A Very Good Life is the first book in an exciting new series by successful business woman now author Lynn Steward.
In this story, which crosses over from the literary to women’s fiction to romance, Steward takes us to 1970s Manhattan, home of the sophisticated and the elite. There, we meet Dana McGarry.
Dana has everything — a successful job at a prestigious department store, a handsome lawyer husband, a beautiful home, and loving family and friends. But things aren’t always as perfect as they appear to be, aren’t they?
When Dana’s husband begins to drift away, and demands at her job require that she behaves unethically, her world begins to crumble. She finds herself at a crossroads. Will she make the right decisions and stay true to herself and her vision of what a ‘good life’ should be?
This was a wonderful read! It reminded me of novels I read years ago by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Female readers will no doubt empathize with Dana as she struggles to keep her career and marriage together. She is strong, but also caring and sensitive. Readers will also be swept away by the setting. With vivid detail, the author brings Christmas in 1970s New York City alive in all its splendor. I really felt transported in time and place, felt the snowflakes and smelled the holiday trees. The characters are sympathetic and interesting and, of course, the antagonist is just one of those persons the reader will love to hate.
Steward has created a wonderful world of drama in this new series. Book two is supposed to come later this year and I’m really looking forward to reading the new installment. If you love women’s fiction and are a fan of strong female protagonists, I recommend you pick this one up. It won’t disappoint.
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Visit Lynn Steward’s website.
My review was originally published in Blogcritics.
A Very Good Life is FREE on the Kindle store, today May 1st!
About five years ago, I labeled a personal file as “Act Three,” and filled it with creative ideas for a new work-interest. I first enjoyed an exciting career in New York’s fashion industry, then later, via a circuitous route on the way to opening my own boutique Shop for Pappagallo, I established a successful real estate business in Chicago. But I always enjoyed business-related writing and thought a non-fiction self-help book, with life-lessons I learned along the way, was something to explore during this next phase.
But, as often happens when you put yourself out there, I discovered another path and took it: I developed a TV pilot about New York in the seventies because, as they say “Write what you know” and I know New York. I’m a native of Long Island, and between attending school and working, I spent twenty-two years in Manhattan. I was so overwhelmed with ideas, I created a TV series designed to run for five seasons. Appropriately placed in the New York City of 1975, which was International Women’s Year, the plots in the series intermingled fashion legends, business icons, real events, and untold stories, providing a behind-the-scenes look at inspirational women in the worlds of art, fashion, and business.
After meeting with professionals in the entertainment industry, I realized that the main character needed more drama and the plots had to be developed, and I felt the best way to do that was to write a novel, incorporating the TV stories. While I still hope to see the characters alive on the big screen, I tremendously enjoy daily researching and writing historical fiction. My favorite time to write is early in the morning, preferably around 5:30 a.m., when my mind is clear, it is peaceful, and there are no interruptions. For at least three hours a day, I am again at home in New York City in the 1970s, creating a life for thirty-year-old Dana, her family and friends: attending parties at Café des Artistes with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, a business meeting with Estée Lauder, an art lectures at the Met.. At the same time, raising important questions that are relevant at every age, then and now: how does one find balance and meaning in the daily routines of life? How does one stop counting the candles, a single year or event, and instead, value the tapestry of life? This quest for self-fulfillment is a universal theme everyone can identify.
Lynn Steward is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women’s department at a famous men’s clothing store. Through extensive research, and an intimate knowledge of the period, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies. A Very Good Life is the first in the series featuring Dana McGarry.
About the Book
Although Lynn Steward’s debut novel, A Very Good Life, takes place in 1970s New York City. it has a timelessness to it. Dana McGarry is an “it” girl, living a privileged lifestyle of a well-heeled junior executive at B. Altman, a high end department store. With a storybook husband and a fairytale life, change comes swiftly and unexpectedly. Cracks begin to appear in the perfect facade. Challenged at work by unethical demands, and the growing awareness that her relationship with her distant husband is strained, Dana must deal with the unwanted changes in her life. Can she find her place in the new world where women can have a voice, or will she allow herself to be manipulated into doing things that go against her growing self-confidence?
A Very Good Life chronicles the perils and rewards of Dana’s journey, alongside some of the most legendary women of the twentieth century. From parties at Café des Artistes to the annual Rockefeller Center holiday tree lighting ceremony, from meetings with business icons like Estée Lauder to cocktail receptions with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Steward’s intimate knowledge of the period creates the perfect backdrop for this riveting story about a woman’s quest for self-fulfillment.
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ABOUT THE BOOK
Bangkok Transit is a Central European best-seller. The author, Eva Fejos, a Hungarian writer and journalist, is a regular contributor to women’s magazines and is often herself a featured personality. Bangkok Transit was her first best-seller, which sold more than 100,000 copies and is still selling. Following the initial publication of this novel in 2008, she went on to write twelve other best-sellers, thus becoming a publishing phenomena in Hungary According to accounts given by her readers, the author’s books are “therapeutic journeys,” full of flesh and blood characters who never give up on their dreams. Many readers have been inspired to change the course of their own lives after reading her books. “Take your life into your own hands,” is one of the important messages the author wishes to convey.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOREva Fejos worked in one of the largest Hungarian women’s magazines, Nők Lapja (Women’s Journal), as a journalist from 2001 until 2012. She was the recipient of both the Award for Quality Journalism and the Award for Excellence.
She is tremendously fond of traveling. Her many experiences give a personal touch to her exciting, propelling, and exotic novels. Fejos's first Hungarian best-seller book, Bangkok transit, reached the top of the best-seller list within one month of its publication.
Following the initial publication of this novel in 2008, she has gone on to write twelve other best-sellers, making her a publishing phenomena in Hungary. According to the many accounts given by her readers, the author's books are "therapeutic journeys," full of flesh and blood characters who never give up on their dreams. Many readers have been inspired to change the course of their own lives after reading her books. "Take your life into your own hands" is one of the important messages the author wishes to convey.
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Knight Blindness is the third installment in Karlsen’s The Knights in Time series. I have read the first two books and, as always, the author doesn’t disappoint.
The story begins at the Battle of Poitiers, France, in 1356. English knight Stephen Palmer charges into battle when he is suddenly struck by the enemy. In that instant, he plummets through time and when he wakes up, wounded and confused, he finds himself in a hospital in 2013. Not only that, but blind due to his wound. His manner of speaking, questions and claims force people to believe that he’s mad.
In a twist of fate, old friends of his who have also secretly traveled through time before, from earlier books, come to help. They assign him a tutor to help him adjust to the modern world: beautiful and warm-hearted Esme Crippen who, unfortunately, thinks Stephen adorable but also mad.
But unbeknown to Stephen, the man who struck him, French knight Roger Marchant, was also sucked into the vortex and ripped through time…and he has his own agenda and will stop at nothing to hunt his enemy down and bring him back to 1356.
This was a thoroughly entertaining and compelling read. Romance, adventure, intrigue, mystery and a touch of humor await you in Knight Blindness. With her close attention to historical detail, Karlsen brings the story to life. Stephen is a riveting hero, brave, loyal and stubborn, yet with a vulnerable, sensitive side; Esme is as sympathetic as heroines go, and I had fun watching their romance evolve. Roger is a character not many will like, but Karlsen gave him some redeeming qualities as well, making him a more comlex and realistic villain. I should mention that although this is third in a series, it is also a standalone book, and the author does a good job in providing some light backstory that doesn’t get overwhelming. If you’re a fan of time-travel and historical romance, you’ll want to add this one to your shelf.
Purchase from Amazon.
Visit the author’s website.
My review was originally published in Blogcritics.
** ONLY 99 CENTS TODAY! **
FAV. QUOTES from the book:
"Then one day, I think you look up, and, yes, time has moved on, but so have you. And you realize that you’re happy again, that you’ve found a way to live your life. Maybe it won’t be exactly like before, but it is still good somehow, just different.”
"I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in the moment, in life, in all the things we’re doing or have to do. We’re so busy, that sometimes we forget the things we’re not doing. With the pursuit of one thing, we lose sight of others, of what’s really important."
"Love can easily slide into something you no longer recognize if you’re not careful.”
Ten years ago, Lexie Dodson fled her home in rural Ohio, leaving behind a heartbroken brother and abandoning a devastated fiancé. While chasing her desire of a fast-paced life in the city, and the obscurity of urban life, she is shaken to her very core by an act of violence that leaves her betrayed, broken, and pregnant—and with nowhere to go but home.
Seeking refuge and facing gut-wrenching decisions, she is confronted not only with the past she left behind, but also with a love that never died—a love waiting for something to stoke the flames.
"Love is our greatest achievement. Don’t ever forget that. Don’t squander it. Seek it. Experience it. Savor it every day that you can, because you never know when a rogue wave might sweep you away"
"Here’s the thing about motherhood. It exhausts you and thrills you. It kicks you in the butt, and the very next second makes you feel like a superstar."
"No one gets to quit. You keep fighting, every day, and sooner or later, the grief fades a little. You grow stronger, find joy again, and everything gets easier. You come out of it more equipped to handle the next wave, which will come eventually. There will always be waves.”
A deeply emotional tale about Sophie Duncan, a successful columnist whose world falls apart after her daughter’s unexpected illness and her husband’s shocking affair. When it seems nothing else could possibly go wrong, her car skids off an icy road and plunges into a frozen lake. There, in the cold dark depths of the water, a profound and extraordinary experience unlocks the surprising secrets from Sophie’s past, and teaches her what it means to truly live...and love.
Full of surprising twists and turns and a near-death experience that will leave you breathless, this story is not to be missed.
QUOTES FROM THE BOOK:
“What you learn as you grow older and life tests you in ways for which you are never prepared, is that showing up matters. The simple, unremarkable, un-heroic act of being there, bearing witness, saying in one way or another: I am with you. There is nothing that carries the seal of friendship quite as firmly as being there in crisis.”
“Why do we wait until a person is gone before we write so eloquently about what they meant to us?"
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow.”
"For more than forty years, the mantra of the eight women in the Bridge Club has been “one for all and all for one.” Beginning their monthly soiree in the psychedelic Sixties, unpredicted twists of fate weave through the good times and strong friendship they share as the years pass. The constant from one decade to the next is loyal and nonjudgmental support, even when agreeing to disagree is the final solution. From the exhilarating cultural changes of their early times together through the “zoomer” years, their connection never falters.
As they celebrate turning sixty (give or take a year) at a group birthday weekend, each woman recalls a challenging time in her life when the Bridge Club came to the rescue. After tossing around ideas mixed with a generous helping of common sense and a large dose of laughter they decide to refer to that time as their “SOS”. Eight chapters document each one’s story.
Everything is put into perspective and the strength of their friendship is truly tested when one of these women faces a life-altering decision. Her choice profoundly affects all members of the group, pushing the limits of their beliefs and values. The unique alliance they share is confronted with a crisis none of them might have imagined."
AMAZON REVIEW: "Not since Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan have I read such a complex portrayal of friendship. A Widow Redefined will resonate with anyone who has ever lost a loved one and learned how to live again." ~ author Deborah Brown
Genre: Women's Fiction
On a cold Valentine’s Day in Chicago, Amy White, a young widow who lost her husband to cancer, visits the cemetery and makes an unsettling discovery: a bouquet of fresh daffodils lying in front of her husband’s grave.
Curiosity grows into obsession as Amy searches for the stranger who left the flowers, while keeping her activities a secret from her live-in mother and seven-year-old son. The search leads to an unusual friendship that transforms her world and redefines her life.
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"[F]eed the kids before you settle in with journalist Sarah Jio's engrossing first novel, The Violets of March. This mystery-slash-love-story will have you racing to the end--cries of 'Mom, I'm hungry!' be damned." -- Redbook
SPECIAL PRICE on the ebook: $2.99
Genre: Women's Fiction
A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.
In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.
Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.
A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting and intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio as a writer to watch.
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