Browsing Category

reviews

reviews

The Child of Auschwitz by Lily Graham

The Child of Auschwitz by Lily Graham

It is 1942 and Eva Adami has boarded a train to Auschwitz. Barely able to breathe due to the press of bodies and exhausted from standing up for two days, she can think only of her longed-for reunion with her husband Michal, who was sent there six months earlier.

But when Eva arrives at Auschwitz, there is no sign of Michal and the stark reality of the camp comes crashing down upon her. As she lies heartbroken and shivering on a thin mattress, her head shaved by rough hands, she hears a whisper. Her bunkmate, Sofie, is reaching out her hand…

As the days pass, the two women learn each other’s hopes and dreams – Eva’s is that she will find Michal alive in this terrible place, and Sofie’s is that she will be reunited with her son Tomas, over the border in an orphanage in Austria. Sofie sees the chance to engineer one last meeting between Eva and Michal and knows she must take it even if means befriending the enemy…

But when Eva realises she is pregnant she fears she has endangered both their lives. The women promise to protect each other’s children, should the worst occur. For they are determined to hold on to the last flower of hope in the shadows and degradation: their precious children, who they pray will live to tell their story when they no longer can. (publisher)

The book is about Eva and Sofie who first meet at the Theresienstadt concentration camp. They end up on the same train to Auschwitz, each with her own agenda. Eva wants to find her husband and Sofie wants to find her cousin who hid her son.

When Eva realizes that she is pregnant, everything changes. It’s not safe to be pregnant in a place like Auschwitz. Not the best start to life and I guess it’s down to a certain amount of luck too.
The friendship between Eva and Sofie was a great thing to see in a place like that.

The book has two timelines: the present which is 1942 and the past in 1938. The past chapters weren’t necessary in my opinion and skipped those a bit but otherwise, I really enjoyed the book and it’s well written.

3,5/5

Published: Bookouture (November 8, 2019)
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

reviews

Girls on the Line by Aimie K. Runyan

Girls on the Line by Aimie K. Runyan

December 1917. As World War I rages in Europe, twenty-four-year-old Ruby Wagner, the jewel in a prominent Philadelphia family, prepares for her upcoming wedding to a society scion. Like her life so far, it’s all been carefully arranged. But when her beloved older brother is killed in combat, Ruby follows her heart and answers the Army Signal Corps’ call for women operators to help overseas.

As one of the trailblazing “Hello Girls” deployed to war-torn France, Ruby must find her place in the military strata, fight for authority and respect among the Allied soldiers, and work to secure a victory for the cause. But balancing service to country is complicated further by a burgeoning relationship with army medic Andrew Carrigan.

What begins as a friendship forged on the front lines soon blossoms into something more, forcing Ruby to choose between the conventions of a well-ordered life back home, and the risk of an unknown future. (publisher)

Ruby Wagner is Philadelphian socialite whose parents weren’t thrilled when she joins Bell Telephone Company in 1917 as a switchboard operator for the army. Her mother especially has all planned out for her; marriage to Nathaniel, from a prominent Philadelphian family, being a wife and hostess. After Ruby’s brother gets killed in a battle, the whole family is devastated. When Ruby learns that Army Signals Corps are recruiting women to serve as a switchboard operator in France, she enlists. Her parents are not happy when they learn about that.

While in France get meets army medic, Andrew. When their friendship deepens Ruby starts to question her future marriage with Nathaniel.

This was an interesting read. I hadn’t read about the “Hello Girls” before so that was new. And for a change, it is WWI book instead of WWII.

Ruby was a likeable character who was a strong and determined woman. I liked seeing how Ruby and Andrew’s friendship grows into something else slowly. It wasn’t insta-love so yey.

I don’t know why I waited so long to read it. I really enjoyed it and was a well-written book. I’ve liked her previous books that I’ve read so I guess it wasn’t a surprise I liked this too.

4/5

Published: Lake Union Publishing (November 6, 2018)
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

reviews

Call Upon the Water by Stella Tillyard

Call Upon the Water by Stella Tillyard

I am an engineer and a measured man of the world. I prefer to weigh everything in the balance, to calculate and to plan. Yet my own heart is going faster than I can now count.

In 1649, Jan Brunt arrives in Great Britain from the Netherlands to work on draining and developing an expanse of marshy wetlands known as the Great Level. It is here in this wild country that he meets Eliza, a local woman whose love overturns his ordered vision. Determined to help her strive beyond her situation, Jan is heedless of her devotion to her home and way of life. When Eliza uses the education Jan has given her to sabotage his work, Eliza is brutally punished, and Jan flees to the New World.

In the American colonies, profiteers on Manatus Eyland are hungry for viable land to develop, and Jan’s skills as an engineer are highly prized. His prosperous new life is rattled, however, on a spring morning when a boy delivers a note that prompts him to remember the Great Level, and confront all that was lost there. Eliza has made it to the New World and is once again using the education Jan gave her to bend the landscape—this time to find her own place of freedom. (publisher)

Most of the book is told from Jan’s point of view, like writing a diary, about the love of his life Eliza. Towards the end of the book, we get Eliza’s point of view until it goes back to Jan for the last chapter. I thought it odd that it wasn’t back and forth the whole book. I would have liked to learn Eliza’s point of view from the start.

The book was well written but too slow-paced for me. It just dragged way too much. I didn’t connect with the characters and I wasn’t sure if Eliza really cared for anyone but herself.

I liked to learn more about Jan’s trade, which I knew nothing about. And I don’t usually read about Dutch people or this period.

3/5

Published: Atria (September 17, 2019)
Format: ebook
Source: publisher

reviews

The Royal Secret by Lucinda Riley

The Royal Secret by Lucinda Riley

Keeping secrets is a dangerous game.

When Sir James Harrison, one the greatest actors of his generation, passes away at the age of ninety-five, he leaves behind not just a heartbroken family but also a secret so shocking, it could rock the English establishment to its core.

Joanna Haslam, an up-and-coming reporter, is assigned to cover the legendary actor’s funeral, attended by glitzy celebrities of every background. But Joanna stumbles on something dark beneath the glamour: the mention of a letter James Harrison has left behind—the contents of which many have been desperate to keep concealed for over seventy years. As she peels back the veil of lies that has shrouded the secret, she realizes that she’s close to uncovering something deadly serious—and the royal family may be implicated. Before long, someone is on her tracks, attempting to prevent her from discovering the truth. And they’ll stop at nothing to reach the letter before she does. (publisher)

Joanna is a journalist and her boss sends her to cover the funeral of a famous actor. There she meets an elderly lady who gets ill and helps her home. Through this meeting she gets involved in a story that could be a huge scandal. Joanna’s childhood friend is also involved but has his own secrets to hide.

I have read books from Riley’s The Seven Sisters series which I have loved. And I confess that my main reason for reading this was the author.

There’s a lot going on with multiple plots and sub-plots. I didn’t really care for the romance part, but the mystery James Harrison left was interesting. I thought there would be more about the royals, like meet them or whatever, but they serve such tiny bit of the story.

It was different from what I was expecting and sadly I couldn’t really connect with the characters. I enjoyed it but I guess I was hoping for more based on her other books.

3/5

Published: Atria (May 21, 2019)
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

reviews

Repentance by Andrew Lam

Repentance by Andrew Lam

France, October 1944. A Japanese American war hero has a secret.

A secret so awful he’d rather die than tell anyone–one so entwined with the brave act that made him a hero that he’s determined never to speak of the war. Ever.

Decades later his son, Daniel Tokunaga, a world-famous cardiac surgeon, is perplexed when the U.S. government comes calling, wanting to know about his father’s service with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during WWII. Something terrible happened while his father was fighting the Germans in France, and the Department of Defense won’t stop its investigation until it’s determined exactly who did what.

Wanting answers of his own, Daniel upends his life to find out what his father did on a small, obscure hilltop half a world away. As his quest for the truth unravels his family’s catastrophic past, the only thing for certain is that nothing–his life, career, and family–can ever be the same again.

Daniel Tokunaga is a successful cardiac surgeon of Japanese-American descent. He’s never given his father’s war service a second thought until Department of Defense makes contact wanting to know about his war efforts. Daniel has a difficult relationship with his estranged father who’s always been remote and strict.

The book follows Daniel in the present day and his father Ray in the past. Through tragedy, Daniel learns who his father really is and what he sacrificed for his family’s sake.

I knew there were Japanese internment camps in the USA but didn’t know anything more. I would have liked to know more about the camps and more about how the Japanese came to volunteer to fight despite their treatment.

The book is well written, but I would have liked to learn more about the camps and situation in the US at that time. I also found Daniel to be very judgmental and easy to find the worst about his father.

3/5

Published: Tiny Fox Press (May 1, 2019)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

Andrew Lam, M.D., is the award-winning author of Repentance, Two Sons of China, and Saving Sight. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Born in Philadelphia and raised in central Illinois, he graduated summa cum laude in history from Yale University, where he studied military history and U.S.-East Asian relations. He then attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by specialty training to become a retinal surgeon. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and resides in western Massachusetts with his wife and four children.

His newest book is Repentance, a historical novel and riveting family drama entwined with the history of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a group of Japanese American soldiers who fought valiantly in Europe during WWII while many of their families were incarcerated in camps like Manzanar at home. The 442nd became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history.

Learn more at Andrew Lam’s website. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, May 1
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, May 2
Review at Bookish Sarah

Friday, May 3
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, May 6
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, May 7
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, May 8
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Friday, May 10
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, May 13
Feature at RW Bookclub

Tuesday, May 14
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, May 15
Review at Bookramblings
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Review at Comet Readings
Review at Jorie Loves a Story