I read the following six books in July and August.
Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris 5 Stars. Book Club Recommended. I also recommend this for anyone who enjoyed the Tattooist of Auschwitz. Cilka was only 16 when she was imprisoned at Auschwitz-Birkenau. As soon as World War II is over, she is arrested and sent to do 15 years of labor in the coldest place on earth, Vorkuta Gulag. It is a story of bravery, survival, and extraordinary perseverance See my full review. I received the book as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC). It will be released on October 1, 2019.
Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok 3.5 Stars. I read this for an upcoming book club meeting the same weekend that the movie version of Where’d You Go Bernadette was released. I thought, oh good, another funny book about a disappearance. That was far from the case since this book is much darker. The beautiful and successful Sylvie Lee disappears in the Netherlands where she had gone to visit her dying grandmother. Her shy sister, Amy, sets off to find her and discovers hidden and painful family secrets. See my Goodreads review.
All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio. 4 Stars. Possible Book Club selection recommendation. For those who know me, I have a penchant for World War II Historical fiction. I was excited to receive an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book, which has now been published and is available for purchase. It is the story of two women, one who lived in Paris during WWII and another who lives there in 2009. See my full review on my old blog site.
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter. 5 Stars. Book club recommended. The author, Georgia Hunter, is the granddaughter of a Polish Holocaust survivor and gives a dramatic account of the injustices suffered by his family. It is nothing short of a miracle that the Kurc family, consisting of parents, five adult children, their spouses and a granddaughter, were all lucky enough to survive and find each other after World War II. At times, the story was too long and even sappy, but overall it is a beautiful and moving account of endurance against all odds. I enjoyed the Audible book, which was 15 hours and 36 minutes long.
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano. 4.5 Stars. I am not sure that I would recommend to my book club for a monthly selection, but it would be a very interesting discussion for many clubs. (My book club PAL, Cindy T. should read this!) I titled my review Dear Me, What Was I Thinking, because I had no idea what drew me to a book that was about a plane crash that had only one survivor. In the end, I was glad to be pushed out of my comfort zone. This was an ARC. It will be published on January 14, 2020.
The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett. 4 Stars. This was my book club’s July selection. We enjoy reading classics, and this 77 page novella written in 1896 clearly falls within that category. It is a charming character study about life in a small Maine village in the late 1800s. It is narrated by an unnamed female writer who spends her summer there, boarding in the home of a Mrs. Todd. The characters, who are often quirky, are mostly self-sufficient and content with their lives. They have a strong sense of community that is heartwarming. See my full Goodreads review.