A Slice Of History
More Precious Than Gold by Renee Yancy is a marvellous historical novel that surrounds the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918.
The novel is mainly set in New York City. It is a city of two halves – the haves and the have-nots. There are residents over-flowing with wealth and there are whole families living in squalor in just one room. The flu visited rich and poor alike. It showed no favoritism.
There are those who care only for wealth and titles. Their generosity is always for personal gain. In contrast there are those with pure hearts who long to help those who cannot help themselves – the poor and the children. Those with the biggest hearts are rich in love.
The world is teetering on a new age. World War I has opened up new avenues for women. We witness those who strive to be more than just trinkets on a man’s arm. There are still old-fashioned ideas to push against.
The Polish Girl by Malka Adler is a compelling historical novel that is rooted in fact.
The story is written in the first person as we follow the life of a young girl. The tale alternates between ‘now’ and looking backwards to World War II.
The reader witnesses the courage and strength needed to survive as a Polish Jewish family under Nazi rule. It was a time of fear, persecution and round-ups. It seemed as though the people were forgotten by the world and by God. “God’s in heaven, and He isn’t asleep.” Faith was clung to, and a hope and desire to survive.
The House Of Special Purpose by John Boyne is a simply marvellous, epic, historical novel that totally consumed me.
John Boyne is a fabulous author who has clearly researched the Romanov family and their role in history. He has combined facts with fiction to produce a compelling read. The facts are extrapolated as the novel speeds to its conclusion. As a historian, I knew what was coming but was totally fascinated never-the-less.
The novel follows the main protagonist forwards from 1915 and backwards from 1981, until the two time periods collide. Both time periods are written in the first person and from the same viewpoint.
The Orphan Sisters by Shirley Dickson is a marvellous historical novel beginning in the late 1920’s but mainly set during World War II. It is a fabulous debut novel and I cannot wait to read more by Shirley Dickson.
The novel concerns the beautiful, unbreakable bond between two sisters abandoned in an orphanage by their mother. In their own way, each looks out for the other. They both seek to protect in their own unique ways.
Set in Northumberland the reader sees the area is not immune to Luftwaffe bombing raids. Due to comprehensive descriptions, we are able to ‘see’ the devastation and ‘feel’ the fear.
There is an eclectic mix of characters as we are treated to the camaraderie of friends – the philandering of some and the steadfastness of others. Brushes with near death cause some to take their eyes off the ball.