This is Historical Fiction novel that reads as more of a mystery than history. It is by Beatriz Williams, and apparently she has written previous novels about some of the characters in this story. I have not read any of them which could be why I am confused by the epilogue. It was recommended that I read A Certain Age by her before this one….well…I did not do that.
I will tell you that I did enjoy this book…the beginning was a bit slow, but it eventually picked up and I read the last 200 pages in one afternoon. It is about a strong woman named Virginia who is an ambulance driver in WWI in France, and it is there that she meets mysterious and handsome Captain Simon Fitzwilliams. The two fall in love and have a passionate affair. Yet they both have secrets from their past….some serious secrets that create tragedy to their eventual marriage and birth of their daughter.
Five years later, and they are living in America. Virginia and her daughter are in NYC while Simon is in Florida running several businesses. The pair become estranged for 3 years when Simon is suddenly killed in a fire. Virginia travel south to deal with the details of the death and the businesses she will inherit. Enter Samuel and Clara Fitzwilliams…Simon’s siblings. They welcome her with open arms, and yet Virginia senses something is off….something is not quite right. The more she questions, the more dangerous her situation becomes.
Two brave women’s lives are entwined after World War II: 1947. Charlie St. Clair’s mother drags her over to England to discreetly take care of her “Little Problem”, but Charlie has other plans. She breaks free to discover what happened to her cousin…her best friend Rose. She has been told that Rose died during the war, but Charlie does not believe this to be the truth and is determined to rescue her cousin. She has one lead: a woman name Evelyn Gardiner.
She finds Evelyn. Eve is a mean, bitter drunk who threatens to shoot Charlie once she arrives, but as soon as Eve utters the words Le Lethe, she puts the gun down. She agrees to help her. Together with Finn Kilgore (who is quite the handsome mystery and their driver) they embark on an adventure that reaches back to WWI when Eve was part of The Alice Network and worked as a female spy. Back when betrayal broke apart the group and ruined lives forever.
Both Eve, Charlie, and Finn are looking for things….a cousin, a place, a man, revenge….what they discover along the way is more than they could have imagined. The characters in this book are so wonderful and I would follow their stories anywhere. Yet it is not the places that they took me that I loved…it was them. Their strength, their love, their devotion, their decision not to follow social norms of the time and be their own people. And in the end, they discover friendship and love….maybe the answers they uncover were not what they quite thought they would be, but in life and adventure it is never has it is planned.
This will be my third book that focuses on a different perspective of World War II. The Women in the Castle was set in Germany and focused on the people who lived there and did not support Hitler. The Baker’s Secret took place in a small French village that becomes occupied by the Nazis. This book is set n London, England and tells the story of an American journalist , Ruby Sutton, who is set to London in order to report on the events of WWII.
Ruby Sutton lives alone, grew up in an orphanage, and has no connection to anyone in America, so when she is asked to go to London to report on the war, she does not hesitate. Her passion is writing and telling a story…true stories. She makes the journey by boat and is greeted by Captain Bennett and quickly meets all the staff at the newspaper where she will be working. They are welcoming and friendly, and she quickly finds a place for herself in London.
She spends her days working at the paper and her nights in a shelter enduring the bombings known as the Blitz. She could have easily requested to be sent back home, but she is determined to tell the stories of the people whose reality has become the bombings. She begins to feel an attraction towards Bennett, but he is so mysterious and seems to disappear for long periods of time and returns sullen and secretive. The war has taken a toll on him, and yet Ruby is determined to love him. Is he able to love her back?
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.)
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.
For those lovers of historical fiction, here is a beautifully written trilogy that follows three Irish women in the early 1900s. Kitty Deverill is the fourth child of Maud and Bertie Deverill. She is loved by her father, but despised by her mother. She grows up with her governess, tutor, and Bridie Doyle who is the daughter of the castle’s cook. Kitty and Bridie are best of friends even though their worlds are so different. Kitty is Anglo-Irish where Bridie is Irish Catholic. And to complicate matters even more, Kitty falls in love with the son of the town’s veterinarian…though their love cannot be.
The Irish soon revolt to overthrow British rule in Southern Ireland, and their lives are thrown in turmoil. Kitty has kept the secret that she has fallen in love with Jack from Bridie, Bridie becomes resentful and does something scandalous that gets her sent away. Jack then enlists to fight, and all that Kitty has come to know is falling apart.
Beautifully written with characters that will capture your heart. There will be two more books in this trilogy to enjoy coming soon!!
This is the second book by Hazel Gaynor that I have read, and I must say that she has a knack for writing a compelling historical fiction novel. This was spans two different times periods….the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. It takes place in London and describes the poverty and hardships that many young girls faced who were crippled, blind, and orphaned. The story focused on three women: sisters Florrie and Rosie in 1876. Rosie is blind and Florrie, the older sister, is crippled. The two become orphans and have to find a way in the markets selling flowers. Until one tragic day, when 4 year-old Rosie is taken from Florrie on a crowded bridge. Florrie spends her years searching for her sister….never giving up hope.
In 1912, we follow Tilly who has come to London to work as a headmistress at a home for crippled girls who create beautiful handmade flowers for the people of London. It is her that Tilly, who has her own issues, discovers the diary of Florrie and becomes entrapped in the story of her kidnapped sister. A wonderful read with strong female characters.