Hey guys! It’s Sunday and I’m lazy, so it’s another Charity shop find for me. I was especially excited by the first two books if I’m going to be honest!
I have The Poppy War on Kindle but I do tend to read better when I have a paper or hardback, and I wanted to get The Bone Season as I’m seeing Samantha Shannon again this month and well, I’ve already asked her to sign my Priory haha, and besides, I want to get into this series now. ❤
I purely got this one because I loved the out there cover, I’ve read both of these books and we own them already but I like having ‘fun’ editions. And I’m obviously a little obsessed with books. Like you probably. It’s cool, I’m not judging.
The ‘Historical Whodunits’ just called to me, how could it not? For a mystery thriller like myself, I had to at least give it a try and my husband had been curious about Tom Hanks and his book, so we nabbed that up as well.
This is where I am probably going to lose most of you lol, we went on another nonfiction binge. Sidney Poitier’s movies always have been some of my faves so I grabbed up the memoirs and the book on the left is a Scotland history but it’s focusing on different aspects and isn’t one ‘speciality’ like a lot of history books are, and obviously 1421 is a dope ass history book about China and all its amazingness.
Nelson Mandela was such an intriguing man, and it’s hard not to want to read more on him so I grabbed this and the one on the right is a book about Chairman Mao.
Somme, Somme everywhere. We are huge history buffs as a couple, and so this was a sort of ‘for both of us’ binge.
A little over 10 quid.
Did you score any good book deals? Doesn’t have to be from a charity shop, what about just buying a book you wanted in general?
Raised by a lively family of Spanish Jews in tropical and Catholic Panama of the l950s and 1960s, Marlena depends on her many tíos and tías for refuge from the difficulties of life, including the frequent absences of her troubled mother. As a teenager, she pulls away from this centered world—crossing borders—and begins a life in the United States very different from the one she has known.
This lyrical coming-of-age memoir explores the intense and profound relationship between mothers and daughters and highlights the importance of community and the beauty of a large Latin American family. At the Narrow Waist of the Worldexamines the author’s gradual integration into a new culture, even as she understands that her home is still—and always will be—rooted in another place.
Today I’m reviewing a memoir that was a really powerful read for me.
It was written with such fluidity that I forgot that this wasn’t just a beautiful novel of fiction. Marlena takes you straight into the heart of her culture, of Panama, and most importantly, her family. There are some similarities over various Hispanic cultures and so I really connected with Baraf’s story, things were so easy to understand on more than just a reading intake level.
Marlena has provided translations where they fit best and in some cases, as many who speak more than language know, some things just get lost in translation and those phrases are left untouched but easy enough to figure out the gist within the context for those who don’t speak Spanish.
There really is a poetical feel to it and you get lost in the words and pages. Marlena is unabashedly and unashamedly honest about her feelings, her experiences, and the bonds with her family. The family history completely intrigued me and I thought this book was simply beautiful.
It’s not often I have read books that I connect with on a cultural level, though admittedly there are vast differences between my heritage and Marlena’s, there are somethings which connect and overlap between the cultures and having a memoir reflecting that at all was quite important to me. I didn’t know how much it meant to me until I was reading it.
This memoir though isn’t just for those with similar cultural backgrounds, it’s also a great read to understand someone coming to terms with their own memories and family history, nothing world shocking, but instead, so common and relevant that most can connect to her through her familial interactions, especially the bonds between siblings and parents. Also, it takes a look at grief and that it does linger, and Marlena does a great job with writing it with such a lyrical ease.
Thank you to Marlena Maduro Baraf and She Writes Press for a chance to read this in exchange for my honest opinion. And thank you for a chance to interview.
A more in-depth review plus interview will appear on my blog at a later date, and this review will go up on Amazon upon Publication.
A heartfelt and poetical memoir ❤️
You’ll be able to buy this wonderful memoir come August !!
When did you know/decide that you would write a memoir?
It was a surprise to me. I’d taken a first creative writing course late in my life, and from an early assignment I uncovered a memory from my childhood. After that I couldn’t stop. It was not a decision. It happened. I do think writing the memoir originates from a nostalgia for the place of my birth,
I loved how you so clearly captured the heritage and culture of your family, did you have to do much research into any of the family history?
There are several books written about the historic community I come from. I had pretty much read them all, and also several books about the history of Iberian Jews who were expelled from Spain and Portugal during the Spanish Inquisition in the late 1400/1500s. So I had a general sense, but I still had to check my facts, because you can make mistakes when you try summarizing things. I also interviewed elders in the family for some very specific details of more recent times–but still before my time.
After writing this, did your family read it?
This is a perfect question. And I am not sure I can answer it fully yet. My sister and brothers were very supportive when I started writing this. We went through a lot together so I think we are closer than other siblings. Four of the “chapters” were published in literary journals and some in the family read those. One of my children has read parts. The other not. However, I have a huge extended family that lived these stories and knew the same people. I’ve yet to see how they will react. I will be in Panama for a book fair very soon and will find out. My mother’s best friend is still living and I adore her and I don’t want to hurt her. Her feelings are probably that you don’t say certain family things in public. I pray she will understand.
What was your writing process for this and how long did it take you to write it?
I would say writing, rewriting, and editing took about 5 years (and if you’ve read the book you know that I don’t use a lot of words). My process was taking out words that were not essential. Other writers tell me that I lean towards poetry. I wanted the reader to fill in the gaps with her own connections. (This was not a conscious thought.) By the way when I got up in the morning and went directly to the empty page. If I got distracted with a little chore or two, I lost the day. I still struggle with this. The trick is not to look at your phone before you start, if you can possibly do this.
What is your next writing project? Do you have anything planned in particular?
I have this vague notion that I’d like to try fiction to see what I could invent, also to study poetry seriously, and I am definitely continuing with interviews with Hispanics all over this country, something that I started several years ago.
Do you think this helped you to cope with your own memories, was it cathartic for you?
Yes. Halfway through I felt driven to discover who my mother was really and realized she was flawed and also very human and wonderful. As an adult with not the same need for her that I had growing up, I can see her more clearly. Writing the memoir cleared up the old hurts and made me more confident.
Would you change anything about writing this if you could? It was such a personal read, and I really felt so connected to your memories while reading it. I would say it was incredibly brave to write such an honest memoir.
Thank you so much for saying this. I don’t think I would change anything.
I would like to say thank you all for giving me the opportunity to read this.
I am so happy that this resonated deeply with you. I think a reader who is keyed in to the words and images and understands and connects is the greatest gift a writer could receive.
About the Author
Soy panameña y americana. Can you split the two? Born and raised in Panama, I chose to leave my tiny land for Los Estados Unidos de America—a newly minted immigrant. I was in my late teens. In my thirties, I swore allegiance to the country I’d adopted and became an American. I raised a family and worked as book editor at Harper & Row Publishers and McGraw-Hill Book Company after which I studied at Parson’s School of Design and established my own design studio. In the last ten years I’ve dedicated myself to the compelling art and craft of writing. I’m a devoted alumna of the Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute.
Two loving sons have given me two amazing women as daughters-in-law. I am married to a funny, Brooklyn-born man. Life is strong. I endure the Mets. I love orchids and cats.
At the Narrow Waist of the World: a memoir is a mother-daughter story about mental illness and healing. Is mental illness fixed, or does it move in and out of focus? Mine is a story about forgiveness and acceptance. About leaving home and looking back and finding it again.
The information and photo have been taken from Marlena’s website which can be found:
The Awakening Aten envelops the reader in an Egypt of whispers and fears, of webs within webs, deceit upon deceit. Its themes of murder, intrigue, political and religious conflict, corruption, tomb robbing, war and executions are set against a background of fundamental ideological change.
Ancient Egypt is seen through the eyes of two families; one royal, the other commoner. Yuya, whose tomb is in the Valley of the Kings, is a foreigner who rises from slavery to become Regent to an infant Pharaoh and thus, the most powerful man in the world’s wealthiest empire. His children and descendants will remain at the very heart of the country’s destiny. Kha is a tomb painter and builder who experiences both the despair of imprisonment and the horror of war. As Overseer of the King’s Works he restores the Great Sphinx, and inscribes the ‘Dream Stela’ placed between its paws, still visible today. Through tragic and deathly events his family and that of Yuya become entwined.
This is the fictional tale of real people, whose possessions and artefacts can be seen in museums throughout the world. It gives a voice to those people, inspired by their personal items, buried with them 3,000 years ago.
Book Information: Paperback: 448 pages Publisher: Troubador Publishing (21 May 2019) Language: English ISBN-10: 1789018757 ISBN-13: 978-1789018752
I haven’t been able to read much fiction set in Ancient Egypt, I tend to stick with nonfiction on this ‘subject matter’ and I’m pretty passionate about history and for years as a child, I wanted to be an Egyptologist, but that’s just me fangirling over Egypt. So, let’s get to the heart of the matter.
The Awakening Aten. This is a promising start to a generational saga. Morrissey obviously did his research for this book, I was really impressed by the dedication shown in the history of this book. There are characters that were straight from the pages of history, many real, some purely fictional but all flowed seamlessly together and unless you recalled the list at the start that stated who was ‘real’ and who was fictional, they all blended together.
Some of you may be familiar with the story of Joseph, a biblical figure who rose from slave to being a respected and powerful man in Egypt. If you read this you’ll see similarities between him and Yuya, the man who he could have been based on. [Also a cool DreamWorks film that I really like haha]
Yuya rises from slave to the most powerful man in Egypt but he keeps his own ideology and faith while supporting those of family and friends who worship as most do in Egypt at this time period.
There is a long cast of characters for this, from all walks of life and backgrounds. An older generation their children and grandchildren those surrounded in their world.
Yuya’s friend Kha was one of my favorite characters and I really enjoyed his arc and the others as well. Being recalled to a world over 3000 years gone, it doesn’t lessen the connection I had with these characters. They were men and women who loved, toiled, and went through tragedies and triumphs no matter if they were Royalty, powerful men risen from their circumstances, or just artists who were passionate for their work.
There is a question of faith whether mono or polytheistic, and it’s interesting to see how Morrissey has taken the shift of many gods to one in Egypt’s history.
The ending has left me unable to contain my enthusiasm to read book two and I am already waiting for its release.
A rich and in-depth novel on Ancient Egypt and characters who connect to us across the ages.
I’m a huge fan and know I will return to Yuya, Kha, and the others again and again. Thanks to Anne Cater, Aidan K. Morrissey and Troubador publishing for a chance to read and honestly review this as part of the Random Things blog tour.
About the Author
I am of Irish heritage and was the first member of my immediate family to be born outside of Ireland. My professional life has caused me to travel the world. I am now looking forward to settling in the North East of England, to concentrate on writing.
A graduate in Law from Leicester University, after working for some years in a commercial environment, I qualified as a Solicitor in 1981.
My career developed in an unusual way and I have lived and worked at various times in Italy, Brazil, the United States, India and Germany.
I have always had a love and fascination for history. A holiday in Egypt sparked a particular passion for Ancient Egypt, especially the latter part of the 18th Dynasty. A history, which Pharaoh Horemeb (Djeser-Kheperu-Ra circa 1319-1292 BCE) tried to destroy and which only came to light following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.
‘The Awakening Aten’ is the culmination of many years of research.
I have built up a substantial collection of academic books and novels on Ancient Egypt, its customs, traditions and daily life. I am fortunate to have been able to visit all of the major museums containing artefacts from Egypt throughout the world, as well as spending months in Egypt itself studying the funereal valleys and other sites. All of this supplemented by internet research.
This novel is the first in a plannned five book series, looking at the fictional lives of real people through a period of major political and religious change, spanning approximately 130 years.
My hobbies are reading, which I enjoy as much as I do writing, and taking bracing walks along the North East Coast and in the Northumberland Hills.
SS Bach is the story of three generations of women from either side of Germany’s 20th Century horror story – one side, a Jewish family from Vienna, the other linked to a ranking Nazi official at Dachau concentration camp – who suffer the consequences of what men do. Fast forward to 1990s California, and two survivors from the families meet. Rosa is a young Australian musicologist; Otto is a world-famous composer and cellist. Music and history link them. A novel of music, the Holocaust, love, and a dog. The author’s writing is a wonderland, captivating and drawing the reader in to the presented world. Time becomes no object as a literary universe unfolds and carries the reader through eighty years, where emotions are real and raw and beautifully given.
Book Information: Hardcover: 200 pages Publisher: Wrecking Ball Press; Hardcover edition (4 Mar. 2019) Language: English ISBN-10: 1903110629 ISBN-13: 978-1903110621
Where do I start? This holds all the horrors and beauty of mankind. The fact that even when someone isn’t good they can still do good. It’s a book that shows how the past echoes on in the future, how it really affects people rather than the imprint it just leaves in history books.
Goodman immediately drops you into the story, he doesn’t waste time on flowery prose and shows you the heart of the matter, the journey he wants to take you on. It’s one that’s not for the faint hearted. He also is brilliant at describing history in such a modern and stark way. He shows how ugly things were, how brutal it was, and yet his words are elegant, poignant, guiding you through brutal honesty and lyricism of music.
Three generations of women from the same family have been entangled in Otto’s life, whether they know it or not. Katja is the origins of it all and her character is not an easy one to appreciate, but, Goodman does a good job showing you enough about her to at least have some understanding on certain parts of her workings. I can appreciate the struggles she went through though they are justified in many ways.
Her daughter Uwe broke my heart, if there was ever a character that I wanted to reach out and cherish, it’s her. The child of two Nazis, and yet just an innocent life herself. She bears the burden of the shame brought on to her by her parents, hated by others for simply being born to them. It’s a hard life to live, and really it was a heartbreaking read overall but especially for her, Otto, and Greta. In fact the reason I rated this 4.5 instead of 5 is simply because I wish there would have been more to Uwe’s story, and the women in general but this story in reality is about Otto more than anyone else in my opinion.
Otto himself is a character full of turmoil, tragedy, and isolation. Goodman breathes him to life, there’s not one moment where his actions are believable, the way he lives his life, the choices he’s made. The only thing I struggled to believe was a certain moment that occurs in the book once it’s back to 1994, but I won’t say it and spoil it, it was quite a small issue, and one though I don’t agree with, it makes sense why Goodman put it in. In fact the rest of the story is pretty flawless, I just wanted more because I think it needed more about the women but it’s hard to argue with the choices Goodman has made. Otto though, he is the true main character in my humble opinion, and your heart will be gripped by him.
Rosa is Katja’s Granddaughter and Uwe’s daughter, raised by Katja, she’s grown up in a world knowing the stark truth about her grandparents but never knowing her own past entirely, told that her father had died, and not at all knowing who he was. She is tugged by the past onto a path that will eventually lead her to Otto.
And at the heart of everything, the main reason I wanted to read this, is music.
Otto is a brilliant cellist and composer, Katja was a musician until she went deaf (not a spoiler as you find out within the first few pages she is indeed unable to hear), and Rosa is a musicologist. Fun fact, My postgrad is in Musicology, so I was a bit critical of the musical aspects of this, and Goodman certainly did his research, I was pretty impressed and he didn’t overreach, it was a perfect balance. Music connects Otto to his family and to Katja, to Rosa later on, and it draws people in and strips them down to the bare bones of their pain and joy, its something that can’t be quantified or explained but I loved the way Goodman wrote about it, the sensations it brings in emotions and to our bodies.
As I stated earlier, this book is not for the faint hearted. This shows the brutality and violence of WWII, there are Nazis before and after the war, there are people who are cruel, but it’s never needless cruelty or violence in Goodman’s writing, it all adds purposefully to the story.
4.5/5 Cups of coffee and I tip my hat to Goodman. This was a brilliant novel that broke my heart in the best ways. Thanks to Anne for letting me be part of this tour and thanks to Goodman for the copy of his book. [I don’t typically write this in blog tours but of course my honest opinion was given in exchange]
About the Author
Martin Goodman was born in Leicester, and has lived and worked in China, Qatar, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and France. Travel forms a large part of his writing: both for strictly travel-related books and also for novels and biographies. His first novel ON BENDED KNEES was shortlisted for the Whitbread prize, and his most recent biography SUFFER AND SURVIVE won 1st Prize, Basis of Medicine in the BMA Book Awards 2008. He is the Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Hull. He lives in Hull, London and the French Pyrenees. ‘Such narrow, narrow confines we live in. Every so often, one of us primates escapes these dimensions, as Martin Goodman did. All we can do is rattle the bars and look after him as he runs into the hills. We wait for his letters home.’
– The Los Angeles Times
“Horizontal Collaboration” is a term used to describe the sexual and romantic relationships that some French women had with members of the occupying German forces during World War II. In this poignant, female-centered graphic novel created by writer/artist duo Carole Maurel and Mademoiselle Navie, the taboo of “sleeping with the enemy” is explored through the story of a passionate, and forbidden, affair. In June 1942, married Rose (whose husband is a prisoner of war) intervenes in the detainment of her Jewish friend and then accidentally embarks on a secret relationship with the investigating German officer, Mark. There is only one step between heroism and treason, and it’s often a dangerous one. Inside an apartment building on Paris’s 11th arrondissement, little escapes the notice of the blind husband of the concierge. Through his sightless but all-knowing eyes, we learn of Rose and Mark’s hidden relationship, and also of the intertwined stories and problems of the other tenants, largely women and children, who face such complex issues as domestic violence, incest, and prostitution. This fascinating graphic novel tackles the still-sensitive topic of who it is acceptable to love, and how, and the story’s drama is brought vividly to life by intimate and atmospheric illustrations.
Book Information: Hardcover: 144 pages Publisher: Korero Press; None ed. edition (18 Jun. 2019) Language: English ISBN-10: 191274001X ISBN-13: 978-1912740017
The art in this was simply gorgeous and the stories combined with it made for a breath taking and well…quite frankly, hear breaking read. The emotion on the characters was so raw and powerful, it made the art flawless by making them so utterly believable. There is a large mix of characters, they all board in the same building and we’re given insight into all their toils and dreams. The pressure of WWII wears down on France, and on Parisians especially in this beautiful graphic novel. There is no one without strife or causing it, and in the darkness of war one woman has fallen in love with a German Soldier.
For those who don’t know their history, it was severely ‘frowned upon’ [and that’s putting it mildly] by the people of Paris for the French women to liaison with German Soldiers. Of course some women did it to survive, others because they were true to the German cause, and some, because they fell in love. Rose’s is not the only love story in the book, and everyone’s heartache and hopes really spilled through the pages. It’s an emotional read and one that left me a bit breathless. Things are believable, they’re palpable whether in the actions of the characters or in the setting of history itself and the author and artist have blended everything together beautifully.
I could not say enough good things about this graphic novel. If you are someone who likes history or graphic novels, or even someone who s intrigued by a devastatingly gorgeous story and art, I would definitely recommend this book to you all. By far the best graphic novel read of the year for me so far and I don’t see it slipping out of the top rank anytime soon.
Below you’ll find a couple of examples of the beautiful art and at the very bottom make sure to check out the rest of the tour.
Five huge cups of coffee from me.
About the Authors/Artists
Carole Maurel cut her teeth on animated films before devoting herself to illustration, in particular, graphic novels. Her 2017 book The Apocalypse According to Magda was awarded the Artémisia Avenir award, which celebrates women in comics.
Navie is a screenwriter for press, cinema and television. She has a degree in history from The Sorbonne in Paris, where she specialized in the history of fascism – making Horizontal Collaboration an excellent fit for her first graphic novel.
Introducing an epic new trilogy from Taran Matharu, author of the New York Times–bestselling Summoner series.
Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.
Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still — people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.
But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle . . . because hiding is not an option.
Book Information The Chosen (Contender #1) by Taran Matharu Publisher: Feiwel and Friends Release Date: June 4th 2019 Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Dinosaurs. If anyone knows a way to make me happy, add dinosaurs, I will faithfully read and love your book on that premise alone. Thankfully Matharu had some other points I really enjoyed about his novel so it wasn’t just the dinosaurs. [But I mean, come on, dinosaurs.]
Cade is a great protagonist, he is a history ‘nerd’ and someone who has kinda tried to stay out of the limelight but this doesn’t seem to particularly work for him as he ends up thrust into focus constantly. The boarding school scenes are short and quickly disappear as the current situation of being in a new place that is possibly not even Earth just grows more and more ‘real’ to the students who have been placed in this predicament. Cade isn’t the only one, but, that may not necessarily be a good thing as at least one boy seems to have decided Cade is his target for bullying and now in a high stress situation, Cade is having to watch some of his fellow students and the other threats in this new place. [Did I mention dinosaurs?]
I loved the other cast of characters as well, in fact I would say that Quints and Spex were my favorites along with Grace, purely because she seems like she could kick so much butt and that is so cool, so I hope we learn more about her in book 2.
As noted this is the first book in a new series and the ending will certainly leave you wanting to read book two to find out what happens.
Besides the obvious parts I favored, I also enjoyed the history tidbits and the mystery of it all, it had some elements that slightly reminded me of Maze Runner but to Matharu’s credit, this is unlike any other plot I’ve encountered before. And this book was so quick to read as I just kept pressing for one more chapter to find out what on earth was going on/going to happen next.
I will say that I wish some other things had happened sooner than later in the novel as a lot is crammed in a little time and with how the ending is, I really wish that all of the teenagers would have known the purpose of it all as I feel like they deserved that much, I’d like to say more, but, spoilers! I also felt like though everything felt so quick there was a little too much build up for the end and as I said I thought those events should have shifted sooner, but, this is a perfect ending to leave us on edge to find out what happens in book 2. Well played Matharu, well played.
Cade and the others have some tough challenges to face and they’ll have to work together if they want to have any hope of going home. But will it be enough?
How long until book 2?? UGH.
Thanks to The Fantastic Flying Book Club, the publisher, and Matharu for the copy of the book and being part of the tour!
About the Author
Taran Matharu is the New York Times bestselling author of the Summoner series, which has been translated into 15 languages and has sold over a million copies. He was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for writing during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.
Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013.
Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’ and sharing his work on Wattpad.com. The shared sample of the story went viral, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months. Taran went on to launch his professional writing career, and has never looked back.
His SUMMONER series is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan, Record in Brazil, EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria, Alpress in the Czech Republic, Ithaki in Turkey, Forlaget Forar in Denmark and Unieboek in the Netherlands.
Emerging out of the 1940-1941 London Blitz, the drama of these two short works, a novel and a memoir, comes from the courage and endurance of ordinary people met in the factories, streets and lodging houses of a city under bombardment. Inez Holden’s novella Night Shift follows a largely working-class cast of characters for five night shifts in a factory that produces camera parts for war planes. It Was Different At The Time is Holden’s account of wartime life from April 1938 to August 1941, drawn from her own diary. This was intended to be a joint project written with her friend George Orwell (he was in the end too busy to contribute), and includes disguised appearances of Orwell and other notable literary figures of the period. The experiences recorded in It Was Different At The Time overlap in period and subject with Night Shift, setting up a vibrant dialogue between the two texts.
Inez Holden (1903-1974) was a British writer and literary figure whose social and professional connections embraced most of London’s literary and artistic life. She modelled for Augustus John, worked alongside Evelyn Waugh, and had close relationships with George Orwell, Stevie Smith, H G Wells, Cyril Connolly, and Anthony Powell. The introduction and notes are by Kristin Bluemel, exploring how these short prose texts work as multiple stories: of Inez Holden herself, the history of the Blitz, of middlebrow women’s writing, of Second World War fiction, and of the world of work.
Thank you Handheld Press for sending me a review copy, in exchange I’m providing you all with an honest review.
This book was a nice change of pace to my other recent reads. I’m a huge history buff and I had done a lot of WWI and Russian Revolution reading for my nonfiction so to have a change of pace with WWII was great. Not to mention this is a 2 for 1 really, we get Inez Holden’s novella Night Shift along with her wartime memoir, It Was Different At The Time.
Both had their own slice of history to bring to the table, they are both pieces though that are exploring the sort of people that exist in this time period. This isn’t a look at WWII as an event as much as a time period in someone’s life. Holden has a talent for describing people as an outsider that’s a joy to read and the details she provides are unlike other accounts I’ve read. In her novella, she describes the work week, and this includes the machinery that many of us now forget were used to help so much in the war and that was manned quite a bit by women at that point in time. She also recalls things as ‘mundane’ as the buses, and bicycles people used to get around during air raids, and this goes for her memoirs as well.
Oh to be a fly on the wall for Holden’s life, she knew an amazing group of people and thanks to the introduction by Kristin Bluemel we get to know more of what an amazing woman Inez Holden was herself. This is not for reading to get to a plot or experience a satisfying ending, it’s for just plain enjoyment and observation. I can’t say I recall being on the edge of my seat while reading this but I did thoroughly enjoy it for what it was, the small nuances and bits of information were a true delight. I am happy to say that I look forward to reading more about and by Inez Holden.
I would recommend this to any History Buff especially those interested in WWII.
4/5 Cups of Coffee from this caffeine addict! This book will be launched on May 31st at The Second Shelf Bookshop in London!