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Posts Tagged ‘WWII’

AUTUMN IN OXFORD: A Novel ~Alex Rosenberg

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Lake Union Publishing is certainly sharing some mighty fine reads with me this year.  AUTUMN IN OXFORD is a finely crafted murder, espionage, love story which is about reading every word and storing the details so you will be able to fit the twists and changes into perspective and solve the “who done it” part.  Even though the murder takes place in the first few chapters of the story in 1959, the why and who take pages of history and connection to piece it all together; lots of McCarthyism to uncover.

TLC Book Tours shared a winner with this read.  The writing is top notch and has the wonderful British pacing of the well-ordered sleuth with the push of the American prejudice exposed and revealed – made plain and arrogant.

Tom is a Finish boy who was reared in New York by his dedicated parents, he has married well a wealthy socialite and his writing has won him a Pulitzer Prize.  In his youth, he briefly joined the Communist Party and met the Rosenberg’s and other big names in college.  He left the Party and studied History and is now doing a teaching Fellowship at Oxford.   He meets his neighbor Liz, and realizes he has met the love of his life.  Liz is from Toronto, has 2 children and an unemployed husband who avoided the war by moving to Canada and lives life for appearances.

Tom’s wife insists that he return to New York with her, but Tom does not want to go because of his affair with Liz, also because he is having serious trouble with his passport – some department of government is pestering and threatening his because of his past connections – blacklisting.  Liz’s husband is murdered and now Tom has been arrested and a clever lawyer is now tracking the case and Tom’s backstory is outlined in detail.  One needs to read with care to find all the pieces that will fit together and complete the story’s truth.  I found it very difficult to put the story down, even with the deliberate pacing.

Alex Rosenberg is the author of the novel THE GIRL FROM KRAKOW.  He has lived in Britain and has taught at Oxford, where he made the acquaintance of some of the historical figures that play roles in AUTUMN IN OXFORD.  Rosenberg is the R. Taylor Cole Professor of Philosophy at Duke University in North Carolina.

Alex Rosenberg Wikipedia

Related:
Gone To Soldiers
Cuckoos Calling
The Boys In The Boat

GONE TO SOLDIERS: A Fiction Novel about WWII ~ Marge Piercy

Monday, April 25th, 2016

I discovered Marge Piercy the writer in the early 1990s.  GONE TO SOLDIERS was published in 1987 and I had already read GOING DOWN FAST, SMALL CHANGES, WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME,  FLY AWAY HOME, and HE, SHE, IT. The women I was in a support group with in New York City were praising Piercy’s work and we were sharing copies.  I enjoy her writing very much and her outlook.

After posting the review for HE, SHE, IT, an email* came in asking me if I would like to read GONE TO SOLDIERS for review.   I said yes I would like to read it, forgetting that I had read it first 30 years ago.  I just was so happy to read more of Piercy’s words.   The Kindle told me that at my reading speed it would take 32 hours and 30 minutes to get to the end.   I dove right into each chapter and hardly came up for air.  I am not incredibly fond of books about war.  This one is quite exceptional.  It took 7 years to write and perfect before it was published and winning so many awards.  I was so happy to read it once again.

The book has an interesting shape as 10 characters and their stories are highlighted throughout the book. Some have 14 chapters to their stories.  We begin before the start of the war in France and before the USA became involved.  WWII is over and recovery is beginning at the end of the story.  The primary theme is about being Jewish and how the Jewish experience of the war overlaps and touches so many lives.  I was amazed at how badly the USA Jews were treated and particularly by the Marine corp.  Some American Generals had no trouble with killing Jews in Europe and participated in the process. Each character was well defined and the connecting characters gave continuity to the story and kept the thread of the themes moving forward.

Extraordinary writing. So revealing about the hate we are seeing displayed even now in the USA, so much fear, and how working from that fear keeps us holding on and not moving forward.

Whenever the control is too great, there are scapegoats and then they are vilified and verbally derogated.  It was important for me to read this novel once again. I feel it with mature eyes.  There is more and more to the story; I become a witness.

I not only humbly give this book top stars and I feel as though it should be required reading in our schools today.   I highly recommend this story.

“Marge Piercy has written 17 novels including The New York Times Bestseller Gone To Soldiers; the National Bestsellers Braided Lives and The Longings of Women, and the classic Woman on the Edge of Time and He, She and It and most recently Sex Wars; ; 19 volumes of poetry including The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems 1980-2010, The Crooked Inheritance and in spring 2015, Made in Detroit; and a critically acclaimed memoir Sleeping with Cats. Born in center city Detroit, educated at the University of Michigan and Northwestern, the recipient of four honorary doctorates, she is active in antiwar, feminist and environmental causes.“ (Header at website)

Marge Piercy’s Website and Bio

*Kindle book was sent by Greta Shull, Marketing Coordinator, Open Road Integrated Media, 180 Maiden Lane, suite 8A  New York, NY 10038

Related:
He, She, It
When Women Were Birds
The Sowing

THE SKELETON GARDEN: A Potting Shed Mystery ~Marty Wingate

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Net Galley sent me a copy of Marty Wingate’s newest book for review and I was so pleased as I have read all of her Potting Shed Mystery Stories and find them delightful.

Pru Parke is busy in the garden with her brother Simon getting the Greenoak Gardens in perfect order for a magazine spread coming up in a prestigious English Gardening magazine.  Pru’s husband Christopher transferred from the London Police Department to a small local command in Ratley. The Gardeners remove a tree that has failed to thrive and discover as they dig down the reason why – too much gravel and a WWII air plane with skeleton.  The Mystery begins amidst the new hedges and dividing the bulbs for winter and being prepared for the reporters visit.

The town is also getting ready for the Christmas Fete and decide their theme is WWII in light of the garden situation and nearly everyone is involved in the discoveries and attractions of figuring out who was buried with the airplane.  Lots of stories emerge and papers and speculation, as the town looks at history and the present.

I have found each of Marty Wingate’s books to be a delightful read and I certainly enjoy the tours of garden plants and the family interactions.  A great weekend read and I feel renewed when I have finished.

I need to say that I follow Marty Wingate on Facebook and she has identified a plant or two in my new garden space as things are emerging this spring.  Thank you so much – I too love the name “Pigs Squeak”

Here are the books I have reviewed from Marty Wingate and she has another series about Birds of a Feather also in England.  More Gardening books and articles also to discover.

The Garden Plot
The Red Book of Primrose House
The Rhyme of the Magpie
Between a Rock and Hard Place

Several More are listed on Amazon

From the book:

“In addition to the Potting shed Mysteries, Marty Wingate is also the author of The Rhyme of the Magpie, A Birds of a Feather Mystery.  A well-known speaker on gardens and travel, she has written numerous non-fiction books on gardening, including Landscaping for Privacy.  Marty’s garden articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including The American Gardener, and Country Gardens.  She is hard at work on her next novel.  She lives in Seattle, Washington and travels often to England”

www.martiwingate.com
Marty Wingate Facebook

BENEATH STILL WATERS: A Novel ~Cynthia A. Graham

Monday, March 7th, 2016

About the Author:

“As a child, Cynthia A. Graham spent every weekend and vacation in the cotton belt of Missouri where she grew to love the mystery and beauty of the stark, delta plane.  Today, Cynthia lives in St. Louis where she graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Missouri – St. Louis with a B.A. in English.  She has won several awards for her short stories and has been published in both university and national literary publication.  She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the St. Louis Writer’s Guild. ~BENEATH STILL WATERS is her first novel.” (Cover)

Hick Blackburn has returned from World War II and has been elected Sheriff of Cherokee Crossing, Arkansas.  He is having a difficult time returning to his hometown and letting go of the war.  At 22 he is doing his very best, although he is missing his father very much.  His father the Principal of the local school was someone who Hick admired and learned from; his father died while he was off fighting.

In this small town there are lots of stories and as we mature we have to learn to let go of what we learned as a child and see the moments of reality.  This is quite a study of the good and evil within people and how they use their lives to make decisions.

Two young boys fishing at the slough find a headless baby, Sheriff Blackburn has to put all his skills into play to solve this mystery. He does not have computers or databases or even DNA testing.  Who is this child and what is the story behind her death?  This event raises the spectrum of atrocities, which he witnessed during the war and causes grief and nightmares.

There is not much work in this town and the secondary characters are not as detailed as Blackburn.  Their stories begin to fall into place during the twists as the end of the story unfolds.  The author has certainly caught the small town, southern mentality and the mythology, which can often hold a place together.  The ignorance of the community and the smallness of thinking is well exerted in the story and I found it hardly different years and years later when I was living in the area.  Beautiful part of the country and the author shares the story well

A good read and a good escape into another time period and human interaction.  Although a mystery is solved, the book is a bigger look at human behavior and the trauma of war.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review and I enjoyed the read very much.

Cynthia A. Graham Webpage

Related:
My Sweet Vidalia
Flight Behavior
Supreme Justice