Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

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A while ago I received this book through Net Galley, and also received it as a gift for filling out a survey through Blogging for Books. Both were e-copies, but I received the Net Galley one first.

I loved this book about WWII and the power of music and community. Each character has his or her own story and the novel progresses through journals, letters, and straight prose. This was the type of story that I’d hope to see made into a BBC series.

Well-written and full of memorable characters, THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR is a book I could easily read more than once.

Thank you for my e-copy, Crown Publishing! It publishes Tuesday, 2/14/17.

Description (via Net Galley)

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THE BEAUTY SHOP by Suzy Henderson

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I first received this book through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours – through the kindness of the author. It is a wonderful historical fiction novel, centering on a young couple in love, but even more engaging to me, the young men who underwent life-saving and experimental surgeries and treatments for burns during WWII in Britain, and the doctor who was their savior.

Here’s the overview from HFVBTours, from when I featured a cover reveal:

The Beauty Shop by Suzy Henderson

Publication Date: November 2016
eBook & Paperback; 350 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance

England, 1942. After three years of WWII, Britain is showing the scars. But in this darkest of days, three lives intertwine, changing their destinies and those of many more.

Dr Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon with unorthodox methods, is on a mission to treat and rehabilitate badly burned airmen – their bodies and souls. With the camaraderie and support of the Guinea Pig Club, his boys battle to overcome disfigurement, pain, and prejudice to learn to live again.

John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is aware of the odds. He has one chance in five of surviving the war. Flying bombing missions through hell and back, he’s fighting more than the Luftwaffe. Fear and doubt stalk him on the ground and in the air, and he’s torn between his duty and his conscience.

Shy, decent and sensible, Stella Charlton’s future seems certain until war breaks out. As a new recruit to the WAAF, she meets an American pilot on New Year’s Eve. After just one dance, she falls head over heels for the handsome airman. But when he survives a crash, she realizes her own battle has only just begun.

Based on a true story, The Beauty Shop is a moving tale of love, compassion, and determination against a backdrop of wartime tragedy.

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I found Archie, the doctor, a fascinating person. He basically pioneered burn treatment and plastic surgery. I read more about him on Wikipedia.

Thank you for this interesting and touching story. If you like a romance set in WWII with some interesting real facts worked in, then pick up a copy of The Beauty Shop by Suzy Henderson.

Thank you for my e-copy!

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THE GIRL FROM VENICE by Martin Cruz Smith

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This historical mystery was an intriguing and thrilling read. Taking place during WWII in Venice, the novel focuses on a young fisherman and his attempt to aid a young Jewish girl who is in hiding.

Description

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THE GERMAN GIRL by Armando Lucas Correa

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Several weeks ago I read this amazing piece of historical fiction that is actually based on real events. I “wished” for it on Net Galley through Atria Books and was SO happy to receive an e-galley!

Description

Recognition

November 2016 Indie Next selection
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THE MUNICH GIRL by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

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Anna Dahlberg grew up eating dinner under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never did—that her mother and Hitler’s mistress were friends. The secret surfaces with a mysterious monogrammed handkerchief, and a man, Hannes Ritter, whose Third Reich family history is entwined with Anna’s. Plunged into the world of the “ordinary” Munich girl who was her mother’s confidante—and a tyrant’s lover—Anna finds her every belief about right and wrong challenged. With Hannes’s help, she retraces the path of two women who met as teenagers, shared a friendship that spanned the years that Eva Braun was Hitler’s mistress, yet never knew that the men they loved had opposing ambitions. Eva’s story reveals that she never joined the Nazi party, had Jewish friends, and was credited at the Nuremberg Trials with saving 35,000 Allied lives. As Anna’s journey leads back through the treacherous years in wartime Germany, it uncovers long-buried secrets and unknown reaches of her heart to reveal the enduring power of love in the legacies that always outlast war.

 

I received a kindle copy of this book from Ms. Ring several weeks ago. She was quite gracious and I was pleased to read her novel. I have to say that I don’t know much about Eva Braun, except for an occasional wondering of what she could have seen in A.H. I have also wondered if she knew the extent of the atrocities he committed.

This novel moves back and forth from present day (Anna) and to Eva’s time (with Anna’s mother). I have to say that I enjoyed the WWII time period better than the present day. The book has what I assume to be real pictures of Eva Braun and lots of details about her life, especially her life before A.H. and her family life. It was interesting, but I still can’t say I liked Eva, as I really can’t believe that she was innocent of supporting their cause. To be honest, Anna was a bit trying to me, as she always seemed a bit meek and helpless. I wanted her to stand up to her tyrant husband, or to make some sort of stand for herself. She was rather overwhelmed and while I wanted to feel sorry for her, I sometimes felt annoyed.

Perhaps Anna and Eva are in parallel?

Thank you for my e-copy, Ms. Ring!

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THE QUEEN’S ACCOMPLICE by Susan Elia MacNeal

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I absolutely love the Maggie Hope mystery series; it’s about a young English woman working for intelligence during WWII. Maggie is a great character who is both complicated and very “human”. Each time I read one of these books, I learn more about Maggie and her relationships, her hopes and past experiences. I also learn more about WWII and what it was like to work for the government (MI5) at that time. I love that Maggie is a whiz at math and thus at code breaking.

Here’s the overview on the novel from Amazon:

Spy and code-breaker extraordinaire Maggie Hope returns to war-weary London, where she is thrust into the dangerous hunt for a monster, as the New York Timesbestselling mystery series for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Anne Perry continues.
 
England, 1942. The Nazis’ relentless Blitz may have paused, but London’s nightly blackouts continue. Now, under the cover of darkness, a madman is brutally killing and mutilating young women in eerie and exact re-creations of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. What’s more, he’s targeting women who are reporting for duty to be Winston Churchill’s spies and saboteurs abroad. The officers at MI-5 quickly realize they need the help of special agent Maggie Hope to find the killer dubbed “the Blackout Beast.” A trap is set. But once the murderer has his sights on Maggie, not even Buckingham Palace can protect the resourceful spy from her fate.

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Me again!

I am so happy with this series and the fact that I never tire of it. The characters keep developing. The plots never go silly. I anxiously await the next installment!

I got mine via Net Galley (thank you!). You can get yours online or at your favorite indie. It publishes Oct. 4, 2016.

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HFVBTours’ Cover Reveal for Suzy Henderson’s THE BEAUTY SHOP

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Today I’m helping reveal the cover of Suzy Henderson’s new novel!

Here’s a note from Suzy:

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Hello and welcome! Today, I’m thrilled to finally reveal the cover of my upcoming novel, The Beauty Shop. As the novel is set during the dark days of World War Two, the title might appear to be rather unusual. The beauty shop was a nickname for a ward at a small hospital in East Grinstead, a market town in southern England, where a maverick New Zealand plastic surgeon cared for severely burned airmen.

Such was the humour of the men there that one airman said to a visitor one day, “Stick around here long enough, miss and they’ll whip a piece off you and stick it on one of us.”

This was no ordinary hospital ward. There was beer for one thing, and pretty girls for nurses, music all day long and dancing. The air that flowed here drifted through smiles, laughter, love, and loss. And when surgeon Archie McIndoe spoke to each man, his eyes shone with such radiance, and his words sang with such confidence and compassion, instilling each man with fresh hope.

Based on a true story, via three interlocking experiences of WWII, The Beauty Shop explores the nature of good looks, social acceptance and the true meaning of ‘skin deep’.

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The Beauty Shop by Suzy Henderson

Publication Date: November 2016
eBook & Paperback; 350 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance

England, 1942. After three years of WWII, Britain is showing the scars. But in this darkest of days, three lives intertwine, changing their destinies and those of many more.

Dr Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon with unorthodox methods, is on a mission to treat and rehabilitate badly burned airmen – their bodies and souls. With the camaraderie and support of the Guinea Pig Club, his boys battle to overcome disfigurement, pain, and prejudice to learn to live again.

John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is aware of the odds. He has one chance in five of surviving the war. Flying bombing missions through hell and back, he’s fighting more than the Luftwaffe. Fear and doubt stalk him on the ground and in the air, and he’s torn between his duty and his conscience.

Shy, decent and sensible, Stella Charlton’s future seems certain until war breaks out. As a new recruit to the WAAF, she meets an American pilot on New Year’s Eve. After just one dance, she falls head over heels for the handsome airman. But when he survives a crash, she realises her own battle has only just begun.

Based on a true story, The Beauty Shop is a moving tale of love, compassion, and determination against a backdrop of wartime tragedy.

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THE VELVET HOURS by Alyson Richman

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I had heard about this novel and wanted to read it, so I was quite thrilled to be able to get it from the publicist through Net Galley. (Thank you!!).

You all know that I LOVE WWII fiction, and when I read that this story involved an untouched apartment and a family changed by war, I knew I was hooked. Here’s the overview:

Description (via Net Galley)

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PASTEL ORPHANS by Gemma Liviero

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In 1930s Berlin, young Henrik, the son of a Jewish father and Aryan mother, watches the world around him crumbling: people are rioting in the streets, a strange yellow star begins appearing in shop windows, and friends are forced to move–or they simply disappear.

After his father becomes gravely ill, Henrik and his little sister, Greta, are taken by their mother to Poland for safety. However, not even the pastoral surroundings of their new home can protect them from the terrors of war. When the Nazis invade and Greta is kidnapped, Henrik must shed his youthful innocence and search for his lost sister, a quest that will further reveal a harrowing landscape of violence and struggle but also unexpected connections.

Uniquely told from the perspective of youth plunged into adult chaos, Pastel Orphans is a coming-of-age story that explores profound lessons in self-belief, kindness, and human endurance. (from Amazon)

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A long time ago my sister recommended this book to me, and so I was thrilled when it popped up as a kindle deal a few months ago. If you read me you know I LOVE WWII fiction. This was one of those books that I could not put down. I had never come across a storyline that involved this horrible bit of history – the kidnapping of Polish children to bring them into Aryan families and raise them as German, “Germanization”.

This was a heartfelt story, told from Henrik’s point of view, and one that you won’t soon forget.

As of this writing (June, 2016), PASTEL ORPHANS is $3.99 for kindle and only $1.99 for audio through Amazon.

 

 

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Book Blast for A MOMENT FOREVER by Cat Gardiner – with EXCERPT and a GIVEAWAY!

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Today I’m part of the Book Blast through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for A MOMENT FOREVER by Cat Gardiner. This one is definitely on my TBR list!

Here’s how HFVBT describes the book:

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A Moment Forever (Liberty Victory Series #1)
by Cat Gardiner

Publication Date: May 28, 2016
Vanity & Pride Press
eBook; 600 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance

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In every footlocker, hope chest, and heart full of secrets there is a story waiting to be discovered and told.

In the summer of 1992, a young writer is bequeathed the abandoned home of a great-uncle she never knew. The house has a romantic history and is unlike any home she has ever seen. Juliana Martel felt as though she stepped into a time capsule—a snapshot of 1942. The epic romance—and heartache—of the former occupant unfold through reading his wartime letters found in the attic, compelling her on a quest to construct the man. His life, as well as his sweetheart’s, during the Second World War were as mysterious as his disappearance in 1950.

Carrying her own pain inflicted by the abandonment of her mother and unexpected death of her father, Juliana embarks on a journalist’s dream to find her great-uncle and the woman he once loved. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a man whose family is closely related to the secrets, she uncovers the carefully hidden events of her great-uncle’s and others’ lives – and will ultimately change her own with their discovery.

This story of undying love, born amidst the darkest era in modern history, unfolded on the breathtaking Gold Coast of Long Island in 1942. A Jewish, Army Air Forces pilot and an enchanting society debutante—young lovers—deception—and a moment in time that lasted forever.

A Moment Forever is an evocative journey that will resonate with you long after you close the book. Romance, heartache, and the power of love, atonement, and forgiveness transform lives long after the horrors and scars of the Second World War have ended.

Available on Amazon

Read an Excerpt!

The closed door to the attic appeared innocuous, but like the pleasant personas and expressions many people conveyed, Juliana felt it was a dead giveaway that something terrible hid behind it. She was, after all, an example of that. Her deepest wounds, she believed, were cleverly masked behind her jovial expressions and happy demeanor, but she didn’t realize that the signs were evident in her near anorexic figure.

However, on this late afternoon, she felt open and liberated after surviving the luncheon with her mother. She had bared her inner feelings and animosity then came home to clean the vintage kitchen. Feeling renewed, she went to the grocer around the corner because her white Frigidaire looked as hollow as she had felt these last eleven years. Strangely, she was in the mood to cook a cheeseburger.

From the top of the staircase, Juliana could still hear the record player from the parlor. Melancholy tunes by the Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald filled the entire house. She hoped it would carry up into the attic, thinking the soulful music would transport her back to the era and mindset of William when he had last locked the garret.

Yes, it was locked and after an hour of searching the house high and low, she finally found the key inside a small box in one of the dresser drawers. Beside the brass skeleton key sat a gold signet ring with engraving upon the face: propellers and wings surrounded a small diamond at its center. The inscription along the inside of the band read, “With Love, Mom and Dad.”

“Here it goes,” Juliana said before holding her breath and nervously turning the key. She felt on the verge of a full-blown panic attack.

The door creaked like all the others in the house and her heart rate sped up as it had time and again in the course of this home’s unveiling.

Once the door was fully open, she pulled the slender cord hanging against the wall, illuminating the narrow passage by the bare light bulb fixture.

Each step up the steep staircase issued a groan from the hardened planks beneath every footfall of her black Converse sneakers until she stood at the top, fiercely gripping onto the simple banister. She looked around the large, dark room before taking the final step into the unknown, mysterious, and yet-to-be-discovered past of her great-uncle. After working herself up to it for the last two days, Juliana had been expecting something ominous and frightening in the attic, yet instead she felt a sense of peace coupled with sadness. Her thoughts traveled to her father, and her emotions became even more pronounced. Her eyes welled with tears at the morose tranquility the attic emanated.

Essentially, but for a couple of trunks and a few boxes neatly placed upon a shelf, the attic was empty, having lain undisturbed and unfilled since its purchase in December of 1942.

If these walls could talk, they would tell her how William had slid his footlocker under the eave after placing the last of its contents within and how he had waited one full year before doing so. They would tell his grand-niece how he waited until the very last minute to place the newspaper over the windows. Once beige strips of masking tape were now an aged, burnished orange. The empty space staring back at the modern-day interloper represented the very reason for William’s departure.

Although expecting the worst in the attic, she wasn’t prepared for the emptiness. She had imagined cobwebs extending from box to box and odd pieces of furniture and tools that had long outgrown their usefulness. She thought the attic would surely be filled with scary dolls and broken strollers, perhaps a rocking chair or an eerie mirror, maybe even some Dorian Gray-type painting and faded photographs. Expecting an antique cemetery of sorts filled with memories, stories, and voices of the past residents who had once lived at 300 Bradford Road, she was surprised by the vacant space before her.

The startling emptiness of the room confirmed to her that no happy memories had ever been created in this house. The house never became a home, had never filled with children’s laughter or generations of family dating back to its initial construction. No household item ever had the luxury of being used enough to justify its disregard, saving and eventual storing on the third floor. It was clear to Juliana that Primrose Cottage was only a place where William laid his head, not his heart. True life had never infused these walls. The attic led her to believe he had been a bachelor—never married, never had children, never sharing his life, let alone this house, with anyone. The starkness of the attic revealed the loneliness of the man at the time of his departure.

About the Author

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Born and bred in New York City, Cat Gardiner is a girl in love with the romance of an era once known as the Silent Generation, now referred to as the Greatest Generation. A member of the National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and Tampa Area Romance Authors, she and her husband adore exploring the 1940s Home Front experience as living historians, wishing for a time machine to transport them back seventy years.

She loves to pull out her vintage frocks and attend U.S.O dances, swing clubs, and re-enactment camps as part of her research, believing that everyone should have an understanding of The 1940s Experience™.

Inspired by those everyday young adults who changed the fate of the world, she writes about them, taking the reader on a romantic journey. Cat’s WWII-era novels always begin in her beloved Big Apple and surround you with the sights and sounds of a generation.

She is also the author of four Jane Austen-inspired contemporary novels, however, her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever is her debut novel in that genre.

For more information please visit Cat Gardiner’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Follow the tour and discover a new blog!

Book Blast Schedule:

Wednesday, June 15
A Holland Reads
Passages to the Past

Thursday, June 16
Susan Heim on Writing
History From a Woman’s Perspective

Friday, June 17
Book Nerd
CelticLady’s Reviews

Saturday, June 18
The Never-Ending Book

Monday, June 20
New Horizon Reviews
So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, June 21
Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, June 22
A Literary Vacation
The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, June 23
Library of Clean Reads
What Is That Book About

Friday, June 24
The Recipe Fairy

Monday, June 27
Cafinated Reads
The Reading Queen

Tuesday, June 28
The Gadoury Dreamer

Wednesday, June 29
Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Singing Librarian Books

Thursday, June 30
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

But wait! There’s more!

Giveaway ~

To win an eBook of A Moment Forever by Cat Gardiner please enter using the GLEAM form below. Two eBooks are up for grabs!

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Click to go to Giveaway: https://gleam.io/aCv5S/a-moment-forever-book-blast

Thank you for making me part of the blast! 🙂
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