Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.
Here’s what I added to my shelves since early February, when I last posted my new books. I’m kind of embarrassed about how many books came into my house in just over a month, but at least I have plenty to choose from as I pull away from the blog a bit during the next few months.
Dominion by C.J. Sansom — from Mulholland Books for review
[I guess I am a bit behind in posting my new books, since I reviewed this one recently.]
1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany. The global economy strains against the weight of the long German war against Russia still raging in the east. The British people find themselves under increasingly authoritarian rule — the press, radio and television are tightly controlled and British Jews face ever-greater constraints.
But Churchill’s Resistance soldiers on. As defiance grows, whispers circulate of a secret that could forever alter the balance of the global struggle. The keeper of that secret? Scientist Frank Muncaster, who languishes in a Birmingham mental hospital.
Civil servant David Fitzgerald, a spy for the Resistance and university friend of Frank’s is given the mission to rescue Frank and get him out of the country. Hard on his heels is Gestapo agent Gunther Hoth, a brilliant, implacable hunter of men, who soon has Frank as well as David’s innocent wife, Sarah, directly in his sights
C.J. Sansom’s literary thriller Winter in Madrid earned Sansom comparisons to Graham Greene, Sebastian Faulks, and Ernest Hemingway. Now, in his first alternative-history epic, Sansom doesn’t just re-create the past — he reinvents it. In a spellbinding tale of suspense, oppression, and poignant love, Dominion dares to explore how, in moments of crisis, history can turn on the decisions of a few brave men and women — the secrets they choose to keep and the bonds they share. (publisher’s summary)
One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore — from Harper for review
As Moscow celebrates the motherland’s glorious victory over the Nazis, shots ring out in the crowded streets. On a nearby bridge, a teenage boy and girl — dressed in traditional nineteenth-century costumes — lie dead. But this is no ordinary tragedy, because these are no ordinary teenagers. As the son and daughter of high-ranking Soviet officials, they attend the most elite school in Moscow. Was it an accident, or murder? Is it a conspiracy against Stalin, or one of his own terrifying intrigues?
On Stalin’s instructions, a ruthless investigation begins into what becomes known as the Children’s Case. Youth across the city are arrested and forced to testify against their friends and their parents. As families are ripped apart, all kinds of secrets come spilling out. Trapped at the center of this witch hunt are two pairs of illicit lovers, who learn that matters of the heart exact a terrible price. By turns a darkly sophisticated political thriller, a rich historical saga, and a deeply human love story, Montefiore’s masterful novel powerfully portrays the terror and drama of Stalin’s Russia. (publisher’s summary)
The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes — from Penguin for review
In 1960, Jennifer Stirling wakes in the hospital and remembers nothing — not the car accident that put her there, not her wealthy husband, not even her own name. Searching for clues, she finds an impassioned letter, signed simply “B,” from a man for whom she seemed willing to risk everything.
In 2003, journalist Ellie Haworth stumbles upon an old letter containing a man’s ardent plea to his married lover. She becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to the couple. Perhaps if they lived happily every after, her own complicated affair could have a happy ending, too. A Brief Encounter for our time, this is a novel for romantics of every age. (publisher’s summary)
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes — from Penguin for review
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life — steady boyfriend, close family — who has barely been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life — big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel — and he is not interested in exploring a new one.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy — but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, Lou sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common — a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart? (publisher’s summary)
The Hotel on Place Vendôme: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris by Tilar J. Mazzeo — from Harper for review
Established in 1898 in the heart of Paris on the Place Vendôme, the Hôtel Ritz instantly became an icon of the city frequented by film stars and celebrity writers, American heiresses and risqué flappers, politicians, playboys, and princes. By the 1920s the bar became a favorite watering hole for F. Scott Fitzgerald and other writers of the Lost Generation, including Ernest Hemingway. In June 1940, when France fell to the Germans, Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of The Third Reich, famously declared that the nation’s capital would remain a high-spirited place — or else. Orders from Berlin specified that the Hôtel Ritz would be the only luxury hotel of its kind in occupied Paris.
Tilar J. Mazzeo traces the history of this cultural landmark from its opening in the fin de siècle Paris to the modern era. At its center, The Hotel on Place Vendôme chronicles life at the Ritz during wartime when the hotel simultaneously served as headquarters to the highest-ranking German officers, such as Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, and home to wealthy patrons (and to the spies among them) who stayed on in Paris. At Coco Chanel’s table in the dining room on any given evening, one might find the playwright and screenwriter Sacha Guitry, the lithe Russian ballet star Serge Lifar, or Jean Cocteau and his handsome boyfriend.
Mazzeo takes us into the grand palace’s suites, bars, dining rooms, and wine cellars, revealing a hotbed of illicit affairs and deadly intrigue, as well as stunning acts of defiance and treachery, in which refugees were hidden in secret rooms, a Jewish bartender passed coded messages for the German resistance, and Wehrmacht officers plotted to assassinate the Führer. By the spring of 1944, as the tides of the war shifted, these stories were all coming to their dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking conclusion. There were celebrations as well: when Ernest Hemingway returned in the last hours of the occupation with his rogue band of “irregular” troops to liberate the Hôtel Ritz, they also liberated many bottles of vintage wine from its cellars.
The result is the story of The Hotel on Place Vendôme — a singular season at the world-class hotel, an intimate and riveting portrait of the last days of the Second World War. (publisher’s summary)
50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission Into the Heart of Nazi Germany by Steven Pressman — from Harper for review
In early 1939, America’s rigid immigration laws made it virtually impossible for European Jews to find safe haven in the United States. As deep-seated anti-Semitism and isolationism gripped much of the country, neither President Roosevelt nor Congress rallied to their aid.
Yet one brave Jewish couple from Philadelphia refused to stand by silently. Risking their own safety, Gilbert Kraus, a successful lawyer, and his stylish wife, Eleanor, traveled to Nazi-controlled Vienna and Berlin to save fifty Jewish children. Steven Pressman brought the Kraus’s rescue mission to life in his acclaimed HBO documentary 50 Children. In this book, he expands upon the story related in the hour-long film, offering additional historical detail and context to provide a rich, full portrait of this ordinary couple and their extraordinary actions.
Drawing from Eleanor Kraus’s unpublished memoir, rare historical documents, and interviews with more than a dozen of the surviving children, and illustrated with period photographs, archival materials, and memorabilia, 50 Children is a remarkable tale of personal courage and triumphant heroism that offers a fresh, unique insight into a critical period of history. (publisher’s summary)
European Resistance in the Second World War edited by Philip Cooke and Ben H. Shepherd — from Pen & Sword Books for review
Resistance to German-led Axis occupation occurred all the way across the European continent during the Second World War. It took a wide range of forms — non-cooperation and disinformation, sabotage, espionage, armed opposition and full-scale partisan warfare. It is an important element in the experience and the national memory of the peoples who found themselves under Axis government and control. For over thirty years there has been no systematic attempt to give readers a panoramic yet detailed view of the make-up, actions and impact of resistance movements from Scandinavia down to Greece and from France through to Russia.
This authoritative and accessible survey, written by a group of the leading experts in the field, provides a reliable, in-depth, up-to-date account of the resistance in each region and country along with an assessment of its effectiveness and of the Axis reaction to it. An extensive introduction by the editors Philip Cooke and Ben H. Shepherd draws the threads of the varied movements and groups together, highlighting the many differences and similarities between them.
The book will be a significant contribution to the frequently heated debates about the importance of individual resistance movements. It will be thought-provoking for everyone who is interested in or studying occupied Europe during the Second World War. (publisher’s summary)
Above by Isla Morley — from Gallery Books for review
Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an abandoned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in — the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Determined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth that just might give meaning to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promising and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice — between survival and freedom.
Above is a riveting tale of resilience in which “stunning” (Daily Beast) new literary voice Isla Morley compels us to imagine what we would do if everything we had ever known was taken away. Like the bestselling authors of Room and The Lovely Bones before her, Morley explores the unthinkable with haunting detail and tenderly depicts our boundless capacity for hope. (publisher’s summary)
The Rebel Pirate (Renegades of the Revolution) by Donna Thorland — from NAL for review
1775, Boston Harbor. James Sparhawk, master and commander in the British Navy, knows trouble when he sees it. The ship he’s boarded is carrying ammunition and gold…into a country on the knife’s edge of war. Sparhawk’s duty is clear: Confiscate the cargo, impound the vessel, and seize the crew. But when one of the boys turns out to be a lovely girl with a loaded pistol and dead-shot aim, Sparhawk finds himself held hostage aboard a Rebel privateer.
Sarah Ward never set out to break the law. Before Boston became a powder keg, she was poised to escape the stigma of being a notorious pirate’s daughter by wedding Micah Wild, one of Salem’s most successful merchants. Then a Patriot mob destroyed her fortune and Wild played her false by marrying her best friend and smuggling a chest of Rebel gold aboard her family’s ship.
Now branded a pirate herself, Sarah will do what she must to secure her family’s safety and her own future. Even if that means taking part in the cat-and-mouse game unfolding in Boston Harbor, the desperate naval fight between British and Rebel forces for the matériel of war — and pitting herself against James Sparhawk, the one man she cannot resist. (publisher’s summary)
The Subsequent Proposal: A Tale of Pride, Prejudice & Persuasion by Joana Starnes — from the author for review
A number of broken-hearted characters from Jane Austen’s best novels are thrown together by the vagaries of fate, and all manner of unwise decisions are taken at this vulnerable time. But then their past creeps up upon them — and what is there to do but face it, and hope that their convoluted paths will finally lead them to their proper place?
Friends, rivals, foes, wrong choices and a duel — Fitzwilliam Darcy’s life is never dull! The Subsequent Proposal — a story that is primarily about him — follows Mr. Darcy in his struggles to decipher the troubling enigma of Elizabeth Bennet’s feelings — and correct the worst misjudgment of his life. (publisher’s summary)
Another Place in Time: A Pride and Prejudice Time-Travel Romance by Mary Lydon Simonsen — from the author for review
In the time-travel romance, Another Place in Time, Fitzwilliam Darcy learns of the existence of Elizabeth Bennet from Hannah and Jacob Caswell, time-travelers from the twenty-first century. When Darcy’s offer of marriage is rejected at the Hunsford Parsonage, the Caswells advise Darcy to visit the future and seek the assistance of an expert on Jane Austen and the Regency Era.
When Darcy arrives in Baltimore in 2012, he finds Christine O’Malley serving on a panel at a Jane Austen conference. Although his arrival is a crowd pleaser, Chris is upset that an “actor” impersonating Mr. Darcy has stolen the show. After a rocky start, Chris agrees to go with Darcy to the past to help him sort out the mess with Elizabeth.
While plans are being made for Fitzwilliam to capture the heart and hand of Elizabeth Bennet, Chris, who has experienced her own heartache, finds she is falling for Darcy’s cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. With her sensibilities firmly rooted in the future, will Chris be able to find happiness with a man who occupies another place in time? (publisher’s summary)
The Secret Betrothal by Jan Hahn — from Meryton Press for review
Jane Austen writes of secret engagements in more than one of her novels, and in The Secret Betrothal, author Jan Hahn explores the question of what would happen if Austen’s most famous heroine from Pride and Prejudice reluctantly agrees to accept such a proposal.
When Fitzwilliam Darcy learns that Elizabeth has committed herself to such an arrangement, his hopes of winning her hand are shattered. As circumstances continue to bring the two together — from Hertfordshire to Rosings Park to the seaside town of Brighton — he finds he is unable to tame his desire for the lady who has stolen his heart.
Do Darcy’s efforts to win Elizabeth succeed, or does his sworn enemy lead her to the altar? (publisher’s summary)
Stay Where You Are & Then Leave by John Boyne — from Henry Holt for review
From the author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas comes a touching look at the effects war has on a family.
As the First World War rages on, Alfie Summerfield has given up hope of seeing his father again. Though his mother maintains that his father is away on a secret mission, Alfie knows he must be dead. But when Alfie learns by chance that his father is in a hospital close by — a hospital treating soldiers with shell shock, whatever that might be — he resolves to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place… (publisher’s summary)
The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr — from Knopf for review
Kalinka is in danger. She is an orphan, with no family or friends. She is alone on the vast Ukrainian steppe, in the dead of winter in 1941. She has no idea which direction might lead to safety. But the biggest danger for Kalinka is the yellow Star of David embroidered on her coat.
Then she meets two horses on the snowy plains, horses from another time. Untamable, cunning, and wise, the Przewalski’s horses have endured all the cruelness of the world since the era of cave paintings — but the current evils of World War II are beyond anything they’ve ever witnessed.
These horses may be the last of their kind; should they become two more casualties of the war, the race could be extinct. They recognize in Kalinka a kindred spirit, and a hope for survival, as they flee the fast-approaching Nazis, intent on killing all three of them. Will she be able to save them — or will they save her? (publisher’s summary)
Going Over by Beth Kephart — from Chronicle Books for review
It is February 1983, and Berlin is a divided city — a miles-long barricade separating east from west. But the city isn’t the only thing that is divided. Ada, almost 16, lives with her mother and grandmother among the rebels, punkers, and immigrants of Kreuzberg, just west of the wall. Stefan, 18, lives east with his brooding grandmother in a faceless apartment bunker of Friedrichshain, his telescope pointed toward freedom. Bound by love and separated by circumstance, their only chance lies in a high-risk escape. But with Stefan find the courage to leap? Will Ada keep waiting for the boy she has only seen four times a year for as long as she can remember? Or will forces beyond their control stand in their way?
Told in the alternating voices of the pink-haired graffiti artist and the boy she loves, Going Over is a story of daring and sacrifice, choices and consequences, and love that will not wait. (publisher’s summary)
For Such a Time by Kate Breslin — from Bethany House for review
In 1944, Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, her Aryan-like looks allow her to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, to maintain her cover as von Schmidt’s secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.
Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths, Stella appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric’s indulgence gives her hope even as she risks discovery with every attempt to help the prisoners. When her bravery brings her to the point of ultimate sacrifice, she faces an excruciating choice. God may have brought her to the camp for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she cannot save herself? (publisher’s summary)
Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman — from Knopf for review
In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, American soldiers discover a train filled with spectacular riches: gold watches, fur coats, and wedding rings, along with picture frames and Shabbat candlesticks. Jack Wiseman is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure — a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a beautiful Hungarian woman who has lost everything. Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of the previous generations, Jack’s granddaughter, Natalie Stein, searches for the portrait of a woman she has never met, a woman who may help her understand the guilt her grandfather took with him to his grave. Love & Treasure is a masterly story of hidden artworks, romantic love, and the legacy of theft. (publisher’s summary)
Cover to Covers by Alexandrea Weis — from the author for review
Tyler Moore is considered cold, ruthless, and determined to get everything he wants. CEO of a flourishing oil company, he thrives on order and never gives up control to anyone.
Monique Delome has left her unhappy past behind to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Love is something she believes is better suited to the pages of her novels and not meant for real life.
Whether in the boardroom or the bedroom, Tyler Moore is always in charge. But when Monique Delome walks back into his life, everything changes. A successful romance author, all the sexy leading men Monique writes about strangely remind everyone of Tyler. Intrigued, Tyler sets out to seduce the one woman he could never forget. Soon Tyler gets more than he bargained for, and his grip on his well-ordered life is turned upside down.
Tyler Moore is about to find out what happens when a romantic tale jumps from the pages and comes to life between the sheets. (publisher’s summary)
William Shakespeare’s Star War: Verily, a New Hope by Ian Doescher — a surprise from Quirk Books
[I'm not a Star Wars fan, so I'm passing this book on to The Girl.]
May the verse be with you!
Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’ epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ‘Tis a tale told by fretful Droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearsome Stormtroopers, signifying…pretty much everything.
Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for. (publisher’s summary)
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher — a surprise from Quirk Books
[Again, I'm passing this one on to The Girl.]
The saga that began with the interstellar best seller William Shakespeare’s Star Wars continues with this merry reimagining of George Lucas’ enduring classic The Empire Strikes Back.
Many a fortnight have passed since the destruction of the Death Star. Young Luke Skywalker and his friends have taken refuge on the ice planet of Hoth, where the evil Darth Vader has hatched a cold-blooded plan to capture them. Only with the help of a little green Jedi Master — and a swaggering rascal named Lando Calrissian — can our heroes escape the Empire’s wrath. And only then will Lord Vader learn how sharper than a tauntaun’s tooth it is to have a Jedi child.
What light through Yoda’s window breaks? Methinks you’ll find out in the pages of The Empire Striketh Back! (publisher’s summary)
Against His Will by Nancy Kelley — a giveaway win from Indie Jane
Sebastian Montgomery never thought he’d inherit a title. Quite comfortable in his role as the family black sheep, he has made a life for himself as one of England’s most valuable agents against Napoleon. Now he will be expected to remain at home as the Earl of Lisle, fulfilling all manner of domestic duties…starting with finding a wife and ensuring the continuance of the family line.
Kitty Bennet met Seb when he was just Mr. Montgomery and quickly developed a crush on him — feelings she now assumes will remain unrequited, as an earl is out of her reach. Sebastian however has no interest in a grand alliance. If he must marry, he will choose a wife with the capacity for intelligent conversation. Kitty’s gift for witty banter draws him to her; any affection he feels for her is simply an added bonus.
But their potential happiness is threatened by someone they don’t even known: the man who killed Sebastian’s grandfather and uncle. When the danger becomes real, Sebastian realizes that, almost against his will, he has fallen in love with Kitty. Can he solve a decade’s old family mystery in time to keep her safe? (publisher’s summary)
Follie’s Past: A Prequel to Pride and Prejudice by Melanie Kerr — free eBook
“I must now mention a circumstance which I would wish to forget myself, and which no obligation less than the present should induce me to unfold to any human being…”
So begins Mr. Darcy to lay before Elizabeth his faithful narrative of Mr. Wickham’s villainy toward his sister, Georgiana. The facts he sets out are brief but potent. They contain a story unto themselves, and that story is the subject of this book.
Taking its facts from Austen’s own words, Follie’s Past opens almost a year before the opening of Pride and Prejudice itself, at Pemberley, at Christmas. Fourteen-year-old Georgiana has just been taken from school and is preparing to transfer to London in the spring. It follows Georgiana to London, to Ramsgate and into the arms of the charming and infamous Mr. Wickham.
To read this book is to step back into the charming world of Jane Austen’s England, to pass a few more hours with some of her beloved characters, sympathetically portrayed as they might have been before ever they came to Netherfield, and to discover a host of new characters each with engaging histories of their own. Authentic in its use of language and meticulously researched, it is a truly diverting entertainment. (publisher’s summary)
Bewitched, Body and Soul: Miss Elizabeth Bennet by P.O. Dixon — free eBook
Determined to right a wrong against her family, Elizabeth ventures to town to reunite her sister with her lover. In so doing, will she end up losing her own heart?
Bent on discovering the reason for Bingley’s hasty departure from Netherfield, Elizabeth goes to town in Jane’s stead. Her initial scheme having been thwarted and with nowhere else to go, she turns to one who is sure to put her in Bingley’s path — Mr. Darcy.
Darcy realizes it will take more than time and distance to erase the memory of the beguiling country miss. When she arrives unescorted on his doorstep, will he help her? Or will he soon discover he is in grave danger of falling as much in love with her as ever before?
And what of his best friend’s younger sister who has long had Darcy in her sights? Will Darcy pursue the young lady who meets Society’s expectations of just what the next mistress of Pemberley ought to be or will he follow his heart? (publisher’s summary)
He Taught Me to Hope by P.O. Dixon — free eBook
What if Elizabeth is promised to another when she meets Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the one man who captures her heart and imagination like no other? What’s more, Darcy has an entanglement of his own — an engagement of a peculiar kind. As dire as their chance for “happily ever after” seems, is there a measure of hope by way of a strong and enduring bond between them? (publisher’s summary)
What books did you add to your shelves recently?
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