Kate Moreton is in Ireland on sabbatical from her teaching position at Dartmouth College when she meets Ozzie Ferriter, a fisherman and a veteran of the American war in Afghanistan. The Ferriter family history dates back centuries on the remote Blasket Islands, and Ozzie – a dual citizen of Ireland and the United States – has retreated to the one place that might offer him peace from a war he cannot seem to leave behind.
As soon as I read the first letter I knew I was going to love this story. And oh I did!
This isn’t a traditional romance story in beautiful Ireland. It is a deep, soulful, character-driven story of love, loss, brokenness, sin, and redemption. Kate is Irish through and through. Her dream of seeing the Blasket Islands and finishing her dissertation is finally coming around. She will be able to live by the sea and finish her research regarding the islands and how even her own family had been evacuated.
But life is never as tidy as that. When Ozzie comes along, it’s as if their souls knew each other at once. There was a palpable feeling of connection in the way the author told this story. The descriptions of the sea, the saltiness you could almost taste, the wild beauty of the islands and the warmth of the people. Ozzie and Kate are an island in a vast sea of people.
I don’t want to give anything away with this review. Just read it. And now I shall make myself a nice cup of tea and read it slower and savor all of the feels it has to offer.
NetGalley/ October 8th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Griffin
From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edmund Morris comes a revelatory new biography of Thomas Alva Edison, the most prolific genius in American history.
Edmund Morris is the author of the three Theodore Roosevelt biographies as well as the really good Ronald Reagan one. I am very sad to say he passed away just this past May.
Thomas Edison was a driven man. He was constantly inventing and patenting new ideas or as he would say, he brought them out in the open, they were always there. He had a new invention about every 11 days, with over 1,000 in his lifetime.
Best known for bringing us into the light, he was a man with a singular need to invent, to experiment, to push the boundaries of what was known. He was a man who needed little sleep or food and expected those around him to work the same punishing hours as he did. He did not suffer fools lightly and like a lot of geniuses who are laser-focused on what they see as their calling, his family life suffered.
We see the husband, the father, the friend. A man who was headstrong. He started 250 businesses, so you can imagine he might have been a distant father. He made no secret that he thought his children were lacking in every way.
I have read many biographies of Edison, most of which centered on his works and patents. I don’t think he was a deliberately cold man, he was a man possessed with a need to create, to push boundaries and with that type of mind, relationships and family take a back seat.
The research that went into this work is astounding. This is a book I will have and re-read for a long time.
NetGalley/Random House (October 22, 2019)
The Tattooist of Auschwitz #2
From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz comes the new novel based on an incredible true story of love and resilience.
Her beauty saved her life – and condemned her.
Cilka is mentioned in the first book and now we have facts of her life blended with some fiction to fill in the question of Who was Cilka Klein?
She was only sixteen when she and her mother and sisters were taken. In 1942, she arrives at Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. Already a beautiful young woman, her looks do not go unnoticed by the Commandant, Schwarzhuber, who separates her from the other women. Her job is to look after the sick and dying women who will be taken to the gas chamber. She knows these women hate her. She hates herself. In this place, in order to survive, you had to use whatever power you had. And hers was her beauty and ability to compartmentalize everything she had to do.
When the camp is liberated Cilka is sentenced to prison for sleeping with the enemy. Literally. This did not sit well with me. How unfair was that? At 16 you do what you need to do to stay alive. After all of the suffering and now she is being sent to Siberia for 15 years.
Once there, a young, female doctor takes her under her as an apprentice nurse. Cilka is good at this work and forms bonds with the doctor and the nurses. Using her privileged position to help the other women in her hut. She is especially taken with one man in the ward. But will she ever be free? Will she ever know the love she deserves?
This story is part true, part fictional. But the facts are there. It was difficult to read and the images in my head will always be there. The brutality of the enemy along with the equal brutality of fellow prisoners. It was heartbreaking and beautifully written and I will never forget Cilka’s Journey!
NetGalley/ October 1st, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press
In a world of growing nationalism, a quiet few are determined to resist. This gripping historical mystery explores the darkest days of the early 20th century.
Peter Steiner has given us a work of Historical Fiction with a lot of truth in the mix.
WWI has been lost. Germany is in chaos and the new government isn’t anything to brag about. Everyone is in some way corrupted. Detective Willi Geismeier has a front-row seat to the rise of Adolph Hitler.
You have Fascism and Communism and violence everywhere. This is a country that needs a leader desperately. Unfortunately, that leader comes in the shape of Adolph Hitler. Everything is politicized and investigations of crimes become impossible.
We also have the viewpoints of Maximillian and his wife, Sophie, a reporter. Together they will fight to stay alive, knowing that things are not going to end well for many.
This was a historical fiction story with a whole lot of truth behind it. It moved fast and I really enjoyed seeing Munich in the 1920s through the eyes of those who were there. Good plot, good characters, and a fast pace. Well Done!
NetGalley Reviews/ Severn House September 3rd, 2019
The unforgettable love story of a mother blinded by loss and her husband who insists on their survival as they undertake the Syrian refugee trail to Europe.
A beautiful and haunting tale of Syria and the families who lost so much and fought so hard to stay in their home country, only to be driven out by war.
This is the story of Nuri, a beekeeper, and his wife, Afra, who is an artist. They live in the city of Aleppo and their life is a good one. Until war comes. In a bomb strike their lives change forever. They change forever. Afra has seen such horrors, she is now blind. But with the aid of Nuri’s cousin, they escape.
It is a long and hard journey they must now go on. Now they are refugees. Looked down on and taken advantage of. Nuri is suffering from PTSD and only wants to find a place to raise his bees and be safe. They can never go back. All they have is memories of a home that will never be theirs again.
This is a story of human strength and compassion. A real story of the horrors of war in
Syria and the real people who are dying and suffering for a reason we don’t really understand. Nuri and Afra may never see Syria again, but can they find their way back to each other?
This is a book you need to read. It’s not pretty and it’s very sad, but it’s honest and I cried and was very grateful to have read it.
Very Well Done!
NetGalley/ August 27th, 2019 by Ballantine Books
“The dead can’t hurt you. Only the living can.”
Effie Jones, once a slave, escaped a place she can not even remember as a child.
Found outside of a Union camp and taken in as a ward for an army surgeon. The Captain and his wife taught her to read and write, also how to forget her past and how to embalm bodies.
Effie’s feelings are buried so deep she appears cold and unfeeling. Leaving Indiana and returning to the last place she remembers, New Orleans, she quickly finds employment in the Re-Construction Era, 11 years after the Civil War, with an undertaker who needs her. He is a tortured drunk and Effie does all the work.
Effie maintains a distance from the other ladies at the boarding house. Not interested in anything but work and saving money. A chance meeting with a creole young lady has her learning to be comfortable with society and going to political meetings.
Things around the South are very volatile between the races and not a lot has changed for the better. After a confrontation, Effie begins to have flashes of painful memories of a holding pen and other slaves. She decides to find out who she is and where she came from.
This was a hard book to read. Not a part of our past I am proud of but these stories need to be told. I can’t imagine not knowing something as basic as your own last name. The trials and heartbreak Effie went through only made her stronger.
An exceptionally well-told tale!
NetGalley/July 30th, 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corporation