Monthly Archives: April 2017

Inspiring story of human spirit in the face of evil

  Stephen P.Kiernan has written a story of World War II that takes place in a small Normandy village.  The people in this village live a simple life until the Nazis occupy their village and change their lives forever.

The story focused on Emmanuelle who has worked hard as an apprentice to the town baker known as Uncle Ezra.  The two become as close as family and are known for their expertly made bread.   After the occupation, Kommandant is passing by their shop and smells the fresh baking bread.   He immediately announces that he will provide Emma will enough for rations to make 12 loaves for himself and his men.  Emma does this, but she also has a secret.  A secret plan that will help keep her village alive.

Kiernan has created remarkable characters set in a place and time in our history that is unbelievable…unforgivable…tragic.  He has written how people have this amazing strength to overcome and cope with the unthinkable horrors around them…and in the end  – survive.

(On a side note….I need a break from WWII literature….I need something light-hearted.  I need a potato chip book.)

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Filed under fiction, historical, Uncategorized

The women of WWII

  This historical novel is written by Jessica Shattuck, and it is set over many years from pre-Work War II era up to the year 1991.  The story focuses on three women caught in the horrors of World War II in Nazi Germany:  Marianne, Benita, and Ania.  The three women along with their children are thrown together though the events of the war.  Marianne is the strong one.  She has three of her own children, and both her and her husband are resisters.  They reside in a castle and life seems happy…safe.  And then it isn’t.

All three of these women are German and experience the war from different perspectives.  Benita is the meek and naive one who finds her son taken from her and is sent to a horrible place.  Ania and her two sons have been surviving on their own.  Ania is quite resourceful and is able to keep them safe.  Marianne is the savior of them both and brings them to the castle.  Shattuck looks at the choices they made and how they survived…what they did to survive.  They find themselves together towards the end of the war trying to rebuild their lives together.  They all have secrets that they have kept from each other…secrets that must be kept if they want to protect their children and they want to live.

The characters in this story are so well-developed and so real.  I loved reading all their stories and heart-breaking experiences.  This is a must read for fans of historical fiction especially the World War II era.

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Lovely and hilarious memoir of living in France

  I was contacted recently by author Keith Van Sickle about his memoir of his experiences living in Provence, France.   I was immediately interested in reading his book.  You may not know, but I have minor in French and was on my way to being a certified French teacher through the University of Pittsburgh.  Unfortunately, despite my ability to read and write French, my conversational French left little to be desired.  As a poor college student, I could not afford to travel abroad to become immersed in the language as all my fellow students were doing.  I abandoned my dream of becoming a French teacher (though not my love for all things French….Chocolat de pan, especially.)  I changed my major(s) to English Literature and Library Sciences, and here I am.

However, this review is not about me.  It is about Keith Van Sickle and his delightful wife, Val.  (I call her delightful even though I have not met her because Keith describes her as someone I would want to be friends with).  Keith and Val have had a love for travel and the French culture, so they decide to quit their jobs in Silicon Valley to move to France along with their dog, Lucca.   This is Keith’s account of their time there.  Each “chapter” is more of a anecdotal snapshot of  their experiences.  They are fun to read and made my mouth water with the description of the bread, butter, croissants, roast chicken, fresh vegetables….you get the idea.   I loved reading about the cultural and political differences they encountered as they learned the language as they went along.  It is a quick, entertaining read.  If you are looking to read something that will make you feel cozy and happy…read this.  Warning:  you may be tempted to quit you job and follow in their footsteps.  I know I am.

 

Follow this link to purchase:  https://www.amazon.com/One-Sip-Time-Learning-Provence/dp/0998312002/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491747535&sr=8-1&keywords=one+sip+at+a+time

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Filed under Memoir, nonfiction, Uncategorized