‘The Alice Network’ by Kate Quinn

tan kqSTORY: 1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth …no matter where it leads.

REVIEW: I’m a huge fan of WWII movies (The Poet; Shining Through; Anthropoid and many more), so I thought to try and check out some WW books and see if I’d like them too.

What I liked a lot about this story was a couple of things, characters and the setting was a given as soon as I started to read this story, but what wasn’t obvious was how dark and at the same time, humorous it was. It really encompassed the whole of humanity and I liked that very much.

The story jumps between after WWII and a year into WWI. The connection between the two heroines was perfectly plotted and I was at the edge of my seat as I second guessed every clue I was given by the author.

I adored Charlie St. Clair and Eve Gardiner was someone who impressed the hell out of me.

If you’re looking for a gripping, suspenseful and hear breaking and heart warming story, look no further.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

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‘The Plum Tree’ by Ellen Marie Wiseman

tpt emwSTORY: “Bloom where you’re planted,” is the advice Christine Bolz receives from her beloved Oma. But seventeen-year-old domestic Christine knows there is a whole world waiting beyond her small German village. It’s a world she’s begun to glimpse through music, books—and through Isaac Bauerman, the cultured son of the wealthy Jewish family she works for.

Yet the future she and Isaac dream of sharing faces greater challenges than their difference in stations. In the fall of 1938, Germany is changing rapidly under Hitler’s regime. Anti-Jewish posters are everywhere, dissenting talk is silenced, and a new law forbids Christine from returning to her job—and from having any relationship with Isaac. In the months and years that follow, Christine will confront the Gestapo’s wrath and the horrors of Dachau, desperate to be with the man she loves, to survive—and finally, to speak out.

Set against the backdrop of the German home front, this is an unforgettable novel of courage and resolve, of the inhumanity of war, and the heartbreak and hope left in its wake.

REVIEW: This is one of those stories that touches ones soul. Everything in this story was vivid and tangible. The prose gives one Goosebumps and has every character come to life while the author has us relive a dark time in history of Germany and the world.

“The air was as crisp and sweet as the crimson apples hanging in the orchards that lined the gentle foothills of the Kocher River valley. The sun was shining in a blue September sky quilted with tall, cottony clouds that swept rolling shadows over the countryside.”

What is touching through out the story, is how the author paints the picture that is so real, so true.

“Christine, I want you to understand something. War makes perpetrators of some, criminals of others, and victims of everyone. Not all of the soldiers on the front are fighting for Hitler and his ideals. Just because a soldier is in the battle, doesn’t mean that he believes in the war.”

***          ***          ***

“It came from the direction of the woods, unmistakable, uninterrupted, and unending. She fell to her knees, stomach twisting, thinking she’d go crazy before it stopped. She pressed her hands over her ears, but the sound of gunfire found its way through her trembling hands, ripping into her brain.”

If you’re looking for a historical fiction set in WWII, a story that shows what one goes through to survive, to love and to hope, you’ve found it in ‘The Plum Tree’.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Amberwell’ by D.E. Stevenson

a desSTORY: Five young Ayrtons all grew up at Amberwell, playing in the gardens and preparing themselves to venture out into the world. To each of these children, Amberwell meant something different, but common to all of them was the idea that Amberwell was more than just where they lived — it was part of them. Amberwell drove one of its children into a reckless marriage and healed another of his wounds…and there was one child who stayed at home and gave up her life to keep things running smoothly

REVIEW: Amberwell is an estate that was first built near the sea in southwest Scotland. The sheltered corner of land made for mild weather year-round. William Ayrton and his family were the first residents and it passed down to generations who each made improvements to the property.

The current Willam Ayrton family has two sons, Roger and Tom, and three daughters, Connie, Nell, and Anne. Mrs. Ayrton believes that the boys should go off to school as early as possible and the girls are to be taught at home by Miss Clarke who comes in every day. Nannie is there to care for the three of them and the girls are very close. They rarely see their parents which means that their world consists of the schoolroom upstairs.

As the children grow, World War II approaches. Roger joins the military as does Tom. The three girls have been so sheltered all their lives so they have no real urge to grow up and move on. They are happy to just stay together in their beloved home of Amberwell.

The story is quite lengthy and follows the brothers as they go to war and each of the girls as they face their own future.

This is a totally fascinating book and the stories of each of the siblings grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I don’t know when I’ve read such a good saga. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It’s fabulous.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher