Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT ECHOES OF TIME by @AnneAllen21 #WW2 #HistFic Occupied #Guernsey

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Echoes of Time by Anne Allen

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I fell in love with books about the Guernsey Isles when I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows. Until then I had known nothing of the Channel Islands and what their inhabitants had endured during WWII. This book returned me there and had the added attraction of being a time slip novel, alternating between the present time and the time during that war.

In 1940, Olive Falla, a fairly independent young woman, who works as a farmhand on her father’s far, married Bill Falla. Falla owns his own farm, and Olive thinks this is the best future for her. She soon discovers she’s made a horrible mistake – Falla is a harsh, unloving, and demanding husband, who sees his wife as a slave to work the farm, take care of him, and give him children. Soon he finds any excuse to beat her. By chance, when collecting sticks for scarce firewood on an estate taken over by the German occupation, Olive meets Major Wolfgang Brecht, a veterinarian. She falls in love with the gentle and caring Wolfgang, who makes excuses to visit the farm to inspect the cows.

Flash forward to 2010, when Natalie Ogier returns to her homeland of Guernsey to escape her stalker, a man with whom she had a relationship but who turned abusive. She buys a beautiful cottage, built on the site of a secluded and burned out farmhouse. Her immediate neighbor is Stuart, the grandson of the original owners, Olive and Bill. His mother, their child, has lived off the island since she was old enough to be on her own, leaving her mother and her life there behind.  Stuart knows nothing of his grandparents because his mother is silent on her past.  When strange and eerie things begin to happen in the cottage, accompanied by a threatening voice, Natalie initially tries to tough it out on her own. Eventually she confides in Stuart and her parents.

Natalie wonders whose spirit is inhabiting her cottage, and after meeting Stuart’s mother, she becomes convinced that it has something to do with his grandparents. What happened to Olive, Bill and Wolfgang? What spirit inhabits Natalie’s cottage? Is it malevolent and how can it be banished? What links Stuart and his mother to that place? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It has several compelling threads and the jumps back and forth in time left me hanging and wanting to read on. The only problem was the prolonged diversion to France, where Natalie is invited to attend Stuart’s mother’s marriage to a gentle and understanding man. It went on far too long, and added virtually nothing to the progress of the story, so I skipped through it. I think it could have been omitted or vastly shortened.

Other than that, the author has created believable characters, lovely descriptions of Guernsey, and lots of tension, along with a healthy dose of history.  It is clear why she is a popular author. Well worth the read!

Book Description

Betrayal, injustice and revenge echo down the years… 

1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey. 
All too soon Olive realises she’s made a mistake. 
Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer- 
but there’s a price to pay. . . 

2010. Natalie Ogier returns to Guernsey to escape an abusive relationship – only to be plagued by odd happenings in her beautiful cottage on the site of a derelict and secluded farm. Disturbing dreams, disembodied voices and uncanny visions from the past. She becomes increasingly ill at ease as someone else’s past catches up with her own… 
Her only immediate neighbour, Stuart, is the grandson of the original owners, Bill and Olive. 

Thrown together in a bid to find out what really happened to Olive, can they each survive the repercussions of the past and move on? 

About the author

Anne Allen

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.
By profession Anne was a psychotherapist but has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now retired from the ‘day job’, there’s more time to write and Anne has now published five books in The Guernsey Novels series (as at August 2016). A sixth will be published in 2017.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT ECHOES OF TIME by @AnneAllen21 #TuesdayBookBlog #WW2 #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Judith, she blogs at http://judithbarrowblog.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading Echoes of Time by Anne Allen

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My Review;

A quick word on the cover. I loved both the evocative image and the title

And I love books that give a sense of place; of an era.  Anne Allen’s  writing in Echoes of Time certainly does that. Her descriptions use all five senses to create a setting; there are some wonderful portrayals that instantly took me into the characters’ world.

But, sometimes, I felt that they slowed the action down and add nothing to the story.

Although well written, the plot itself is a little predictable: boy meets girl next door; Natalie and Stuart  And I would have appreciated knowing much more about Natalie’s previous relationship with her old boyfriend. His appearance and then disappearance felt a little contrived and there only to show Stuart’s ‘knight in shining armour’ side. Yet this glimpse into Natalie’s past did  parallel the historic tragedy in Stuart’s family, which I thought clever.  I liked the idea of a dark past coming back to haunt the present. And these sections  did make me stop and think about how the walls of old buildings are steeped with their history.

It is this past, this history that makes up the  secondary plot-line; that of Olive (Stuart’s grandmother), Bill and Wolfgang. And I really do love these characters, multi- layered and believable, their  story is poignant and credible. I wanted so much more of  their  story. And, for me, the way Wolfgang went out of the story was disappointing; it felt too prosaic.

Overall it was the author’s writing style that persuaded me to give Echoes of Time four stars; the way the story is told from the alternate point of view of the main characters (I always love this; it gives different aspects to a narrative), the descriptions, the pace of the sub-plot, the presentation and dialogue of the characters, all make for a good read. I’d recommend this novel..

Book Description

Betrayal, injustice and revenge echo down the years… 

1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey. 
All too soon Olive realises she’s made a mistake. 
Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer- 
but there’s a price to pay. . . 

2010. Natalie Ogier returns to Guernsey to escape an abusive relationship – only to be plagued by odd happenings in her beautiful cottage on the site of a derelict and secluded farm. Disturbing dreams, disembodied voices and uncanny visions from the past. She becomes increasingly ill at ease as someone else’s past catches up with her own… 
Her only immediate neighbour, Stuart, is the grandson of the original owners, Bill and Olive. 

Thrown together in a bid to find out what really happened to Olive, can they each survive the repercussions of the past and move on? 

About the author

Anne Allen

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.
By profession Anne was a psychotherapist but has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now retired from the ‘day job’, there’s more time to write and Anne has now published five books in The Guernsey Novels series (as at August 2016). A sixth will be published in 2017.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT LAND OF THE HIDDEN FIRES by @KirkKjeldsen #WW2 #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Land Of The Hidden Fires by Kirk Kjeldsen

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LAND OF HIDDEN FIRES by Kirk Kjeldsen

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

3.5 stars

I love to read about adventures in icy northern wastes, so I was pleased to see this on the review team list.  The book starts off in occupied Norway in 1943, when 15 year old Kari, who lives on an impoverished farm with widowed father Erling, sees an American plane go down several miles away.  Despite wearing insufficient warm clothing and having only eaten dry bread, she walks miles through the snowy wastes to investigate, then pretends to pilot Lance Mahurin that she is a member of the Swedish resistance.  She then leads him back to the farm, steals her father’s horse, cart and money, and the two of them set off on a long journey to get him to safety.  No, I wasn’t very convinced, either, but, generally speaking, the book started off on a positive note, as Kari’s living circumstances are well-painted, and I like the backdrop of the Norwegian countryside, and the detail about how life has changed in their town since German occupation.

The book moves on with the story of Erling’s search for his daughter when he discovers she is missing, and the efforts of Nazi Oberleutenant Conrad Moltke to look for the pilot, too.  Moltke, the disillusioned officer entrenched in bitterness because he is not allowed to play a starring role in the war and live up to his father and grandfather, is by far the most interesting character; I found myself looking forward to the parts from his point of view.

The strength of this is the description of the scenery.  In depth research has clearly been undertaken, too, which is, for the most part, woven in unobtrusively, and it’s technically well written, but I’m afraid that the telling of the story itself lacked the spark, drama, character depth and suspense that keeps me interested in a book, dying to get back to it and unable to put it down.  Some of the characters seemed like stereotypes chosen to fit the plot (Kari and her jaunty American, in particular, who, despite being a pilot who’s just crashed down in enemy territory, ‘sometimes forgets there’s a war on’), and there were several incidents I thought unlikely.  Too many of the sentences were flat, doing nothing more than delivering information.

It’s not a bad book by any means, it’s well presented and there were sections I liked, but on the whole it’s a ‘just okay’, for me.

Book Description

Occupied Norway, 1943. After seeing an allied plane go down over the mountains, headstrong fifteen year-old Kari Dahlstrøm sets out to locate the wreck. She soon finds the cocky American pilot Lance Mahurin and offers to take him to Sweden, pretending she’s a member of the resistance. While her widower father Erling and the disillusioned Nazi Oberleutnant Conrad Moltke hunt them down, Kari begins to fall for Lance, dreaming of a life with him in America. Over the course of the harrowing journey, though, Kari learns hard truths about those around her as well as discovering unforeseen depths within herself.

About The Author

Kirk Kjeldsen

Kirk Kjeldsen received an MFA from the University of Southern California and is currently an assistant professor in the cinema program at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts. His first novel, Tomorrow City, was named one of the ten best books of 2013 by The New Jersey Star-Ledger. He also wrote and produced the feature film Gavagai, which was directed by Rob Tregenza. He lives in Essen, Germany with his wife and two children.

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DOMINION by C.J Sansom #WW2 and 1950’s Alternative historical timeline #Thriller #wwwblogs

DominionDominion by C.J. Sansom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dominion is a thriller in an alternative timeline. It opens in the war cabinet room at 10 Downing Street, London on the 9th of May 1940, a meeting of the chiefs and a decision to be made, Prime minister Chamberlain is stepping down, there are too candidates for the job, Churchill and Lord Halifax.

The storyline then continues as an alternative world for Britain, Churchill was sidelined, Britain signed a peace treaty with Germany. The book then jumps to 1952. Germany dominates Europe has a strong hold of Britain and has been pouring men and resources into a long battle with Russia.

Churchill has gone to ground and is rumoured to be leading the resistance, more and more people are angry and there is much civil unrest. Jews are still being rounded up and sent to secret extermination camps.

David Fitzgerald works in the Dominions office as a civil servant, he organises meetings between representatives from international governments, disillusioned he is recruited by the resistance to leak secret documents.

Doctor Frank Muncaster is a scientist, his brother a scientist over in America returns for their mother’s funeral. Fueled by drink he tells Frank secrets about atomic bombs that he is working on. Shocked at the potential threat to man, Frank and his brother fight. The police are called and Frank is placed in a lunatic asylum, but he has become a man of great interest because of what people believe he has been told. Both the resistance and the German high command want that valuable knowledge.

David and Frank shared rooms at University and he is the ideal man to speak to Frank, but time is short with the German’s wanting Frank too. Supported by the Americans the resistance swipe Frank from under the noses of the Germans and a cat and mouse game of chase begins.

This is a huge book coming in at nearly 700 pages, a well laid out land of possibilities if Churchill really had not taken office on that fatal day back in 1940. The setting was suitably bleak, and the choking smog from all the heavy industrial work was dramatic. I’m late coming to read this book, it was first published in 2012, but I’m glad I made the time to read it.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers, and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after Dunkirk. As the long German war against Russia rages on in the east, the British people find themselves under dark authoritarian rule: the press, radio and television are controlled; the streets patrolled by violent auxiliary police and British Jews face ever greater constraints. There are terrible rumours too about what is happening in the basement of the German Embassy at Senate House.

Defiance, though, is growing. In Britain, Winston Churchill’s Resistance organisation is increasingly a thorn in the government’s side. And in a Birmingham mental hospital an incarcerated scientist, Frank Muncaster, may hold a secret that could change the balance of the world struggle forever.

Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, secretly acting as a spy for the Resistance, is given by them the mission to rescue his old friend Frank and get him out of the country. Before long he, together with a disparate group of Resistance activists, will find themselves fugitives in the midst of London’s Great Smog; as David’s wife Sarah finds herself drawn into a world more terrifying than she ever could have imagined.

And hard on their heels is Gestapo Sturmbannfuhrer Gunther Hoth, brilliant, implacable hunter of men . . .

At once a vivid, haunting reimagining of 1950s Britain, a gripping, humane spy thriller and a poignant love story – with DOMINION C. J. Sansom once again asserts himself as the master of the historical novel.

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CHINA BLUE by Madalyn Morgan @ActScribblerDJ #Book #3 Dudley Sisters #WW2 Dramas

China Blue (Dudley Sisters Saga #3)China Blue by Madalyn Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

China Blue is book #3 of the Dudley sisters WW2 family dramas. This book is about sister Claire Dudley and her experiences in the armed forces.

Claire Dudley is good at languages and quickly rises through the ranks to Special Ops where she gets dropped into France to send back information on the German forces. Part of her training means staying for two weeks with a French speaking family in the UK and then several weeks training at secret locations.

Captain Alain Mitchell of the Canadian forces oversees Claire and pushed her hard. They are dropped into France together and against all training they fall in love and have a relationship. Claire’s code name is China Blue. But when the pair return to France for a second time Mitch is captured by the Germans. Claire is left to fulfil her role but there are complications. The local resistance take her under their belt, until she is once more taken back home.

This book is packed with nostalgia from the era. This was quite a light easy war time read with a romantic theme and a happy ending.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

CHINA BLUE is the third book in The Dudley Sisters Saga. 
At the beginning of World War II Claire Dudley joins the WAAF. She excels in languages and is recruited by the Special Operations Executive to work in German occupied France with Captain Alain Mitchell, of the RCAF, and the French Resistance. 
Against SOE rules Claire falls in love. The affair has to be kept secret. Even after her lover falls into the hands of the Gestapo, Claire cannot tell anyone they are more than comrades. 
As the war reaches its climax, Claire fears she will never again see the man she loves. 

About The Author

Madalyn Morgan

Madalyn Morgan has been an actress for more than thirty years working in repertory theatre, the West End, film and television. She is a radio presenter and journalist, writing articles for newspapers and magazines.

Madalyn was brought up in a busy working class pub in the market town of Lutterworth in Leicestershire. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live. There were so many wonderful characters to study and accents learn. At twenty-four Madalyn gave up a successful hairdressing salon and wig-hire business for a place at E15 Drama College, and a career as an actress.

In 2000, with fewer parts available for older actresses, Madalyn learned to touch type, completed a two-year course with The Writer’s Bureau, and began writing. After living in London for thirty-six years, she has returned to her home town of Lutterworth, swapping two window boxes and a mortgage, for a garden and the freedom to write.

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APPLAUSE by Madalyn Morgan @ActScribblerDJ #WW2 #HistFic Dudley Sisters series book #2

Applause (Dudley Sisters Saga #2)Applause by Madalyn Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Applause is book #2 of the Dudley Sisters series of family saga books set in second world war torn Britain. This can be read as a stand alone book.

Margaret is the only Dudley sister to be currently married. Her husband transports MOD documents around by day and is an ambulance driver by night. But it is the theatre which has always interested Margaret.

The book opens with her almost injured by a partially falling building as she intently hurries for a job interview. The job is only an usherette but it is a start. Margaret’s dream is to become an actress and nothing will stop her passion. She rises through the theatre taking on work in the wardrobe section and grabbing a chance to step in when an actress is ill.

Introduced to the nightclub scene by her acting friends Margaret is offered a chance to sing and it sets off her career as Margo Dudley. At first she tries to hold down several jobs and keeps too many secrets, until she’s found out.

An injury to her ankle puts her out of action for a while and when the theatre is also closed down due to a bomb Margo finds alternative ways to continue performing. With friends she becomes part of the Albert Sisters a group who go around entertaining the troops. But life isn’t all good. Margo drinks and becomes reliant of pain relievers and sleeping tablets which she becomes addicted to.

Her passion for the theatre puts a strain on her marriage on more than one occasion and we see Margot as quite a selfish women, perhaps portraying many a celebrity.

This book is packed with well researched nostalgia from the era, scattered between the pages, however I didn’t enjoy it as much as book #1 Foxden Acres, purely for personal reasons, I’m not a big theatre fan, however for those who know the London theatre world well, I’m sure they would enjoy this book.

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Book Description

In the early years of World War 2, Margot Dudley works her way up from usherette to leading lady in a West End show. Driven by blind ambition Margot becomes immersed in the heady world of nightclubs, drink, drugs and fascist thugs – all set against a background of the London Blitz. To achieve her dream, Margot risks losing everything she holds dear.

APPLAUSE is the second book in the DUDLEY SISTERS QUARTET.

About the author

Madalyn Morgan

Madalyn Morgan has been an actress for more than thirty years working in repertory theatre, the West End, film and television. She is a radio presenter and journalist, writing articles for newspapers and magazines.

Madalyn was brought up in a busy working class pub in the market town of Lutterworth in Leicestershire. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live. There were so many wonderful characters to study and accents learn. At twenty-four Madalyn gave up a successful hairdressing salon and wig-hire business for a place at E15 Drama College, and a career as an actress.

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FOXDEN ACRES by Madalyn Morgan #WW2 #HistFic #FamilySaga #Bookreview @actscribblerdj

Foxden Acres (Dudley Sisters Saga #1)Foxden Acres by Madalyn Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Foxden Acres is book one of the Dudley Sisters Saga, WW2 Historical fiction with a romantic theme.

The book opens with a prologue, a family group wait at the station for the arrival of the train bearing soldiers coming home from the war.

Chapter one turns back the clock; pre-war, New Years Eve 1939. Bess is a trainee teacher in London, her father works on the Foxden estate, she has grown up riding the horses on the estate. Allowed to borrow books from the estate library, Bess is caught tip-toeing out by James.

Keen to get to know the grown up Bess more, James suggests they meet in London, but this isn’t their destiny, war breaks out and Bess is offered the job turning Foxden into a productive farm supplying home grown food for the nation. She finds herself busy with land girls and a makeshift hospital for war veterans.

Whenever James visits their friendship blossoms, despite social barriers, but will he ever be free to love Bess in the way she wants? And will Bess ever feel good enough for James?

This is a cosy read for those who like light war time family sagas.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

On the eve of 1939 twenty-year-old Bess Dudley, trainee teacher and daughter of a groom, bumps into James, heir to the Foxden Estate. Bess and James played together as equals when they were children, but now James is engaged to the more socially acceptable Annabel Hadleigh.

Bess takes up a teaching post in London but when war breaks out and London schoolchildren are evacuated she returns to Foxden to organise a troop of Land Girls. 

Traditional barriers come crashing down when Flying Officer James Foxden falls in love with Bess. But by this time Bess has come to know and respect Annabel. Can she be with James if it means breaking her best friend’s heart?

And besides, Bess has a shameful secret that she has vowed to keep from James at any cost…

About the author

Madalyn Morgan

Madalyn Morgan has been an actress for more than thirty years working in repertory theatre, the West End, film and television. She is a radio presenter and journalist, writing articles for newspapers and magazines.

Madalyn was brought up in a busy working class pub in the market town of Lutterworth in Leicestershire. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live. There were so many wonderful characters to study and accents learn. At twenty-four Madalyn gave up a successful hairdressing salon and wig-hire business for a place at E15 Drama College, and a career as an actress.

In 2000, with fewer parts available for older actresses, Madalyn learned to touch type, completed a two-year course with The Writer’s Bureau, and began writing. After living in London for thirty-six years, she has returned to her home town of Lutterworth, swapping two window boxes and a mortgage, for a garden and the freedom to write.

Madalyn is currently writing her third novel, China Blue, the third of four books about the lives of four very different sisters during the Second World War. First and second novels, Foxden Acres and Applause, are now available.

Visit Madalyn Morgan online:

The Foxden Acres Website: https://sites.google.com/site/foxdena…

Non-Fiction Blog: http://madalynmorgan.blogspot.co.uk/

Fiction Blog: http://madalynmorgansfiction.blogspot…

Actress website: http://www.madalynmorgan.com/

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter    available free from Kindle Unlimited

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE 45th NAIL by @Ian_Lahey #WW2 #TuesdayBookBlog #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading The 45th Nail by Michael & Ian Lahey

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Book Review: The 45th Nail by Michael Lahey and Ian Lahey

 

I am torn between describing this book as compelling or interesting. I think I’ll go with the latter. It has been described as a noire drama, but I found the first half of the book quite humorous.

Robert Svenson, a middle-age French teacher from the Midwest, receives a postcard and a Christmas present from his mother’s brother, a man believed to have died at Anzio during WW II. The gift is a valuable Etruscan amulet which Robert sells, ostensibly to pay for a two-month visit to Paris to work on his French. Instead he heads for Italy to find his uncle, lying to his wife, who to my mind is incredibly gullible and pretty laissez faire about his proposed trip.

On his arrival in Rome, Robert has his luggage stolen, followed by his wallet, and is forced to find the means to support himself plus accumulate the funds to search for his uncle. Luckily, the owner of the hotel to which he had been directed from the airport takes him under his wing and gets him a job with a tenuous relative. The relative owns a restaurant and hires Robert, who doesn’t speak Italian and knows nothing about wine, as his wine consultant. Robert acquires other jobs and friends and eventually meets his uncle Jim.

At this point, the novel transitions from humor to darkness, as Jim takes Robert on a tour of his Italy, where he has been living and working for the decades after the war as a sweeper of WW II mines and finder of Etruscan antiquities. The characters are richly drawn and the reader becomes pulled into the journey, discovers Robert’s moral compass, and comes to understand Jim’s convoluted thinking about his troubled past. The book is in part a tour of the history of the west coast of Italy, focusing on Jim’s knowledge of the Etruscans and of WW II, and colorful friends or acquaintances of Jim’s pop in and out of the story, sometimes with meaning, sometimes not. The food, the wine and the Italian language become threads binding the story together.

However, a sense that something terrible is going to happen increases with each step of the journey, as the meaning of the book’s title is revealed, along with the secret buried in Jim’s heart – one he feels he can only reveal to Robert.

There were parts of this book where the exposition and dialogue were overlong or ponderous, but there is also much to appreciate. Like a moth to the flame, I had to read it to the end.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE SEVEN YEAR DRESS by @MahurinPaulette #WWII #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Wendy, she blogs at http://booklovercircumspect4.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Wendy has been reading The Seven Year Dress by Paulette Mahurin

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This is a story that involves a Jewish teenager, Helen Stein, and her family who lived through Hitler’s deranged views of annihilating the Jewish population. Helen was born during the early stages of Hitler’s rise to power. As a younger child, Helen was shielded from most of what was happening in her country by her parents. However, Helen had a friend who had joined Hitler’s army as a young man and kept Helen informed of what was going on. As Hitler’s power grew, so did his relentless pursuit against the Jews and Helen’s family has no choice but to face what is happening in their country and to their culture.

Helen was able to evade capture by Hitler’s army for a period of time but was eventually found and taken to Auschwitz. To keep through the early times of Hitler’s reign, Helen learned to sew to help supplement her family’s income. Because of this, she was able to live upon her arrival to Auschwitz, was tattooed, and endured several hours of hard labor every day, was given little edible food, and forced to sleep in unimaginable living conditions.

Although Hitler and his army was able to force Helen and others into these conditions, he couldn’t take away Helen’s will to live and her ability to see the good in others that were also there. This is what helped Helen throughout her time in Auschwitz until she was later freed. Hitler’s army tried to cover up what they had done but it was Helen and other survivors that were a true testimony to what had occurred to them. Thankfully, allowing many of Hitler’s soldiers to be held accountable for their actions. Helen was able to leave Auschwitz and relocated to America. This is just one story of many Jewish survivors of this horrific period in our history.

The story is very well-written and it was as if I was with Helen throughout the story and enduring her pain and heartache along with her. I couldn’t put this book down and read it in one night. I actually had to wait a few days to write a review as the book has really touched me deeply. I would highly recommend this book to others.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com also available free from Kindle Unlimited

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE SEVEN YEAR DRESS by @MahurinPaulette #WW2 #fridayreads

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry has been reading The Seven Year Dress by Paulette Mahurin

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The Seven Year Dress by Paulette Mahurin

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

I always head straight for books set in World War 2, and this book has so many good reviews that I couldn’t wait to start it. I’m afraid I was a little disappointed by it, though there is much to commend, too.

In the present day, student Myra rents a room from Helen Stein; after a while, Helen reveals all that she suffered as a Jewish girl living in Berlin during the war and, later, in Auschwitz. I thought the parts in the concentration camp seemed the best researched, treated with sensitivity, not sensationalised, and would certainly serve as an education for anyone who doesn’t know about the atrocities commited by the SS.   The build up of anti-semitic feeling in Germany is portrayed well, as is the bond Helen formed with a friend in Auschwitz. Earlier on, though, there are parts that seem unlikely, at best.

Helen’s friend Max is homosexual. As a thirteen year old, he talks about this to Helen. I doubt very much whether a boy of that age from a traditional family background in early 1930s Europe would have even acknowledged such sexual preferences to himself, let alone talked freely about them. There were other attitudes and phrases that I felt came from a more modern era. I also doubted that Max would have had access, later, to the high level German campaign secrets that he revealed to Ben and Helen. Then there is the bear rooting about in the ‘trash cans’ outside the farm buildings in Brandenburg. There have not been wild bears in Germany for nearly 200 years (I looked it up).

The other thing I wasn’t keen on was the sexually orientated passages, which I thought were tacky; it’s possible to write about a girl becoming a woman, and longing for love, etc, without it reading as though it’s aimed to titillate.

There is a fair bit of historical fact woven into the novel, some convincingly, other parts clumsily. I liked the epilogue, I thought it was a nicely written, suitably poignant ending. I can see from the Amazon sites that this novel has been received very well by many, and I wouldn’t not recommend it, but for me it was just okay.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com