Every time I read a book, I learn something. Non-fiction books, of course, are true stories (for the most part). Historical fiction books tell a story, but the characters, plots, historical references may be changed due to the writer’s fancy. “Grounded Hearts” by Jeanne M. Dickson is a fictional story of a downed RAF pilot in Ireland. I was not aware that Ireland was a neutral country in the Second World War. I was also not aware that downed pilots were interned in a camp for the duration of the war. Anyone harboring these fugitives was sent to prison. I found this a fascinating aspect of the war that I did not know.
This is the story of Dutch Whitney whose bomber crashed in County Clare in a marsh. He and his crew parachuted out of the doomed plane, but Dutch doesn’t know the whereabouts or status of his crew. He happens upon a house where a midwife lives. Nan O’Neill takes pity on him and tends to his wounds. Since he cannot manage on his own, she decides to hide him from the Local Defense Force (LDF). The story continues as Nan and Dutch are involved in keeping themselves free.
Ms. Dickson’s writing served to keep me interested until the last page and aggravated that I could not sit and read this book in one sitting. I thought this novel touched on something I had not read or heard of and this provided a most interesting read for me. This book was a wonderful debut for the author and I look forward to many more novels in whose pages I can lose myself.
“Catching the Wind” by Melanie Dobson is a very fascinating novel. Dietmar Roth and Brigitte Berthold were childhood friends back in Germany in 1940. Dietmar was three years older than Brigitte at the age of 13. Of course Germany was under Nazi rule at this time and everyone was tense and scared. One afternoon, the children were together playing when they heard screams and ran home. Just in time they hid as they saw the Gestapo taking away their parents. Dietmar ran to the window in his home and saw his mother mouth the words “RUN!”. He grabbed Brigitte and they ran for all they were worth, finally making their way to Belgium. Although Belgium was also under German rule, they were able to escape to England where they were parted and sent to various locations. They were thought to be British children and were being evacuated to escape the Blitz. They were never reunited.
Seventy years later, Quenby Vaughn is doing an article on English aristocratic families who collaborated with the Germans during the war. Some provided safe houses for German soldiers who were infiltrating the public and sending messages over wireless to Germany apprising them of troop locations and air fields. Sabotage was part of their plan. They thought Germany would win the war and they wanted to be ready to accept German rule as a friend to the invaders.
Lucas Hough, a lawyer representing Daniel Knight, seeks Quenby and requests that she meet his employer for a job. Quenby is not interested until Daniel, alias Dietmar Roth, tells her of his past life. He is searching for Brigitte, not knowing if she is dead or alive, but to reassure himself that he finds out about her before he passes away.
Little did Quenby know that along with searching for Brigitte, she will uncover information that her investigation into treason among the higher set also includes Brigitte’s past life. I was SO interested in the chapters dealing with the involvement of so many of British aristocratic members and their savagery. The years gone by have made searching for Brigitte a definitely difficult task, but I was pulled into the story by the intriguing manipulation of the story line by Ms. Dobson. What a great read! My only criticism is that the ending was not as satisfying as I’d hoped. In fact, I was a little disappointed because I did not think it altogether fit the story…a little too contrived, I think. However, I would highly recommend this book because my observations may be very different from another reader.
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.
The circumstances surrounding the death of Adolph Hitler have long been discussed and disputed since the end of the war. “The Taster”, published by Kensington Publishers is a novel based on a woman who was among Hitler’s “tasters”. These women were chosen for their fidelity to the Fuhrer and were required to taste every bit of food and drink prior to its presentation to Hitler. Hitler was scared to death that he would be poisoned and thought that everyone was out to kill him. At the Wolf’s Lair and at The Berghof, Hitler’s places of residence, the tasters followed him and were required to stay within the compound at his service.
Magda Ritter, is the name of the young woman in this novel who is chosen by the Reichstag to be one of Hitler’s tasters. She is schooled in the different forms of poison so she can recognize them by taste and smell. If she falters, then she will be the one poisoned. Magda meets a member of the SS assigned to Hitler’s guard and they become involved. He is also involved in a group planning to assassinate Hitler. This story is so interesting and menacing at the same time. All the while reading this book, I was constantly feeling terrified for all those involved.
I thought that this was a great read and very rooted in historical fact. The author’s list of background books and articles made the book seem real. Based on a true character, who would not believe it?
The book will be published in early 2018 by Kensington Books.
“Soar Like Eagles” is book three in the Promise for Tomorrow series by Terri Wangard. First of all, this book is definitely written in my favorite genre. I love historical novels set in World War II. This book was different because it was written about the Red Cross Doughnut Girls who went to England to staff canteens and to pass out doughnuts and coffee to our boys serving overseas.
Carol Doucet is the young woman in this story who desires to do her part in the war. She is a society reporter for her hometown paper, but wants to do something worthwhile. She and friends join the Red Cross in order to be of service, and for some girls, to meet young men. Carol longs to follow the troops into the battle areas, but has no idea of the hardships and sorrows, danger and heartbreak that it brings. She is serving in a canteen in the states when she meets a young airman, Chet. They feel an instant rapport and both are saddened that they may never meet again. However, Carol is assigned to one of the airbases in England that Chet flies out of. She doesn’t want to marry him because of the danger they both fact and she doesn’t want that fear. After the invasion of France, Carol follows the battles to help the morale of the soldiers by bringing a little cheer in the form of doughnuts and coffee to them. It reminds them of home.
I was totally engaged in the story of this novel. I thought the descriptive writing about the battle areas and the horrors of war were very convincing. The chances that Carol and Chet will meet again seem remote, however, nothing is impossible. I know readers will enjoy this novel, not only because of the historical significance, but also because of the characters, which you will love.
I requested to review Melody Sachs first novel, “The Girl from the Tyne”. This is her first novel and I enjoyed the book very much. The story begins in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1932. Jack Wood lives with his Mum and is happy with his life. He owns a business that is prospering in spite of the depression. On this particular evening, he is heading to a dance in town. All of the young folks are there and the bands are swinging. There is a dance contest and he is smitten with Alice Rooney, one of the winners of the contest. He gets his courage together and asks her to dance. They finish the evening with each other. Alice is a forward young lady and entices Jack, which has consequences. Jack decides to do the right thing and marry her even though their families are nothing alike. Alice’s family is crude, rude and smarmy; while Jack’s is the son of a veterinarian. His family is good, supportive and loving.
Jack and Alice have a volatile relationship. Alice’s mouth is crude and rude, just like the rest of her family. Their daughter, Lizzie, bears the brunt of Alice’s wrath. Nothing she does is right, she is screamed at, embarrassed in front of her friends and their parents, yet Lizzie tries to be quiet and not anger her mother. The story continues as we see Lizzie growing up and becoming a lovely young lady in spite of the abusive relationship with her mother.
I really did enjoy reading about Lizzie. However, it was very hard to read the abusive dialogue that Alice subjected Lizzie to, and I suffered with her. No one was immune from her wrath and everyone walked on eggs in order not to upset Alice and cause Lizzie more trouble. The thing I enjoyed most about this novel is the time period written about. I wish Ms. Sachs much success with her writing.
I received a Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley.com.
Rhys Bowen is one of my favorite authors. She wrote the Royal Spyness Myusteries, the Constable Evans Mysteries, and the Molly Murphy Mysteries. I have read most of these and you will fine reviews on my blog.
I have just read “In Farleigh Field”, which takes place in England during the Blitz. At one of the fields on Lord and Lady Westerham’s estate, a man dressed as a soldier is found dead. Apparently the man parachuted into the field, but the chute failed to open, plunging him to his death. Although the man is dressed like a soldier from the same unit that is occupying part of the Westerham mansion, Farleigh, something is not quite right.
Ben, Jeremy, and Pamela have been friends since childhood. Pamela is one of the daughters of the Westerhams and Jeremy is the son of another lord of the realm who lives nearby. Ben Creswell is the son of the local vicar and definitely not in the same social set as his friends. Pamela and Ben works for MI5 and Pamela is a code-breaker at Bletchley Park. Neither one knows that the other is involved in the war effort. Jeremy has been shot down over Germany and is languishing in a prison camp.
This book, even though fiction, gave me a thrill a minute. The clandestine investigation kept promising and delivering. The possibilities of betrayal by one of Britain’s own was extremely interesting, especially since I had heard of some British who supported Hitler’s regime and were prepared for Britain to surrender. I love the way Ms. Bowen incorporates historical fact in her novels. I’m sure much research goes into each and every word she writes. Although I have read many of her books, this one, “In Farleigh Field” is my favorite to date. I sincerely hope that she is working on another novel in this same vein. I will be looking for it.
I highly recommend this book, especially if you are interested in stories about World War II. I received a print copy of this book from NightOwlReviews.com and was asked to do an honest review.
Tricia Goyer, Cara Putnam and Sarah Sundin have joined three of their short novels into one lovely book, “Where Treetops Glisten”. The stories are set in Lafayette, Indiana in the 1940’s, my favorite time period.
Louise Turner lives with her son and his wife. Her husband Henry fought in the Spanish-American War. Her son Robert fought in the Great War. And now her grandchildren are being drawn into the drama that is the Second World War. This book is about the Turner grandchildren and their work and love during the war.
Sarah Sundin writes about Pete, a pilot who has flown many missions and is being assigned stateside, but will also ferry planes to Europe. He has been a bully and a miscreant during his growing-up years. Grace was the sister of his friend and also the one he picked on the most. Can these two ever forget their childhoods and come together as one?
Cara Putnam’s story is about Abigail, Pete’s sister who has lost her high-school sweetheart at Pearl Harbor. Can she find love and happiness with someone else? Can she find a course in her life that will satisfy her?
Tricia Goyer tells the story of Meredith Turner, a nurse, who is stationed in the Netherlands during the Battle of the Bulge. She is working in a field hospital caring for the wounded Americans and sometimes a German. She has been badly hurt by a young man whom she loved and hoped to marry. He was of German descent and at the beginning of the war returned to his homeland she presumed to help the Nazi cause. Was her David a spy? Did he use her to try to get information from her contacts in the service?
Miracles can occur as you will see if you read about this wonderful Indiana family as they do the best they can to live fulfilled lives during a trying time. I loved this book. I am familiar with Lafayette, Indiana, and just reading about the different stores and areas was interesting. I found this book comforting and well worth my time.