Showing posts with label WWII. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WWII. Show all posts

Monday, 18 May 2020

Madame Fiocca: The Remarkable True Story of Nancy Wake by Suzy Henderson

You would have thought I would be churning out the reviews during this covid time. The airport is closed and I won't be going to work until at least June. Wrong, I've done hardly any reading, as reading is my lunch time or beach pleasure. Well beaches are closed and well work and hence breaks have stopped. It's been a great oportunity to start and finish some big projects. Like decorating a flat etc. Also going from a very active job to staying at home required a rethinking of activities. As we were in lockdown, walks had to be short.
With the help of excersise videos and short walks I managed to keep the weight down and am probably fitter than before lockdown.
France has since reopened and I can now again enjoy walks with a friend at 2m distance, the beach is also open but only for a swim. (so reading will not pick up for now)
This book took a while to read, not because it was dull but because of the above. It was a gripping read I enjoyed while doing 20min workouts on the cross trainer.
I gave it 5 stars.


War brings out the best and worst in people, and some go above and beyond. The true story of Australian woman Nancy Wake is a remarkable one and Suzy Henderson tells it well. The story starts with the early days of Nancy’s career as a journalist and her tentative romance to Henri. Nancy’s married bliss is like so many people at that time interrupted by war.  She chooses however to make a stand against the German invasion. A remarkable story unfolds about her time in the resistance and with the SOE, training and supplying the maquis.
The writer has paid great attention to the life and times of Nancy Wake and I’m pleased she put in a comprehensive prologue about her life after the war until her death. The book reads like a gripping historic romance and war time daring do, so you forget this was all based on fact. The writer has done an amazing job of bringing this amazing woman to life for me by giving her a heart and a soul. Recommended for readers of historic non-fiction and fiction.                                        

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Mary Rosie's War by Catherine M. Byrne

I wanted to like this book as it was set in the North of Scotland and it was historical fiction, but ultimately I was left a bit frustrated by the pace of the book and some of the characters decisions. But if you like a slow paced coming of age story, this one will be for you. I gave it 3 stars as it does have a lot of good points too. Here is the review and click on the pick to take you to Amazon.



This was a nice story set in the north of Scotland, England and France. Three young people: Mary, Johnny and Liesl find their lives irrevocably changed by war. We mostly follow Mary and her growth from a 17 year old Caithness country girl into a serious woman shaped by World War two. My problem with the book was mostly with pace. Mary to me wasn’t the most interesting person in the book. I found her mother far more intriguing. Her past was never fully developed and her budding romance with Sinclair again not quite fully explored. The relationship between Mary and Johnny was described at great length and its conclusion rather unsatisfying. (I don’t want to give the plot away, but the end left me a bit puzzled as to Mary’s decision.) Liesls time in Germany was dealt with in a chapter and Johnny’s time in France was equally quickly dealt with. For me they were exiting story lines with I would have liked to have seen much further explored. Gentle read for lovers of clean romance with just a little adventure.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Lyon Affair: A French Resistance novel (The Indigo Rebels Book 2) by Ellie Midwood

You might know by now that I love reading historical fiction. This writer came across a wee while back and I loved her characters. Often women who have to make difficult choices and not always take the right ones. This book is no exception. I hugely enjoyed the Indigo Rebels by Ellie Midwood and the follow up I'm glad to say is also a 5 star read.
 Click on the pic. to take you to Amazon.
 


This is the second book in the Indigo Rebels series. It follows on from the Indigo Rebels, but the action moves from Paris to Lyon in the Free French zone and Dijon which is very much in occupied territory. It is a sequel but it would stand on its own. We are introduced to a number of new characters that take their lives in their hands by joining the resistance. What I like most about Ellie Midwood are her very human characters, and here we are introduced to two complex ones in the shape of Blanche and father Yves. Blanche is embittered by her past. Born of a German soldier and a French mother who alleged that she was raped, she has been shunned and teased since childhood. She joins the resistance to get back at the Germans that ruined her childhood. Blanche doesn’t find the kinship she so craves with her fellow resistance fighters and starts to wonder if it was really the Germans that ruined her childhood.  The other character I loved was Father Yves, a man with a dark past who is reluctantly drawn into the resistance, where he struggles with his vow to not harm again. There are many others but I don’t want to give away too much. Just pick up this book and let the heroes and villains reveal themselves. Some nail biting action too as they find out they have a traitor in their midst.
 

Monday, 7 August 2017

The Seven Year Dress: A Novel by Paulette Mahurin

I was initially attracted to this book by the title which I think is great. A book about the Holocaust is not my favourite subject as it can be a harrowing and graphic read. (As it was in this case.) But I must say that Ms Mahurin handled it well. Why not 4 stars, well I had a few issues with the research and have contacted the writer about this. I liked the book but didn't feel it was a five star read.
Click the picture to take you to Amazon.



What I liked about this book was a number of things. It wasn’t just about the Holocaust and a woman’s struggle to survive; it had many more facets to the story. We follow Jewish Helen as she grows up in increasingly hostile Germany, and through her eyes we see how the Nazis came to power. Ms Mahurin writes in an engaging style and captures well the almost descent into insanity as Helen and her brother are in hiding. More than all that it is about a woman wanting to express her femininity and to be a feeling, sensual, human being.  A simple dress reminds her who she is and who she wants to be, despite all the ugliness around her. It is a gripping story about hope and staying true to yourself.

Friday, 30 June 2017

The Indigo Rebels by Ellie Midwood

As you know, historical fiction and non-fiction are my favourite genre. I've read and reviewed Emilia by Ellie Midwood a few weeks ago, and it impressed me. I was therefore keen to get this book and it didn't disappoint. A well deserved 5 star. Click on the photo to take you to Amazon.



This is the second book of Ellie Midwood I’ve read and I’m rapidly becoming a big fan. Here are the four reasons why; Historical fiction is my favourite genre and you can always tell if a writer has done her research and Ms Midwood’s has. Secondly she writes a great female character. I absolutely loved Giselle. Intelligent but nihilistic she is not above causing a stir and using people to her advantage. At the same time she is full of life and charming. You have to admire her gut and courage as she becomes involved with the resistance even if it was initially for a thrill.  Thirdly the writer has a very engaging style that keeps you entertained and reading. And the last reason is the most important for me. I don’t like writers who portray history as black and white. Germans are baddies/French are goodies. Things are never that simple and people are rarely pure evil. I liked that she pinpointed the fact that the Wehrmacht were soldiers and often ordinary decent citizens that just did their duty, compared to the SS and Gestapo, which were idealistic fanatics capable of horrendous atrocities.
Great story with some nail-biting action and believable complex characters. Recommended.