Such great ideas and insight into reading and how to create lifelong readers. I had never considered many of the factors brought out in this book andSuch great ideas and insight into reading and how to create lifelong readers. I had never considered many of the factors brought out in this book and appreciate all the examples provided. ...more
I really loved reading The Woman on the Windowsill: A Tale of Mystery in Several Parts. It reads as an account of life in Guatemala in the 1800s. II really loved reading The Woman on the Windowsill: A Tale of Mystery in Several Parts. It reads as an account of life in Guatemala in the 1800s. I appreciate the author's in-depth analysis of crime, social thought and class/gender divisions within the culture at the time. As I was reading, I found myself considering how much time and effort Sylvia Sellers-García must have spent researching for this book. Her research goes beyond the events surrounding the severed body parts and encompasses many of the aspects of everyday life in Guatemala at the time. Having a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology, I am fascinated by many of the avenues Sellers-García explores when considering gender roles, the concept of violence and the role colonialism played in the formation of Guatemala city's criminal governance. The descriptions of Guatemala City, the San Juan de Dios Hospital, the residential areas and cemetery help to develop a setting that makes you feel like you are walking through 19th century Guatemala. The brief glimpses of the past from the hospital records and criminal cases also really caught and held my interest as a reader.
The historical information and the evaluation of viewpoints at each stage of the investigation deserves a 4/5 for me on my overall rating of this book. It was historically fascinating to read and taught me many things about Guatemalan history that I was not aware of. On one side, I absorbed all of the intriguing the content in this book, but on the other side, the format left me wanting more of a narrative to keep it cohesive. I will be honest in saying it reads more like an essay or a research paper, than a novel or book. The chapters are almost irrelevant; the last chapter especially deviates too far from the core investigation to keep the narrative cohesive. The epilogue brings it back somewhat, at least in my opinion. I was hoping for more of a narrative fictional or non-fictional from this book which is why I have only given it 4 out of 5 stars.
I would still highly recommend this book to people, especially those who share my passion of history in Central and South America. I have been to Guatemala City and Antigua and The Woman on the Windowsill: A Tale of Mystery in Several Parts really brought me back to recalling my own experience in these cities. I had the opportunity to stay for a night in the home of a resident of Guatemala City. Their home's vast and elaborate interior was exposed upon entering through large wooden doors fronting an otherwise average street. I recall being amazed at how large and welcoming the home was and how I never would have been able to guess what it held inside just passing by on the street. So I want to thank Sellers-García for bringing back some of those memories for me. I also want to thank NetGalley and Yale University Press so the opportunity to read and review this book!...more
This is the first of Julia Kelly's novels that I have read and it didn't disappoint. The basic premise of the novel centres around three strong willedThis is the first of Julia Kelly's novels that I have read and it didn't disappoint. The basic premise of the novel centres around three strong willed women who are trying to survive during war times but also carve out their place in the world. As readers, we learn about Nora, Hazel and Marie and the challenges they are facing for being women specifically during wartime.
There was a second present day through-line with Samantha meeting an aging Nora, but its addition felt forced and unnatural in the narrative. I agree that a present day connection to the story is needed, but I found this part of the story not entirely believable and a little too predictable.
I love how in this novel we see strong women who are determined to support one another and will do anything to ensure each other's safety. Being a woman during this time in history was definitely more restrictive than in present day, however, Kelly gives us a glimpse into how small freedoms could be achieved. The women are a part of an all women's club which gives them some freedom to just be themselves without many of the social restrictions society had placed upon them during that time. Their bond of friendship was further cemented by their shared experiences. They helped one another through difficult situations and risked their lives and careers to save each other. Kelly allows the reader to experience what life was like during this time in history and how many people's lives were saved through the benevolence of others. It is this kindness and caring for others that draws us to these moments in history, examples of humankind acting their best to support one another in the most difficult of times.
We also see some of the hardships of German citizens who saw Great Britain as their home but were made to feel like traitors by society during times of war. I know for myself, I had not previously considered some of the challenges faced by everyday citizens of different nationalities living in Great Britain why they were at war. I appreciated this perspective which opened my eyes up to the struggles many people went through just to hold onto the homes and lives they had created in Great Britain. For myself, I was not aware that many German immigrants in Great Britain had been put into camps during wartimes; I had wrongfully assumed that the only people arrested were those whom the government believed to be a threat to national security.
I really enjoyed The Whispers of War by Julia Kelly and it piqued my interest in finding some of her previous novels to read. I will also definitely recommend this book to my friends, especially those who enjoy wartime historical fiction. I want to thank NetGalley and Gallery Books for the chance to read and review this book....more
I really enjoyed this book, and I even more liked the beginning. I loved the way the author set up the flashback to the classroom and it felt likeI really enjoyed this book, and I even more liked the beginning. I loved the way the author set up the flashback to the classroom and it felt like something that would happen in real life. I thought the flow of the book was good and the intertwining of storytelling throughout was creative. ...more