Showing posts with label historical novel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label historical novel. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Cotillion Brigade: A Novel of the Civil War - A Book Review

 Historical Novels seems to be my latest niche for reading!

I love reading stories of bygone times and how life was lived in those days.  It takes me a while to get my mindset on the times, but once I 'm there, it's like I'm living it right along with all the characters in the book.  To me, this is part of what makes reading so enjoyable.  

The Cotillion Brigade by Glen Craney, is the latest Historical Novel that I have slipped into.  
 
Cotillion Brigade



Set in the South, this book will take you on a "tour of duty" that several  Southern women joined.  Now everyone has pictures in their minds of the South during the time of the Civil War.  Large plantations, huge homes, gaily dressed ladies who spend their afternoons doing needlepoint or watercolors, or some such hobby, while their homes are being looked after by the slave help.  No one in the South thought that this "silly" war would last more than a few months.  They were wrong, so wrong!

Grand parties and lots of social engagements are the norm for the plantation owners and their families.  But something is afoot!  There is talk about abolishing the Slave Trade and all of the Southerners are in Disbelief that anything like this could happen.  Even with the Underground Railways and slaves being moved to the north, no one thought that a Civil War would last any length of time.  

Well today we know what happened and that the South lost the Civil War and slavery was indeed abolished.

During the War though, there was much  discussion about what would be happening to their so well ordered lives.  No one thought that the war would last for 4 years at the onset.  But it did and the men of the South were gone from their homes and families, leaving their wives and girlfriends alone.

Who was going to protect them?  Certainly not the slaves as they were very eager to be free.   So what was to become of these plantations during the invasions of the army from the North?  

Well as genteel women did not do any kinds of manual work, it was up to a small handful of "progressive" thinking women to organize themselves.  They needed to be able to defend what was theirs.  After all, they were alone and everything that was theirs could become part of the invading army's arsenals.  But who was going to teach them how to defend themselves, especially under these circumstances.

Glen Craney takes us on a journey with the Women of the South and their determination to protect their homes and themselves!  

The "Nancy Harts" were a group of women from LaGrange Georgia, who when their husbands and brothers had all left for the war, organized themselves to protect what was theirs.  While many of them had never needed the skills to shoot a gun, when left to fend for themselves, they needed all the help they could get.  Nancy Morgan Hart (whom this band of women were named after) was originally from Pennsylvania (not historically proven).  She was a strong woman who had the skills that her contemporaries were lacking!  She was adept at using what was at her disposal to feed and help the women to survive!  She was a great marksperson and taught her friends to shoot.  While they were not officially part of the army, they trained and trained as if they were! These women were always to be at the ready, for invasion from the North.  
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                                                                                    Photo taken from Wikipedia!  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Hart


Not only did they protect their homes and town, but they also learned how to take care of their wounded soldiers as well.  

These women managed to keep their town from being ravaged by a war that was going on all around them and even to capture some of the Yankees!  

Glen Craney has done a great job in taking us into the heart of what it must have been like for these "genteel" ladies, who had been left to care for themselves.  It is an interesting and very well written story that we don't think too much about today.  

The Nancy Harts, did themselves proud during four years of deprivation and managed to spare their homes and families until the end of the war!  

This book is well worth reading and I'm sure you will learn something about the history of this time period as well.  

Thanks Glen Craney for a book that was easy to sink my teeth into!



  


 
 
 If you would like a copy of the book it is available right here!

This book was made available to me by Glen Craney, and an honest review was promised!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Review of Across the Winding River

Across the Winding River was another one of those books I couldn't put down once I started reading it.  The author did a wonderful job of intertwining a story from World War II Germany and present day San Diego.  When Beth is helping her father go through his WWII mementos she discovers a photo of him and a mysterious women in Germany who is obviously pregnant. Who is this woman and what if any part did she play in her father's life. 

Link to Book through Amazon


                                                                    

Main Characters

  • Max-  Max is a dentist, who served as a medic in World War II.  He met several German resistance members whom he helped whenever he could.
  • Beth-  Max's daughter.  We meet her in the present day after her mother has died and she is taking care of her invalid father.  She wants to spend as much time as she can with him and engages him in talking about his time in the war.
  • Johanna- We first meet Johanna just before the war when Hitler is just starting to rise to power.  Johanna and her family have been able to hide the fact that she is one quarter Jewish through a grandfather who has since passed away.
  • Harald- Harald is a professor who marries Johanna.  During the war he is  pressed into service for a cause he does not believe in.
  • Margarethe (Metta) - Metta is a younger sister who marries a strict Nazi, before she realizes his true character.  She sneaks away whenever she can to work for the resistance.
  • Ansel- Ansel is Metta's husband and a very cruel person who is loyal to the Nazi cause.
  • Jonas and Heide- They belong to the German resistance.  When Jonas is wounded, Metta meets an American medic in the forest and brings him to help Jonas.

My Thought on the Book

I really loved the book.  It was easy to read and clearly marked whether you were in the present day or the World War II era.  Each chapter completed a section on one of the times.  There were several side stories on Beth, that endeared her to me.  She was a very likable character as was her father Max.  I found myself really routing for them and hoping they could solve the mystery that had lasted for over 50 years.



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Thursday, April 23, 2020

Kate Quinn's The Huntress Book Review

The Huntress Book Review
Told in three narratives, Kate Quinn's book, The Huntress, dives into Nazi-era Soviet Union and post-war Boston. It follows the post-war efforts of a small company whose purpose is hunting for and bringing to justice war criminals.

The main characters include Ian, a proper British journalist who was on the ground in Europe during the war and who turns postwar away from journalism to the task of finding war criminals. His purpose becomes a bit clouded by vengeance when he searches for the elusive target for whom this book is titled. That is, the Huntress who ruthlessly lured and killed men, women and children.

The second character is Nina, a woman who grew up dirt-poor and savage in Siberia. As an adult she becomes a pilot for the Soviet Union and a member of the all-female Night Witch bomber regiment who, during her time on the ground during the war, has an encounter with the Huntress.

Finally, we have Jordan, an ambitious teenager who lives with her father and sister in Boston. She wants to become a photographer and to break out of the societal requirement for a woman of the times that says she must get married, settle down and have children.

In the end, all are brought together by the Huntress.

THE HUNTRESS OFFICIAL BOOK TRAILER


Here’s a peek via the official book trailer from publisher Williams Morrow:




REVIEWS


Readers on Goodreads gave The Huntress a 4.27 out of 5 stars and 91 percent of Amazon readers gave it a 4- or 5-star rating. That’s pretty good.

On the back cover, Booklist says that this book is “An impressive historical novel sure to harness WWIIi-fiction fans’ attention.” I agree.

The Washington Post calls this book a “compulsively readable historical novel” and says that it is a “powerful novel about unusual women facing sometimes insurmountable odds with grace, grit, love and tenacity.” I agree.

WHO SHOULD READ THE HUNTRESS?


Fans of World War II fiction, which by the way comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me, will enjoy this book. In particular, if you would like a look into the hunt for war criminals, Russian folklore and the lesser-known world of the Night Witches, you will want to pick this book up. If you enjoyed Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network or Heather Morris’ The Tattooist of Auschwitz you will want to read this book. It quickly becomes a thriller and a page turner demonstrating how war changes people and the costs of seeking justice.

You should know that this book has numerous adult themes, which is what you naturally comes with a book about war crimes. Those themes include abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol use, war and sex.

Do be aware that there are numerous books called the Huntress. Don't make the mistake that a friend of mine made and read the wrong one. You can find your copy of Kate Quinn’s The Huntress on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

QUICK LINKS:

Buy your copy of The Huntress on Amazon.
The Ragged Edge of Night Book Review.
Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale Book Review.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Movie Review.









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Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Ragged Edge of Night - Book Review

The Ragged Edge of Night - Book Review
What Others Are Saying About This Book
Nazi Germany.  1942.  A priest in search of redemption.  A widow seeking provision for her fatherless children.  A people desperate for relief—relief from oppression, from evil, from hopelessness.  Olivia Hawker's new historical novel, The Ragged Edge of Night, is a revelation.  To immerse ourselves into Anton and Elisabeth's war-torn lives is to see glimmers of unimaginable beauty beneath the desolation of loss, shame, failure, and fear.

As the story begins, Anton is still reeling from the abrupt end of his mission as a Franciscan friar.  To be wrongly stripped of his life's calling has been painful, but even worse, he cannot forgive himself for being powerless to save the children who were in the church's care.  When the Nazis loaded up Anton's students, he was overcome by an overwhelming sense of having committed the unforgivable sin.  Though there was nothing Anton could have done to save the children's lives, the guilt is crushing.


While Anton wrestles with his demons, Elisabeth, a young mother of three who is still grieving over the unexpected death of her beloved husband, is in the midst of considering the hardest decision of her life: whether to remarry in order to provide for her family.  Elisabeth feels great shame as she struggles to reconcile the feeling of being unfaithful to her first husband.  If there was another option, she would gladly choose it.  Alas, the harsh realities of wartime force Elisabeth to publish the following personal ad:
Good churchgoing woman, widowed, mother of three.  In need of a humble, patient man, willing to be a father to my children.  Interest in legitimate marriage only.  I have no money, so those who think to profit need not reply.
 In coming across Elisabeth's plea for help, Anton is immediately struck with a new sense of purpose.  Though his first choice would be to eventually return to his Franciscan order, and while Anton remains true to his sacred vows, he feels that supporting Elisabeth and her children is the right thing to do.  This opportunity has the potential to fulfill Anton's deep need to be useful, to find forgiveness, and to protect those who need it most (addressing his need for redemption due to the loss of the children snatched up by the Nazis who shut down Anton's school and religious order).

The soul of this book is revealed in the simplest, and yet loveliest of ways, as two faithful individuals remain true to their vows, their principles, their hearts, and all that defines a life worth living, and for which they are willing to die.  When Anton's involvement in the resistance movement against Hitler brings danger into his new family's life, relationships will be tested, and the true nature of love will be revealed.

Based on the real life experience of one of the author's family members, The Ragged Edge of Night is a timely story that is sure to inspire every reader who is concerned about the extreme tensions that are being felt in today's world.  This is a moment in history when every single one of us can take heart as we consider the difference an ordinary person like Anton can make in the lives of those who are hurting.  I was deeply moved by this book and highly recommend it.








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Monday, September 10, 2018

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner Book Review

Reviewing A Fall of Marigolds. 
A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner is both heart-breaking and triumphant. It is a story of two women who lost the men they loved during two separated tragedies. A co-worker recommended this book to me. The first chapter was easy to read. I was immediately hooked. Then I got bogged down in the second chapter. My co-worker encouraged me to continue reading. I'm so glad I did! 


A Fall of Marigolds


Chapter 1 begins with Taryn and the setting is Manhattan in September 2011. Her story begins at her job - a job she loves in a boutique fabrics shop. Her specialty is identifying and matching old fabrics. Taryn's word-of-mouth advertising is that she can always find a match to old and rare textiles. Her response is, "Almost always."  There is one piece of material that stumped her. Lily's "French-made from an Indian design, and surely a hundred years old" marigold patterned scarf was a mystery. 

Taryn was a young widow, her husband killed during the 9/11 attacks. And she was raising her daughter alone. Taryn had no way of knowing how that customers scarf would tie together the past and the future.

Chapter 2 opens with Nurse Clara at Ellis Island, August 1911. The shift from a setting in this century to a setting 100 years ago was jarring for me. I got stuck in Chapter 2 and had to re-start it a couple of times (from a combination of the book and from my typical response of falling asleep as soon as I begin reading).  Clara's voice was subdued and her story seemed as though it was going to be boring compared to Taryn's.  I am so glad I continued reading because Clara's story was not boring. 

We spend days with Clara and the other nurses and doctors on Ellis Island as they care for the immigrants who are ill, contagious, and often dying. It became very hard for me to put the book down as the relationships on the island, and the characters become fully formed. Clara has reason to sound subdued. She lost her love in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire. 

The Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire occurred and the issues with the elevator and stairs trapped the workers on the floors above the fire. 145 people died, either in the building or while jumping to their deaths from the windows. 

Part way through Clara's story, I began to think that the author would tie the two story lines together in some fantastical or annoying way. I was happily wrong. The lives of the characters were woven together in a beautiful way.


Author Susan Meissner


In the Author's Note, Ms. Meissner writes 
"I strive to be as accurate as possible when I create an imagined story in a historic place .... I have in these pages proposed how one nurse might have experienced Ellis Island Hospital in the second half of 1911."

I enjoyed reading about Nurse Wood and the writing was so engaging that I could completely imagine the setting. A setting that I had never before given much thought. I felt as thought I was on the streets during 9/11. And as though I were watching Nurse Clara care for those who were recovering or dying on Ellis Island. 

The book dealt beautifully with tragic events, grief, and mourning. The age-old battles of how to make sense of tragedy, how much to let yourself love, and how quickly to trust. And finally, how does each person try to make sense of life, the "hard and beautiful aspects of a full life."





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