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Feature book: Easter Promises

28 October 2020

Easter Promises by Clare Griffin, Ava January, Sarah Fiddelaers, Nancy Cunningham

Subgenre: historical romance
Release date: 8 Apr 2020
Publisher: self-published
Format: ebook
Length: 226 pages
RRP: $0.99 (ebook)

This is a charming anthology, with each novella set around Easter—and a promise—hence the title. It was released just before Easter 2020. You can sit down and read each novella during a short break, so I suggest a nice cuppa to accompany them.

Easter Dawn is the first story, set in 1912 Victoria, with most of the action happening on Widuwe Island, a short boat ride from Melbourne. I did Google the island, it sounded so idyllic and splendid, but I couldn’t find it. Still, I’d love to visit.

Childhood friends Eric, now a doctor, and Minnie, daughter of the gentrified Wyndham Family, meet again at the annual Wyndham ball on Widuwe Island.

Eric is struggling with a dark secret he’s discovered in his family’s past. It has made him determined to dedicate his career to a more noble cause than what is expected of him. The angst this has caused is real, readers.

Minnie is young and carefree, born to privilege. She wants to enjoy her coming out season with a year of beautiful frocks, gaiety, parties, and a glittering social calendar.

How can this very different couple, with a deep and enduring friendship and fondness but totally separate goals and lives, ever have happiness together?

An Easter Lily in the Somme comes from the French trenches, 1916. Honestly, it all sounds so terrible there. I can’t imagine …

Nursing sister Ivy O’Halloran, who recently lost her brother in the fighting, meets one of the new doctors, Maurice Fletcher. He is flippant and light, and jokes with the staff and patients of the field hospital constantly. Everyone laughs around him.

Tragically, he arrives just as Ivy hears her father has also lost his life in the 1916 Easter Uprising in Ireland. Her grief runs very deep. She is in no mood for jokes and light-hearted idiocy. I confess I found Ivy very prim and snappy at first, very rigid and unyielding, but she counters that by being the absolute best nurse they have. We also get to see her big heart.

When the war separates Ivy and Maurice before they’ve had a chance to develop their tentative relationship, will they ever be able to find each other again?

Le Malin Renard (French for ‘The Clever Fox’) was my personal favourite, set in an isolated snowy French chateau in 1924. Very glam. It involved, yes it did, a thief and a police inspector, both hot on the trail of the magnificent Faberge egg, The Rosebud. This was heaps of fun to read, twisting and turning with every page. Maybe a few cliched characters, but still vastly entertaining. I don’t want to give any spoilers so can’t really talk about anything … Just enjoy.

The last story, Eos (who in Greek mythology is the Goddess of the Dawn), is slightly longer, starting in Hollywood in 1943 and ending in Kentucky in 1946. Rosamunde Winter is a glamorous Hollywood movie star, and she sounds truly gorgeous. But all she really wants to do is pilot planes and help the war effort as plain old Rosemary Parker. When she’s invited to become a WASP she’s thrilled, and strings are pulled to release her from her Hollywood contract.

Then she does the unthinkable. In the middle of all the training and—yes, misogyny and bullying from the male flight trainers—she falls in love. Just when she’s on the cusp of a brilliant flying career everything changes.

The main historical figures mentioned here are real—and very interesting to read about. But, above all, this romance is tender, and comes from the heart.

reviewed by Malvina

A review copy of this book was provided by the authors.

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