Thrilling And Tense
Munich by Robert Harris is a marvellous historical political thriller that gripped me from the start. It is a work of fiction but very much grounded in fact as it surrounds the Munich Agreement of September 1938, and the infamous ‘peace for our time’ from Chamberlain.
On the surface all is polite and everyone appears to be working towards peace but underneath there lurks tension and suspicion. Hitler was a man no one should trust. With hindsight we can easily see this, but would it have been so clear at the time?
Simmering away underneath it all is another event, just as important. We read with baited breath to see the outcome.
Old friends from Oxford, one German and one English, meet up in Munich to swap more than just old stories.
An Epic Read
When Christmas Bells Ring by Katie Flynn is a historical wartime saga that compels you to read on from the start.
The story is mainly set in Liverpool from 1932-1948 and centres on twins April and May born in 1932. They are delightful but also a handful as they love each other fiercely but also fight like cat and dog. Katie Flynn explores the bond that twins have. It is an invisible thread that unites across space and time. (I can confirm this bond as I have twin brothers who are three years younger).
War for the twins really begins as they are evacuated to Wales. The countryside is in complete contrast to Liverpool but Liverpool is where their Mum and Grandma are, so there is a strong emotional pull. As the twins grow older they learn to appreciate the countryside.
Liverpool suffered from raids by German bombers. There is a truly harrowing scene that I found upsetting to read. The atmosphere of terror and horror was perfectly captured by Katie Flynn.
There is a community atmosphere within the novel – amongst the poor of Liverpool, in the countryside and within the armed forces. People came together right where they were for the war effort.
Searching For The Past
Lost Souls by Jonathan Kellerman and Jessie Kellerman is a contemporary crime novel that had me guessing from the start. It is the third book in the Clay Edison series but can be read as a stand-alone.
Following a discovery of small bones, the hunt is on to find the identity and the truth. The reader joins the characters in the search for two babies of the 1960’s. The cases are similar and run parallel. The one search is for the child, the other for the parents.
Long buried secrets need to rise to the surface.
Families are complicated affairs – we view both discord from within and also harmony.