reviews

The Light After the War by Anita Abriel

The Light After the War by Anita Abriel

It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban arrive in Naples. Refugees from Hungary, they managed to escape from a train headed for Auschwitz and spent the rest of the war hiding on an Austrian farm. Now, the two young women must start new lives abroad. Armed with a letter of recommendation from an American officer, Vera finds work at the United States embassy where she falls in love with Captain Anton Wight.

But as Vera and Edith grapple with the aftermath of the war, so too does Anton, and when he suddenly disappears, Vera is forced to change course. Their quest for a better life takes Vera and Edith from Naples to Ellis Island to Caracas as they start careers, reunite with old friends, and rebuild their lives after terrible loss.

Moving, evocative, and compelling, this timely tale of true friendship, love, and survival will stay with you long after you turn the final page. (publisher)

Vera and Edith are two Hungarian Jews who escape a train bound to a concentration camp. They end up in Austria, hiding in a freezing barn. After the war, hearing none of their families survived, they go to first to Naples then Ellis Island and finally Caracas, Venezuela. There they try settling to live and find job, love, and sorrow.

What I found interesting was that it was set in the aftermath of the war and seeing the refugees trying to find life after the Holocaust. The only thing about the war is through flashbacks. The story is based on the experiences of the author’s mother. And I’m wondering how much is true and how much fiction. Because the book felt more like romance than historical fiction and there were just too many coincidences to be believable.

It was an easy and quick read and I loved reading about the aftermath of the war. And how people were trying to learn how to go on with life after such horrific times.

3,5/5

Published: Atria Books (February 4, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: Publisher

reviews

Cartier’s Hope by M. J. Rose

Cartier’s Hope by M. J. Rose

New York, 1910: A city of extravagant balls in Fifth Avenue mansions and poor immigrants crammed into crumbling Lower East Side tenements. A city where the suffrage movement is growing stronger every day, but most women reporters are still delegated to the fashion and lifestyle pages. But Vera Garland is set on making her mark in a man’s world of serious journalism.

Shortly after the world-famous Hope Diamond is acquired for a record sum, Vera begins investigating rumors about schemes by its new owner, jeweler Pierre Cartier, to manipulate its value. Vera is determined to find the truth behind the notorious diamond and its legendary curses—even better when the expose puts her in the same orbit as a magazine publisher whose blackmailing schemes led to the death of her beloved father.

Appealing to a young Russian jeweler for help, Vera is unprepared when she begins falling in love with him…and even more unprepared when she gets caught up in his deceptions and finds herself at risk of losing all she has worked so hard to achieve.

Set against the backdrop of New York’s glitter and grit, of ruthless men and the atrocities they commit in the pursuit of power, this enthralling historical novel explores our very human needs for love, retribution—and to pursue one’s destiny, regardless of the cost. (publisher)

Vera Garland is grieving the loss of her father. When she is clearing her father’s things, Vera finds some letters that reveal a family secret. While trying to get revenge, she befriends Jacob Asher, a jeweler, who has secrets of his own.

Born to a privileged life, Vera wants to work as a journalist and feels strongly about the suffragette movement and women getting the right to vote and getting paid the same as men. Vera has a troubled relationship with her mother, a society matron, who doesn’t understand her choice to work.

Vera was an intelligent, sometimes impulsive feminist who was ahead of her times within her circles. I liked her but didn’t always agree with her decisions. I would have liked to learn more of a fellow journalist, but I liked Asher and Vera’s lawyer cousin Stephen.

While I enjoyed the book, I feel it didn’t live up to her previous books. But I haven’t read a book by her that I didn’t like.

3,5/5

Published: Atria Books (January 28, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: Publisher

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The Light Over London by Julia Kelly

The Light Over London by Julia Kelly

It’s always been easier for Cara Hargraves to bury herself in the past than confront the present, which is why working with a gruff but brilliant antiques dealer is perfect. While clearing out an estate, she pries open an old tin that holds the relics of a lost relationship: among the treasures, a World War II-era diary and a photograph of a young woman in uniform. Eager to find the author of the hauntingly beautiful, unfinished diary, Cara digs into this soldier’s life, but soon realizes she may not have been ready for the stark reality of wartime London she finds within the pages.

In 1941, nineteen-year-old Louise Keene’s life had been decided for her—she’ll wait at home in her Cornish village until her wealthy suitor returns from war to ask for her hand. But when Louise unexpectedly meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base, everything changes. And changes again when Paul’s unit is deployed without warning.

Desperate for a larger life, Louise joins the women’s branch of the British Army in the anti-aircraft gun unit as a Gunner Girl. As bombs fall on London, she and the other Gunner Girls relish in their duties to be exact in their calculations, and quick in their identification of enemy planes during air raids. The only thing that gets Louise through those dark, bullet-filled nights is knowing she and Paul will be together when the war is over. But when a bundle of her letters to him are returned unanswered, she learns that wartime romance can have a much darker side.

Illuminating the story of these two women separated by generations and experience, Julia Kelly transports us to World War II London in this heartbreakingly beautiful novel through forgotten antique treasures, remembered triumphs, and fierce family ties. (publisher)

Cara is an antique dealer who, after a recent divorce, is trying to rebuild her life. She finds an old diary from the time of WWII and is determined to find who the diary belongs to and wanting to return it. During the WWII Louise is a gunner girl for the British Army. She met and fell in love with a flight lieutenant who gets sent off into war. Soon after Louise runs away from home and her difficult relationship with her mother.

The book has a dual timeline: Cara in the present and Louise in the past. Usually, I’m more drawn to the past timeline but here I didn’t really have a preference. Bit by bit we learn what happened that led to Cara’s divorce. She’s close to her grandmother, Iris, who served in WWII herself. Iris has never talked about the war and changes the subject when it’s brought up and Cara is very curious to know more. Especially now that it seems there are some family secrets.

We follow Louise’s journey from home to the army and how she became one of the Ack-Ack girls. I wasn’t a fan of Louise’s fighter pilot Paul and knew from the start something was up. The plot was a little predictable at times, but I did enjoy the book.

This was was my first book from the author and I’m looking forward to reading more.

3,5/5

Published: Gallery Books (January 8, 2019)
Format: ebook
Source: Publisher

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Number Of Books You Read: 39
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Number of DNFs: 2

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