Son of Hitler
Anthony Del Col
Illustrator: Jeff McComsey
Published: June 26, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
What if Adolf Hitler had a secret son no one knew about?
In the darkest days of World War II a female British spy handler discovers a rumor: that when Adolf Hitler was stationed in France during the First World War he fathered a child. Armed with stolen Nazi files, she secretly tracks down this son to recruit him for a mission to meet his biological father – and assassinate him.
But that may not be the end of the Hitler family saga…
A pulpy spy and alternative history thriller in the vein of Man in the High Castle, Zero Dark Thirty, Inglourious Basterds and the works of John Le Carre, this Image Comics graphic novel exploring one of the war’s greatest legends is by acclaimed writer Anthony Del Col (Assassin’s Creed, Kill Shakespeare), New York Times bestselling illustrator Jeff McComsey (FUBAR, Flutter) and newcomer Geoff Moore.
A story so wild it could only be true… maybe…
To be fair, I’m not a big fan of graphic novels, and that’s really the only reason I’m giving this book 4 stars. The story and the artwork are excellent. Thankfully this “alternate history” falls closely in line with fact and not on its own ridiculous timeline. The characters are emotional and I found myself hoping that history did indeed have a different outcome. I really enjoyed this book and I wish it was available in novel form. I guarantee it would be 5 stars!
The Home for Unwanted Girls
Author: Joanna Goodman
Published: April 17, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility—much like Maggie Hughes’ parents. Maggie’s English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby Elodie up for adoption and get her life ‘back on track’.
Elodie is raised in Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system. It’s a precarious enough existence that takes a tragic turn when Elodie, along with thousands of other orphans in Quebec, is declared mentally ill as the result of a new law that provides more funding to psychiatric hospitals than to orphanages. Bright and determined, Elodie withstands abysmal treatment at the nuns’ hands, finally earning her freedom at seventeen, when she is thrust into an alien, often unnerving world.
Maggie, married to a businessman eager to start a family, cannot forget the daughter she was forced to abandon, and a chance reconnection with Gabriel spurs a wrenching choice. As time passes, the stories of Maggie and Elodie intertwine but never touch, until Maggie realizes she must take what she wants from life and go in search of her long-lost daughter, finally reclaiming the truth that has been denied them both.
Overall, this was a good book. Orphanages reorganized into mental hospitals, all the orphans relabeled as mentally retarded. That right there is enough to draw me in, I really don’t ask for much! As historical fiction, I enjoyed it. The family saga is interesting and engaging. The stigmas and prejudices of the time came out plainly and were both understandable and disturbing. I liked most of the characters and sympathized through most of the story. But the thing that I had a hard time getting over was the victim mentality that saturated the entire story. In some situations, “victim” seemed the appropriate label; but then when someone was faced with the consequences of their actions, all of a sudden, they’re a victim. That got old really fast.
Other than that, the story was emotional and I quickly found myself caring. This book is the better version of Lisa Wingate’s books. The story was complete and I felt like I got all pertinent information; no loose ends were left. I enjoyed this book and while I won’t ever read it again, I will say that those who enjoy emotional historical fiction will enjoy it too.
Big Lies in a Small Town
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Published: January 14, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Dates Read: January 2-16, 2020
North Carolina, 2018:
Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.
North Carolina, 1940:
Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.
What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?
This is the second Diane Chamberlain novel I have read and it will not be my last! Her novel The Dream Daughter was my number one read for 2019 and might just be my favorite book ever! My review for it is here. Her novels draw you in and you don’t want to put them down! We have two time periods with our two narrators: Morgan in 2018 and Anna in 1940. The chapters alternate between the two time periods. Both ladies are likeable with very different lives in two extremely distinct time periods. Though vastly distinctive women, they become connected through the mural that is at the center of our story despite the nearly 80 year time difference.
I highly enjoyed this novel, and you can’t say too much without giving spoilers, so I say just read it! The reason I gave the novel four stars was the ending: both timelines came together and were packaged like a perfect bow, with a less than realistic and predictable twist. The ending was not a disappointment; I just felt it could have been done differently.
The racism of the time in 1940 is shown throughout Anna’s narrative. Chamberlain researched the real town of Edenton, North Carolina and even spent time there. She portrays that town during 1940 very well. **Be sure to read the author acknowledgments to see how much she researched. Chamberlain also researched art restoration much like Morgan had to, so in some ways Chamberlain was like Morgan in her learning.
I will definitely be reading more of Chamberlain’s novels. Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for granting me an arc copy to read and review![Top]