Even though there were some problems, I liked this book. I hope the author will continue with these same characters. I enjoyed reading about this timeEven though there were some problems, I liked this book. I hope the author will continue with these same characters. I enjoyed reading about this time period as well as the Shaker community. While the book wasn't as polished as I'd like to see, I like the way the author wrote and as a first novel, it was promising. ...more
I had almost stopped reading Tess Gerritsen's book because I had gotten tired of her main characters and the increasingly gruesome crimes. This book iI had almost stopped reading Tess Gerritsen's book because I had gotten tired of her main characters and the increasingly gruesome crimes. This book is a return to the earlier Gerritsen books. The plot is fresh and interesting. Bringing the victims of the holocaust to life in Italy, Gerritsen has given voice to the many Italians who strenuously resisted Hitler's depraved ideology.
Listening to the Audible book added a great deal to the book. The narrators were excellent, but the strains of a hauntingly beautiful violin playing the "death waltz" at various points in the story was superb. ...more
**spoiler alert** Just when you think you have heard of all the atrocities on WWII, here comes another one. While I have heard of the Germans stealing**spoiler alert** Just when you think you have heard of all the atrocities on WWII, here comes another one. While I have heard of the Germans stealing young Aryan-looking girls and using as "breeders" in the Lebensborn Program to create an Aryan Super Race, I had not heard that they stole young Aryan-looking children in Poland and other occupied territories and took them to places like the Lichterfelde children's home to Germanize them and then place them with Nazi families.
This is a heartbreaking story of a young boy whose sister was kidnapped by an SS Officer and taken away. After first being interested in taking the mother to something like the Lebensborn Program, the officer sees the beautiful 9-year-old daughter and kidnaps her striking the mother and leaving her with a scar across her face and causing a stroke. The son, who was 15 at the time, promises his mother that he will find his sister. His journey seems to include just about every atrocity on the way. He first joins up with a Polish resistance group and then is joined by a young girl whose brother is in the group. He then becomes a conductor for the underground and eventually ends up at Auschwitz, which he somehow manages to survive.
I think this book gave me a better idea of the tremendous displacement of so many Europeans. People were snatched from their homes, separated, moved from country to country, and when the war was over, many had no way to get in contact with family again. So many people found themselves hundreds of miles away from home and if they managed to get back home it was often a place where they knew no one. When the Nazis conquered an area, they brought in Germans to resettle and Germanize the countryside. At the end of the war, those people were no longer welcome and strangers moved into their homes. The returnees often found themselves in a town where they knew no one....more
This was excellent even if it did end rather abruptly. It is the story of one of Louis Comfort Tiffany and a woman designer, Clara Driscoll. At the tiThis was excellent even if it did end rather abruptly. It is the story of one of Louis Comfort Tiffany and a woman designer, Clara Driscoll. At the time, around the turn of the century, it was rare for women to work in the arts. Clara was an extremely talented woman and it was she who came up with the idea of making stained glass lamps. While Tiffany generally was involved in all the new designs, many of them weren't his ideas even if they were marketed under his name. Clara actually won awards for her designs in Paris, but she was relatively unknown until the letters came to light. Clara was a fine correspondent and it was her letters to her family and to Mr. Tiffany that brought her role in the designing process to light. They contain details of the ideas she had, the difficulty of bringing those ideas to life, and especially the unique problems of designing a three-dimensional object with lead and glass.
One of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much was that I have a talented friend who also works with stained glass and I have spent a lot of time watching her from the selections of the glass to seeing the work in its final setting. I can see how some of the descriptions might be difficult for people who don't have a working knowledge of the process.
Clara was the head of the "ladies department" and she had charge of from 25 to 35 young women. She was involved in almost every process including hiring talented young women. This was more of a chore than usual as Tiffany would not allow married women to work there. Many other social issues of the day were also addressed along with some interesting information on well-known people.
The author, Susan Vreeland, has a wonderful website which include Clara's designs, photographs of the girls who worked for her and some of her letters. It is wonderful to read about the complexity of making a lamp while looking at the finished project....more
Like some other reviewers, I found the structure of the book awkward. The story flips between the real story of John Ashley and Laura Upthegrove, a BoLike some other reviewers, I found the structure of the book awkward. The story flips between the real story of John Ashley and Laura Upthegrove, a Bonnie & Clyde story of outlaws in the early 1900s in Florida, and the fictional story of another John Ashley and his girlfriend, Laura. The story of the real outlaw is a very sympathetic portrayal of good man, John Ashley, who is forced into life as bank robber and outlaw which doesn't seem supported in history although he was a hero to the independent Florida Crackers. His great love was Laura Upthegrove who left her husband and two small children for her childhood sweetheart, John Ashley.
The current story is of another John Ashley, a police officer, who is protecting a witness, Laura who also happens to be a beautiful model. John is a decorated officer who will not turn a blind eye to the widespread corruption of the local police and sheriff offices. Set up by his boss, he is framed and chased around Florida until he and his relatives (his gang) are forced into the outlaw life.
The question is whether history is written into people's bones or if they can break out of the pattern. This might fit if the second Laura and John were descendants of the first, but they aren't. The book was interesting, but at times one of the two stories would cover a number of chapters making it hard to remember the other story....more
What a wonderful book. I saw the series first and wondered if the book had more to add and it did. Some of the events that happened were consolidatedWhat a wonderful book. I saw the series first and wondered if the book had more to add and it did. Some of the events that happened were consolidated in the TV series so it was interesting to read "the rest of the story." It is amazing to read about conditions in the 1950's. I would have put some of them in the 1800's. I can't believe they existed in recent history.
The characters in the book were perfectly represented in the series. I don't know how BBC found the perfect Chummy and Sister Evangeline, but they did. I know that I'll be reading this series again....more
I was not sure if I was going to like this book because it seemed to run along the same lines and so many other books; pampered white child, compliantI was not sure if I was going to like this book because it seemed to run along the same lines and so many other books; pampered white child, compliant wet-nurse, cool mother, intrest in the slave quarters, slave gets whipped, rape, slaves get sold, slave escape, white child grows up conflicted by what she sees etc. It pretty much went along those lines. There were some incidents that raised the book above those levels, but I didn't see much that was new.
There were some individual incidents that rose above the story line, but there needed to have been more. Still, this was an easy readable book and the characters of Lisbeth and Maddie did stand out. In each generation this story needs to be told and this book does a pretty good job. ...more
I really enjoyed this book and will probably read it again some time. I visited Bavaria a number of years ago and saw the castles, so it was easy to pI really enjoyed this book and will probably read it again some time. I visited Bavaria a number of years ago and saw the castles, so it was easy to picture the setting. I also did a lot of research about Prince Ludwig II just because he was an interesting and complex person. He is Germany's most famous king and he actually helped the country in providing work for the people surrounding the castles when they were built and in the present. Thousands of people visit these castles and immerse themselves in his legend providing the German government with a substantial income.
Before I read the book I had already formed the opinion that he was an artist and a dreamer and totally unsuited for the militaristic government that was being formed around him. It is sad that he was overthrown because he continued to build castles that he couldn't afford. The militaristic German governments have cost the German people so much more, both in money and in lives.
This work of fiction is based on the idea that there was a diary kept by someone loyal and close to Prince Ludwig and that the diary told the real story of his death. What was interesting is that this fictional journal was written in the same shorthand that Samuel Pepys used for his diary and Pepys' journal was untranslated for 200 years. The main characters are trying not only to translate the diary, but also to follow a code interspersed between the chapters.
I can sympathize with the main characters because my family was left with more than 1,000 old family letters and some of them were written by my grandfather and his brother. They both learned a form of shorthand in college and it is no longer used. It's frustrating to look at those letters and not be able to read them, especially because there is a family mystery about why my great uncle suddenly left school and those letters probably refer to it....more