Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lace by Shirley Conran

Title: Lace
Author: Shirley Conran

Publisher: Touchstone

Published Date: November 6, 2012 (reprint)

Buy on Amazon: Paperback

Author Website:


Four elegant, successful, and sophisticated women in their forties are called to New York City to meet Lili, sexy and notoriously temperamental Hollywood starlet. None of the women knows exactly why she's there, but they are about to find out.

Each of the four has a reason to hate Lili, and each is astonished to see the others. They are old friends who share a guilty secret and who have been doing their best to keep that secret quiet for years.  But with this reunion, their lives are changed forever.

As the women's wicked stories of desire and betrayal unfold, Lili must surrender to the dark, passionate past that has obessed and almost destroyed her.

Taking the reader on a journey around the world to the playgrounds (and bedrooms) of the rich and famous, Lace is the book that every mother kept hidden from her daughter- an erotic classic for any era.

My Thoughts:

Shirley Conran's novel, Lace, is a mysterious and erotic tale of friendship, betrayal, love, loss, and above all desire.  Please be aware that Lace is most definitely for adult readers only.  They are not advertising this novel by saying, "Before Fifty Shades there was...Lace" for nothing!  That said, if you enjoy graphic and erotic tales (as do I) then you will love Conran's novel.   

Lace was first published in 1982 and has sold over 3 million copies.  I can only imagine the stir it caused with it's graphic nature when it first came out.  It has since been reprinted, most recently in November 2012.  I was surprised to learn that Lace came out as a miniseries on ABC in 1984 and was one of the highest rated TV movies of that year.  I definitely will be looking this up to see if I can find it somewhere!

Lace does not start slowly, it shoots out of the barrel in 1963 Paris with a 13 year old girl in a back alley abortionist's clinic.  It then fast forwards to 1978 New York where four old friends are unexpectedly brought together by Lili, a young Hollywood star with a grim past and ax to grind with the ladies.  After Lili summons the four successful women together, Lace goes back and tells the story of how the four girls met and became friends.  The four friends are Parisian Maxine, American Judy, and British Kate and Pagan.  They met in Switzerland as teenagers where the three Europeans attended a boarding school while Judy was an exchange student working as a waitress.  The four young girls grew close and became best friends as together they experienced puberty, became boy crazy, had sexual exploits, and kept many sacred secrets. 

Lace goes on to reveal how each girl's life unfolds.  Never far from thought (and sometimes sight) were the other friends.  Judy moved to Paris and was taken under the wing of Maxine's Aunt.  Maxine convinced her father to allow her to move to London to study interior design.  While there she lived with Pagan and Kate who were going through their London seasons to be launched into society.  Mixed in between the tales of Maxine, Judy, Pagan, and Kate is the story of Lili.  Orphan Lili was taken in and raised by a widower in Switzerland at a young age.   While things weren't always perfect, Lili was healthy, happy, and loved.  However, after years in a happy home, tragedy hits and Lili finds herself alone in a strange place.  What happens next shapes the person that Lili will become.

Shirley Conran's Lace, is a wonderfully detailed story that I enjoyed from beginning to end.  Conran masterfully created 3 dimensional characters that brought each page to life with their witty dialogue.  I especially loved reading about the younger girls and their adventures in and out of school.  I was also kept on my toes throughout the novel, trying to figure out Lili's mystery at the center of the story.  Just when I thought I knew the answer, another twist was thrown in. 

I definitely recommend Lace to all romance and women's literature lovers.  Get ready for a great read that has memorable characters, a wonderful plot, and a mystery that will keep you guessing! 

Shirley Conran
Touchstone has provided me with a complimentary copy of the book, Lacefor the purpose of review.

Monday, February 11, 2013

That Night on Thistle Lane by Carla Neggers

Title: That Night on Thistle Lane
Author: Carla Neggers

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Published Date: January 29, 2013

Buy on Amazon: Paperback / Kindle 

Author Website:

Librarian Phoebe O'Dunn deals in stories, but her passion for history has taught her that happy endings are rare. Her life in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts, is safe and uneventful…until she discovers the hidden room.

Among its secrets is a cache of vintage clothing, including a spectacular gown—perfect for a gala masquerade in Boston. In the guise of a princess, Phoebe is captivated by a handsome swashbuckler who's also adopted a more daring persona. Noah Kendrick's wealth has made him wary, especially of women: everybody wants something.

When Noah and Phoebe meet again in Knights Bridge, at first neither recognizes the other. And neither one is sure they can trust the magic of the night they shared—until an unexpected threat prompts them to unmask their truest selves.

After all, it takes more than just the right costume to live out your personal fairy tale. It takes heart…and the courage to be more than you ever dreamed.

My Thoughts:
Carla Neggers' novel, That Night on Thistle Lane, is a captivating romance and mystery novel that left me fulfilled and happy.  Neggers wrote a wonderful novel that pulled at my heartstrings, had me laughing, and at times left me scratching my head trying to figure out the mystery.  From the beginning of That Night on Thistle Lane, it was apparent to me that Carla Neggers was a New York Times Bestselling Author.  She was able to create 3-dimensional characters in which I fell in love with, she designed a modern day mystery with a surprise twist, and she let readers eavesdrop on the unfolding love story of Phoebe and Noah.

That Night on Thistle Lane is an intriguing story about Phoebe, a small town librarian and Noah, a wealthy young man trying to figure out what to do next in life.  Neggers' novel starts when Phoebe finds herself in the middle of a mystery as she stumbles upon a secret sewing room in the attic of the library.  As she is trying to figure out who inhabited the room years ago, Phoebe decides last minutes to attend a charity function out of town with one of the dresses she found in the room.  At the Boston Masquerade, reserved Phoebe finds herself dancing with a mystery man as sparks ignite.  However, they unexpectedly part ways before the night is over and Phoebe tells herself that she will never see him again.  Fate has other ideas as Noah ends up dog sitting in Knights Bridge, Phoebe's sleepy little hometown.  After several run ins, Phoebe and Noah realize who the other is and find themselves in the midst of a romance and mystery. 

One thing that I LOVED about That Night on Thistle Lane were the intriguing secondary characters.  I enjoyed learning about the O'Dunn sisters just as much as I loved Phoebe.  I believe my favorite sister was Maggie, the dreamer that left her husband in Boston and moved back to Knights Bridge with her two young sons.  Maggie is tough, stubborn, and yet sensitive.  I loved how Neggers allowed readers to get a glimpse at Maggie's broken marriage and then observe as it was pieced back together.  It was obvious that Maggie and her estranged husband, Brandon, were still madly in love.  However, life isn't easy and often throws curve balls.  Neggers showed how even when you may think a part of your life is over, true love can still prevail.  

Brandon was a character that I really came to enjoy.  When he was first introduced as the Pirate at the Masquerade Ball I had my doubts.  However, Brandon soon proved that he was a good man and he would always love Maggie.  It was refreshing to see that he would protect her sisters like his own- be it if he and Maggie were happy, estranged, or divorced.  Brandon took it upon himself to be Phoebe's protector. 

That Night on Thistle Lane is the second book in the Swift River Valley series.  The first book of this series is Secrets of the Lost Summer.  When I began reading That Night on Thistle Lane I was unaware that it was part of a series.  In fact, I didn't find out about the Swift River Valley series until after I had finished That Night on Thistle Lane.  Let this be a lesson to readers:  you do not have to read Secrets of the Lost Summer to enjoy Neggers' second novel.  I feel that it really is stand alone and can be read with or without the first in the series.  That being said, if you read That Night on Thistle Lane I believe you will want to read the rest of the series.  I thoroughly enjoyed That Night on Thistle Lane and intend to go back and read the first part of the series.  Word has it that Neggers' will be writing a third book in the Swift River Valley series and I will definitely be in line to read it!  There are several characters that I am hoping that the third novel will be about and I'm sure I won't be disappointed! 

Carla Neggers', That Night on Thistle Lane is the perfect romance book to curl up with on these long, cold winter evenings.  The only negative thing I can say is that I finished it WAY too soon, I wish that it would have kept going!  Before reading this novel I was not aware of Carla Neggers or her work.  However, she proved to me in That Night on Thistle Lane that she is a wonderful storyteller and I plan to read more from her!  That Night on Thistle Lane is definitely a novel that I recommend to all romance lovers.  Enjoy! 

Carla Neggers

Carla Neggers has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, That Night on Thistle Lanefor the purpose of review.