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Searching for Pemberley by Mary Lydon Simonsen

Mary Lydon Simonsen’s Searching for Pemberley starts was a premise many interviewers often ask authors about their fiction:  “Are any of your characters based upon real people?”  Did Jane Austen use real people to write the great love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy?  Simonsen’s book may not offer the truth behind Austen’s characters, but it does spin a unique mystery tale through which one possible reality of Mr. Darcy and Ms. Bennet are discovered.

“‘Mr. Crowell, you don’t know me.  I’m Maggie Joyce, but I was wondering if . . .’  But that was as far as I got.

‘You’re here about the Darcy’s right?  Don Caton rang me to let me know you might be coming ’round.  Come through.  Any friend of Jane Austen’s is a friend of mine.'”  (Page 12 of the ARC)

Maggie Joyce is the main protagonist and an American from a coal mining town in Pennsylvania.  She quickly leaves her hometown of Minooka for Washington, D.C., to help with the government with its World War II-related administrative work.  Eventually she is stationed in Germany and later in England following the end of the war.  She meets a fantastic family, the Crowells, who help her unravel the real family behind Jane Austen’s characters.

“Beth gestured for me to follow her into the parlor.  She had a way of carrying herself that was almost regal, especially when compared to her husband, who reminded me of a former football player who had taken a hit or two.”  (Page 25 of ARC)

Told from Maggie’s point of view, the novel grabs readers with its immediacy as Maggie moves through war-torn Europe and reads through a variety of diary entries and letters to uncover the origins of Pride & Prejudice.  Readers who have read Austen’s novel once or more than a dozen times will recognize echoes of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy in the Crowells and may even find parts of the mystery obvious.  However, this story is more than a look at where Austen may have found inspiration, it is about a nation (England) and its people in the midst of rebuilding after the devastation of the German blitzkrieg and World War II.  There also a healthy dose of romance between Maggie and two beaus that add to the tension.

“‘Nightmares from the war that I hadn’t had in ten, fifteen years came back.  Jesus, they all came back,’ he said, massaging his temples as if the act would block out any unwanted images.  ‘Picking up bodies and having them fall apart in my hands.  Stepping on limbs.  Being scared shitless during barrages.'”  (Page 254 of ARC)

Simonsen does an excellent job examining the shell shock felt by airmen and other military personnel and how their war experiences could impact their relationships with family, friends, and lovers.  While there are some occasions in this nearly 500-page book that are bogged down by too much detail, Simonsen’s characters are well developed and the twists and turns as Maggie unravels the mystery of the Bennets and the Darcys are fun.  The aftermath of World War II is well done and rich in emotional and physical detail, showing Simonsen’s deft research and keen eye.  Searching for Pemberley is an excellent addition to the every growing market of Jane Austen spin-offs.

This is the 8th book I’ve read that qualifies for the 2009 WWII Reading Challenge.  Though I officially met my goal of reading 5 WWII-related books some time ago, I’ve continued to find them on my shelves and review them here.  I’m sure there will be more, stay tuned.

Searching for Pemberley is the 6th item and fulfills my obligations under the Everything Austen Challenge 2009.   I hope that everyone has been reading along for this challenge.  It has been fun to see the mix of books and movies that everyone has reviewed.  I may even read another book before this challenge ends, since my main goal in joining was to read Persuasion, one of the only Austen novels I haven’t read.

Have you missed the giveaway for Searching for Pemberley?  Don’t worry there’s still time to enter.  Go here, and comment on Mary Lydon Simonsen’s interview for an additional entry.  Deadline is Dec. 14, 2009 at 11:59PM EST.


THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!!

Additionally, I would like to thank Mary Lydon Simonsen and Sourcebooks for sending me a free copy of Searching for Pemberley for review.  Clicking on title links will bring you to my Amazon Affiliate page, no purchase necessary. 

Night of Flames by Douglas Jacobson

Douglas Jacobson’s Night of Flames is a gritty “spy” novel set during World War II beginning in 1939 during the invasion of Poland by the Nazis.  The main protagonists Anna and Jan Kopernik are separated by war and face near misses with the wrath of the Germans.  Anna joins the resistance in Belgium reluctantly, while Jan jumps at the opportunity to help MI6 on a secret mission in Poland with the hope that he can find his wife.

“Anna’s eyes snapped open and she sat bolt upright.  The shrill sound blasted into her brain, penetrating through the fog of sleep like an icy wind.  She blinked and looked around the dark room, trying to focus on shadowy images as the sound wailed on and on.”  (Page 11)

Anna is in Poland with her friend, Irene, and her son when the bombings start in earnest, leaving them and their driver very few options on the way back to Krakow and her father, a professor at the local university.  Anna is hit by significant loss and constant worry about her husband, who’s career is with the Polish military.  Night of Flames is a fast-paced novel that pushed through the front lines and skulks in the shadows of the resistance.

“‘The best thing any of us can do is try and keep out of their way, and if you get stopped or challenged, be as cooperative as you can.’

‘So you’re telling us to act like house pets in our own city.'” (Page 65)

Jacobson’s no-nonsense writing style will place readers in the heart of the resistance, though some readers could get bogged down by the military strategy and direction, such as how the resistance used holes dug in the earth to hold lanterns that were lit to signal the Allies as to where to drop supplies.  Readers will either enjoy the detailed strategy or wish for a greater focus on the characters.  Anna is the most developed of the two protagonists, though Jacobson does give each nearly equal time through alternating chapters.  These chapters help build tension, leaving the reader in suspense as to whether they will ever be reunited.

Readers who enjoy learning about World War II and who enjoy spy novels will like this novel.  But Night of Flames is more than just a war novel; it is about how ordinary citizens can rise up to reclaim their homeland and their dignity in the face of adversity signifying an indelible human spirit.

Check out this video for Night of Flames:

I want to thank Douglas Jacobson, McBooks Press, and Pump Up Your Book Promotion for sending me a free copy of Night of Flames to review.  If you click on the title links, you’ll be taken to my Amazon Affiliate page, but there is no obligation to buy.

They’ve also kindly provided an additional copy for one reader of my blog from anywhere in the world.  To Enter:

1.  Leave a comment on this post.
2.  Check out the War Through the Generations blog and leave me a relevant comment here about something you read or learned.

3.  Blog, Tweet, and spread the word about the giveaway and leave a comment here.

Deadline is Nov. 4, 2009, at 11:59 PM EST

This marks the 7th book I’ve read for the WWII Reading Challenge.  Though I officially met my goal of reading 5 WWII-related books some time ago, I’ve continued to find them on my shelves and review them here.  I’m sure there will be more, stay tuned.

Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas

“I’d sneaked away from my parents and gone to the depot, too, because I’d never seen any Japanese. I expected them to look like the cartoons of Hirohito in the newspaper, with slanted eyes and buckteeth and skin like rancid butter. All these years later, I recall I was disappointed that they didn’t appear to be a ‘yellow peril’ at all. They were so ordinary.” (Page 2)

Sandra Dallas’ Tallgrass is set in Colorado in 1942 just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The book is narrated by Rennie Stroud, who was a 13-year-old girl when the Japanese are rounded up and placed into an internment camp–known as Tallgrass Ranch–in Ellis, Colorado. Many of the Japanese in the camp just up from the Stroud’s farm had been evacuated from their homes in California and their presence causes a major stir.

“They’d heard the sirens, too, and said it wasn’t anything, but I feared that somebody had gone under the bobwire surrounding the camp and was going to break into our house and kill us.” (Page 17)

Readers travel along with Rennie as she uncovers the truth about humanity regardless of color or creed and as she discovers the truth about her family. She grows into a woman more quickly than her parents would like, but given the rationing, the war effort, the harvest, and the increasing racial tension, Rennie has little choice but to mature.

“Things were tense even for the kids in the camp who never came in contact with people from Ellis. Little boys there played war games, just like the boys in Ellis. Daisy told us she’d watched a group of Tallgrass kids pretending they were fighting in the South Pacific and heard one complain, ‘How come I have to be the damn Jap all the time?'” (Page 238)

Readers will enjoy growing along with Rennie and getting into trouble with her and Betty Joyce. Dallas does an exceptional job of rounding out Rennie’s character from her naivete to her compassion and empathy for the plights of those less fortunate, like the Japanese and her friends. However, Tallgrass is more than a coming of age story; it also touches upon the harm caused by wrong-headed government policies, the fear that leads to prejudice and hatred, and the impact a war can have on everyone.

While readers may see some holes in how one of the main mysteries is resolved, Dallas’ resolution is in tune with the narrator she chose, a 13-year-old who is not privy to serious adult conversation. Overall, Tallgrass is a novel about WWII, family, growing up, and learning how to build a community even when differences exist.


This is my 6th book for the War Through the Generations: WWII Reading Challenge.

Thanks to Staci at Life in the Thumb for reviewing Tallgrass with several other WWII books that I had to pick up from the library and read all together.

Also Reviewed By:
Adventures in Reading
Jo-Jo Loves to Read!!!
Life in the Thumb


Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds

You know what I was doing over weekend, don’t you?

Naturally, watching the latest QT, Inglourious Basterds, with Anna from Diary of an Eccentric.

Can I just Say…AWESOME!

Ok, you want a real review? Go ahead, check it out at War Through the Generations.

You know I gave it a great review, but what did Anna say?

Savvy Recap . . .

I just wanted to take a moment to recap some goings on here at Savvy Verse & Wit and at D.C. Literature Examiner.

I started out pledging to read 5 books for the War Through the Generations: WWII Reading Challenge, and I met my goal. However, I think I’ll probably read some more books for the challenge throughout the year, but for now I’m officially saying I’ve finished this challenge.

Check out the books I reviewed for the challenge:

1. Reading by Lightning by Joan Thomas
2. Bloody Good by Georgia Evans
3. T4 by Ann Clare LeZotte
4. Now Silence by Tori Warner Shepard
5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I also recently signed up for the Everything Austen Challenge in which you could mix and match movies and book reviews. I just have to read or watch 6 books or movies through January 2010.

So far, I’ve read one book and watched one movie, check out my reviews:

1. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange
2. Focus Features’ Pride & Prejudice (2005)

I joined the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge as well; you might be thinking I’ve lost my mind.

I have to read the entire series, including the new book that just came out. I haven’t fared as well on this challenge, but I will have a review forthcoming for:

1. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Ok, now for D.C. Literature Examiner news, I’ve been busy posting interviews and reviews:

1. Susan Helene Gottfried here and here.
2. Review of Shapeshifter: The Demo Tapes Year 1
3. Kyle Semmel here and here.
4. Review of The Woodstock Story Book
5. Joseph Sohm here, here, and here.

I hope you will take the time to check out some of these great interviews and reviews and leave a comment or two.

Also, I have a great international giveaway for the Rooftops of Tehran going on through August 24, 2009.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a novel in letters between writer Juliet Ashton, her friends Sidney and Sophia, and her new friends from the Guernsey Channel Islands.

Ashton is in the midst of a book tour for a collection of her WWII articles under the pseudonym Izzy Bickerstaff. However, she is floundering on the topic for her next book, which is opportune for Ashton who begins to write articles for the Times about the practical, moral, and philosophical value of reading when she receives an unexpected letter of request from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey.

She begins getting letters from the remaining residents of Guernsey and their exploits as part of a literary society during the German occupation. These initial letters help with her series of articles and spur her muse into action.

“Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” (Page 10)

Like the above quote, this novel is one of those books that will hone in on the perfect reader. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is chock full of bookish quotes and must have been written with the love of books in mind. Beyond the WWII details, the rationing, the tip-toeing around German officers, and the loss of good friends shipped off to concentration camps, this is a novel about a writer who blooms in the countryside among new friends and new scenery.

“And then, being bright enough not to trust the publisher’s blurb, they will ask the book clerk the three questions: (1) What is it about? (2) Have you read it? (3) Was it any good?” (Page 16)

“The Library roof was some distance away from Juliet’s post, but she was so aghast by the destruction of her precious books that she sprinted toward the flames–as if single-handedly deliver the Library from its fate!” (Page 43)

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.” (Page 53)

Readers will easily keep track of the numerous characters in this novel because each letter has an introduction line of who the letter is from and to whom it is addressed. Barrows and Shaffer have crafted quirky individuals with lively personalities from Dawsey and his quiet persuasive qualities to Isola and her outgoing nature. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is about how books can change lives and how people can impact one another’s lives.

This is one of the best books I’ve read in 2009.

Also Reviewed By:

Age 30+. . . A Lifetime of Books
Diary of an Eccentric
Jackets & Covers
It’s All About Books
Book Addiction
It’s All About Me (Time)
Katrina Reads
Peachy Books
The Book Nest

About the Authors:

Annie Barrows is the author of the children’s series Ivy and Bean, as well as The Magic Half. She lives in northern California.

Visit Annie’s website HERE.

Her aunt, Mary Ann Shaffer, who passed away in February 2008, worked as an editor, librarian, and in bookshops. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel.

For an excerpt from the book, go HERE.

For the rest of the TLC Book Tour schedule, go HERE.

To enter the Giveaway for 5 copies of the book for U.S. and Canadian residents:

1. Leave a comment on this post about your own book club or why you want to read this book.

2. Blog, Tweet, or spread the word and leave me a link or comment about it.

Silly me, I forgot the deadline, so here it is: August 12, 2009, at 11:59 PM

This is my 5th book for the War Through the Generations: WWII Reading Challenge.


Now Silence by Tori Warner Shepard

Tori Warner Shepard’s Now Silence: A Novel of World War II takes place in the midst of WWII around the time Pearl Harbor is bombed, many U.S. military personnel are held in POW camps, and Japanese Americans are corralled in internment camps across the western United States, particularly in New Mexico.

“In the airless box of a room of the Kirtland BOQ in yet another officer’s guest quarters, Phyllis found herself disgusted with both Roddy and Albuquerque. She wasn’t even hungry for breakfast. Her goal was to win Anissa over by introducing herself as a worthy ally. She counted on its being quick and easy, considering that Anissa and her vulnerable cult appeared to be able to swallow almost anything. It should take no time at all.” (Page 130)

Readers are first introduced to a self-centered, superficial Phyllis soon after the death of her fiance, Russell. Russell’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Anissa, lives out west and had refused to sign the divorce papers, and Phyllis has hated her for many years and obsessed about this woman and the role she played in Russell’s life.

“Her lust was contagious. Not overly surprised by this, he sank into her kisses, eating and being eaten by her, weakened and unable to pull out.” (Page 191)

After a great deal of build up regarding these characters’ animosity toward one another, the confrontation nearly midway in the book is not as explosive as readers may expect. Phyllis is a complicated character, just like Anissa, and readers may find it difficult to wrap their arms around these characters’ actions, though Anissa is a bit easier to get a handle on than Phyllis, who makes her way across America from Florida to New Mexico by riding a bicycle to make herself seem worthy of awe, only to break down and “sleep” her way across the nation.

“Over the next few days the wind drifted in random streams across the bay as Nagasaki burned. The fires pushed by the coils of moving updrafts swallowed the breathable air. By the fourth day, cinders fell like snow and no more fighter planes cluttered the sky. They simply stopped coming.

A hollow silence.” (Page 211)

The pacing of this novel is slow and awkward in places, but the best sections of this novel are in the POW camps of Japan. Readers will be introduced to Melo and Senio, who rely on each other for survival, with the help of Doc Matson. The brutality and uncertainty of their lives is mirrored in the lives of Anissa’s neighbor Nicasia and her soon-to-be daughter-in-law LaBelle, who wait endlessly for word of their loved ones.

“Several thousand emaciated men continued to form a line outside and Melo looked up to see if they had moved forward even an inch. Hart to tell, by this time the men all looked alike–skin burnt, shaved heads, scrawny, bony, skinny, emaciated, lice-riddled stooped bodies with torn rags for clothes.” (Page 33)

In just a little over 300 pages, Shepard weaves in a number of storylines and illustrates the environment present at home and abroad. Readers should be cautioned that there are some graphic scenes and sexual content in Now Silence.

Overall, readers will enjoy what they learn about the Pacific front and the characters are well-developed, even if Phyllis is a bit tough to take most of the time. While readers may find there is too much detail about Phyllis’s earlier exploits and some of the sections about the WWII events are told rather than shown, Now Silence sheds light on the Pacific Front of World War II from Americans on both sides of the ocean.

This is my 4th book for the War Through the Generations: WWII Reading Challenge.

T4 by Ann Clare LeZotte

What I Saw (From T4, Page 8)

My visual
Sense
Was so
Strong.

If
A breeze
Shook
The leaves
On
A tree
I

Would

Shriek
With
Delight.

If
People
Ran fast
Past me
It looked
Like
A tidal
Wave.

Even
The motion
Of
A hand
Waving
Goodbye
Startled
Me.

Ann Clare LeZotte’s debut novel, T4, uses free verse to provide a powerful look into the impact of the Nazi regime on German nationals, particularly those deemed unfit to live. T4 (Tiergartenstrasse 4) or Action T4 was a Nazi euthanasia program between 1939 and 1941 to “eliminate” the disabled or mentally ill.

“I couldn’t communicate./I was trapped in my silence,/As if under a veil.//This made me feel upset/And angry sometimes./I put my face in my pillow/And sobbed and sighed.//” (I didn’t learn to speak, Page 7)

Paula Becker is a young girl living in Germany while the Nazi party is at war with the world and persecuting its own people. But she is not just a young German girl, she’s also a deaf girl. T4 is a free verse novel that utilizes simple language and images to accurately portray the young narrator’s voice. Paula is forced to leave her home and grow up on the run as the Nazi regime seeks out disabled and mentally ill patients for the T4 program. Only one or two poems in the novel seem out of order, but this coincides with the flitting mind of a young girl who is struggling to understand her world and find her place in it.

LeZotte’s narrative poems create a cohesive novel for young readers interested in learning more about WWII and the Holocaust. Readers will enjoy the simple imagery and easy-to-read poems, which allow Paula’s confusion, curiosity, and evolution to shine through. Some of the most poignant prose poems in this novel are “Poor Kurt,” “I Put on Stephanie’s Lipstick,” “But the Killings Didn’t Stop,” and “Postscript.” T4 is a novel for young readers and adults, which will easily generate discussion and pique children’s interest in learning more about WWII and the Holocaust.

Also Reviewed By:
Diary of an Eccentric
Maw Books

Giveaway Reminder:

2-Year Blogiversary Quote Challenge here, here, here, and here.

Bloody Good by Georgia Evans

Bloody Good by Georgia Evans is the second of my five books for the War Through the Generations: WWII Reading Challenge.

“This was not, he was convinced, some foppish, effete English vampire. This was one of his Aryan brothers. The brain rhythm was strong and reassuringly familiar. He’d sensed the same in his homeland in the Hartz Mountains. Only one other vampire hailed from that part of Germany. Could it truly be Gerhardt Eiche, or as he no doubt posed himself: Gabriel Oak?” (Page 18)

Georgia Evans’ portrayal of Germany’s invasion of surrounding European nations by the Nazi party as the backdrop for her novel set in the English countryside, Bloody Good, has a wide cast of characters, including vampires, witches, pixies, and dragons.

Alice Doyle is the village doctor and a pixie who has denied her heritage and her powers to rely upon science and medicine. Peter Watson is a conscientious objector to the war who underwent several years of veterinary training before the war began. Alice’s grandmother embraces her pixie heritage and is keenly aware of the “others” living in the town.

In an effort to gain an advantage in the war effort, the Nazi’s enlist vampires to blow up secret munitions plants across the English countryside. Evans does a great job of establishing a surreal world in which Nazi’s and vampires work together for the same cause, at least until the vampires deem themselves able to take over. Dr. Doyle, her grandmother, and friends work together to uncover the secret Nazi mission and stop the vampires from succeeding in destroying the munitions plant.

“The talk on rabbit-keeping was boring enough to let Peter’s mind wander onto more enthralling topics, notably Alice, Dr. Doyle, and the woman he was head over heels in love with. She beat out furry rodents, and even edible furry rodents, any day of the week.” (Page 182)

Readers will enjoy the vampire tales, the pixie legends, and other surreal elements of this story, but the real treat is watching Dr. Doyle come into her own powers and accepting her heritage. However, some readers may be put off by the graphic sex scenes in this novel, though there are not too many of them. Some of the depictions in the book were a bit odd, particularly when Peter Watson compares Dr. Doyle to furry rodents. Overall, Bloody Good is a light read for the beach or camping in the woods.

This is the first in a series of novels by Georgia Evans, and readers who enjoy this one, should check out the next installment, Bloody Awful. I know I’m looking forward to the next one.

WWII Reading Challenge & More

I wanted to alert everyone to my progress on the WWII Reading Challenge. I’ve read 1 book out of 5–Reading by Lightning, check out my review.

Thank goodness this is a year long challenge.

Other than that, Anna and I have posted a new item for you all to discuss about the recently deported John Demjanjuk. Check it out here. I hope we can get some great discussion going.

Over the next couple of days the War Through the Generations blog will have several new discussion topics. I hope you will check them out.

Don’t forget my giveaways:

1 copy of Rubber Side Down Edited by Jose Gouveia, here; Deadline is May 15 at 11:59 PM EST

2 copies of The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner, here; Deadline is May 22 at 11:59 PM EST

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, when we take time to remember the 6 million Jews killed during World War II. Anna and I wrote up a post on our War Through the Generations blog about some of the events taking place today to honor the memories of the Holocaust victims. We hope you will check it out.

***Giveaway Reminder***

Don’t forget to enter The Traitor’s Wife giveaway, here and here. Deadline is April 22 at 5pm.

Don’t forget to enter the Keeper of Light and Dust giveaway, here and here. Deadline is April 28 at 11:59 PM EST.

Reading by Lightning by Joan Thomas

Reading by Lightning by Joan Thomas, published by Goose Lane Editions, made its way into my mailbox from Mini Book Expo. It’s a coming of age novel at a time that the world is on the brink of World War II, particularly in England.

It took me a long while to get into this book, more than 100 pages, which was disheartening. In Book One readers will wander through Lily Piper’s musings and her interactions or lack thereof with her parents. The wavering narrative and tangents of Lily drag on for long stretches, and readers may have a hard time following along. Her relationship with her mother is cantankerous at times and Lily is often portrayed as a wayward child led by the sin in her heart. There are a number of instances where Lily wanders off with boys alone, which in many ways should ruin her reputation.

“Wonderful for your maidenly inhibitions (going to hand me the flask and then reaching around me to unscrew it himself and in the process circling me with both arms). The way we tussled around and he pressed the mouth of the flask to my mouth and I resisted or pretended to resist, whiskey meanwhile sliding hotly in through my lips and dribbling down my chin and onto my bathing suit.” (Page 88)

Her relationship with her father is more of silent understanding, but again this relationship is not something a girl can cling to when she needs reassurance or strength. Lily’s interactions with her brother are few and not enlightening at all, revealing little of her character or his. Through side stories and discussions about her father’s immigration to Canada and the Barr Colony, Lily learns about her father’s journey, how it came to pass, and the secret illness that prohibits him from leading a normal life.

In Book Two, Lily is sent to England to take care of her grandmother, her father’s mother, and this is where the novel picks up in pace and Lily grows into an adolescent and falls in love with her cousin George. Thomas’ writing is detailed and poignant from this point on in the novel and had me riveted.

“But tears would begin to course down her [Lily’s grandmother’s] cheeks, which already looked like the leaves of a book damaged by rain. So I would sit with her, because I’d nothing else to do. I’d want to ask about my father, and at first I did. Oh, he was a lovely lad, she’d say vaguely and start to tell me about him crawling through a hole in the wall into the next house, and then she’d get confused as to whether that was Willie or Hugh or Roland, or even her own little brother when she was a girl.” (Page 140)

There are passages in these sections that offer suspense and insight into Lily and what she is seeking to learn from her relatives and about herself. However, death seems to follow Lily on her journey and lead her back home to Canada in Book Three.

The truest moments in the novel are when the air raid sirens sound and the women and children board themselves up in shelters or in their homes in preparation for war with Germany and when the bombs are falling outside and they huddle in the dark living room comforting one another with stories of the mundane. These scenes are well crafted and tangible for readers, transporting them to another era. Once back in Canada, Lily succumbs to her previous manner in the home of her mother, but the letters from her cousins abroad continue to bring the reality of war home.

I read this novel as part of the War Through the Generations: WWII Reading Challenge. This is my first completed book for the challenge. I’ve been a bit slow.

About the Author:

Joan Thomas has been a regular book reviewer for the Globe and Mail for more than a decade. Her essays, stories, and articles have been published in numerous journals and magazines including Prairie Fire, Books in Canada, and the Winnipeg Free Press. She has won a National Magazine Award, co-edited Turn of the Story: Canadian Short Fiction on the Eve of the Millennium, and has served on the editorial boards of Turnstone Press and Prairie Fire Magazine. She lives in Winnipeg.

Also Reviewed By:
Diary of an Eccentric

***Giveaway Details***

This giveaway will be international. I have one gently used ARC copy of this book available.

Leave a comment on this post and randomizer.org will select the winner.

Deadline is March 20 at Midnight EST.

***GIVEAWAY REMINDER***

I have two copies up for grabs of Sharon Lathan’s Mr. & Mrs. Darcy: Two Shall Become One; the giveaway is international and the deadline is March 14 at Midnight EST.

I also have two copies of Diana Raab‘s My Muse Undresses Me and one copy of Dear Anaïs: My Life in Poems for You. Deadline is March 18 at 5PM EST.