Showing posts with label heather morris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label heather morris. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Fascination with the Past Leads to Lots of Reading - Book Reviews

Oh the books that are available on a myriad of topics that can keep a reader going for a long, long, time!

Today I'll tell you about four books that had me totally captivated and left me with bags under my eyes for days.  (That for me is the sign of a really good book, or two or three or more!)


Lately I have found myself totally captivated by World War II novels.  Most of these books are historically true, although some license has been taken with character names and places.  

The three books by Heather Morris are stories that are actually true stories.  Heather had met and spoken with several people that lived the nightmares that were part of the European history of this War.  The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Cilka's Journey and The Three Sisters are her stories.  The Book of Lost Names written by Kristen Hannah is also in this genre of WWII novels.

While this is a genre that I don't normally gravitate towards, I can honestly say that these books kept me turning pages and finding excuses to read more rather than bookmarking my page.  That is a sign of a good book, don't you think? 

Each of Heather Morris' books can stand on their own, but together they really paint a troublesome, difficult and dangerous time in our history.

You can read more about these books and some of the controversy that ensued in Brenda's Review, right here! 

The latest book in this genre that really took me by surprise was one written by Viola Russell called, "Love at War."


This book takes a look at how, why and when the Americans got involved in this War that touched so many lives.

While I have seen and been at the American Memorial to Pearl Harbor and heard the story of how the American's became involved, this book managed to put me right in the middle of all the turbulence and sacrifices that American men and women made during this bleak period.




All the other books focus on the beginning of the war and the hatred Hitler had for Jews and anyone standing with the Jews.  Viola Russell with her book,  Love At War, takes us into the lives of American families who got involved after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The missions and how many New Americans who were bilingual (many had fled Germany after WWI) helped to get secrets from the Germans to help their new homeland win this battle.  

It is the story of women, who were brave enough to enlist and carry out top secret missions right in the heart of enemy territory.  Some of these women were drawn to these missions by extreme hatred for what the German's had done to their brothers, husbands and friends during all the fighting.  Hatred is a very powerful emotion, as we see in some of the missions that are written about here. 

I don't want to give away too much of the story, but suffice it to say that I'm sure if you pick up Love at War, you will have a hard time putting it back down again.  



I hope you get a chance to read all of these books as each of them has something unique for us to learn about.  History should never be forgotten and the sacrifices that people made during this War should also never be forgotten. 

                                       God Bless America!  



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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Heather Morris' Cilka's Journey, A Book Review

Heather Morris' Cilka's Journey, A Book Review

Following the very successful novel The Tattooist of Auschwitz, comes Heather Morris' 2019 book, Cilka's Journey. Yes, it is a sequel of sorts to the first book though it definitely stands alone. 

Frankly, this book is another dark look into a horrible time in man's history. That's to be expected based on the subject of the novel. Initially, I did not care for how the story flipped back and forth between the main character's time in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in Germany and in her time in the Vorkuta Gulag Labor Camp in Russia but I quickly managed to overcome the darkness and the style and be absorbed by the very real characters in the story.

Cilka was sent to Birkenau when she was taken from her home at the age of 16 simply because she was Jewish and young and healthy and able to work. When Birkenau was liberated, she was tried and sent to the Siberian labor camp for having slept with the enemy. For her crime, she received a sentence of 15 years of hard labor. 

Whether the beautiful 16 year old really had any choice about whether to sleep with the enemy or not is debatable but the book is about her journey through and survival of both facilities. I don't need to say how unpleasant that situation was and I will not reveal how it ended.  Here's the official book trailer:


 


This second video is from the author and discusses albeit briefly the connection between this book and her first, The Tattooist of Auschwitz. 

Warning, this next video has LOTS OF SPOILERS but it does do a good job of telling you about the story.



FICTION OR NON-FICTION?

If you watched the preceding video, you know the answer to this question. Cilka's Journey is a fictional account of the true-life story of Cecília Kováčová. 

Of course, the story is filled out with details the author cannot really know but in large part it is said that the book is based on the conditions and situations people including Cilka found themselves living in at those two facilities. 

Descendants, however, declare the story to be outrageous calling it "lurid and titillating." They say that this is not the way Cilka shared her story to them.

The author defends the book saying that it is based on first-hand testimony given by people she interviewed and the experiences of women who were subjected to the life in those camps. She says, "It is a novel and does not represent the entire facts of Cilka's life." You can read more about the controversy here on The Guardian

In another interview with ABC, the author defends the disputed fact that women were used sexually in the camps and sums up with, "If it's all the same to you I think I'll go with their testimonies because they were there."


Heather Morris' Cilka's Journey Book Review


IS IT RECOMMENDED?

Yes, this book is HIGHLY RECOMMEND by me. The book has an average 4.39 stars on Goodreads and 92 percent of the reviewers on Amazon gave the book a five-star rating.

WARNINGS

Well, I feel that writing a warning about the unpleasant reading that comes in a book set in Nazi Germany and a Siberian Labor Camp in the 1940s is almost unnecessary I will say that this book deals with sex, starvation, murder.  The main character's work in the Labor Camp finds the reader face to face with terrible workplace accidents. It is definitely not nice but it is present and it is an intricate part of the story.  Plus, of course, there is the controversy of just how true this story really is.

WHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK

Anyone who has an interest in historical fiction will enjoy the book, with consideration to the warnings given above. Anyone who read The Tattooist of Auschwitz and liked it will enjoy this book. As author Heather Morris says in the second video shown above, you should enjoy this book "not for the horror and evil that is included but for the humanity and the compassion and the love and the hope." I agree.

You can find your copy of Cilka's Journey on Amazon by clicking right here. Be sure to come back and let us know what you think of the book.

See you
at the bookstore!
Brenda

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