#BlogTour: The Last Of The Seven by Steven Hartov

For this blog tour we’re looking at a WWII action tale built more for guys, without the emotional impact of similar works in women’s fiction. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Last Of The Seven by Steven Hartov.

Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:

Slow Start Builds To Action-Packed Finish. This book is one that starts with an intriguing mystery – a man shows up at a British post in the northern Africa desert during the Africa Campaign of WWII wearing a German uniform and claiming to be British – and builds a bit slowly and at times seemingly disjointedly – random flashbacks to this soldier’s memories from Jewish persecutions in Berlin – to a bit of a romance middle and then an action packed final mission reminiscent of most any WWII movie. Overall a solid war tale for guys, with a lot of the emotional punch of women’s fiction WWII historical fiction largely removed in favor of showing people actively being blown apart or shredded by machine gun fire. Recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher’s details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BlogTour: The Secret Keeper by Siobahn Curham

For this blog tour we’re looking at a tense and visceral spy thriller set in an oft-overlooked area of WWII. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Secret Keeper by Siobahn Curham.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Tense Spy Thriller In Oft-Overlooked Area Of WWII. This tale was exactly what I said in the title of the review – a tense spy thriller based in the OSS days of the CIA during WWII and apparently based on the experiences of a real-life actress-turned-spy. Here, we see theoretically neutral Spain (under dictator Francisco Franco, in the early part of his reign) as a hotbed for spying by both sides and the tense and sometimes deadly stakes that arise from any spy story. But we also get a much more intimate and personal look at issues involving trust and betrayal, and throughout the text the reader is kept wondering as much as the protagonist is: just who *can* you trust? One of the more interesting features of this particular tale was the series of letters the protagonist’s grandmother writes – knowing she’ll never be able to send them – describing her ordeals in Paris as France falls and during the war. Overall an excellent tale well told, and very much recommended.

After the jump, the “publisher details”, including the book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BlogTour: The Codebreaker’s Secret by Sara Ackerman

For this blog tour we’re looking at . For this blog tour we’re looking at The Codebreaker’s Secret by Sara Ackerman.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Beautiful Story With A Near Frequency Endgame. Yet again, Ackerman manages to craft a beautiful Hawaiian tale set partially in WWII and partially a couple of decades later. Both timelines worked quite well for me, and both were equally compelling with the high stakes and secrecy of codebreaking during the war and the mystery surrounding the opening of a new hotel during the early Vietnam era. Quite possibly the thing I liked the best was the endgame that came about with a nearly Frequency level abruptness, where the tale is moving along and *bam* – endgame. Overall a truly beautiful and wonderfully interconnected tale. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BlogTour: The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

For this blog tour, we’re looking at an excellent book where I found some of the secondary characters even more intriguing than our leads. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Evil Isn’t Born. It Is Created. Of all the WWII historical fiction books I’ve read over the years – and at this point, it is a decent number – this is the first to highlight one particular scenario that I’m almost positive has impacted my own life. Specifically, Rimmer does a phenomenal job with one of her characters fighting in WWII and having a particular experience that I’m nearly positive (as much as I can be, given the dearth of records) my own grandfather had a very similar one. She shows how, particularly if the soldier perhaps had already endured some level of trauma, this particular experience (and I’m being intentionally vague to avoid spoilers) could truly push them off the deep end and take them from troubled-yet-manageable to outright evil. But even there, Rimmer takes care to show that there is still hope that the person can be redeemed. Similarly, she also uses another character in a similar mold, but at a much different age and on the opposite side of the war. Rimmer does a great job with making the story hit notes not always seen in this genre, and in the process manages to humanize many types of people that are all too often dehumanized by various groups today. Truly an astounding work, and very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BookReview: The Lost Book Of Eleanor Dare by Kimberly Brock

Interesting Twist On Dual Timeline Historical Fiction. Over the course of 800+ books in the last three years alone, I’ve read quite a few dual timeline historical fiction books. Generally, one of the timelines is “current”, or at least mostly current – end of the 20th century at its oldest. Here, the “current” timeline is actually much older – the last months of WWII – and the “older” timeline is *much* older – 16th century. The poetic prose here highlights the idealized South of the pre-air conditioning era… and yet also doesn’t shy away from discussing some of its lower points, including both slavery and extrajudicial murders. (I intentionally don’t use a particular “l” word there, as it generally has connotations that do not apply in the particular situation in the book.) All of this is wrapped around the mysterious Dare stones and how so many of them could be judged to be fake… except the first one, Eleanor Dare’s stone and the tale therein inscribed isn’t necessarily so easily dismissed. The care Brock takes to show an atypical yet also completely realistic and plausible tale of what happened and why to Ms. Dare is quite remarkable, and indeed this shines through in the variety of other situations portrayed in this book as well. It quickly becomes readily apparent that Ms. Brock is a Southern storyteller of the best form – one that doesn’t excuse the atrocities of our past, yet one that also respects the real and vibrant cultures of the era, showing that even while misguided on particular points, the overall people were not the monsters many non-Southern (or even Southern of particular political persuasions) writers portray them as. Truly a remarkable work in so many ways, and very much recommended.

This review of The Lost Book Of Eleanor Dare by Kimberly Brock was originally written on April 23, 2022.

#BlogTour: The Girl With The Scarlet Ribbon by Suzanne Goldring

For this blog tour we’re looking at a moving portrait of a loving daughter trying to understand her tortured artist father… and a protective sister trying to prevent her artist brother from becoming too haunted by the war they are living through. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Girl With The Scarlet Ribbon by Suzanne Goldring.

Moving Portrait Of Tortured Artist And Loving Daughter. This is an interesting dual timeline historical, one in which a man is at the center of both timelines… and yet his own perspective is never once actually included in the narrative. And yet despite this, the book does *not* come across as misandristic at all, as the two perspectives we *do* get – the man’s older sister in WWII Florence and his daughter in 2019 – are both seeking to understand him in their own ways. Thus, this book actually becomes an interesting look at how the experience of war ultimately shapes lives in so many divergent ways. While little of the horrors are shown “on screen”, some are, including a few murders, torture with a cigarette, general abuse, and a rape attempt (that may or may not be successful). Also discussed is how the Jews of the area are rounded up, gang rapes (alluded to but not directly shown), and how a citizenry can live with themselves not stopping either. So truly a lot of horrific stuff – and even after the Allies “liberate” the city, at least a few pages are devoted to the continued deprivations. Truly a well rounded look at a difficult and trying period – and the modern story of a daughter trying to understand the messages her tortured father left behind are solid as well, without having quite the horrific impact of the WWII scenes. Very much recommended.

After the jump, the “publisher details”, including book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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Featured New Release Of The Week: Until We Meet by Camille Di Maio

This week we’re looking at a story that I could very easily have seen my own grandparents living elements of in their actual lives during WWII – it truly feels that real and that authentic. This week, we’re looking at Until We Meet by Camille Di Maio.

All Too Real. Di Maio has made a name for herself taking various historical events and wrapping a fictional story around them that stays true to the real world yet tells her own story – and this book is exactly that. Here, she tackles life in New York and specifically around the Brooklyn Navy Yard as it builds the last of the great battleships – the Missouri – and the newest generation of naval ships – the aircraft carrier. At the same time and across the Atlantic, she also tackles life as a new kind of infantry soldier – the Airborne – as they train in England after the US enters the war, attack Normandy on D-Day, survive Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge and finally the end of the war. In both places, Di Maio does a stunning job of being true and accurate (mostly) to the era, and it is very easy for many Americans to see their own parents / grandparents / (and now great grandparents) largely living exactly these types of situations. Di Maio doesn’t hold back from the various tragedies of the era, but she also doesn’t hold back in showing people who were even then “outside the norm” though revealing exactly which norms of the era were broken would delve into spoiler territory – read the book for yourself to see them. 🙂 And yet, through all of this, this is still ultimately a women’s fiction tale that could alternatively be classified (technically) as a historical romance, and indeed it really works in either genre. Very much recommended.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Under A Sky Of Memories by Soraya M Lane

This week we’re looking at a visceral and harrowing fictionalized version of a real-world WWII event that even with my intense fascination with that period, I’d never heard of before reading this book. This week we’re looking at Under A Sky Of Memories by Soraya M. Lane.

Visceral, Harrowing, And Heartbreaking. Yet again Lane manages to take an event out of WWII, fictionalize a story into it, and show just how real and relatable it must have been to have been the real people involved here. The motivations for our three primary women here are distinct but relatable, and their journeys through the tale are seemingly all too real – so many times, you’re going to find yourself dreading that the worst is about to happen. In the end, you will likely shed tears of both happiness and heartbreak – and particularly when joined with the resources in the Author’s Note, you’ll likely learn a few things too. As in, despite both mine and my father’s life long “obsession” with WWII (in his case due to how it shaped his father and in mine due to how it shaped *both* of my grandfathers in dramatically different ways), even I had never heard of this particular event that Lane bases the story around here. Once again a very fine piece of researched fiction from Lane, and very much recommended.

#BlogTour: The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross

For this blog tour we’re looking at a strong book filled with strongly developed characters. For this blog tour we’re looking at The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross.

Solid Women’s Fiction With Historical Elements. This is one of those books where the description perfectly sets up what you’re actually getting here – a tale of siblings finding each other after their father passes away and sets in motion a plan for the three of them to meet. Along the way, they discover their still-living grandmother and get to hear the stories of her activities in WWII – including meeting and falling in love with their grandfather. On these elements, this is a solidly written women’s fiction tale with historical fiction *elements* – but I personally would not market this as a “historical fiction” title. So if you’re a reader that *only* reads historical fiction… I’d still say this one is worthy of your time, just know that you aren’t getting a true tale of that genre here. Indeed, along the story of one of the sisters in particular (and to a lesser extent another of them), this *could* be marketed as a romance – though the women’s fiction side is still the dominant side of the tale. The titular Inheritance? Well, that’s actually the best part of the tale… when you realize what Ross intends it as. Overall a strong book filled with strongly developed characters among is main and primary supporting cast, and a very well told story. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the usual publisher details – book description, author bio, social media and buy links.
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#BookReview: The Keeper Of Happy Endings by Barbara Davis

Blend Of Historical And Women’s Fiction That Leaves The Room Dusty Through Its Final Quarter. This was an excellent blend of historical fiction on one end and a “current” (mid-80s) timeline women’s fiction tale on the other. Not quite an either/ or thing, but both play well with each other (and most of the historical stuff is done by the 2/3 point or so). Just be prepared for a VERY dusty read through the back quarter of the book, where Davis does an excellent job of revealing things but then letting them play out in a more natural setting and timeframe than other authors may have done. The book starts off with a lot of The Giver type vibes before becoming something so much more than that work ever intended to be – but the fact that it even feels similar to that award winning book speaks to just how well Davis crafts her story here. Very much recommended.

This review of The Keeper Of Happy Endings by Barbara Davis was originally written on August 27, 2021.