Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull

I learned about The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull in July through BookClubbish as this novel was their August book club selection. I loved attending their online book club meet up in July via Facebook Live, so figured why not read their August book club selection?

I love reading historical fiction novels and The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull fit the bill in spades on this front. Also, the idea of reading a novel about the Windsors, Vanderbilts, and a royal scandal sounded intriguing to me. 

The Woman Before Wallis is Bryn Turnbull's debut novel. It's a really well written book and deeply engaging from start to finish. I truly enjoyed reading more about the life of Lady Thelma Furness. Lady Thelma Furness was kind of like the Kim Kardashian of her day... Famous for being famous. 

Lady Thelma Furness was an American who married and had a son with Lord Duke Furness. She later became the mistress of King Edward VIII while he was still the Prince of Wales, prior to his relationship to Wallis Simpson. 

In addition to that, Lady Thelma Furness's twin sister, Gloria, was married to Reggie Vanderbilt. Gloria Vanderbilt became the mother of 'Little Gloria' who was later to become a fashion designer and mother to Anderson Cooper. Gloria Vanderbilt (senior) later became embroiled in the infamous child custody of the 20th century, which ended in her losing custody of her daughter ‘Little Gloria’ to her sister-in-law.

The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull skillfully weaves these two stories together... And what an engaging story it is. In some ways it may seem like a love story between Lady Thelma Furness and the Prince of Wales, but is really a testimony of the love and loyalty between sisters.

Below is the plot summary for The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull from GoodReads:
This novel is the fictionalized story of the American divorcĂ©e who captured Prince Edward’s heart before he abdicated his throne for Wallis Simpson.

In the summer of 1926, when Thelma Morgan marries Viscount Duke Furness after a whirlwind romance, she’s immersed in a gilded world of extraordinary wealth and privilege. For Thelma, the daughter of an American diplomat, her new life as a member of the British aristocracy is like a fairy tale—even more so when her husband introduces her to Edward, Prince of Wales.

In a twist of fate, her marriage to Duke leads her to fall headlong into a love affair with Edward. But happiness is fleeting, and their love is threatened when Thelma’s sister, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, becomes embroiled in a scandal with far-reaching implications. As Thelma sails to New York to support Gloria, she leaves Edward in the hands of her trusted friend Wallis, never imagining the consequences that will follow.
I am giving The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020


I discovered a good article online through Book Riot's website titled, CELEBRATE INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE DAY 2020 VIRTUALLY: FOUR MEANINGFUL THINGS YOU CAN DO FROM HOME by Stacey Megally. In the article, Stacey Megally wrote the following:

If you love indie bookshops as much as I do, then Independent Bookstore Day might as well be your birthday. It’s a gift, after all, to spend the day wandering around your favorite indie bookstores with all the other book nerds out there, browsing and stocking up on new stories to dive into.

Independent Bookstore Day 2020 has been rescheduled from April to August 29 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but if you’re still social distancing, don’t worry: there are plenty of ways to celebrate virtually. In fact, you might even find that shopping from home opens up a world of possibilities for finding, supporting, and interacting with indie bookstores you might never have known about otherwise.

So, grab your laptop and TBR list and get ready for an unforgettable Independent Bookstore Day 2020.

So, click on the above link to discover four meaningful things you can do at home to support your favorite indie bookstores!!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Today is the 75th Anniversary of Animal Farm by George Orwell

I have never read Animal Farm by George Orwell. Maybe it is time that I make reading this classic novel a done deal!

Have you read Animal Farm by George Orwell? If you have read Animal Farm by George Orwell, what did you think of it?

By the way, I came across an interesting article on Mental Floss's website titled, 10 Facts About George Orwell's Animal Farm by Lucas Aykroyd. In the article, Lucas Aykroyd wrote the following:
On August 17, 1945, legendary British author George Orwell—who also penned 1984—published Animal Farm, a satirical allegory of Soviet Russia featuring animals who revolt against the farmer Mr. Jones and wind up in a pig-led Communist dictatorship. Orwell called Animal Farm “the first book in which I tried, with full consciousness of what I was doing, to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole.” It went on to find a spot on many school reading lists and cracked top-100 novel lists by Modern Library and TIME. 
Click the very top link to learn 10 facts about George Orwell's novel, Animal Farm.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

How to open a bookstore during a pandemic!

 I just came across an article on Literary Hub's website titled, How to open a bookstore during a pandemic: Prepare for delays and lots of cleaning. by Corinne Segal. In the article, Corinne Segal wrote the following:

What logistical difficulties have you faced during this process, and how have you been able to address them?

Closures and delays have affected all businesses. From huge delays at the post office to shutdowns affecting key vendors, it was a challenge to align the pieces correctly to queue ourselves up for a successful opening. In our new reality, there’s also the added complexity of ensuring all the correct safety measures are in place to protect customers and staff. We’re closely following the guidance provided by the governor for retail businesses, with an emphasis on regular disinfecting and sanitizing throughout the store. With that being said, we have an incredible team that has worked diligently to keep the business running on all fronts.

Personally, I can't imagine opening any new brick and mortar store during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, it's wonderful to see indie bookstores, like The Strand, thriving during this time.

Click on the first link to read the entire article.

Friday, August 14, 2020

The Brontes vs. Jane Austen: A conversation with Finola Austin & Natalie Jenner Hosted by Wellington Square Bookshop

Yesterday evening from 4-5:30pm, I enjoyed watching another live author event hosted by Wellington Square Bookshop titled, The Brontes vs. Jane Austen: A conversation with Finola Austin & Natalie Jenner.

This was a lovely author event to view, especially for fans of Jane Austen and the Brontes!!

The event description described The Brontes vs. Jane Austen: A conversation with Finola Austin & Natalie Jenner author event as follows: 

Two Books, Two Authors: Bronte's Mistress by Finola Austin & The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Finola and Natalie will discuss:

• Branwell Bronte's scandalous affair with an older woman, which inspired Finola's novel Bronte's Mistress

• What inspired Natalie to fictionalize the story of the Jane Austen Society's origins in her novel, The Jane Austen Society

• Their favorite (and least favorite) Austen and Bronte novels

• What drew them to the Brontes and Austen, and whether they'd ever consider going over to the other side.

 Have attended any online author events lately?

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Online Author Event with T. Jefferson Parker & Glen Erik Hamilton Hosted by Murder by the Book


Tuesday evening, I attended another wonderful online virtual author event featuring T. Jefferson Parker & Glen Erik Hamilton talking about their newly released novels, Then She Vanished and A Dangerous Breed. This event was hosted live on Facebook by independent bookstore, Murder by the Book. In addition, to learning about the new novels written by each author, I learned how each author deals with writers block and so on.

I became interested in this live event because I'd previously read a novel written by Glen Erik Hamilton, which I enjoyed immensely. I don't believe I've read anything written by T. Jefferson Parker before... However, after hearing T. Jefferson Parker speak, I now want to read one of his novels too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Another New to Me Little Free Library Find in Walnut Creek, California

This cute Little Free Library in Walnut Creek,

California was a bit tricky to find. We almost didn't find it!

I'm glad we did find it though. It's cute, long, and narrow.

I left behind one book, but didn't take one home with me as I

have way too many books to read as it is.

Have you visited any Little Free Libraries lately?

Walnut Creek Little Free Library Find!!


Over the weekend, my husband and I
discovered three new to us Little Free Libraries!
This one was found in Walnut Creek, California
and was my favorite one to find. I think the stained
glass looks beautiful and makes this Little Free
Library unique.

I left two books and didn't take any home with me.

Have you found any Little Free Libraries lately?

Monday, August 10, 2020

Little Free Library Find in Lafayette, California

It's been a while since I've found any new to me Little Free Libraries. Yesterday morning though, my husband and I found this cute Little Free Library in Lafayette, California. This particular Little Free Library was off the beaten path in a more rural residential area with larger amounts of land between properties. We almost missed spotting this Little Free Library. 

Glad we found this Little Free Library!! I left three books behind, but didn't take any home with me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Books with Colors In the Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader GirlTop Ten Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Below are ten book titles with a color(s) in them that I would like to read. I either have these books in my possession already waiting to be read or the books are on my wishlist of books to acquire and read.

1. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
2. The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee
3. The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simons
4. Rose Gold by Walter Mosley
5 Twelve Red Herrings by Jeffrey Arher
6. The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
7. White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages
8. The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee
9. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
10. Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

Have you read any of the books in my top ten post? If so, what did you think of the book(s)?