Tag Archive | England

“A Rumored Fortune” by Joanna Davidson Politano

“A Rumored Fortune” by Joanna Davidson Politano was sent to me for my review.  I was not that excited about reading and reviewing this book because it takes place in a time period that is not one of my favorites.  However, not even one chapter into the book, I changed my mind.  I found this book to be very exciting.  It was full of mystery, mayhem and possibly murder.

I found the characters to be diverse and their interactions were attention-grabbing.  I tend to make up my mind about a character quite early in the book, but in this case I would suggest withholding judgement until the end.  I also thought that the author used her words in the most colorful way, depicting scenes that the reader could very easily visualize.  I thought it a very good read.

I received a print copy of this book from the Revell Blog Tour Team in return for my honest review.

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“Telegrams and Teacakes” by Amy Miller

“Telegrams and Teacakes” by Amy Miller takes place mostly in a bakery Bournemouth, England, during 1942.  Britain was under attack by the Luftwaffe and rationing was ratcheting up.  You couldn’t buy white bread, but all that was available was dark harder bread.  Eggs, milk and sugar were severely rationed, as was cloth, shoes, and staple item.  This put a strain on bakeries throughout England and households as well.

At the beginning of this novel, we find Betty Mitchell, desperate to leave the home she has shared with her husband Robert, after finding that Robert has a second wife and three children.  She takes their savings and gets on a train, finally stopping in Bournemouth, ready to find lodging and a job.

Audrey Barton keeps the bakery running despite her husband’s wartime service and her advanced pregnancy.  She is also very generous in helping others who need her.  She already is helping her stepsister, an evacuated child, her husband’s uncle and her brother, a victim of PTSD, and sister-in-law.  Betty decides to try to find employment there and Audrey hires her.

The novel follows these people as they struggle through rationing, bombing, worries about absent love ones, worries about Nazi invasion and more.  Although it is hard to keep a cheerful outlook, Audrey does.  She is a whirlwind of activity.  Although pregnant, she hardly stops working.  She is always the first to help.

I really enjoyed reading about this time in England’s wartime history.  I’m sure things were just as bad as portrayed in this novel and probably even worse.  I liked the fact that even though things looked desperate, these people came together and fought that desperation.  Having a good outlook about the future made them continue to fight the good fight and “keep the home fires burning”.

I’m looking forward to reading more about the Barton Bakery.

“Sarah’s Story” by Lynne Francis

“Sarah’s Story” by Lynne Francis is set in Yorkshire, England.  Sarah lives with and helps her herbalist grandmother while the rest of the family lives in Manchester working in the mills.  She dreams of a more exciting life than she has and wants to be with her family.  While gathering herbs for her grandmother’s potions, she meets Joe Bancroft, who says he works on the canal.  He seems a nice sort and she keeps finding ways to meet up with him.  Eventually, she becomes pregnant and he marries her.  Leaving her alone for long periods of time, he comes around occasionally and usually just long enough to get her pregnant again.  What is his story?  Sarah makes all kinds of excuses for him and never questions what he does.  Sarah’s life is definitely not exciting but is hard and grinding.  She spends her days trying to make enough to feed her family since she can’t depend on Joe to help.

I thought this story was so depressing.  I kept waiting for something good to happen.  The end of the story was not a feel-good moment at all.  I felt very tired just reading about Sarah and her life.

“The Weaver’s Daughter” by Sarah E. Ladd

“The Weaver’s Daughter” by Sarah E. Ladd tells the story of the past versus the future.  This novel takes place in Yorkshire, England where sheep, wool, and mills dominate.  Those who are weavers raise the sheep, card the wool, make cloth and sell it.  The mills are trying to be more progressive and economical by bringing in machinery that will do the job more cheaply and faster.  This sets up a war of sorts between the weavers and the mill owners.

Kate Dearborne is the loyal daughter of a weaver and as such follows her father’s wishes on the war against the mills.  Henry Stockton is the grandson of a mill owner and has been away from Yorkshire for his education.  Coming back into the community pits him against the weavers even though he is not comfortable with what his grandfather is doing.  There ought to be a compromise.

Matters become heated, death and destruction follow the raids the weavers make on the mills.  The millers defend themselves and neither side is willing to work together.  The climax comes when Kate has to make a decision.  Does she keep quiet and perhaps cause lives to be lost, or does she do what she thinks is right and try to stop the conflict.

I enjoyed this book and thought the author’s research had to have been extensive to have written such a good novel.  I would recommend this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley.com in order to be able to post a review.

“The Chalky Sea” by Clare Flynn

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.

“Until We Find Home” by Cathy Gohlke

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

“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.