The Lost Girls of Paris

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff. Park Row, 2019. 384 pages. ***** Questions for Discussion.

1946, Manhattan.  Grace Healey is working and finding herself after losing her husband during the war. While passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, she finds a suitcase underneath a bench. On an impulse, Grace opens the abandoned suitcase, where she discovers photographs of different women. Already late for work, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a ring of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie.

Told in the alternating voices of these brave women, Jenoff has written a compelling story of romance, mystery, love, betrayal, and friendship. Once I started this book I kept reading to find out what happened to Marie and the other girls. Providing an inside glimpse into the dangers encountered in working in the Resistance; the need for leaving family and children behind, traveling to unknown destinations, living a "cover" identity and accepting that betrayal is a fact of this life. Grace and Marie both fall in love in unexpected situations and their actions have long-reaching consequences.

The women of World War II seems to be a popular historical fiction genre right now and fans of The Lilac Girls, Wartime Sisters,  and The Alice Network will not be disappointed in The Lost Girls of Paris.

I received an ecopy for a review.

Pam Jenoff is the author of The Kommandant's Girl, which was an international bestseller and nominated for a Quill award, as well as The Winter Guest, The Diplomat's Wife, The Ambassador’s Daughter, Almost Home, A Hidden Affair and The Things We Cherished. She also authored a short story in the anthology Grand Central: Original Postwar Stories of Love and Reunion. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three children.

#thelostgirlsofparis #historicalfiction #worldwartwofiction


2019 Monthly Color Challenge - January

January Color Challenge - Bells of Ireland - Green

This is the 2nd year that I have participated in a Monthly Color Challenge coordinated by Patterns by Jen. It was fun and easy to make one block each month. My 2018 Color Challenge Blocks may be viewed here: http://pennyformythoughts-nona.blogspot.com/2018/01/monthly-color-challenge-quilt.html

Some important information about the 2019 challenge:
  • You must go to Jen's blog each month to download the block. It is available free on the first day of the month until the last day of the month. 
  • Jen's blocks are easy to construct and she provides helpful hints along the way. 
  • This year's colors are taken from flowers, if you visit Jen's page you will see all of the flowers and colors for the year, however, you will have to wait each month for the block. 
  • Remember to use a "scant 1/4" seam.
  • Layout suggestions will be provided at the end of the Challenge.
I will be blogging each month about my blocks and sharing on social media.

I decided to make life easier and buy fat quarted bundles of fabric rather than choosing monthly. These were on sale at my LQS and I love the vibrant colors. 

In order to achieve, a scant quarter inch seam, I move my needle one place to the right.

Some of my favorite tools

I use Best Press in a spray bottle, a 6" square ruler and my aqua rotary cutter. The ruler makes it easy to square up sections of the quilt block.

I like to pin when assembling the sections of the block. Jen provides hints along the way: pressing arrows, and unit measurements. (remember to trim as you go and press in the right direction) 

My January block - green

#2019monthlycolorchallenge #januarybellsofirelandgreen #2019monthlycolorchallengegreen


Classic to Contemporary String Quilts

Classic to Contemporary String Quilts: Techniques, Inspiration, and 16 Projects for Strip Quilting by Mary M. Hogan.  Mount Joy: Laundauer, 2019. 65 pages.  paperback *****

String quilts are made from strips of fabric that are usually leftovers from other projects and would in other circumstances be thrown away. Quilters are frugal and attempt to use every bit of fabric when they can. Hogan has provided an easy to follow book with instructions, clear graphics and pictures, to create beautiful string quilts. I have seen some unusual quilts made from strings; however, Hogan's quilts are gorgeous! Hogan has taken traditional blocks and recreated them with a contemporary flair!
Hogan covers the essential tools, foundation and background blocks, and the basics. A perfect gift for a beginner quilter and for someone who has a huge collection of scraps.

Mary Hogan, a self-taught sewer, began her sewing career making clothes for dolls. Now retired from her day job, Mary devotes nearly all her time to quilting, designing and teaching.

I received an ecopy for a review.

#ClassicToContemporaryStringQuilts #stringquilts


Just After Midnight

Just After Midnight by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Seattle: Union Lake Publishing, 2018. 374 pages. ****

Faith serves her husband with divorce papers and escapes his reaction by going to her father and stepmother's beach house. She wakes during the night to see a young girl sitting in a lotus position on the sand in front of her house wearing a tank top in the chilly fog. Sarah, fourteen years old, recently lost her mother and is currently living with her Grandmother at the beach. Sarah feels lost since her world has been turned upside down and her father has sold her horse to pay his gambling debts. Faith has walked away from her marriage without a plan, just the need to survive and find the person she once was before marrying Richard. An unlikely friendship is formed between the two women based on the need for friendship and self-preservation. 

Hyde has a writing style that is easy to follow and allows the reader to escape into a world where the good guys prevail. While some may feel that allowing Sarah to go away with Faith, a stranger, may seem unrealistic, I'd like to think that we haven't totally become a cynical, suspicious people. Hyde suggests that we follow our intuition when it comes to others; Faith had a legitimate reason to be wary of the man in the supermarket who turns out to be her next-door neighbor. 

I have read and reviewed several of Hyde's books and have always enjoyed them. They are somewhat formulaic in their plot and in their message of "hope." Hyde's love of animals shines through her books and in this particular one; Sarah's horse Midnight is key to the story. While reading this book, I was reminded of Allie and Bea, that same feeling of friendship, trust, and there are good people in the world. My favorite of hers is Heaven Adjacent; it was so relatable for me. When you are looking for a feel good book that you know will end well, Hyde is the author for you. 

I received an ecopy to review.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than thirty published and forthcoming books. An avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she has released her first book of photos, 365 Days of Gratitude: Photos from a Beautiful World.

Her novel Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than twenty-three languages for distribution in over thirty countries. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List, and Jumpstart the World was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. Where We Belong won two Rainbow Awards in 2013, and The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award in 2015.

More than fifty of her short stories have been published in the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other journals and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored by the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O’Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.

She is founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton. Visit her at www.catherineryanhyde.com.