Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia, formerly from The Printed Page, where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. Mailbox Monday currently is on tour, and this month’s host is Mrs. Q: Book Addict.
No review books this week, but I did add these to my shelves:
In the spring of 1939, on the eve of her thirteenth birthday, a girl sits in a waiting room in Marseilles. Ilse is half Jewish; her mother has sent her out of Germany to a place she hopes will afford her daughter absolute safety. But instead, Ilse’s journey takes her deep into the landscape of war: first to Morocco, then to Paris under the threat of Nazi invasion. Traveling across borders, Ilse must use her wits to survive an enemy occupation, one that steals away her name and sense of self, making even her own language taboo.
At the same time, in Germany, a boy struggles with his place in the Hitler Youth. Despite the comforts of his Hamburg home, Nicolai comes to feel that he is a stranger in his own land. As his mother takes up with another man, Nicolai finds emotional refuge in a growing attachment to his beautiful new nursemaid, a woman of silences and sorrows. Gradually, he draws out her secret: she has a child whom she fears may be lost to her forever. That child is Ilse.
The Children’s War evokes wartime lives and places with astonishing immediacy: the labyrinthine bazaars of Meknès; Hamburg’s cellars packed with civilians during air raids; the salt tang of Marseilles, where prostitutes and gangsters live side by side with freedom fighters and refugees. We meet “Swing Boys” sneaking tobacco and home-distilled liquor in illicit jazz cafés, and young soldiers stirring pea soup beside tents on the sandy Baltic coast.
Meticulously researched, yet also a vivid work of imagination, The Children’s War re-creates the landscape of World War II in a new and utterly unforgettable way. Interweaving the stories of Ilse and of Nicolai, it is a gripping tale of adventure, loyalty, love and betrayal; of disappointment and hope; of parents and children trying to protect one another; of self-discovery. It is a stunning novel. (publisher’s summary)
It is September 8, 1943, and fourteen-year-old Claudette Blum and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps toward Italy, where they hope to find safety now that the Italians have broken from Germany and made a separate peace with the Allies. The Blums will soon discover that Italy is anything but peaceful, as it quickly becomes and open battleground for the Nazis, the Allies, Resistance fighters, Jews in hiding, and ordinary Italian civilians trying to survive.
Tracing the lives of a handful of fascinating characters — a charismatic Italian Resistance leader, a priest, an Italian rabbi’s family, a disillusioned German doctor — Mary Doria Russell tells the little-known story of the vast underground effort by Italian citizens who saved the lives of 43,000 Jews during the final phase of World War II. A Thread of Grace puts a human face on history. (publisher’s summary)
Assaulted by Allied bombs and ruled by Nazis with nothing to lose, Berlin in 1945 has become the most dangerous place on Earth. British journalist John Russell hasn’t heard from his family since he fled Germany in 1941. His son, Paul, is stationed on the Eastern Front with the remnants of the German Army. Russell’s girlfriend, Effi, the former film star, has been living in disguise, helping Jews and political fugitives escape the Third Reich. Even if Russell manages to slip back into Berlin, will he be able to offer them any protection during the last desperate days of the war? (publisher’s summary)
Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author’s tale of gothic strangeness — featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves. (publisher’s summary)
As university students in late 1970s Bombay, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta were inseparable. Spirited and unconventional, they challenged authority and fought for a better world. But over the past thirty years, the quartet has drifted apart, the day-to-day demands of work and family tempering the revolutionary fervor they once shared.
Then comes devastating news: Armaiti, who moved to America, is gravely ill and wants to see the old friends she left behind. For Laleh, reunion is a bittersweet reminder of unfulfilled dreams and unspoken guilt. For Kavita, it is an admission of forbidden passion. For Nishta, it is the promise of freedom from a bitter, fundamentalist husband. And for Armaiti, it is an act of acceptance, of letting go on her own terms.
The World We Found is a dazzling masterwork from the remarkable Thrity Umrigar, offering an unforgettable portrait of modern India, while it explores the enduring bonds of friendship and the power of love to change lives. (publisher’s summary)
These are The Girl’s library sale finds:
A Separate Peace by John Knowles (Amazon/IndieBound)
Summer Soldiers by Susan Hart Lindquist (Amazon)
Chase by Jessie Haas (Amazon/IndieBound)
Matilda by Roald Dahl (Amazon)
Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn (Amazon/IndieBound)
The Dark Hills Divide (The Land of Elyon Book 1) by Patrick Carman (Amazon/IndieBound)
Here Today by Ann M. Martin (Amazon/IndieBound)
Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen (Amazon/IndieBound)
What books did you add to your shelves recently?
Disclosure: I am an IndieBound affiliate and an Amazon associate.
© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.