Lighting Each Other Up
The Only Light In London by Lily Graham is a powerful historical novel that consumed me.
The action begins in 1939 in both London, and eight months earlier in Berlin. It was a terrifying time to be Jewish and living in Nazi Germany. We drop in on a family and see the difficulties they face as they try to flee the country. They become a family divided.
We see the bravery of a twelve year old girl. “They don’t have the right to make me feel I’m worth less than them just because I’m a Jew.” She shows incredible courage. Though her body is limited as to where she can go, her mind is free because she refuses to let the Nazis take her mind captive.
In London we witness the fear of the population sheltering from the bombs, in the underground. “They were like small boats battling the fear in waves.” The people lift each other up, raising the spirits of those who are afraid.
It is always good to have something to focus on. We see a newly formed drama group who need enthusiasm and not talent, to join it. This is a place where those on the outskirts of society find a place to belong.
When The Mouse Roars
Open Minded by Chloe Seager is a contemporary book exploring relationships. It was an absorbing read that I read mostly in one sitting – pausing only to sleep!
We see that there are many types of relationships – parents, siblings, partners, friends. One size does not fit all. We follow the two main characters and their interactions with others, their work and each other. They meet in unusual circumstances but a friendship develops.
At work, we see the bully in the workplace. Others tiptoe around the bully until one awards evening when – the mouse roars! And the reader applauds.
It is important to be true to oneself. Too often we try to fit into the mold that others, or the world, have created for us. Sooner or later, it will all come crashing down. To your own self be true.
Powerful New Series
The Girl On The Boat by Kate Hewitt is a powerful historical novel that completely consumed me. It is the first book in The Emerald Sisters series which promises to be fabulous.
The action is set from 1939 – 1942 as we travel from Germany to New York. As the story opens, we ‘hear’ from after the war in the prologue. We know the time and the place and we ‘hear’ the outcome for several characters but we have questions – questions which will follow us through the series. I am assuming all answers will be revealed in the final book – I can’t wait but I’ll have to!
We follow a Jewish family as they board a ship, with other Jewish families, fleeing Germany for Cuba. Alliances are formed on board, and promises made to meet up in Paris one year after the war ends.
We ‘see’ the damage inflicted mentally on physically tortured souls. Men, who were the heads of families, are reduced to mere shells. It is the women who have to step up and become strong.
Delightful, Feel-Good Read
Frank And Red by Matt Coyne is a marvellous debut novel that I read in just one sitting. It was positively charming.
The main characters were sixty seven year old Frank and six year old Red. They are an unlikely pairing – a curmudgeonly old man and a very bouncy and young boy. They bring out the best in each other even though Frank is reluctant to engage with his new neighbour, Red, at first.
Both characters are sad. Frank lost his wife prematurely and suddenly. He is drowning in grief. His whole world has collapsed. “The days that followed Marcie’s death were painfully ordinary… People continued to catch buses … do all the things that alive people do.” The world keeps turning. The sun keeps shining. But for Frank, his world has ended. He views life through the bottom of a glass until a rather unusual encounter.
True love does not die. True love remains. Even death cannot break the ties. We see that in loss, the veil between life and death is thin.
Red has been uprooted from his life, following his parents split. He has a new house in a new neighbourhood, and a new school to go to. He struggles as the new boy as the bullies pick on him. The scenes of loneliness in the playground were extremely well written and evoked memories of my own lonely break times when I first started school.