All the Flowers in Paris: A Novel by Sarah Jio

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Pages: 291

Publisher: Random House Publishing

Published: August 13, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Two women are connected across time by the city of Paris, a mysterious stack of love letters, and shocking secrets sweeping from World War II to the present—for readers of Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale.

When Caroline wakes up in a Paris hospital with no memory of her past, she’s confused to learn that for years she’s lived a sad, reclusive life in a sprawling apartment on the rue Cler. Slowly regaining vague memories of a man and a young child, she vows to piece her life back together—though she can’t help but feel she may be in danger. A budding friendship with the chef of a charming nearby restaurant takes her mind off her foggy past, as does a startling mystery from decades prior.

In Nazi-occupied Paris, a young widow named Céline is trying to build a new life for her daughter while working in her father’s flower shop and hoping to find love again. Then a ruthless German officer discovers her Jewish ancestry and Céline is forced to play a dangerous game to secure the safety of her loved ones. When her worst fears come true, she must fight back in order to save the person she loves most: her daughter.

When Caroline discovers Céline’s letters tucked away in a closet, she realizes that her apartment harbors dark secrets—and that she may have more in common with Céline than she could have ever imagined.

All the Flowers in Paris is an emotionally captivating novel rooted in the resiliency and strength of the human spirit, the steadfastness of a mother’s love, and the many complex layers of the heart—especially its capacity to forgive.

My Review:

I was captivated by Celine’s story. My heart filled with pain and anguish every time I would read her story. The fear she had to face and the decisions she had to live with was heart-wrenching. No matter how many WWII stories I read I never get immune to the pain they suffered. I learn something new every single time. I cannot even begin to comprehend what our ancestors experienced. I pray a time like that never occurs again.

Caroline’s story is equally filled with raw emotion. To wake up one day and not know who you are? Terrifying to say the least. I would probably die of a panic attack. She is a brave woman to trust those around her to find herself again.

Be prepared: have a full box of tissues at your side and don’t have any plans. You will not want to put this book down. It is a powerfully, moving story that will captivate you from beginning to end.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Random House Publishers, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Love and Ruin by Paula McClain

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Pages: 401/Audiobook

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine

Published: May 1, 2018

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in the devastating conflict. It’s her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. There she also finds herself unexpectedly—and unwillingly—falling in love with Ernest Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend.

On the eve of World War II, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest’s relationship and careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must forge a path as her own woman and writer.

My Review: Hemingway was one of the first classic writers I can remember reading and enjoying. I was thrilled last year to be approved for this book. Quickly disappointment set in. I tried several times to read it and could not get interested. This year I opted to listen to the audiobook. I did finish it but again a disappointment.

The story base is very interesting but details seemed to overshadow and drag the story on longer than needed. The most interesting fact for me came towards the end when learning Martha was the only female at Normandy. I would have loved to have learned more about her experiences there.

I am happy I stuck with this book but do not think I will read again.

I received a complimentary copy from Random House Publishing House- Ballantine Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own. The audiobook I received from my local library.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable

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Pages: 544 (eBook)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: May 29, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A historical fiction account of a love affair between JFK and Alicia Corning Clark which may have resulted in a love child.

Alicia is a Polish refugee who arrives in Hyannisport via Oklahoma to work as a maid for the Kennedys. Jack (a young JFK) becomes dazzled by her beauty and starts a romance that leads to an engagement. Jack’s father, Joe, has other ideas of who Jack should marry and it is not a maid from Poland. Over the years Alicia and Jack continue to see each other on the side but they each marry other people.

Alicia tries to become someone important but winds up rich in money but poor in family and friends as her life comes to a close.

I found this book fascinating as I have always enjoyed reading about JFK. This book sure has me rethinking what a great guy he was as he is portrayed as a playboy, slob and rude person his entire life. I believe I had my head buried in the sand as to his true character.

I felt sorry for Alicia as I cannot imagine being separated from my parents to go into hiding and then learning my father was killed in a concentration camp and my mother was only a shell of herself. I thought she was a strong person to leave her mother to try and get them a better life. She did the best she could. Money to her was important and that is how she saw a way to get her mom what she needed and later in life she used the money to make herself happy in the moment. She did one of the most selfless acts in letting someone else raise her baby as their own. She thought she was protecting the baby.

Does Alicia’s story have truth? I believe it does.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel through NetGalley from St. Martin’s Press. Any opinions expressed in the review are entirely my own.

The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet

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Pages: 448 (eBook)

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Published: April 17, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

As World War II blazes through Europe and Hitler becomes a menace, Augusta “Gusta” Neubronner is sent to live with her grandma she barely knows in Springdale, Maine. Her father was escorting her but in Providence they became separated so she trudges on until she finds her grandmother’s doorstep. She brings very few possessions but her treasured French horn as made the journey with her. As she learns her way in life and the new town will the French horn be able to save her and her family as family secrets start leaking out at the seams?

What a treasured read. The book is loosely based on the author’s own mother’s life as a child during wartime in Maine. You can see the trueness of the story shine through the words on the page. I was enthralled with this different aspect of a children’s book during World War Two. As a reader you learn about Alienation registration and how children treated other children who seemed un-American based on their name or look. At times it reminded me of what is going on the America today with the immigration disputes among people.

This may be a children’s fiction book but anyone who loves a good story, no matter the age, will find themselves cheering gutsy Gusta as she learns her way in life.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Candlewick Press through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.

The Sound of Freedom by Kathy Kacer

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Pages: 256

Publisher: Annick Press Ltd.

Published: March 27, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It is 1936 in Krakow, Poland and Hitler is making his move on the Jewish families. Anna has always led an idyllic and mostly happy childhood going to school and listening to her father play his clarinet in the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra. As Hitler starts enforcing his reign outside of Germany her family understands it is time to move. Bronislaw Huberman is taking auditions for his new orchestra in Palestine, a city that is safer for Jewish families. Will Anna’s father get a spot and the family get their travel visas before it is too late?

I am a big reader of World War 2 fiction at it doesn’t matter if it is an adult book or a children book I want to read it. The Sound of Freedom was extremely interesting as it was a story from a different country than Germany. I was also interested as it based loosely on a true story as Bronsilaw Huberman really did start an orchestra in Palestine and go to Poland auditioning people for spots and provided thousands of travel visas for families. I would like to read more about him.

The view point from Anna is very relatable for children in grades 4-7 as she talks about the things that are important to her at that age and those things are important to every child no matter the year or surroundings. She thinks about leaving her friends and how she will feel. She thinks about what to leave and what to take. She thinks about making new friends in a country that she does not know the language. Anna also shows how to gather courage and lets the reader know that each one of us is stronger than we think.

I hope to see this book in school libraries very soon.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Annick Press Ltd. through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.