Author: Robert Harris
Published: September 21, 2017
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Guy Legat is a rising star of the British diplomatic service, serving in 10 Downing Street as a private secretary to the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. Rikard von Holz is on the staff of the German Foreign Office–and secretly a member of the anti-Hitler resistance. The two men were friends at Oxford in the 1920s, but have not been in contact since. Now, when Guy flies with Chamberlain from London to Munich, and Rikard travels on Hitler’s train overnight from Berlin, their paths are set on a disastrous collision course. And once again, Robert Harris gives us actual events of historical importance–here are Hitler, Chamberlain, Mussolini, Daladier–at the heart of an electrifying, un-put-downable novel.
I found this randomly in the bargain books at Books-a-Million and it sounded interesting, so I bought it. Strangely enough, I picked it up soon after I bought it. I can’t say everyone is going to like it. It’s a micro history of a 3-day period that ended with PM Chamberlain declaring that he had achieved “peace for our time”. I was worried that it would get tedious with all those little details, but I found myself drawn into those little details and I kept going back to it in my mind, wondering what was going to happen next.
I’ve always been critical of Chamberlain’s appeasement policy with Hitler; however, hindsight is 20/20 and Harris did a great job of breaking down Chamberlain’s reasoning for why he pursued that policy. While I still disagree with him, he has gained a little respect in my mind. Add a little bit of intrigue between Legat and Hartmann and you have a complete, fictional yet still historical look at the 3 days in September 1938. I enjoyed it so much that I bought 4 more of Harris’s books to add to my TBR!
Great book, but I’d really only recommend it to those who have an active interest in micro history.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
Author: Kim Michele Richardson
Published: May 7, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry.
The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.
Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government’s new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give to those who have nothing, a bookly respite, a fleeting retreat to faraway lands.
Inspired by the true and historical blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek showcases a bold and unique tale of the Packhorse Librarians in literary novels—a story of fierce strength and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere—even back home.
This book has been on my list for a while. The description sounded interesting and I don’t really know much about the blue people of Kentucky. Plus, Cussy is a librarian … she’s one of us! Unfortunately, I felt really disconnected from her story. The plot is basically Cussy’s route up and down the mountains. It’s supposed to be an emotional tale and sadly, I was feeling a little
too shallow while reading it. Though, Ivan came in awfully handy with his medical knowledge once the doctor tried to figure out how to heal Cussy of her color. Thankfully we didn’t have get quite as detailed as we did with Five Feet Apart, but his input was very helpful. I liked most of the characters, even the ones I was supposed to hate. And I did hate them, I just liked to hate
them. I also appreciated how this was not a “white people bad, colored people good” story.
Richardson kept it realistic, showing how all people, regardless of color, can be mean and ignorant. But I was rather unhappy with the ending. It felt like another incomplete dud of an ending. I was left feeling unfulfilled. But overall, this was a good book and I’m glad I read it. I do recommend it to the historical fiction lovers. It gives good historical info and opens the door to further research.
The Woman in the Mirror
Author: Rebecca James
Published: March 17, 2020
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall and the sea beyond.
In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey’s twin children. Falling under the de Greys’ spell, Alice believes the family will heal her own past sorrows. But then the twins’ adoration becomes deceitful and taunting. Their father, ever distant, turns spiteful and cruel. The manor itself seems to lash out. Alice finds her surroundings subtly altered, her air slightly chilled. Something malicious resents her presence, something clouding her senses and threatening her very sanity.
In present day New York, art gallery curator Rachel Wright has learned she is a descendant of the de Greys and heir to Winterbourne. Adopted as an infant, she never knew her birth parents or her lineage. At long last, Rachel will find answers to questions about her identity that have haunted her entire life. But what she finds in Cornwall is a devastating tragic legacy that has afflicted generations of de Greys. A legacy borne from greed and deceit, twisted by madness, and suffused with unrequited love and unequivocal rage.
This was my pick for my neighborhood book club. I was pretty pleased with it. But this is one of those books that I enjoyed, but then dislike it the more I think about it. I got very engaged in the story and it had some creepy elements and I got through it quickly and easily. It kept me guessing and I’ll admit that I didn’t see the end coming. But the characters weakened as the story progressed.
Watching Alice throw herself at the Captain is cringey and caused me to like her less. Rachel is just an idiot. Typical girl who can’t decide what she wants and she strings two men along even though the choice is pretty obvious to the rest of us but you’re too dumb to see it and then complain when the guys act like you tell them to. The twins are just nasty children. I also wish more info was given on the original woman and her story had been more thoroughly wrapped up.
Thankfully, the horror factor saved this book for me. That mirror … I want that mirror in my house! There were a couple places where the goosebumps were raised and I had to pause my reading to chill out some. I feel bad because I liked it while I was reading, but while considering it later, it just misses the mark. I am glad I read it and I am liking that it’s sticking in my head like it is … it just has some flaws.[Top]