montgomery’s most iconic heroine, Anne Shirley, then you will probably notice the similarities between her and Wiggin’s Rebecca Randall, although I would argue that Rebecca is a milder mix between Anne Shirley and Emily Starr, another one of Montgomery’s heroines.

My favorite aspect of Wiggin’s novel was Rebecca’s character growth. She reigns in her temper and impulsive reactions fairly quickly, and her adolescent mistakes become fortuitous opportunities, such as when she sells a large amount of soap to Adam Ladd. She also possesses a pure heart and genuinely cares about others.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy novels with fierce, unconventional heroines.
…you appreciate the traditions and values of small town, early 20th century life.
…you are a fan of novels like Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery.

Audiobook Review

I previously listened to (and loved!) the first three Anne of Green Gables novels which were produced by Post Hypnotic Press, so I was looking forward to listening to their adaptation of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Ann Richardson’s performance did not disappoint! She brought a liveliness to the characters that was enjoyable and engaging. I especially love listening to classic novels on audiobook, and I would definitely listen to another one of Ann Richardson’s narrations :)

Ann-Richardson-headshot.jpgAbout the Narrator: Ann Richardson has been narrating for major publishers as well as independently published authors since 2008, happily giving voice to classics such as “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” (Kate Douglas Wiggin), “Greenwillow” (B.J. Chute), and Zane Grey’s “Riders of the Purple Sage”. Her narrations have been awarded AudioFile Magazine’s Earphones Awards, as well as having been finalists in the Voice Arts Awards in 2016 and 2017. In her spare time Ann is a volunteer narrator for Learning Ally (formerly Recording For the Blind and Dyslexic), and speaks to author groups and at writers’ conferences about the process of making an audiobook.

Giveaway!
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Giveaway: 3-Month Audible Membership

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Banner.jpg

And stop by the tour page to check out other blogger’s reviews for Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm :)

DisclaimerI received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Post Hypnotic Press. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

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The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin – Blog Tour & GIVEAWAY!

thebeautifulamerican

“Some memories, the more you talk about them, the stronger they become.”

The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin
Published June 3, 2014 by New American Library/Penguin
Historical Fiction
Format: paperback; 352 pages
Cover Appeal: A
Also From This Author: The Sweet By and By, The Frenchwoman
Goodreads | Amazon | Website
My Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

As recovery from World War II begins, expat American Nora Tours travels from her home in southern France to London in search of her missing daughter. There, she unexpectedly meets up with an old acquaintance, famous model-turned-photographer Lee Miller. Neither has emerged from the war unscathed. Nora is racked with the fear that her efforts to survive under the Vichy regime may have cost her daughter’s life. Lee suffers from what she witnessed as a war correspondent photographing the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.

Nora and Lee knew each other in the heady days of late 1920’s Paris: when Nora was giddy with love for her childhood sweetheart, Lee became the celebrated mistress of the artist Man Ray, and Lee’s magnetic beauty drew them all into the glamorous lives of famous artists and their wealthy patrons. But Lee fails to realize that her friendship with Nora is even older, that it goes back to their days as children in Poughkeepsie, New York, when a devastating trauma marked Lee forever.

A novel of freedom and frailty, desire and daring, The Beautiful American portrays the extraordinary relationship between two passionate, unconventional women.

Thoughts

This novel brought on so many nostalgic feelings! One of my favorite things about reading novels set in France is all the cultural references I get to latch on to. I like reading about a city or cuisine or French habit and being able to say, “Yes! I know exactly what that is.” I’ve read some books set in France that had too many cultural and French language errors for me to be able to enjoy reading it. The Beautiful American is not one of those books. Jeanne Mackin depicts a vividly accurate and alive portrait of France, so that it is a character as much as it is a setting.

The book starts off to a slower tempo but that really adds to the whole suspense of the novel. We know right from the beginning that Nora, our main character and American expatriate, is searching for her missing daughter, and is also hiding a torturous and heartbreaking past. Then suddenly we are presented with detailed flashbacks of a promiscuous and carefree 1920s Paris. During these earlier flashbacks I kept comparing The Beautiful American to The Great Gatsby; they both play with themes of 1920s idealism, and the suspense I mentioned earlier is strengthened by the foreboding knowledge that everything is about to come crashing down. Once it finally does, you cannot put this book down until you know how it ends.

I was happy, and nothing in the world can make you oblivious to your surroundings like happiness.

As far as historical fiction novels go, this one is captivating and inspiring. Nora and her celebutante childhood friend are bold and courageous characters who witness some true horrors from the WWII era. As a warning to anyone interested in reading this book, there is some mild sex and violence that is unsettling but not explicit.

If you are a fan of historical fiction that feels real and intense, The Beautiful American will no doubt be an enjoyable novel for you! You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to WWII era France even if you’ve never been to France before in your life :)

Read This Book If…:

…you love France!
…you enjoy reading historical fiction that takes place in Europe during WWII
…you like The Great Gatsby (it has that same 1920s idealism that you just know is about to collapse)
…you’re longing for a book that will captivate you even after you’ve turned the last page

Final Musings

FranceBookTours I’m reviewing The Beautiful American as part of a blog tour hosted by France Book Tours. Please click on the banner to see a list of other bloggers participating in the tour!

Praise for The Beautiful American

“Readers will rank [it] right up there with The Paris Wife…. A brilliant, beautifully written literary masterpiece…”–New York Times bestselling author Sandra Dallas

“Will transport you to expat Paris… and from there take you on a journey through the complexities of a friendship…breathes new life into such luminaries as Man Ray, Picasso, and, of course, the titular character, Lee Miller, while at the same time offering up a wonderfully human and sympathetic protagonist in Nora Tours.”–Suzanne Rindell, author of The Other Typist

“Achingly beautiful and utterly mesmerizing… Sure to appeal to fans of Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife and Erika Robuck’s Call Me Zelda, or indeed to anyone with a taste for impeccably researched and beautifully written historical fiction.”– Jennifer Robson, author of Somewhere in France

“Beautiful…A fascinating account of a little-known woman who was determined to play by her own rules.”–Historical Novel Society

unnamedABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanne Mackin is the author of several historical novels set in France, and has earned awards for her journalism
as well as a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, cats and herd of deer, and is still trying to master the French subjunctive.

Visit her website.
Follow Jeanne Mackin on Twitter  | Facebook

Buy the book on Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books a Million | Google Play | iBookstore | Indiebound | Powells

GIVEAWAY

Click here to enter a giveaway for Jeanne Mackin’s The Beautiful American. Five copies will be given away to US/Canada residents only.

Review & Giveaway: Heart & Soul by Lee Strauss

Heart and Soul

One of my favorite indie authors is Elle Strauss, who typically writes Young Adult science fiction romances. My favorite novel of hers is Clockwise, a story about a high schooler who frequently and unintentionally time travels to the Civil War era. But Elle Strauss also writes adult fiction under the pen name Lee Strauss.

Lee Strauss’s most recent series, The Minstrel Series, is a clean romance series that focuses on the lives of aspiring singer-songwriters. There are currently three novels in the Minstrel Series. The first two, Sun & Moon and Flesh & Bone, take place in Dresden, Germany and follow the lives of German twenty-somethings whose paths intertwine.

sun and moon
Sun & Moon: She has a past. He has a secret.
Katja’s a risk-taking singer-songwriter hoping to make it in the indie music scene in Dresden, Germany. Micah’s a brooding uptown banker on a quest.
There’s an undeniable attraction between them, a gravitational pull they both struggle to resist. Katja knows she mustn’t fall in love with this handsome enigma. There’s something dark lurking beneath the surface. He could be dangerous.
And even if her life isn’t on the line, her heart most definitely is.
flesh and bone
Flesh & Bone: She can’t remember. He can’t forget.
Eva Baumann is invisible. Sebastian Weiss is famous. In a perfect world Eva would be fearless and Sebastian would be guiltless.
It’s not a perfect world.
Singer-songwriter Eva Baumann has a celebrity crush on Sebastian Weiss. He’s perfect to love because there is no way they could ever be a thing. She’s a nobody. He’s a heart-throb. Hiding an infatuation is easy for her because, since her accident, hiding is what she does best.
Sebastian Weiss’s band climbed the charts, seemingly overnight, and he’s finally living the dream. All he has to do is write enough songs to produce a second album. The bad news is he hasn’t written a song in over a year…
But then Sebastian stumbles into the Blue Note Pub in time to hear Eva Baumann perform a hauntingly beautiful song. Could this girl be the answer to defeating his writer’s block?
Eva and Sebastian begin a complicated writing relationship that leads to more. But Sebastian has a secret that will devastate them both.

Flesh & Bone has been my favorite installment so far in this series. I had a hard time putting it down! I loved the characters and the story line was very moving. I loved the way it dealt with forgiveness and redemption, and I also really enjoyed how the main characters grew and changed during the novel.

The third Minstrel novel, Heart & Soul was released yesterday, and I volunteered to receive a free copy in exchange for a review. Heart & Soul is a spin-off of Flesh & Bone and it follows the life of the main character’s sister, Gabriele. That being said, I felt that this novel could stand-alone (but definitely read Flesh & Bone, either before or after!).

Heart and Soul Heart & Soul: She’s heartbroken. He’s heartless.
Gabriele Baumann-Smith is deliriously in love with her young husband Lennon. Except, it turns out that Lennon Smith isn’t his real name. In fact, he’s full of secrets: a cottage on the southern British coast, an old girlfriend and…an identical twin brother.
Callum Jones—not his real name—can’t believe his brother’s widow came to England. He’d warned Mick—Lennon—that an inheritance could put the girl’s life in danger, and he was right.
“Mrs. Smith” is the last thing Callum needs to worry about right now. She’s beautiful, sure, takes his breath away at times. But when she looks at him, who does she see?
Gabriele’s heart is battered and bruised. Can one brother fix what the other left behind? And will they live long enough to find out?

This novel was much more suspenseful than the previous two, which I enjoyed because it changed things up a bit. Heart & Soul, like its predecessors, has lots of descriptive imagery. The first two novels take place in Germany, and you can easily imagine the European architecture and city-life. Heart & Soul is set in England, in a small seaside village where everyone knows everyone else. The minstrel/singer-songwriter motif isn’t so much in the spotlight, but there are still a few songs included. Now normally I don’t enjoy reading through song lyrics in a novel, but this series has been different for me; I really like the lyrics and I even take my time reading through them :)

If you are looking for heartwarming novels to read this summer, I recommend you grab one of the Minstrel Series installments to take with you to the beach or the pool! And I’ll even make it easy on you by offering a giveaway of the entire series! The giveaway also includes the original mp3s that go along with the series, as well as a $25 Amazon gift card. (Scroll to the bottom for the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway)
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Introducing 



Heart & Soul


Heart & Soul is the third book in The Minstrel Series 
 

(This is a connected book series – while each book can stand alone, they are best enjoyed in sequence.)


ROMANCE. SUSPENSE. MUSIC. DANGER. HOT BRITISH GUY
She’s heartbroken. He’s heartless.
 
Gabriele Baumann-Smith is deliriously in love with her young husband Lennon.
Except, it turns out that Lennon Smith isn’t his real name. In fact, he’s full of secrets: a cottage on the southern British coast, an old girlfriend and… an identical twin brother.
 
Callum Jones—not his real name—can’t believe his brother’s widow came to England. He’d warned Mick—Lennon—that an inheritance could put the girl’s life in danger, and he was right.
 
“Mrs. Smith” is the last thing Callum needs to worry about right now. She’s beautiful, sure, takes his breath away at times. But when she looks at him, who does she see?
 
Gabriele’s heart is battered and bruised. Can one brother fix what the other left behind? And will they live long enough to find out?
 
 

BUZZ for Heart & Soul


“…this took a turn for the spy/thriller genre, which surprised me, but still carried the strong romantic flavor and wonderful accompanying music, like the first two books. I think this is a great series and would recommend it to contemporary romance fans.” Denise Jaden, author of Foreign Exchange

Another great book by Lee! This one had action, wit and a forbidden love! Love the characters and their interaction with each other! Can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next!” Tressa Sager, Amazon reviewer

I don’t want to give away what the danger is, but suffice it to say, it’s a real and plausible threat. Gabrielle is a good leading lady. She doesn’t back down from anything or anyone in this book, but she’s still vulnerable, making her well-rounded and likable.” J Harrell, Amazon reviewer
 
AMAZON | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | itunes | Google Play
 
 
Heart & Soul in Print
 
 
The Music fromThe Minstrel Series Volume 3 Heart & Soul
 
 
Featuring the author’s daughter, Tasia Strauss!
 


Lee Strauss’ thoughts on The Minstrel Series and Heart & Soul:
 
My musician husband and I just randomly started talking about the idea of working on a project together – wouldn’t it be great if we could collaborate and merge our two artistic worlds? Writing and Music? That was the seed that started the muse talking, and soon afterward The Minstrel Series was born!
 
For Heart & Soul, I knew I wanted to move the series from Germany to England (next to Ireland and Boston!) and that I needed a small coastal town not far from London. I used Google Earth to examine the British coastline to search for the perfect town and found it in Emsworth. Living in Germany part-time has its advantages and one of them is its proximity to England. My husband and I did a quick five day research trip. (It also came in handy for the next book, a Christmas novella set in London – stay tuned!)
 
Because of the musical aspect of this series, I’m always on the prowl for songs and singers. My connection to the singer-songwriter world via my musical husband has been a big advantage. My husband’s musical genes have also been down to our kids, so it’s exciting to involve my daughter Tasia in the project to be the singing voice of Gabriele.”
 
Click HERE to read the first chapter of Heart & Soul. 
 
**One of the entry options will ask a question from the above chapter.
 
 
About The Minstrel Series:
 
The Minstrel Series is a collection of contemporary romance novels set in the singer/songwriter world. The books are companion novels, with shared settings and characters, but each is a complete stand-alone story with a HEA (happily ever after) and no cliffhangers!
 
The books include MP3 links to original music by talented Indie Artists, so you can hear the characters sing!
 
#1     Sun & Moon
#2     Flesh & Bone 
#3     Heart & Soul 

#3.5  Peace & Goodwill (Christmas Novella coming Fall 2014)



It also has its own FACEBOOK (link) page and its own BANDCAMP (link) page where you can listen to the original music associated with the books. Albums are also available on AMAZON.

 
 
About Lee Strauss:
 
Lee Strauss is the author of The Minstrel Series (contemporary romance), The Perception Series (young adult dystopian) and young adult historical fiction. She is the married mother of four grown children, three boys and a girl, and divides her time between British Columbia, Canada and Dresden, Germany. When she’s not writing or reading she likes to cycle, hike and do yoga. She enjoys traveling (but not jet lag >:0), soy lattes, red wine and dark chocolate.
 






EASY TWEETS:




 



a Rafflecopter giveaway