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The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

Blowing In The Wind

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston is the most delightful novel that wraps around the reader, filling them with love.

This is a book that I never wanted to end. It was beautifully written and just sank into my heart and soul.

This was a book about love. It was a love that was not confined to the here and now but a love that defied space and time.

And this was a book that makes you feel good, as you experience the love. It was also a book that made you feel whimsical, as I kept thinking ‘oh no, if only…’ As I read towards the conclusion I did yell a loud ‘Oh yes!’ at a certain point – see if you do too.

A major theme was that of grief and loss as the family own and run a funeral home. But among the loss and the grief lives love. Love is a lasting legacy. Love says we lived even though we are now gone.

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The Echoes Of Love by Jenny Ashcroft

Wow – Mesmerising!

The Echoes Of Love by Jenny Ashcroft is a marvellous historical novel that totally consumed me.

The action is mainly set during World War II on the occupied island of Crete. It also features Crete in 1936 and also an interview in 1974 with subject #17. The interview intersperses the action as #17 tells of what he did and saw in Crete during WWII. We ‘see’ some of the war through #17’s eyes but mainly through the eyes of the two lead characters.

1936 Crete was a time of gaiety, warmth and freedom. It was in complete contrast to the grey constricting Germany where the clouds of war were darkening. In Crete characters could be themselves. There was no such thing as forbidden love.

Life in London during WWII also contrasted with the brightness of Crete.

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All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien

Powerful & Heart-Breaking

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien is a marvellous debut novel that totally consumed me.

The story is set in 1996 in the Vietnamese community in Australia. It is very powerful and totally heart-breaking.

Much of the community fled Vietnam for the safety of Australia. They fled for a new life but were met with persecution and prejudice. “The looks she got… the way they saw her skin before they saw her.” The people were judged before they were known. Parents took low paid jobs and stressed the importance of education to their children, so that they could rise up out of poverty.

The streets were dangerous places to be. There was much drug related crime.

We follow a character as she searches for answers to her brother’s murder. Witnesses appeared struck blind and dumb as there was fear of retaliation if they talked.

The reader hears the back story to the main characters. We see the hand of kindness and generosity offered to one whose life had known only cruelty and neglect. A friendship rose up and then something happened – the reader can only guess at what as we work our way through the book.

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Steel Girls On The Home Front by Michelle Rawlins

Friendship And Hope

Steel Girls On The Home Front by Michelle Rawlins is a fabulous historical novel and the third book in The Steel Girls series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I recommend reading the previous two books first.

Once more we rejoin the Sheffield steel girls in 1940. It is lovely to catch up with familiar faces. The women continue to do their bit for the war effort – whether it’s operating machinery, serving tea or knitting for the troops, the women always give one hundred per cent of themselves.

There is a wonderful community atmosphere as the characters support each other. There are tears and fears, joy and laughter, love and support. Through all the seasons, none of the women battle alone as those around them offer love and care – whether it’s a listening ear, a drink in the pub, or that old favourite, a cup of tea.

Michelle Rawlins has captured the fears perfectly – there is the fear in the air raids, and also a fear that their menfolk will be killed. Some still remember the after effects of World War I and the devastated lives. The reader’s heart breaks for the young girl who misses her daddy.

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