From a Modern Romance to the Jazz Age: Two Book Reviews

These days I read a far wider variety of genres and it’s my joy to share the reviews of these two contrasting books – I hope you enjoy the eclectic mix!

“A Mother for His Twins” by Jill Weatherholt

The past and present collide to create the perfect scenario for this superb and engrossing romantic novel. Schoolteacher Joy Kelliher, who is single and has no children, one day welcomes two new students into her class, two boys who are the twin sons of her high school sweetheart Nick Capello.

Fourteen years earlier he disappeared without warning on the evening of one of their dates. An evening that led to a catastrophic experience for Joy. Nick has returned to his hometown following the death of his wife and he is not just suffering from grief. His life is lived under a veil of guilt.

As the boys are introduced into her class, it turns out that Nick will be a fellow teacher at the school and is also seeking the position of the school principal, a job Joy has coveted for many years, particularly as her father was principal at the same school.

Finally, the next morning Joy wakens to see Nick and his sons moving in next door.

Her world has suddenly and dramatically been turned upside down. Where before there was certainty and security there is now questions, regret, renewed heartbreak. However, the past attraction and closeness between Nick and Joy emerges time and again, her flustered flirtation in contrast to her professional self. Nick likewise is torn between his affection for Joy, wanting to repair a wrong, with his ambition to become school principal, a position he needs not only for his career but as a form of redemption.

Jill Weatherholt weaves with skill the links of the past and present, gently unravelling past events as they are revealed to Joy and Nick in turn. Both have secrets that they have held onto and which are difficult to share, particularly as Joy still does not trust Nick.

The narrative unfolds through the close third person of the two main protagonists, ensuring the reader feels empathy with each, knowing their secrets, inner turmoil and thoughts.

Throughout, the book explores profound themes such as forgiveness, trust, jealousy, faith, acceptance of one’s life, guilt and regret. Only when there has been reconciliation in all these areas is a life of love possible.

I was hooked from the very first page and Joy’s and Nick’s story won an instant place in my heart!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Available: Amazon US Amazon UK

Publisher: Mills & Boon Love Inspired (1 Sept. 2019)

Read more about Jill on her blog Jill Weatherholt

“Speak Flapper: Slang of the 1920s” by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Who knew a dictionary could be so much fun?! ‘Speak Flapper’ is no ordinary dictionary however, rather a delightful and informative collection of slang from the 1920s.

The author was inspired to collate her specialist knowledge of words from the era following her novels set in the infamous Jazz Age. I’m so glad she took this leap of faith!

I enjoyed immensely not only reading the meaning behind the words and phrases but also the insight the book offered into life at the time. It gives a brief commentary on the social history of the era including about the people, films, inventions, relationships, alcohol, literature, clothes and crime … and so much more.

As each new letter of the alphabet is introduced Teagan reveals a snippet of history and wow, I was in awe of the creativity of the time. From automobiles to Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, from hats to phonographs, from washing machines to G-men!

I was surprised how many words were familiar to me and that I had no idea they stemmed from one hundred years ago. For instance ‘heebie-jeebies’, ‘Real McCoy’ and ‘Oops’ comes from then.

Some phrases surprised me by being similar to Cockney Rhyme, ‘Adam and Eve’ is ‘believe’ for instance. The language was wonderfully colourful and vibrant. ‘Lemon Squeezer’, ‘Caterpillar’s Kimono’, ‘Giggle Water’ give just a hint of some unusual words. When I meet a bore in future I will (mentally) refer to them as a ‘Gimlet’ … a terrific word! Some words were amusingly incongruous to their actual meaning, ‘peanut’ referring to a bomb!

Reflecting on our present-day language I wonder if it isn’t rather dull and bland in comparison to a century ago, whether a sense of daring and imagination is absent?

I can highly recommend this whimsical look at the Roaring Twenties and although I can’t yet speak fluent flapper, I’m a lot closer to it! ‘Speak Flapper’ really is the ‘cat’s pajamas’!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Available: Amazon UK Amazon US

Publisher: Independently published (5 Jan. 2020)

Read more about Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene at Teagan’s Books

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the reviews! Have you read any of these books or are you perhaps tempted to look at one or even both of them? As always, I look forward to your comments & discussion!

321 thoughts on “From a Modern Romance to the Jazz Age: Two Book Reviews

    1. Thank you so much! 😀 How true that second chance romances are hugely enjoyable to read about … and also to write I imagine! A book I thoroughly enjoyed and a worthy one for your TBR list – I can definitely relate to its ever-growing nature but decided this is positive in life! btw.Lovely to have you vising my blog and your gravatar is incredibly cute!

  1. Pingback: From a Modern Romance to the Jazz Age: Two Book Reviews — Annika Perry’s Writing Blog | Documentary Short Film Festival

  2. I read Jill’s book, Annika, and found it so sweet. No blood and guts at all (which is what I usually read. Lol). I haven’t picked up Teagan’s book, but now that I know more about from your review, it sounds delightful. I love learning word origins and seeing how language evolves. Great reviews, my friend. 🙂

    1. Diana, I’m smiling at your comment of no guts or blood in Jill’s book … so far from that as possible! 😀And sometimes that’s just what one needs! I’ve just seen your review of A Mother for His Twins and it terrific, you capture the book exactly! Also, noticed your review of one of Teagan’s book … sounds like her dictionary would be the perfect accompaniment! Happy Reading, my friend! 😀📖

    2. Great reviews, Annika! I have both books. They’re not my go to genres, but I’ve heard so many great things about them. I will eventually read them. Thank you for sharing❣️

      1. Thank you so much, Vashti! 😀 I love how blogging has encouraged me to read books outside my genres … I’m sure you’ll enjoy them! I can totally relate to eventually getting round to books … my poor Kindle is burgeoning! A fun problem to have though! Happy Reading and wishing you a lovely weekend. ❤️

  3. Such wonderful reviews Annika. and the Mother of his twins sounds a very good read… Teagans stories are always so unique, So this special book explaining some of her amazing dialogue I am sure is very enlightening..
    Sending love your way Annika.. And hope you have a good week ahead, and thankfully we had a Sunny couple of days here for a change instead of rain and more rain…
    Much love.. ❤ and take care…

    1. Sue, lovely to see you and thank you for your kind kind comment about my review! 😀 I love sharing and chatting about books and both these are excellent and hugely enjoyable, I’ve only read Teagan’s fiction writing on her blog and now look forward to reading her fiction books! Jill is a gifted writer and this is the second of her books which I’ve read … in captivated from the very first page!

      The sunny days are a blessing and I’m enjoying the quiet hazy sun this morning, thinking the joyful possibility of working a little in the garden today … fingers crossed. The lawn in part is more pond puddles but I see plenty that needs doing in the borders!

      Hope you’re well in these crazy times we’re living. Love & hugs, Annika xx❤️

  4. Thank you for these in-depth reviews. Annika! Two very different topics, indeed. Jill’s book sounds like another good and entertaining read – second chance romance at its best. ::-) And, the dictionary revealed quite a bit – language-wise and history-wise. I have to wonder whether the ingenuity of the words has to do with people not having to be quite as “politically correct) those days…

    1. Lisebeth, I’m intrigued by your thoughts about the varied and inventive language of the era and you might be right. Are we hindered a bit by needing to be pc all the time? Perhaps. I did love the social history aspect of Teagan’s book and oh, Jill’s book is an all-round winner! 😀 Lovely to see your comment and welcome! 😀

    2. Hi Liesbet! That’s a great point about “political correctness.” I guess they didn’t take everything so personally in those days. The “good ole days.” 🙂 Looking forward to your visit on Friday!

    1. Good morning to you too, Jennifer! 😀 Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I have been remiss in posting reviews last year and I want to share many more of the indie books I’m reading – a joy to do so. How true that the community here on WP is fabulous, real friendships created and also writers supporting each other. It’s great to meet another fan of Jill’s work and I also realise I have a third book of hers on my Kindle yet to read. Hope you’re having a great start to the week! xx

      1. Thanks, Annika. It’s been a great week so far! Yesterday I finished the synopsis for my latest work, and last night I adjudicated at our local high school’s speak-off. That makes three years in a row, and I love doing it. End of week I go to town to visit my children and grandchildren, so it’s all good. I hope your week is shaping up well for you too! xx

        1. Jennifer, this sounds like a wonderful week! Well done on writing your synopsis … I don’t envy you! Was it hard choosing the winner for the speak-off … it sounds like a lot of fun and I imagine the youngsters are quite nervous. Have a great time with your children and grandchildren later. Yep, I’m having a good week … been working on something a bit different re. Oskar’s Quest and announcing that on Thursday and my son is coming home at the weekend! Hooray! xx

    2. Hi Jennifer! This was a pleasant surprise from our friend, Annika. It’s so nice to have a forum like WordPress to support each other. Not something you’d really find on Fakebook. 🙂

  5. Wow! You received so many comments that I’m afraid to add one here. You’re too busy! But having read Jill’s “A Mother for His Twins” and thoroughly enjoyed it (even though it’s not a genre I generally read), I have to say CHEERS to you for writing a RIGHT ON review. I think we bloggers are so lucky to have found other writers whom we want to support and by doing so, find out “oh, I DO like this other genre. Glad I tried it out.” And the same with Teagan’s stories. She is so original and fun in her words and work. I love how she goes beyond “normal” and makes us all smile and realize that her work is “mind-bending.”

    1. Hi Pam! I totally agree, we are so fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful community. I was blessed by two wonderful reviews written by both you and Annika. Thank you for your support! I might need to share a photo on Twitter of Molly and Oskar. They’re living in harmony on our coffee table. Each time I walk by, I smile. ❤

    2. Pam, I’m so glad you added your lovely comment and bookish reflections here! 😀 Yeah! Another fan of Jill’s book and I’m glad you found it right on! The sense of community here on WP is overwhelming and I’m so grateful to have come across this amazing world of blogging, reviewing … it’s become such an integral and rewarding part of my life! I’m smiling at your take of Teagan’s work as ‘mind-bending’! I love her blog and quirky writing there and I’m next looking forward to reading her fiction book! Happy Reading, my dear friend! Hugs xx

  6. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday March 2nd 2020- #Book Recommendations from D.L. Finn, Annika Perry and Cathy Ryan | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

    1. Annika’s review was such a special surprise, Sally. I’m sure you have books coming out your ears! Wouldn’t it be nice to take a week off from everything and do nothing but read? That’s my dream vacation. ❤

  7. You told the story of Nick and Joy as if you created them. You did a good job in reviewing this book as i am now convinced to read it. I couldnt wait to see what they have become. Who becam the principal? Joy or Nick and why did Nick left unannounced?
    The dictionary too looked very interesting.

    1. Mich, I’m so happy you’re taken with the review and intrigued what happened in the past and what happens in the future to Joy and Nick! I could answer all the questions here … but so much more fun to read the book! Speak Flapper was terrrific and such an unusual book!

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment!😀

  8. Behind the Story

    Great review, Annika. Thank you. Jill’s cover touched my heart even before reading the review. Those little boys are adorable. It sounds like there are lots of twists and turns before we get to the happily ever after.

    My grandma taught my mom the Charleston, and my mom taught me. It’s a fascinating time period. I love the stories from that era by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    1. Nicki, you’re right, the cover of the two boys is adorable and so heartwarming even before reading a single word. Her writing reaches ones heart from the first page and yes, I love how you know with this genre that the ending will be a happy one! The journey there is never simple though!😀

      Yeah! How wonderful that the Charleston dance has been taught through your generations … it looks like such a fun and liberating dance! The era has always interested me and even more so after reading Teagan’s book and realising how much we have today comes from then!

  9. I enjoyed reading your reviews, Annika especially as you present us with such tantalising morsels from both books but (with Jill’s book) don’t give too much away! I have had Jill’s book on my Kindle app. for months but haven’t had the time to read it yet! Teagan’s book looks like great fun. 🙂

    1. Ahhh … thank you so much, Clare! 😀 I’m glad I capture enough of the book to intrigue but don’t give away too much. As Jill rightly says the magic of kindles is how the books are always there, waiting for us! I must admit I’d bought this in September and then recently came across it again … I hadn’t realised there was also digital tsundoku! 😀 Wishing you a beautiful Sunday … the sun is shine and it’s a heavenly start to March! Xx

  10. Mike

    Wonderful reviews as usual Annika. I’m interested in both books now but I particularly like the Speak Flapper expressions used in the 1920s some of which are still being used a hundred years later. I’ve heard a few of these but bees knees was an expression frequently used in the family when I was young.


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