Archive | May 2022

The Memory Keeper Of Kyiv by Erin Litteken

Powerful And Horrifying

The Memory Keeper Of Kyiv by Erin Litteken is a powerful dual timeline novel that will educate and horrify you, whilst totally consuming you.

The novel is set in 2004 in America and from 1929 into the 1930’s in Ukraine. The reader hears of Stalin’s program of collectivisation and his plans to eliminate the kulaks (so called richer peasants). As a historian I had studied this subject but it seemed even more shocking and horrifying to read about the atrocities in a novel. I think that is because the macrocosm becomes the microcosm as we focus in on a community.

The two time periods are linked by a character and her diary. She has kept her early life a secret due to the fear as Soviet arms are long. Now it is time to share her story.

The losses are immense. The modern reader just cannot comprehend the horrors of the Holodomor as over eight million lost their lives through a man-made starvation program and a reign of terror. We see the will and determination and luck needed to survive in spite of many losses.

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This House Is Haunted by John Boyne


This House Is Haunted by John Boyne is a totally gripping historical novel that had me spellbound from the very first page. I just could not put it down.

The novel is set in 1867, partly in London but mainly in Norfolk. There are cultural references of the day to author Charles Dickens and his works and characters, as well as to other literary works of the time.

John Boyne has written a brilliant story using elements of the Gothic tradition – with crumbling houses, candlelight, shadows, unexplainable happenings. The reader is completely hooked as we read with baited breath to see what the outcome will be. The ending does not disappoint but left me gasping in a ‘wow’ moment.

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Pets Aplenty by Malcolm D Welshman

Sniggering And Snorting Throughout!

Pets Aplenty by Malcolm D Welshman is an absolutely wonderful account of the life of a novice vet. It is the third book in the Pets In A Pickle series but can be read as a stand-alone.

This was a delightfully entertaining book that literally had me laughing out loud. I made my way through the book snorting and sniggering throughout at the antics of the animals!

The action all sprang to life under the masterful pen of Malcolm Welshman. I adored the droll inner voice when dealing with a badger; and the Jack Russell with the bad case of wind was absolutely hilarious! The serious young boy rehearsing for the nativity play also appealed to my sense of humor.

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The Boy At The Top Of The Mountain by John Boyne

Corrupting The Young

The Boy At The Top Of The Mountain by John Boyne is a powerful children’s historical novel that consumed me from the start. It is perfect for ages ten and over.

The novel is written in the third person from the point of view of young Pierrot who is half French and half German. It is set in the 1930’s and into the end of World War II. John Boyne has cleverly written the story which draws the reader in. We ’hear’ and ‘see’ the action through Pierrot’s eyes whilst also remaining detached to witness the character change. We are far more aware of what is going on than the character.

In Paris there is light and love and family. In contrast to the mountaintop which should have clean air but is tainted with deceit, fear and evil.

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