Tag Archives: WWII

First Line Friday — Far on The Ringing Plains

24 Jul

I hit a home run with the purchase of a book for my husband. While we sometimes love the same books, more often than not the books I read my husband would not pick up. When I saw a blurb for Far on The Ringing Plains by Murray Pura and Patrick E. Craig, I took a shot and ordered. My husband loved this book set in the early days of WWII in the Pacific theater. I am featuring the first line in the hopes that you too (or a friend or spouse) may also find this book intriguing. It is the first of a planned three part Islands series. My husband is eagerly awaiting the next release.

 

When I first saw the Islands, it was August 7, 1942, at 0400 hours . . .

 

In the spirit of The Thin Red Line, Hacksaw Ridge, Flags of our Fathers, and Pearl Harbor.

Realistic. Gritty. Gutsy. Without taking it too far, Craig and Pura take it far enough to bring war home to your heart, mind, and soul. The rough edge of combat is here. And the rough edge of language, human passion, and our flawed humanity. If you can handle the ruggedness and honesty of Saving Private Ryan, 1917 or Dunkirk, you can handle the power and authenticity of ISLANDS: Far on the Ringing Plains.

For the beauty and the honor is here too. Just like the Bible, in all its roughness and realism and truthfulness about life, reaching out for God is ever-present in ISLANDS. So are hope and faith and self-sacrifice. Prayer. Christ. Courage. An indomitable spirit. And the best of human nature, triumphing over the worst.

Bud Parmalee, Johnny Strange, Billy Martens — three men that had each other’s backs and the backs of every Marine in their company and platoon. All three were raised never to fight. All three saw no other choice but to enlist and try to make a difference. All three would never be the same again. Never. And neither would their world.

Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next twenty-six years as a worship leader, pastor, and seminar speaker in churches and at retreats, seminars, and conferences all across the Western United States.

After ministering for a number of years in music and worship to a circuit of small churches in Northern California, he is now concentrating on writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction books.

Murray Andrew Pura was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and has traveled extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Ordained as a Baptist minister in 1986, Pura has served five churches in Canada and headlined numerous speaking engagements in Canada and the United States. He has five books published, was a contributor to the Life With God Bible, has been a finalist for The Paraclete Fiction Award, The Dartmouth Book Award, and The John Spencer Hill Literary Award, and has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2010 Kobzar Literary Award of Canada.

 

For more first line fun, head over to Hoarding Books.

 

Audiobook Review: A Bridge Across The Ocean

23 Jul

Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women — past and present — in this emotional novel from the acclaimed author of The Last Year of the War.
 
February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Résistance spy.
 
Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark . . . 
 
Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides — and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.

 

Susan Meissner is the USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction with more than half a million books in print in fifteen languages. Her novels include The Last Year of the War, a Library Reads and Real Simple top pick; As Bright as Heaven, which received a starred review from Library Journal; Secrets of a Charmed Life, a 2015 Goodreads Choice award finalist; and A Fall of Marigolds, named to Booklist’s Top Ten women’s fiction titles for 2014. She is also RITA finalist and Christy Award and Carol Award winner. A California native, she attended Point Loma Nazarene University and is also a writing workshop volunteer for Words Alive, a San Diego non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth foster a love for reading and writing.
Visit Susan at her website: http://susanmeissner.com and on Twitter at @SusanMeissner or at http://www.facebook.com/susan.meissner.

 

My Impressions:

Susan Meissner is one of my must-read authors. Her books are skillfully crafted with complex characters and plots that speak to the heart. Unfortunately, I am woefully behind on reading her books. Determined to do better, I chose A Bridge Across The Ocean to accompany me on my morning walks. I should have known better. Instead of turning off the audiobook to continue my day, it remained on as I looked for chores that would allow me to keep listening. 😉 This novel, which has a dual timeline, would not let me go. If you are looking for an unputdownable read, then this one is for you!

The HMS Queen Mary is the link to the three stories that are presented in A Bridge Across The Ocean. Modern-day Brette sees ghosts or drifters as she calls them. She sees this as more of a curse than a gift and has endeavored to ignore the sight for much of her life. While doing a favor for a friend she is introduced to the tragic story of Anneliese Lange and is determined to discover the truth of the fateful war brides crossing. The reader is introduced to Anneliese, a German, and Simone, a Frenchwoman, long before Brette knows their names. Their stories run parallel during the days of WWII. I was drawn to each woman’s story. Heartbreaking and heroic both describe their experiences. There are also some ghosts we meet along the way. The first person voice of one in particular provided moving insight into the life of the Queen Mary cruise ship. While Meissner has written for the Christian fiction market in the past, A Bridge Across The Ocean is general market fiction. But the reader can definitely find a Christian worldview if she/he looks for it. The spirits Brette encounters are great metaphors for all the lost people we meet along the way — those looking for purpose or direction. Her gift of seeing and communicating with them sheds light on all the giftedness we possess and the ways we choose to utilize or ignore it. If you don’t mind the inclusion of ghosts, you will find a riveting story of grace. Specific to the audiobook: the narrator did an excellent job of portraying the many accents — French, American, Belgian, and German — of the characters.

A Bridge Across The Ocean is now my favorite book by Meissner. Really a hard feat since all her books are excellent. It gets the rare very highly recommended rating from me.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Happy Release Day — The White Rose Resists

26 May

I am so excited that The White Rose Resists, Amanda Barratt‘s new WWII-era novel, is available today! I have been eagerly anticipating this story of the courageous students who stood up to the Nazi regime since I learned of it from reading My Dearest Dietrich (also an excellent book). Check out all the info on the book and Amanda below.

 

Inspired by the incredible true story of a group of ordinary men and women who dared to stand against evil.

The ideal of a new Germany swept up Sophie Scholl in a maelstrom of patriotic fervor — that is, until she realized the truth behind Hitler’s machinations for the fatherland. Now she and other students in Munich, the cradle of the Nazi government, have banded together to form a group to fight for the truth: the White Rose. Risking everything to print and distribute leaflets calling for Germans to rise up against the evil permeating their country, the White Rose treads a knife’s edge of discovery by the Gestapo.

Annalise Brandt came to the University of Munich to study art, not get involved with conspiracy. The daughter of an SS officer, she’s been brought up to believe in the Führer’s divinely appointed leadership. But the more she comes to know Sophie and her friends, the more she questions the Nazi propaganda.

Soon Annalise joins their double life — students by day, resisters by night. And as the stakes increase, they’re all forced to confront the deadly consequences meted out to any who dare to oppose the Reich.

A gripping testament to courage, The White Rose Resists illuminates the sacrifice and conviction of an unlikely group of revolutionaries who refused to remain silent-no matter the cost.

Purchase your copy:

Amazon

Christian Book Distributors

Barnes and Noble

Amanda Barratt is the ECPA best-selling author of over a dozen novels and novellas, including My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a two-time FHL Reader’s Choice Award finalist. She and her family live in northern Michigan. Connect with her at www.facebook.com/amandabarrattauthor and visit her at www.amandabarratt.net.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amandabarrattauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmandaMBarratt

 

 

First Line Friday — The White Rose Resists

22 May

Happy Friday! I don’t know how it is where you live, but things are getting a little bit back to normal here. Our numbers are down, and although we remain vigilant, we are out and about. My husband is a germaphobe conscientious about hygiene, so many of the new guidelines we have actually been doing for years. And all the extra cleaning businesses and restaurants are doing he has long advocated. Along with relaxed restrictions, my life has also become more relaxed. Anxiety has been my companion, if not my friend, for weeks. I have the pounds to prove it. 😉 Along with more peace, I seem to have more time to read. Go figure. One of the books on my soon TBR list is The White Rose Resists by Amanda Barratt. I loved My Dearest Dietrich, and I’m looking forward to starting this book soon. Here is the first line:

 

My future is waiting, a spark in the distance burning steadily brighter as the train approaches the city. 

 

 

Inspired by the incredible true story of a group of ordinary men and women who dared to stand against evil 

The ideal of a new Germany swept up Sophie Scholl in a maelstrom of patriotic fervor — that is, until she realized the truth behind Hitler’s machinations for the fatherland. Now she and other students in Munich, the cradle of the Nazi government, have banded together to form a group to fight for the truth: the White Rose. Risking everything to print and distribute leaflets calling for Germans to rise up against the evil permeating their country, the White Rose treads a knife’s edge of discovery by the Gestapo.

Annalise Brandt came to the University of Munich to study art, not get involved with conspiracy. The daughter of an SS officer, she’s been brought up to believe in the Führer’s divinely appointed leadership. But the more she comes to know Sophie and her friends, the more she questions the Nazi propaganda.

Soon Annalise joins their double life — students by day, resisters by night. And as the stakes increase, they’re all forced to confront the deadly consequences meted out to any who dare to oppose the Reich.

A gripping testament to courage, The White Rose Resists illuminates the sacrifice and conviction of an unlikely group of revolutionaries who refused to remain silent-no matter the cost.

Amanda Barratt is the ECPA best-selling author of over a dozen novels and novellas, including My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a two-time FHL Reader’s Choice Award finalist. She and her family live in northern Michigan. Connect with her at www.facebook.com/amandabarrattauthor and visit her at www.amandabarratt.net.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amandabarrattauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmandaMBarratt

 

For more fabulous first line fun, head over to Hoarding Books.

 

 

 

Book Spotlight: The White Rose Resists

21 May

Last year I read the fabulous biographical novel, My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt. I had only a passing knowledge of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and none of his fiancee Maria Von Wedemeyer. What an extraordinary life and love they had, and I am grateful for Barrett’s research in bringing their story to readers. There was a brief scene in the novel that depicted a resistance movement led by students. Little did I know when I googled Sophie Scholl that Barratt’s next novel set during WWII would feature this courageous young woman. The White Rose Resists releases on May 26, and I cannot wait to start reading! And I know you will not want to miss it either. Check out all the details below, including an excerpt.

 

Inspired by the incredible true story of a group of ordinary men and women who dared to stand against evil 

The ideal of a new Germany swept up Sophie Scholl in a maelstrom of patriotic fervor — that is, until she realized the truth behind Hitler’s machinations for the fatherland. Now she and other students in Munich, the cradle of the Nazi government, have banded together to form a group to fight for the truth: the White Rose. Risking everything to print and distribute leaflets calling for Germans to rise up against the evil permeating their country, the White Rose treads a knife’s edge of discovery by the Gestapo.

Annalise Brandt came to the University of Munich to study art, not get involved with conspiracy. The daughter of an SS officer, she’s been brought up to believe in the Führer’s divinely appointed leadership. But the more she comes to know Sophie and her friends, the more she questions the Nazi propaganda.

Soon Annalise joins their double life — students by day, resisters by night. And as the stakes increase, they’re all forced to confront the deadly consequences meted out to any who dare to oppose the Reich.

A gripping testament to courage, The White Rose Resists illuminates the sacrifice and conviction of an unlikely group of revolutionaries who refused to remain silent-no matter the cost.

 

 

Excerpt:

How long has it been since I’ve been able to give free vent to my feelings, trusting that no ideology-tuned ears are within range? Too long.

“Red and black everywhere.” I meet Kirk’s eyes, sensing the gazes of everyone upon me—these bright young university men. “There’s not a great building in the city that isn’t plastered with one of Hitler’s symbols. It’s disgusting, scars on our beautiful architecture. Of course, Ulm isn’t much different.”

“I wonder how long before it becomes our symbol of defeat, instead of victory?” Alex sets aside his half-finished plate as if he no longer has an appetite.

“That” — Kirk’s tone is quiet, but distinct — “depends on the people.”

Alex’s eyes, twinkling moments ago, now blaze with inner fire. Looking into them makes me start. Embodied in their depths is a passion the whole army of Hitler’s goose-stepping minions puffed up with propaganda, can’t match, much less quench.

I cannot tear my gaze away.

“It’s our fault, you know.” Our casual circle seems to shrink, until we’re leaning forward, hanging on Hans’s words. “We’ve allowed ourselves to be governed without resistance by an irresponsible faction ruled by dark instincts. Worse than children. Children, at least, sometimes question their parents’ decisions. But have we questioned? Nein, we’ve let ourselves be led like dogs on a leash, panting after Goebbels’s every speech, Sieg Heiling like trained monkeys.” My brother spits the words.

Christl nods. “Yet some have spoken out. Bishop von Galen, for example.”

“Who’s reading him?” Darkness creeps through the window, a shadow falling on Alex’s features. Soon, it will be time to draw the blackout curtains. “He preached three sermons, which a few brave souls dared to duplicate, resulting in a few hundred copies, likely little more. That’s not enough. Germany has been allowed to nap in the middle of carnage. It’s time to wake up, for this country to rub its eyes and look around and see the truth.”

Christl glances up. He’s no longer the gentle family man, smiling at the mention of his little ones, but a revolutionary with a fervor Goebbels, no matter how many stupid speeches he gives, could never emulate. His hands draw into fists. “It’s not just ‘this country.’ It’s our country. When this madness has ended, those who are left will be judged by the world, no matter what they thought amongst themselves. It’s action that will stand the test. Only action provides absolution.”

The words remain in my mind long after the men leave for their lodgings. I stand at the window, peering through a crack in the stifling blackout curtain, the evening chill soaking into my bones.

Only action provides absolution.

Purchase your copy:

Amazon

Christian Book Distributors

Barnes and Noble

Amanda Barratt is the ECPA best-selling author of over a dozen novels and novellas, including My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a two-time FHL Reader’s Choice Award finalist. She and her family live in northern Michigan. Connect with her at www.facebook.com/amandabarrattauthor and visit her at www.amandabarratt.net.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amandabarrattauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmandaMBarratt

 

 

 

If You Liked The Land Beneath Us . . .

31 Mar

My book club was unanimous in their approval of The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin. Many said it was their favorite of the three books in the Sunrise at Normandy series. This WWII-era novel is set on the US homefront and in the war theater giving the reader a good perspective of what everyone was experiencing during that time. If you like this one too, then here are a few more reading recommendations for you.

 

Nightingale by Susan May Warren

Nightingale Esther Lange doesn’t love her fiancé—she’s trapped in an engagement after a mistaken night of passion.  Still, she grieves him when he’s lost in battle, the letters sent to her by the medic at his side giving her a strange comfort, so much that she strikes up a correspondence with Peter Hess, an Iowa farmboy.  Or is he?  Peter Hess is not who he seems.  Indeed, he’s hiding a secret, something that could cost them both their lives, especially when the past comes back to life.  A bittersweet love song of the home front war between duty and the heart…a battle where only one will survive.

Secrets of A Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades…beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden–one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, hundreds of thousands of children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed . . . .

A Songbird Under A German Moon by Tricia Goyer

The year is 1945. The war is over and 21-year-old Betty Lake has been invited to Europe to sing in a USO tour for American soldiers who now occupy Hitler’s Germany. The first nights performance is a hit.

Betty becomes enthralled with the applause, the former Nazi-held mansion they’re housed in and the attention of Frank Witt, the US Army Signal Corp Photographer. Yet the next night this songbird is ready to fly the coop when Betty’s dear friend, Kat, turns up missing.  Betty soon realizes Franks photographs could be the key to finding Kat. Betty and Frank team up against post-war Nazi influences and the two lovebirds’ hearts may find the answers…in each other.  But will they have a chance for their romance to sing? The truth will be revealed under a German moon.

 

Book Review: The Land Beneath Us

26 Mar

In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the US Army Rangers at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. With his future stolen by his brothers’ betrayal, Clay has only one thing to live for — fulfilling the recurring dream of his death.

Leah Jones works as a librarian at Camp Forrest, longing to rise above her orphanage upbringing and belong to the community, even as she uses her spare time to search for her real family — the baby sisters she was separated from so long ago.

After Clay saves Leah’s life from a brutal attack, he saves her virtue with a marriage of convenience. When he ships out to train in England for D-day, their letters bind them together over the distance. But can a love strong enough to overcome death grow between them before Clay’s recurring dream comes true

Sarah Sundin is the CBA-bestselling author of The Land Beneath Us (February 2020), The Sky Above Us (2019) and The Sea Before Us (2018), and the Waves of Freedom series, the Wings of the Nightingale series, and the Wings of Glory series, all from Revell. In addition, she has a novella in Where Treetops Glisten (WaterBrook).

Her novels have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. In 2019, The Sea Before Us received the Reader’s Choice Award from Faith, Hope and Love. Both When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” Through Waters Deep was a 2016 Carol Award Finalist and won the 2016 INSPY Award, and her novella “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in Where Treetops Glisten was a finalist for the 2015 Carol Award. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

A mother of three, Sarah lives in northern California and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. She enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers’ groups, and has been well received.

She serves as Programming Director for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference, and she belongs to American Christian Fiction Writers and Christian Authors Network.

 

My Impressions:

The Land Beneath Us is the concluding novel in Sarah Sundin’s Sunrise at Normandy series. The books feature the three Paxton brothers — men impacted by the actions of a single night back at their home in Texas. Lots of mistakes, poor decisions, and, yes, sins took place on that tragic day, and all three men have to deal with the repercussions. In The Land Beneath Us, youngest brother Clay takes center stage. He trains to be a Ranger to fulfill what he believes to be his destiny. On his way he meets a remarkable young woman whose own life has been marked by tragedy and violence. Her example of forgiveness impacts Clay, changing how he sees his life, his brothers, and God. An excellent finale to this series, this book gets a highly recommended rating from me.

There are so many things to love about The Land Beneath Us. I love how Sundin brings the day-to-day activities of WWII-era America to life. Small details such as fashion, baby care, scrap drives show just how life has changed in the modern world. Yet there is much to be learned — unity of purpose and watching out for our neighbors. There were definitely some dark aspects  — prejudices of many kinds — that shine a light on the shortcomings of modern day America as well. Sundin’s research is remarkable. I really felt I was in those Ranger training sessions and on the streets of small town Tennessee. And Clay’s experiences on D Day spotlight the courage and determination of our Greatest Generation. Spiritual themes abound and are naturally woven into the narrative. Forgiveness, feelings of unworthiness, and clinging to what others have done to us are just a few. The two main characters’ developing relationship was special as well. Through letters they go from a marriage of convenience to a deep love. The book includes an epilogue wrapping up all of the books — I loved that too!

For fans of historical fiction set during WWII, this series cannot be beat! If you haven’t read any of the books in this series, you need to. Start at book 1 and get ready for a great reading experience.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — WWII Fiction

24 Mar

As Covid-19 news is everywhere, and people around the world are called to shelter in place, I have been giving more and more thought to what people endured during WWII. Talk about a world turned upside down overnight — Pearl Harbor, the invasion of Poland, Dunkirk, concentration camps, and D-Day. There are many excellent WWII novels from which to choose so it is hard to pick just 10, but I did my best to whittle the list down. I hope these novels inspire and encourage you with their messages of hope in a very dark time.

For more Genre Favorites from other bloggers, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top WWII-Era Novels

 

The Butterfly And The Violin by Kristy Cambron

A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot

Years of Nazi occupation have stolen much from Brigitte Durand. Family. Freedom. Hope for a future, especially for a woman with a past like hers. But that changes the day American fighter pilot Tom Jaeger is shot down over occupied France. Picked up by the Resistance, Tom becomes the linchpin in their plan to infiltrate a Germans-only brothel and get critical intel out through Brigitte, a prostitute rumored to be sympathetic to the Allied cause.D-day looms and everyone knows that invasion is imminent. But so is treachery, and the life of one American pilot unexpectedly jeopardizes everything. He becomes more important than the mission to a man who cannot bear to lose another agent and to a woman who is more than just a prostitute, who finally realizes that her actions could change the course of history.

The Girl from The Train by Irma Joubert

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families — so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan—even their very lives—in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambithat connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart

An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope.

The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little—known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the “killing ditch.” He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Führer’s plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright―a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.

Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call―piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.

The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler’s mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl.

Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen — Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city’s library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.

Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war — if any of them survive — is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.

Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.

My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

A staggering love illuminating the dark corners of a Nazi prison

Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel.

Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. Her beloved father and brother have both been killed on the battlefield. The last thing this spirited young woman needs is to fall for a man under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. How can she give another piece of her heart to a man so likely to share the same final fate? Yet when Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an old family friend, comes to comfort the von Wedemeyers after their losses, she discovers that love isn’t always logical.

Dietrich himself has determined to keep his distance from romantic attachments. There is too much work to be done for God, and his involvement in the conspiracy is far too important. But when he encounters a woman whose intelligence and conviction match his own, he’s unprepared for how easy it is to give away his heart.

With their deep love comes risk — and neither Dietrich nor Maria is prepared for just how great that risk soon becomes.

Based on detailed historical research, this true love story is at once beautiful and heartrending. My Dearest Dietrich sheds new light on a world-famous theologian . . . and the woman who changed his life.

The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson

A Prostitute Seeks Her Revenge

In 1942, Miyako Matsuura cradled her little brother as he died on the sidewalk, a victim of the first U.S. bombing raid on Japan. By 1948, the war has reduced her to a street-hardened prostitute consumed by her shame.

A WWII Hero Finds His True Mission

Dave Delham makes military aviation history piloting a B-25 in the audacious Doolittle Raid. Forced to bail out over occupied China, he and his crew are captured by the Japanese and survive a harrowing P.O.W. ordeal.

In 1948, he returns to Japan as a Christian missionary, determined to showcase Christ’s forgiveness. Convinced that Delham was responsible for the bomb that snuffed out her brother’s life, Miyako resolves to restore her honor by avenging him — even if it costs her own life. But the huntress soon becomes hunted in Osaka’s treacherous underworld. Miyako must outmaneuver a ruthless brothel owner, outwit gangs with competing plans to profit by her, and overcome betrayal by family and friends — only to confront a decision that will change everything.

Sunrise at Normandy series by Sarah Sundin

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin’s practiced pen with this powerful new series.

 

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

A boy coming of age in a time of war . . .
the love that inspires him to survive.

For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, the life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942 after the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Southeast Pacific. Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings when his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, and he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about a woman he barely knows—his frail, troubled mother.

Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap for his mother. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength.

When the darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, they reach for God’s light and grace, shining through his people. Time and war will test their fortitude and the only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Anticipated Books of 2020 (a few months worth at least)

7 Jan

A new year means new books! And although I have shelves full, there is always room for more great books. My list contains novels that I am looking forward to in the next few months. I am an eclectic reader, so the fiction I have listed runs the gamut of genres — something for everyone!

What new book are you looking forward to in 2020?

For more bloggers’ highly anticipated lists, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Anticipated Books of Early 2020

 

Chasing The White Lion by James Hannibal (3/3)

Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar (2/4)

  • End Game by Rachel Dylan (released today! Woo hoo!)

 

The Englisch Daughter by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall (4/21)

Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck (2/4)

The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin (2/4)

One Little Lie by Colleen Coble (3/3)

 

Promised Land by Robert Whitlow (1/14)

Starfish Pier by Irene Hannon (3/31)

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor by Sarah E. Ladd (released today!!)

 

2020 Book Club Picks

1 Jan

Happy New Year! My book club has A LOT of great reading ahead of us. We would love for you to join us online at our FB page. And if Santa brought you some bookish gift cards, our list is a great place to start!

 

Happy New Years Reading!

January — Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

February — Lethal Target by Janice Cantore

March — The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin

April — Surprise!

May — Promised Land by Robert Whitlow

June —Magnolia Storms by Janet Ferguson

July — Living Lies by Natalie Walters

August — Surprise!

September — Under A Turquoise Sky by Lisa Carter

October — Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt

November — Deadly Intentions by Lisa Harris

December — Christmas book, TBA