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 during the past couple of weeks:
Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt — from William Morrow
1914. In the coal-dusted shadows of Pittsburgh’s steel mills, shopkeeper’s daughter Hazel Renner dreams of adventure under blue skies and escape from her German-American parents’ ambitions for a respectable career. But war in Europe shatters her plans and community, pitting neighbors and friends against each other and shaking free a family secret. Seeking peace in the countryside, Hazel is visited by a mysterious healing power — a gift that swiftly leads to tragedy.
Resolved to discover who she is and where she belongs, Hazel follows her past to an exiled German baron fighting private demons in an American castle. There she meets Tom, a gardener who shares the freedom of flight, but their powerful bonds will be tested by the chaos and voids of war. Betrayed by her healing powers, struggling to protect those close to her while keeping her own heart safe, Hazel must reconcile youthful dreams with the devastating realities around her. She discovers that escape is closer than we think, and true healing can take unimaginable forms in a world after war. (publisher’s summary)
Still the Cicadas Sing by Gregory Gregoriadis — from the author
It is the 1930s and Greece is ruled by the dictator Ioannis Metaxas. In October 1940 Mussolini demands passage of his armies through Greece. Metaxas refuses and Italy declares war. The Greeks are victorious, pushing the Italians back. Seeing his Axis ally Mussolini humiliated, Hitler invades Greece.
The dreamy world of Alkinoos turns into one of brutal occupation, of famine and executions. This is a story of the boy’s coming of age, of romance with the enemy, a German girl, a Circe with violet eyes. It is a story of things that are not what they seem to be. Of daring undertakings under the nose of the Gestapo, of Odyssean heroism, wiliness and wisdom…and of eventual tragedy. An ancient Hellenic world of pathos and nobleness revisited and relieved.
Still the Cicadas Sing is the story of a boy’s spirited survival within a world of darkness and pervading death. It is a literary novel that will take the reader on a fascinating journey in Nazi occupied Athens, blending the history of Greece of that period, a little known chapter of the War, with adolescent love, with passion and intrigue. (publisher’s summary)
Innocence by Heda Margolius Kovály, translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker — from Soho Press
Famed Holocaust memoirist Heda Margolius Kovály (Under a Cruel Star) knits her own terrifying experiences in Soviet Prague into a powerful work of literary suspense.
1950s Prague is a city of numerous small terrors, of political tyranny, corruption and surveillance. There is no way of knowing whether one’s neighbor is spying for the government or what one’s supposed friend will say under pressure to a State Security agent. A loyal Party member might be imprisoned or executed as quickly as a traitor; innocence means nothing for a person caught in a government trap.
But there are larger terrors, too. When a little boy is murdered at the cinema where his aunt works, the ensuing investigation sheds a little too much light on the personal lives of the cinema’s female ushers, each of whom is hiding a dark secret of her own.
Nearly lost to censorship, this rediscovered gem of Czech literature depicts a chilling moment in history, redolent with the stifling atmosphere of political and personal oppression of the early days of Communist Czechoslovakia. (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.