Two recent books, one I read, one I listened to. Yours Cheerfully is set during WWII and The Inheritance is a dual timeline, so I guess they are both historical fiction. Both enjoyable. I received both of these books from the publisher upon request. The ratings and opinions shared are my own.
The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross, Ann Marie Gideon (Narrator)
Published September 7th 2021 by Harlequin Books, Harlequin Audio
I have been reading JoAnn Ross’ books for several years and enjoy her romance/women’s fiction books. This one is very different, but oh so enjoyable. It is a dual timeline story with an historical fiction storyline, and the present story being about family, secrets and reconciliation. Jackson Swann, a photographer who has worked in very dangerous places, has died and left behind a mess. He has three daughters, all from different relationships, who do not know about each other. He owns a vineyard, that only one of them knows about. It belonged to his parents, and when his father died, his mother deeded it over to him. She still lives there and is looking forward to meeting her other two granddaughters. He has left the vineyard to his three daughters and the vintner who has run the winery for years. As the girls, Tess, Charlotte and Natalie get to know each other, they also hear their grandmother’s rich stories of life in WWII France and the wounded American soldier who would ultimately influence all their lives.
This was a wonderful story with huge secrets that have the possibility to make or break these young women. Tess knows about her father, but calls him her sperm donor and has never had a relationship with him. Charlotte loves her dad, but wishes he had not left her and her mother. Natalie is the only one who still has a relationship with her father. She knows the vineyard and her grandmother, but not her sisters. I liked meeting these young women and watching them develop a relationship with each other and their grandmother. There is some romance that adds to the story, but it is not the main thing. I really enjoyed the WWII storyline as well. It told of how their grandparents met and the danger they were in. It was also interesting to read about the difficulties getting married and coming to the US, something I really hadn’t read about before. Overall, this was an enjoyable story. The two storylines were woven together well. I liked the themes of family, forgiveness, reunion, love and survival. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Ann Marie Gideon. She does a wonderful job with all the various voices, the age differences and accents all made it sound like there was more than one narrator. I definitely recommend the audiobook.
Yours Cheerfully (The Emmy Lake Chronicles #2) by A.J. Pearce
Published August 10th 2021 by Scribner
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Yours Cheerfully is the second book in The Emmy Lake Chronicles, but you do not have to have read Dear Mrs. Bird to enjoy this story. Emmy is a young journalist who has just been appointed to head up the newspaper’s women’s advice column, Cheerfully Yours. She has some great ideas and even though she doesn’t have the final word, she is pretty much left alone. When the War Ministry calls a meeting of the editors of the women’s newspapers, Emmy is invited by her editor to attend with him. The papers are tasked to come up with ideas to recruit more women workers to produce munitions and other supplies needed by the many men who are off fighting in the war. Emmy is ready for the challenge and visits a munitions factory to meet with the women working there. She meets several women who are mothers, some whose husbands already died in the war and finds out about the balancing act needed to be a working mother, as well as a war widow. What she learns starts her on her crusade to help these women.
I enjoy this series as it does not deal with the darker side of the war, but still an important part. Women were holding down the fort at home, but were still not appreciated for those efforts. If they needed something, like nurseries for their children, they were rebuffed with comments like mothers should not be working, they should be home or there’s a war going on, you just do your part without complaining etc. I liked the characters in this story, well most of them. Emmy, her fiancé Charles, her friend Bunty and the women in the factory were extremely patriotic, but also knew that the women working needed help and support. The management at the factory was nasty. His desire to make money and not have any problems overrode any action to do what was right. Emmy was not about to let anything stop her and I loved her persistence to do what she could to help these women, and also to recruit new workers. I loved watching her develop more of backbone as the story progressed. This is a wonderful well-written story, at times funny, poignant and honest. We see the strength of those left manning the home front, mostly women. This is a story of friendship, courage, patriotism, women’s rights and family. It is a look at what ordinary people did to support the war effort in an interesting and enjoyable story. I am hoping that there will be another Emmy Lake Chronicles and I definitely recommend this book and series.