Set in Romania at the beginning of World War 2, this book opens with a young Jewish couple fleeing the Nazi’s. In order to keep their young daughter safe, they hide her in a building and leave her there hoping someone will take her in. A woman living in the building discovers the girl and takes her to a local orphanage where she is later adopted by a young wealthy Romanian couple and they name her Natalia. As the story unfolds, we see Natalia and her parents survive the war, only to be devastated by the Soviets and their occupation of Romania. Natalia falls in love with an official in the communist regime but can’t shake her past which haunts her. In the end, she is faced with a decision that will force her to deal with her past but also leave behind the ones she loves.
This was an extremely well written book which was easy to read and had wonderful character development. I read a lot of books about World War 2, however, this one was different because the setting is in Romania and a huge part of the story involves what happened to the people of Romania after the war. I enjoyed discovering more about the reign of Stalin and was shocked to read the details of what happened to the people during that time. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Natalia and her adoptive parents and how they loved her and cared for her. The question of what has happened to her biological parents is a suspenseful element that is carried through the entire book. All of this combined to make this a book that I could not put down and thoroughly enjoyed!
Today's post is written by my husband because he snagged this book before I could get my hands on it! Thank you Doubleday for this free review copy!
Synopsis: Pete Banning is a decorated War hero from a prominent family in Mississippi. After returning from the war and resuming his pre-war life, he suddenly and unexplainably murders his pastor. Pete is unwilling to mount a defense, and thus decides to take his secrets to the grave. Grisham takes us through racism, war and privilege, and everything in between, wrapped up in legal traditions, all while telling us a classic murder mystery story.
Grisham never disappoints. His ability to interweave multiple stories, culminating together in a grand finale, is legendary. His use of the judicial system and its intricacies to bridge gaps between the parallel stories adds suspense and intrigue that would normally not exist. He takes stories that would typically never find their way onto the pages of a book and make them riveting literary pieces!
My only “critique” of the book is that there were multiple near “endings”. The story would appear to be over, culminating in a suspenseful climax, only to play a “gotcha” and go in a different direction. Normally this would add to an even more suspenseful ending, but in this case the final climax was a bit over hyped.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book.
When I first discovered Martha Hall Kelly and Lilac Girls, I couldn’t stop sharing the book with everyone I knew. As a huge historical fiction fan, the book captivated me. When my book club read it, Martha graciously offered to Skype with us to talk about Lilac Girls. At that time, she mentioned she was working on 2 prequels. I was so thrilled to hear that she would be sharing more of the stories of the Ferriday women and I was so thankful to receive an advance copy of Lost Roses from Martha. Lost Roses is the prequel to Lilac Girls and the incredible story of Caroline Ferriday’s mother, Eliza. I started reading it the day after I got it and couldn’t put it down. Once again, Kelly has brought us a story of 3 women from 3 different backgrounds that are facing the trauma and tragedy of war. This time, the setting is WWI and the Bolshevik Revolution. Based on the real life of Eliza Ferriday, the book tells the story of how Eliza used her influence to try help Russian women fleeing the Bolsheviks. One of these women was her childhood friend, Sonya, a member of the Russian royal family who had her life turned upside down by the peasants in Russian, particularly by a woman named Varinka. The 3 women’s characters are captivating as we see their stories unfold and intertwine as they fight for their family’s futures. The detail in the descriptions of Russia, Paris and Southampton, USA transport the reader and brings the story to life in a way that makes you feel as if you have journeyed there yourself. One of my favorite things about the book, having read Lilac Girls, was getting glimpses of Caroline as a young girl and seeing how her mother impacted the woman she became. Like Lilac Girls, I will be recommending this to all my reader friends and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!
Sage Singer is a young girl who works in a bakery and is trying to cope with her loneliness and bad memories that haunt her since her mother’s death. Josef Weber is an elderly man in her support group who begins to frequent the bakery and starts up a friendship. Josef confesses a long held secret to Sage and asks for her help with something that will challenge her morals like they never have been and it sends Sage on a journey to discover what she believes and why.
This is only my second novel to read by Jodi Picoult and I have to say that I love her writing style - it’s easy to read and follow. That being said, I did not love this book. I felt like a lot of the actions of the characters didn’t make sense with who they were and the time period they lived in. I did enjoy the flashbacks to WW2 which were very well researched and accurate. I was hoping for a good ending but sadly I did not like that part either. Unfortunately, this just was not a book for me.