Nicole Says…Read These Books

By Nicole McManus

Shelter in Place, by Nora Roberts

It was an average day in Maine; everyone is hanging out at the local mall when the shooting occurs. Despite only lasting a few minutes, this event forever changes the town and its residents. The survivors of that fateful day grow up looking over their shoulders, some becoming heroes, some hiding as best as they can, while some find a reason to love. However, when murders start popping up, the survivors fear they are next.

This book is about surviving tragic events. The mass shooting sets a new path for each of the survivors. There is a classic Nora Roberts romance story line that eases the tension of the current day murders. The author realistically shares how one event can forever change a person’s life.

I admit, I have only read four books by Nora Roberts. I read the Guardians Trilogy last year, to see what her writing style was like. (I loved the settings in this series.) As you might have guessed, I read every genre and have read a lot of current authors. However, I have made it a goal to start reading a few well-known authors that numerous readers swear by, such as Robert Ludlum or Nora Roberts. I also read to escape reality, so you must be wondering why I read a book about a mass shooting… I wanted to see how the author handled the emotions and the aftermath. Let’s face it, we all see/hear the daily news, it is heartbreaking and disturbing, and unfortunately they are breaking with new reports from other scenes before the healing process can even begin. I appreciate how this author took the time to share that these tragic events are life altering for everyone involved, and I hope that readers will be encouraged to remember past events and check in/help out survivors who are still reeling.

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, by Sarah Bird

Cathay Williams was born a slave in Missouri. When the Union army invaded, all the slaves were taken in and forced to help the war efforts by serving as cooks or nurses. Cathay traveled with the army as an assistant cook, watching men of all races fight for their country. Since she was usually mistaken as a man, and determined to find her family, she disguised herself and joined the Buffalo Soldiers after the war was over.

Sarah Bird did an incredible job blending real people and events into a page-turning novel. There is a little bit of everything in this novel, from war to romance. Not all is true, so readers who enjoy this story may want to do some research afterwards. The author brilliantly captured Cathay’s spirit and showed her remarkable determination. The author brings to the forefront a woman who helped change the course of history and readers will not want to put this book down!

I love historical fiction. It is one of my all-time favorite genres! Over the last couple of years, there has been a big boom in new historical fiction titles being released, with a vast majority being centered around WWII. This book was one I chose to read purely based on the title. It grabbed my eye and when I read the blurb, I knew it was going to the top of my “To Read” stack for the weekend. I grew up in a part of Virginia where numerous battles took place. In school, we learned about the war through our state history classes, as well as national history classes. I remembered the Buffalo Soldiers, and I vaguely remembered there may have been a woman disguised as a man. However, after reading this story I wanted to do more research on Cathay Williams, as she was truly an incredible woman. I am now on the hunt for more Sarah Bird books.


About this writer

  • Nicole McManus

    Nicole McManus loves to read, to the point that she is sure she was born with a book in her hands. She writes book reviews in the hopes of helping others find the magic found through reading. Contact her at

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