Tag Archive | Rachels Random Resources

The Austrian Bride by Helen Parusel


The Austrian Bride by Helen Parusel is a marvellous historical novel that will educate you as you read. The main characters are fictitious but the events are true.

The novel is set in Linz, Austria in 1938 and up to the outbreak of World War II. It was a time of great change. People voted for the Anschluss with Germany but were ignorant as to what that really meant. They believed it would be jobs, peace and prosperity. The reality was a reign of terror. Many felt guilty about voting for unification with Nazi Germany.

A character also feels guilt from an event thirty years earlier. How different life would be for the whole world if she had just made different choices.

Persecution of the Jewish people began. We hear of Kristallnacht and see the cruelty and man’s inhumanity to man. “To defy the Nazis was to be prepared to die.” – not many were that brave, however when one character speaks up, others join their voice.

As Edmund Burke famously said “for evil to flourish, it just needs good men to do nothing.” Far too many blind eyes were turned. However, there were those souls who were brave, and stood up to help those in need.

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The Vintage Village Bake Off by Judy Leigh

For The Love Of Baking

The Vintage Village Bake Off by Judy Leigh is the most charming contemporary novel that will warm your heart and make you smile.

The lead characters are three siblings in their seventies. They have a lifetime of experience behind them but prove that you are never too old for a fresh start or a new direction. The future is theirs to grab with both hands. “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”

We witness a character brow beaten by forty nine years of marriage to a bully who exerted control, squashing the very life out of her. She believes everything he spoke over her – that she is a worthless fuddy duddy in boring clothes. It is beautiful to witness her transformation from black and white to glorious technicolour.

Another character has always been a colourful butterfly but beneath her exterior lies heartache and pain. Her choices to flit about lead to regrets. Is it too late for a do-over?

And the third sibling has had a sensible career as a teacher and then headteacher. Retirement is a time to shine as a new hobby is picked up. Baking is a very popular choice.

I loved the names of the animals owned by a character – Isaac Mewton was a cat. The other names were equally witty and well thought out.

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The Library Girls Of The East End by Patricia McBride

The Heart Of The Community

 The Library Girls Of The East End by Patricia McBride is the start of a fabulous new historical series set during World War II.

Everyone does their bit for the war effort. The library has a new female boss to join the other two female workers. It is a new era with fresh ideas. The library becomes the heart of the community. No longer a dusty space, it is light and bright, serving the locals with books, health and a safe space during air raids.

All three women have lives that can be challenging. We see a wayward brother, a victim of a vicious attack and rape from years ago and a poison-tongued grandmother. Each women tries to leave their troubles at home until they feel comfortable sharing about their lives.

We see how the tongue can wound. “Her mother’s harsh voice was always whispering in her ear that she was useless, ugly, unlovable.” The tongue-lashing came to a mother when she was young, and is now being directed towards her daughter until enough is enough.

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The Secret Ingredient by Sue Heath

Cover Reveal

The Secret Ingredient

She’s writing her story one recipe at a time…

‘A delicious story that wraps itself around your heart’ Evie Woods, bestselling author of The Lost Bookshop

It’s been three years, two weeks and one day since Kate Shaw’s life changed forever. Three years, two weeks and one day that Kate has been angry – with herself and life.

But today is different. Different because Kate has finally taken the step she’s been avoiding…back into the kitchen. Now, what begins as a (disastrous) attempt to make pancakes becomes a culinary journey that is not only a love letter to someone so important to her, but also an unexpected means of connection to a community she never knew she had…

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