Friday, February 19, 2021

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: Dachshund and Turtle Play Soccer

Dear Friends,

I am on the run this week (not literally, but it has been a busy day!) so I'll just pop in to share a short video with you.

My friend Emily, a dachshund in Texas, sent me a cute video of a dachshund playing soccer with a turtle. The dachshund seems a bit more enthusiastic about the ball than the turtle, but it really looks like they are playing together!

I have never met a turtle before. If you have a dog, have they met a turtle, and if so, what did they think? 

Without further ado, here is this fun little video:

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day.


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review and Giveaway - The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron

My Review

The Paris Dressmaker is a historical novel that spans 1939 - 1944 in Paris. The story centers on two women. Lila de Laurent is a dressmaker for Coco Chanel. She becomes involved in the Resistance and eventually makes dresses for the mistresses of Nazi officials in order to spy on their activities. Sandrine Paquet is a married mother who works cataloging art that has been stolen from Jewish families and is being sent to Germany. She, too, is involved in the Resistance. When a beautiful and mysterious Chanel gown appears in one of the collections Sandrine is working with, these two women are suddenly connected.

I wanted to read this novel because I enjoyed Kristy Cambron's Lost Castle series. I love historical fiction and particularly like the 1940's time period. I am a bit of a Francophile, so the French setting was a major plus.

This is such a unique novel. It has a dual storyline featuring both the dressmaker, Lila, and the art cataloger, Sandrine. The storytelling is not linear, but weaves back and forth in time. There are mysteries on top of mysteries: the Chanel gown, the stolen artwork, and the men who come and go in these women's lives - Lila's boyfriend Rene, who works to save his Jewish family during the war, and Sandrine's husband, Christian, who is away fighting and intermittently disappearing.

It took me a bit to unwind the story at the beginning, with very quick flashes from one time and place to another. Once I felt comfortable with the narrative style, I was thoroughly engrossed in the story and found this novel hard to put down!

Kristy Cambron's storytelling is beautiful. There are striking descriptions that set the scene, like:

Lila wove through the crowd of partygoers beyond the Villa Trianon’s back doors. All around, frivolity reigned. String lights laced the trees. Torches lit garden paths like fairies owned the night. Gowns shimmered in time with the sway of tuxedos and jazz music. Guests rimmed Elsie de Wolfe’s grand circus ring on the lawn and an outdoor pavilion that encircled the trunk of an old oak. Lila passed waiters doling out the ever-eccentric menu of pork and scrambled eggs and a seemingly bottomless supply of champagne cocktails to keep the guests caught up in their revelry until the wee hours. A tree-lined road lay empty beyond the back lawn, hugging the outskirts of the gardens. Behind it the Petit Trianon slept, hemmed in by a bed of perfectly manicured trees and hornbeam hedges" (eBook location 711).

I found the story of the Resistance fighters very inspiring, and was particularly interested in some of the supporting characters based on real people, like art historian Rose Valland and American singer/actress Josephine Baker.

Lila and Sandrine are both fascinating characters - strong and brave even when moving far out of their comfort levels and the lives they lived before the war. I found it particularly interesting later in the book as their storylines began to intersect.

I highly recommend The Paris Dressmaker for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone who is interested in the 1940's or French history.

Book Synopsis

Based on true accounts of how Parisiennes resisted the Nazi occupation in World War II—from fashion houses to the city streets—comes a story of two courageous women who risked everything to fight an evil they couldn’t abide.

Paris, 1939. Maison Chanel has closed, thrusting haute couture dressmaker Lila de Laurent out of the world of high fashion as Nazi soldiers invade the streets and the City of Lights slips into darkness. Lila’s life is now a series of rations, brutal restrictions, and carefully controlled propaganda while Paris is cut off from the rest of the world. Yet in hidden corners of the city, the faithful pledge to resist. Lila is drawn to La Resistance and is soon using her skills as a dressmaker to infiltrate the Nazi elite. She takes their measurements and designs masterpieces, all while collecting secrets in the glamorous Hôtel Ritz—the heart of the Nazis’ Parisian headquarters. But when dashing René Touliard suddenly reenters her world, Lila finds her heart tangled between determination to help save his Jewish family and bolstering the fight for liberation.

Paris, 1943. Sandrine Paquet’s job is to catalog the priceless works of art bound for the Führer’s Berlin, masterpieces stolen from prominent Jewish families. But behind closed doors, she secretly forages for information from the underground resistance. Beneath her compliant façade lies a woman bent on uncovering the fate of her missing husband . . . but at what cost? As Hitler’s regime crumbles, Sandrine is drawn in deeper when she uncrates an exquisite blush Chanel gown concealing a cryptic message that may reveal the fate of a dressmaker who vanished from within the fashion elite.

Told across the span of the Nazi occupation, The Paris Dressmaker highlights the brave women who used everything in their power to resist darkness and restore light to their world.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

Author Bio

Kristy Cambron is an award-winning author of historical fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of nonfiction, including the Verse Mapping Series Bibles and Bible studies. Kristy’s work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations, and has been featured at CBN, Lifeway Women, Jesus Calling, Country Woman Magazine, MICI Magazine, Faithwire, Declare, (in)Courage, and Bible Gateway. She holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing and lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a peppermint mocha latte and a good read.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads


We have 5 paperback copies of The Paris Dressmaker up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on February 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Paris Dressmaker


Book Review - When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin

My Review

When Twilight Breaks is a historical novel set in Munich, 1938. Evelyn Brand is an American working in Munich as a foreign correspondent. She faces daily challenges as a woman in a male dominated field. She worries about her safety in Munich because she has Jewish ancestry. Through her work, Evelyn meets an American graduate student, Peter Lang. They form an uneasy friendship/flirtation. When tensions build in the city, Evelyn and Peter must work together to protect their Jewish friends, to safely spread the word about what they are witnessing, and to try to remain safe.

I wanted to read this novel because I love Sarah Sundin's books. She is one of my favorite historical fiction authors. I also found it appealing that this book is a standalone read. 

I think of Sarah Sundin first when I think of 1940's/World War II historical fiction. The historical details in her books are so beautifully researched and she has such a gift at bringing this time period to life. For instance:

"Tuesday, May 10, 1938. The bells of the glockenspiel tinkled their tune from the balcony of the town hall as wooden figures jousted and rolled out beer barrels. Peter would never tire of the show at the Neues Rathaus or the wonder on the faces of those who filled the Marienplatz. Like the little towheaded boy tugging on his hurried mother’s hand and tripping over his feet trying to watch. The wooden rooster crowed three times, and the crowd went on its way. So did Peter. He always timed his walk to the Gärtnerplatz so he passed through the Marienplatz when the glockenspiel played" (eBook location 1196).

This was a fascinating story. Evelyn is such a strong, determined person. I cannot imagine the courage it took her on a daily basis to report from Munich on the cusp of World War I, especially as a woman with a Jewish background (three of her grandparents were Jewish but she was raised Christian).

Peter evolved a great deal as a character in this book. He also grew into a character with great bravery and determination. I loved his quiet strength and the way he always was supportive of Evelyn and her work, at a time when this often was not the case.

This is a very suspenseful novel! I flew through it in a weekend because I couldn't put it down. I cannot recommend When Twilight Breaks highly enough for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone who is interested in the World War II period. This is sure to be one of my top 10 reads of the year.

Book Synopsis

Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent determined to prove her worth in a male-dominated profession and to expose the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. To do so, she must walk a thin line. If she offends the government, she could be expelled from the country--or worse. If she does not report truthfully, she'll betray the oppressed and fail to wake up the folks back home.

Peter Lang is an American graduate student working on his PhD in German. Disillusioned with the chaos in the world due to the Great Depression, he is impressed with the prosperity and order of German society. But when the brutality of the regime hits close, he discovers a far better way to use his contacts within the Nazi party--to feed information to the shrewd reporter he can't get off his mind.

As the world marches relentlessly toward war, Evelyn and Peter are on a collision course with destiny.

Author Bio

Sarah Sundin is the bestselling author of several popular WWII series, including Sunrise at Normandy, Waves of Freedom, Wings of the Nightingale, and Wings of Glory. Her novels have received starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. The Sky Above Us received the Carol Award, her bestselling The Sea Before Us received the FHL Reader's Choice Award, and both Through Waters Deep and When Tides Turn were named on Booklist's "101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years." Sarah lives in Northern California. Visit for more information.


I received a copy of this eBook from Revell Reads and Netgalley.