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The View from Prince Street: Alexandra Novel…
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The View from Prince Street: Alexandra Novel (Alexandria Series)

by Mary Ellen Taylor

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I loved the history and detail this book offered about the three families involved in the witch bottles. This book follows, At The Corner of King Street and The Union Street Bakery, and all three books were a joy to read. ( )
  mchwest | Apr 5, 2016 |
The View from Prince Street by Mary Ellen Taylor is a part of the Alexandria series. Dr. Rae McDonald lives in her family home in Alexandria, Virginia. The home has been in her family over two hundred years. Rae is a clinical psychologist and runs her practice out of her house. Some call her a matchmaker (but not Rae). Rae gave away a baby when she was sixteen years old (as a result of the death of her sister) and despite her academic achievements and a good career, Rae has not really moved on with her life. She is still emotionally in the same place she was sixteen years ago.

Lisa Smyth is a wet plate photographer (a very old method of taking pictures). She found a bellows camera when she was a teenager at Shire Architectural Salvage Yard and has been entranced with it since. Lisa usually travels around the country (taking photographs), but her Aunt Amelia suffered an accident. Amelia suffered a broken hip and also has advanced dementia. Lisa is getting her settled into an assisted living facility and visiting her everyday with Amelia’s dog, Charlie. Lisa was in an accident sixteen years ago. Her best friend, Jennifer died in the auto accident. Lisa was drunk at the time (so was Jennifer). Lisa’s aunt helped her get into AA (after the accident). It is a constant battle for Lisa (because of the guilt she feels). She has never recovered from the accident (emotionally) and still needs to make amends to two people.

Margaret McCrae loves history. When Margaret and her business partner, Addie Morgan were clearing (they run Shire Architectural Salvage) out hearth stones at Rae McDonald’s she came across a witch bottle. This is the third witch bottle they have found. One for each of the founding families (Smyth, Goodwin, and McDonald). Margaret would love to do more research into the McDonald family. Rae is reluctant (she avoids the past) until she gets a message from her biological child. We get to go on a journey into the past to see how the families began and how they are still connected to this day.

The View from Prince Street was a very good book. I was drawn in right away and just kept reading. I liked how the past and present were twined together. I did not read the first book in the Alexandria series, but it did not hinder my reading (nor enjoyment) of this novel. I will, though, be reading it as soon as I have room in my schedule (as well as Mary Ellen Taylor’s other books). The View from Prince Street has some great characters and a beautiful setting. I liked how the characters developed during the book. It was enjoyable how the writer included the past (their family history) and related it to the present. I give The View from Prince Street 5 out of 5 stars. I liked it. There were no slow or boring parts. The book had a nice pace and is very well written.

I received a complimentary copy of The View from Prince Street from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Jan 9, 2016 |
A special thank you to Penguin and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Mary Ellen Taylor returns following At The Corner of King Street (Alexandria #1) with a complex multi-generational mystery of the past THE VIEW FROM PRINCE STREET (Alexandria #2) rich in history; with three families crossing two centuries-- mystery, intrigue and some ancient magic to stir the pot.

As the locals read the weekly Lifestyle edition and the online version of the Old Town Alexandria paper, Dr. Rae McDonald is known to have a heart of stone, however, some think she is a matchmaker, trying to help her clients find happiness.

In fact, Rae knows sadness, all too well. It had nearly destroyed her at age sixteen when her old sister had died, and thereafter she had made reckless choices that resulted in a pregnancy. She gave the baby boy away to another mother for adoption. The pain and the loss were crushing. Since that day she knew her survival depended suppressing her feelings. Her detachment had served her well. She can remove herself from her client’s storms, problems, and her own emotions.

We meet up with the MaCrae’s we met in book one—Addie Morgan and Margaret McCrae, owners of Shire Architectural --the contractors who removed her stones six weeks ago. Addie is raising her niece, Carrie, eight weeks old. Addie was saving her family’s business for the brink of ruin. Margaret worked full time with the salvage company but still maintained close ties to the archeology center. She had a PhD in History and was a well- qualified expert in local history, especially Alexandria.

They had read about Rae, the trained clinical psychologist in the paper. They had found a bottle. A witch bottle. An incredible find. Protection spells. They were created hundreds of years ago by people who feared black magic. They were designed to ward off a witch’s spells and evil curses. Most were typically made of wine bottles filled with all kinds of sharp objects. (to cut or slice into the magic). Curses? A witch.

One of the bottles they found belonged to Addie’s family. Sarah Shire Goodwin buried that one. Patience McDonald buried the one they found on Rae’s property and Imogen Smyth made the one they found on the Prince Street Property. All three women lived in Alexandria around 1750.

As the book flashes back from the eighteenth century to the present we find the connections of three Alexandria families. At the beginning of the novel, it opens with a letter in 1751. A bind between these three families. A dangerous barter.

Rae's sister’s best friend Lisa Smyth survived the crash, but never told the truth about it. As long-buried artifacts that link their family histories are unearthed, both women are forced to confront the secrets of the past, before they can have a future.

Secrets. A Buried past. Choices. As the book moves along, both Rae and Lisa are at a crossroads in their lives. The ties that bind. Face the past in order to have a future.

“Past, Present, and Future are links in a chain. For a chain to be strong you must have all the links. Not the ones you select. “A thought provoking question: Can you live in the now without acknowledging the problems of the past?

Ultimately, an emotional heartwarming novel of motherhood, forgiveness, letting go of the past, and second chances. As always you can count on Mary Ellen Taylor to deliver a bold life lesson, a strong takeaway message, and some savory recipes. This time Rachel at The Union Street Bakery offers her Lemon Polenta Cookies and Never Too Much Chocolate Chip Cookies.

An excellent choice for book clubs or further reading group discussions with questions included. If you have not read The Union Street Bakery series, highly recommend! ( )
  JudithDCollins | Dec 23, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425278263, Paperback)

The author of The Union Street Bakery and At the Corner of King Street returns to Alexandria, Virginia, with a heartfelt tale of reconnection.

Rae McDonald was fifteen when a car accident took her sister’s life and threw her own into reckless turmoil. When she got pregnant a year later, she found a loving couple to adopt the child. Since then, she’s buried her grief and guilt under a heart of stone.

Lisa Smyth survived the fateful crash, but never told the truth about what happened. And when a family obligation draws her back to Alexandria, the weight of Lisa’s guilt grows heavier by the day.
As both women confront a past refusing to be forgotten, long-buried artifacts are discovered by the Shire Architectural Salvage Company that point to a shared history between families.  Now, Rae and Lisa must finally ask themselves if denying the past is worth sacrificing the future.
 

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 15 Sep 2015 23:05:35 -0400)

"The author of The Union Street Bakery and At the Corner of King Street returns to Alexandria, Virginia, with a heartfelt tale of reconnection. Rae McDonald was fifteen when a car accident took her sister's life and threw her own into reckless turmoil. When she got pregnant a year later, she found a loving couple to adopt the child. Since then, she's buried her grief and guilt under a heart of stone. Lisa Smyth survived the fateful crash, but never told the truth about what happened. And when a family obligation draws her back to Alexandria, the weight of Lisa's guilt grows heavier by the day. As both women confront a past refusing to be forgotten, long-buried artifacts are discovered by the Shire Architectural Salvage Company that point to a shared history between families. Now, Rae and Lisa must finally ask themselves if denying the past is worth sacrificing the future"--… (more)

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