I am always intrigued to discover the inspirations that lead an author to write a book. It seems there are nearly unlimited sources to draw from – conversations, research, accidental occurrences – but my favorites happen to be personal experiences and family history. When I decided to read The Aftermath I had no idea the author drew on his grandfather’s experiences in war torn Germany after World War II or even the complicated dynamics men like his grandfather faced trying to rebuild this decimated land and its equally affected people while also trying to find justice for the crimes done to those countries tasked with the reconstruction. Amongst other acts of humanitarianism, the author’s grandfather, a British Colonel in charge of reconstructing part of Hamburg, Germany, decided to have the German family whose house was being requisitioned for
Reviewed by MaryLu McFall
This second historical novel in a series puts us squarely in Italy with Geoffrey, otherwise known as Hotspur. The young squire is growing up under the eye of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, a well-known powerful man in English history. Evan Ostryzniuk writes history with great depth, and the novel rings with authenticity. The period of history is full of derring-do and deeds of bravery. It is also full of treachery and bloodshed.
As in the first book, Geoffrey is of interest to readers who enjoy watching a character grow. In this second book, Geoffrey becomes involved in the machinations of those who would destroy the right of Niccolo to rule. The fact
“I lie on my bed for a time until all the light goes out of the day and I begin to write. I’m desperate to finish now, I need to finish this before I leave, so that these stories and people remain here in the desert, perhaps where they belong, among the stones, and rocks, and cracks, to rest here, so that they reside somewhere at least; and maybe with time they will become less sharp, less glaring, kinder and more forgiving.” – Avi
Avi Goldberg fills the long hours of his jail term, earned for refusing to fight for his country in the Military, by writing about his Israeli friend, Saleem, eager to share the tale of his friend’s life, the loss of their home, and the broken heart of his Grandmother. Through Saleem and based as
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Reviewed by Caleb Shadis
Spartacus: Rebellion is part two of Ben Kane’s two-part set on Spartacus. Kane had intended to write just one book, but he got so caught up in the writing that it turned into two. I have to say that I got just as caught up in the reading and am glad for the extra book full of details.
Book two starts up very shortly after the end of book one. (So if you haven’t read the first book start there!) Spartacus and the army are nearing the Alps and as much as he would like to continue on over and then back home to Thrace, he is afraid the army won’t follow him. On
The Hundred Years’ War was a complex series of conflicts that pitted England against France from 1337 to 1453. In the fourth book in Bernard Cornwell’s Grail Quest series titled 1356, Thomas of Hookton, an excommunicated mercenary is sent on a search for an ancient holy relic that could turn the tide of war. As a mercenary, Thomas is known as Le Batard for his ruthless skills as a combat leader and archer. Thomas, however, is a legend in his own right. Excommunicated for rescuing an alleged heretic (his wife) from the torture of a clergyman, Thomas fights for the honor of his men, family, and liege lord. During battle, Thomas and his Hellequin devastate the enemy ranks with skilled archers and vicious men-at-arms.
As the story opens, Thomas and his Hellequin are told by their liege lord
Reviewed by Vera Pereskokova
Helpless, Akhmed watches as his friend Dokka is taken by the Feds, bound for the “Landfill” from where few people return. As the Feds leave and Dokka’s house burns down to the ground, Akhmed finds Haava, Dokka’s eight-year-old daughter, hiding in the woods. For some unimaginable reason, Haava is wanted by the Feds and Akhmed knows that she is not safe in the village. Tracking around the checkpoints, Akhmed leads Havaa to an abandoned hospital where the only remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, continues to treat anyone who walks through the door.
Akhmed, a doctor himself, volunteers his services in exchange for shelter for Haava, and desperate for help, Sonja grudgingly agrees. What ensues are emotioned-filled five days
I enjoyed Life After Life so much that it made the daunting 529 pages breeze by. Atkinson writes so gracefully you can’t help but be spell bound by her story. Our heroine Ursula Todd is destined – it would seem – to die repeatedly throughout the novel. The setting is the English countryside World War II, where through her words Atkinson gives Fox Corner (home to Ursula, her siblings and parents Sophie and Hugh) a ‘character’ of its own. She describes the war so vividly you imagine she lived through it. Atkinson tackles these many frequent deaths with short chapters that often end with “darkness fell”. The following chapter continues on with Ursula living and seeing ‘premonitions’ that keep her alive until her next untimely death.
There are so many facets to this story that the unfolding of events
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Reviewed by Lauren Cannavino
Every now and then it’s nice to read a book that is outside the realm of what you would normally read. For me, a historical fiction novel that is about adventure and love on a navy ship would usually is not a book that I would typically reach for. That said, I am happy that I made the leap because I really enjoyed Captain Blackwell’s Prize by V.E. Ulett. This is not just a tale of love on a pirate ship, but instead a piece of historical fiction that blends British Naval history and details into a pleasing love
Henry Childs is a young boy when he meets Mercy, a judge’s daughter, at the horse stable that he works at. They fall passionately in love, and, in the face of her father’s disapproval, run away together to New Orleans. The two lovers are happy for a time but end up being brutally separated after being hunted down by Mercy’s father, and Henry runs away to find escape in the Korean War. Throughout the violent battle, he seems to find his calling as a soldier, but also dreams of returning home and to Mercy. We know from the jacket of the book that he makes it back home, but in what condition will he be in? And, will he be able to return to the life he is missing?
The Coldest Night is a compelling and dramatic story that
Could anything be more moving or inspiring than that of patriotic fervor? In His Stead by Judith Sanders makes a most compelling argument. In His Stead examines one Pennsylvanian family’s sacrifices involving several generations of foreign wars and their attempts to lessen the increasing cost. The personal, collective loss and potential horrors of war are never far from the mind of the reader or characters throughout this story.
The main character Thomas Lane is a hard working, blue collar sort of fellow. He is patriotic to a fault and understands duty and sacrifice better than most. He is a hard working retired Army Ranger and remains committed to providing for his family with the same values he possessed as a professional soldier all while battling with Post Traumatic Stress. A loving husband, father and close friend to all