Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #ComingOfAge THE BOY AND THE LAKE by Adam Pelzman

Today’s team review is from Noelle. She blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading The Boy And The Lake by Adam Pelzman

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Coming of age, teenage love, adolescence in a Jewish community, the social upheavals of the 1960s, murder mystery – all of these themes are woven together in The Boy and the Lake and set against a luminously described backdrop of life on a lake.

Sixteen-year-old Benjamin Baum is fishing from a dock on his beloved New Jersey lake, feet dangling in the water and the sounds of people having fun echoing across the water, when the bloated body of his next door neighbor Helen floats to the surface. Her loss shakes his world and he stubbornly refuses to believe she died by accident, searching for clues to her death in the insular Jewish middle class community that lives around the lake.

His mother, Lillian, is a narcissistic and emotionally unpredictable woman with a punishing attitude toward both Ben and his long-patient father, Abe. Ben is detached from his mother but clearly understands what makes her tick. He loves his father, who is hardworking and caring physician, practicing in Newark, and an enabler of Lillian’s behavior. These three have all been affected differently by the early death of Ben’s younger sister. They normally come to the lake only in the summer, but with the increasing tension and fear from the Newark riots in 1967, the family decides move to there. Ben continues to infuriate both family and friends, especially one exceptional friend and budding love named Missy, with his unwelcome search to discover how Helen died.

As time passes, fractures and truths appear in the people populating Ben’s world, and he comes to realize that the prosperity and contentment he associates with the lake community is not what is seems to be. The complexity and depth of these relationships, drawn by the author in a compelling way, keeps the reader turning the pages, following as Ben grows in maturity and understanding while maneuvering through a variety of social situations that challenge the gawky teenager. 

The author is a wonderful story teller. Ben comes across as a typical teenager for that time (one which I remember), with his mother alternating between a practical housekeeper and unlikeable shrew. I felt deep sorrow for the long-suffering Abe but also the love Ben’s grandparents have for him and which he reciprocates.  Even the lake develops a personality. He has created in exquisite detail the ambiance of a lake in summer that brought back some memories of my own, the push and pull and occasional pain of Ben’s family, and the darker undercurrents that Ben discovers in the surrounding community. The historical detail is spot on. The reader becomes emotionally invested in Ben, his plans for the future, and his awkward interactions with, and his growing admiration and affection for, Missy.

The twists and turns kept me reading quickly. I will warn potential readers, though, this book is more character-drive than a murder mystery – there are large sections where Helen’s death is not in play – even though a death opens the book and a tragedy ends it.

I recommend this book for what it is and will definitely read more by this author.

Book description

Set against the backdrop of the Newark riots in 1967, a teenage Benjamin Baum leaves the city to spend the summer at an idyllic lake in northern New Jersey. While fishing from his grandparents’ dock, the dead body of a beloved neighbor floats to the water’s surface—a loss that shakes this Jewish community and reveals cracks in what appeared to be a perfect middle-class existence. Haunted by the sight of the woman’s corpse, Ben stubbornly searches for clues to her death, infuriating friends and family who view his unwelcome investigation as a threat to the comfortable lives they’ve built. As Ben’s suspicions mount, he’s forced to confront the terrifying possibility that his close-knit community is not what it seems to be—that, beneath a façade of prosperity and contentment, darker forces may be at work.

In The Boy and the Lake, Adam Pelzman has crafted a riveting coming-of-age story and a mystery rich in historical detail, exploring an insular world where the desperate quest for the American dream threatens to destroy both a family and a way of life.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Of #Memoir BIPOLAR COMEDIAN by Harriet Dyer

Bipolar ComedianBipolar Comedian by Harriet Dyer

3.5 stars

Bipolar Comedian is the memoir of Harriet Dyer. Written in short, easy to read chapters, Dyer talks about her upbringing in a very frank and honest overview.

With a homelife mixed with good memories and shocking events, Dyer’s undiagnosed mental health was further affected by broken friendships, sexual abuse, drinking and drugs. It’s a wonder that Dyer found the strength and perseverance to carry on; in fact more than once she considered ending it all. Comedy was the one theme which gave Dyer hope; I see-sawed between wanting to cry for her or laugh with her as I read this.

While I was humbled by Dyer’s experiences, I think that with the help of a good editor and a thorough proofread this book could be lifted to the level it deserves. At the moment it reflects the memories as they tumble from Dyer’s mind, but the delivery style could be tidied up so that this important book could reach a wider critical audience. 

However, there is a lot to commend about this book. Now a multi-award winning comedian, Dyer uses her mental health experiences to support others who are going through their own challenges. She focuses much of her stage work on mental health, and hopes to be an inspiration to others with her candid approach. Good Job!

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

From dying twice to wanting to be a boy, her Dad leaving her Mum for a man and once doing so many drugs she thought she was Kat Slater from Eastenders… It’s been eventful.

Of course there was the abuse too.

A funnier than it should be, honest tale of a bipolar, working class girl from Cornwall who overcame an awful lot of trauma to become an award winning comedian and mental health advocate.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Biographical #historicalfiction The Other Mrs. Samson by @Ralph_Webster

Today’s team review is from Olga. She blogs here https://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading The Other Mrs Samson by Ralph Webster

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The description of the book suggests, this is the story of two women, told by them, although somewhat indirectly. This is one of those books (they are also quite a few movies, mostly adaptations of novels), which follow similar plots, or use a similar “frame” to tell a story: somebody finds a book, diary, collection of letters, etc., sometimes belonging to a parent, another relative, a friend, sometimes to somebody they’ve never met, and then, as if in a long flashback, we get to hear (or see) the story of that other person. Most of these stories tend to include some secret or major revelation towards the end, which casts a new light on the characters and their lives. In this book, a couple have inherited a piece of furniture (a lacquered cabinet) from an elderly woman they met through one of their relatives (they had been friends for decades and met regularly to have lunch and share news), and whom they became friendly with after their relative’s passing. By pure chance, they discover a secret drawer in the cabinet and inside there are (with some extra bits) two diaries/documents narrating the stories of two women who’d been married to the same man at very different moments in time (and also at very different historical periods). What makes the book particularly interesting is that in the acknowledgements’ section, the author talks about the process of development of the book, the help he got translating letters, etc., and also the fact that he changed some names, so this is not a work of fiction in its entirety, but rather a fictionalisation of the lives of two women. This makes sense, especially considering that the author (whose work I hadn’t read before) is well known for his work writing/adapting memoirs and biographies. The note doesn’t clarify how much of the content is fictionalised, but I found the category of biographical historical fiction that the book is classed under more than appropriate.

What I most liked about the book is the historical sweep and the amount of detail about the periods it covers, and also the two main characters (or the two narrators, to be more specific), Hilda and Katie. As Hilda’s narration also includes details about her grandparents and her parents, we get treated to a chronicle of life from the early XIX century in Germany —the immigration of her ancestors to the United States (and San Francisco in particular) from old Europe, a description of her own life as a well-off debutante and a young woman —through to the late XIX and early XX century. We hear about the fires, the earthquake, we read about what travelling was like, and also about Hilda’s visits to Germany and her contact with a distant cousin who would become her husband, Josef. She moves to Germany, totally changing her husband’s life, and acknowledges her difficulties adapting to a new place, to living with somebody else, and also, later, describes how their life is affected by WWI. Hilda can be spoilt and whimsical, but she is determined to have her own life and not to simply become a doctor’s wife. Katie, on the other hand, is much younger than her husband, her social circumstances and education are very different to those of Josef (and Hilda) and they first meet while she is looking after his elderly mother. This takes place much later (in the late 1920s-early 1930s), and we follow her through a somewhat odd courting, then she joins him in France (he is Jewish and leaves Germany soon after Hitler comes into power), and she adapts her life to his, following him in his increasingly desperate attempts to leave Europe. The two narratives are in the first person, and Hilda and Katie have pretty different personalities which clearly come across in their parts of the story. While Hilda is more expressive and outgoing, Katie has seen a lot of suffering from a very young age, prefers quiet pursuits, and is happy to try to fit in with others and avoid confrontation.

This is a book full of little details that play important parts in the story, objects that come to symbolise aspects of the relationship of the two women with their husbands and also illustrate their personalities (while Hilda doesn’t get on with Josef’s mother and insists on standing her ground, Katie adapts to Josef’s mother’s somewhat overbearing personality and becomes a beloved companion of the old woman; Hilda dislikes the piano seat Josef can’t bear to part with but only convinces him to reupholster it, while Katie convinces him to get a two-seater piano bench; Katie’s father gives her a clock that becomes a stand-in for the past and for old memories and times). As we read the story we come to realise that Josef’s life has changed little, and we can’t help but wonder about the story of these women and about the man himself. There is a twist at the end, which helps explain some things, but it leaves and many questions unanswered as it solves.

I am not sure there is anything I dislike of the book. By its own nature and the way the story is narrated, there is a lot of telling, but the stories told are so fascinating that I didn’t mind at all, and other than the occasional German word (which is usually translated or explained in the text), the text is easy to read with no sudden jumps in point of view or chronology, apart from the framing story. Katie’s account will, perhaps, be more familiar to readers, as there has been an upsurge in stories about WWII, and I know some readers didn’t feel that part quite matched the intensity of the other, but I was intrigued by the character, her relationship with her husband and her attitude towards life (although I don’t have much, if anything, in common with her). Of course, readers who dislike telling or like elaborate plots that move the story along without a pause might feel frustrated by the story and the style of the narrative, but I liked the way the two stories fitted together and felt the technique used to tell the story is told is well suited to the material.

I recommend this book to readers of historical fiction, especially those interested in XIX and XX century German and American History, to people who enjoy biographies and/or fictionalised biographies, and particularly to those who like to read about women’s lives in the past. If you’re looking for a page-turner full of sensational adventures and larger-than-life characters, on the other hand, this is not the book for you. I look forward to discovering more of the author’s book and will follow his career with interest.

Book description

Surviving two wars, sharing one husband, searching for answers.

A secret compartment in a black lacquer cabinet left in an attic reveals the secrets of two incredible women: Hilda, born and raised in one of the wealthiest Jewish families in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, and Katie, whose early life in Germany is marked by tragedy and death. Their lives are forever entwined by their love of the same man, the brilliant and compassionate Dr. Josef Samson.

From the earliest, rough-and-tumble days of San Francisco, through the devastation of the Great War in Berlin and the terrors of Vichy France, and then to a new yet uncertain life in New York City, their stories span the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century. In the end, one of these women will complete the life of the other and make a startling discovery about the husband they share.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #Memoir Keep Walking And Your Heart Will Catch Up by Cathay O. Reta #TuesdayBookBlog

Keep Walking, Your Heart Will Catch Up: A Camino de Santiago journeyKeep Walking, Your Heart Will Catch Up: A Camino de Santiago journey by Cathay O. Reta

4 stars

Keep Walking And Your Heart Will Catch Up: A Camino de Santiago journey is a memoir and travelogue. Author Cathay O. Reta writes about her experience of walking the 483-mile trail across northern Spain.

This centuries-old pilgrim route is famous for the spiritual experiences that many of its walkers have while travelling. Cathay, a widow in her sixties, set out on a solo journey. She wanted to find a new purpose in life. Single for 30 years, married for 30 years, she now wanted to find some direction for the next 30 years.

I was interested to read the snippets of history about this route and of other roads which are similar to the Camino. Cathay interspersed observations from her daily walks with enough detail about the people she met and the places of interest along the way, to keep the book flowing effortlessly.

Although Cathay had physically prepared for the walk, it still tested her, but she learnt to listen to her body and adapt when needed. I admired her determination to carry on when she could so easily have given up. Cathay’s journey also had a spiritual purpose; it was time to end her mourning for her husband with a final goodbye.

The scenery and the journey both physical and spiritual were very appealing. I’m glad that Cathay shared her experience in this book and I’m glad that she found the answers she was looking for. I like walking and the thought of miles of open space with beautiful views and the camaraderie from fellow walkers on the trail sounds wonderful.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

“Keep Walking” is a modern-day pilgrimage, a spiritual journey, a physical feat. Cathay was in her mid-60s and entering a new phase of life. In phase one she had been single for 29 years. Phase two followed with 33 years of marriage. Now widowed, she was looking for direction for her next 30 years. That’s when she felt called to hike the Camino de Santiago, the centuries old 483-mile trail across northern Spain.

As Cathay began to physically prepare for such a feat by hiking and walking and leaving her sedentary life behind, she became aware that it would also be an inner healing – a rite of passage to the next phase of her life. With trepidation, some fear and a fervent commitment to make the hike as best she could, Cathay traveled alone to Spain and started walking. She kept walking day after day through tears, anger, laughter, sadness and great joy. Every day was a challenge, and she often questioned why she was on the Camino. Why not just go to a nice hotel and think through what to do the next 30 years?

Her question was answered when a fellow sojourner said to her, “You’re here [on the Camino] to learn to fall in love with yourself again.”

After 37 days she reached her destination. “Keep Walking” is her story of self-discovery, of transformation, and of renewal, all set in the magical, mystical field of the stars, the Camino de Santiago.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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7 Items Which Have Got Me Through Lockdown #MondayBlogs

The latest Uk lockdown has been really hard and at times I have had to dig deep to find the will to keep going. Here are 7 items which have saved me when times have been tough.

First my Superpower T-shirt. When I’ve needed motivation to keep going I put this on, after all we all need a superpower!

I bought mine from Amazon

My second item was a bargain that I came across when I needed to top up my online shopping to reach the free delivery spend. Water Jasmine Eau de Toilette 30ml. Just because a girl likes to smell lovely!

This was only £5 from M&S and is light and refreshing, it also comes in 6 other flavours

Third on my list is one square a day of 90% cocoa, dark chocolate. It is my dark secret indulgence.

The fourth is one many of you will have in the back of your cupboard and this one literally does a rescue job when panic sets in and it feels like all your cards have fallen down.

Bach Rescue Remedy.

My Fifth item was a treat for my very dry skin. Dream Cream from Lush. With a light perfume and soothing ingredients it is well worth the investment.

Find it here.

Sixth on my list goes to some Pukka herbal teas, particularity Night time Organic Tea which has helped me to drift off to sleep.

Lastly this Sweet Sleep Magnesium Butter from The Sweet Bee Organics company. This was ideal for my menopausal twitchy legs, a little smoothed onto the feet and calves each night and my fidgety legs have gone.

Shop for it here.

So that’s my list, what items have got you through the Lockdown period?

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Of #RomanticSuspense AN UNLIKELY GRAVE by @reily_garrett

An Unlikely GraveAn Unlikely Grave by Reily Garrett

4 stars

An Unlikely Grave is book four in the Moonlight and Murder romantic suspense series.

Josh Loughlin has plans to create a refuge for fellow military veterans. This was once a shared dream with Mike, his fellow friend and soldier, but after a roadside bombing, Josh has returned home alone.

Local rumours that the Ferndel place is haunted didn’t deter Josh from buying the plot; however, within days of his purchase, a murder victim is found. With military evidence at the site, Josh becomes the first suspect and his situation becomes worse when another body turns up.

Detective Brooke Bengert grew up in the area and knew Josh from school; he once saved her from bullies. Now she is determined to defend him, with the help of her police dog and friends within the force.

Although this is a gruesome murder mystery, it is well-balanced with some light romance. There are several canine characters which are a delight, and the friendship between them and their owners works well. Josh’s sister Darby, who we met in book three, connects him with her friends who provide much needed back-up; they show him just how loyal friendship can be.

Overall, another good story in this series. They can be read as stand-alone tales, but I believe readers would get much more from reading the books in order.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

It takes a predator to catch one.

Detective Brooke Bengert’s recent promotion includes a sharp learning curve with the discovery of a bizarre murder scene, a skeleton bound to a mountain treetop in her remote small town in Pennsylvania. Fate forces her to match wits with a clever serial killer, a chameleon who has selected his next victim. Brooke.

Josh Loughlin returns home after his overseas tour, having bought property with single-minded purpose, to build a refuge where veterans can rejoin polite society. Within days, a body is found a stone’s throw from his backyard. All evidence points to Josh.

Resisting their growing attraction, Josh and Brooke pool their resources with local detectives and their K9 partners to prove that determination and strength of will bind a family together.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Family Drama THE OTHER MRS SAMSON by Ralph Webster

Today’s team review is from Terry. She blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Other Mrs Samson by Ralph Webster

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4*
This book, for me, went from nicely readable but only moderately interesting, to absolutely unputdownable, and back to only moderately interesting.  The first narrator, in the present day, finds a secret horde of papers belonging to his recently deceased, ninety-five-year-old friend, Katie Samson, from which he surmises that her husband had been married before.  At this point, although not enthralled, I thought, well, this is certainly no chore to read, being nicely written and with the possibility of a great story to come.


…and whoosh, there it was. I turned the page to the POV of Hilda, the first wife, and the book bloomed, opened up, emerged from black and white into glorious technicolour.  Hilda’s story went back as far as her grandparents’ experience in San Francisco Gold Rush days, and on to the making of that city, the role of women in the Victorian era, life in a small Bavarian village, changing times and growing problems in Europe, to do with Germany’s place in the world – I was gripped, all the way through.  Hilda and her grandmother were so alive, and aside from being a great story with wonderful characters, it was historically informative.  Fascinating.  Loved it.

Next came Katie’s POV, and at first I still liked it a lot, as I read about her family tragedies, the aftermath of WW1 and Berlin’s ‘Roaring Twenties’, the effects of American’s Great Depression on the rest of the world, the Nazi party’s growing control, and her and lover Josef’s route out.  Then the lead up to the WW2 … and I’m afraid it all went a bit flat for me, and became nothing more than a factual account of someone’s life. Events are recorded, but without emotion; all we ever learn is that the threat to Josef, a Jew, was ‘very unsettling’.  I read of their luck at being able to move from one place to another just in time, before the Gestapo established travel restrictions, but it was no more thrilling to read about than the sentence I have just written.  There was no emotion, no action, no feeling of danger, no story, just an account.

I was disappointed by my disappointment, if you know what I mean, because I loved the book so much earlier on; for instance, Katie’s only brother, Karl, joins the Nazi party and gains a position of authority, but that’s all—we never hear about him again, and there is no story attached to this.  At the end there is another little twist, but it seems almost like an afterthought.  


Four stars on Amazon because Hilda’s part was absolutely 5* plus, and because the author writes in an extremely accessible fashion, so that even the 3* bits were no effort to read.  I would recommend it to readers who like a family drama and are interested in reading about the history of the times mentioned – it’s worth getting just for the middle section.

Book description

Surviving two wars, sharing one husband, searching for answers.

A secret compartment in a black lacquer cabinet left in an attic reveals the secrets of two incredible women: Hilda, born and raised in one of the wealthiest Jewish families in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, and Katie, whose early life in Germany is marked by tragedy and death. Their lives are forever entwined by their love of the same man, the brilliant and compassionate Dr. Josef Samson.

From the earliest, rough-and-tumble days of San Francisco, through the devastation of the Great War in Berlin and the terrors of Vichy France, and then to a new yet uncertain life in New York City, their stories span the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century. In the end, one of these women will complete the life of the other and make a startling discovery about the husband they share.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Writedown: Lockdown in the Galloway Glens at the Time of Covid by Margaret Elphinstone et al @marysmithwriter

Today’s team review is from Cathy. She blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Writedown: Lockdown in the Galloway Glens at the Time of Covid by Margaret Elphinstone et al

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Writedown is a book that will serve well as a historical insight of shared experiences during a very unusual and difficult time. A group of people in Galloway, Scotland write of their concerns for loved ones, fears and general reactions to living in the midst of what would turn out to be the first lockdown during a worldwide pandemic.
Many of the emotions, adjustments to daily life and worries are all too relatable – coping with isolation, not being able to see family, except via a device/computer screen or talking on the phone, especially hard for those living alone or those without any outdoor space – as a ’new reality’ became the norm.

‘Time becomes strange. A week feels long. Yet each day rushes past.’ — June

The individual entries showed people did what they could to fill time, which should have been spent doing other things, spending time in nature, gardening, reading, writing, even making scrubs for hospital staff – luckily the weather was generally very good during those months.
Many emotions were expressed, including anger, grief, humour, anxiety and loneliness, and the effects of it all, both mental and physical. On the other side of the coin, it was also a time to slow down, not be tied down to an agenda, a chance to appreciate the beauty of nature which thrived, and with little to no traffic on the road or in the air the earth people were pleased to see the earth showing definite signs of recovery.

‘There are no planes in the sky. The air is clear, even in Beijing: I saw it on the news. How long have we campaigned for this.’ — Margaret

And then of course, there was the awful political news from other countries, plus our own government’s inefficiency and the emotional and horrific reality of the deaths nearer to home, which caused anger, sadness and distress.

‘I don’t often cry, but tears well up when I hear of people dying alone in hospital, with no family around them. A 17-year-old carer gives a client a gift of a cushion on which is imprinted his late wife’s photo. He cries. I cry.’ — Mary

Writedown certainly isn’t all doom and gloom though, there’s humour and lighter moments, appreciating the pleasure of simple things like the beautiful landscapes, flowers, having time to plant and grow. Taking time to listen to the birdsong, admiring the world for its flora, fauna and natural beauty. It’s an intriguing glimpse into how a community coped during an unprecedented time.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalFiction THE OTHER MRS SAMSON by @Ralph_Webster

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading The Other Mrs Samson by Ralph Webster

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This book caught me unawares as it swept through the history of late 19th century and twentieth century Europe and America. Focusing on the story of two women, Hilda and Katie, both of whom married Josef Samson, we are shown what happened to Jewish families in Germany from the 1840s until the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s.

At first, we are given tiny hints as the author recounts meeting Katie, a widow, living in New York and hears about her beloved husband who had died in 1961. She becomes a close family friend, so it is not surprising that when she dies, she leaves him an envelope of documents. Circumstances cause this envelope to be ignored and it is not until this year, during the pandemic, that he investigates the contents.  He also has another look at a small black cabinet she left, discovering a secret compartment contains a journal. Now he must piece together the story of the two women who loved Josef Samson.

In the words of Hilda and Katie we become closely involved in their lives. Hilda describes how her father and her uncle, as young Jewish men, had needed to leave their loved ones in Germany to seek their fortunes in America. By the time her mother and her aunt arrived in San Francisco the two men were on their way to becoming very wealthy. They had succeeded first as traders and then as bankers supporting those who had joined the gold rush. As a result, Katie grew up in a privileged household and she was able to follow her interests in art and culture. She describes the terror of the San Francisco earthquake but the family escape serious harm and a holiday in Germany meeting distant cousins introduces her to Josef. After a long correspondence they marry in Berlin and establish a happy marriage despite the shortages of the early years of World War One. Josef briefly takes over the story at a sad time and then we move to the words of Katie.

Katie was a young child in Berlin in 1914. Her father went to war and her family suffered. One of her brothers died of TB and the other followed extreme right-wing politics. After the war ended her embittered mother died but at least Katie was able to look after father. She was happy to take a job as a companion to a rich elderly lady who treated her as a friend. When she met the lady’s son, Josef, they soon became close. After his mother’s death, Josef and Katie became lovers, despite a 30-year age gap. As the political situation became more dangerous, Josef moved to Paris and Katie followed soon after. Once war started and Germany invaded France, Josef was arrested but later he was released and eventually both he and Katie were imprisoned in different camps in Vichy France.  The story describes their eventual marriage and escape through Portugal to the United States but there is an interesting twist in the tale.

I was captivated by their stories and their survival against all odds. This is a wonderful way to learn more about the tumultuous history of the twentieth century.

Book description

Surviving two wars, sharing one husband, searching for answers.

A secret compartment in a black lacquer cabinet left in an attic reveals the secrets of two incredible women: Hilda, born and raised in one of the wealthiest Jewish families in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, and Katie, whose early life in Germany is marked by tragedy and death. Their lives are forever entwined by their love of the same man, the brilliant and compassionate Dr. Josef Samson.

From the earliest, rough-and-tumble days of San Francisco, through the devastation of the Great War in Berlin and the terrors of Vichy France, and then to a new yet uncertain life in New York City, their stories span the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century. In the end, one of these women will complete the life of the other and make a startling discovery about the husband they share.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Memoir Viking Voyager by @Sverrir_Sigurds

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Viking Voyager by Sverrir Sigurdsson

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From a childhood in wartime Iceland to retirement in Chesapeake Bay, Sverrir Sigurdsson followed the life of a modern-day Viking. Working and travelling widely in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa through turbulent times he has given us a life story full of fascinating encounters and observations. The development of Iceland from its simple, traditional lifestyle to the modern successful country of today is shown in the lives of Sverrir’s family and friends and you can’t help but admire his personal adaptability and skills. The range of languages he has acquired have enabled him, as a trained architect and later project manager of educational developments all over the world, to gain satisfaction in his achievements. There have been problems along the way in his personal life, but he has two successful children and happiness with his second wife Veronica Li who co-wrote this biography.

I learnt a great deal about world history in the second half of the twentieth century from this informative book and the extraordinary escapades Sverrir experienced driving his family through remote parts of Asia and southern Africa are amazing to read. The inclusion of maps and photographs enhance the content.  I would certainly enjoy sitting next to this energetic Viking at a dinner party, as I suspect he has many more tales to tell.

Book description

This vivacious personal story captures the heart and soul of modern Iceland. Born in Reykjavik on the eve of the Second World War, Sverrir Sigurdsson watched Allied troops invade his country and turn it into a bulwark against Hitler’s advance toward North America. The country’s post-war transformation from an obscure, dirt-poor nation to a prosperous one became every Icelander’s success. Spurred by this favourable wind, Sverrir answered the call of his Viking forefathers, setting off on a voyage that took him around the world. Join him on his roaring adventures!

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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