#BookReview STILL LIFE by SARAH WINMAN #audiobook


ABOUT THE BOOK


By the bestselling, prize-winning author of When God was a Rabbit and Tin Man, Still Life is a beautiful, big-hearted, richly tapestried story of people brought together by love, war, art, flood… and the ghost of E.M. Forster.

We just need to know what the heart’s capable of, Evelyn.
And do you know what it’s capable of?
I do. Grace and fury.

It’s 1944 and in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as the Allied troops advance and bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening together.

Ulysses Temper is a young British solider and one-time globe-maker, Evelyn Skinner is a sexagenarian art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and relive her memories of the time she encountered EM Forster and had her heart stolen by an Italian maid in a particular Florentine room with a view.

These two unlikely people find kindred spirits in each other and Evelyn’s talk of truth and beauty plants a seed in Ulysses mind that will shape the trajectory of his life – and of those who love him – for the next four decades.

Moving from the Tuscan Hills, to the smog of the East End and the piazzas of Florence, Still Life is a sweeping, mischievous, richly-peopled novel about beauty, love, family and fate.


PUBLISHED BY FOURTH ESTATE


PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

Blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audio version of this book – exquisitely read by the author!! A must listen!!

Simply superb!!! The most wonderful story!! This was everything I love in a book! Endearing characters, amazing settings and historical backdrops! All blended to create a world you get sucked in to and you’re bereft when the book finishes! I want to be back in the East End. Back in Tuscany and Florence! And back with the most wonderful creation of characters that enchant you with their lives!

The start of the book is the meeting of a young English soldier in WW2 meeting with an elder art historian, and their connection is instantaneous. What follows is their lives over a number of years and how those war years stay strong in their minds. In both their lives their friends become family, and you are taken along for the ride through their private and professional lives, their loves and losses, their highs and lows…both in England and in Italy. They all endure so much throughout their lives but that sense of community and support never goes away and you really connect with the passion they all show – be it for art, their surroundings, or for one another.

It was all so spellbinding! I laughed ( a lot!), tears were shed and I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. Still can’t!! Glorious!!


★★★★★

#BookReview PEOPLE LIKE US by LOUISE FEIN #historicalfiction



ABOUT THE BOOK


For fans of The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See, a spellbinding story of impossible love set against the backdrop of the Nazi regime.

As the dutiful daughter of a high-ranking Nazi officer, Hetty Heinrich is keen to play her part in the glorious new Thousand Year Reich. But she never imagines that all she believes and knows about her world will come into stark conflict when she encounters Walter, a Jewish friend from the past, who stirs dangerous feelings in her. Confused and conflicted, Hetty doesn’t know whom she can trust and where she can turn to, especially when she discovers that someone has been watching her.

Realizing she is taking a huge risk—but unable to resist the intense attraction she has for Walter—she embarks on a secret love affair with him. Together, they dream about when the war will be over and plan for their future. But as the rising tide of anti-Semitism threatens to engulf them, Hetty and Walter will be forced to take extreme measures.

Will the steady march of dark forces destroy Hetty’s universe—or can love ultimately triumph…?

Propulsive, deeply affecting, and inspired by the author’s family history, Daughter of the Reich is a mesmerizing page-turner filled with vivid characters and a meticulously researched portrait of Nazi Germany. In this riveting story of passion, courage and morality, Louise Fein introduces a bold young woman determined to tread the treacherous path of survival and freedom, showing readers the strength in the power of love and reminding us that the past must never be forgotten.


PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM MORROW & COMPANY

PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

Just brilliant!! This is one of those books that makes you feel a whole range of emotions and you get so caught up in the storyline that you forget what is going on around you!

This is the story of Hetty, a young girl growing up in Germany during the rise of Hitler. She’s the daughter of a high ranking Nazi so is well versed in the propaganda that was being circulated at that time. And why would she not believe all that her family tell her!? Life is treating them well so there’s no need for them to show concern. The cult like status Hitler has amongst the youth in particular has them turning on their own family if they dare to share an opinion against the regime….

The abuse against the jewish community is laid bare for all to see as the story unfolds – from the school teachers to people out walking their dogs, their treatment is appalling, and as Hetty starts to question why she is being taught to hate, she is forced to deal with the fact that her friend Walter is a Jew and all contact with him must be stopped.

I absolutely adored the character of Hetty. You really see her start to question her own feelings and judgements as she sees what is going on around her and the realisation that all she’s been told isn’t the truth was powerful and life changing for her.

This book took me all over the place emotionally and that’s what kept me turning the pages! Wondering how her story would play out and seeing how time and perceptions were changing around her added to the heightened tension at times. Wonderfully told – highly recommended!!


★★★★★

#BlogTour AN ACT OF LOVE by CAROL DRINKWATER #BookReview @MichaelJBooks @Carol4OliveFarm #AnActOfLove



Delighted to be with you today as part of the tour for the wonderful AN ACT OF LOVE by CAROL DRINKWATER. 
My thanks to the author and publisher for letting me be part of the tour!

ABOUT THE BOOK


France, 1943.

Forced to flee war ravaged Poland, Sara and her parents are offered refuge in a beautiful but dilapidated house in the French Alps. It seems the perfect hideaway, despite haunting traces of the previous occupants who left in haste.

But shadows soon fall over Sara’s blissful summer, and her blossoming romance with local villager Alain. As the Nazis close in, the family is forced to make a harrowing choice that could drive them apart forever, while Sara’s own bid for freedom risks several lives . . .

Will her family make it through the summer together?
And can she hold onto the love she has found with Alain?


PUBLISHED BY PENGUIN

PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

This is a really evocative and powerful historical romance, that gives you a glimpse at life amidst the fear of war.  Set in France, a young family are seeking shelter after having to flee Poland and they soon find themselves part of a new community and wondering where life will take them next.  

The story is told as Sara looks back over her life, surrounded by her family, and is dealing with regrets from the past.  As she shares what happened to her during 1943 we get to see what life was like for the Polish Jews  forced to flee and hide, all to avoid death.

She was 17 at the time, so life in the new French village where the locals welcomed them, was something very different.  There’s even some optimism about their future – that soon turned to dread as events from the War took a darker turn and got closer to where they were.   She gets herself a job looking after children for a local family, but you can sense they never feel settled because of that unknown element of will they continue to be safe.

I really felt the trepidation and fear of Sara as she found herself living a new life with a new identity, and helping with the war effort in whatever way she could.  The hope that her time spent with Alain gave her really does steady her mind and gives her some kind of security, but you know she’s always wary of feeling too settled anywhere.

The characters and settings are really brought to life throughout, and that dread of never knowing what was around the corner comes through loud and clear.  The realities of life, often hopeful, often cruel, are really explored throughout this beautifully written book.

★★★★