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POINT OF NO RETURN: A WWII Novel ~Martha Gellhorn

Monday, February 27th, 2017

THE POINT OF NO RETURN had an amazing history when first printed and then in 1989 it was retitled from THE WINE OF ASTONISHMENT to THE POINT OF NO RETURN and Gellhorn wrote a new forward and re-released the novel.  It has been a best seller for years.

“Originally published in 1948, this powerful novel follows a U.S. Army infantry battalion in Europe through the last months of the Second World War—through the Battle of the Bulge, the Allied sweep across Germany, and the discovery of the Nazi death camps. Jacob Levy, a young soldier from St. Louis, has never given much thought to politics, world affairs, or his own Jewish heritage, but after the liberation of Dachau, he confronts the horror of the Holocaust and takes his own violent revenge. Jolted into a new understanding of humanity’s connectedness, he comes to terms with his own Jewish identity and grapples with questions of individual moral responsibility that are still contemporary fifty years later.

“In her afterword, Martha Gellhorn traces the roots of the novel in her own experience as a war correspondent who first heard of the Nazi concentration camps during the Spanish Civil War and herself got to Dachau a week after American soldiers discovered the camp at the end of a village street.” (From Amazon’s page)

Ms. Shull  sent me an e-copy of this book for review.  It took me quite a while to squeeze it onto the schedule and it was well worth the read.  I was right there in the rain and snow, cold to the bone as the American troops worked through the woods in the Battle of the Bulge and took their rest in Luxemburg City.    Powerful read.  Emotional read.

“Martha Gellhorn was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1908.  She dropped out of Bryn Mawr to pursue a career in journalism.  Gellhorn spent time living in Paris; documented the Great Depression for the Federal emergency Relief Administration; traveled with her future husband, Ernest Hemingway, to Spain to cover the Spanish Civil War; and journeyed to Western Europe to cover World War II.  Her reporting career was distinguished and lengthy, as she also covered the Vietnam War and conflicts in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panama. An author of both fiction and nonfiction her works include the memoir TRAVELS WITH MYSELF AND ANOTHER and the novels POINT OF NO RETURN, WHAT MAD PURSUIT, and THE TROUBLE I’VE SEEN. She died in 1998.” (Book Cover)

Related:
Gone To Soldiers
Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger’s Life
A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena

THE FIFTH PETAL: A Novel ~Brunonia Barry

Monday, February 20th, 2017

THE FIFTH PETAL takes place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, 1989, and 2014.  In 1692, a number of women were hung from an oak tree and then their bodies were dumped into a mass grave.   In 1989, 3 young women had their throats cut while they were blessing their ancestors with one survivor and one 4-year-old daughter left.  In 2014, a young ancestor teenager dies at the same spot and the one previous survivor believes she became a Banshee and killed the boy.  The young girl from the 1989 kills is searching for just who she is and returns to Salem in her discovery journey.

The stage has been set for a revealing tale that is nearly impossible to put down.  Lots of secrets emerge through out the story and we travel the sights of the area and hear the poetry that was written about historic events.  We have bootlegging and pirates and smuggling stories that hold the story on a time line while the Police Detective and several current witches assist with solving the puzzle of the deaths.

Oh! And no witches were killed in 1692 though it was widely thought that that was what started it all as the first victims were all declared to be witches.

One would be wrong if they thought the story was just about witch trials and victims or if one thought it would turn into a Zombie tale – after all the new killer struck on Halloween.    The story is also about the history of the area and the Puritan standards being promoted.  The prejudicial thoughts of the tiny rules being imposed and which underline current understandings.  It is also a story about politics and mystery and even a bit of magic.  There are some thrilling moments and some amazing disguises being promoted, for the tourists and to keep the town sharing their bad feelings and perpetuating the myths.

The story too is about the mental health of the survivor and her beliefs, and a great deal about Domestic Violence and how women were cared for, hidden, and found new lives free from the violence they had experienced.  What violence is happening to women today in small towns of rumor, gossip, and old stories?  How do we change those perceptions and change the story.

TLC Book Tours  sent me an uncorrected proof for review and I was delighted to have the opportunity to read THE FIFTH PETAL

The writing was very good and captivating.  It had good police drama, investigation and resolution.  Having the focus on the women of the city and their actions and thoughts was quite wonderful and the counselor was very good at her role in the story. How does one find themselves when they have been disappeared to protect them from the “bad vibes” of a city that is suspicious of you at age four?  How in a city (a country) that distrusts women?

About the Author:

“Brunonia Barry is the New York Times and international best selling author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She was the first American author to win the International Women’s Fiction Festival’s Baccante Award and was a past recipient of Ragdale Artists’ Colony’s Strnad Fellowship as well as the winner of New England Book Festival’s award for Best Fiction and Amazon’s Best of the Month. Her reviews and articles on writing have appeared in The London Times and The Washington Post. Brunonia co-chairs the Salem Athenaeum’s Writers’ Committee. She lives in Salem with her husband Gary Ward and their dog, Angel. Her new novel, The Fifth Petal will be released in January 2017.”

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Related:
Equal Rites
Strings and Bones
Sing Them Home

LAW AND DISORDER: A Thriller – or A Harlequin Intrigue Novel ~Heather Graham

Friday, February 17th, 2017

LAW AND DISORDER is the newest book by Heather Graham. “New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels. She’s a winner of the RWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the International Thrillers Writers’ Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For More information, check out her website or Facebook.” (Book cover)

Dakota Cameron’s family has inherited a stunning house on Biscayne Bay in Florida, near the Everglades. The house has become a small resort/hotel and a Mob Figure, who was into many levels of crime and bootlegging, originally built it as his retreat. He left a message about a buried treasure and Dakota is the most knowledgeable person about the history of the building and maybe she knows the location of the treasure that no one has been able to find.

Another despicable crime figure has decided to locate the treasure and after numerous crime sprees he has amassed a team to help him succeed. In the beginning, he overtakes the resort holding people hostage and making his demands. Dakota is home from New York City, where she is an actress and is held for ransom until she reveals the treasure to Nathan Appleby. What no one knows it that one of Appleby’s team is an undercover FBI agent. The tension to resolution theme is set and the action moves forward as a very assertive Dakota leads the villains to what they want.

I thought the information sharing about Florida was fabulous in this story. I read it over a weekend and as I finished I hopped on the computer and Googled The COE Visitors Center, Royal Palm Visitors Center, The Everglades and Miccosukee Tribal information. I wasn’t very interesting in the alligators or the crocodiles, but I did get caught up on two sights about the bird songs and snakes of the Everglades. I was glad for the introduction of these things in the story. Graham dedicated the book to a number of people and to her State of Florida. I can tell that she likes her State very much.

A week later when I was writing this review, I could not remember what the book was about. I thought it was one theme and then I knew that was not correct so I went back and re-read several sections to remind myself of the story line. This is usually not a problem for me and after some evaluation; I have decided that the title, a very good one, does not fit the story. I could not even remember it was a romance. For me the title and the story did not fit together. It was a good quick read and I liked the Dakota character and her employee Vance and how they set the stage for all my research on Florida. I think it was a good romance but I could not connect because I have never met a man from Florida, who I thought was a good person or treated women well. Dave Berry, the journalist/writer, does make me laugh, but I am not thinking romantically about him! I totally lost interest in the love object in the story as soon as I discovered he was from Florida.

This is a TLC Book Tours book and was a good read LAW AND DISORDER

Related
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The Alligator Man 

THE WORTHINGTON WIFE: A Romance with a Decades Old Mystery ~Sharon Page

Monday, February 13th, 2017

We have all the splendor of Downton Abbey and the long sweeping estates of the old families of England in the 1920s, we also have a decades old murder mystery amidst all the glamor and confusions of finding a new Earl for Worthington Estates. Oh and the Roaring Twenties are truly the “rage”.  We find it all in THE WORTHINGTON WIFE.

Lady Julia Hazelton is attempting to make a difference in the lives of War Widows who have been abandoned to their own fates and some have taken up prostitution in order to survive and care for their children.  She is wanting to use some of her trust money to make loans and find employment for these widows, but her Brother, The Duke of Langford, says “no” although he agrees with her assessment that the country has deserted these families.

Lady Julia was the intended bride of the new Earl of Worthington, but her Anthony was killed in the War.  She has been trained to be a great lady in an estate and her mother and grandmother are pushing her to marry one of the men of money available to her from other estates.  Lady Julia wishes to marry for love or to not marry at all.  She is quite beautiful and quite outspoken, though her vision of the world is quite limited.

Along comes a discovered heir to the Worthington Estate, he is a painter in Paris, an American, a bootlegger, and of course he is handsome and muscular and was a pilot in the War.  He hates what his English relatives did to his family in New York City and that they refused to send funds and his father and mother were killed struggling to raise their boys and were killed because of their poverty.  He has a score to settle.

There is the matter of the disappearance of several young women in the area, who have never been found.  There is the matter of the sporty red roadster, which was seen in the area a number of times.

The story is well written and the bodice ripping, lusty sex does not happen until after marriage and there is no lack of descriptive drooling and lust from afar and very restrained.  The story about the abuse of war widows, disappearances, and financial woes of the estates are very sharp and point out the changes in the country making arranged marriages important and passé.  The Americans to the rescue is kind of a boring theme but vital to keeping interest going.  The Roaring Twenties are just getting started and truly messing with the rules!

It is a long book, one of those great escape reads that are signs of excellent story telling and a worthy romance   Thank you TCL Book Tours for sharing THE WORTHINGTON WIFE with this reader.

“New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Sharon Page is author of more than 20 books. Sharon has won two RT Bookreviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Colorado Award of Romance, and the Golden Quill.

The mother of two children and wife of a terrifically supportive husband, Sharon has a degree in Industrial Design and worked in structural engineering before fulfilling her dream of becoming an author”(TLC)

Be Seduced….

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Sharon Page Website

Related:
Mistress of the Court
Autumn in Oxford
Ryder