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Unabridged Chick

“What I so appreciated and enjoyed in this book was the mix of expected and surprising in the story. I’ve read many pre-war historical novels and any number of gifted-heroine-exposed-to-the-world coming-of-age stories, but Haggard picked unique details that made this story new. The heroine at the heart of this novel is Grace, an Italian-American woman with a gift for the violin. Her mother, an Italian immigrant, made a life for Grace and her sister Violet by being a mistress and courtesan, a lifestyle choice Grace and Violet both appreciate and revile. A tall glass of cold, dark, and handsome shows up and plunges the family into turmoil with his obsessive interest in Grace and equally obsessive dislike for her mother.

“From this dramatic start, we follow Grace as she attempts to pursue her dream of becoming a concert violinist. Beholden to those with wealth, surrounded by those damaged by World War I, and impacted by family secrets she struggles to uncover, Grace tries to find her own happiness on her own terms. Berlin in 1922 provides a salacious backdrop for an orphaned teen to come into her own. Like I said earlier, this plot is outrageous but in a Sidney Sheldon/Joan Collins/Kathryn Harvey manner: just verging on the unbelievable but not tipping over. It’s absolutely perfect for when you want something fun, dramatic, and ohemgee-did-that-just-happen?-ish. And while it clocks in at 586 pages, the length is enough that it’s like reading a miniseries rather than a brick tome.”

Book Life Prize

“This is not your typical mystery; it’s for fans of thrilling action and historically­-inspired events…Contra to the status quo of the genre, the men are the romantics – though in a deranged manner – and the women showcased are the core strength of the novel.”

Book Review Directory

“This intriguing tale explores the hopes, plans, and struggles of Angelina, the stubborn youngest daughter of a troubled Italian-American family, and her two daughters. A widow, Angelina became a “fallen woman,” acting as a mistress over the years in an attempt to earn her own money, and the story opens just as her life begins to change.

The author has clearly done a great deal of historical research into the time, filling the story with details about the clothes, buildings, and passersby, to where readers can enjoy an immersive experience. The dialogue similarly seems to fit, with some lines in Italian and then translated into English to give the feel of the characters and the way they’ve kept their heritage alive.”