This Chick Read: The Garden of Lost Secrets by Kelly Bowen

Stasia finds a haven in France when she visits her grandparents every summer outside the small town of Rouen. She meets a young man, Nicolas, and as they get older they look forward to spending their summers together. When the war breaks out she is back home in Holland, her father is killed and she barely survives the bombing of her hometown. Stranded, she joins a resistance to help steal paperwork for Jewish families who need to leave the area. She soon becomes one of the most hunted resistance fighters in Holland.

In current time, sisters Isabelle and Emilie purchase the Chateau de Montissaire near their home town of Rouen. They find demolished WWII communications devices and some paperwork of names of German military men along with the name “Briar Rose”. While hunting down this heroine’s story they come upon a drawing that looks remarkably similar to one that was drawn by their own grandmother. Could they be the same person?

This historical drama is two stories, one told through flashbacks, and the other in current time. The story of Stasia and Nicolas during WWII was the more striking and dramatic. From the moment they met to their separation by the war, to their reunion after both of their lives had changed so dramatically it was more historical than romance, but I was still drawn to the outcome of their story and invested in seeing it through to the end. I liked how Kelly Bowen wove Isabelle and Emilie’s journey into Stasia’s. There weren’t any surprises from the reveals but I did think it was deftly told and I liked the characters emotional travails. This was a well written story that entertained on every page.

I like the new direction Kelly Bowen has taken with her novels. The Paris Apartment, her last novel, was similar in style and content and The Garden of Lost Secrets delivered in creating an entertaining story for the readers. If you like historical novels you may want to pick this one up! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Garden of Lost Secrets

Copyright 2023 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: The Paris Apartment by Kelly Bowen

In 2017 Aurelia Leclaire inherits an apartment in Paris from her recently deceased grandmother. Surprised that her grandmother ever lived in Paris, when Lia opens the door it’s as if she stepped into a time machine to 1943, the apartment was untouched, filled with artwork, beautiful cocktail dresses, and elegant antiques. When she finds Nazi paraphernalia she becomes worried that her grandmother may have been a sympathizer and that the artwork may have been stolen. In Paris 1942 Estelle Allard lives in her family’s luxurious apartment in the exclusive Sacré-Coeur neighborhood. Paris is occupied by Nazi’s and their military elite are inhabiting The Ritz. Estelle, a young, beautiful, socialite uses her looks and lifestyle to socialize with the Nazi’s, turning over everything she’s learned to their enemies.

The Paris Apartment is told from two perspectives both Lia’s and her grandmother Estelle. As we read about all of LIa’s fears we are living through Estelle’s worries during WWII. The story unfolds in a way that is emotional and riveting. We live through both women’s stories and we know the answers as to why Estelle’s apartment is found untouched, what the secret apartment was used for, and why she had Nazi paraphernalia where she lived. As Lia was worried, we would find out an answer in Estelle’s storyline. Kelly Bowen did a wonderful job describing life during WWII and all of the horrors that an occupied city faced, but all with a veneer of civility.

I think this is the first time where I’ve read a dual storyline novel where both of the plots were of equal interest to me. LIa had a mystery that she wanted to unravel and had the help of a handsome art restorer to help her do that. The budding love story wasn’t the main plot but it did provide her character with a bit of warmth that I think she might have lacked with out those feelings of attraction and love. As a juxtaposition, Estelle’s story was filled with emotional warmth and also darkness. Living during a time where people you knew were being killed, either in the war or in concentration camps her emotions were all hidden by this face she had to wear to both survive, and collect whatever information she could. The mystery that connected these to timelines was what moved both of their stories forward so effectively.

I was drawn into this novel right from the first page. It was so easy to read I found myself reading the book late into the evening, not wanting to break away from the story. If you like historical novels, I think you’ll enjoy the characters in this book. I’ve read a lot of WWII novels lately but haven’t read one set in Paris so I thought it was unique and the stylization of the time and the ease I had reading it really set it apart from the others. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* The Paris Apartment

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive credit for your purchase.