Since I am a devoted fan of all things about World War II, I could not resist downloading “The Chalky Sea” by Clare Flynn. A native of Liverpool, England, Ms. Flynn has written a wonderfully descriptive novel of the war as experienced on some of the towns and cities on the coast of England.
Gwen and Roger Collingwood has a less than romantic marriage. Because of an incident in Gwen’s life as a child, she keeps her emotions to herself, not allowing herself to care. Their home is in Eastbourne, near the cliffs of Dover. Nazi bombing comes to their area with Gwen being a part of the Women’s Voluntary Service, she helps those who have lost everything. Roger, her husband, is part of an intelligence agency and she has no idea where he is stationed. Her goal is to carry on, with her prickly attitude influencing everything she does.
Jim Armstrong lived on his parents’ farm in Ontario, Canada. As a farmer, he was not liable for conscription. However, he did entertain thoughts that he should sign up to help defeat the enemy. He was engaged to be married in a year to a childhood friend. His life seemed predestined. However, one small problem…his fiancée was in love with his brother. When he found them together, he lost it. He fled to Toronto, enlisted in the Canadian army. He was sent to England and billeted with Mrs. Collingwood. Both of them were broken souls and eventually helped each other mend. Jim also met Joan and after being together, he found that Joan was pregnant, and married her before he shipped out. What happens next is found in the next novel in the series, “The Alien Corn”.
I love the way this book is written. Even though war is upon them, the characters in the story find that life goes on and that one must adapt to it or perish emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
I love reading books by Cathy Gohlke. “Until We Find Home” is her latest novel and again is set during WW II. Claire Stewart, an American, has joined the French Resistance and helps transport French Jewish children to England. This is a clandestine enterprise, as smuggling refugees into Britain is illegal. Planning to join the man she loves, who is also in the Resistance, before sailing to England, she is terrified to learn that he is not coming and that she is in charge of the five children during the channel crossing and in England. She knows no one in Britain, but does remember an estranged aunt who may help her. She and the children find their way to the estate in the Lake District, and she persuades her Aunt Miranda to take them in. However her aunt agrees only if Claire stays to help with them. Because most Brits have been pressed into service to billet war workers and refugee children, a fellow American border, David Campbell also stays at the estate. He becomes the voice of reason in a tumultuous time.
I recommend this book highly. I loved reading about the life of the citizens of Britain before the Americans stepped up to join the war. Americans were not looked upon with favor during this time because the British thought that the United States was deserting them. My only criticism of this book is the character of Claire. I was ready to smack her a few times because she seemed to be self-absorbed. During the course of the novel, however, I saw her growth in spirit and compassion and that was her redeeming quality.
NetGalley.com and Tyndale publishers provided me a complimentary Kindle advance reading copy in return for my honest review of this book.
“Kitty’s War” by Barbara Whitaker begins on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia when Katherine spies something in the water. Upon investigation, she finds a very handsome man in a raft, obviously having been at sea before something terrible happened to him. A naïve young girl, she finds herself thinking of him constantly as the months pass. Against her family’s wishes, Katherine (Kitty) volunteers for the WACs for duty overseas as a nurse. She runs into the man again and this time he is an airman on duty in England, but he doesn’t recognize her as his savior. Kitty’s friend, Madge is a forward flirt and captures Ted Kruger’s attention. When Ted realizes who Kitty is, they begin a romance. However, Ted is shot down over Germany and languishes in a prison camp until his escape. Can he and Kitty get back together? Is Madge the one Ted wants?
I thought this novel was well thought out and I enjoyed the descriptive way that Ms. Whitaker moves the story along. Every time I wanted to put the book down to get something else done, I just couldn’t do it. I love war-time romances set during WW II, and I loved this book.
I received a complimentary Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley.com and was under no obligation to post a review.
I was very anxious to read “The Lost Sisters” by Lindsey Hutchinson. The story begins with Orpha Buchanan’s mother physically and verbally abusing her, finally throwing her out of the house. Albert, Orpha’s father, obviously has no idea that this treatment is happening to his daughter and she is afraid to tell him. Not only that, but previously and infant daughter was “stolen by Gypsies” as an infant, never to be found. After roaming the countryside, Orpha meets up with Peg and is taken in by her. Lo, and behold, they find that they are sisters. Peg is the long lost infant. Although I admired the ability of the author to conjure up these instances, the longer I read, the more inconceivable it became. Hortense Buchanan was an evil woman and how she got away with all she did, abuse, arson, murder…is beyond me. Although I read the book in its entirety, I questioned every new coincidence that occurred. Albert’s inability to see the truth, his apathy in bringing his wife to justice, his “other’ life that was brought to light… just really irritated me. And through it all Orpha becomes a successful entrepreneur. The ending was unbelievable. I’m sorry, but I would not recommend this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley.com and was under no obligation to post a review.
Roseanna M. White is an author whose books I have enjoyed for quite a long time. I especially love the way she makes her characters so human and vulnerable while also strong. “A Name Unknown” is the latest novel I have read and I loved every page. Rosemary Gresham’s character was conniving, thieving, sentimental, witty and totally engaging. Her counterpart, Peter Holstein, was characterized humorously as an inattentive, shy, bookworm.
The era in which the story takes place had so many options to write about and I think that Ms. White hit upon the perfect plot. Before WWI, England was a hotspot for treason and espionage and political sentiment ran high. Rosemary’s reason for going to Kensey Manor was to supposedly to categorize Peter’s extensive library. But her real reason for being there was to get the goods on him. Peter needed to prove his loyalty to England and the crown and needed help doing that. Whatever else Peter was involved in was there for Rosemary to glean for herself. I really enjoyed the cat and mouse game these two played and the supporting characters portrayed in the book were convincing and appropriate. I am anxiously waiting for further novels in this series, Shadows Over England, set in my favorite genre.
I received a complimentary print copy of this book from LitFuse.com.
I know when I have read an outstanding book by the fact that I cannot get the story or the characters out of my mind after having read it. “The Other Side of Courage” by Joe Matlock is such a book. This book is written about the American fliers and their counterparts in Britain during World War II. One pilot, Tom MacMillan is sent to England to fly against the Nazis because he is a scoundrel and one girl did not respect had family connections with his commanding officer. In reality, he is a coward. He doesn’t want to fight, is scared to death of going into battle. During one early sortie, he is hit by flak and is recuperating in the army hospital. His nurse is Molly Masterson, a wonderful girl who really does not want to be a nurse and who hates American fliers. Their relationship is a back and forth war-of-words until sparks fly between them. Her family is not enamored of Joe, but he and Molly love each other and have plans.
During wartime, one can never be sure of the future. This is true of Molly and Joe. She worries and frets when he flies his missions, and he just tries to do his job and get home to Molly. Joe is shot down and is helped by the resistance to get back to England. He is so anxious to see Molly, but fate has a different path for him.
I was so captivated by the writing of Joe Matlock. The characters really came to life for me and the descriptions of aerial combat kept me on the edge of my chair. Joe really goes through so many emotions and life changing experiences that it was hard to imagine anyone surviving all this. However, I’m sure that in war, especially a war like that the men who fight never come back the same person as they were before their war experiences. This book will join others in my personal library, not to be loaned or traded. Joe mentions in the back of this book that he is not a real author. I beg to differ. I think his writing is exciting, insightful, and compassionate. I look forward to reading his next work about Katinka Oostvogels, a Dutch girl and Commander Bob Corey, a survivor of Pearl Harbor and their adventures together in Joe’s next great saga.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Mr. Matlock for my honest review.
I love any book written by Rhys Bowen and “On Her majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service” is no exception. This book is part of her Royal Spyness Mysteries series. Lady Georgiana Rannoch is engaged to Darcy of Kilhenny. He is Catholic and she, being a cousin of the King, is not. In order to marry, she must give up the rite of succession and this must be approved by Parliament. The Queen summons her to tea and Georgie is sure this is about her marriage. In talking with the Queen, she is asked to perform a little subtle spying on the Prince of Wales and his lady friend, Mrs. Wallace Simpson. The fact that Wallis is a Mrs. and that being two-times over, is cause for concern to the royal family. The Queen, the Prince’s mother, makes arrangements for Georgie to be invited to a house party in Italy. She is to keep an eye on the Prince and his “friend” and let the Queen know if Mrs. Simpson has acquired her divorce. Georgie is also going to Italy to help a friend after the house party.
Among a varied cast of characters at this house party something sinister is happening. Georgie, being the sleuth that she is, cannot keep her nose out of it. When someone turns up dead, is she the suspect? Even Darcy is involved in this little drama. Everyone has a motive. Some are planning political allegiances which would turn the tide of the current unrest in Germany.
If you enjoy historical fiction along with a little mystery, you will love this book and the way Ms. Bowen brings real figures in history to life in her novels. I received a Kindle edition of this book from NetGalley.com.