To Last A Lifetime
The Promise Tree by Elisabeth Hobbes is a very beautiful historical fantasy that I read in just one sitting.
The tale is set mainly from 1902 to just after the end of World War I, and then into the twenty first century. It is a tale as old as time. It is a tale that transcends time. It is a tale of great beauty.
We see the beauty when a character is at one with nature. Nature should be cherished, adored and preserved for future generations.
In contrast there is the ugliness of war. There is the tragedy of the Pals regiments where a generation of young men were lost to the battlefields of France. Whole villages went to war and only a handful of young men returned.
We witness how a tragedy caused a life to become bitter and full of hatred, blaming an innocent for what was simply, a tragic accident.
And we see a beautiful relationship that is gentle, cares, protects and preserves. It is a beauty that needs to be shared. We see the dark satanic mills of northern England where whole sways of people have no access to green spaces. A generous philanthropist decides to right this wrong.
Saving The Good News Gazette by Jessie Wells is a most charming contemporary novel that made me smile. It is the second book in The Good News Gazette series but can be read as a stand-alone.
This is a book about community and big, generous hearts. The Good News Gazette exists to bring good news. Zoe, its editor, is the voice of the novel as it is written in the first person.
Zoe is community minded, spearheading the campaign to save the old cinema. She is also forward thinking and has innovative ideas that help transform the lives of those around her. She could, figuratively speaking, beat with the stick but she chooses the carrot instead, to help transform hearts.
Zoe is also a single mum, juggling many pies but remains cheerful and giving.
The tone of the novel is fun and light-hearted. It is absolutely hilarious at times. I just laughed out loud – especially in the scenes at the party with the nautical theme. I cannot ‘unsee’ the pictures that I conjured up in my head!
Powerful, Inspiring & Horrifying
The Girl Who Survived Auschwitz by Sara Leibovits & Eti Elboim is a powerful, inspiring and horrifying account of a sixteen year olds year spent in Auschwitz. Sara Leibovits was her name. This is her story, interspersed with memories by her daughter Eti Elboim. This is a journey to hell and back.
Sara Leibovits spent three days with eighty four people crammed into a cattle car, destination Auschwitz in May 1944. Already so much had been lost living in the ghetto, but far worse was to come.
Sara Leibovits is an amazing lady. She showed strength of character, resilience and maintained a kind heart, as she shared what little she had with those around her in Auschwitz. Her experiences make difficult reading but the reality would have been far worse – something we cannot even imagine, it’s so awful.
A loss of dignity and identity for all in Auschwitz as they were no longer known by name but by a tattooed number. Eti Elboim as her daughter affirms, “You are no longer a number.” The strong mother-daughter bond is clear for all to see.
In later years Sara Leibovits has visited Auschwitz and also spoken of her experiences to others. She has survived.
The reader hears from Eti Elboim what it is like as the second generation of an Auschwitz survivor. It was a perspective I had not read about before. I had not realized it could mean no grandparents, aunts, uncles… whole generations wiped out. Just your parents. Eti Elboim’s words are powerful and heartfelt.
Journey To The Past
The Curious Kidnapping Of Nora W by Cate Green is a marvellous novel that drew me in from the start.
It is a book about survival as Nora is just eighteen days away from being the world’s oldest women at 122 years and 165 days in 2018 as the novel opens. Nora is a survivor. She was born in Lodz into a Jewish family. She survived the Nazi occupation. She has known love, pain and hard work. She wants to celebrate her special day in her unique way and not be bamboozled into an organized party.
This is a story about a mother’s love. We see the unique mother-daughter bond between several characters, and we witness the huge pain of loss.
Generations separate Nora and her carer but they are united by their shared experiences of war, love and loss.