Book Review-Girl-in-the-Blue-Coat

 

Girl in the Blue Coat 

by

Monica Hesse

Read: April 12, 2018

Girl in the Blue coat was my first Monica Hesse novel. 

Set in Amsterdam during World War 2 during the Nazi occupation.  Girl in the Blue Coat focuses on a group of young people who are either involved in the resistance or the underground/black market.

Girl in the Blue Coat gives a good sight into life in occupied Amsterdam.  A life were cannot imagine.  Apart from food rationing, Nazi rule other and similar issues, we also find that, as in other parts of Europe, the Jewish community are also being persecuted. 

Girl in the Blue Coat focuses on a small group of young Jewish residents of Amsterdam and their efforts to help other community members, young or old, during Nazi occupation.  It also tells of how they risk their lives while trying to improve life for others in their Amsterdam community.

“While I enjoyed Girl in the Blue Coat it was not a fast moving story.”  The previous comment was made after reading Girl in the Blue Coat, in April 2018.  However, I still rated it a 4 star read on my Goodreads library.

At the time of completing this review,

on August 12, 2018

Goodreads readers have rated

Girl in the Blue Coat

an average of 

4.03 stars

from 10,396 ratings and 1,672 reviews 

 A 
read.

Image result for the girl in the blue coat

Girl in the Blue Coat 

can be purchased on-line at 

Booktopia, Fishpond and Amazon

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Book Review-Pocketful-of-Dreams

Pocketful of Dreams

by

Jean Fullerton

(The Brogans of Mafeking Terrace #1)

 

Pocketful of Dreams, originally published on February 28, 2018 is the my first Jean Fullerton book and also the first of The Brogans of Mafeking Terrace series.

Set in the weeks/months prior to the commencement of the Battle of Britain, central to Pocketful of Dreams is young Mattie (Matilda) Brogan’s life, work and romances.  With the imminent onset of World War 2, Mattie and her family endeavour to keep some normalcy in their lives.  Normalcy for this teenager is work study and handsome young males and when two males fitting this description enter her life she begins to learn some life lessons…the hard way.

Young love, Nazi spies, counterspies and family members with secrets all combine to make this an interesting book and well-crafted book.

Pocketful of Dreams a well-paced book which had me wanting to hear the next chapter, or at least wondering what was going to happen next.  I imagine Pocketful of Dreams gives us a good insight into family life, in London, at the outbreak of World War 2

As usual, when it’s due, I must pay homage to the narrator, in this case Billie Fulford-Brown, a London based actress and voice over artist.  Her narration of Pocketful of Dreams was excellent.

I hope our local library has more of this series available soon.

 

******

I think

Pocketful of Dreams

Image result for pocketful of dreams jen fullerton

is a solid

read.

Goodreads readers have rated

Pocketful of Dreams

 an average of 4.31 stars from

87 ratings and 18 reviews.

Pocketful of Dreams

can be purchased on-line at

FishpondBooktopia, and Amazon

 

Book Review-Land-of-the-Afternoon-Sun


Land of the Afternoon Sun

by

Barbara Wood

Land of the Afternoon Sun by Barbara Wood was the first of her work I have come across.  I hope that there will soon be available as audio books.

Beginning at a Will reading, in England, Land of the Afternoon Sun follows the life of elder son, Nigel, who can only be described as an arrogant, conniving, scheming, murdering young man.   At least that is the Nigel we see.  Was he like that before his father disinherited him?

Determined to become a self-made man Nigel sets sail for America and finds a rich young maiden to marry during the voyage.  Needless to say he loves her trust fund more than he cares for her.

Upon arrival in New York, followed by a quick wedding,  Nigel and Elizabeth cross America in search of California’s climate where he begins to establish a date farm.  Nigel has no feelings for locals.  He just wants to be the biggest date producer in the country.   It is all about Me, Me, Me!

Nigel is the most despicable central character I have seen depicted in a historical fiction novel.   It does not matter if the issue is domestic violence, murder of the most calculating kind or stealing all the resources which the local, peaceful Indians rely upon for their livelihood; he just doesn’t care.

Overall it was an interesting and enjoyable novel and as with all good novels there are several concurrent tales and social issues woven into the plot.  Some of these include loyalty, prohibition, contraception,  women’s and native land rights.

The audio version is enhanced by Mia Gaskin’s narration.  Mia is definitely a narrator to add to my list of good narrators.

Land of the Afternoon Sun is a solid 4 star read.

 Goodreads readers have awarded Land of the Afternoon Sun 3.74 stars from 109 ratings and 27 reviews

 

A
read.

Image result for Land of the Afternoon Sun

Land of the Afternoon Sun

can be purchased on-line at 

Booktopia, Fishpond and Amazon

 

Book Review-The-Midnight-Watch

 

The Midnight Watch:

A Novel of the Titanic and the Californian

by

David Dyer

Loved The Midnight Watch from start to finish. Anything about the Titanic is a draw card for me and many others, I suspect.

However, this novel is not about the Titanic sinking, per se.

The Midnight Watch is a fictional account about what was, or was not, done during the critical three to four hours after the Titanic struck the iceberg and sank.  The ensuing cover ups and how all was revealed is what The Midnight Watch is all about.

Fictional, or not, The Midnight Watch is still a great read. Many years ago I was told that this tragedy resulted in changes to maritime laws and operational procedures on board all vessels at sea.

A definite
4_stars

read.  

Goodreads readers have rated

The Midnight Watch

an average of 3.86 from 1,636 ratings and 371 reviews

The Midnight Watch: A Novel of the Titanic and the Californian

The Midnight Watch

can be purchased on-line at 

Booktopia, Fishpond and Amazon

Book Review-Where-the-Heart-Leads

 

Where the Heart Leads

(Heart of the Prairie #2)

by

Kim Vogel Sawyer

 

Where the Heart Leads is set among a Mennonite community in America, early in the twentieth century.  

In my opinion, the plot could well be adapted into any community (particularly rural), in any country, regardless of religious beliefs.  I was born and raised in rural Western Victoria (Australia) and watched as nearly all my school mates turned their backs on the family farm and made their way to Melbourne or other cities in search of education and employment.

So it is in Where the Heart Leads.  The Ollenburger family send their son to College/University in Boston where he is exposed to a whole new way of life.  A life far different to that experienced in his hometown in Kansas.

With romantic ties in both his hometown and the big smoke we are left wondering the outcome until the last page or so.

Where the Heart Leads is an easy, enjoyable read.  It is my second Kim Vogel Sawyer book of this genre and I will go back for more.

A definite
4_stars

read.  

Goodreads readers have rated Where the Heart Leads

an average of 4.09 from 634 ratings and 39 reviews

Where the Heart Leads - Kim Vogel Sawyer

Where the Heart Leads

can be purchased on-line at 

Booktopia, and Amazon

Book Review-The-Tournament


The Tournament

by

Matthew Reilly

It’s not often that I struggle to find a positive in a Matthew Reilly book. However, this is the exception.  It was written by Matthew Reilly, and the plot/setting was at an international chess tournament and there endth the good stuff.

The main characters are a young and Princess (Queen) Elizabeth 1 and her extremely virile maid.  The Tournament is a chess tournament set in the Ottoman Empire where Princess Elizabeth is representing England.  It as been a few year since I read The Tournament and I do seem to remember that there was a murder and a character whose job it was to solve the murder and coach the English participant in the tournament.

If made into a movie, a kept faithful to the book it would be a very R/X Rated movie as most of the maid’s sexual exploits are described in graphic detail and from memory she then similarly describes these interludes to the young Princess.

One star for the story, one for the author and one for a game of chess.

A
3-stars

read at best.

Three stars simply because I love all other Matthew Reilly books

and this is the only one not in the 4+ category.

Image result for the tournament book

The Tournament can be purchased on-line at Amazon‎Booktopia, and Fishpond

Book Review-The-French-Promise


The French Promise

by

Fiona McIntosh

I found the audio version of ‘The French Promise‘ thoroughly enjoyable and well worth a listen, or reading.

As mentioned last week I read this book before reading its prequel.   Though thoroughly enjoyable as a standalone, it does make more sense as the second of the series as many of the main characters (and their history) are introduced in The Lavender Keeper

A post World War II setting sees a whole range of themes ranging from romance to death and revenge.

The setting for this book is Tasmania, where characters established in The Lavender Keeper make a new home after World War II .

One of two criticisms I have with the audio versions is that the narrator’s voice is vastly different to my usual narrators, which is one I assume over which the author has no control.

My secondly grumble is that the book seemed to end abruptly.  However, the ending was appropriate…it was just that I was expecting a more, and a different ending.

I look forward to reading more of Fiona McIntosh’s books.

Image result for the french promise by fiona mcintosh

Definitely a

5-stars

read.

And also one of my favourites.