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The Sicilian Inheritance by Jo Piazza

Intertwining Lives

The Sicilian Inheritance by Jo Piazza is an enthralling dual timeline novel that I just could not put down.

The action is set in present day and from 1908-1925. We begin in America and travel to Sicily in present day and backwards through the years as a character searches for the truth as to what happened to her Great Grandmother. Stories have traveled down the years. But what is the truth? We all need to know where we come from.

This is a book about the roles of women. In both time periods, men like to think they are in charge as they bully those around them… but the women have a tough inner core, and prove to be resourceful.

As we, and a character in present day, uncover the Great Grandmother’s story, we find a woman ahead of her times. She is very intelligent and has been held back by the conventions of the time. Women, with knowledge about medicinal herbs, were often seen as witches and shunned. They were, in fact, healers and often proved to be life-savers to those who came to them for help.

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The Wartime Vet by Ellie Curzon

A Light Shining In The Darkness

The Wartime Vet by Ellie Curzon is a marvellous historical novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. It is the third book in A Village At War series but can be read as a stand-alone.

The action is set in a village in the south east. Here, we meet a young female veterinarian who has fled urban bombed out Coventry. The year is 1942 and now the young vet is treating farm animals and not just cats and dogs.

The ruins of Coventry and that awful night in November 1941 still haunt the young vet. She is not alone with her fears. There is also a man from the ministry who is a decorated naval veteran of both wars, and he is haunted by the events of war. Both are struggling through PTSD, although little is known of that at the time.

In the countryside we meet land girls and a most delightful young female evacuee called Sarah. She has survived the Blitz in London. Ellie Curzon has perfectly captured her enthusiasm, zest for life, and determination to help with the war effort, despite her young age.

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The Songs We Hide by Connie Hampton Connally

Serene Beauty

The Songs We Hide by Connie Hampton Connally is a powerful, heart wrenching historical novel that I read mainly in one sitting.

The novel is set in Hungary in 1951. It is a time of great heartache and difficulty. Communism, under Stalin, had taken over the country following the second World War.

Farming is now organized into collectives. Those who did not join were heavily penalized. There was much cruelty. Just as in Ukraine during the 1920’s, people are killed, persecuted or just disappear.

Life is equally hard in towns. People inform on others. People who are loyal to the state are rewarded. People who are not, are punished.

Throughout the novel, there is the air of fear. No one must openly criticize the state, not even children.

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Maid Of Steel by Kate Baker

Happy One Year Anniversary Of Publication

Maid Of Steel by Kate Baker is a fabulous historical novel that I just could not put down.

The action is set in 1911 moving from New York to Queensland in Ireland. Immediately my heart was in my mouth as I read that the maiden voyage of a brand new ship was planned for April 1912. I read with ever increasing heart-rate as the dreaded date approached. Which way would the action go? You will have to read it to find out!

The main theme was women’s suffrage. We witness the strength needed by the women in order to pursue this course. They were treated abominably by the forces of law and order.

Another theme is that of survivor’s guilt. A character is wracked by guilt of actions done and not done. We can never change the past, all we can do is to learn from it. “Life is about what’s coming, not what’s been.”

PTSD in soldiers and sailors is also addressed. Homes are set up to offer comfort and care for those damaged by the forces.

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