Tag Archives: World War Ii

Book Buzz: The Lost Letter

Book Buzz: The Lost Letter

Every artifact has a story behind it, be it a stone jug from the Prehistoric Age or the mummified remains as the last vestiges of the lost city of Pompeii. The study of antiquities can be left to archeologists, but curiosity can inspire all of us to muse about the lives that were touched by the relic that has survived.

In Jillian Cantor’s achingly beautiful new novel The Lost Letter, it is a unique engraved stamp from World War II Austria that prompts a quest for answers.

Book Buzz: The Lost LetterThe Lost Letter

The action shifts from the late 1980s in Los Angeles to the late 1930s in Austria.

Katie is a freelance writer whose life has come undone. Her father is suffering from dementia and has moved into a nursing home. His care has required her full-time attention, and in the midst of this crisis her husband decides to leave her. She puts her emotions on hold while she devotes herself to her father’s care as he drifts in and out of senility.

Katie attempts to simplify his life by sorting through his belongings. An avid philatelist (stamp collector) his entire life, her father has left his cherished collection to her but she has no interest in keeping it. She locates a local stamp appraiser and makes an appointment to see him. Could there be something of value there? Or is the collection simply another thing for her to dispose of?

The appraiser contacts her in a few days. He has found an unusual stamp, one he has never seen before, on an unopened letter in the collection. Who was the recipient, and why was the letter never delivered? He wants to research this further and has Katie’s consent.

However, in a lucid moment, Katie’s father is apoplectic when she tells him she has given the collection away, but he can’t verbalize exactly why.

The story shifts to the earlier time, just as World War II is spreading across Europe. Austria has just been occupied by Germany, and the plight of Jewish families becomes extremely grim. Frederick Faber is a renowned stamp engraver with a family and a beautiful home, but as the Nazis move closer to his town destroying everything in its path, the family prepares to flee. Faber’s apprentice Kristoff, an artist struggling to learn the fine craft of stamp engraving, is not Jewish and therefore not in imminent danger. Deeply devoted to the family, he promises Faber to take care of the home and business.

Before he flees, Faber is instrumental in forging the resistance to the Nazis through his craft and responsible for evacuating many Jews to safety.

As the tension grows, the intertwining of both stories culminates in a stunning conclusion.

The Lost Letter is a story of resilience,  love, and triumph. Cantor is a historical fiction writer extraordinaire, her characters seem real and relatable, and the dual timeline works seamlessly as the two threads ultimately converge. The intertwining of both stories connects a time of persecution to a future in which survivors have prevailed.

The Lost Letter is receiving critical praise, including being named as Amazon’s Best Book of the Month.  It would go on my Best of the Year as well.

And now I am off to look through my husband’s stamp collection.

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of The Lost Letter. Please leave a comment below and a winner will be randomly selected. USA addresses only, please.

 

I received a copy of The Lost Letter from Riverhead Books for an honest review,
which is the only kind of review I write.

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Book Buzz: Enchanted Islands

The flora and fauna of the island of Galapágos provide the piquant backdrop for Enchanted Islands, a novel that reads so much like a memoir I was sure it had to be true.

Book Buzz: Enchanted Islands

Much to my satisfaction, I found out at the end (spoiler alert) that it was based on a true story of a gutsy woman who led quite a remarkable life.

Enchanted Islands

Women born a century ago were largely expected to live a pre-scripted life: marry, become a homemaker, have children. Frances Frankowksi, born in the late 1880s to Polish Jewish immigrants who settled in Minnesota, forged a different path that would be considered daring even in modern times, let alone the early 1900s.

Frances spent her childhood sharing a small apartment with her parents and siblings. She envied her best friend Rosalie, who seemed to have it all: beauty, an effervescent personality, a richer lifestyle, and parents who approved of education. Frances’ parents insisted she quit school to help pay the family’s expenses.

One day, Frances was shocked to learn about a dark secret in Rosalie’s family, the family she had thought was so perfect. With Rosalie wanting to escape, and Frances willing to accompany her, the two girls decided to run away to the big city of Chicago.

They found jobs to sustain a meager lifestyle. Rid of the strictures that had bound them, they enjoyed the independence and city life, until the time that Frances was shocked to find that Rosalie committed an unforgivable betrayal. Frances fled Chicago, and the girls lost touch for many years.

Rosalie’s life ultimately took an expected turn: she became a housewife and mother. Frances got a job working as a secretary for the Office of Naval Intelligence that she kept for many years. As the country was on the brink of World War II, she was offered an unusual top secret assignment: marry American undercover agent Ainslie Conway and move to the Galapagos Islands to investigate the Germans living there.

Frances, unattached and childless, and bored with the humdrum life she had been living, accepted the assignment. She would marry a man she didn’t know and move with him to the remote Galapágos Islands. She had no idea how unconventional this marriage would turn out to be.

Talk about roughing it! The island was undeveloped and barely habitable. In preparation for living in those conditions, Frances and Ainslie had been trained how to hunt, grow their own vegetables, construct a house, and rely on their wits to overcome enormous challenges. Alone except for several other island residents, life was a very solitary existence. They stayed on the island two years. This is when Frances began writing her memoir, which now I can’t wait to read.

Enchanted Island has several themes: the vagaries of friendship, wartime adventure, marital secrets. Author Allison Amend describes the conditions on the island so vividly you feel like you are there, and I’m not sure how anyone could have toughed it out as they did.

For me, there is always an extra dose of satisfaction when I am reading a novel based on fact. What an interesting story this turned out to be — not at all what I expected.

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of Enchanted Islands. Please leave a comment below and a winner will be randomly selected. US addresses only, please.

 

I received a copy of Enchanted Islands from Anchor Books, a division of Penguin Random House, for an honest review, which is the only kind of review I write.

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Book Buzz: Carry Me

Book Buzz: Carry Me

They say that history is bound to repeat itself. I once thought that true evil, the kind that happened in Nazi Germany, could not. The atrocities seemed so remote, so other-worldly that surely this era would live on only in the annals of history.  “Never again” has always been the refrain, a phrase that perhaps over time has lost its meaning.

Because we never imagined that things would be like they are today. 

Book Buzz: Carry Me

I’m not sure Peter Behrens knew when he was writing his devastating and gorgeous novel, Carry Me, that the story would resonate even more keenly in our changed political climate. For me, the parallels were too close to ignore.

Life hums along with its normal highs and lows. You discount the random occurrences of hate mongering. The racism, the violence against marginalized groups. It can’t get an worse, you tell yourself.

And then it does.

Carry Me

Based on a true story (which makes me love it even more), Carry Me is the love story and adventure of Karin and Billy, set in pre-World War II.  The book opens before the outset of World War I. Karin is the daughter of wealthy German-Jewish industrialist Baron von Weinbrenner, and Billy is the son of Buck Lange, employed by the baron as the captain of his yacht. Karin and Billy meet a small children at the baron’s summer house in the Isle of Wight. Billy’s parents serve as caretakers and the two families are close friends.

Behrens skillfully captures the idyllic life enjoyed by these families that is upended by the wretchedness of World War I. The families are separated. Buck is arrested under suspicion of spying for Germany and imprisoned for four years. Billy and his mother Eilin find a room nearby and struggle to survive as they wait for his release. Luckily, he does come home.

After the war, the two families are reunited in Frankfurt. The baron invites Buck to come live with and work for him again on the vast Walden estate as manager of his thoroughbred racehorses. Life settles into a calm routine. Karin attends boarding school and Billy studies locally. They see each other sporadically, just as friends, as kindred spirits.

Billy gets a good job at a firm in town and Karin is happily employed in the film industry in Berlin amidst the rumblings of anti-Semitism. But then … the sporadic skirmishes become more frequent, the harassment of Jews silently tolerated if not endorsed, neighbors’ backs are turned, doors are closed, and finally a full-blown reign of terror ensues.

Jews are stripped of their livelihoods and possessions. Karin’s job is taken away. The baron is targeted as an enemy. His house is ransacked and he is left with nothing. Jews are thrown into prison and taken to concentration camps. Those who are left are frantically trying to book passage on one of the ships departing for America or Israel.

In the mist of the tumult, Karin turns to her childhood friend Billy for comfort. They fall into a romantic relationship and he urges her to leave Germany with him before it is too late. Together they will explore the plains of Texas and New Mexico that have tantalized both of them growing up, he tells her, and then settle in Canada where they will live out their lives in peace.

I won’t tell you what happens, but the ending is an emotional, dramatic conclusion to this utterly captivating story. Kudos to Behrens for the detail and sensitivity with which his tale is spun. A remarkable achievement.

NPR has called Carry Me one of the best books of the year. I completely agree.

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of Carry Me. Please leave a comment and a winner will be randomly selected.

 I received a copy of Carry Me from Knopf Doubleday for an honest review, which is the only kind of review I write.

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Book Buzz: Along the Infinite Sea

The plot of Along the Infinite Sea is based on an item that appeared in a Connecticut newspaper several years ago. This is the gist of it:

A vintage 1936 Mercedes Benz 540K Special Roadster is recently discovered in a shed in Greenwich, Connecticut, untouched for decades. Said to have been owned by a German baroness and driven around Europe in the years before World War II, the car had been brought with her to America when she fled Europe.

Complete with a lipstick-smeared cigarette butt in the ashtray and a single leather glove in the glove compartment, this rare sports car is completely refurbished and sells for $12 million.

Along the Infinite Sea

With that intriguing tidbit as a springboard, author Beatriz Williams spins a tale of romance, adventure and desperate escapes in Along the Infinite Sea, the story of two strong women whose lives are separated by decades and distance.

Along the Infinite Sea

Annabelle is a young girl coming of age in 1930s Europe, and Pepper, a single pregnant woman living in Florida in the 1960s. As fate would have it, one day their paths coincide.

Thanks to that Mercedes Benz.

Being a fan of historical fiction, I was completely absorbed by the plot line in Europe. It was the early 1930s, an era of decadence and debauchery, of parties at seaside villas and expensive Parisian hotels. Annabelle meets and falls in love with a German Jew on the Côte d’Azur. They pledge their commitment to each other and make plans for the future.

But their romance is aborted as the Nazi regime comes into power. Annabelle’s lover is arrested and sent away, although she doesn’t realize that. She thinks he has left her.

Desperate to find a husband, she is wooed by a Nazi military commander and consents to marry him. She finds out much later that it was her husband who gave the orders to deport her lover.

In another era and another place, 1960s American south, Pepper finds herself in dire straits. She is pregnant and alone. The father of her unborn baby is her boss, a married senator. She is not close with her family and she has no place to go. She is frightened when confronted by goons, hired by the senator to intimidate her. She needs a friend badly.

Annabelle and Pepper meet over the sale of the Mercedes Benz and find out they have more in common than the car. They both know the agony of being pregnant, unwed, and alone. With their newfound bond they each come to grips with the ghosts in their past and make choices about the future.

This was a fun book to read and the plot twists kept me guessing until the very end. Williams captures both eras — prewar Europe and 1960s USA — in a convincing and evocative way.

So I did a little digging and I found a photo of the Mercedes Benz. Here it is.

Along the Infinite Sea

Some car, huh?

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of Along the Infinite Sea. Please leave a comment below and a winner will be chosen randomly. USA addresses only, please

I received a copy of Along the Infinite Sea from G.P. Putnam’s Sons for an honest review,
which is the only kind of review I write.

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Book Buzz: A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding

The bombing of Nagasaki in 1945 is the backdrop of A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding, a gripping, haunting and beautifully written story about a family whose lives were changed forevermore on that terrible day.

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding.Cover

I had a bit of context, having read and reviewed the outstanding non-fiction Nagasaki in August, on the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb. This book was an eye opener for me. I realized how little I had known about this catastrophic event: the massive casualties, the unfathomable destruction and the grueling aftermath.

The survivors of the attack endured a life of suffering. Pregnant women, if they delivered at all, gave birth to babies who were either stillborn or deformed. The vast majority of survivors were burdened with disfigurement, disability and a lifetime of chronic pain. The emotional challenges were as severe as the health issues.

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding

Author Jackie Copleton provides the micro view of this tragedy through the experiences of a family torn apart. The parents, Amaterasu and Kenzo, survive, but their daughter Yuko and grandson Hideo are never found and presumed dead. Overcome with grief and desperate to close this chapter of their lives, Amaterasu and Kenzo immigrate to America and attempt to put the past behind them.

Years later, after Kenzo has passed away and Amaterasu is living alone as an elderly woman, she is startled by a knock at her door. Opening it cautiously, she sees a man standing there, a man whose face and arms are terribly disfigured. The man claims to be her grandson, Hideo.

Amaterasu sends him away, furious with the impostor who would claim to be the grandson she loved so dearly. But before he leaves he hands her a package containing sealed private letters written by his adopted father to Yuko every year on the anniversary of her death. Hideo begs her to read the letters, and then he departs.

Reluctantly, she opens the letters and begins to read the contents, forcing her to painfully relive her past and confront truths about her life, as well as Yuko’s. The letters, as well as Yuko’s diary, until now unread by Amaterasu, contain revelations about secrets, fateful decisions, lies and forbidden love.

History buffs and fans of historical fiction will undoubtedly appreciate the story, as well as the snippets of Japanese culture that precede every chapter.

This is gorgeously written literary fiction that will remind you of Memoirs of a Geisha and The Piano Teacher. It captures the essence of war, tragedy and loss through the eyes of people who lived it — and lived to tell the tale.

Definitely on my 10 Best List of 2015.

One of my lucky readers will get a copy of A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding. Please leave a comment below and a winner will be selected randomly. USA addresses only, please.

I received a copy of A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding from Penguin for an honest review,
which is the only kind of review I write.

 

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Book Buzz: About Women

Is there anything more soul satisfying than a deep, meaningful and uninterrupted conversation with someone you like and admire?

We don’t often have that luxury. With our busy lives, conversations are often limited to a quick how-are-you in the carpool line or grocery aisle.

I’m talking about the conversation that is honest and leisurely, meaningful but lighthearted. Secrets may be revealed. Wine may be consumed.

Book Buzz: About Women

About Women

Such is the nature of the conversations between two fascinating and accomplished women — one a French painter, the other an American author — as they share thoughts about life, romance, war, culture, work, fashion, religion and more in the intimate and lovely About Women: Conversations Between a Writer and a Painter.

The women, French painter Françoise Gilot and American writer Lisa Alther (yes, that Lisa Alther, author of  the bestseller Kinflicks, a huge favorite of mine) have been friends for 25 years and the conversations are culled from many over the course of their lives.

Coming from different countries and generations – Gilot was born in post-World War I Paris and Alther was born in Tennessee during World War II – their backgrounds are vastly different. Gilot, who happens to be the former partner of Pablo Picasso, had an upper class Parisian upbringing surrounded by cultural amenities. Alther grew up in Appalachia on a farm and later moved to small-town Vermont.

But what they share is a creative sensibility, an intellectual curiosity and an open mind. The  women muse about the influences that guided them as they developed their artistic passions. Sharing memories of parents and grandparents, of wartime losses, of school and fashion and religion, they are able to obtain insights into themselves as well as each other. And sometimes they just have to agree to disagree.

They have opinions on everything.

French and American customs, for example. An American woman resents hearing a wolf whistle on the street, Alther says, while according to Gilot a French woman takes that as a compliment. Alther says, “I think women react badly to comments int he street here because they’re often delivered with the intention of demeaning.” Gilot says, “Either that or you’re imagining that that’s the intention.”

Gilot claims that is is considered “extremely impolite to say thank you” and Alther counters that “Here it’s considered rude not to say thank you.”

About fashion, Alther says, “The attitude here is often to wear something so appropriate that you will fit in and not be noticed. Whereas the attitude in France seems to be to make an individualized statement that will make you stand out.” Gilot agrees.

They compare the genesis and trajectories of their careers. Alther says, “The odds against my ever getting published were staggering. I wrote fiction for fourteen years without getting published, and I collected 250 rejection slips.”

That is always encouraging to us unpublished authors, so thank you for that, Lisa.

It is timely that I have read this book just before attending the annual Pennsylvania Conference for Women this week where I will happily soak up wisdom from a bevy of stimulating presenters, all speaking to issues pertinent to women: health, personal finance, leadership, finding a balance, just to name a few.

Book Buzz: About Women

It is always reassuring to hear women speak about finding empowerment and fulfillment.

Just as Alther and Gilot did in About Women.

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I am happy to offer one of my readers a copy of About Women. Please leave a comment below and a winner will be selected randomly. USA addresses only, please.

I received a copy of About Women: Conversations between a Writer and a Painter from Doubleday for an honest review, which is the only
kind of review I write.

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Book Buzz: Nagasaki

Yesterday, August 9, marked a solemn anniversary: 70 years since the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing 74,000 people and bringing an end to World War II in the Pacific.

Imagine the unimaginable if you can. An atomic bomb was dropped without warning on August 9, 1945, on a normal day when children were walking to school and adults were going to work. In one instant, a city and thousand of lives were obliterated.

Except for 150 military personnel, the casualties were civilians. Innocent men, women and children.

Beyond the many thousands who were killed outright, another 75,000 were gravely injured and eventually  either succumbed due to their injuries or radiation sickness or were doomed to a lifetime of suffering.

The scope of  horror on such a massive scale is often hard to comprehend. But in Susan Southard’s engrossing Nagaskai: Life After Nuclear War, we follow the trajectory of five Nagasaki teenagers, also known as hibakusha (atomic bomb affected people) who survived the bombing and were willing to share their harrowing stories.

Nagasaki

Southard begins with the day of the bombing, and the passage is chilling in its unsparing description of the enormous destruction and death and maiming and terror. Victims incinerated. Parents desperately searching for their children, and children for their parents. A city reduced to a wasteland. The photos showing the before and after are shocking.

The author intersperses the eye-witness testimonials with an account of the events leading up to the bombing as well as what happened afterwards: the denials from the U.S. government about the impact, the absence of remorse, the refusal to provide medical treatment to the survivors while exploiting them for research purposes.

The party line from our government was that this invasion ended the war and saved thousands of American lives, and the public mostly bought it. For years following the attack, journalists were not permitted to observe the epicenter and denied access to official documents, and were required to submit their stories in advance for approval. Many of these never made it past the censors. The truth did not come out for a long time.

For those who survived, the legacy was the loss of family and homes, scars and disfiguration, chronic debilitating pain, and feeling shame because of their looks. On top of that, there was fear about marrying and conceiving children who might be affected by their radiation poisoning.

But more than anything, this book is a testament to human resilience.

Meticulously researched and written in a compassionate, engaging way, Nagasaki is a must-read if we are to truly understand the devastating impact of nuclear warfare. It is also a tribute to the victims of this disaster and their courage. The five brave survivors interviewed by Southard made the decision to speak about their painful experiences with the hope that, by sharing their stories, Nagasaki would be the last nuclear bombed city in history.

 

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War. Please leave a comment below and a winner will be selected randomly. US addresses only, please.

I received a copy of Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War from Viking for an honest review, which is the only kind of review I write.

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Book Buzz: Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase

Family secrets can be swept under the rug and languish there forevermore, leaving future generations clueless about scandal or misfortune.

Then there are times when family secrets are divulged by accident or by happenstance, which was the case with a story I heard last week when I met a friend for coffee.

Sipping our soy lattes, we launched into a discussion of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations. How crimes or simple missteps could bring shame to the family and were scrupulously hidden from public view. How that would not be possible in the age of the Internet.

My friend’s eyes widened and she held up her index finger while she drank the last of her latte. “Wait til you hear this one about my aunt,” she said in a low voice..

The aunt — I’ll call her Myrna – was a married woman and seemed to lead a normal life. However, for an outwardly healthy woman she seemed to have an inordinate number of office appointments with the family doctor. It became a family joke, my friend said. “People would roll their eyes and be like, ‘Myrna’s off to the doctor again.’” There were rumors and speculation. Accusations? Perhaps. But never answers.

“That all changed several weeks ago,” my friend continued. Aunt Myrna’s son (my friend’s cousin), now in his 60s, had a DNA test and found out that his DNA 100% matches the doctor’s DNA — not the DNA of the man he knew as his father. Aunt Myrna, passed away several year ago. Now the 60 year-old is struggling to make sense of this news.

Quite a story, and I couldn’t help but think of a book I just finished. Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase, a novel written by Louise Walters, is a multi-generational saga about love, life choices, secrets and sacrifice. It begins in World War II-torn England and jumps to the present day.

Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase

In the early 1940s, Dorothy Sinclair is an unhappily married British housewife who is secretly relieved when her husband is called to war. She lives by herself in a quaint English village and takes in two young women as boarders. Her solitary life is turned around when she meets a dashing Polish Squadron Leader in the army and for a brief time she knows true happiness.

The present day story is about Dorothy’s granddaughter, Roberta Pietrykowski, who works in a second-hand book shop and is at loose ends with her life. When Roberta discovers a faded letter in an old book from her grandfather to her grandmother that raises more questions than answers. For example, the letter is dated the year after her grandfather supposedly died. And why did her grandfather write so coldly, I cannot forgive you. What you do to this child, to this child’s mother, it is wrong.

With Dorothy now in fragile health and slipping in and out of lucidity, Roberta has little to go on and must solve the mystery on her own.

A bittersweet and moving story, I enjoyed Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase and was especially drawn to Dorothy’s story, so rich in historical content. I liked that both Dorothy and Roberta were strong, independent women who were so intensely tied to each other.

Like my friend’s aunt, Dorothy Sinclair was the subject of rumors and innuendo and her truth was not revealed until many years later, providing closure and undoubtedly more questions as well.

 

I am delighted to give away a copy of Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase to one of my lucky readers. Please leave a comment below and a winner will be randomly selected. US addresses only, please.

I received a copy of Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase from Putnam for an honest review, which is the only kind of review I write.

 

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Book Buzz: Shadows Over Paradise

When a book draws me in with a compelling plot, well-drawn, believable characters, a page-turning pace AND I learn something new about a time in history, well, for me that’s a definite win-win.

Shadows Over Paradise

Such was the case with “Shadows Over Paradise” by Isabel Wolff, the story of two women with deeply buried secrets who meet unpredictably, and come to discover a common bond.

Shadows Over Paradise

The women couldn’t be more different on the outside, but lurking in their backgrounds are demons that have haunted both of them all their lives.

Jenni, a woman in her 30s, is a ghost writer by trade. Why ghostwriting? She likes being under the radar. As she says, “I’m happy to be … invisible.” At a friend’s wedding she chats with a guest who, fascinated by her livelihood, mentions that his elderly mother, Klara, is looking for someone to help her write her memoir.

Klara lives on a farm in a coastal town called Polwarth in Cornwall, England, a place that Jenni had been on holiday with her family many years earlier but never returned. It was during that holiday that Jenni’s younger brother died in an accident for which she feels responsible.

This guilt has impacted many aspects of her life, including her reluctance to commit to relationships and her refusal to have children of her own because she believes she is incapable of caring for them.

With trepidation, she returns to this seaside town for 10 days to interview Klara and to also take a breather from her boyfriend. Their inability to agree on having children has put a strain on the relationship and they need distance to think about it.

She and Klara find that they work well together, and they like each other. Klara feels that she can open up to Jenni, and Jenni sees similarities in Klara’s life to hers.

Like Jenni, Klara’s childhood was ripped from her after she and her family, originally from Holland, moved to a Dutch colony in Java in the early 1940s for her father’s business. What started out as a lovely life of privilege and comfort turned to horror when the island became occupied by the Japanese during World War II.

Klara, her mother and brother were interred in a Japanese prison camp and endured two years of suffering.  The atrocities and deprivation were similar to what was occurring in concentration camps in Europe.

I’ve read much about the concentration camps in Europe. But I had not been aware of what happened in Java. Wolff brings this to life through the eyes of Klara, recounting her story to Jenni.

Wolff’s meticulous research brings this sad event to life, both before the occupation, during and after. The reader feels the family’s initial dismissal of the impending danger … then the fear as their homes and possessions are seized … and the panic as they become prisoners.

However, “Shadows Over Paradise” is ultimately a story of survival and healing as Jenni and Klara come to terms with the ghosts in their past.

This is a book I will definitely recommend to my friends. I am also able to give one of my lucky readers a copy of “Shadows Over Paradise.” Please leave a comment below and a winner will be selected randomly.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of “Shadows Over Paradise” from Random House for an honest review, which is the only kind of review I do.

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