Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls
Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this debut novel reveals a story of love, redemption, and secrets that were hidden for decades.

The story of three women, and their own experiences with WWII.

One, a wealthy young woman living in New York and doing the best she can for the orphans and other displaced persons in France. Caroline Ferriday, finds herself in a relationship with an actor, who is also married and has a wife in France.

In Poland, we find Kasia Kuzmerick, a teenager whose youth is about to be ended when Poland is invaded. Kasia has a strength unlike I have ever seen. No matter what horrors she endures, she still puts one foot in front of the other and survives. But along with the physical scars, the emotional scars are heartbreaking.

In Germany, Herta Oberheuser, a young idealistic German doctor, is looking for a place she can use and practice what she has learned. When she answers an ad, her life and the lives of many others will be impacted.

Based on real people this story is one we all need to read. No matter how many articles or books I read on the Holocaust, it never gets easier and yet it must be told. This story of hope, courage, love, and selflessness is one I will recommend to one and all.

This book was difficult to read but the story was much more difficult for those living it.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martha Hall Kelly   Martha Hall Kelly

Website

 

Martha is a native New Englander but has become nomadic, splitting her time between New York City, Martha’s Vineyard and Atlanta, Georgia. She worked as an advertising copywriter for many years and raised three splendid children, while researching Lilac Girls, her first novel. When Martha is not chasing after her new puppy she is hard at work on her next book. You’ll find more info about the true story behind Lilac Girls at her website: http://www.marthahallkelly.com and lots of visual inspiration for the book on the Pinterest account she is madly in love with.

 

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Bury The Living (The Revolutionary Series Book 1) by Jodi McIssac

Bury the Living (The Revolutionary Series, #1)

The Book Blurb for Bury the Living:

Rebellion has always been in the O’Reilly family’s blood. So when faced with the tragic death of her brother during Northern Ireland’s infamous Troubles, a teenage Nora joined the IRA to fight for her country’s freedom. Now, more than a decade later, Nora is haunted by both her past and vivid dreams of a man she has never met.

When she is given a relic belonging to Brigid of Kildare, patron saint of Ireland, the mystical artifact transports her back eighty years—to the height of Ireland’s brutal civil war. Here she meets the alluring stranger from her dreams, who has his own secrets—and agenda. Taken out of her own time, Nora has the chance to alter the fortunes of Ireland and maybe even save the ones she loves. In this captivating and adventurous novel from Jodi McIsaac, history belongs to those with the courage to change it.

Our story begins in 1990 Belfast with a 15 year old Nora O’Reilly. The British may have pulled out but the war continues. A Civil War that has turned countryman against countryman. Trying to help her mother and brother, Nora agrees to do some shady things and gets in trouble with the wrong people. The same people who soon get her brother killed.

14 years later, we find Nora in Darfur,Sudan, working in a Refugee Camp. Planning a much needed bit of R & R. But she ends up back in Ireland. Having dreams of a man and an urgent need to find him. To do that she will have to suspend reality for a while. Will she find him? Can she really travel back in time and try to find this man and end the wars in her home country?

As a History buff, I enjoyed this book very much. The Irish Wars have always been a complicated subject, and difficult to understand what exactly happened and who is now fighting who.

One of my favorite types of stories are those that combine fact and fiction. There are plenty of facts and obviously some fiction, and it works wonderfully well.

Coming from an Irish family, I loved this book. Parts of it broke my heart. War is never easy to read about. But Nora is a girl after my own heart. Standing her ground and fighting for her country as well as any man.

Since this is book one in this series we know there will be more, which is a good thing.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:5826477

Jodi McIsaac is the author of the Irish contemporary fantasy series The Thin Veil (47North) the thriller A Cure for Madness (Thomas & Mercer) and the forthcoming historical Revolutionary series, starting with Bury the Living (47North).

She grew up in New Brunswick, on Canada’s east coast. After abandoning her Olympic speed skating dream, she wrote speeches for a politician, volunteered in a refugee camp, waited tables in Belfast, earned a couple of university degrees, and started a boutique copywriting agency. She loves geek culture, running, and whiskey.

Expected publication: September 6th 2016 by 47North

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

I have read every one of Mr. Coben’s books. I have never been disappointed in any of them and I eagerly look forward to the next one.

I did not expect what was inside of this book, however!

The jacket description: Former special-ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work. Her two year old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe- who was brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery : Can you believe your own eyes, even when you desperately want to?
To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband and herself.

It has been a rough time for Maya. Serving in the war, her sister’s murder while she was away and now that she is home, her husband is murdered. When a friend brings her a nanny cam, disguised as a digital picture frame, she can’t imagine she will see anything except the nanny caring for her daughter, but what she sees sets a series of events in place that I never saw coming. As she tries to make sense of what she has seen, everyone around her becomes suspect. Who knows what? And what does her husband’s death have to do with her sister’s death? Why does it seem Maya is leaving a lot of bodies in her wake?

Talk about dysfunctional families! I think I was suspect of every character at least once! But I never, ever saw that ending coming! I think this is one of the best Mr. Coben has written yet!

I think I walked around for hours saying ” Oh my God”, until my partner said, ” Please give me the book now!!” Thank you Mr. Coben!

WAR by Sebastian Junger

 

War

Sebastian Junger, New York Times Bestseller, author of The Perfect Storm, and A Death in Belmont, as well as a contributing editor to Vanity Fair is not only the author of WAR, but also along with photojournalist Tim Hetherington, directed Restrepo, a Documentary which was nominated for an Oscar.

Over the course of 15 months, Junger, writing for Vanity Fair, was embedded with a single platoon at a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan. His objective was to convey what soldiers experience. What war really feels like.

This book is the result of 5 trips to The Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan ( also known as The Valley of Death)  between June of 2007 and June of 2008.  He worked with photojournalist Tim Hetherington sometimes and other times each went on their own. Entirely dependent on our military for everything. Their hours of videotape became the basis of the feature length documentary called Restrepo.

This book was as hard to read as it was rewarding. At some point, I was so emotional I didn’t think I could continue, but I did. The book focuses on one platoon, Battle Company and is a real and honest look at what these men go through in one of the worst places to be in Afghanistan. These are real people making life and death decisions and doing their best to just do their jobs and not get killed. The total trust they have in each other, the pain when one of their own is lost or injured. The feeling of never being able to let your guard down for an instant. Understanding the difference between Human terrain and Physical terrain. This was but one of the things I had never considered. Also that the moral basis of the war doesn’t seem to interest soldiers so much, and its long-term success or failure has a relevance of almost zero. The U.S. pulled out of The Konegal Valley in 2010.

I also watched the documentary and got to see the guys who I had only pictured in my head. As they talked about their experiences and their lost friends and there was a look in all of their eyes that made you feel like they had seen things that even they couldn’t quite face. It was a superb film.

We had a discussion on the book at our local library, as Mr. Junger is in Oklahoma this week doing several talks and signings, and I would like to thank Susan at the Del City branch for her insights into the book and the film. This is a book that needs to be shared and needs to be talked about. I encourage you all to watch the film as well as read the book.