Monday, March 30, 2015

Music Monday - "Do I Love You?" by The Ronettes (1964)


Sometimes I choose a Music Monday song for one reason:  it makes me happy.  "Do I Love You?" by the Ronettes is one of those songs.

This girl group started singing together as teenagers.  The singers consist of Veronica Bennett (a/k/a Ronnie Spector), her sister Estelle Bennet, and their cousin Nedra Talley.  They grew up in Spanish Harlem and originally called their group The Darling Sisters.  They started working with Spector as The Ronettes in 1963.

"Do I Love You?" was a Top 40 song for The Ronettes in 1964.   It features everything that made them great:  Ronnie Spector's amazing voice, terrific instrumentals, and the "wall of sound" that Phil Spector engineered.

I heard this song for the first time in a long while on the radio a few days ago, and had forgotten how much I like it.  I hope you do, too.

Book Review, Excerpt and Giveaway: Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran

Author Jan Moran

on Tour March 28-April 16 with

SCENT OF TRIUMPH 

Scent of Triumph: A Novel of Perfume And Passion

(historical novel) Release date: March 31, 2015 at St. Martin’s Press 384 pages ISBN: 9781250048905

SYNOPSIS

Perfume is the essence of beauty, the heart of illusion, the soul of desire. It is my past, my present, my future. —from the journal of Danielle Bretancourt.  

When French perfumer and aristocrat Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for the remains of her family, relying on the strength of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a British shipping heir and Royal Navy officer. Finally, in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles. Amidst the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Danielle works her way up from meager jobs to perfumer and fashion designer. Still, personal happiness eludes her. Can her sheer force of will attract the elusive love she desires, or will it only come at the ultimate cost?

EXCERPT 
     Someone knocked sharply on the door. Gingerly crossing the room, Danielle opened the door to Jonathan Newell-Grey, heir apparent to the British shipping line that bore his family name. His tie hung from his collar and his sleeves were rolled up, exposing muscular forearms taut from years of sailing. A rumpled wool jacket hung over one shoulder.
    Danielle and Max had met Jon on their outbound voyage to New York several weeks ago. They had become good friends, dining together regularly on the ship, and later in the city. Well-traveled and physically fit, Jon loved to explore and dine on fine food, and insisted on taking them to the best restaurants in New York, as well as little-known nooks that served authentic French and German fare, assuring Max and Danielle of a salve for their homesickness after their relocation. During their time in New York, Max worked tirelessly, tending to details for their pending cross-Atlantic move, so they both appreciated having a knowledgeable friend to call on for help.
    With his gregarious yet gracious manner, Jon had helped them find a good neighborhood for their family, introduced them to his banker, and even explained some of the odd American colloquialisms they couldn’t understand, as they all laughed together over well-aged bottles of his favorite Bordeaux. They had all climbed the Empire State Building together, and one night they saw a play on Broadway, and even danced to Benny Goodman’s big band into the late evening hours. Jon also went to the World’s Fair with them, where their crystal perfume bottles were featured in a potential business partner’s display. Danielle and Max were both glad they’d met Jon, a man who embraced life with spirit and joie de vivre, and they looked forward to their new life in America far from the threat of Hitler’s forces.
     But now, with news of the invasion, Max and Danielle’s guarded optimism for their future had turned to distress over their family’s safety.
     “Bonjour,” she said, glad to see Jon. “Any news yet?”
          “None.” He pushed a hand through his unruly chestnut hair, droplets of water spray glistening on his tanned face. “The captain has called a meeting at fifteen hundred hours for all passengers traveling on Polish and German passports.”
          “But I still hold a French passport.”
          “You’ll need to attend, Danielle.” His hoarse voice held the wind of the sea.
          “Of course, but—” As another sharp pitch jerked through the ship, Jon caught her by the shoulders and kept her from falling. He moved intuitively with the ship’s motion, a testament to his years at sea.
          “Steady now, lass,” Jon said, a small smile playing on his lips. He stared past her out the porthole, his dark eyes riveted on the ocean’s whitecapped expanse. Blackened, heavily laden clouds crossed the sun, casting angled shadows across his face.
          Embarrassed, Danielle touched the wall for support. She recalled the strange sense of foreboding she’d had upon waking. She was blessed—or cursed—with an unusually keen prescience. Frowning, she asked, “Can the ship withstand this storm?”
          “Sure, she’s a fine, seaworthy vessel, one of the finest in the world. This weather’s no match for her.” He turned back to her, his jaw set. His usual jovial nature had turned solemn. “Might even be rougher seas ahead, but we’ll make England by morning.”
          Danielle nodded, but still, she knew. Anxiety coursed through her; something seemed terribly wrong. Her intuition came in quiet flashes of pure knowledge. She couldn’t force it, couldn’t direct it, and knew better than to discuss it with anyone, especially her husband. She was only twenty-six; Max was older, wiser, and told her that her insights were rubbish. Max wasn’t really insulting her; he had studied science at the university in Germany, and he simply didn’t believe anything that couldn’t be scientifically proven.
          Jon touched her arm in a small, sympathetic movement. “Anything I can do to help?”

REVIEW


I love historical fiction and find the 1940's a fascinating era, so I knew I would enjoy this read.  The period details were so interesting, and I enjoyed learning more about the perfume business through the details of this novel.

Danielle is a strong woman who shows a lot of bravery.  She works hard, achieves a lot, and longs to be with the man she loves.  Their love story was the strongest part of the novel for me.

The descriptions of life in Europe during World War II and later in Los Angeles were all very interesting.  The depiction of glamorous 1940's Hollywood was my favorite setting of the book.

This is an old fashioned book, in a good sense, and reminded me a bit of Barbara Taylor Bradford's novels.  The book is a fast paced read, and would make a good movie. I think fans of sweeping books with a historical 1940's setting will enjoy Scent of Triumph.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scent of Triumph - Jan MoranJAN MORAN is the author of Fabulous Fragrances I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list, and other contemporary novels, including Flawless, Beauty Mark, and Runway. A fragrance and beauty industry expert, she has been featured on CNN, Instyle, and O Magazine, and has spoken before prestigious organizations, including The American Society of Perfumers. She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and attended the University of California at Los Angeles Extension Writers’ Program. Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest Subscribe to her newsletter
Discover her Vintage Perfume Guide
Go deeper with her Reader’s Discussion Guide

Buy the book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks IndieBound | Powell’s | Books A Million | Kobo | eBooks.com | GooglePlay  

GIVEAWAY

You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.

Entry-Form

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] Global giveaway open internationally: 1 winner will receive 1 print copy of Scent of Triumph.

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ OTHER REVIEWS, EXCERPTS, GUEST-POST AND INTERVIEW

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I received this book from France Book Tours and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.