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tall poppy

Tall Poppy Review: “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” Explores Faith

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Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis (Thomas Nelson) is the newest release from Patti Callahan Henry and has already set itself apart from other romances. Joy Davidman was never going to be the woman behind the man. Born to be a writer and always devoutly focused on her work, as hard as she tries to change herself, she can never quite conform to the dutiful housewife role that her husband, Bill, expects her to play. At her wit’s end with his infidelity and alcoholism and her own seeming inability to fill the role that society has assigned her, Joy kneels down in her son’s room and has an undeniable and instant conversion experience. She feels…

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Tall Poppy Review: “The Simplicity of Cider” Fresh in Fall

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Charming and enchanting, The Simplicity of Cider (Gallery Books) by Amy E. Reichert is a must-read for Fall. Set in Door County, Wisconsin on an apple orchard, Reichert’s descriptions of the land, owned by the fascinating Lund family for five generations, is only rivaled by the mouthwatering food served in their kitchen. The combination is a recipe for joy and romance that readers will delight in. Orchardist Sanna Lund has a way of looking at things differently and stays busy fine-tuning cider she makes from apples that others thought were unusable. She has inherited a gift, too, a magical one, and she hopes her endeavors will save the struggling orchard that she runs with her aging father, even though her brother urges…

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Tall Poppy Review: “In Her Bones” Twists a Media Craze

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In Her Bones (Atria Books) by Kate Moretti picks up absolutely on the media’s obsession with serial killers. From Jack the Ripper to Charles Manson, the public devours all the information it can glean about the people among us who are capable of committing these inhuman acts. What caused the person to slip over the precipice of “normalcy” into the depths of depravity? Could a horrific childhood be to blame? An untreated mental illness? We want to understand what makes these people tick; perhaps in an effort to recognize the signs in others, or out of morbid curiosity. The same holds true for the victims of these heinous crimes. Was there a pattern in whom the killer singled out? Did…

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Tall Poppies Review: “The Feathered Bone” Brings Light to the Darkness

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Sometimes we open a book of fiction hoping to escape to another place and time. While we read, we can imagine living in a world of wizards and gentle giants; diving 20,000 leagues under the sea; or flying in a hot air balloon over rainbows and yellow brick roads. At other times, fiction pulls us into the dreams and fears of those who live through hardships that most of us can hardly imagine. These are the stories that make news headlines, that cause us to shudder, and that move us to hold onto our loved ones a little bit tighter. They’re the stories that open our eyes to dire struggles in the world – and they’re the stories that inspired…

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Kristy Woodson Harvey Sprinkles a Dash More ‘Southern Charm’ in ‘Slightly South of Simple’ Sequel

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In The Secret to Southern Charm, Kristy Woodson Harvey returns to beloved Peachtree Bluff and the cast of delightful characters readers fell in love with in Slightly South of Simple. It’s no surprise that readers and critics alike have been clamoring for Harvey to revisit Peachtree Bluff to continue the story of Ansley and her daughters Caroline, Sloane, and Emerson. Harvey gripped our hearts and captured our imaginations in the first installment of the series, and The Secret to Southern Charm is the perfect continuation. When Sloane discovers that her military husband is missing in action, her world is shattered. Unable to care for herself or her children, Sloane must rely on her own mother to hold what’s left of…

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Tall Poppies Review: ‘I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around’ is Witty and Heartfelt

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I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around by Ann Garvin is a witty, heartfelt novel that deals with life’s beautiful imperfections as well as the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s. Writing with both honesty and levity, Garvin draws back the curtain and shows readers a family that is faced with this heartbreaking disease that slowly robs them of their loved ones. The story takes place in Madison, Wisconsin, where psychologist Tig Monahan is committed to taking care of others – the couples who attend her therapy sessions, her family, and her mother, Hallie, whose dementia has progressed to the point where she must now live in an assisted living facility. As a person who prides herself on maintaining control and…

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Tall Poppies Review: ‘The Widow Waltz’ Sparkles With Wit and Wonder

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When the wealthy, charming lawyer, Benjamin Silver, suddenly dies at a marathon, he leaves behind a gorgeous wife Georgia, a soul mate for many years, two daughters, Nicola and Louisa, and an empty bank account. The latter turns out to be as shocking as Ben’s untimely death, maybe even more. How on earth did this wealthy man who owned a law practice, an apartment on Central Park South, a house at the beach, many club memberships, and an envious wardrobe of suits and electronics end up penurious? Georgia, the stunning wife with a sculpted nose that inspires many surgeons, is only a little perplexed until she finds out her sizable inheritance, the trust funds for her daughters and her house…

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Tall Poppies Review: ‘Family Trees’ Captivates with Story of Love, Family and Heartbreak

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Family Trees by Kerstin March is a beautifully written story that captivates the reader with a cast of interesting characters and stunning landscape. The story unfolds against the gorgeous backdrop of Lake Superior with Shelby Meyers, a young local woman who lives and works with her grandparents at their family owned orchard in Bayfield, Wisconsin. I at once fell in love with not only Shelby’s intelligence and independence, but also her salt of the earth grandparents and her spunky best friend. The community of Bayfield and its residents come to life in a way that invites readers to feel like we are a part of it. One of the things I love most about this novel is how March brings Lake…

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Tall Poppies Review: ‘Dreaming in Chocolate’ is Temptingly Sweet

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The best dreams are the ones that sweep you up into a magical adventure where there is hope and love… and chocolate. Set in a small, quirky mountain town where a magical chocolate shop is nothing short of expected, it’s easy to suspend belief and swallow whole Susan Bishop Crispell’s bittersweet tale of a single mother facing her young daughter’s failing health, and her own crisis of faith in the family’s special brand of magic. With the help of an enchanted apothecary table, Penelope works to grant every wish on young Ella’s bucket list while they feel time slipping by too quickly. But the family magic has failed Penelope in the past and she has no reason to believe it…

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Tall Poppies Review: A Beloved Character, Zoe Goldman, Returns in Sandra Block’s ‘The Secret Room’

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I’ve been a fan of the Zoe Goldman books since she made her first appearance several years ago in Sandra Block’s debut, Little Black Lies. Smart, tenacious, and more than a bit sarcastic, Zoe casually stepped off the page and became so much more than just a character in a book. I jumped at the chance to read and review The Secret Room, Block’s third in the series, eager to reconnect with Dr. Zoe Goldman and her often dark, always dangerous world of criminal psychology. I wasn’t disappointed! In The Secret Room, Zoe is a new psychiatry fellow at a correctional facility in Buffalo, New York. It just so happens this is the same prison where her deranged, homicidal biological…

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