Author: Armando Lucas Correa
Published: May 7, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
BERLIN, 1939: The dreams that Amanda Sternberg and her husband, Julius, had for their daughters are shattered when the Nazis descend on Berlin, burning down their beloved family bookshop and sending Julius to a concentration camp. Desperate to save her children, Amanda flees toward the south of France, where the widow of an old friend of her husband’s has agreed to take her in. Along the way, a refugee ship headed for Cuba offers another chance at escape and there, at the dock, Amanda is forced to make an impossible choice that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Once in Haute-Vienne, her brief respite is interrupted by the arrival of Nazi forces, and Amanda finds herself in a labor camp where she must once again make a heroic sacrifice.
NEW YORK, 2015: Eighty-year-old Elise Duval receives a call from a woman bearing messages from a time and country that she forced herself to forget. A French Catholic who arrived in New York after World War II, Elise is shocked to discover that the letters were from her mother, written in German during the war. Despite Elise’s best efforts to stave off her past, seven decades of secrets begin to unravel.
I’m so sad about this book. I wanted to love it and I’d been looking forward to reading it for quite a while. I know that reviewing WWII/Holocaust books can be tricky, especially when the review isn’t completely positive. The premise for this book held so much potential. The characters also had great range of emotions and I easily sympathized with them. However, the main thing that didn’t work, and I hope no one misinterprets what I’m saying, is that everyone was so melodramatic.
Some books don’t convey the horrors of war or of the Holocaust and I try to call them out on it. But this book almost had a parallel, yet still opposite effect. It wasn’t like reading a history book, it was like watching a soap opera version of WWII/Holocaust stories. I tried to see the emotions underneath everything, but if the writing had its nose up in the air any higher, it would have drowned when it rained. I sincerely doubt that those who were arrested by the Nazis spent so much time poetically identifying their feelings. It all just felt so over the top, in a not good way at all.
Plus, I felt like a whole half of the story wasn’t being told. I wanted to hear about Viera’s life in Cuba. Everyone else got to be so emotional, why didn’t she? I wanted so badly to love this story and the characters, it just all fell flat. However, I will say that it did hold my attention, and for such lofty writing, it was very easy to read. Overall, this is not my favorite WWII/Holocaust literature, but I don’t want to write it off completely. It was by no means a bad book, it just isn’t for me.
Kim is back with her August 2019 video wrap up:
**Please note that Kim’s Scary Stories review and movie comparison will post in late October. Jessica is hoping to get them read and make it a double review! (No promises as life happens!)
Author: Shari Lapena
Published: August 15, 2017
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 8-19, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A domestic thriller packed full of secrets, and a twisty story that never stops—from the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door
He looks at her, concerned. “How do you feel?” She wants to say, Terrified. Instead, she says, with a faint smile, “Glad to be home.”
Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.
There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.
The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.
Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.
Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.
I was getting nervous that I was in a ‘thriller slump’ as the last few I have read have been less than thrilling for me. A Stranger in the House definitely had me wondering what was going on throughout. Is Karen faking her amnesia or is it real? Is someone coming in the house? And if so, why?
And what about the murder that happened close by to where Karen’s accident occurred? The two stories intermingle with each other. The police detectives involved seemed to be enjoying figuring out the mystery as they come to conclusions along with the reader.
Everything added up to where you knew what was going on in the second part of the novel, but were not sure how it was going to end. It did become a bit too much like a soap opera for me, but the last few pages wound up the book nicely and we FINALLY find out everything. The ending had a bit of a mouth dropping moment for me.
You never really know who the stranger in the house may be…..
The Stranger in the House is recommended.[Top]