Book Review

Lands of Ink&Paper—2020

The writer, the reader, the creative dreamer—to these three I will always belong.

I have a hunger to write and create, and yet I struggle with plot development. The ideas burst forth at first in a rush, my fingers trip over themselves as they fly across the keyboard unable to write fast enough. Before long, however, that creativity slows to a trickle, leaving me desperate to write more, to continue the untold stories of my imagination and yet unable to progress. This is the limbo in which I have found myself over this past year: a writer at heart, unable to write. Despite my inability to produce any material, I have continued to immerse myself in the lands of Ink & Paper, reading what I can, when I can.

2020 has been a strange year between the Coronavirus and all of the social distancing. At first I thought I’d have even more time to read and write, but the opposite occurred. Having to keep my children home from school back in March, I was left with little time for reading and writing. As a woman of many passions, it can be painful to have to prioritize my hobbies, putting some aside for a season. Sadly, this was the season I needed to put aside my writing.

Although I am hopeful to make a return to my novel work-in-progress and to short story composition, I will settle with sharing a few novel reviews from the past year.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn


REVIEW: With believable characters and a beautifully heartbreaking plot, this hard to put down novel is a MUST read!

CAUTION for the sensitive reader: this is a story of war. Scenes with violence, abuse, murder and torture to be expected. Some foul language and scenes of sexual intimacy.


1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister. 

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the “queen of spies,” who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.  

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. That is until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth . . . no matter where it leads.

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon


REVIEW: Mesmerizing from beginning to end. Amy Harmon marries historical fiction and romance together in a tasteful, spellbinding masterpiece that transports the reader across time into the living and breathing past of Ireland. I loved every word.

CAUTION to the sensitive reader: this story touches subjects and images of war, famine and light sexual intimacy.


Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?

Thank you for reading, I hope these reviews are helpful. These two novels were the highlights of the handful of fiction novels I read this year and are DEFINITELY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

As always, take care and God bless!

—VanessaMarieCaron ❤️

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