Synopsis:The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz and eventually made their home in Australia. In that terrible place, Lale was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival—literally scratching numbers into his fellow victims' arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Lale used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that this position awarded him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. If he had been caught, he would have been killed; many owed him their survival.
My thoughts:Although this book is categorized as historical fiction, per the author, it is 95% based on actual circumstances and actual conversations that took place. The author spent 3 years interviewing Lale, himself which makes this book, in reality, more of a biography. That being said, this is a story of survival, hope and the human spirit and most of all love. The love Lale and Gita have, is what kept them alive. Although the circumstances are gut wrenching, the overwhelming theme of love is what brought me to tears while reading this book. It’s so important to read books about the Holocaust so that we never forget and this is one that I highly recommend.
The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, an overzealous Baptist minister who takes his family on a mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.
I had heard so many incredible things about this book and it definitely lived up to the hype. The Poisonwood Bible is an amazing narrative about Africa that is so well researched. Besides learning a ton about the history of Africa from this book, I also learned about the role the United States played there during this time frame. I knew very little about about African history before reading this book and learning so much is was what I appreciated the most. Beyond the history however, Kingsolver made a huge impression on me through her characters and her use of first person narrative to tell the story. She uses word play and unique, lyrical sentence structure that endear the reader to the women telling the story. There are gut wrenching scenes that I will never forget and I cried more than once while reading this book. I have to say however, that for me, the ending fell flat and I felt that once the climax had been reached, the rest of the story was just filler. That being said, I still absolutely loved this book!
The Shadow of the Wind by Carols Ruiz Zafon
Set in Barcelona following the Spanish civil war, The Shadow of the Wind tells the story of Daniel Sempere. At the age of 10, Daniel’s father takes him to the secret cemetery of forgotten books, a huge library of forgotten titles. Daniel selects a book that he reads in one night. As he begins to search for other books by the same author, all he discovers are mysterious stories of a devil like character who is seeking out and burning all the books by the author. The novel is really a story within a story, as Daniel becomes involved in tracing the history of the author he has become obsessed with.
I really had no idea what to expect when I started this book and I was so pleasantly surprised. It’s a story full of twists and turns, incredible characters and literal jaw dropping moments. There’s gothic elements, romance and tragedy which join together for an intense yet enjoyable adventure. This book is unlike any other that I have read and is in my top 5 for the year so far! The Shadow of the Wind does not disappoint!
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
In 2017, after the death of her beloved grandmother, Marisol, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution…
Flash back to Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...
Arriving in Havana, in 2017, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.
I really enjoyed the structure of this book and how it flashes back from 2017 to 1958 and revolutionary Cuba. I didn’t know much about Cuba or this part of Cuba’s history so I found the historical details of this book to be fascinating. I love when a book teaches me something new and this one did exactly that. It taught me about Cuba and its history, wrapped up in a beautiful family saga and duel love stories!