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Book Flame

Blogs about books

Category: Uncategorized

March 20, 2023

What people are saying about “A Nightingale”

by Loona (Malaysia): From west, We are all common to stories about men who served at the front during World War II , but in this book, we’ll get to know about the battles women had to face every day to protect their children and family. Vianne Mauriac is a school teacher living in a small countryside along her childhood sweetheart and husband, Antoine and their daughter, Sophie. One day, Antoine is ordered to report to the front leaving Vianne alone to protect her daughter and their home. Isabelle Rosignol ( Vianne’s younger sister) is a reckless young girl being transferred……

February 26, 2023

Reader Review: “The Nurse’s Secret”

by Peg A: A Nurse’s secret is a murder mystery wrapped in a historical fiction. In the 1880’s Bellevue Hospital has become a training school for nurses following the principles of Florence Nightingale. At the same time a young woman, Una, is forced to live on the streets through unfortunate circumstances and is blamed for a murder. She cons her way into the training school as a way to avoid the police and determined to use the time to solve the murder and clear her name.
The story captures the time period in great detail. The doctors treat the nurses and…

February 26, 2023

Checking Out Julian Fellowes’s ‘Snobs’ from 2004

As I find myself increasingly occupied, it’s becoming harder to find time for writing. Nevertheless, I came across a review from my archives that I would like to share. It’s a review for Snobs by Julian Fellowes which I read during 2018. Surprisingly, I only posted it anywhere else Goodreads. Without further ado: Back then, this was marked my introduction to the works of Julian Fellowes….

February 17, 2023

“Review of the Biography ‘The Netanyahus’: A Family Portrait”

by Anthony Conty (Parkville, MD): "The Netanyahus" by Joshua Cohen tells the story of a Jewish man in a prominent history department who does not study Jewish history. Instead, Ruben Blum is responsible for reviewing an application from a quirky Israeli scholar. The man is Benjamin Netanyahu’s father and teaches us how theology and history interact in Jewish politics. You wouldn’t think you could describe this type of book as funny, but here we are.
Blum has a life that seems familiar in American literature: he has achieved a high level of academia but does not impress his parents or in-laws…

February 17, 2023

“The Last of the Mohicans” Book Review

“The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper is a classic novel that has stood the test of time. It is the second book in Cooper’s “Leatherstocking Tales” series and was published in 1826. The book is set during the French and Indian War and follows the adventures of Natty Bumppo, a frontiersman, and […]

February 16, 2023

“Cozy Secluded Cabin Accommodates Up to Six Guests”

by Cloggie Downunder (Thirroul): 4.5?s “What’s interesting is the families that pretend to be happy, that have a carefully constructed facade, just barely propped up by secrets and lies. One breath and it all falls down.”
Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six is the twentieth novel by award-winning, best-selling American author, Lisa Unger. In today’s high-pressure world, what could be better than a weekend getaway in a secluded cabin in the woods in Georgia Hannah’s brother Mako is treating them all: Hannah and Bruce, Hannah’s best friend Cricket and her new man, Joshua, Mako and his wife Liza. What they find on the…

February 15, 2023

“Review of ‘Bad Cree’ by Reader: A Critical Analysis”

by Ann E Beman: In this debut supernatural thriller, a young Cree woman’s dreams lead her back home, where a wheetigo (windigo) preys on the family’s grief for her grandmother and her sister. Mackenzie has tried to run away from her family and their losses, but her nightmares have started to bleed into reality and she returns home to relearn the strength of family, community, and connection to the land. "That’s the best and worst thing about being connected to everything: you are a part of it all, but you can’t choose what gets sent out into the world. Or what…

February 14, 2023

Reader Review: “In Love”

by Anthony C.: "In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss" by Amy Bloom tells the story of a couple who, when the husband develops Alzheimer’s Disease, seek physician-assisted suicide to end his suffering. With this topic, many people feel strongly enough about the issue to say, "No thanks," but Bloom gives us details that activate your empathy as you know Bloom’s anguish.
Bloom provides a glimpse of the human experience that has a lot in common with regular, old-fashioned grief. You try to soak in the last moments and want your loved one around for selfish reasons, even though they…

February 12, 2023

“Exploring Family Dynamics in ‘My Father’s House’: A Reader Review”

by Shetreadssoftly: My Father’s House by Joseph O’Connor is a very highly recommended historical novel and literary thriller set in Vatican City during WWII and based on the true story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty.

Vatican City is the smallest, neutral, independent sovereign country in the world, occupying one fifth of a square mile within Rome. Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty and seven associates who refer to themselves as "the Choir" risked their lives to smuggle thousands of Jews and escaped Allied prisoners out of Italy under the Gestapo boss in charge of the area, Obersturmbannführer Paul Hauptmann.

In September 1943 German forces moved in to occupy Rome. The only safe place to hide would be in Vatican City. Hiding people in various areas and exercising extreme caution, the Choir used aliases and forged IDs. They referred to the people they had hidden as "books" and hiding places as "shelves." Like a thriller, the subterfuge they had to use and the threat of danger is ever present, only the heroes here are doing so out of love and faith.

The writing is exceptional and the characters, who vary widely, are all brought to life as realistic individuals. They are not perfect people, but they are all willing to risk their lives to save others. Hauptmann is a seriously ruthless adversary who knows people are being smuggled out and escaping. O’Connor’s prose is wonderfully descriptive and detailed, bringing the setting and the characters to life. The emotional impact of this novel is also ever present.

Chapters tell the story about what happened in 1943, but the details are told through the various points-of-view of members of the choir twenty years later. This allows them to also to share their personal reflections about what happened. My Father’s House is the first book in a new trilogy.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the publisher via Edelweiss.

February 11, 2023

“Exploring the Magic of ‘The Forest of Vanishing Stars’: A Reader Review”

by techeditor (Romeo, Michigan): The beginning of THE FOREST OF VANISHING STARS seems like a fairytale. Yona has lived deep in a forest, away from society, since she was 2 years old, when she was stolen from her German parents in the 1920s. The almost magical woman who took Yona brought her up to be well-read and well-prepared with survival skills. She seemed to know ahead of time that Yona would one day need those skills to lead a group of desperate Jews in hiding from the Germans in the 1940s. Even the book’s tone sounded to me like Kristin Harmel was telling the story to a youngster. So I thought when I read this fairy-tale-like beginning that I would not like the rest of it.

After the woman who raised Yona dies, she lives by herself in the forest until she encounters a small group of Jews who have escaped the ghetto and come to the forest to hide. But they don’t know how to survive in the woods. Yona teaches them. She knows instinctively when they are in danger and need to move. As time goes on, more Jews in hiding join their group. They endure and survive because they have Yona, and, for the first time in her life, she feels like she has family.

The majority of THE FOREST OF VANISHING STARS is based on truth. In the 1940s groups of Jews really did hide from German soldiers deep in the forest, they really did use those survival techniques, and they really did endure the hardships and persevere as described in the book. So I thought wrong when I decided too soon that I wasn’t going to like it.

Also, be sure to read the "Author’s Note" at the end of the story.

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