Book Reviews: Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries by Sally Cronin, The Widows by Jess Montgomery #ShortStories #HistoricalFiction

Hey, everyone! I’m behind on posting reviews, so this week I’m including two books. The first is by Sally Cronin.


Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet is a collection of short stories with scattered poetry, reflecting the complexities of life, love and loss.

The stories in the collection dip into the lives of men and women who are faced with an ‘event’ that is challenging and in some cases life changing.

Even something as straightforward as grocery shopping online can be frustrating, and a DNA test produces surprise results, the past reaches out to embrace the present, and a gardening assistant is an unlikely grief counsellor. Romance is not always for the faint-hearted and you are never too old for love. Random acts of kindness have far-reaching consequences and some people discover they are on a lucky streak. There are those watching over us who wish us well, and those in our lives who wish us harm.

My Review

I read a lot of thrillers and psychological fiction and every so often I need something light-hearted. Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries provided that. It’s a collection of poetry and short stories which show us that life is sometimes sweet but other times bitter.

Divided in sections of Technology, Connections, Winning Streak, and Falling in and Out of Love, this collection of poetry and short stories offers something for just about every reader.

While I enjoyed all of them, some of my favorites were The Nanny, The Wedding Day, The Scratch Card, and The Night Shift. Friday Night and Gaffer Tape had me cheering the heroines. The book is easily read in one or two sittings but reading a story or poem each night is a perfect way to end your day. I highly recommend this delightful book. Five stars.


Kinship, Ohio, 1924: When Lily Ross learns that her husband, Daniel, the town’s widely respected sheriff, has been killed while transporting a prisoner in an apparent accident, she vows to seek the truth about his death.

Hours after his funeral, a stranger appears at her door. Marvena Whitcomb, a coal miner’s widow, is unaware that Daniel has died and begs to speak with him about her missing daughter.

From miles away but worlds apart, Lily’s and Marvena’s lives collide as they realize that Daniel was perhaps not the man that either of them believed him to be.

My Review

Two Widows is a historical fiction novel set in Ohio during the mid-1920s. It’s written in alternating points of view—Lily, the widow of murdered sheriff Daniel Ross, and Marvena, his “close” friend. Marvena became a widow after the death of her common-law husband in a mine shaft owned by Daniel’s half-brother.

Lily and Marvena first meet after Daniel’s murder. When Lily is appointed sheriff, the two women join forces to find the person responsible for Daniel’s death and discover what happened to Marvena’s missing daughter.

The book has twists and turns. There are several suspects, including Daniel’s half-brother Luther, some ruthless Pinkerton guards hired by him, and some shady characters who had a hold on Daniel. I suspected several people, was right on one count, but I was surprised at the end. I like when an author keeps me guessing.

Both women are strong characters. The author did her research, as the character of Lily was based on Ohio’s first appointed female sheriff. Parts of the book are a little slow, and for this reason, I’m rating it four stars. If you like historical fiction with a touch of mystery and suspense, you’ll enjoy this one.

33 thoughts on “Book Reviews: Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries by Sally Cronin, The Widows by Jess Montgomery #ShortStories #HistoricalFiction

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  1. I loved Sally’s book, Joan. Her short stories are right up my alley. Thanks for the introduction to Jess and her book. I enjoy historical fiction. The details bring the stories right into focus for me. Thanks for the recommendations and Happy Reading.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Joan. I have read Sally’s “Cherry” book and savored every story – sweet, luscious, with just a bit of tartness. So glad you reviewed it here. The historical fiction looks good with a strong female character. We need those! Speaking of which, I wrote a review of your novella on Amazon and Goodreads. Looking forward to your Legends of Madeira series. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love how you describe Sally’s book. Yes, it does have a bit of tartness. 🙂 And I agree, we need books with strong female characters.

      Thank you so much for the lovely review of House of Sorrow. If nothing happens, the first Legends of Madeira book will release on June 1.


  3. Lovely review of a book I loved -Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries. I did intend to read one or two a night but couldn’t stop after the first two and read right through. The Widows sounds fascinating and, considering the struggle we had in the UK to get all women the vote, it was a real surprise to learn about a woman sheriff in the 1920s.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Two excellent reviews, Joan. That’s intriguing about Ohio having a female sheriff in that era.
    I read Sally’s book and you named some of my favorite stories as well. She always tells an excellent tale.
    As for being behind on reviews, I’m right there with you. I may have to start doing two days a week to catch up, LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

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