Resistance.... Ever since I was a little girl, I've been taken with the stories of such from WWII. The scene in a movie, the brief references in histoResistance.... Ever since I was a little girl, I've been taken with the stories of such from WWII. The scene in a movie, the brief references in history classes, a series regarding British women who snuck into France when I was in high school .... It always pricked my skin, gave me goosebumps, a chill down my spine. From what little research I've done on the topic, I've discovered the coverage in my classes of yesteryear and in the media didn't come close to detailing the incredible passion and utter courage of the actual men and women who fought against oppression ... at all cost.
Sadly, Follet didn't, for me, capture the immensity of their will and their heart and their fight. I wanted to love this book, preferring Follett's histories to his mysteries. But, as I read, I kept finding myself wanting to love it versus being truly touched by it. Instead of trying to capture the power, true power, held by those who surreptitiously fought the Nazis, Follett went for the torture scenes. Which happened, true, but the sensational didn't capture the elemental. The raw and incredible nerve of people who, willingly and willfully, leapt into the abyss, literal and figurative ... of the Nazi machine and their worst fears. One would have to write an incredible story with amazingly rich and complex characters in order to capture the spirit of the times and the people. An okay read but not earth shattering, which it needed to be in order to do true justice to the essence of the women involved....more
Oh, ... the things we do to one another ... and to ourselves. Thought-provoking. I know some, especially those who love history and all things ArthuriOh, ... the things we do to one another ... and to ourselves. Thought-provoking. I know some, especially those who love history and all things Arthurian, take issue with Bradley. I didn't read it for history or Arthur, though. I found myself delving into the hearts and minds of some of the characters, looking at their instincts, their power ... or lack thereof, their choices and when, how, and why they accepted "fate" ... or didn't....more
I read Summer of My German Soldier as an 8th grader and just read it again this month with a group of my 8th graders. When I first read Greene's work,I read Summer of My German Soldier as an 8th grader and just read it again this month with a group of my 8th graders. When I first read Greene's work, I remember feeling like I was crossing a threshold of sorts ... moving into adulthood. It was one of the first books I read with such adult themes, and I remember feeling for the characters and experiencing horror and anger and sorrow and thinking I'd be forever changed by the experience.
War. How do we allow war to mark us and change us? Abuse. Racism. And, again, how do we allow such things to effect our choices? Interestingly, all these years later, while my 8th graders have read books with adult themes already, many of them had a similarly visceral experience to Greene's novel. Greene was a YA author before YA was cool! ;) It's hard to say I really liked the book. It leaves one too raw. However, I can say, she did a masterful job and will touch the minds and hearts of many readers, likely for generations to come....more
Roberta Rich weaves a tale of the challenges faced by Hannah Levi, a Jewish midwife, living in Venice in the 1500's. After her husband leaves in orderRoberta Rich weaves a tale of the challenges faced by Hannah Levi, a Jewish midwife, living in Venice in the 1500's. After her husband leaves in order to seek their fortune and a better future, Hannah is faced with a horrifying reality. Her husband is captured, sold into slavery, and held for a price. She, of course, doesn't have the money to purchase his release. Then, one dark night, rich Christian strangers appear in the ghetto. They want Hannah, who is renowned for her midwifery skills, to deliver a Christian baby. Hannah could be cast out of the ghetto or worse, tortured and killed, for doing this as it's against the law. Further, if something goes wrong during the delivery, which had already become almost hopeless, Christians might rise up against the Jews of the ghetto. However, an innocent woman's life and her baby are at stake, and the Christian father is willing to pay Hannah ... the exact price needed to free her husband. What will Hannah choose to do? Who will she protect? What rules will she follow? Those of the ghetto and the government or the rules of her heart?
From this point, the novel is written from Hannah and her husband's point of view. Historical fiction, mystery, and love story become one in this piece. While I liked the book and think it's a good effort by a new author, it didn't particularly challenge me, make me think deep thoughts, or encourage me to connect with the characters. It's a solid story but didn't make my heart sing....more
I'm close to speechless. However, that goes against the point of this book, so I'll endeavor to give voice to my feelings about this AMAZING novel. II'm close to speechless. However, that goes against the point of this book, so I'll endeavor to give voice to my feelings about this AMAZING novel. I remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird my freshman year in high school. When I say I read the book, I use the term loosely. Like many teens, I was determined to hate any book an adult handed me and strived to skim and get through it as quickly as possible. What was I thinking?! I just read Lee's one and only novel with my students and .... This has to be one of the best books I've ever read! Pure genius! And, despite having been written over half a century ago, the themes within it speak almost directly to our current times and issues. Why? Racism, yes. We've dealt with racism here in America for hundreds of years; sadly, we still do. If more people truly read this book, read through the layers of truth within these pages and took them into their beings, perhaps we wouldn't suffer hundreds more. But, beyond racism, Lee delves into what it means to be human, shines a light on our best natures and reveals all that is dark. Ultimately, though, she points out the fact that it's all about choice. As Atticus Finch said, "...before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."...more
Historical fiction/historical romance .... I've been reading some historical romance novels of late and Warner captures many of the elements of a romaHistorical fiction/historical romance .... I've been reading some historical romance novels of late and Warner captures many of the elements of a romantic novel. Interestingly, however, this particular story goes beyond that. Warner weaves a interesting bit of reality into the mix. Heartwarming and heartbreaking. If you're interested in a book about the old west, building a new family, overcoming heartbreak and learning to trust, this novel might be worth your time....more
Definitely historical romance. One would think historical romance novels are light reading, right? Well, that wasn't exactly the case with this novel.Definitely historical romance. One would think historical romance novels are light reading, right? Well, that wasn't exactly the case with this novel. Set in the Hudson River Valley during the 1700's, Clare explores some pretty heavy topics, including war and the treatment of women. As someone with both Native American ancestry (from this particular area) and English/Yankee ancestors, it made for a somewhat interesting read, especially regarding the Rangers. From a Native standpoint, Clare's portrayal of the Rangers is definitely romanticized. Having stated all this, the fact remains that this is a romance....more
I'm sure this isn't the fault of Donati or this particular novel. For some reason, all of the books I've chosen to read of late have dealt with overwhI'm sure this isn't the fault of Donati or this particular novel. For some reason, all of the books I've chosen to read of late have dealt with overwhelming tragedy. Given that, I've been somewhat overwhelmed by it all. I absolutely love the characters, Boots and Nathaniel, and I appreciate Donati's writing. I had a hard time reading this book, though. I just knew that tragedy was around the corner, time and time again. Given that, I'd stop reading. I couldn't stand the idea that my beloved characters were about to feel pain, which is a testament to the author ... I fell in love with the characters and only wanted rainbows and sugarplums for their future. Ah, if only ......more
Sara Stevenson, a smart and strong-willed young woman living in the 1800's, finds herself unmarried and pregnant. As today's readers can guess, her weSara Stevenson, a smart and strong-willed young woman living in the 1800's, finds herself unmarried and pregnant. As today's readers can guess, her wealthy family turns on her and sends her to a lighthouse off the coast of Scotland in order to have her baby. Sara is torn by the love she holds for her intended and her sorrow due to his possible betrayal. As time passes, she comes to respect and respond to another man. Amongst this traumatic turmoil, the author weaves tales of ghosts and hauntings and asks the reader to question what one will do for love. The premise sounds fascinating. However .... I hate to say this about a novel, especially one as promising as this (set off the coast of SCOTLAND), but this book did not bring a twinkle to this lassie's eye. It was ... okay. Frankly, I read to the end for one reason. I wanted to know how it ended. That was it. That was all. While intrigued by the blurb about the book, I was not intrigued as I read. I wanted to love this story but didn't. ...more
Ahhh.... I really enjoyed this novel. I was looking for a really good book that I could lose myself in this summer. I saw some reviews for this book tAhhh.... I really enjoyed this novel. I was looking for a really good book that I could lose myself in this summer. I saw some reviews for this book that linked it with Diana Gabaldon, who I love. Of course, some of the people who reviewed the book said they were disappointed. They claimed the characters in this story weren't Jaime and Claire. Well, they're right. They weren't. But, that series was that series and this is its own and just as good. Being from New England and having native ancestry, I loved reading this book. I felt immersed in the culture of this area and the time, which was a great experience for me. I appreciated the development of the characters and their relationships. Some of the scenes between Elizabeth and Nathaniel and his family and friends touched my heart. The final scene between Elizabeth and her brother was a knife to my heart. I actually gasped right out loud. I definitely recommend this book, but read it for its own sake. Don't read it if you want a book just like Outlander (...just reread that awesome novel ... I have several times :) and enjoyed it each time I did ... I'll also read this book over and over again.)...more
This book was amazing; it was dark and disturbing but amazing at the same time. The story was that of two small children abandoned in the woods by theThis book was amazing; it was dark and disturbing but amazing at the same time. The story was that of two small children abandoned in the woods by their father and stepmother. Why? It was 1943. They were in Poland, and they were hunted. They were Jews. Brutal as the choice was, it was their only hope for survival. We learn their story ... the true story of "Hansel" and "Gretel" ... names the children took in order to survive. What followed was fascinating but not for the faint of heart. Every horrific thing that could happen in war and during a holocaust happened. However, as Nelka, one of the heroines of the novel stated, "God cannont see the darkness that man has created and not throw out light to combat it. He is walking in the world." (175) Throughout the darkness woven by the Nazis, starvation, and despair, the author, Ms. Murphy, also created a tale of HOPE. For all the darkness and foul deeds, characters like Nelka and Magda, who chose a path of light and truth, gave hope to other characters and to the reader. This novel made me think and moved me in ways few books have done in the past. Amazing....more