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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 the shelves recently:

For review:

a twist of hateA Twist of Hate by VR Barkowski — from the author

When the Cézanne his parents lend a local museum is replaced in situ with a forgery, former homicide inspector turned security consultant, Del Miller, refuses to investigate, insisting the museum’s director call in the FBI.  The painting, smuggled out of Nazi occupied France along with Del’s then-infant father, is not only priceless, it holds great sentimental value.

Soon, the museum director is dead, and a handwritten note in which he admits complicity in the theft arrives at a local news station.  But the theft and subsequent death are quickly overshadowed by allegations that Del’s grandfather — a French Resistance hero who died at the hands of the Nazis — stole the missing masterpiece from a Paris gallery during the war.

After the grandson of the long-deceased gallery owner comes forward to claim the Cézanne, he is found shot to death, and Del’s father is implicated in both a conspiracy to hide the painting and murder.  Del, now at a crossroads, sets out to uncover the truth.

From present-day San Francisco to war-torn France, to Nazi death camps and betrayal, A Twist of Hate is a story of family honor.  One man’s quest for answers about the grandfather he never knew, the father he idolizes, and the secrets behind a missing painting that lay buried deep within his family’s past.  (publisher’s summary)

i truly lamentI Truly Lament: Working Through the Holocaust by Mathias B. Freese — from the author

The twenty-seven stories in this collection include inmates in death camps, survivors of these camps, disenchanted Golems complaining about their designated rounds, modern Holocaust deniers and their ravings, collectors of Hitler curiosa (only recently, a few linens from Hitler’s bedroom suite went up for sale!), an imagined interview with Eva Braun during her last days in the Berlin bunker, a Nazi camp doctor who subtly denies his complicity, the love story of a Hungarian cantor, and many more.

Applying differing points of view, in styles ranging from gothic to romantic to phantasmagoric, Freese leads readers to what might be called his own final conclusion — that we will never be done with the Holocaust; we will never work it through.  (from the press release)

Purchased:

elizabeth bennet's deceptionElizabeth Bennet’s Deception by Regina Jeffers

What if Fitzwilliam Darcy refused to approach Elizabeth Bennet when he observes her upon the grounds of Pemberley?  What if Elizabeth permits Mr. Darcy to think her the one ruined by Mr. Wickham?  What if love is not enough to bring two souls together?

Fitzwilliam Darcy’s pride makes the natural leap to Elizabeth Bennet’s ruination when the lady appears, without notice, upon Pemberley’s threshold to plead for Darcy’s assistance in locating his long-time enemy, George Wickham.  Initially, Darcy cannot look beyond the pain of lost hopes, but when Charles Bingley demands that Darcy act with honor, Darcy assumes the task.  Even so, the idea of delivering Miss Elizabeth into the hand of Mr. Wickham leaves Darcy raw with anguish.  Yet, Darcy loves Elizabeth Bennet too much to see her brought low.  He sets his heartbreak aside to save the woman he loves, but it is not long before Darcy realizes Elizabeth practices a deception, one Darcy permits so he might remain at her side long enough to convince the lady only in each other can they find happiness.

Their adventure takes more twists and turns than does the original Pride and Prejudice, but the reader will enjoy the devotion displayed by Darcy and Elizabeth as they bring Wickham to the line in Lydia Bennnet’s defense, as well as their working their way through multiple misconstructions and vulnerabilities.  Darcy’s final wooing of Elizabeth brings two very private individuals to a very public declaration of their love.  (publisher’s summary)

mr. darcy's faultMr. Darcy’s Fault by Regina Jeffers

What if an accident prevents Elizabeth Bennet from reading Mr. Darcy’s letter of apology?  What if said letter goes missing and ends up in the hands of George Wickham?  What if Mr. Wickham plans to use the evidence of both Georgiana Darcy’s ruination and Darcy’s disdain for the Bennets to his benefit?  How will Darcy counter Wickham’s plans and claim happiness with Elizabeth Bennet?

When he notices his long-time enemy in the vicinity of Hunsford Cottage, Fitzwilliam Darcy means to put an end to an assignation between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Wickham, but Darcy is not prepared for the scene which greets him in Rosings Woods.  Elizabeth lies injured and crumpled beneath one of trees, and in order to save her, by Society’s standards, Darcy must compromise Elizabeth.  Needless to say, Darcy does not mind claiming Elizabeth to wife, but what of the lady’s affections?  Can Darcy tolerate Elizabeth’s emotions being engaged elsewhere?

Compelled into an engagement she least desires, Elizabeth Bennet thinks it impossible she could ever care for the arrogant Mr. Darcy, but the man proves more irresistible than Elizabeth first assumes.  Yet, just when Elizabeth begins to believe happiness is within their grasps, Mr. Wickham reappears in her life with a “proposal” Elizabeth cannot refuse, and it is all Mr. Darcy’s fault.  (publisher’s summary)

darcy and elizabeth lost in loveDarcy and Elizabeth — Lost in Love by Mary Lydon Simonsen

After Elizabeth Bennet’s rejection of his offer of marriage, Fitzwilliam Darcy returns to Pemberley in the hope of finding a path that will lead him to Elizabeth.  Little does he know that Elizabeth is already at Pemberley, walking the gravel paths of the maze in Pemberley’s expansive gardens.  When Darcy and Elizabeth meet in the middle of the labyrinth, the unexpected happens.  This short story is a lighthearted retelling of the famous couple’s reunion in Derbyshire.  (publisher’s summary)

spring feverHolidays With Jane: Spring Fever by Jennifer Becton, Melissa Buell, Rebecca M. Flemming, Cecilia Gray, Kimberly Truesdale, and Jessica Grey

Winter’s almost over and Jane Austen’s got a case of spring fever!  The authors who brought you Holidays With Jane: Christmas Cheer return to bring you six modern adaptations of Austen’s classics.  So put up your parasols and prepare for sunshine, smiles, and, of course, happily ever afters.

“Extra Innings” by Jessica Grey
Annie Elliot still regrets breaking off her engagement to minor league baseball player Rick Wentworth ten years ago. Now he’s back in town coaching the team she works for and stirring up feelings she’d rather forget. Will Rick and Annie get a chance to hit a walk-off home run or will they strike out in Extra Innings?

“Miracle at the Abbey” by Cecilia Gray
Kathia, paranormal investigator extraordinaire, is out to prove her hometown Abbey is a bona fide miracle site—even if its sexy owner-slash-handyman Henry is dead set against it. Kathia and Henry square off and settle the score that’s been brewing since high school in this contemporary Easter retelling that ends with a Miracle at the Abbey.

“Whine and Wineries” by Melissa Buell
After their father dies, the Dashwood girls must make room for their half-brother John and his wife Franny in their Hollywood Hills home. When Franny’s brother Edward shows up unexpectedly, Elinor finds a new friend.But any dreams of something more are crushed when the girls have to move far away to Barton Winery. There Elinor begins her new life as a wedding coordinator. Her first challenge? Bridezilla Anne Steele’s spring wedding. When Anne’s sister Lucy reveals a secret that changes everything, Elinor must sort through the lies to find the truth of her feelings and hope for her future.

“Emma’s Inbox” by Rebecca M. Fleming
Emma Woodhouse keeps her finger on the pulse of Hartfield, Georgia through a series of texts and emails full of hometown gossip and romantic intrigue. In Hartfield, nothing ever changes: people fall in love (sometimeswith a little help from her), get married, and life goes on in the same comfortable way. But when hometown favorite Frank Churchill returns unexpectedly, the whole town develops a case of spring fever. Though a master at maneuvering the love lives of those around her, Emma finds she needs some advice of her own—and her family and friends are happy to fill her inbox with all the help she needs.

“No Vacancy at Mansfield Motel” by Kimberly Truesdale
Fanny Price runs Mansfield Motel, the family business in sunny South Florida, mostly on her own. But she dreams of following in her Uncle Thomas’s footsteps and becoming a marine biologist. She plans to talk to her cousin Eddie about her dreams when he comes home for Spring Break. But when he brings along Henry and Mary Crawford, trouble starts to brew. Fanny watches her precious future begin to slip away. With everything on the line, will Fanny finally speak up for herself? Or will she be stuck running Mansfield Motel for the rest of her life?

“Lydia Reimagined” by Jennifer Becton
When reformed party girl Lydia Bennet receives an invitation to her ex George Wickham’s destination wedding, she accepts with the intention of showing him exactly what he gave up when he dumped her. But no amount determination can change Wickham’s view of Lydia, especially not when circumstances conspire to make her look even more like a party girl than ever. And then there’s her sudden attraction to old college friend Kyle “Denny” Dennison…. Now that Lydia has reimagined her whole life, will she be able to forget the past and open her heart to the future? (publisher’s summary)

sincerely yoursSincerely Yours (Yours by Design, Book 2) by Robin M. Helm

Living with time turned upside down…
Accepting the consequences of rash decisions…
Learning to view adversities as opportunities…
Striving to make the most of second chances…
Recognizing obstacles as the gifts of God…
Seeking to undo the damage done to relationships…

Sincerely Yours (Yours by Design, Book 2) begins immediately after Accidentally Yours (Yours by Design, Book 1). In this Christian fantasy fiction series, after prayers uttered by both Fitzwilliam Darcy (1793) and Will Darcy (21st century) result in accidents for both men and a time switch, each Darcy must adjust to his new era and try to win the heart of the woman he loves. (publisher’s summary)

forever yoursForever Yours (Yours by Design, Book 3) by Robin M. Helm

In Forever Yours, the third and final volume of the Christian Regency/Modern Yours by Design series, both Will Darcy and Fitzwilliam Darcy seek to overcome the obstacles threatening to separate them from their respective Elizabeths.

Could it be possible for people who grew up in time periods over two hundred years apart to be happy together? Can a Regency man love a modern woman? Can a modern man adjust to a Regency woman? (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

suddenly mrs. darcy

Source: Review copy from Meryton Press
Rating: ★★★★★

I understood there was no escape from a union with this high-handed and disagreeable man, and the only advantage, though he loved me not, was that he appeared to wish me no ill.

(from Suddenly Mrs. Darcy)

Quick summary: Suddenly Mrs. Darcy imagines what would have happened in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice if Mrs. Bennet’s scheming to marry off her daughters resulted in Elizabeth being forced to marry Mr. Darcy immediately after the Netherfield Ball in order to preserve her reputation and that of her family.  Jenetta James takes the newly married Darcys on a journey fraught with misunderstandings, secrets, tragedy, and of course, hope.

Why I wanted to read it: Although I’ve read at least one adaptation in which Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are forced to marry, I was curious about Mrs. Bennet’s involvement.  And isn’t the cover just beautiful?

What I liked: James tells the story from Elizabeth’s point of view, which lends some mystery to her portrayal of Mr. Darcy.  I liked having to guess what he was thinking (and hiding) from Elizabeth at various times.  The novel also was perfectly paced; I didn’t have to keep guessing about Mr. Darcy’s secrets for too long, nor did I have to endure pages and pages of them doubting the feelings of the other.  James’ take on Lady Catherine, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Lady Matlock, and Lydia Bennet, along with the inclusion of several original characters, particularly Mrs. Lovelace and Elizabeth’s maid, Hannah, made the story even more enjoyable.

What I disliked: Absolutely nothing!  It’s another winner from Meryton Press!

Final thoughts: Suddenly Mrs. Darcy is a charming novel with just the right amount of angst and romance.  Readers will enjoy watching Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s relationship evolve and strengthen over time, especially as they navigate various obstacles from the original novel, such as Mr. Wickham, in different ways.  I loved this book from start to finish, and I hope James has plans to write another Austen-inspired novel down the road.

To follow the blog tour, click the banner below.

suddenly mrs. darcy banner

Disclosure: I received Suddenly Mrs. Darcy from Meryton Press for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

even in darkness

Source: Review copy from PR by the Book
Rating: ★★★★★

At the bottom of the canvas, a woman clutching her baby appeared to stare straight out at her, and Kläre thought she could hear her ask, “How must I save them?”  An answer flew to Kläre from a place of deep knowing.

“With a strong heart,” she said quietly.

(from Even in Darkness)

Quick summary: Even in Darkness is a novel that spans the world wars and beyond, focusing on Kläre Kohler, a Jewish woman living in Germany in a time of turmoil.  Barbara Stark-Nemon brings to life the story of her great aunt, portraying a strong woman who lives a life filled with hardship and loss but finds love in a most unexpected way.  From a German village with memories of a happier time to the horrors of Theresienstadt to a flourishing kibbutz in Israel, Stark-Nemon takes readers on a journey marked by deep grief but also hope, love, and peace.

Why I wanted to read it: I’m drawn to novels set during the world wars, and I was intrigued by Kläre’s story, more so when I learned the novel was based on a true story.

What I liked: Even in Darkness is a beautifully written novel centered on a strong woman. Kläre is such a complex character, a woman who loves fiercely and completely, a woman who goes to extraordinary lengths to keep her family safe. She marries Jakob despite his serious manner, and while her passion is directed toward someone else, Kläre tenderly cares for him as the tremors related to a gas attack during World War I worsen over the years. She knows she must get her children out of Germany despite the pain of separation. She reaches out to her best friend’s stepson, who is isolated from his family, and she protects her frail mother after their deportation. She even uses her training in massage from her work during the first war to keep her alive in the second. Time and again I was amazed by her strength and her courage and fascinated by her story.

What I disliked: That there wasn’t a tissue in sight when I needed one!

Final thoughts: Even in Darkness is a novel that shows both the best and worst of humanity, and in showing how Kläre rebuilt the broken pieces of her life after World War II, Stark-Nemon shows how hope and love won in the end.  Love is at the core of this novel, in all its forms, and the fact that Kläre felt that emotion and so strongly after all she endured is remarkable and inspirational.  I felt so connected to Kläre and invested in her story that I wasn’t ready for it to end, though the final lines of the novel are true gems.

Disclosure: I received Even in Darkness from PR by the Book for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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 the shelves recently:

For review:

the mapmaker's childrenThe Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy — from Crown

Sarah Brown, the vibrant, talented daughter of abolitionist John Brown, finds her life forever altered when she stumbles across her father’s work on the Underground Railroad.  Although reeling from the shocking news that she won’t ever bear children, Sarah realizes that her artistic talents may be able to help save the lives of slaves fleeing north.  Taking cues from slave-code quilts, Sarah hides maps within her paintings, becoming one of the Underground Railroad’s leading mapmakers.  As the country steers toward bloody civil war, Sarah faces difficult sacrifices that could put all she loves in peril.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Eden Anderson, a modern-day woman struggling to conceive a child, moves to an old house in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., as a last-ditch effort to save her marriage and start a family.  There, she discovers a porcelain doll head in the root cellar — the remains of an Underground Railroad doll with an extraordinary past of secret messages, danger, and deliverance.  Sarah and Eden’s connection bridges the past and present, forcing each of them to define courage, family, love, and legacy in a new way.

Ingeniously plotted and magnificently transporting, The Mapmaker’s Children highlights the power of community and legacy, illustrating the ways in which history and destiny are interconnected on one enormous, intricate map.  (publisher’s summary)

the sound of glassThe Sound of Glass by Karen White — from NAL

Two years after the death of her husband, Cal, Merritt Heyward receives unexpected news — Cal’s family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by his reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt.

Charting the course of an uncertain life — and reeling from guilt over her husband’s tragic death — Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal’s mysterious past live among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff.  This unknown legacy, now Merritt’s, will change and define her as she navigates her new life — a new life complicated by the arrival of her too young stepmother and ten-year-old stepbrother.

In this house of strangers, Merritt must unravel the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Lowcountry.  (publisher’s summary)

Unexpected arrival:

the last summer at chelsea beachThe Last Summer on Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff — from MIRA

Young Adelia Monteforte begins the summer of 1941 aboard a crowded ship bound for America, utterly alone yet free of Fascist Italy.  Whisked away to the seaside by her well-meaning aunt and uncle, she slowly beings to adapt to her new life.  That summer, she basks in the noisy affection of the boisterous Irish-Catholic boys next door, and although she adores all four of the Connally brothers, it’s the eldest, Charlie, she pines for.  But all hopes for a future together are throttled by the creep of war and a tragedy that hits much closer to home.

Needing to distance herself from grief, Addie flees — first to Washington and then London, where the bombs still scream by night — and finds a position at a prestigious newspaper.  More so, she finds a purpose.  A voice.  And perhaps even a chance to redeem lost time, lost family — and lost love.  But the past, never far behind, nips at her heels, demanding to be reckoned with.  And in a final, fateful choice, Addie discovers that the way home may be a path she never suspected.  (publisher’s summary)

Free ebooks (not sure if any of them are still free, though):

the journeyThe Journey by Jan Hahn

Shortly after the Netherfield ball, Elizabeth Bennet begins a journey to visit her relations in London with her travelling companions, Mr. Bingley’s sisters and the proud, arrogant Mr. Darcy.  Suddenly, their carriage is abruptly stopped, and Elizabeth hears the menacing cry, “Stand and deliver!”  Abduction.  The leader of a band of highwaymen, Nate Morgan, a handsome, masked rogue, plans to seize Elizabeth for his amusement, but Darcy steps forward and offers himself as a hostage in her place.  When his proposal fails to secure Elizabeth’s release, Darcy makes a shocking declaration — Elizabeth is his wife! Romance.  At a time when a woman’s future could be ruined by the slightest hint of scandal, Elizabeth’s reputation will depend not only upon the actions of a hero but a villain as well.  Filled with danger, excitement, daring and passion, The Journey follows Jane Austen’s beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice as they embark on a fateful journey that changes their lives forever.  (publisher’s summary)

an arranged marriageAn Arranged Marriage by Jan Hahn

Can a marriage of convenience ever lead to true love?  Immediately after Elizabeth Bennet refuses Mr. Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford, her father dies, leaving Longbourn entailed away and little fortune to sustain his widow and daughters.  Six months later, the Bennet family receives a visitor with a most unusual offer that promises to save the family from financial and social ruin.  Elizabeth’s sense of duty forces her to enter into an arranged marriage with a man she does not even like.  Told from Elizabeth’s point of view, An Arranged Marriage is a compelling twist on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  Can Elizabeth overcome her feelings of anger, resentment, and suspicion toward her new husband and — the most bewildering sensation of all — a growing attraction for the last man in the world she ever wished to marry?  (publisher’s summary)

a most civil proposalA Most Civil Proposal by C.P. Odom

“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”  When Fitzwilliam Darcy spoke these words to Elizabeth Bennet as part of his marriage proposal, they expressed his concealed feelings completely, but their meaning was at odds with the rest of his prideful and arrogant offer of marriage.  It was therefore rather easy for Elizabeth to reject his offer in much the same manner.  But what if Darcy, never one at ease when trying to speak of inner sentiments, had realized beforehand how his intended proposal would sound to the young woman he hoped to make his bride?  What if he had attempted a much more civil and thoughtful proposal of marriage?  Could Elizabeth Bennet have coldly and angrily rejected an offer made in such a manner?  A Most Civil Proposal, a variation on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, examines and explores how the lives of the two main characters and their families and friends might have turned out differently had Darcy realized his error beforehand and thus avoided being so forcefully instructed and corrected by the love of his life.  (publisher’s summary)

remembrance of the pastRemembrance of the Past by Lory Lilian

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet unexpectedly met Mr. Darcy while visiting Pemberley.  In this “what if” story, Elizabeth Bennet and her relatives — Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner — are in London, ready to start their tour to the Lakes in June.  During this time, Elizabeth’s path crosses with Mr. Darcy’s again.  However, Mr. Darcy is not alone in London: besides his close family — Georgiana and Colonel Fitzwilliam — an old and dear friend has returned and claimed a well-deserved place in their lives.  This is a story about hopes and desires, about losses and fears, about second chances and happiness.  (publisher’s summary)

echoes of pemberleyEchoes of Pemberley by Cynthia Ingram Hensley

A tragic plane crash eight years earlier has left Catherine Elizabeth Darcy orphaned and in the custody of her overly protective brother, Bennet.  Since then, her life at Pemberley Estate — the Darcy’s ancestral home in Derbyshire, England — has been sheltered and lacking adventure of any kind.  When 16-year-old Catie arrives home for her school holiday, she is expecting another long, boring summer of daydreaming and whiling away warm afternoons reading the romance novels her brother calls “rubbish.”  What she discovers, however, is a handsome yet insufferable Irishman named Sean Kelly, her summer riding instructor.  Coupled with an intriguing and mysterious WWI-era diary, which she finds hidden in the window seat of her bedroom, Catie Darcy’s summer soon proves to be anything but boring.  (publisher’s summary)

life after the wedding part twoA Pride and Prejudice Sequel: Life After the Wedding (Novella, Part Two) by Denise O’Hara

The Bingleys put down permanent roots when they buy the Bethany House estate not thirty miles from Pemberly, to the delight of both families.  Jane is presented with new people in her life and new situations, some positive, some not so positive (read: Wickhams!)  Can Lizzy help her sister deal with her growing understanding that not everyone can be well thought of?  Read the humorous escapades of the Bingley’s first child, a complete opposite of his Darcy cousin, in A Pride & Prejudice Sequel: Life After the Wedding Series, A Novella Part Two! (publisher’s summary)

prude & prejudicePrude & Prejudice by Francene Carroll

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman with a name like Prudence Higginbottom must be in need of a good shagging.

Prudence Higginbottom’s youth was marred by the cruel taunts she endured over her unfortunate name, but at the age of twenty-six she has managed to rise above it all to become the part-owner of a café and catering business with her parents and three sisters in the small town of Merryton.  When the Higginbottom family are hired to cater the opening function for a new business that has just relocated from London, Prue is excited as everyone else, especially when she discovers that the two company directors, Charles Bradley and William Darling, are handsome and single.

Her excitement, however, is short-lived.  The first time she encounters William Darling at the company’s opening party he mocks her name and insults her appearance.  She then overhears a conversation in which he expresses some very unsavoury opinions about immigration.  It becomes her mission to expose him for the prejudiced, narrow-minded man that he is and prevent him from fermenting racial intolerance in her town.

Things become complicated when Prue discovers that she is not immune from prejudice herself, and William Darling behaves in ways that seem completely out of character for him.  Through a series of misunderstandings and embarrassing drunken outbursts, Prue and William finally get to know one another and realise that first impressions can be very misleading indeed.  (publisher’s summary)

trouble with the earlTrouble With the Earl by Olivia Kane

In the beautiful county of Hertfordshire, the Lady Charlotte Radcliffe has reached the imminent age of marriage.  Her father, the estimable Lord Radcliffe, who is in poor health, has proclaimed she must marry a suitor within forty-five minutes of their estate so as not to unduly grieve her mother.  When they draw up a list of suitable suitors for her, Charlotte is delighted to find the recent widower, the Earl of Buckland, at the top of their list.  Believing a good marriage is more of station and security than attraction or love, Charlotte proceeds with her parents’ plan to make her the Earl’s second wife.  Yet when Guy Lancaster, the family’s former tutor, unexpectedly arrives in Hertfordshire, he laughs at her geographical approach to marriage and challenges her to let her heart, and not her lists, decide her future.

The Trouble With The Earl is a lighthearted, sweet Regency romance that takes place in the same towns and neighborhoods where Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy live, who also make appearances in the novella.  In the spirit of the time frame, it is a genteel romance where only the tea is steamy.  (publisher’s summary)

jane eyre gets realJane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy

Jane Eyre wakes up to find herself in contemporary NYC, as part of a reality TV show.  Other contestants include Heidi, Sherlock Holmes, David Copperfield, Dorian Gray, Alice in Wonderland, Hester Prynne, Emma Bovary and Mr. Darcy.  To return “home”, she must convince enough people to read her novel.  But, with a brand new career and a romance with Jack, the show’s intriguing production assistant, she might decide to just stay in modern times.  (publisher’s summary)

coincidenceCoincidence by Dannette J. Hansen

Annaliese VanLuyk soon discovers there’s more than a hidden doily dating to World War II in this old Dutch house.  It also contains a family mystery and she’s the only one who can solve it.  Unfortunately this isn’t how her time in Netherlands is supposed to be spent.  She’s here to be involved in the Plant Research Program at Wageningen University.  With so much of her attention and energy being divided between her new friend, Nigel and solving this mystery, her stay in Holland could come to an end along with her career she’s always wanted.  (publisher’s summary)

two warsTwo Wars by Steven F. Galloway

Warsaw, September 1939.

Fifteen-year-old Ella lies frozen in bed as the first bombs of the war explode across her city in the night.  The following morning she is taken away from her home, friends and family and sent across Europe to live with her introverted Uncle Alan in central London.

In London she begins to fall for young Air Raid Patrol boy James while the city prepares for war, before being evacuated again to a small Sussex village, where a sinister red-eyed shape has been seen patrolling the skies after dark.

Ella, along with local boy Ronnie, soon finds herself drawn into the hunt for a mysterious creature, unaware that what she unearths along the way could change everything: including the course of the war itself.

Meanwhile Robert Ramsey — a reclusive veteran of World War One — learns that his country is once again about to go to war.  In his own way, despite his age and ill-health, he sets out to protect Britain from the Nazis in whatever way he can.

Two Wars tells the tale of what happens when Ella and Robert’s stories entwine; a journey of war, love and mystery, and a small china elephant. (publisher’s summary)

children of dust and heavenChildren of Dust and Heaven by Stefania Heilbrunn

This is a riveting collective memoir is both incredibly personal and yet tremendous in scope, and all profits are donated to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.

This book is written by a Holocaust survivor and is based on her own harrowing experiences, as well as the diary of a young girl.  The author interviewed hundreds of the residents of her town after the war and put together this powerful, historic, vivid account of how the Nazis occupied her hometown in Poland and systematically tormented and killed so many Jews.

Starting with Hitler’s orders and the Nazi Occupation, the author describes how day to day life changed for everyone around her.  Simple routines and joys taken away day by day, but the struggle to survive was strong.  From the overcrowding of the ghetto, to lack of food and water to the deportations to concentration camps, work camps and death camps of the Holocaust, the author details it all.  (publisher’s summary)

bread or deathBread or Death by Milton Mendel Kleinberg

The war brought about scarcities of just about everything…except misery.  “Alle raise,” (everybody out), the German soldiers screamed as they pounded on our door with the butts of their rifles.  And thus began a 4,500-mile journey from Poland through Russia and Siberia and eventually to Uzbekistan in Central Asia, as the author’s family used bribery and darkness of night to flee as the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939.

Young Mendel, from age four to fourteen, tells in vivid detail the wretched journey in cramped cattle cars through frigid Russia, the indignities of being forced labor, the shame of begging for bread just to survive, and death of those closest to him.  The family’s plight includes abandonment, hunger, and separation (and later remarkable twists of fate and reunion) quite unlike other Holocaust stories.

This coming-of-age, Holocaust memoir is the author’s personal account of how through great sacrifices by his mother he managed to survive the worst atrocities in human history and his uncertain days in a Polish Children’s Home, scrabbling for fallen fruit, and surviving kidnapping and murder on the Black Road, and return to a German Displaced Persons camps at war’s end.  But to what fate?

Originally written as a memoir just for his grandchildren, Milton Kleinberg gives a moving account of his family’s hardships and eventual immigration with a lump-in-the-throat passage to America past the Statue of Liberty and into a land of opportunity tinged with bigotry yet with a promise to future generations.

This book for young adults has been reviewed by the Institute for Holocaust Education and includes a glossary, a book club discussion guide, a timeline, and a Teacher’s Guide. (publisher’s summary)

beneath a stormy cloudBeneath a Stormy Cloud: Moving on Without Her by Naomi Litvin

The stinging reality of the effects of the Holocaust on the second generation is illustrated as Naomi Litvin attempts reorientation to the world at large after losing her mother, a Romanian Holocaust survivor.  In her second book, Beneath A Stormy Cloud: Moving On Without Her, Naomi Litvin knits a jigsaw puzzle-like anthology of her mother’s poetry with her own juxtaposing responses.  Within these pages Naomi’s thought provoking commentary is a deeply personal struggle with her grief.  Edith was her mentor, heroine, and best friend.  Mother and daughter share the stage in this creative, special slice of history. (publisher’s summary)

hitler's first ladyHitler’s First Lady by Malcolm Blair-Robinson

Lise Bauer is born in Africa in 1906, brought to England by her parents from where she is expelled with them in 1914 because her father is an East Prussian.  They settle in America and become Americans, but return to Europe in the 1920s.  Here, Lise is involved in the rise of the Nazi party, marries one of Hitler’s closest associates and later has a relationship with Hitler himself, before divorcing her husband and marrying an English friend of Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess.  She settles again in England with the consent of the security services, and she and her husband establish a cell to act as a secret communication channel between Hitler and Churchill at the critical period of WWII.

The novel offers a new view of Hitler’s sexual relationships, a plot to overthrow Churchill, and the flight to Scotland by Rudolf Hess.  Using historical characters often portrayed in a new light, this fictional account challenges the accepted view of recorded history.  It leaves readers wondering why they were they never told about the double lives and events shrouded in secrecy. (publisher’s summary)

where lightning strikesWhere Lightning Strikes by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman

The poems in this collection revisit the classic themes that have inspired poets for generations: love, passion, betrayal, doubt, loyalty, despair, faith, and survival — this time in the context of the period before, during, and after the Holocaust with its systematic persecution and extermination of the majority of European Jewry by the Nazi regime. (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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 the shelves recently:

For review:

suddenly mrs. darcySuddenly Mrs. Darcy by Jenetta James — from Meryton Press

Elizabeth Bennett never imagined her own parents would force her to marry a virtual stranger.  But when Mrs. Bennett accuses Fitzwilliam Darcy of compromising her daughter, that is exactly the outcome.  Trapped in a seemingly loveless marriage and far from home, she grows suspicious of her new husband’s heart and further, suspects he is hiding a great secret.  Is there even a chance at love given the happenstance of their hasty marriage?  (publisher’s summary)

young jane austenYoung Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer by Lisa Pliscou — from the author

Drawing upon a wide array of sources, including Jane Austen’s own books and correspondence, Lisa Pliscou’s new biography illuminates the life and creative development of the youthful Jane, and the fascinating connections to her mature work.

Lavishly annotated, designed with a beautifully evocative antique sensibility, and featuring 20 specially commissioned illustrations, Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer is sure to captivate anyone interested in Jane Austen, her enduring legacy, and the triumph of the creative spirit.  (publisher’s summary)

one plus oneOne Plus One by Jojo Moyes — from Penguin

Single mother and eternal optimist Jess Thomas has always tried to Do the Right Thing, but life doesn’t make it easy — especially after her math-whiz daughter gets a life-changing opportunity they can’t afford.  Ed Nicholls is a brilliant tech millionaire whose life is falling apart when he happens upon Jess and her family stranded on the side of the road.

In perhaps his first unselfish act ever, Ed agrees to drive them, plus their pungent dog, Norman, to the Maths Olympiad — and to a prize that could change their lives forever — in this hilarious, heartwarming story of family dysfunction, devotion, and love found in the unlikeliest of places.  (publisher’s summary)

Unexpected arrival:

hit countHit Count by Chris Lynch — from Algonquin

**This one isn’t my cup of tea, so I gave it to my husband, who loves football**

Arlo Brodie loves being at the heart of the action on the football field, getting hit hard and hitting back harder.  That’s where he belongs, leading his team to championships, becoming “Starlo” on his way to the top.  Arlo’s dad cheers him on, but his mother quotes head injury statistics and refuses to watch games.  Arlo’s girlfriend tries to make him see how dangerously he’s playing; when that doesn’t work, she calls time out on their relationship.  Even Arlo’s coaches begin to track his hit count, ready to pull him off the field when he nears the limit.  But Arlo’s not worried about tallying collisions.  The winning plays, the cheering crowds, and the adrenaline rush are enough to convince Arlo that everything is OK — in spite of the pain, the pounding, the dizziness, and the confusion.

Hit Count explores America’s love affair with football and our attempts to reconcile the clear evidence of its dangers with our passion for the game.  (publisher’s summary)

Library sale finds:

the prime minister's secret agentThe Prime Minister’s Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal

World War II rages on across Europe, but Maggie Hope has finally found a moment of rest on the pastoral coast of western Scotland.  Home from an undercover mission in Berlin, she settles down to teach at her old spy training camp and to heal from the scars on both her body and heart.  Yet instead of enjoying the quieter pace of life, Maggie is quickly drawn into another web of danger and intrigue.  When three ballerinas fall strangely ill in Glasgow — including one of Maggie’s dearest friends — Maggie partners with MI-5 to uncover the truth behind their unusual symptoms.  What she finds points to a series of poisonings that may expose shocking government secrets and put countless British lives at stake.  But it’s the fight brewing in the Pacific that will forever change the course of the war — and indelibly shape Maggie’s fate.  (publisher’s summary)

mr. darcy's diaryMr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange

The only place Darcy could share his innermost feelings was in the private pages of his diary.  Torn between his sense of duty to his family name and his growing passion for Elizabeth Bennet, all he can do is struggle not to fall in love.  A skillful and graceful imagining of the hero’s point of view in one of the most beloved and enduring love stories of all time.  (publisher’s summary)

Free ebooks (not sure if any of them are still free, though):

a winter wrongA Winter Wrong by Elizabeth Ann West

When Jane Bennet’s illness at Netherfield ends up not being just a trifling cold, but an epidemic that sweeps through Hertfordshire, the lives at Longbourn are turned upside down.  Elizabeth Bennet finds herself lost without a cherished loved one and the interferences of one Fitzwilliam Darcy most aggravating.  Combating the bombastic behavior of Mr. Collins, Elizabeth runs to London for the protection of her aunt and uncle.  But acquaintances and introductions bring Mr. Darcy back into her life and Elizabeth discovers he might just mend her broken heart.

A sweetheart romantic novella, A Winter Wrong is the first in a series of seasonal episodes following the Bennet family after the loss of their patriarch.  Winter explores the feelings of grief and loss we all have experienced, while still retaining a silver lining for that dark cloud.  (publisher’s summary)

chosenChosen by Sarah Johnson

The Bennet family changed dramatically when Mr Bennet nearly lost his life.  The rekindled love between him and his wife encouraged a unifying bond amongst their five daughters.  Their story unfolds as each eligible young lady walks down the aisle, taking her husband’s hand and forever leaving the name of Bennet behind.

Fitzwilliam Darcy was a tormented man.  His sister’s recent accident and the lifelong difficulties she was now to face plagued him.  While visiting his friend, Darcy crosses paths with a young lady.  He is immediately captivated and soon seeks out an introduction and dance with Elizabeth Bennet.  Could it be that his parents, though they are no longer with him, are leading him right to the arms of a family who can help both he and his sister heal from all they have suffered?  Will the instant connection Darcy and Elizabeth both feel for each other be able to weather the storms that come when a secret past connection is revealed?  (publisher’s summary)

no, not that jane austenNo, Not That Jane Austen by Marilyn Grey

This is a short story prequel to the Best of Fools.

The complete opposite of her parents, Jane doesn’t like reading love stories and can’t stand all things romance, but most especially she hates her name.  “No, not that Jane Austen,” she’s said so many times to so many teachers, friends, and strangers, while lamenting the fact that her parents named her after one of their favorite authors, the very author who sparked their own love story.

Jane isn’t looking for a love story, and on the eve of her 18th birthday she happily considers changing her name and finally steering her life away from the self-imposed expectations that come with it, but … she meets a charming British boy on his way back home and everything she’s fought hard to control suddenly becomes irresistible.  (publisher’s summary)

life after the weddingA Pride and Prejudice Sequel: Life After the Wedding (Novella, Part One) by Denise O’Hara

Romance at it’s best, Jane Austen style!  The Bingleys are honeymooning in Ireland.  There Jane meets her new mother-in-law and his lively Aunt Jeanie!  How did likable Charles Bingley & self-important Caroline come from the same family?  Jane learns much of the Bingley family’s untold story.

Back at Netherfield they are reunited with the Darcys and Bennetts.  Mrs. Bennett never changes but Lizzy must help her dearest sister who is beginning to see things differently now that she has a family of her own.  Why do the Bingleys leave Netherfield after only a twelth month?

Pemberly has a new Mistress!  The Darcys have true love but they still have very different personalities.  How will they deal with problems in day to day life after the wedding?

Enjoy the continuing story as beloved characters stay true to themselves!  (publisher’s summary)

the janeite's dream book of triviaThe Janeite’s Dream Book of Trivia by Trudy Barnes & Tiffany Bascom

How’s your Austen?  Are you and your friends true Janeites?  This is a comprehensive set of trivia questions about the beloved Jane Austen.  It’s a chance to see what you know and explore new territory.  The questions are categorized by type: Book Questions (plot details), Character Quips (who says the quote or whom it’s about), Jane in Other Media (her influence in other books, movies, etc.), Jane’s Life and Times (facts of her life, etc.), and Regarding Jane (what others say about her).  The questions are “shuffled” so they can be used to play trivia games.  They are also separated into chapters of 25 questions each so you can test yourself.  It’s time to see if you are a true proficient!  (publisher’s summary)

a berlin storyA Berlin Story by Tiffani Burnett-Velez

Annalise Bergen is seeking shelter among the rubble of a fallen Berlin, after members of the Red Army have held her prisoner for two weeks in her apartment.  She is released by a kind Ukrainian officer, who disappears almost as soon as he appears.  Annalise cannot get the image of him out of her mind, but finding him means losing the safety net his kindness has created for her.  She survives by living on meager rations and by feigning interest in American GI’s.  Eventually, she finds the soldier again, but her discovery also means a loss to her freedom and safety. (publisher’s summary)

geli hitlerGeli Hilter by David Roman

It’s 1931, Germany’s democracy in on death throes and the Nazis on the brink of securing power.  In Adolf Hitler’s apartment in Munich, Geli Raubal, the Fuhrer’s beloved niece, is found dead.  The official cause is suicide, but not many are convinced by the story: why would a beautiful young woman kill herself with a shot to her chest?  Bernd Maier, a detective with the Munich police who is married to a Jewish woman terrified of the Nazis’ rise, takes up the case at the prompting of his boss, who suspects the Nazis want to bury the truth, whatever it is.  After a series of twists and turns, and close encounters with the coming masters of Germany, Maier finds out that Geli’s case is even more complex that he had expected.  (publisher’s summary)

children to a degreeChildren to a Degree: Growing Up Under the Third Reich by Horst Christian

Based on a true story about a young boy growing up under the Third Reich.

Karl Veth, the oldest of three children, was born in Berlin, Germany in 1930.  By the time he was old enough to start school and begin his education, Hitler had already established a firm death-grip on the country.  Children were fed a steady diet of Nazi propaganda and were often encouraged to turn on their family and friends, but contrary to popular belief, not all of them bought into it.

Karl is an intelligent young boy who strives to excel in his studies, but he questions everything.  Dangerous questions during a time when people are closely monitored.  Karl’s father and grandfather are not blind followers and they have their own opinions about Hitler and his regime.  The lessons they teach Karl often contradict what he is taught in school, yet they also inspire him to think on his own and form his own opinions.

German law mandates that all children must become members of the Hitler Youth and at the age of 10, Karl enters the Jungvolk, the junior branch of the Hitler Youth.  He must wade through the propaganda and everything he is taught to decide for himself what is right and what it wrong.  Little does he know at the time, but many of his grandfather’s predictions about the future of the Third Reich will eventually come to pass.  The lessons he learns now and the opinions he forms will determine his fate in dangerous times ahead.  (publisher’s summary)

the end of sorrowThe End of Sorrow by JV Love

A love that would not die…
A city that would not surrender…
A war that knew no bounds…

The date is June 21st, 1941, and Adolf Hitler is about to lead Germany into what would become one of the bloodiest, most barbaric wars the world would ever know.  His invasion plan, Operation: Barbarossa, calls for taking the northern Russian city of Leningrad in a matter of weeks, but as the troops reach the outside border of the city, the Soviet resistance stiffens and a stalemate ensues.  Hitler calls for continual bombardment of the city and cutting off all outside supplies.  He boasts that the city will starve to death and the German forces will march into a ghost town.

Follow a cast of lovers, heroes, and fiends some real-to-life as they struggle through one of the most horrific human dramas ever created.  For 900 days, the citizens and soldiers of Leningrad, Russia endured one of the worst sieges in the history of mankind.  Some would find the inner strength that would make them a light unto the darkness.  Others would descend into madness.  (publisher’s summary)

brothers beyond bloodBrothers Beyond Blood by Don Kafrissen

Can two young men who meet in a Nazi concentration camp become friends?  It’s possible and even probable, but suppose one of them is a prisoner and the other is a guard?

When Herschel and Hans Rothberg die, a lawyer hands the children a manuscript that completely turns their world upside down.  Can they believe what is written?

From the closing months of WWII to the men’s departure for America from a Displaced Persons camp, the manuscript chronicles their troubled journey.  (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

a peculiar connection

Source: Review copy from Meryton Press
Rating: ★★★★★

I would be as I had ever been…before I loved him.

With a determined set to my shoulders, I turned and quietly crawled back into bed, hoping to avoid waking Jane.  The only problem that remained was what to do with the pain in my heart.

(from A Peculiar Connection)

Quick summary: Jan Hahn’s A Peculiar Connection is a variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that opens with Lady Catherine’s arrival at Longbourn.  In this “alternate path,” Lady Catherine drops a bomb on the Bennet family in the form of an old letter that drives a wedge between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy even as it brings them together.  Unable to acknowledge or deny the passion that flames between them, the pair journeys from London to Bath to Ireland and must piece together clues from paintings, a rundown mansion, a hidden church, and old documents to shed light on long-buried secrets.

Why I wanted to read it: I was intrigued by the cover of this novel, and once I read the summary, I just had to know what happens!

What I liked: I was hooked from the very first page and found it hard to tear myself away to work, eat, or sleep.  Seriously, this novel took me on an emotional roller coaster, making me laugh, cry, and get angry, sometimes in the same chapter.  Hahn’s writing is fantastic; I could feel the desire, sorrow, and despair, and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the lighter moments, like Darcy and Elizabeth discussing potential nicknames for each other.  Hahn’s decision to write the novel from the first person viewpoint of Elizabeth was brilliant, as giving readers a front seat to her emotional turmoil, though painful, was so much more powerful.

What I disliked: Absolutely nothing!

Final thoughts: A Peculiar Connection is one of the best Austen-inspired novels I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot of really good ones!  It has everything I’m looking for in a Pride and Prejudice variation these days, including a unique plot, a bit of mystery, and even a little darkness to balance out all the lovey-dovey stuff you expect in a novel about Darcy and Elizabeth.  A Peculiar Connection will definitely be on my “Best of 2015″ list!

Disclosure: I received A Peculiar Connection from Meryton Press for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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 the shelves recently:

For review:

alfonsoAlfonso by Félix Calvino — from the author

Alfonso is a gentle yet searching exploration of a Spanish migrant’s feelings and experiences in the country Australia used to be more than forty years ago.  Félix Calvino infuses the stuff of everyday life with tenderness and magic.  He recovers a lost time and sensibility.  The past shimmers back to life.  — Venero Armanno  (publisher’s summary)

a god in ruinsA God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson — from Little, Brown

Kate Atkinson’s dazzling Life After Life explored the possibility of infinite chances, following Ursula Todd as she lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again.

Atkinson’s new novel tells the story of Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy — would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband, and father — as he navigates the perils and progress of the twentieth century.  For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge is facing the difficulties of living in a future he never expected to have.  The stunning companion to Life After Life, A God in Ruins explores the loss of innocence, the fraught transition from war to peacetime, and the pain of being misunderstood, especially as we age.  (publisher’s summary)

painting the moonPainting the Moon (Chilton Crosse, Volume 1) by Traci Borum — from the author

When Noelle Cooke inherits a quaint English cottage and an art gallery from her famous Aunt Joy, she welcomes a departure from her San Diego routine.  But the lure of the Cotswolds, combined with a locked cottage room and a revealing journal, entice her to stay and discover more, including a way to save the gallery from financial ruin.  And that means remaining in England.  When her childhood sweetheart, Adam Spencer, begins work on a restoration project in Noelle’s village, their friendship blossoms.  But as her feelings for Adam deepen, she struggles with memories of what might have been and yearns for a future once thought lost.  Faced with a life-altering revelation Aunt Joy took to her grave and a wrenching choice regarding the man she loves, Noelle could lose far more than her heart.  (publisher’s summary)

finding the rainbowFinding the Rainbow (Chilton Crosse, Volume 2) by Traci Borum — from the author

Holly Newbury’s life is on hold in the cozy English village of Chilton Crosse.  While her friends are marrying, having children, and embarking on successful careers, Holly is raising her three younger sisters and working part time at the village art gallery.  Her life feels incomplete, but family is more important to her than anything.  Then a film crew’s arrival galvanizes the community, and Holly becomes fast friends with Fletcher Hays, the movie’s love-shy American writer.

The production of an Emma film isn’t the only drama in town, though.  Their father makes a choice that threatens everything she gave up her dreams for. Holly’s sisters endure growing pains.  And Fletcher plans to return to America as soon as filming is over, ruining any chance of their relationship blossoming further.  After years of sacrificing for others, Holly must find the courage to take a risk on a future she never dared to expect.  (publisher’s summary)

bianca's vineyardBianca’s Vineyard by Teresa Neumann — from the author

Bianca Corrotti’s vineyard is more than a piece of mouthwatering real estate in Tuscany.  It’s an inheritance; a storehouse harboring the secrets of her Uncle Egisto, world-class sculptor, and his troubled wife — a woman whose destiny converges with Mussolini’s when World War II overtakes them all.  Based on a true story, Bianca’s Vineyard follows a devoted family of strong-willed men and lion-hearted women waging an epic battle against a gathering storm intent on destroying their lives.  (publisher’s summary)

born survivorsBorn Survivors by Wendy Holden — from Harper

Among millions of Holocaust victims sent to Auschwitz II-Birkenau in 1944, Priska, Rachel, and Anka each pass through its infamous gates with a secret.  Strangers to each other, they are newly pregnant and facing an uncertain fate without their husbands.  Alone, scared, and with so many loved ones already lost to the Nazis, these young women are privately determined to hold on to all they have left:  their lives and those of their unborn babies.

That the gas chambers ran out of Zyklon B just after the babies were born, before they and their mothers could be exterminated, is just one of several miracles that allowed them to survive and rebuild their lives after World War II.  Born Survivors follows the mothers’ incredible journey — first to Auschwitz, where they each came under the scrutiny of Dr. Josef Mengele; then to a German slave-labor camp where, half-starved and almost worked to death, they struggled to conceal their condition; and finally, as the Allies closed in, their hellish train journey with thousands of other prisoners to the Mauthausen death camp in Austria.

Sixty-five years later, the three “miracle babies” meet for the first time at Mauthausen for the anniversary of the American liberation.  In Born Survivors, Wendy Holden brings all three stories together for the first time, to mark their seventieth birthdays and the seventieth anniversary of the ending of the war.  (publisher’s summary)

Unexpected arrivals:

orhan's inheritanceOrhan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian — from Algonquin

When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather, who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs, is found dead in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business.  But his grandfather’s will raises more questions than it answers.  Kemal has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, an aging woman in a retirement home in Los Angeles.  Her existence and secrecy about her past only deepen the mystery of why Orhan’s grandfather would have left their home to this woman rather than to his own family.

Intent on righting this injustice, Orhan boards a plane to Los Angeles.  There, over many meetings, he will unearth the story that eighty-seven-year-old Seda so closely guards — the story that, if told, has the power to undo the legacy upon which Orhan’s family is built, the story that could unravel Orhan’s own future.

Moving between the last years of the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, Orhan’s Inheritance is a story of passionate love, unspeakable horrors, incredible resilience, and the hidden stories that haunt a family.  (publisher’s summary)

the jumbiesThe Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste — from Algonquin Young Readers

**This isn’t my cup of tea, so I’ll be passing it along to a family friend**

Corinne La Mer isn’t afraid of anything.  Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies.  She knows that jumbies aren’t real; they’re just creatures parents make up to frighten their children.  But on All Hallows’ Eve, Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden woods.  Those shining yellow eyes that follow her to the edge of the trees, they couldn’t belong to a jumbie.  Or could they?

Corinne begins to notice odd occurrences after that night.  First she spots a beautiful stranger speaking to the town witch at the market.  Then this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, cooking dinner for her father.  Danger is in the air.  Sure enough, bewitching Corinne’s father is the first step in Severine’s plan to claim the entire island for the jumbies.  Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and ancient magic to stop Severine and to save her island home.  (publisher’s summary)

the phantom menaceWilliam Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher — from Quirk

**This isn’t my cup of tea, so I passed it along to Serena**

Join us, good gentles, for a merry reimagining of Star Wars: Episode One as only Shakespeare could have written it.  The entire saga starts here, with a thrilling tale featuring a disguised queen, a young hero, and two fearless knights facing a hidden, vengeful enemy.

‘Tis a true Shakespearean drama, filled with sword fights, soliloquies, and doomed romance…all in glorious iambic pentameter and coupled with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations.  Hold on to your midi-chlorians: The play’s the thing, wherein you’ll catch the rise of Anakin!  (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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