Flight of the Shearwater by Alan Jones @alanjonesbooks #historicalfiction #mustread #trilogy #SturmtaucherTrilogy #bookreview

It is an absolute pleasure to be sharing my review today for Flight of the Shearwater by Alan Jones. This is the second book in his Sturmtaucher Trilogy. I read the first book, The Gathering Storm back in August and it blew me away. It still stays with me and I was delighted when the author offered me the opportunity to read these fabulous and powerful books.

You can read my full review of The Gathering Storm HERE.

Flight of the Shearwater is the second book in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

‘With Poland divided between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Union of Soviet Republics, the increasingly confident Third Reich flexes its military muscles northwards into Denmark and Norway, while the rest of Europe watches anxiously over its shoulders.

General Erich Kästner, in his key role in the Abwehr, is fast becoming aware of the mass expulsion of Jews and other minority groups from Germany and from northern Poland, to the new ghettos of the Generalgouverment area of southern Poland, and has an inkling of what the National Socialists’ have in mind for Europe’s Jews.

As Holland and Belgium fall, and the British are routed at Dunkirk, barely escaping across the channel, the seemingly impregnable France collapses under the Wehrmacht Blitzkrieg, sealing the fate of millions of Jews, now trapped under Hitler’s rule.

The Nussbaums, thwarted in their attempts to escape to Denmark, desperately seek other routes out of Germany but, one by one, they are closed off, and they realise they have left it all too late…’

PURCHASE FROM – AMAZON UK

MY REVIEW…

Once again I am absolutely blown away by the writing of this author. The five years he has spent researching this trilogy, in my honest opinion, was time very well spent.

I will admit to approaching this second book with some trepidation, I was so hooked by the first book, The Gathering Storm, and I wondered if I would like the second book as much. I have to say that it is another amazing book.

If you have read the first book you will be aware of the two main families. The Kastner’s are a well-respected family with links to the German Navy and Army. Their housekeepers and friends are the Nassbaum’s they are German Jews who have been under the protection of General Erich Kastner. As the Jewish are being persecuted more and more it is getting harder for them to remain safe. I would suggest that you do need to read these books in order.

Flight of the Shearwater continues the story of the Kastner and Nussbaum families. In some ways the writing in this second book feels a little different, and a very good different. While the author still keeps the style, the feelings and the observations, he also displays some wonderful descriptive passages. I won’t say too much about these passages and chapters, but the vivid imagery he builds up through his story-telling is simply amazing. I can close my eyes and I can see stormy seas, feel the chill, experience the dread and fear, I also got angry, frustrated and was appalled at what various characters find themselves experiencing.

While the story does focus more on the younger member of the families, there are some vivid and horrific events that are described. It keeps the reader up to date with events unfolding during the most turbulent time in world history. For families having to make decisions as to how best to give their children a chance for survival, when this chance also leads them into danger is an awful choice to make. It is working out which is the lesser of two evils.

Once again I am stumped for words when it comes to writing a review. Once again I want to shout about various aspects of the story, well the story as a whole actually!

This is a superb book in the trilogy. It held my attention as fully as the first one and in some ways even more so as I needed to know what was going to happen to the characters I have come to care about. This author knows how to bring several emotions out in a reader. Research is amazing and there is a good section at the end for further reading. The storytelling is sublime. It is another amazing read.

If you are interested in reading about WWII, the differing views of the Germans, the treatment of the Jewish people and how the war affected the lives of people then this is a trilogy you seriously do need to pick up. Yes, it is hard reading at times as you would expect, but there is a glimmer of hope.

A stunning first two books and it has left me wanting, no, needing to know what becomes of these two families and the others they have met. Again it is a book I cannot recommend highly enough.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Alan Jones

Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published in August 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany.

He is married with four grown up children and four wonderful grandchildren.

He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the RNLI volunteer coxswains on the local lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time, and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.

His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.

He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at Bloody Scotland and has done two pop-up book launches at the festival in Stirling.

He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Seamstress of Warsaw by Rebecca Mascull @rebeccamascull @SpellBoundBks @zooloo2008 #TheSeamstressOfWarsaw #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Seamstress of Warsaw by Rebecca Mascull. This is an amazing book that I adored, poignant, emotional and just simply fabulous.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the blog Tour and for arranging my e-cop of this stunning book from the publisher SpellBound Books.

1940
London
A man learns a shocking truth about his past.
Warsaw
A mother writes a diary as the ghetto walls go up.
From the bombed streets of London, to occupied Warsaw, to the Polish forests bristling with partisans, will their paths cross?
Will their pasts be reconciled?
And will they survive the deadly assaults on their freedom and their lives?

THE SEAMSTRESS OF WARSAW is a tale of endurance and loss, family and blood, stories and histories, that questions the nature of who we are and where we are going, when the road ahead is burning.

Purchase Link – AMAZON UK or US

MY REVIEW…

When Daniel discovers that he is not who he thought he was, it leads him on a journey at one of the worst times in history to travel. Leaving his home in London her manages to get to Poland to try and find his real family. It is 1940, the family he is looking for is Jewish.

It always sounds so wrong when I say how much I enjoyed a book especially when it is one within this time in history. The persecution of the Jews, the atrocities, the danger for everyone in Europe no matter their belief, their ethnicity or their country. I did, however, really, really enjoy this story.

This is a story that has two sides to it, one is from the perspective of Daniel, the other his Polish mother, Helena. Having two perspectives is great, especially when neither is aware of what has happened or is happening to the other.

The story details so many awful and desperate ways people survived the ghettos, as the Jewish people were crammed into appalling conditions. This is hard reading, but the author has done it in such a way as to get across the imagery and being visceral rather than dramatic. This gives a sense of quiet belief and hope amidst the horror.

The story is very moving and emotional, and I found myself wanting and hoping for various scenarios to unfold. The story is wonderfully paced and also frustrating as opportunities and moments are missed.

A wonderful, wonderful story that captivated and enthralled me. It is one that is a journey of discovery, hope and of survival. I think if you like historical fiction set during WWII and that has historical facts and some wonderful research then this one will be for you. It is a story I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Rebecca Mascull is an author of historical novels. She also writes saga fiction under the pen-name of Mollie Walton. 
Rebecca’s latest book under the Mascull name is coming on September 18th 2021, THE SEAMSTRESS OF WARSAW, the powerful tale of two people unknowingly connected to each other, caught up in the whirlwind of World War II, whose perilous journeys we follow from the Blitz to the Warsaw Ghetto and beyond, published by SpellBound. 
Mollie Walton’s The Ironbridge Saga series is set in the dangerous world of the iron industry: THE DAUGHTERS OF IRONBRIDGE (2019). The second book in the trilogy is THE SECRETS OF IRONBRIDGE (2020), set in the brickyards of the 1850s. The third book is set in the coalmines and servants’ quarters of the 1870s: THE ORPHAN OF IRONBRIDGE (2021). All three are published by Bonnier Zaffre. Mollie’s next trilogy will be set in WW2 North Yorkshire and the first book of this saga will be out in March 2022, published by Welbeck. 
Her first novel as Rebecca Mascull, THE VISITORS (2014) tells the story of Adeliza Golding, a deaf-blind child living on her father’s hop farm in Victorian Kent. Her second novel SONG OF THE SEA MAID (2015) is set in the C18th and concerns an orphan girl who becomes a scientist and makes a remarkable discovery. Her third novel, THE WILD AIR (2017) is about a shy Edwardian girl who learns to fly and becomes a celebrated aviatrix but the shadow of war is looming. All are published by Hodder & Stoughton. 
She also completed the finishing chapters of her friend and fellow novelist Vanessa Lafaye’s final work, a novella called MISS MARLEY, a prequel to Dickens’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL. This novella is published by HarperCollins. 
Rebecca has worked in education, has a Masters in Writing and lives by the sea in the east of England. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, based at the University of Lincoln. 

Follow her at – Facebook Instagram Twitter

Check out the other stops on the Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Gathering Storm – (The Sturmtaucher Trilogy #1) by Alan Jones @alanjonesbooks #TheGatheringStorm #histfic #mustread #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for an amazing book. The Gathering Storm – (The Sturmtaucher Trilogy #1) by Alan Jones is a book that has completely blown me away. If you have an interest in history and historical fiction in the lead up to WWII in Germany, then you really do want to look this book up. It is a book I cannot recommend highly enough.

Book 1 in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

‘Kiel, Northern Germany, 1933. A naval city, the base for the German Baltic fleet, and the centre for German sailing, the venue for the upcoming Olympic regatta in 1936.

The Kästners, a prominent Military family, are part of the fabric of the city, and its social, naval and yachting circles. The Nussbaums are the second generation of their family to be in service with the Kästners as domestic staff, but the two households have a closer bond than most.

As Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party claw their way to power in 1933, life has never looked better for families like the Kästners. There is only one problem.

The Nussbaums are Jews.

The Sturmtaucher Trilogy documents the devastating effect on both families of the Nazis’ hateful ideology and the insidious erosion of the rights of Germany’s Jews.

When Germany descends ever deeper into dictatorship, General Erich Kästner tries desperately to protect his employees, and to spirit them to safety.

As the country tears itself apart, the darkness which envelops a nation threatens not only to destroy two families, but to plunge an entire continent into war.’

You can buy a copy of this brilliant book HERE – at the time of writing up this post, the book is at a ridiculously low price!!

My Review…

Since finishing this book two days ago, I am only now ready to pick up another book. The Gathering Storm is an amazing read, it has left me desperate to continue the other two books in this trilogy.

I have read books from different perspectives of World War II, but I think this is the first time I have come across a book that explores various different perspectives and that has so much excellent research.

The story begins in the years prior to the start of the war. Hitler is only just coming back into the public eye. He is making some speeches that are catching peoples attention. At this point, he is focusing on Germany’s lost power and how the Treaty of Versailles has made life for those living in Germany harder than it should be. Obviously being based on history, we know where the story is heading.

The Kastner’s are a German family, they have a good social standing. Erich is a respected General and his wife moves in favourable social circles. Their three children have good educations and have promising futures. They employ a German family to help with the house, children and domestics. The Nussbaum’s have been with the Kastner’s for two generations, they are German Jews.

As Hitler’s National Social Party garner more support the story and the perspectives really come into their own. Not all German’s are with Hitler and his subtle indoctrinated messages, others eye the changes with a critical and sceptical eye. No one at this point really understands what will happen in the coming years.

This is such an amazing book to read, I have read it over several days as I wanted to be able to absorb it properly rather than just race through it. This has meant the books has nagged at me and got under my skin. There are obvious emotions that I felt with the book, the obvious disbelief that people will blindly follow and completely change because someone has the ability to talk them into it. The obvious horror as living conditions and lives change. The profiteering from the pain and suffering of others and also the dictatorial direction the country was going in.

I realise that I have not spoken too much about the story, but I sincerely believe that this is a book that the synopsis that does a great job of doing what it is supposed to do. It worked so well for me, the synopsis lured me in and the author took up the reins and led me into the lives of the two main families. A story that shows different perspectives, treatments, living conditions, and how one man could bring so much destruction, distrust and abhorrent behaviours out.

This is a stunning book that I cannot recommend highly enough. If you have an interest in history, WWII, The Holocaust, and persecution then you really need to pick this one up. It is a fabulous and important story that at 800 pages long was simply an amazing read. It absolutely blew me away!

About the Author…

Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published from August to December 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany.


He is married with four grown up children and four wonderful grandchildren.


He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the coxswains on the local RNLI lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time, and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht, cruising in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.


His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.


He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at the Bloody Scotland crime fiction festival in Stirling and has done two pop-up book launches at previous festivals.


He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy.


To find out more, please visit his WEBSITE TWITTER

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Mersey Angels by Sheila Riley @1sheilariley @rararesources @bookandtonic # boldwoodbloggers @BoldwoodBooks #histfic #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Mersey Angels by Sheila Riley. This is the second book in the series, and it can be read as a stand-alone. I did adore the first book – The Mersey Mistress (my review HERE)

My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this wonderful; book.

1916 LIVERPOOL
Following the death of her father, Ruby Swift, and husband Archie finally move back into Ashland Hall.
As the Great War rages, fathers and sons take the King’s Shilling and head off to fight the unknown enemy, not knowing what horrors lie ahead.
With Ned Kincaid in the Navy, Archie signs up to the volunteer constabulary and nurses Anna Cassidy and Ellie Harrington enlist to do their bit for King and Country.
Soon the true casualties of war are being brought home in droves, Ruby converts Ashland Hall into an auxiliary hospital for wounded servicemen.
It’s not long before the true cost of war is brought closer to home and Anna and Ellie enlist in the British Military Nursing Corp and soon find themselves in the battlefields of France in search of the truth.
But they soon discover more than they bargained for…

Purchase Link – AMAZON

My Review…

This is the second book in the Liverpool Saga series and carries on from The Mersey Mistress. This book can be read as a stand-alone, but I do think that it works better if read in order.

As the synopsis describes, Ruby has moved into Ashland Hall. WWI is taking its toll and the casualties are mounting, Ruby decides that she will give over the hall to help the injured servicemen as beds and hospitals are in short supply. As the injured are brought in thoughts of loved ones away in Europe is always on the minds of those who are home in Briain. Everyone, well almost everyone is wanting to do their part.

Set in 1916, the author uses her knowledge of the Liverpool area, to give the reader a chance to glimpse the lives of those who lived and worked both in Liverpool and further afield. This is a story that has its hardships and also its secrets. Even though the war is going on people still have to carry on with their everyday lives. For some that means working longer, doing jobs they would never have been considered for and putting themselves in the midst of some of the worst events in history.

The story does focus on key people, I found myself quite caught up in their various stories. Wondering along with the characters if a loved one would return, if they would be injured and if a telegram would bring the worst news. Following the characters as they struggled with loss, love but with a hope that things would be ok.

This is a story that falls into the saga and historical fiction genres. It is an addictive read and one that brought attitudes, social etiquette, some politics into the lives of the characters. It is a book and a series I am really enjoying and The Mersey Angels is one I would happily recommend.

About the Author…

Sheila Riley wrote four #1 bestselling novels under the pseudonym Annie Groves and is now writing a new saga trilogy for Boldwood under her own name. She has set it around the River Mersey and its docklands near to where she spent her early years. She still lives in Liverpool. Her new trilogy began with The Mersey Orphan in September 2019.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx


Yours Cheerfully by A.J Pearce #histfic #NetGalley @panmacmillan #publicationday #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce. This is the second book in The Emmy Lake Chronicles. I loved the first book Dear Mrs Bird and this second book is just as good.

My thanks to the publisher Pan Macmillan for my advanced e-copy that I requested via NetGalley. This book is also #3 in the #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

From the author of the “jaunty, heartbreaking winner” (People) and international bestseller Dear Mrs. Bird, a new charming and uplifting novel set in London during World War II about a plucky aspiring journalist.

London, November 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Henrietta Bird from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles (now stationed back in the UK) is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, is bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to Make a Go of It.

When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain’s women’s magazines to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends.

Every bit as funny, heartwarming, and touching as Dear Mrs. BirdYours Cheerfully is a celebration of friendship—a testament to the strength of women and the importance of lifting each other up, even in the most challenging times. 

My Review…

I have been waiting for a follow on to Dear Mrs Bird and Yours Cheerfully is a fabulous 2nd book in The Emmy Lake Chronicles.

Emmy Lake wanted to be a war journalist, she did get a job but not quite the one she imagined. It was for an Agony Aunt Column in a magazine called the Woman’s Friend. Set during WWII Emmy is making her way in the magazine world. this magazine is a small friendly publication that is full of tips on clothing, making the best of what you have, gardening, cookery and of course advice.

The Ministry call on magazines to help recruit more women to work in a bid to help out the war effort. A chance meeting with Anne a mother of two gives her an insight into women working in the factories. the women are determined in doing their bit, but they feel they are being treated as men would be and that fact hey they have children and homes to look after is not being taken into account. This sets Emmy on something of a mission as the factory women become friends, she still has to be careful about what she writes due to censorship.

I loved how the author has continued the story of Emmy and also her good friend Bunty. There is enough information given to get an idea of the first book, but I would recommend reading it as it was such an excellent one.

Once again the author includes a letter from readers who seek advice during a worrying time. For young girls working for the first time, for mothers who have children to care for alone, she touches on how widows are treated and the conditions that women who are effectively single parents during wartime deal with in life.

The author has brought the style of the magazine, which was seen as one of the little publications for older readers into the forefront. Giving Emmy a larger role so that she is able to really get to grips with the working woman life. There is politics, there is a certain amount of elitism and snobbery and there is the old boy’s brigade that comes into play. But during all this, the author does remember that Emmy has a life outside of the magazine. One that involves her boyfriend Charlie.

Once again the author has created such an addictive read. She deals with issues of the day in such a way as it makes the reader care about the issues. Some of the things I was not aware of and it has been an enlightening read as well as an emotional one. It does have its moments of sadness but also many moments of hope. A gorgeous story and one for those who like historical fiction during WWII. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis @I_W_M @angelamarymar @RandomTTours #wartimeclassics #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis. This is a wartime classis that is being republished by the Imperial War Museum.

I wish to thank Anne at Random Things tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book.

Here is some information about the Imperial War Museum…


IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts
involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas
and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our
five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to
look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and
consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.


IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, which will open
extensive new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries in autumn 2021; IWM North, housed in an
iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation
museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret
headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.

57402641

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUMS TO PUBLISH ANOTHER NOVEL IN THEIR WARTIME CLASSICS SERIES FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE FAMOUS MEMOIR SAGITTARIUS RISING


In May 2021, IWM will publish two more novels in their Wartime Classics series which was launched in
September 2019 to great acclaim, bringing the total novels in the series to ten. Each has been brought back
into print to enable a new generation of readers to hear stories of those who experienced conflict firsthand.


First published in 1944 and set over the course of one night in 1942, the story follows the fate of six crew
members of a Wellington bomber ‘P for Pathfinder’ thrown together by chance from different corners of the
world. They each reflect on the paths of their own lives, as they embark on a fateful mission deep into the
heart of Nazi Germany. Cecil Lewis’ novel examines the life of every man in turn, rendering a moving
account of each as not merely a nameless crew member, but as an individual with a life lived, ‘a life precious
to some, or one… these men with dreams and hopes and plans of things to come.”


Cecil Lewis was a flying instructor for the RAF during the Second World War where he taught hundreds of
pilots to fly, including his own son. It was while doing this training that he wrote Pathfinders. Pupils were
graded by the time it took them to fly solo – the best became fighters and then bombers. The RAF’s Bomber
Command was the only branch of the armed forces that could take direct action against Germany and in
1942 the strategic air offensive changed from precision to area bombing where whole cities were targeted in
order to destroy factories as well as the morale of those who worked in them.


The ‘pathfinders’ of the story were needed because often the bombers could not find the towns and cities
they were destined to attack at night, let alone the industrial centres within. The crew used coloured marker
flares to guide the bombers to their targets and the crews selected (often from the USA, Canada and NZ as
well as Britain) were the best night flying crews who were able to find the target unaided. As a pilot who
took part in both World Wars, Cecil Lewis brings his unique experience to bear, shining a light on this vital
and sometimes contested aspect of Britain’s Second World War focusing on the sacrifice made by the Allied
airmen it depicts.


IWM Senior Curator, Alan Jeffreys, has written an introduction to each book that provides context and the
wider historical background. He says, ‘researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable
projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and
helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.

My Review…

I am so glad that The Imperial War Museum has republished this book. Originally published in 1944 I was expecting a book that focused mainly on World WarII, instead, I got a great book that told me of individuals and their personal lives.

Pathfinders is a fabulous read and the focus is on the crew of P for Pathfinder, a Wellington bomber. The crew are of mixed nationalities from as far afield as Canada and Australia. The author begins this book with quite a sombre opening and gives details of where the war is at, or at what stage it is at. He then goes onto delve into the background of each of the crew.

Each crew member gets a chapter and the author gives a brief history of the parents and living conditions or lifestyles of the time. It then goes into more detail about the crew member and how or why they made the journey to join up.

This is a very insightful and quite a poignant book that has some wonderful descriptions and observations, at times it leans toward a literary fiction style and I found these sections to be such a pleasure to read. It is not an action-packed book as such but it does feel very personal.

There is an introduction at the beginning of the book from one of the historians of the museum. I didn’t read this as I just wanted to get straight into the story, but I did glance over it afterwards.

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it gives each crew member a face and a story rather than just being part of a bomber. It is a book that readers who like WWII accounts, stories and historical fiction readers will enjoy. Something a little different for me compared to my usual reads and one I would recommend.

About the Author…

Cecil Lewis (1898 – 1997) was a British fighter ace in the First World War and his
memoir Sagittarius Rising became a classic of the literature from that war, considered by many to be the
definitive account of aerial combat. He was a flying instructor for the RAF during the Second World War where he taught hundreds of pilots to fly, including his own son. After the war he was one of the founding
executives of the BBC and enjoyed friendships with many of the creative figures of the day, including George
Bernard Shaw, winning an Academy Award for co-writing the 1938 film adaptation of Shaw’s Pygmalion. He
had a long and varied career but retained a passion for flying all his life. In 1969 he sailed a boat to Corfu
where he spent the remainder of his life, dying two months short of his 99th birthday. He was the last
surviving British fighter ace of the First World War.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson. This was such an amazing historical fiction novel that I read mid April. I requested this via Amazon Vine.

Venice, 1943: Under the Nazi occupation, life is increasingly perilous for Italian Jews. Antonina Mazin has but one hope to survive – to leave her beloved parents and hide in the countryside, posing as the bride of man she has only just met.

Nico Gerardi was studying for the priesthood until circumstances forced him to return home to run his family’s farm. A moral and just man, he refuses to remain a bystander to Nazi and fascist atrocities. The only way to keep Nina safe – and protect secrets of his own – is to convince prying eyes that their sudden marriage is a love match.

But farm life is not easy for a cultured city girl who dreams of becoming a doctor like her father, and Nico’s provincial neighbours are wary of this soft, educated stranger. Even worse, their distrust is shared by a local Nazi official with a vendetta against Nico.

As Nina and Nico come to know each other, their relationship deepens, transforming into much more than a charade. Yet both fear that every passing day brings them closer to being torn apart…

My Review…

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and it was such a wonderful as well as heartbreaking read. It is a historical fiction that is set against the backdrop of WWII and the persecution of the Jews.

As the synopsis tells, this is the story of Nico and Nina. Nina is a Jew in Venice, through connections with her father she is helped out of the country by Nico and poses as his wife. They two have never met before, but they do become friends and then further entwined as a fuller relationship develops.

The story is very well researched, and there is a good section at the back of the book going into more detail. The story is based on true events and the author has then woven such an incredible and moving story. The life Nina once led is very different to the one she now embraces on the farm. There are so many things for her to learn and also she has to keep the secret of her Jewish roots and of the pretend marriage.

As the persecution of the Jews increases and the reach of Hitler, there is a point where Nina becomes concerned. It is not only Nina but also Nico that is also at risk. He has not only helped her but has been helping with the moving of other people. He will do what he can to help who he can, but this does put him in the sights of a certain German officer.

The author then takes the story into a much more harrowing section, that of the camps. It is here that the emotions for me really came, the sense of loss and uncertainty between life and death. The emaciation and the fear have been done with a balance of hope. That hope does flicker day by day as the war continues.

The author has created a story that I found so very addictive, it is one that’s full of heartbreak and also of hope. Of love, friendship and of family. I did have tears and I found it to be quite emotional at times. This is one for those readers who like historical fiction and saga style books. This was a stunning book to read and one that I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Bird in the Bamboo Cage by Hazel Gaynor #TheBirdintheBambooCage @HazelGaynor @HarperFiction @RandomTTours #RandomTTours #histfic #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the Blog Tour and to share my review for The Bird in the Bamboo Cage by Hazel Gaynor. It is due to be published on 20th August in the UK and there are links further down so you can pre-order a copy. If you are lucky enough to live in Ireland it was published on 6th 🙂

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my stunning copy of this amazing book. Let me show you what it is all about…

War imprisoned them,
friendship set them free.

China, 1941. With Japan’s declaration of war on the Allies, Elspeth Kent’s future changes forever. When soldiers take control of the missionary school where she teaches, comfortable security is replaced by rationing, uncertainty and fear.


Ten-year-old Nancy Plummer has always felt safe at Chefoo School. Now the enemy, separated indefinitely from anxious parents, the children must turn to their teachers – to Miss Kent and her new Girl Guide patrol especially – for help. But worse is to come when the pupils and teachers are sent to a distant internment camp. Unimaginable hardship, impossible choices and danger lie ahead.


Inspired by true events, this is the unforgettable story of the life-changing bonds formed between a young girl and her teacher, in a remote corner of a terrible war.

**The following purchase links are Amazon affiliate links**

Pre-order you copy today –KINDLEHARDBACKAudiobook

This is an amazing book to read and one that opened my eyes to another aspect of WWII. The story of a group of Missionary School children living in China who were caught up in the war when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour. 

The story is told predominantly in two voices, a schoolgirl calledNancy Plummer (Plum) and her teacher Elspeth Kent. Between them, they tell their story of their time in Chefoo Missionary School, a boarding school where children live while their parents are off doing missionary work, are diplomats or doing work in areas where it is not suitable for children to live. 

Through Plum and Elspeth, I quickly learnt the routine of the school, children, teachers and local people who worked as servants. It sounded like a very idyllic life and in some ways quite privileged but with a sad side to it. Children had to come to terms with their parents work being more important. 

Things soon change as Japan enters the war. Disruption soon follows for the school as soldiers take over. The resolve of the teaching staff to carry on as best as possible really stands out. Elspeth uses the motto of the Girl Guides/ Brownies to help the girls through this transition. The emphasis of taking daily tasks and challenges and turning them towards earning badges gives the girls something to work towards especially when the school is moved.

The school is then moved again, this time to an internment camp. Illness, appalling conditions, lack of food and medical supplies make this is very glum and dissolute place. Again the resolve of the teachers is admirable and again making the best of a bad situation comes in to play. 

The story is one I read over a couple of days. It is a story that has a huge sadness around it but actually what comes through more than anything else is the feeling of hope, of friendship and of one day hopefully returning home to family. 

The author has created amazing characters, I immediately adored the main characters of Plum, Mouse, Sprout, Elspeth, and Mrs T. There are several other characters that have very important roles in the story as they provide support to their friends. There are obviously going to be characters that I am not going to like and I have to say I liked how the author dealt with a truly horrid and awful one. 

The author does characters and descriptions of setting so well. Research is obvious throughout the book and the whole story felt right. She does an amazing job of describing the awful conditions but in a way that mirrors the resolve of the staff to see the best in the conditions.

I adored this book and the way the author has woven a story around real-life events and true accounts. There is a wonderful list of books at the back of the book for further reading and also about how she was introduced to this story. It is interesting and well worth reading. 

This is a fabulous read, it took me through a range of emotions and also left me with a feeling that was heartwarming. It is a story of how a group of people are thrust into unthought-of conditions and situations. How that group then supported each other where possible. A story based on true events that readers are historical fiction needs to add to the reading list. It is an amazing book and one I would absolutely recommend.

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today,
and Irish Times, bestselling author of historical fiction, including
her debut THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received
the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. THE
LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER was shortlisted for the 2019
HWA Gold Crown award. She is published in thirteen languages
and nineteen countries. Hazel is co-founder of creative writing
events, The Inspiration Project, and currently lives in Ireland with
her family, though originally from Yorkshire.

Follow Hazel on – TwitterWebsiteFacebook

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

All We Left Behind by Danielle. R. Graham #hisfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for All We Left Behind by Danielle R. Graham. Let me show you what this book is all about…

A powerful and incredibly moving historical novel inspired by an untold story of the Second World War.


Vancouver 1941
As the war rages around the world, Hitler’s fury is yet to be felt on the peaceful shores of Mayne Island. Sweethearts Hayden and Chidori are in love.


But everything changes after Pearl Harbor.
Now seen as the enemy, Chidori and her family are forced into an internment camp. Powerless to help them, Hayden joins the Royal Canadian Air Force to bring about an end to this devastating war – the thought of Chidori is all that keeps him alive.


Can they both survive long enough to be reunited?  Or will the war be the only thing to separate their love?

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

This is a historical romance and fiction story that is set during WWII. It is set out as a time slip and it flows effortlessly between the lives of two people before the war, during and what happens to them after.

Chidori is a Japanese-Canadian and Hayden is Canadian, their story is told in journal entries and also from log book entries. The two have been friends for years and gradually they realise that they have formed a relationship that goes beyond friendship.

When WWII starts there are rumours about what may happen, but it is when Japan attacks Pearl Harbour that real changes happen. Those living in Canada that are of Japanese origin are being moved to internment centres, it doesn’t matter if they were born in Canada or not. So Hayden and Chidori have to deal with being exasperated.

This is a story that I really enjoyed, it has a setting that I have not about before in this era of history. The author knows this area well and I though it cam across well as she described various aspects of the town. The characters of Chidori and Hayden were really good, Hayden being a bit of a hot head, and even though he has a temper it is only shown when there is a mistjustice. Chidori is more calm and serene, she is able to keep Hayden calm and together they balance each other very well.

The story is told mainly from Hayden’s perspective and Chidori’s part is told in the journal entries and I really liked the mis of the two styles. It fills in the gaps and gives more information.

This is a lovely story and one that I really enjoyed as, I think, will other readers of historical fiction and romance set in WWII. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Good Doctor Of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts with you for The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford. I was very lucky to receive a copy of the book and also an Audio Cd in a giveaway run by Elisabeth on her Facebook page, that was last year!

Let me show you what it’s about…

‘You do not leave a sick child alone to face the dark and you do not leave a child at a time like this.’

Deeply in love and about to marry, students Misha and Sophia flee a Warsaw under Nazi occupation for a chance at freedom. Forced to return to the Warsaw ghetto, they help Misha’s mentor, Dr Korczak, care for the two hundred children in his orphanage. As Korczak struggles to uphold the rights of even the smallest child in the face of unimaginable conditions, he becomes a beacon of hope for the thousands who live behind the walls.

As the noose tightens around the ghetto Misha and Sophia are torn from one another, forcing them to face their worst fears alone. They can only hope to find each other again one day…

Meanwhile, refusing to leave the children unprotected, Korczak must confront a terrible darkness.

Half a million people lived in the Warsaw ghetto. Less than one percent survived to tell their story. This novel is based on the true accounts of Misha and Sophia, and on the life of one of Poland’s greatest men, Dr Janusz Korczak. 

It feels so wrong to say that I really enjoyed this book given the subject it is about, but I really did enjoy it. This is a meticulously researched book about Misha and Sophia and also of Dr Janusz Korzak.

Misha and Sophia live in Warsaw, Poland and they are the main focus of the story. Dr Korzack is a man who features in the story quite a bit along with many others who had to endure the tyranny of Hitler during WWII. Out of the 1/2 million people who were forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto, less than 1% survived.

There are so many parts of this book that are so hard to read because of what they went through and what happened. The author paints a vivd and heartbreaking picture of suffering, devastation and pure horror of the living conditions of these people. What makes it so difficult is that I know what was going to happen as it did happen. When those living in the Ghetto are told that they will be relocated to a work camp at Treblinka, I know it was never going to be a work camp. I thought if only they knew the truth before they boarded the train! What was the alternative though, remain and be tortured and beaten to death or face starvation. This is why there were so few survivors.

Dr Korzak ran a home for orphans, this is where Misha and Sophioa meet. Dr Korzak’s main principle with dealing with children in his care was that you should look at the child as an individual. To do this you have to get to know the child and only then could you understand the child and their behaviour.

As Germany invades Warsaw, Korzak, the children in his care, Misha, Sophia and many hundreds of thousands are forced into ghettos. The conditions are squalid, disease ridden, food is scarce and is smuggled in. Escaping the ghetto is not an option as being caught is certain death. Misha and Sophia have to make a decision, stay and be rounded up and put on a train or separate and hope they can both survive the war and be re-united.

This is so emotional and hard to read, but it also shows hope and the determination. It is compelling and addictive and the author has done a beautiful job of telling this story.

I mentioned earlier the meticulous research. At the end of the story there are several pages that include the books she used to compile the facts, the places she had visited and the people she met. All these things were brought together and once she had all the facts she began to write. There are photographs on the inside covers of the book.

This is an inspiring story based on the true story of Misha and Sophia. It is a harrowing, heartbreaking, poignant story of courage, loyalty, belief, commitment and hope.

It is one I would Absolutely Recommend!

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated 🙂 xx


Book 12 of 20