Between video episodes, make sure to check out Justine’s WEEKLY book reviews and author interviews.

The segment, called “Justine’s Bookends Review,” airs every Sunday morning on Newstalk 1010 radio (Toronto) and every Friday afternoon on 610 CKTB (Niagara region).

You can find the blog and podcasts here.

Happy reading!

There’s something romantic and fascinating about taking what little is known about someone who lived in the past and writing a story around those few facts. In Episode 20, we revisit historical fiction.

Justine chats with Cathy Marie Buchanan about her new book The Painted Girls.

The book is based on the life of the girl, Marie van Goethem, who was the subject of Edgar Degas’ famous statuette Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen. Little is known about Marie’s life, other than she was the daughter of a laundress and tailor, had two sisters, and was a dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet. Cathy wrote a story around the facts that have survived.

In Episode 20, Cathy talks about the inspiration behind her new book, and how she went from a corporate job to the writer’s desk.

We also visit Ben McNally Books on Bay St to get a few other recommendations.

The Bookends List

Ben McNally with Ben McNally Books gives three other recommendations:

1. The Paris Wife, Paula McLain

An instant national bestseller, this stunningly evocative, beautifully rendered story told in the voice of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley, has the same power and historical richness that made Loving Frank a bestseller. No twentieth-century American writer has captured the popular imagination as much as Ernest Hemingway. This novel tells his story from a unique point of view – that of his first wife, Hadley. Through her eyes and voice, we experience Paris of the Lost Generation and meet fascinating characters such as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Gerald and Sara Murphy. The city and its inhabitants provide a vivid backdrop to this engrossing and wrenching story of love and betrayal that is made all the more poignant knowing that, in the end, Hemingway would write of his first wife, “I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her.” (description from

2. The Winter Palace, Eva Stachniak

Behind every great ruler lies a betrayal. Eva Stachniak’s novel sweeps readers into the passionate, intimate, and treacherous world of Catherine the Great, revealing Russia’s greatest matriarch from her earliest days in court, where the most valuable currency was the secrets of nobility and the most dangerous weapon to wield was ambition. Two young women, caught in the landscape of shifting allegiances, navigate the treacherous waters of palace intrigue. Barbara is a servant who will become one of Russia’s most cunning royal spies. Sophia is a pretty, naive German duchess who will become Catherine the Great. For readers of superb historical fiction, Eva Stachniak captures in glorious detail the opulence of royalty and the perilous loyalties of the Russian court. (description from

3. Witch Light, Susan Fletcher

The new novel from Susan Fletcher, author of the bestselling ‘Eve Green’ and ‘Oystercatchers’. 1692. Corrag, a wild young girl from the mountains of Scotland, has been imprisoned as a witch. Terrified, in a cold, filthy cell, she awaits her fate of death by burning – until she is visited by Charles Leslie, a young Irishman, hungry to question her. For Corrag knows more than it seems: she was witness to the bloody and brutal Massacre of Glencoe. But to reveal what she knows, Corrag demands a chance to tell her true story. It is a tale of passion and courage, magic and betrayal, and the difference that a single heart can make to the great events of history. (description from

Thank you to:

Cathy Marie Buchanan
Ben McNally of Ben McNally Books


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