Posted in Reading, reviews, Women, World War II

Winter Garden: A Review

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a short blogcation last week. I’m halfway done with my second WIP of the summer and I’m excited about this one just as much as I was excited about the first one I finished. I’m also back to work. Sob. Summer is over.

I didn’t get all three books done like I planned. Sigh. However, that can be summed up in one word. Kids. 🙂

So to ease myself back into the blogosphere. I thought I’d share my thoughts on one of the books I read over the summer. The title is “Winter Garden” by Kristen Hannah. The cover and blurb are below.

 

Winter Garden by [Hannah, Kristin]

Can a woman ever really know herself if she doesn’t know her mother? 

From the author of the smash-hit bestseller Firefly Lane and True Colors comes a powerful, heartbreaking novel that illuminates the intricate mother-daughter bond and explores the enduring links between the present and the past 

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time—and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I loved this story. It was emotional and well written like all of Kristen Hannah’s books are. The first one of her books I read was “The Nightingale” and it was good, too. In “Winter Garden” the main characters are two sisters who are polar opposites. One who takes on all the responsibilities of her family orchard and one who runs away.  She does a great job of showing their two distinct personalities and the conflicts they incur because of them.

This is a tale of a complicated relationship between a mother and her two daughters. The mother is cold and unloving and her daughters resent this, but as the story unfolds, they learn the heartbreaking story of why their mother is so reserved. They come to understand her and understand the love their father had for her.  They also grow to love her.

I don’t want to give too much away so I won’t give away any more details, but I will say there is a surprise twist at the end so have your tissues handy!

If you’re looking to add something to your TBR pile for the long winter months. This would be a great addition. How about you? Have you read any good books this summer that you’d like to share? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Posted in reviews, Uncategorized

A Review of “The Orphan’s Tale”

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’ve been working on my latest WIP and I’m excited about this new one, too. I’ve sent my first one off to my Beta reader and she gave me some quick feedback. She told me the opening was AWESOME! So, you can guess I’m beyond excited. I’ll keep you posted as she continues reading the rest. 🙂

I’m back today to share with you my thoughts on “The Orphan’s Tale.” The cover and blurb are below:

The Orphan's Tale: A Novel by [Jenoff, Pam]

“Readers who enjoyed Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants will embrace this novel. ” —Library Journal

“Secrets, lies, treachery, and passion…. I read this novel in a headlong rush.” —Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival 

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night. 

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

As you know, I love reading WWII stories. Especially ones where the main character, usually a Jew, overcomes the adversity of Nazi Germany and that is exactly what this story is about.

I absolutely loved it.

It’s the story of Noa and Astrid. How they meet and their relationship. I loved Noa who is young, strong, and naïve. She’s kicked out of her home when she becomes pregnant by a German soldier. She goes to a home for unwed mothers and because her baby has German blood, he is taken away from her. Mourning her loss, she finds work at the train station and happens upon a car full of babies. I won’t tell you what happens next, but it’s an incredible story.

Then there’s Astrid, a Jew married to a German who’s also a member of the Nazi party. He comes home one day and tells her the marriage is over. The Reich is demanding that all members married to Jews get a divorce. She has to pack up and leave that very day. She travels back to her home town searching for her family, but they’re all gone. She used to be a circus performer so she travels to a competitor’s home inquiring about her family. She learns the awful truth and the owner asks her to join his circus.

The circus is how Noa and Astrid meet and the rest of the story takes off from there. They both have their secrets and the girls band together and protect each other. It’s an amazing story of friendship and survival. If you’re a WWII buff like me, you’ll want to read this story. I can see it becoming a movie very soon.

Like I said, I loved this story and I’m going to be looking for more books from this author. How about you, do you have any books you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂