Guest Review: There Was Still Love – Favel Parrett

 

There Was Still Love

Favel Parrett

Hachette AU

ISBN: 9780733630682

Description:

The profoundly moving new novel from the critically acclaimed and Miles Franklin shortlisted author of PAST THE SHALLOWS and WHEN THE NIGHT COMES. A tender and masterfully told story of memory, family and love.

Prague, 1938: Eva flies down the street from her sister. Suddenly a man steps out, a man wearing a hat. Eva runs into him, hits the pavement hard. His hat is in the gutter. His anger slaps Eva, but his hate will change everything, as war forces so many lives into small, brown suitcases.

Prague, 1980: No one sees Ludek. A young boy can slip right under the heavy blanket that covers this city – the fear cannot touch him. Ludek is free. And he sees everything. The world can do what it likes. The world can go to hell for all he cares because Babi is waiting for him in the warm flat. His whole world.

Melbourne, 1980: Mala Li ka’s grandma holds her hand as they climb the stairs to their third floor flat. Inside, the smell of warm pipe tobacco and homemade cakes. Here, Mana and Bill have made a life for themselves and their granddaughter. A life imbued with the spirit of Prague and the loved ones left behind.

Favel Parrett’s deep emotional insight and stellar literary talent shine through in this love letter to the strong women who bind families together, despite dislocation and distance. It is a tender and beautifully told story of memory, family and love. Because there is still love. No matter what.

Brenda’s Review:

What an utterly divine, beautifully written novel There Was Still Love is by Aussie author Favel Parrett. Moving, profound, I’m blown away by this book. I loved the author’s previous novels, and this one is exceptional.

Set in Prague in 1938 and 1980, and Melbourne in 1980, it tells Eva and Mana’s stories and that of their grandchildren. Ludek lives in Prague with his Babi while his mother is a long way away working, and Mala Li ka lives in the tiny Melbourne flat with her grandma and grandpa. Love; the past; the present – all link together as there was still love; always.

Although There Was Still Love is a work of fiction, the author has drawn from the lives of her grandparents, showing the kindness and love which was always present. A very memorable book which is told mostly in the voices of the two children, and which I have no hesitation in recommending highly. The cover is beautiful, with the fox having special meaning. 5 stars

With thanks to Hachette AU for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

 

#FridayFeebie : Dead Man Switch – Tara Moss

Description:

Bestselling author Tara Moss returns to crime fiction with a stunning new series, and a stunning new heroine. Meet PI Billie Walker – smart and sexy, with a dash of Mae West humour, she’s a hard-boiled detective with a twist.

She’s a woman in a man’s world …

Sydney, 1946. Billie Walker is living life on her own terms. World War II has left her bereaved, her photojournalist husband missing and presumed dead. Determined not to rely on any man for her future, she re-opens her late father’s detective agency.

Billie’s bread and butter is tailing cheating spouses – it’s easy, pays the bills and she has a knack for it. But her latest case, the disappearance of a young man, is not proving straightforward …

Soon Billie is up to her stylish collar in bad men, and not just the unfaithful kind – these are the murdering kind. Smugglers. Players. Gangsters. Billie and her loyal assistant must pit their wits against Sydney’s ruthless underworld and find the young man before it’s too late.

Tara Moss head shot_thanks to Berndt Sellheim

Giveaway:

If you like your protagonists to be smart, assertive and female then Tara’ Moss’ s new series with the PI Billie Walker written in a modern ‘hard boiled’ style is for you.

For your chance to win pop over to Harper Collins website and tell me  in the comments in this blog post, who said this about the author  “‘A brilliant writer‘ ”

 

**Entries limited to Australian residents only and winners will be selected by a random draw on  the 31st of October 2019.**

Guest Review: Khaki Town – Judy Nunn

Khaki Town
Judy Nunn
Penguin Random House AU
ISBN: 9780143795179

Description:
Khaki Town, Judy Nunn’s stunning new novel, is inspired by a wartime true story which the Government kept secret for over seventy years.

‘It seems to have happened overnight,’ Val thought as she pulled the beers. ‘We’ve become a khaki town.’

It’s March 1942. Singapore has fallen. Darwin has been bombed. Australia is on the brink of being invaded by the Imperial Japanese Forces. And Val Callahan, publican of The Brown’s Hotel in Townsville, could not be happier as she contemplates the fortune she’s making from lonely, thirsty soldiers.

Overnight the small Queensland city is transformed into the transport hub for 70,000 American and Australian soldiers destined for combat in the South Pacific. Barbed wire and gun emplacements cover the beaches. Historic buildings have been commandeered. And the dance halls are in full swing with jitterbug and jive.

The Australian troops, short on rations and equipment, begrudge the confident, well-fed ‘Yanks’ who have taken over their town (and women). And there’s growing conflict, too, within the American ranks. Because black GIs are enjoying the absence of segregation and the white GIs do not like it.

Then one night a massive street fight leaves a black soldier lying dead in the street, and the situation explodes into violent confrontation.

Brenda’s Review:
March 1942 in Townsville, North Queensland, and it was about to become inundated by US soldiers. Val Callahan owned The Brown’s Hotel where the soldiers and locals congregated for a drink and some company. The Australian soldiers were jealous of their American counterparts as they had more money and benefits than them; the local girls were more than happy to have the attention of the Yanks and the chocolates, nylons and all that came with it.

Val had no hesitation in allowing black and white soldiers to drink at her bar – men were men after all, no matter the colour of their skin. But the white US soldiers were used to subservience from the blacks and the anger was slowly rising. The black soldiers’ camp was out of town – Kelso – and after a series of fights in town, they were banned from leaving their camp; banned from going into town and having the entertainment and refreshments the men needed after a hard days’ work.

The riot was brutal, violent and deadly – the reason for the riot was a complex one based purely on racism, hatred and anger. But as the story evolved it was obvious to some that it would all be covered up. Would the truth ever be told?

Khaki Town by Aussie author Judy Nunn is another brilliant historical novel which in this case is based on factual events. The author mentions Khaki Town is about racism and she purposely hasn’t softened the talk. The language is true to the times which is needed for authenticity. All characters are fictional, except for the four American historical figures; some of the events mentioned did happen. I was totally engrossed in this novel, both fascinated and repelled at what was happening. The kindness, caring, love and beautiful music was one side of the coin, while the bullying, the brutality, the cruel taunting – the other. Khaki Town is extremely well-written by an author who has obviously done her research. Highly recommended. 5 stars.

With thanks to Penguin Random House AU for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The World That We Knew

The World That We Knew

Alice Hoffman

Simon & Schuster Australia

Scribner

ISBN: 9781471185830

RRP $32.99

 

Description:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites comes Alice Hoffman’s darkly magical story of a heartbreaking time of war when men became monsters, children navigated a world without parents, and women were willing to sacrifice everything for those they loved.

 

In Berlin, at the time when the world changed forever, Hanni Kohn knows she has to send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. Turning to an old woman who is familiar with Jewish magic, she finds her way to the daughter of a rabbi who creates a Golem, a mystical Jewish creature sworn to protect Hanni’s precious daughter Lea.

 

Lea’s journey with the Golem to France is fraught with danger and raw emotion. They travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses, to a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved, to a farm where the bees never forgive.

 

What does it mean to lose your mother? What makes a family? How is it possible to survive cruelty and continue to love? In a life that is as unreal as a fairytale, Alice Hoffman’s The World That We Knew takes us on a journey of loss and resistance, good and evil, the fantastical and the mortal, to a place where all roads lead past the angel of death and love is never-ending.

 

My View:

This book opens with a brilliant few pages, the tension and the drama are agonizing. I am so pleased the style quickly changed to one of magic realism; I could not have kept reading at the pace of the introductory pages, such a great emotive hook is deployed by the author; heartbreakingly good.

 

This is a narrative that makes no apologies for the atrocities it highlights. Facts are simply stated, then we move on, there is no glorification of war and war crimes, vendettas and prejudice, the facts speak loudly and should wake even the near deaf.

 

Themes of family, identity, love, what it means to be human, kinship, resilience and sacrifice are explored in this heart stopping, and unforgettable read. This is not an easy read but it is a monumental, outstanding and I imagine, soon to be, award winning novel. Read it today. A captivating read.

 

 

Guest Review: Cilka’s Journey – Heather Morris

Cilka’s Journey
(The Tattooist of Auschwitz #2)
Heather Morris
Bonnier
Echo
ISBN: 9781760686048

 

Description:

From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, comes the new novel based on an incredible true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her life – and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.

After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to Siberia. But what choice did she have? And where did the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was sent to Auschwitz when still a child?

In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

 

Brenda’s View:

Sixteen-year-old Cilka’s arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau was followed by three years of heartbreak, torture and loss. It was also where she lost her innocence; where she met Gita, who was to be her best friend, and Lale the tattooist who marked her, and everyone else, with the number that identified her. At the time of liberation, in 1945, Cilka was interrogated and charged as a collaborator. Her punishment was to be 15 years in the notorious Vorkuta Gulag in the icy wastes of Siberia. Cilka’s life would change once more…

The hut that the women were housed in, where Cilka eventually formed friendships, was cold and miserable. Working in the mines was debilitating, exhausting work, but when Cilka met a compassionate woman doctor at the hospital and was asked to work there as her caring nature would be an asset, Cilka was grateful. Conditions were a little better but each night she returned to her hut after being confronted with death and shocking injuries. The fortitude and strength that Cilka held inside rarely faltered, but more was to come to test her. What was to be the outcome of this horror for Cilka? Would she ever know peace?

Cilka’s Journey by Aussie author Heather Morris is the sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz where we met Lale as he told his story. Once again, the author has based her new story on fact, with Cilka being a real person, set in history; the settings are horribly authentic; the bravery and courage of Cilka mentioned to the author by Lale when she interviewed him. The artistry of the author as she blended fact with fiction shows a great amount of research – her mention of that research and how much time was devoted to it, is at the end of the book. Cilka’s Journey takes us back to a shocking time in history, a time I hope is never repeated. It is also a historical novel I highly recommend.

With thanks to Bonnier/Echo and associated publishers for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

#FridayFreebie : Wearing Paper Dresses – Anne Brinsden

WEARING PAPER DRESSES

Anne Brinsden

Pan Macmillan Australia

https://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781760784850/

RRP $32.99

Thanks to the generous people at Pan Macmillan Australia  I have one copy of this 5 star book to give away on my blog.  In the comments state what colour the sand is in the Mallee. **hint see description here.

 

**This easy competition is open to Australian residents only.Entries close 5th October 2019 and the winner will be randomly selected. **

Where the Light Enters **Giveaway**

Where the Light Enters

Sara Donati

Penguin Random House

 

About the Book:

Where the Light Enters is the highly anticipated sequel to The Gilded Hour, combining romance and mystery to tell the story of two trailblazing female doctors in nineteenth-century Manhattan. In the early spring of 1884, Dr Sophie Savard returns to New York to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. With the help of Dr Anna Savard, her dearest friend and cousin, she plans to continue her work aiding the disadvantaged women society would rather forget. But a serial killer is luring women with the false promise of a safe abortion, and when the bodies of women turn up, Sophie and Anna are drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse…

Donati crafts strong female characters who draw upon the wisdom of their ancestors to transcend the slings and arrows of petty racism and sexism… Detectives, doctors, and dastardly scoundrels abound in this fascinating historical novel.”— Kirkus Reviews

 

Simply comment on this post with the name of the first book in the series to be in the draw to win your own copy of this highly rated new release thanks to Penguin Random House Australia. **This giveaway is open to Australian residents only. The winner will be drawn on the 29th of September 2019.