The Secret Hotel In Berlin by Catherine Hokin

Back Where She Belongs

The Secret Hotel In Berlin by Catherine Hokin is a powerful dual timeline historical novel that I read in just two sittings.

The action is set in Berlin, mostly surrounding a hotel, during World War II and in 1990. The hotel was a favourite of Hitler and the leading Nazis in the war years, then fell into Soviet hands as it was in East Berlin. After the wall came down in 1989, it was privately purchased. Now it has the opportunity to be renovated and brought back to life.

Walls came down in hearts too in 1990. Families torn apart by the Soviet controlled East Berlin, had erected walls to protect hearts but it had the opposite effect and actually hurt hearts. Now these hardened hearts need to be softened, renovated and brought back to life. Now is the time to build bridges instead of walls.

Sacrificial love was a major theme. There was love that let go, in order that others might thrive. The love remained when all else was gone. The memories remained. And a hope for restoration one day remained.

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Let The Purring Begin: Sapphire’s Tale by Sallie Cochren

A Cats Eye View

Let The Purring Begin: Sapphire’s Tale by Sallie Cochran is a most charming contemporary novel and purr-fect for any cat-lover, whatever your age.

Sapphire’s Tale is told from the point of view of Sapphire, a rescue cat and is in the first person. It is as if the author has jumped inside Sapphire’s head and read her thoughts. As a crazy cat lady, I really felt like Sapphire was narrating the story.

We hear how Sapphire was dumped, wandered the streets and found a home. Her tale is very similar to my rescued cat’s story – also found wandering the streets of Coventry with kittens and she was under a year old.

There is a beautiful bond between owner, Sapphire and her kittens. The owner has a huge heart for animals in need of a home.

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Felicity’s War by Jean Fullerton

The Indomitable Spirit

Felicity’s War by Jean Fullerton is an absolutely marvellous historical novel that held my attention from the start. It is the third book in The Stepney Girls series but can be read as a stand-alone. I recommend reading the previous books for character continuity and progression.

The action is set in the east end of London during 1941, and therefore, at the height of the Blitz. The indomitable bulldog spirit is alive as the people pull together. Up all night as the bombs fell, the community still goes about its’ daily duties. Ordinary life continues.

There are those who take advantage. We witness the black marketeers and looters in action. As if housing being destroyed wasn’t enough, the criminals take advantage and the food prices rocket.

Leading lady, Fliss, is a woman ahead of her time. She writes for a newspaper, is active in the Labour party, wears trousers and campaigns for fairer prices for food. She even finds time to organize a peaceful protest which turns ugly due to an over-zealous young policeman. Despite being a thoroughly modern miss, cupid’s arrow can still hit its’ mark.

The police force has much to contend with – even more so in wartime than peacetime. Some go about their tasks with due diligence. Others are like a bull in a china shop.

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Old Girls On Deck by Maddie Please

Bermuda Triangle

Old Girls On Deck by Maddie Please is the most delightfully fun contemporary novel that warmed my heart.

Maddie Please has created a wonderful set of characters who meet up and interact on a cruise ship. The leading ladies are sisters and both in their sixties. They make friends with an octogenarian who shows them how to have fun.

Growing older does not have to mean settling. Whilst we still have breath, life is for living.

The sisters re-evaluate their lives. One has been a captain’s widow for five years. She has spent her life in the shadow of her husband. Now it is time to stop hiding behind his memory and start to live and find herself again. Her opinions and knowledge are worth listening to.

The other sister is thankful for her steadfast husband of thirty five years. Now that he is newly retired, she realizes there is a whole world out there to explore. Life is much more than pottering in the garden and television dinners.

The reader is treated to the sights and sounds, the smells and flavours of the Mediterranean. We can almost ‘feel’ the heat and ‘taste’ the delicacies.

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