The Red Cross Orphans

The Red Cross Orphans by Glynis Peters

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kitty follows the steps of many women during WWII who wanted to give a hand in the fight against the enemy. After a long training period, she reaches one of her many goals – a nurse pin. During this period, alongside her nursing experience, she meets lifelong friends, enemies, and… love. Unfortunately, the war has other plans and the couple is obliged to put their dream of marital life on hold.

Red cross nurse and a Canadian doctor find love on the battlefield in a midst of WWII. Cute story but lacks anticipation. Since this is the very first book of the series, I am hoping the following books will produce more suspense. The build-up of the plot was strong. I enjoyed all the characters and am eager to know what will happen to them all in the future. Also, the part about the VIP patient was intriguing, although it ended abruptly, which makes me hope the character will make an appearance in future novels.

Overall it is a good, light read. Perfect for romance lovers with a little history.

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The Paris Apartment

The Paris Apartment by Kelly Bowen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My obsession with Paris began many years ago, and I’ve read multiple stories about abandoned apartments in Paris and the storylines of their owners. This book, like all others, was unique and full of war horrors and losses of the war.

After her adopted family has been taken away by the Nazis, Estelle joins the french resistance. For months she hides her fellow allies, collects and shares info picked up during her time at the Ritz, and thru this work, she meets the mysterious and fearless Sophie. The list of events that took place after the fateful meeting, divided Estelle’s life into before and after. And seventy years later, Estelle opens a door to an apartment that was vacated during the war and discover’s her grandmother’s past.

I absolutely loved Estelle and Sophia’s timeline. Both of their stories are filled with bravery. I was once again amused by the courage of the resistance, who risked their lives in order to protect the innocent. Unfortunately, the “present” part was a bit disappointing. I wish the story was told without Aurelia and Gabriel’s romance. Their story seemed tacky in comparison to the service their relatives provided during WWII.

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Searching For My Daughter

Searching for My Daughter by Liz Trenow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story starts with Rosa. The young Jewess was abused by her wicked employer, a nazi officer. But she’s made a deal with the devil to save her beloved father, and paid a brutal price. When the opportunity arrived to escape the hell that she called life – Rosa jumped to it without further thought. Unfortunately, what she thought would be an escape to a better life placed her family into danger.

Horrific years of the war have passed, and there is peace in the world at last. Miriam is on her way to London to find her daughter. Her journey is rough, but she meets all the right people and her chances to find her daughter is very high.

A beautiful, heartwarming story of a family that has been torn apart by the war. Although I knew this book would have a happy ending, the actual finale of the story was better than I expected. I’ve enjoyed following Miriama and Rosa’s stories. After reading tens of WWII books, and revisiting each unique story, this novel gives yet another moving uplifting ending. Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for an advanced copy of this lovely novel.

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The House at Tyneford

The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Photographs are so strange; they are always in the present tense, everyone captured in a moment that will never come again.

In this intriguing historical novel, a young Jewish woman is sent from her glamorous upper-class life in Vienna to an English manor and placed in service. She finds herself in a place, where her kind no longer has a place in the world. As a human race, it is being erased. Not an enemy, but not an ally, young Elise tries to find her place in the new world. Her status at the Tyneford manor changes with time, and so is her character.

A devastating story of a lost life. But where there is sorrow, one can find hope to move forward, survive and live, and continue the circle we call life. A beautiful ending to a novel. Although Elise didn’t physically struggle with her escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, the despair to help her parents, the ability to stand up to the oppressor, and in a midst of grief to move forward make her an inspiring character.

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Shadows of Berlin

Shadows of Berlin by David R. Gillham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After the horrors of the War, Rachel found her happy ending. Her loving and supportive Jewish husband, safe and clean home, and most of all, freedom. While Rachel has her physical freedom, inside her head she is captivated by the past, and mostly by the price she had to pay for her survival.

One thing Rachel brought with her from her homeland – was her artistic talent. But when she tried to express herself on the canvas, she was met face to face with her hunting past. To pass the line between her past and her future, she needs to admit to her crimes. It takes a strong will to do so, but Rachel’s will has been weakened by her survival guilt.

A heartbreaking story of a young girl living in the land of freedom but captivated by her guilt that has taken place halfway across the world. Time passes, but it does not heal. Learning about Rachel’s past had explained her character as an adult as we met her on the pages of this novel. Guided by the darkness of her past, she is afraid to express herself thru her passion – art, afraid to show the world her true character. Great ending of the novel. Rachel was finally free and open to new life possibilities and the future. Human nature tends to forgive, but never forget. Although I did enjoy the novel and Rachel’s story, the novel itself was too long and at times it was stuck on the subjects that could have been avoided or shortened. Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The Paris Network

The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

But stories always win. Stories live on far longer than any humans. I can’t lose my faith in the written word. If I do that, I have nothing.

Laurence never had a talent or seamstress skill; hence, after her mother’s death, she turned her family store into a town’s bookstore. When Nazi-occupied France entered her city, Laurence entered France’s most dangerous club – the resistance. From writing a book prescription notes to her fellow townsfolk and passing the cryptic messages to exchanging dangerous packages and sheltering English allies, Laurence has dedicated her life and soul to the French resistance. And when the time came to pay the price – she did it with her head held up high.

It has been a while since I read the book that made me very emotional. Life under Nazi occupation was hard; many people gave up and accepted their fate. I was truly amazed by Laurence’s strength and will to stand against the enemy, boost people’s faith, and increase the resistance against the intruder, which was simply heroic. To give up your life, your future, and your child for such a high cause are spine chilling. Great WWII novel, phenomenal ending with an emotional story of a young brave soul. Thank you, NetGalley and Bookouture publisher, for this beautiful yet heartbreaking story.

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Until Leaves Fall in Paris

Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautiful, heartwarming, and an aspirational novel about war, books, love, and survival.

At the beginning of WWII, an aspiring ballerina of the Palais Garnier buys an English bookshop from her dear Jewish friend. The provided funds buy the family a ticket to freedom. Just like people say – you save one jew – you save them all. And with that thought in mind and heart, Lucie leaves her beloved dream and begins a new journey as a bookstore owner. Thru the American/English-speaking customers, Lucie meets a widower Paul and his little girl. As sparks of mutual affection between Lucie and Paul grow, Lucie suddenly learns of Paul’s collaboration with the Nazi. But all is fair in love and war. And despite their differences, the two create a plan to escape the Nazi occupying country. Will their love survive the journey?

The fact this novel took place during WWII and in a bookshop was the reason I requested this novel. I loved everything about “The Green Leaf” shop: the coziness, books, and support of french resistance. American born but Franch raised young girl with no family throws herself into the most dangerous position, just proves her pure love for the country and its people. Lucie’s selfishness thru the war and her journey to America has inspired me. A beautiful novel, filled with joy, love, courage, and fearlessness. I would recommend this novel to any historical fiction lover like myself. Thank you NetGalley and Baker Publishing for a free and advanced copy of the book.

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The Married Girls

The Married Girls by Diney Costeloe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first read by Diney Costeloe, although I’ve heard many praises for her previous works and was very excited to read her new release.

The war has finished, but Charlotte and Daphne’s new lives are only beginning. Two girls with different backgrounds, end up in a small English village. Each girl carries an individual goal. Charlotte, German-born, happily married to an English man, with two wonderful children, is looking forwards to a peaceful life in a beloved village. But when she thinks her past is behind her – it makes a shocking appearance. And here we have beautiful and charming Daphne, desperate to marry and reside as a lady of the manor… comes to a sad realization that the manor is not as large and rich as she had expected, and worse than that – under a big financial struggle.

Great story of love and loss, betrayal and forgiveness, heartbreak and happy ending. I have enjoyed the stories of both Charlotte and Daphne, and as much as I tried to dislike Daphne, I felt sorry for her… and later – joy, for her finding and embracing the life she finally enjoyed. I understand that this novel is the second book of the series, and not reading the previous novel I was left confused about Charlotte and Harry’s background. Although an author has shaded light and given us a little backstory on Harry’s character, his and Lisa’s story remained a mystery to me. Nevertheless, I absolutely love the storyline Diney Costeloe has written for Charlotte. I think it was a great ending to this story. Thank you NetGalley and Head of Zeus publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The German Wife

The German Wife by Debbie Rix

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The German Wife” is a novel about a young german couple with dreams and hopes for the future of the great Germany. As Annaliese and Hans tied their knot and settled into a marriage routine the unexpected happened – Hans was assigned to work as an experiment doctor at the Dachau. The horrors of the camp took over Hans’ mind, heart, and soul. The brutality of the war and the NAZI party have changed Annaliese’s outlook on life and made her question her own marriage. Her despair for a child has thrown Annaliese to bite a forbidden fruit, giving her the greatest gift of all – a little boy. Unfortunately, the life she has envisioned for herself was not the life she’d lived and experienced. The abandonment, the heartbreak, and a small loving boy became Annaliese’s motivation for a better life on the new continent.

I have read close to a hundred novels about WWII, all from the view of people from different parts of the world. But this one was different. I often wondered, what germans thought of their fuhrer? Were they all the supporters of the Party? What ruled their hate towards non-Aryans? This novel sheds a great lite on the people who didn’t agree with Hitler’s political ideology and future plans for Germany. In Hans’ character, we meet germans who were afraid to stand up to the Party. Despite their true beliefs, they cause harm to innocent people in order to survive. This is a great novel to learn “the other side” of germans. And of course, there is a touch of romance in the novel as well. And I must admit – I loved the ending. True, rough, and real. If I could give this book six stars – I would. Thank you, NetGalley for a free copy of the novel.

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The Runaway Family

The Runaway Family by Diney Costeloe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As much as I love historical fiction and books based on WWII, it is getting harder and harder for me to read the stories of people from that period of time. Although the stories of the survivors are good stories, the obstacles of what they have gone thru are horrifying.

The novel begins with Ruth Friedman and her four children. The night her husband was arrested and taken to Dachau, their family business and home were burned. With no place to live and four kids to feed and protect – Ruth begins her run for safety. The mother and four children acrosses Germany into Austria and beyond.

I absolutely loved the plot, the harshness of life that came upon Ruth and her little family, and the way she choose to deal with it. Her character is brave, strong-minded, and family-oriented. It’s hard to keep it together, on a run with four small kids and an elderly mother. I absolutely disliked both Ruth and her husband’s families. They were self-centered human beings with no care for others. There were a few characters in the novel that showed their support for Jewish people, a few had surprised me. As I read WWII novels, the hate Germans had for the Jewish population surprises me every time. What’s actually unsurprising is the hate people love to share. But that’s another discussion for a different day. Thank you NetGalley and Head of Zeus publisher for a free copy of the novel.

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another true story of the survivors of history’s most notorious times.

Lale’s arrival at Auschwitz marketed the beginning of a new life. Just like the rest of the prisoners, overnight Lale was robbed of his family, dignity, and freedom. Becoming the Tätowierer was not his first choice, but it gave Lale a major opportunity to help his fellow inmates by obtaining extra food and medicine from outside the camp to smuggling people out of it.

The major part of the story revolves around Lale and Gita’s love story. During his very first day as a Tätowierer, Lale meets Gita, and their lifelong journey begins. And after surviving the concentration camp, Lale and Gita met many obstacles in life, but despite the trouble – they kept going till their last breath, by each other’s side, hand in hand.

This was an exceptionally good book, mostly because it is told by the Tätowierer himself. The character has shed new light on the life in the concentration camp, a life of a prisoner who somehow was above his fellow inmates. As a big reader of WWII fiction, I always welcome learning more about it and would recommend this book to anyone who has any interest in life in the concentration camps. This is a light and quick read that offers a unique WWII perspective.

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Goodnight Sweetheart

Goodnight Sweetheart by Pam Weaver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unlike many other books that I’ve read about WWII, this novel shed a lot of light on early women’s rights, racism, interracial marriage versus the horrors of the war.

After the sudden death of her mother, Frankie is sent to live with her aunt and her family. But do not fret, besides the horror of losing her mother, Frankie was given a warm and loving home. When WWII hit the great Brittan and her cousins enrolled in the military, Frankie maneuvered to get herself in a midst of war and help her country and the English army. During this time, Frankie came across an American doctor and suddenly fell in love. The feeling was mutual and Frankie became a war bride. But her life, once again, threw a curveball, and another heartbreak came upon a young wife. But despite the brutality of her life, Frankie didn’t give up on her spirit.

I enjoyed Frankie’s story, I loved her strong will. No matter the number of devastating circumstances that came upon her and her family, she remained hopeful, encouraging, loyal, and most important didn’t let her devastation seek revenge. An orphan, then war widow and single mother, Frankie turned into a land and business owner. 1940 was the time when women began to enter the world as independent individuals, and the novel has highlighted this fact very well. This book is a great read for someone like myself who is a lover of historical fiction and WWII but wants a little change in the plot of the novel.

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