Tag Archives: WWII

Top 10 Tuesday — Back to School

30 Aug

Don’t know much about history, don’t know much about biology . . . ? Well, I’ve got some books for you! This week’s TTT is Back to School Freebie. I love Sam Cooke‘s song, What A Wonderful World This Would Be and always think about it when I hear back to school. My list today features books that fit the lyrics of this old school song (see what I did there? 😉 ). There are 6 subjects listed in the lyrics, and I have come up with 2 books each. An even dozen of great books! Who cares if some of the books loosely fit the category — it’s all in fun! I hope you enjoy my list.

For more fun back to school lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top “Back To School” Books

History

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan (WWII, could also count as Home Ec 😉 )

To Love A Viking by Heather Day Gilbert and Jen Cudmore (Dark Ages Europe)

Biology

Healing Skye by Janet W. Ferguson (marine biology)

Sunrise by Susan May Warren (bear tracking in Alaska)

Science

Fatal Code by Natalie Walters (nuclear physics)

The Engineer’s Wife by Tracy Enerson Wood (bridge building)

French

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar (WWII France)

Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin (WWII France)

Geography

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy (globe-trotting journalist)

The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel (a bucket list trip)

Mathematics

Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini (early computing machine)

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White (WWI code breaking)

Audiobook Mini-Review — The Kitchen Front

25 Aug

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan, a WWII-era novel featuring women’s friendships and cooking was my book club’s choice this month. While it got mixed reviews from my members — some liked it, others said it was just okay — it did inspire some fun discussion — from horrible wartime foods, to the role of home economists, to relationships. I listened to the well-narrated audiobook and enjoyed it. It was a quick read full of interesting details on a woman’s place in the mid 1900s and of course lots of food! The four main characters were all involved in a fictional cook-off featuring the real BBC radio program, The Kitchen Front. They each had unique struggles, and as the book progressed they grew and became stronger. While two of the characters were especially odious at the beginning of the book, I came to appreciate them all. The book also caused me to search an old family cookbook I own which features rationing tips and meal plans for all socio-economic levels. The Kitchen Front is a general market novel, but I found it to be an overall clean read. Recommended for those who like fiction set in the WWII-era, especially featuring those who remained at home.

Two years into World War II, Britain is feeling her losses: The Nazis have won battles, the Blitz has destroyed cities, and U-boats have cut off the supply of food. In an effort to help housewives with food rationing, a BBC radio program called The Kitchen Front is holding a cooking contest—and the grand prize is a job as the program’s first-ever female co-host. For four very different women, winning the competition would present a crucial chance to change their lives.

For a young widow, it’s a chance to pay off her husband’s debts and keep a roof over her children’s heads. For a kitchen maid, it’s a chance to leave servitude and find freedom. For a lady of the manor, it’s a chance to escape her wealthy husband’s increasingly hostile behavior. And for a trained chef, it’s a chance to challenge the men at the top of her profession.

These four women are giving the competition their all—even if that sometimes means bending the rules. But with so much at stake, will the contest that aims to bring the community together only serve to break it apart?

Jennifer Ryan is the author of National Bestseller The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, The Spies of Shilling Lane, and The Kitchen Front. Before she began writing, she was a nonfiction book editor with a passion for the Second World War. Her warm and cheerful grandmother would tell stories about that era, both funny and fascinating, and the books are based on these. 

http://www.JenniferRyanAuthor.com

First Line Friday — The Scepter And The Isle

19 Aug

Happy Friday! I am again spotlighting a guys book this week. My husband enjoyed The first book in The Islands series by Murray Pura and Patrick E. Craig. I picked up book 2, The Scepter And The Isle as soon as I could! Book one featured Guadalcanal, and this one is set in Tarawa and Saipan. A third book is also planned. Check this series out for those who love the WWII-era time period.

Here’s the first line:

The world has changed — at least for the men of the 2nd Division.

CHANTICLEER INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS FINALIST — HEMINGWAY 20TH CENTURY WARTIME FICTION

It did not end with Guadalcanal. It did not end with one island. There were more islands… an island with snow-capped peaks, friendly people, blue seas, where Bud found love with his Tongan princess. Where Billy breathed the clean air of mountains where no danger lurked. Where Johnny found a way to drain the hate that drove him mad. They found life again after the death-filled frenzy of Guadalcanal. But the God of war was not done with them. More islands sent their siren call from beyond distant horizons and they were cast upon dark shores. Islands with coconut palms, dense green jungle and death. Islands that took more life than they ever gave back. Islands where women killed like men, islands filled with the most brutal soldiers the Japanese Empire could offer. Tarawa. Saipan. Islands that had to be endured. Islands they had to survive. There was no other way to bring the war to an end. There was no other way to get home again.

Top 10 Tuesday — Oh, The Places We’re Going!

2 Aug

Happy Tuesday! Today TTT is taking bloggers to their bucket list destinations via books. I like to read books, including fiction, about the places we travel to to have a feel of the place before we arrive. Next month my husband and I and two friends are traveling to England and Scotland. This is the trip we have put off for 3+ years. We will be traveling by trains, planes, and automobiles and will be staying in different hotels almost every night. This is a very mobile vacay! We have all been to London, our first stop, so we will be doing some fun things that we haven’t done before. Then on to Edinburgh and the Shetland Islands. My husband is especially excited about our days in Shetland. I want to see the ponies. 😉 My list today includes books I have already read that are set in our destinations, along with a couple that I need to work in before we leave.

Where are you traveling in books?

For more bloggers’ bucket lists, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books Set in London, Edinburg, and the Shetland Islands

London

The Barrister And The Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson

As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he’s a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.

In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king’s regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter–the sole proof his actions were legal–has mysteriously vanished.

Moved by the lady’s distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he’d imagined.

The London House by Katherine Reay

Uncovering a dark family secret sends one woman through the history of Britain’s World War II spy network and glamorous 1930s Paris to save her family’s reputation.

Caroline Payne thinks it’s just another day of work until she receives a call from Mat Hammond, an old college friend and historian, but Mat has uncovered a scandalous secret kept buried for decades: In World War II, Caroline’s British great-aunt betrayed family and country to marry her German lover.

Determined to find answers and save her family’s reputation, Caroline flies to her family’s ancestral home in London. She and Mat discover diaries and letters that reveal her grandmother and great-aunt were known as the “Waite sisters.” Popular and witty, they came of age during the interwar years, a time of peace and luxury filled with dances, jazz clubs, and romance. The buoyant tone of the correspondence soon yields to sadder revelations as the sisters grow apart, and one leaves home for the glittering fashion scene of Paris, despite rumblings of a coming world war.

Each letter brings more questions. Was Caroline’s great-aunt actually a traitor and Nazi collaborator, or is there a more complex truth buried in the past? Together, Caroline and Mat uncover stories of spies and secrets, love and heartbreak, and the events of one fateful evening in 1941 that changed everything.

In this rich historical novel from award-winning author Katherine Reay, a young woman is tasked with writing the next chapter of her family’s story. But Caroline must choose whether to embrace a love of her own and proceed with caution if her family’s decades-old wounds are to heal without tearing them even further apart.

The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan

The secrets that might save a nation could shatter a marriage.

Madly in love, Diana Foyle and Brent Somerville married in London as the bombs of World War II dropped on their beloved city. Without time for a honeymoon, the couple spent the next four years apart. Diana, an architectural historian, took a top-secret intelligence post at Bletchley Park. Brent, a professor of theology at King’s College, believed his wife was working for the Foreign Office as a translator when he was injured in an attack on the European front.

Now that the war is over, the Somervilles’ long-anticipated reunion is strained by everything they cannot speak of. Diana’s extensive knowledge of London’s churches could help bring down a Russian agent named Eternity. She’s eager to help MI6 thwart Communist efforts to start a new war, but because of the Official Secrets Act, Diana can’t tell Brent the truth about her work.

Determined to save their marriage and rebuild the city they call home, Diana and Brent’s love is put to the ultimate test as they navigate the rubble of war and the ruins of broken trust.

Edinburgh

Benefit of The Doubt by Les Cowan (need to read)

It was a warning. Back off. Stop helping the addicts. 
Stop undercutting demand. He had believed they would be protected. But they took her – the girl in the raspberry beret – and by the time they were done he was broken.

So David Hidalgo flees Spain for his native Edinburgh. Now he must work out how to live again and lead others when his faith has been ripped away and all that’s left is doubt.

In Edinburgh David finds friendship, disturbing and unlooked for romance, and respite from the pain. That is, until a young girl is abducted and it becomes clear that it’s not so easy to leave the past, or danger, behind.

David knows he must set aside his doubts and act. But what will the cost be this time?

Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

A mother who cannot face her future.
A daughter who cannot escape her past.
 
Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auldways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.

Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips. 

His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory’s many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.

One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown. 

A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.

Within The Veil by Brandy Vallance

They never should have met. But they might be made for each other.

Feya Broon, a Scottish half Gypsy, knows what it is to go hungry. Trapped in the Edinburgh tenements with a father lost to his past and only the faded memory of her mother’s faith, Feya is desperate to provide for her siblings. When an ill-conceived plan leads to thievery, she finds herself in the last place she’d ever want to be—captured by a palace guard. But there’s something about this man that tears at every preconceived notion she’s even had about the haughty English. 

Alasdair Cairncross never dreamed he’d be forced to transport a gypsy woman halfway across the wilds of Scotland. The timing is disastrous, considering his fiancée’s imminent arrival and his father’s political goals. Not only that, but the fiery young woman threatens to lay bare secrets Alasdair would rather keep hidden. And yet the farther they travel together, the less concerned he finds himself with duty—both to the crown and to the plans his family has for him.

As their walls begin to crumble, Feya and Alasdair must fight to survive a decades-old feud, a Highland kidnapping, and the awakening of their own hearts. 

Shetland Islands

The Inheritance (Secrets of The Shetlands, book 1) by Michael Phillips

The death of the clan patriarch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed MacGregor Tulloch’s heir to be his grand-nephew David, a local favorite, but when it is discovered that MacGregor left no will, David’s grasping cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island’s land. And while Hardy doesn’t enjoy much popular support, he has the backing of a shadowy group of North Sea oil investors. The courts have frozen the estate’s assets while the competing claims are investigated, leaving many of the residents in financial limbo. The future of the island–and its traditional way of life–hangs in the balance.

Loni Ford is enjoying her rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, DC. Yet in spite of her outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her paternal grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .

Past and present collide in master storyteller Phillips’s dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace, and of the dreams of men and women everywhere.

The Cottage (book 2) (need to read)

When Loni Ford is informed that she has inherited property in the Shetland Islands, she laughs. She wants nothing more than to sell it and be done with it. But when she arrives in the North Sea enclave, she is stunned to find that “the Cottage” is not at all what she expected, nor is David Tulloch, the man most of the islanders believe to be the rightful heir.

The locals could hardly be more surprised that the heir is a woman–and an American. Loni, in turn, finds the islanders quaint and a bit behind the times. Expecting David to be as provincial as the rest of his clan, she discovers that there is far more to the man than meets the eye. And there is something about the peaceful atmosphere of the place–and the character of its most prominent citizen–that soon gets under her skin. 

Beneath the peaceful surface, however, change is threatening the island of Whales Reef. David’s cousin Hardy Tulloch, whose claim to the inheritance now in Loni’s hands was backed by oil investors, has not been deterred in his aim to control the island. But his co-conspirators have plans of their own, plans that put Loni’s very life in danger.

The Legacy (book 3) (need to read)

Loni Ford’s unexpected inheritance of substantial real estate–not to mention a title–in the Shetland Islands has caused more than a stir in the quiet fishing hamlet of Whales Reef. How is life ever to be the same with an outsider–and a woman, at that–playing such a pivotal role in the life of this conservative community? But it isn’t just the locals who have deep misgivings about the current situation. Loni herself never imagined this in her wildest dreams. 

What Loni is more sure of, however, is that she is falling in love–with Whales Reef, with its hardy people, with its simple, peaceful way of life, and with local chieftain David Tulloch, whose inheritance she has usurped, at least in the eyes of some. 

But life in Whales Reef is not without drama. Deep rifts exist between certain lifelong residents, and when one local resident turns up dead, suspicion is cast in the direction of the island’s most prominent family. How Loni and David deal with this challenge will go a long way in determining their future, and that of the quaint island community.

Top 10 Tuesday — Top Reading From The Last 10 Julys

26 Jul

This week’s TTT is too much of a reminder of my past failures. 😉 Bloggers were tasked to list past summer TBR picks that they DID NOT read. I chose to tweak or, really, avoid the topic altogether and went with the books my book club did read over the past 10 Julys — a good mix of genres. Have you read any of these? My book club would recommend them!

For more summer reminiscences, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Novels My Book Club Read In The Past 10 Julys

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers (2014)

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright (2019)

Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate (2013)

The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton (2018)

Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley (2017)

Living Lies by Natalie Walters (2020)

My Brother’s Crown by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould (2016)

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks (2021)

Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter (2012)

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer (2015)

Audiobook Mini-Review — The Kennedy Debutante

1 Jun

My book club, the IWBC (the interesting women’s book club — because we are and they are 😉 ) read The Kennedy Debutante by Kerri Maher. I found it to be an interesting look into not only a very famous American family, but of the time in which it was set. Kick Kennedy was the second daughter of Joe and Rose Kennedy. She is portrayed as vivacious and a bit rebellious, especially defiant to her mother’s strict parenting tactics. Kick falls in love with England and an English lord during her father’s posting as ambassador in London. British society, the run-up to WWII, and America’s stance on the war serve as a backdrop to this star-crossed romance. In the afterword, the author states that the book was originally supposed to be YA fiction, and I can see the influences of the genre on the final product. It was entertaining and educational, but I found it dragged on. Kick’s dithering may have played a role in the slowness of the final third of the book, but I think the author could have done a better job of portraying that part of the story. Despite that criticism, I found the book a good read, especially if you are looking for a biographical novel of a little known person who was indeed very famous in her own time. A good beach read!

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

The captivating novel following the exploits of Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy, the forgotten and rebellious daughter of one of America’s greatest political dynasties.

London, 1938. The effervescent “It girl” of London society since her father was named the ambassador, Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy moves in rarefied circles, rubbing satin-covered elbows with some of the twentieth century’s most powerful figures. Eager to escape the watchful eye of her strict mother, Rose; the antics of her older brothers, Jack and Joe; and the erratic behavior of her sister Rosemary, Kick is ready to strike out on her own and is soon swept off her feet by Billy Hartington, the future Duke of Devonshire.
 
But their love is forbidden, as Kick’s devout Catholic family and Billy’s staunchly Protestant one would never approve their match. And when war breaks like a tidal wave across her world, Billy is ripped from her arms as the Kennedys are forced to return to the States. Kick finds work as a journalist and joins the Red Cross to get back to England, where she will have to decide where her true loyalties liewith family or with love . . . .

Kerri Maher is also the author of This Is Not A Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World under the name Kerri Majors. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and founded YARN, an award-winning literary journal of short-form YA writing. For many years a professor of writing, she now writes full time and lives with her daughter in Massachusetts where apple picking and long walks in the woods are especially fine. She is a budding Instagrammer at @kerrimaherwriter, and you can also find her on Facebook at @kerrimaherwriter and on her website, http://www.kerrimaher.com

If You Liked . . . Until Leaves Fall in Paris

31 May

My book club loved Until Leaves Fall in Paris (it is my all-time favorite of Sundin’s now). We especially liked the unique perspective of this WWII-era novel. The two main characters are Americans in France prior to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. It was interesting to see how Americans living in France dealt with the Nazi occupation. If you liked this historical novel as well, here are a couple of more books with unique perspectives.

The Last Year of The War by Susan Meissner

In 1943, Elise Sontag is a typical American teenager from Iowa — aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.
 
The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.
 
But when the Sontag family is exchanged for American prisoners behind enemy lines in Germany, Elise will face head-on the person the war desires to make of her. In that devastating crucible she must discover if she has the will to rise above prejudice and hatred and re-claim her own destiny, or disappear into the image others have cast upon her.
 
The Last Year of the War tells a little-known story of World War II with great resonance for our own times and challenges the very notion of who we are when who we’ve always been is called into question.

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

Saint-Malo, France: August 1938. Jocelyn and Antoine are childhood sweethearts, but just after they marry and are hoping for a child, Antoine is called up to fight against Germany. As the war rages, Jocelyn focuses on comforting and encouraging the local population by recommending books from her beloved library in Saint-Malo. She herself finds hope in her letters to a famous author.

After the French capitulation, the s occupy the town and turn it into a fortress to control the north of French Brittany. Residents try passive resistance, but the German commander ruthlessly purges part of the city’s libraries to destroy any potentially subversive writings. At great risk to herself, Jocelyn manages to hide some of the books while waiting to receive news from Antoine, who has been taken to a German prison camp.

What unfolds in her letters is Jocelyn’s description of her mission: to protect the people of Saint-Malo and the books they hold so dear. With prose both sweeping and romantic, Mario Escobar brings to life the occupied city and re-creates the history of those who sacrificed all to care for the people they loved.

The Queen of Paris by Pamela Binnings Ewen

Legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel is revered for her sophisticated style — the iconic little black dress — and famed for her intoxicating perfume Chanel No. 5. Yet behind the public persona is a complicated woman of intrigue, shadowed by mysterious rumors. The Queen of Paris, the new novel from award-winning author Pamela Binnings Ewen, vividly imagines the hidden life of Chanel during the four years of Nazi occupation in Paris in the midst of WWII — as discovered in recently unearthed wartime files.

Coco Chanel could be cheerful, lighthearted, and generous; she also could be ruthless, manipulative, even cruel. Against the winds of war, with the Wehrmacht marching down the Champs-Élysées, Chanel finds herself residing alongside the Reich’s High Command in the Hotel Ritz. Surrounded by the enemy, Chanel wages a private war of her own to wrestle full control of her perfume company from the hands of her Jewish business partner, Pierre Wertheimer. With anti-Semitism on the rise, he has escaped to the United States with the confidential formula for Chanel No. 5. Distrustful of his intentions to set up production on the outskirts of New York City, Chanel fights to seize ownership. The House of Chanel shall not fall.

While Chanel struggles to keep her livelihood intact, Paris sinks under the iron fist of German rule. Chanel — a woman made of sparkling granite — will do anything to survive. She will even agree to collaborate with the Nazis in order to protect her darkest secrets. When she is covertly recruited by Germany to spy for the Reich, she becomes Agent F-7124, code name: Westminster. But why? And to what lengths will she go to keep her stormy past from haunting her future?

Mini-Book Review: The Librarian of Saint-Malo

23 May

While this may be a short (and I hope sweet) review of The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar, this WWII-era novel is anything but lightweight. Beautiful writing offsets the heartbreaking story told in the first person voice of the town’s librarian, Jocelyn. As she embarks on a new life with her husband Antoine, Hitler begins his merciless trek across Europe. Escobar examines the everyday life of Jocelyn and others in the town of Saint-Malo during the Nazi occupation and subsequent liberation by the Allies. The question of how cruelty and mercy, love and hate could co-exist kept coming to mind as I read this book. It had the same feel as All The Light We Cannot See, but with a hope for a future that Doerr’s book did not express. Jocelyn fights to save the library’s books, but also the soul of her city. I found the book unputdownable, yet had to take some breaks because of the subject matter. Many of the stories told in the course of the book don’t have a happily-ever-after ending, yet the triumph of right and goodness and love, is truly a very good ending.

I highly recommend The Librarian of Saint-Malo. It’s a must read for those who want a deeply felt novel that will make you think.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased this book from Barnes And Noble. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

a

Libraries are being ransacked. France is torn apart by war. A French librarian is determined to resist. Told through smuggled letters to an author, an ordinary librarian describes the brutal Nazi occupation of her small coastal village and the extraordinary measures she takes to fight back.

Saint-Malo, France: August 1939. Jocelyn and Antoine are childhood sweethearts, but just after they marry, Antoine is drafted to fight against Germany. As World War II rages, Jocelyn uses her position as a librarian in her town of Saint-Malo to comfort and encourage her community with books. Jocelyn begins to write secret letters smuggled to a famous Parisian author, telling her story in the hope that it will someday reach the outside world.

France falls and the Nazis occupy Jocelyn’s town, turning it into a fortress. The townspeople try passive resistance, but the German commander ruthlessly begins to destroy part of the city’s libraries. Books deemed unsuitable by the Nazis are burnt or stolen, and priceless knowledge is lost.

Risking arrest and even her life, Jocelyn manages to hide some of the books while desperately waiting to receive news from her husband Antoine, now a prisoner in a German camp.

Jocelyn’s mission unfolds in her letters: to protect the people of Saint-Malo and the books they hold so dear. Mario Escobar brings to life the occupied city in sweeping and romantic prose, re-creating the history of those who sacrificed all to care for the people they loved.

Mario Escobar has a master’s degree in modern history and has written numerous books and articles that delve into the depths of church history, the struggle of sectarian groups, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. Escobar, who makes his home in Madrid, Spain, is passionate about history and its mysteries.

Top 10 Tuesday — Professional Book Pushers

10 May

Happy Tuesday! This week’s prompt is a joy. It’s all about bookish characters. I chose to focus on books in which the main character(s) is a professional book pusher — one who gets paid to get someone to read. (As opposed to those of us who just do it for fun. 🙂 ) Basically booksellers and librarians. I am currently listening to The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar. It is riveting, and naturally it is on my list. With the variety of genres represented, I hope you find a book to pique your interest.

For more lists of bookish characters, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Professional Book Pushers

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

Camino Island by John Grisham

Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

Miss Zukas And The Library Murders by Jo Dereske

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

The Secrets of Paper And Ink by Lindsey Harrel

Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

First Line Friday — The Librarian of Saint-Malo

6 May

Happy Friday! I have been wanting to read The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar for a long time. I even have a physical copy of the book on my shelf. But it’s been put back so many times, I despaired of every getting to it. Until . . . I discovered that my local library, through Libby, had the audiobook version available to borrow. Yay! I am finally reading/listening. Have you read this book? I’d love to know your thoughts.

In the meantime, here’s the first line.

Dear Marcel Zola:

Time takes care with no one.

Saint-Malo, France: August 1938. Jocelyn and Antoine are childhood sweethearts, but just after they marry and are hoping for a child, Antoine is called up to fight against Germany. As the war rages, Jocelyn focuses on comforting and encouraging the local population by recommending books from her beloved library in Saint-Malo. She herself finds hope in her letters to a famous author.

After the French capitulation, the s occupy the town and turn it into a fortress to control the north of French Brittany. Residents try passive resistance, but the German commander ruthlessly purges part of the city’s libraries to destroy any potentially subversive writings. At great risk to herself, Jocelyn manages to hide some of the books while waiting to receive news from Antoine, who has been taken to a German prison camp.

What unfolds in her letters is Jocelyn’s description of her mission: to protect the people of Saint-Malo and the books they hold so dear. With prose both sweeping and romantic, Mario Escobar brings to life the occupied city and re-creates the history of those who sacrificed all to care for the people they loved.