03 February 2012


When I bought this book, I was expecting a very victorianesque book with alot of discussion on the meanings of flowers, and maybe even a little of the magical elements that are found in so many of today's books. That was not what this book was at all. What I found was a great modern day story about one girl's journey to be loved, and to believe herself loveable, and therefore able to love others. Although it was not quite what I thought it was going to be, I thoroughly enjoyed what it was. I thought the story of Victoria was compelling and interesting. I think I felt sorry for Victoria, even though I wanted to slap her some of the time. Elizabeth and Grant were easy to love, although at one point I thought that Grant was almost too good to be believed. And I thought that Renata and her family were a kick. What great characters the author peppered this book with.

I thought the story line was great also. It was poignant without being sappy and I liked the way that the author let you guess as to what the big deal between Victoria and Elizabeth was. Although I guessed what caused their break up before it was revealed, there were elements of the situation that the author was able to surprise me with.

Last comment is I have to give Kudos to the author on the ending. It was hopeful while still staying true to the characters and the tone of the story.  A  HEA ending would definitely not have fit this book. 


I have read several short stories by Kathleen Valentine, and I have enjoyed all of them. This is the first full length novel of hers that I have read, though. When an author is successful as a short story writer, I always wonder whether they can sustain that level of writing in a full length book. It is with great joy that I found that Kathleen Valentine is a wonderful success at both. In fact, this book will definitely be on my top books read in 2012 list. I was discussing the book with a friend, and we both agreed that this is not your typical romance book. In fact, we both felt that it is not really a romance book at all, but is instead a captivating love story. Being one of the best love stories that I have ever read, I cannot imagine a lot of other books overcoming it. 

The characters in this book are superbly developed. Each one has a uniqueness that draws you into their lives and sweeps you along the story line. In fact, I cannot even pick out a favorite character from the book as I loved each and every one of them. The book is set in the 1960's along Lake Erie and focuses on one city where the majority of the residents are connected to the Great Lakes maritime trade. With the combination of her wonderful characters and the beautifully written prose in the book, Ms. Valentine not only makes her love story compelling, but makes the world of these people come alive for the reader. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:

"You can write down your dreams, make pictures of stars but that does not preserve the magic. Nothing captures those gorgeous glimmers of eternity. Yet love, like dreams and starlight, returns again and again in defiance of fears and foolishness" 

"Perhaps, I think, it is our longing, and our willingness to see beauty in the most humble of places, that makes us so irresistible to God. " 

I am now a steadfast fan of Ms. Valentine and look forward to reading more from her. If they are all as good as this one, I am certainly in for a treat.


I was directed to this book a month or so ago by my reading group that interacts with various authors.  Valerie Gillen is a new author to me, so I was not sure what to expect from the book.  The premise of the story sounded interesting, so I thought I would give it a try.  I found this to be  a delightful read that I would target more for the middle school/YA crowd than adult reader.  The story line, characters and writing seemed perfect for that group, however, as an adult I still found the story engaging.  I liked the typical good vs. evil approach and felt interested in the characters, especially Siobhan and Alicia. It was a bit predictable in spots as I could definitely see where the story was headed, but that did not detract from my enjoyment of it. I think that this story could be fleshed out into a full fledged novel, and if handled correctly, even a good YA series.