A simply stunning novel set in Germany during World War II.
How unique to read a historical fiction book set during World War II that shows the life ofA simply stunning novel set in Germany during World War II.
How unique to read a historical fiction book set during World War II that shows the life of a German wife at home. Sigrid is a unique woman, but she herself does not see it. Every day she gets up and goes to work and comes home to an overbearing mother-in-law who she does not care for, and the feeling is mutual. Her husband, a soldier, is away, but it is clear that she is not missing him very much.
Sigrid becomes involved in the business of helping Jewish men, women, and children out of Germany. Very dangerous business, indeed. Not only will the consequences affect her, but those closest to her. All the while, Sigrid wonders what became of her Jewish lover, and dreams of him constantly.
I found the writing to completely gripping. From the synopsis, I knew this was going to be a good one, but I don't think I was prepared for how good. The writing reflected the story: suspenseful, not knowing what's around the corner, not knowing if you're being followed. The story was not so much action-packed, but the writing felt like it was. I would zip through pages and pages before I even realized how much time had gone by. I was completely absorbed in the story, holding my breath.
The ending was to my liking. It was the perfect ending for a story taking place during a war.
The story was a mix: suspense, mystery, thriller, all in the middle of a very intense time and place. How very suffocating I felt while reading, something that I'm sure I would have felt if I had actually been experiencing the events in the book.
A definite winner. I would be surprised if City of Women didn't become a bestseller....more
The Last Nude is a beautiful novel that reads fast, but does not lack in quality.
Most of the novel is set in 1927 Paris told from the point-of-view oThe Last Nude is a beautiful novel that reads fast, but does not lack in quality.
Most of the novel is set in 1927 Paris told from the point-of-view of Rafaela Fano, an 17-year-old Italian American. While it was written in the first person, it sometimes felt like third person because Rafaela wasn't a reliable narrator. She chooses what she does and does not see and convinces herself of things that are not true.
In 1927 Rafaela meets painter Tamara de Lempicka and agrees to pose for her. She inspires a number of Lempicka's paintings, but the most famous one is the first one she paints: Beautiful Rafaela. The Last Nude is what the author imagines the relationship between the painter and her muse was like.
Rafaela fashions herself in love with Tamara, but soon reality comes crashing down around her.
The second part of the story, which is only about the last 50 pages or so, is told from the point-of-view of an elderly Tamara, now living in Mexico in the 1970s. At this point in her life, Tamara is about as a reliable narrator as a 17-year-old Rafaela. So, I realize, we may not even be getting the whole story. There's still some mystery there.
I was incredibly engrossed in the story, thanks to the effortless prose and immersible story. Even some of the side characters were irresistible. Although, there were one or two who I would have liked to have known what happened to them.
A great between-the-wars story that had three main characters: Rafaela, Tamara, and Paris. Recommended....more
1814. Vienna. A beautiful Princess has been murdered. The murderer could be anyone, for representatives from around the continent have gathered for th1814. Vienna. A beautiful Princess has been murdered. The murderer could be anyone, for representatives from around the continent have gathered for the Congress of Vienna.
Vienna Waltz opens right in on the action, no set-up here. We find out things as we go along, and I love books like that. The hero and heroine of our tale: Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch are thrust in the middle of the murder investigation, because on the night of the murder, Princess Tatiana had dispatched messages to meet her in her rooms. Malcolm and Suzanne among them. Unfortunately, the poor Princess is already dead before anyone arrives.
The Princess has been linked to everyone from the tsar to Suzanne's husband, and Suzanne can't shake the feeling that her husband had a special bond with the Princess – more than he's letting on.
The cause of the Princess' death could be anything. As we follow along with Malcolm and Suzanne, we are shown every aspect of Vienna: from glittering royal balls, operas, and secret meetings. Intrigue, danger, secrecy, and of course murder are all there. Nothing is as it seems. No one is to be trusted. Secrets must not be revealed, because the future of Europe is at stake.
Teresa (aka Tracy) Grant has written another gripping historical mystery. I was on the edge of my seat several times and even once almost threw the book in the air when I yelled, “I knew it!” No disappointment here!...more
I've read a few books this year that have impressed me, but I've been waiting for a book like this. The kind of book that grabs me and doesn't let go,I've read a few books this year that have impressed me, but I've been waiting for a book like this. The kind of book that grabs me and doesn't let go, not even long after I'm finished. The kind of book whose story will always linger in my mind.
The Bells is the story of Moses, a boy whose voice enchants anyone who hears, but like so many boys of the time, Moses is a victim of castration, an act that will preserve his beautiful voice, but cause him both great physical and emotional pain. He both hides and questions himself and no longer shares his voice. He becomes a shadow at night, exploring the surrounding town, listening and watching.
This is a story of love, friendship, sacrifice, loyalty, and weaving through it all: music. The descriptions of music in this book were absolutely breathtaking. It truly captured how music can move a person both in their soul and body, whether they are they creator or the listener. At one point, Moses uses his voice to reach out to his love, who does not recognize him. A truly moving moment.
Taking place in 18th century Switzerland and Vienna, The Bells is a truly brilliant piece of work not just for fans of historical fiction, but for any fan of good fiction. It's one of few books that have truly moved me; a very unique story....more
Another winner from Catherine Delors! I just loved her first book, Mistress of the Revolution, and was so excited to dive into For the King!
For the KiAnother winner from Catherine Delors! I just loved her first book, Mistress of the Revolution, and was so excited to dive into For the King!
For the King can be described as a historical mystery with hints of romance. It tells the story of Chief Detective Roch Miquel who is investigating the attempted assassination of Napoleon Bonaparte that occurred on Christmas Eve 1800. The attempt failed, but dozens of innocent people were either killed or maimed.
Road blocks, such as spies, shady characters and the threat of the deportation of his father are constantly getting in his way of finding the suspects.
For the King was vastly different from Mistress of the Revolution, but I enjoyed it all the same. I loved the detective work and the action. Early 19th century Paris came alive. A golden historical fiction book; highly recommended....more
Sabine Conrad is on top of the world. She finds herself as one of the most popular sopranos in the country, until a shocking murder brings it all crasSabine Conrad is on top of the world. She finds herself as one of the most popular sopranos in the country, until a shocking murder brings it all crashing down.
The story is shown through Sabine's journal entries documenting her rise to fame during the 1870s. The other parts take place in 1881 Seattle, four years after the murder, where she has assumed a different identity.
The journal entries were sometimes excruciating. I knew that she was young and everything, but good grief! She was dumb as a bag of rocks. Speaking of rocks, it seemed like all she needed was for someone to buy her a nice piece of sparkley jewelry after a fight and all was forgiven.
I did enjoy the scenes in Seattle and the inner turmoil that was going through Sabine's head as she started to get close to people, but had to lie to them to protect her past. However, despite her best efforts, she soon finds herself face-to-face with the demons she tried to keep hidden and her life is once again turned upside down.
I also enjoyed all the opera talk. I just love opera and it was one of the things that attracted me to this book.
Overall, I did enjoy Prima Donna. I wasn't blown away by it and there were some excruciating parts, like I said. Also, the ending was wrapped up just a little too neatly, like it felt a bit rushed, but it was a pretty good read....more
As interesting as a non fiction book may be, it still takes me a while to get through it. I finally finished Citizens of London months after I startedAs interesting as a non fiction book may be, it still takes me a while to get through it. I finally finished Citizens of London months after I started.
Citizens of London was a very readable account a small group of Americans who tried to rally their country to help the ailing British in WWII in the years before the United States officially entered the war.
My views of Roosevelt have vastly changed after reading this book. I found myself becoming very frustrated all the times he dragged his feet. It seemed as though he couldn't get through his head that Great Britain was the last hope for Europe and was just barely holding out against Hitler. He just did not get the devastation!
Here's a passage that struck me:
Since the Blitz began, some 43,000 British civilians had been killed by bombs, about half of them in London. As of the spring of 1941, far more British women and children had died in the war that had members of the country's armed forces. More than two million houses were damaged or destroyed; in the central London area, only one house in ten had escaped completely unscathed.
London was falling apart and Roosevelt barely did anything.
Moving on, the book also covered the events after the United States entered the war, showing the mostly strained allied relationship between the two countries. However, the stories of how relationships formed between American soldiers and residents of London were particularly touching. One London couple who lost a son in the war thought of one American soldier as their surrogate son and brought him into their home, letting him stay there during the duration of the war.
I'm glad that I won this book from Goodreads; it was a bit of history that I hadn't known before. And the names of the main three Americans covered in the book: Winant, Murrow and Harriman and their devotion to Great Britain will forever be stamped in my mind. As Winant said said at his farewell dinner before heading back to America, "I shall always feel that I am a Londoner."...more
I was teetering between three and four stars to rate this, until it made me CRY. Crying = automatic five stars. It is rare for a book to make me cry.I was teetering between three and four stars to rate this, until it made me CRY. Crying = automatic five stars. It is rare for a book to make me cry. I probably can count how many times I've cried over a book on one hand.
People are comparing this to Nicholas Sparks, but as I have never read him, I won't.
I read this in about a day; it was a fast read, but by no means a light one. This book proves the term 'quality over quantity'.
It tells the story of Lily Davis, married just three weeks when her husband was shipped off overseas in 1942. We find her in 1945, just days before her husband is set to return. Set in Tocca Georgia, Lily goes about her normal life, if you want to call it normal, unpacking everything and setting up house. In the course of all this, she runs across Jake Russo, who is in town to create the fireworks display on the 4th of July. Meeting him shakes up Lily's life. She realizes she barely knows the man she calls her husband and that she is tired of her organized, planned out southern life. She feels passionate about this dark stranger, who she has only known for a short time. Passionate enough to leave her entire life behind?
I was intrigued by Jake Russo, an Italian American, who fought in WWII while his own father was being kept in an interment camp back in America. There's a great flashback scene where Jake is talking to his father through the gate of the interment camp he's being kept in. He's confused and asks his father how can he fight for this country who is keeping his father - who has never caused no harm to anyone - locked up? I'm glad that this subject was brought up in this book. Interment camps are often overlooked in American history. And Italian interment camps are something that the government has barely acknowledged even happened.
I was completely swept up in the storytelling. It is a beautiful story that left me breathless. I'm so happy I won this, I probably wouldn't have known about it, otherwise. ...more
There are countless continuations of Pride and Prejudice out there, none of which I have read. Most of them follow eitPride and Prejudice continues...
There are countless continuations of Pride and Prejudice out there, none of which I have read. Most of them follow either Darcy and Elizabeth or any of the Bennetts. The Other Mr. Darcy follows the life of Caroline Bingley after the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth. Who would have thought that Caroline Bingley could be redeemed? This book succeeded in that.
The story starts out with Caroline finding herself sobbing after the wedding and then discovering that someone had been observing her: Darcy's cousin from Boston: Robert Darcy. She is, of course, mortified, and hoped that she would never set eyes on him again. That does not happen. Where would the fun be in that?
The story was so original that I was sometimes forgetting that it was a continuation of the Pride and Prejudice story. Robert Darcy was a very droll, witty character and the exchanges between him and Caroline were utterly delightful. And the appearances of the well-known and well-loved characters from Pride and Prejudice struck true to each characters' personality that was established in the original novel.
The Other Mr. Darcy is a separate story of its own. It is a funny, touching and romantic tale and the redemption of a previously despised character....more
I am honestly surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I usually stay off the spin-offs/continuations of classic books, but I think one of the things tI am honestly surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I usually stay off the spin-offs/continuations of classic books, but I think one of the things that made this book good was that it wasn't a spin-off/continuation of a major work. Lady Vernon and Her Daughter expands the story of Jane Austen's Lady Susan.
In Lady Susan we see her as a selfish, conniving widow. In Lady Vernon and Her Daughter we see that might not be the case. It goes to show how gossip and biasness plays into people's opinions of others.
The writing is incredibility crisp and the dialogue witty and refreshing. I just loved everything that came out of Sir James' mouth.
This is only the second book set in medieval times that I've read, so I'm still easing into it. It takes me a bit longer to read these books3.5 Stars.
This is only the second book set in medieval times that I've read, so I'm still easing into it. It takes me a bit longer to read these books because while I'm interested in the period, I'm not ecstatic about it.
In The Greatest Knight I'm again learning about events I never knew about and reading about someone whose name I never heard of before I heard of this novel: William Marshal.
Chadwick has made this forgotten hero come alive. In The Greatest Knight we're introduced to a brave, loyal, headstrong, morally conscious man. It was clear that this was a man who was going to stick to what he believed in rather than what benefited him.
The attention to detail is insanely good. During the action sequences, I felt like I was there. The research that went into this novel brightly shows. And with the way it ends, there's no way I'm not going to continue with Marshal's story with The Scarlet Lion. I can't wait to get my hands on it....more