Archives for WW2

#Book review ‘The Distant Hours’ by Kate Morton #historical #romance #WW2

If ever there was a novel in which a house plays the role of a character, this is it. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton is told in two strands, World War Two and the Nineties, involving the three Blythe sisters in Kent at Milderhurst Castle and a South London mother and daughter, Meredith and Edie. They all are connected by the war, the house, and the truth of what really happened when Juniper Blythe was abandoned by her lover in 1941. This is a brick of a book [678 pages], like Morton’s other novels. A little too long for me, the story meanders at times through past and present until it works towards the final mystery. What a mystery, an ingenious storyline and an unpredictable final twist. The story starts when a letter arrives for Edie’s mother, a letter lost for decades, a letter dating from wartime when Meredith was a schoolgirl evacuated to Kent. Edie is fascinated by her mother’s history, but her mother does not talk of it. They are not close, and Edie feels unable to press for information. So she sets off to investigate on her own. At the centre of the story is the house,
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Categories: Book Love.

Great Opening Paragraph 54… ‘The Great Fortune’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Somewhere near Venice, Guy began talking with a heavy, elderly man, a refugee from Germany on his way to Trieste. Guy asked questions. The refugee eagerly replied. Neither seemed aware when the train stopped. In the confusion of a newly created war, the train was stopping every twenty minutes or so. Harriet looked out and saw girders, darker than the twilit darkness, holding an upper rail. Between the girders a couple fumbled and struggled, every now and then thrusting a foot or an elbow out into the light that fell from the carriage windows. Beyond the girders water glinted, reflecting the phosphorescent globes lighting the high rail.” ‘The Great Fortune’ by Olivia Manning, from ‘The Balkan Trilogy’ Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘I’ll Take You There’ by Joyce Carol Oates ‘A Severed Head’ by Iris Murdoch ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A great 1st para: FORTUNES OF WAR by Olivia Manning #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-mx via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Book review: After the Bombing

As any regular reader of my blog will know, I am a huge Clare Morrall fan. And I was not disappointed by After the Bombing. As with all Morrall’s novels, the observations of character are spot-on and so poignant. She peoples her novels with characters who feel real. Twin story strands tell the story of Alma Braithwaite, before and after the bombing of her school near Exeter in May 1942, and in 1963 in a modern world which has moved on from the war. But Alma still remembers. “She’s conscious of sitting on a swing that has been steady for a long time and is starting to move again, gently but perceptibly, backwards and forwards, disturbing her equilibrium.” The novel opens with the British bombing of Lübeck in March 1942, the raid which famously made Hitler pick up a copy of the Baedecker tourist guide and select at random the English cities of Bath, Norwich, York, Canterbury, and Exeter. That is how 15-year old Alma and her schoolfriends Curls, Giraffe and Natalie are forced to run from Merrivale, the boarding house at their girls’ school Goldwyns on the outskirts of Exeter, to the bomb shelter. When they emerge, Merrivale has
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: The Aftermath

Post-war Germany, Hamburg. The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook is a gentle novel with an emotionally difficult core: the adjustment of two families, one German one English, to the landscape of rubble a year after the end of the Second World War. Broken country, broken families, broken minds. The title refers to the aftermath of the war and also to the aftermath of events in the lives of both families. Both are grieving and are in new territory, geographically and emotionally. They are proud and unsure. Together, will they heal? The English family: Colonel Lewis Morgan is occupied with the Occupied while his newly-arrived wife Rachael prevaricates, “I don’t know. It was suffix and prefix to her every other thought. This indecision was becoming her signature.” Their son Edmund has no such doubts, facing a challenging encounter with the teenage girl upstairs involving a glimpse of knickers and a steaming pisspot, he then ventures beyond the house’s garden into forbidden territory and meets the local feral youth. The German family: Herr Lubert, a widower, and his daughter move upstairs when the Morgans arrive in the requisitioned house. Ironically Stefan Lubert is an architect, surrounded by broken buildings, but works instead in
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Categories: Book Love.