Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely, narrated by Grace Grant & Richard Armitage

shirtless dark-haired hot guy lounges on a sofa. Superimposed over the image to the right is a postcard from Paris featuring the Eiffel Tower against blue sk with white fluffy clouds behind it.Why I read it:  Wanderlust is included in the #AudibleRomance package. Plus: Richard Armitage.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  The first time I met him, his sexy British accent almost talked me into giving him my number on the spot. The second time, he nearly charmed the panties off me with his wit. Then I learned he’s the key to success in my new job in Paris. The man who tempts me into fling-worthy dirty daydreams has turned out to be my personal translator, and his accent is the hottest thing I’ve ever heard.

My mantra is simple — Don’t mix business with pleasure. I do my best to resist him as he teaches me how to converse with my co-workers, navigate the metro and order the perfect bottle of wine at dinner. But I also figure out how to tell the charming and clever man what I most want to say — that I want him to take me back to his flat — tonight.
Except there’s a catch…

***

One more assignment before I take off on my big adventure…

And it involves the toughest work ever — resisting the fetching American woman I spend all my days with. But you know what they say about best intentions. Soon, we’re spending our nights tangled together, and I don’t want to let her go. The trouble is, my wanderlust is calling to me, and before we know it I’ll be traveling the globe to fulfill a promise I made long ago.

What could possibly go wrong with falling in love in Paris? Nothing…unless one of you is leaving.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Wanderlust was written for audio – or, at least, it was first published as an audiobook. (It’s out in print now as well.) The introduction is about how Joy is a sucker for accents – and British accents are her kryptonite. So it’s a very aural book and I expect it works best on audio. This is particularly so because Richard Armitage narrates the sections from Griffin’s point of view.

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

black and white picture of a woman painting a clock face with luminous paint, the numbers and the woman have been colourised. The book title is in luminescent green.Why I read it:  One of my friends read the book, tweeted about it and sparked my interest.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Ordinary women in 1920s America.

All they wanted was the chance to shine.

Be careful what you wish for.

‘The first thing we asked was, “Does this stuff hurt you?” And they said, “No.” The company said that it wasn’t dangerous, that we didn’t need to be afraid.’

1917. As a war raged across the world, young American women flocked to work, painting watches, clocks and military dials with a special luminous substance made from radium. It was a fun job, lucrative and glamorous – the girls themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered head to toe in the dust from the paint. They were the radium girls.

As the years passed, the women began to suffer from mysterious and crippling illnesses. The very thing that had made them feel alive – their work – was in fact slowly killing them: they had been poisoned by the radium paint. Yet their employers denied all responsibility. And so, in the face of unimaginable suffering – in the face of death – these courageous women refused to accept their fate quietly, and instead became determined to fight for justice.

Drawing on previously unpublished sources – including diaries, letters and court transcripts, as well as original interviews with the women’s relatives – The Radium Girls is an intimate narrative account of an unforgettable true story. It is the powerful tale of a group of ordinary women from the Roaring Twenties, who themselves learned how to roar.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Part of me wants to say “Oh, this book was SO good!” but that seems insensitive. It’s non-fiction and the heartbreaking truth of what happened to “the Radium Girls” was anything but good. From a narrative perspective however, the book is gripping. It’s part medical mystery (as the doctors look for answers to the seemingly disparate and frankly weird symptoms being experienced and invent techniques to test for the presence of radium), it’s part legal drama (as the girls and/or their next of kin fight for justice throughout various legal actions), part human interest story as the girls are brought to life by the sensitive and careful treatment they receive from the author.

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