Posted in 20th Century Reviews WWII

review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

In general I am not one to reread books–with the exception of audiobook versions. In this case, I was prompted to pick Guernsey up a second time because I caught the trailer for the new film and it intrigued me (I loved Lily James in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies). When I read this book some 8 years ago, I remember coming away from it so blown away that I couldn’t even pen a credible review–and I have recommended it heavily since. It tends to be my go-to literary gift, and the book I guide readers to when asked for great historical reads. One of the things I remember from my first experience is that the main author, Mary Ann Shaffer, sadly passed away before…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Giveaways WWII

giveaway: The Room on Rue Amelie

THE ROOM ON RUE AMELIE by Kristin Harmel For fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls, this powerful novel of fate, resistance, and family—by the international bestselling author of The Sweetness of Forgetting and When We Meet Again—tells the tale of an American woman, a British RAF pilot, and a young Jewish teenager whose lives intersect in occupied Paris during the tumultuous days of World War II. When newlywed Ruby Henderson Benoit arrives in Paris in 1939 with her French husband Marcel, she imagines strolling arm in arm along the grand boulevards, awash in the golden afternoon light. But war is looming on the horizon, and as France falls to the Nazis, her marriage begins to splinter, too. Charlotte Dacher…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 20th Century Author Guest Post WWII

guest post & giveaway: The Circumstantial Enemy: The Truth Behind the Fiction

Please welcome author John R. Bell today with a guest post about his WWII novel, The Circumstantial Enemy, and one copy of the book up for grabs! “If you don’t write it, Grandad’s story will be lost forever,” My daughter said. I’ll never forget the yearning in her eyes. That was 17 years ago. Grandad was 80 at the time. He’s now 97. The family had heard his war stories over and over again. Fascinating tales of trials and tribulations. As a young Yugoslav air force pilot, he was coerced onto the wrong side of WWII with the German invasion of 1941. They dispatched him to the Russian front – from there to surveillance over the Adriatic Sea where he would parachute into the frigid…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 20th Century WWII

Wishlist: All the Light We Cannot See

As I’m browsing Pinterest I came across this one in a “Top Reads Set in France” post and decided to add it to my wishlist. I’ve seen it all over the place and plan to get it on audio, assuming the narrator is compatible with my ears! All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr BOOK DESCRIPTION From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 20th Century Reviews WWII

review: In Farleigh Field

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen BOOK DESCRIPTION: “World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility. As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 20th Century First Line Friday WWII

First Line Friday: 5/26/17

“Half an hour before Diana Snyder died, she tidied up her desk in the typists’ office of the Cabinet War Rooms.” MR. CHURCHILL’S SECRETARY by Susan Elia MacNeal “London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 20th Century First Line Friday WWII

First Line Friday: 01/20/17

“Caught between green earth and blue sky, only truth kept me sane, but now lies disturb my peace.” THE TRUE STORY OF HANSEL AND GRETEL: A Novel of War and Survival by Louise Murphy A poignant and suspenseful retelling of a classic fairy tale set in a war-torn world. In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed “Hansel” and “Gretel.” They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called “witch” by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 19th Century 20th Century America Book Buys Europe WWII

New Year, New Books!

To kick off 2017, I ordered myself 4 books that have been on my my wishlist. This year I plan on reading more books I choose to read, rather than orphans from my editing work (the majority of the YA books I reviewed last year), or review requests. What better way to start than by anticipating lovely, new books in the mail? Burial Rites by Hannah Kent BOOK DESCRIPTION: A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829. Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 20th Century Reviews WWII

review: The Spirit of Grace

The Spirit of Grace by Terry Lynn Thomas California, 1942. Sarah Jane Bennett has been locked in an asylum since her mother’s death the year before. Because she doesn’t remember anything from the horrific event, and was found standing over her mother’s body, she remains under suspect to those who do not believe the death to be an accident. Her father suddenly recalls her to the family mansion, and she finds he has become a best-selling author and has remarried a young, demanding woman. There are war preparations, blackouts and military stationed on the coast, with much trepidation among the inhabitants of the area. Even with all the tension, Sarah is determined to clear her name and find her mother’s murderer. When another person is…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 20th Century Reviews WWII

review: War in My Town

War in My Town by E. Graziani Bruna Pucci is an eleven-year-old girl living in a small village in northern Tuscany, Italy. The story opens in 1940 with Bruna’s everyday life–going to school during her final year, doing chores and enjoying spending time with her mother, six siblings and neighborhood friends–and takes readers through the end of World War II. Bruna’s village, Eglio, is a small, mountainous area that went untouched by the war until the Spring of 1944 when Nazi soldiers marched in and occupied the town for an entire year. Eglio was bordering the “Gothic Line”, which was one of the last European fronts during the war. This small Italian village’s people were already suffering from food rationing and the absence of most…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 20th Century Non-Fiction WWII

review: Courage & Defiance

Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in WWII Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson “Only a drop in the ocean, that’s what they say. Well now, the ocean consists of drops.” – Mogens Fog An emotionally affecting story based on a collection of survivors’ memoirs, this WWII account focuses on the resistance efforts in Denmark during the five years of German occupation. Readers are immediately drawn in with riveting action from the Danish spies and saboteurs—ordinary men and women who, instead of meekly surrendering their freedom and watching their fellow countrymen in danger, chose to covertly help the official resistance organizations by destroying German machinery and weaponry, disrupting their supply lines and secretly transporting the Jewish population to nearby neutral Sweden. At a great…

Continue Reading...
Posted in 20th Century Author Interview WWII

author interview: Margaret Wurtele

“A young Italian woman risks her life to defy the injustice surrounding her in Margaret Wurtele’s The Golden Hour, a touching novel of forbidden love in war-torn Italy… It is autumn 1943 when German forces invade the peaceful vineyards and olive groves of Giovanna Bellini’s village in Tuscany. At first, the seventeen-year-old finds herself fascinated by the dashing Nazi officers. She has yet to come face-to-face with the harsh realities of war. Her life changes when her brother joins the partisans and recruits her to smuggle food. What begins as a lark takes a drastic turn when she’s asked to hide a wounded freedom fighter, for Mario Rava is not just a partisan–he’s also a Jew. As Giovanna helps Mario heal, their bond deepens. But…

Continue Reading...