Perils and Pearls by Hulda Bachman-Neeb

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As A Whole:

I loved that Perils and Pearls provides a view of a family’s experiences during World War II from a different setting than I usually find. I liked that this covered Indonesia and the Netherlands throughout the book.

On the Details:

The story begins with the patriarchal line, dating back to the 1600s. I struggled with this portion of the story a bit. I had a hard time keeping all the family members straight, and I’m unsure if this much detail was truly necessary to the overall story. It was interesting to see how Bachman-Neeb’s family moves between Indonesia and the Netherlands though. I was intrigued by all the historical information that I didn’t know much about. I felt like there was some good information that provided detail that helped understand the rest of her story.

Continue reading “Perils and Pearls by Hulda Bachman-Neeb”

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I love it when a historical fiction novel takes me on a new journey, especially when it’s about World War II. There are so many WWII historical fiction novels written and it is wonderful when a new story emerges from one.

How I Felt:

Ugh, this book ripped my heart out a few times, but it was very worth it. Once again, Amy Harmon writes with such powerful words, I was just drawn into her story. Eva Rosselli’s character is such an intriguing woman, you want to know more about her, and you want her to succeed at everything she does. I enjoyed her love story that was so starkly juxtapose to the Nazi brutality.

To Read or Not To Read:

This book is perfect for historical fiction lovers! It’s a WWII story, told not from the concentration camps, but from the people struggling to hide and stay out of them.

Where To Find This Book:

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate is available at these sites.

Amazon Kindle | Amazon | Audible | Goodreads

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Eva and Angelo grew up together in the same Italian household, due to life’s circumstances. They could have a budding romance, but Angelo chooses to become a priest leaving Eva heartbroken. The Nazi’s begin to invade Italy and Eva is finally convinced to go into hiding in Angelo’s church to keep from being captured. This book gives a view into the struggles that people resisting Hitler faced, the raids and arrogant soldiers. The curfews and the losses. And through all of that, we will find out if it is possible for a love to flourish in war-torn lives.

If you haven’t yet read any books by Amy Harmon yet, here are the list of books by her that I have already read and recommend!
The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon
What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

Silent Honor by Danielle Steel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved: The book’s main character, Hiroko’s determination throughout the book was empowering. I loved to see how she continued to overcome obstacle after obstacle.

How I Felt: The book is a love story, so I did feel the love, but the topic of internment camps tugged at my heart strings and had me feeling angry and protective for Hiroko. It was nice to read a historical fiction story set around America during WWII.

To Read or Not To Read: If you enjoy Danielle Steel books this is a book for you. It’s also great for historical fiction fans as the book focuses on WWII American history. This is great book and remains one of my favorites by Danielle Steel!

What’s This Book About Anyway?

Hiroko moves to California to live with her American relatives at the request of her mother and father. She starts school at a women’s college and falls for one of her professors. They are just getting in a rhythm with their romance, and then Pearl Harbor is attacked. Hiroko and her family are separated in internment camps on American soil. We follow her story of being imprisoned through this terrible time and find out if her love for her professor survives.

Footnotes:

#shejustlovesbooks #silenthonor #daniellesteele #historicalfiction #romancenovel #bookblog #bookreview

The Child of Auschwitz by Lily Graham

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved: The writing in this book was descriptive, yet never over-describing so that I lost interest. I loved the way the author built this story. The timeline would jump back and forth between Auschwitz and before the war. The way Lily Graham made the time jumps helped to build the characters and was done just right.

How I Felt: I loved this book. The story was so powerful, shedding, yet again, new light onto the experiences of people in Auschwitz. I was completely connected to all the characters and drawn into the story. Loose ends were all tied up, making me feel complete at the end of the book.

To Read or Not To Read: Of course, if you enjoy historical fiction, especially surrounding WWII, this is a perfect read for you. If you think you might enjoy historical fiction, this is a great one to start with. Just want to say this one more time. I loved this book.


What’s This Book About Anyway?

Eva Adami and her entire family have been placed in a smaller concentration camp awaiting their placement at their next camp. She meets Sofie, looking for her cousin who last had Sofie’s son. Eva finds her husband pushed onto a train headed for Auschwitz and she volunteers to follow him with Sofie coming with.

Together they support each other, saving each other, and looking for Eva’s husband and Sofie’s cousin. They endure the horrors of the camp, find ways to barter and trade for survival necessities, and try to steer clear of the guards.

Eva and Sofie find Eva’s husband and arrange a clandestine meeting with the help of a guard. Soon, Eva realizes she is pregnant and must hide her pregnancy to avoid death. She and Sofie vow to survive to raise their children in the aftermath of this terrible war. Their story, while heartbreaking, is a rewarding story for any reader.

Where to Find This Book:

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Footnotes:

This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher, Bookouture for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.

#netgalley #shejustlovesbooks #lilygraham #thechildofauschwitz #historicalfiction

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved: The way this book is written just pulls you in from the first page. I loved seeing the perspective of the architect as well as the views from other characters. Some scenes would give you insight that Lucien, the architect, did not have, which gave me anxiety about what would happen next, but it was perfect!


How I Felt: I was so drawn into this book. I felt the fear and triumphs that the characters felt. I was right there with them through their experiences.


To Read or Not To Read: This is a must read! Such a beautifully written book, I cannot say enough good things about this! If you enjoy historical fiction, world war II fiction, or books in general, this one is for you!


What’s This Book About Anyway?

Lucien, an architect living in Paris during the World War II occupation is approached by a wealthy man, asking him to design a hiding space in an apartment for a Jewish friend. Lucien is appalled; how could he think of doing this? He would be arrest, tortured, killed! And yet, the extremely outrageous fee he is being offered, as well as the excitement of outsmarting the Nazi’s pulls him in and he does it. In exchange, he is also awarded the design of a new factory. The story follows Lucien as he designs for Monsieur Auguste Manet again and again. Until things begin to go terribly wrong.

The story in this book is written so well and the designs to hide the Jewish people are intriguing. I loved everything about this book, and highly recommend it to everyone!


Footnotes:

#theparisarchitect #charlesbelfoure #historicalfiction #worldwarIIfiction #shejustlovesbooks

The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book was provided to me by NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for my honest review.


My Thoughts:

What I Loved: The letters that are discovered by Miriam were, of course, such an integral part of this story, but they were also my favorite.⠀I loved how they drew you back in time and pulled you into the lives of the women in the letter.


How I Felt: I said earlier that the letters were my favorite, but they were also my undoing. I cried, a lot. These stories just broke my heart. I also felt a bit misled by the title of the book. The Rabbit Girls implied that this book would be more about the Rabbit Girls that were used as guinea pigs by the Nazi’s. They were in the story line, but I felt that they were more a supportive character than the main focus of the book.


To Read or Not To Read: This is a To Read for anyone who likes to read books surrounding the Holocaust. There are some descriptions of infant death that made me put the book down for a bit to compose myself, so a warning about that.⠀Additionally, this is a story surrounding Auschwitz and another concentration camp. It has very descriptive parts that might be too difficult for some readers to get through.


What’s This Book About Anyway?

Miriam has just left her mentally and physically abusive husband to care for her very ill father. She discovers a numbered, Auschwitz tattoo on his wrist and is shocked and confused to learn her father is a holocaust survivor. She had never known anything about this and cannot ask her father as he is in an almost comatose state. ⠀

She begins to dig in closets and drawers for more information and finds an old women’s camp uniform with letters sewn into the hems. As she reads these letters addressed to her father, she begins to unlock the secrets of his past. ⠀

This story is really centralized on the things happening to Miriam in 1989. The letters, the writer, and the women in the stories within the letters, help her to find herself again.


Footnotes:

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for providing this book to me in exchange for my honest review.

#netgalley #lakeunionpublishing #therabbitgirls #annaellory #worldwar2books #holocaustbook #historicalfiction

Hidden Pearl by J.E. Laufer

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was provided to me by NetGalley and Little Egg Publishing Company in exchange for my honest review.


My Thoughts:

What I Loved: Learning about the hiding of Jewish children in plain sight was so great. I have not read a story like this before and it just drew me in from the first page. I loved how J.E. Laufer wrote the story. She kept the scenes short and moved the book right along. I actually would have enjoyed this book being a bit longer!


How I Felt: Saddened at the terrible things this family went through, but the strength of this entire family was so moving! Pearl and her entire family, amazingly persevered through incredibly difficult odds.


To Read or Not to Read: You must read this book! I finished it in less than 24 hours. It was so good!!


What’s This Book About Anyway?

This is a true story, following Pearl and her family at the start of World War II in Poland. Pearl and her family must run as the Nazi’s invade their town and begin shooting people. Their grandmother is shot as they run and in the confusion and terror, they lose track of one of her brothers. Thus begins a terrifying journey to survive for Pearl and her family.

After being turned away from numerous homes, they take refuge in a forest and abandoned bunker. As they try to survive there, they realize they must hide some of the children at farms in the area. Pearl pretends to be an orphan and is taken in as a helper on a woman’s farm.

Pearl’s story is so intense and moving, you can’t stop reading. The book is well-written and easy to read. The story never has downtime and my only wish is that there had been more! There’s photos at the end of the book of Pearl and her family, which was a wonderful addition.


Footnotes:

#netgalley #littleeggpublishing #littleegg #jelaufer #hiddenpearl #memoirs #shejustlovesbooks

A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Thought:

What I Loved: The then and now story line in this book was amazing….I’m always a sucker for it!  Initially, I wasn’t sure I was going to like the “then” part of the story, but I got sucked in really fast!
How I Felt: I was all over the place with this book! A huge twist came early in the book, and I thought “Well the rest of this story is going to be boring now because they just gave everything away.” And then something else would happen that was equally amazing. That happened over and over. I loved it.
To Read Or Not To Read: This book is a must read! It’s a book that just kept giving and was such a great story! If you enjoy historical fiction around WWII, this one is for you!


What’s This Book About Anyway?

The book starts with Gillian catching her boyfriend in the act of cheating. She heads to her grandmother’s home to get away for a while. As she is on her way, her dad calls her to tell her he’s found something at grandma’s and she needs to come see it.


What they have found are photographs of Gillian’s grandmother very clearly in a romantic relationship with a German Nazi. 😯 The photographs are hidden in this travel chest inside a secret drawer, underneath a secret bottom. All very mysterious!


After asking about the photograph, Grandma starts to tell her story. As she tells the story, we travel back to 1939 with her. Every time we think we have an answer for that photo, another twist comes up making us have more questions. I don’t want to give any more information on the storyline, because that’s half the fun of this book. I will say that it leads us to super-secret spy storylines, romance, some pretty rough interrogation scenes, and a plane crash!
This book was amazing and I recommend it to everyone!


Footnotes:

#afiresparkling #juliannemaclean #historicalfiction

The Forger by Paul Watkins

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The ways David goes about creating the forged paintings. The experiences surrounding his forgery. Everything about this book! I’m not kidding, I have loaned The Forger out to anyone that is willing to listen to me about how amazing it is!

How I felt:

This book just draws you in. I felt worried for our main character, but so intrigued by the story! I love the art that is discussed throughout the entire book. The hidden meanings behind things, the importance of colors. It was all so interesting and I couldn’t put this book down.

To Read or Not to Read:

Yes. Yes. Yes. Read this book! If you enjoy historical fiction and World War II stories, you will enjoy this book.

Where to Find This Book:

Amazon Kindle | Amazon | Goodreads

David is an American painter at the start of World War II. He receives a scholarship in Paris from a Russian painter. He soon realizes he has been brought to Paris to replicate Paris’s masterpieces and pass off as real to Hitler’s art dealers.

This book is full of interesting history surrounding the art and fast-paced action that had me on the edge of my seat. I’ve actually read this book at least five times because it is just so good!

Just the Facts:

  • The Forger by Paul Watkins
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Page Count: 336 pages
  • Publisher:  Picador 
  • Pub Date: November 3, 2001
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#theforger #shejustlovesbooks #historicalfiction #paulwatkins

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
What a spellbinding book. The fact that I love books, and our main character loves books, just pulled me right in!

In 1939 Nazi Germany, Liesel finds a single book visiting her brother’s grave. The Gravedigger’s Handbook, is her first book she steals. She falls in love with books and is soon stealings them from book burnings personal libraries, and wherever she can find them.
Her foster family soon taken in a Jew to hide and her world is turned upside down.

I highly recommend this book if you have not yet read it. The author’s writing has you spellbound immediately!