While I confess I have no desire to visit New York City in person, I enjoy reading books set in New York City (especially historical ones). These new releases show two sides of the city near the turn of the last century. #amreading #bookreview #setinNYC #inspy #historicalfiction

I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.

While I confess I have no desire to visit New York City in person, I enjoy reading books set in New York City (especially historical ones). These new releases show two sides of the city near the turn of the last century.

While I confess I have no desire to visit New York City in person, I enjoy reading books set in New York City (especially historical ones). These new releases show two sides of the city near the turn of the last century. #amreading #bookreview #setinNYC #inspy #historicalfiction

Books Set in New York City Count, Right?

If I read books set in New York City, I don’t have to visit in person. Right? I enjoy small-town living. Our town has four stoplights, even though it’s an intersection for one interstate and two highways. I’d rather travel to big cities vicariously. Who needs the noise, traffic, honking horns, and humanity packed into a concrete jungle?

I like to appreciate big cities from afar, and these two new releases helped me do just that. From the Gilded Age to the Gibson Girls era, you, too, can immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of NYC without leaving home. You’ll love these two new release books set in New York City!

All My Secrets

By Lynn Austen, Tyndale House Publishers, February, 2023, 400 pages.

Junietta, Sylvia, and Adelaide Stanhope are three women bound by one grief at the turn of the last century. Junietta married into the powerful Stanhope family after one mistake made her vulnerable to Arthur Stanhope’s machinations. For over fifty years, she has tried to influence first her husband, then her son and his wife, and now her youngest granddaughter to question their status quo.

When Junietta’s beloved son, A.B, passes away unexpectedly, Sylvia, his wife, and Adelaide, his youngest daughter, discover Arthur Stanhope’s will has dictated the bulk of their fortune will go to the oldest living male heir—leaving the three women with a cavernous mansion and no money to maintain it.

Sylvia’s idea of retrenching includes finding a wealthy husband for Adelaide as soon as a suitable mourning period has passed. Junietta’s idea of retrenching involves selling the house and moving into something smaller. Adelaide feels pulled between both women—she loves them dearly, but their goals seem at odds.

Will the turn of the century breathe new life into their scripted lives? Or will all three remain constrained by society’s expectations?

What I Loved About This Book

Lynn Austin masterfully portrays life in New York’s Gilded Age—an era of inconceivable wealth and opulence. As the title suggests, the secrets of two women will have a bearing on the final decision and outcome—but only if they dare to share their secrets and learn from their mistakes.

Older readers will relate to the regrets and introspection of Junietta and Sylvia. Younger readers will relate to Adelaide and how she tries to balance the desires of the older women while honoring both.

If you’ve read other books by Austin, this one has a more leisurely pace. The gradual unveiling of the secrets keeps the action moving forward, even though the pacing seems slower. You’ll love this book if you love complex stories with historical details and surprising solutions.  Austin’s deep dive into contemplating our own mortality and our legacy will not only entertain but will also help readers think about their own choices, secrets, and legacy.

While the City Sleeps

By Elizabeth Camden, Bethany House Publishers, February 2023, 352 pages.

Dr. Katherine Schneider loves her job as a dentist in New York City. As a female professional in 1913, she had few options open to her. She found her dream job at Painless Parker’s Dentistry on Times Square and worked the late shift. Dr. Edgar Parker hires dentists who look like the people they serve (both men and women and people of different ethnicities) and keeps his clinics open late to accommodate working people. Katherine’s job allows her to serve others in ways that would never happen at home in Ohio.

And she has no desire to return to Ohio and the town where her fiancé still practiced dentistry. She made a life for herself, working, writing a newspaper column, and socializing with fellow residents at the Martha Washington Hotel for Women. Her heart slowly healed, and a certain police officer who walks her home each evening has started to pique her interest.

When a patient under the influence of laughing gas tells a strange tale of characters from books, city icons, and saints, Katherine thinks little of it. But when a peculiar fire breaks out on the Lorna Doone, Katherine wonders if the tale contains clues to future disasters.

Lieutenant Jonathan Birch wanted to serve on the police force from his earliest years but had to take drastic measures to live out his dream. For almost two decades, Jonathan has lived a lie. A lie that enabled him to achieve his dream but one that prevented him from forming close relationships.

When the beautiful dentist, the one pure and bright spot in a dark and dangerous city, shares her suspicions with him about the mysterious fires on the Lorna Doone, Jonathan takes her seriously.  A strange group of anarchists claims responsibility for the fires and promises to wreak havoc at other places around the city.

Jonathan will do anything to stop the group, even enlist help from his nemesis, Lieutenant Gallagher. The anarchist group targets Katherine when a newspaper inadvertently reveals her identity. Will Jonathan reveal his secret to save her?

What I Loved About This Book

Cambron weaves a beautiful story of lies, forgiveness, redemption, and looking for the good in people. She knows how to combine historical events to weave an intriguing tale set in New York City around the turn of the last century. You’ll love this book if you love history, inspiration, and romance. Readers will relate to Katherine and Jonathan as they process what forgiveness means.

Fans of Roseanne M. White and Amy Lynn Green will love this book. If you like books set in New York City, you may enjoy these books, too.

While I confess I have no desire to visit New York City in person, I enjoy reading books set in New York City (especially historical ones). These new releases show two sides of the city near the turn of the last century. #amreading #bookreview #setinNYC #inspy #historicalfiction

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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