Showing posts from June, 2017

(Review) Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Publisher and Publication Date: Ballantine Books. March 7, 2017.
Genre: Historical fiction, World War II, Holocaust, Ravensbruck.
Pages: 512.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Excellent. 

Included are eight black and white photographs and three maps.
An "Author's Note" provides historical information on the characters. It also shares Kelly's research for the novel. 

Lilac Girls is based on the lives of several historical people during World War II. It is also the story of the Rabbits, who lived to tell their story at Ravensbruck concentration camp. 
The year is 1939, and Caroline Ferriday is a French consulate living in New York City. She helps the new arrivals, fresh off the boat, who are wealthy displaced citizens leaving France before Nazi Germany invades.
Kasia Kuzmerick is a teenager who lives in Lublin, Poland. Kasia' father is the director of the postal center. Her mother is an artist. Her sister, Zuzanna is a doctor working in a hospital. Kasia and her…

(Review) The Dollmaker by Harriette Arnow

Publisher and Publication Date: Scribner. 1954. 2010.
Genre: Fiction. Southern Stories.
Pages: 688.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Very good.


This is a YouTube video of the film, The Dollmaker. The main character is Gertie Nevels, she is portrayed by Jane Fonda.

The Dollmaker is the story of the Nevels family during the World War II years. They live in rural Kentucky. Gertie is the mother. The father of the family is Clovis. Their children are Clytie, Reuben, Cassie Marie, Enoch, and Amos. Gertie is a strong character. In the book, she is described as a large woman. She is resilient, strong-willed, and has remarkable perseverance. She is an artisan. She crafts dolls or figures from wood.  Her husband secures a job in Detroit, Michigan. He sends word to his family to join him. Gertie and their children travel by train to Detroit. The travel by train is a first. They have entered a strange new life in Detroit. The culture shock never wanes. The children attend school and are bul…

(Review) The Lost Girls by Heather Young

Publisher and Publication Date: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. Paperback edition 2016.
Genre: Mystery.
Pages: 368.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Very good.


The Lost Girls is the story of two families living in two time periods. In 1935, a little girl disappeared. Her name was Emily. She was the youngest of three sisters. Their father was an odd person. He had at one time studied to become a minister. Now, he owns a business. His religious beliefs are a pieced together mesh of his own doctrine. The family owns a lake house where they reside every summer. The second family is Justine and her two daughters. Justine and her daughters live in our modern period. They had lived in California. Justine and her daughters escape while her boyfriend was at work. She just instinctively knew to run. She and the two girls live at the lake house.
The lake house is the setting for both time periods. It is located in rural Minnesota.

I loved this story. It's a book that I b…

(Review) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Publisher and Publication Date: Simon and Schuster Paperbacks. Originally published in 1953. This edition is a 60th anniversary edition, published in 2013.
Genre: Dystopian, speculative fiction.
Pages: 268.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Excellent.


This is the FIRST time I've read Fahrenheit 451! If my English class in high school read this book, I was asleep, I don't remember. My friend Becky at Becky's Book Reviews has reviewed this book multiple times, and has personally recommended it to me. Thanks Becky!

Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature paper burns.
451 is the number on the helmet the fireman, Guy Montag wears.

I read a few of the reviews of the book on Goodreads. It has mixed reviews. Some of the negative criticism about the book is the weirdness, and the language of the story. Some of the reviews went as far as believing this is a scary story.
I believe strongly that current life situations, maturity, and life experiences have a large part, (or most of the p…

(Review) Shadows On The Rock by Willa Cather

Publisher and Publication Date: Vintage Classics, Vintage Books, A Division of Random House. Originally published 1931. This edition published 1995.
Genre: Classic literature, Canadian history, historical fiction.
Pages: 240.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Okay.

My Antonia by Willa Cather is one of my favorite books. I'd hoped to read another work from Willa Cather that I loved. Shadows On The Rock just did not catch my interest.

Willa Cather was born in 1873, and died in 1947. Other novels written by Cather are O Pioneers!, The Professor's House, The Son of the Lark, and One of Ours. One of Ours was written in 1922. Cather won a Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours in 1923.
Links for more information on Willa Cather:
The Willa Cather Foundation
Willa Cather Archive At this link there are several first editions to read for free.
PBS, American Masters

Shadows On The Rock is the story of 17th century Quebec, and its inhabitants, who were new arrivals from France. The year is 1697, and Eu…

(Review) The Swiss Family Robinson, Illustrated Junior Library by Johann Wyss, illustrated by Lynd Ward

Publisher and Publication Date: Grosset and Dunlap Publishers. 1949.
Genre: Fiction, adventure.
Pages: 377.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Good.

The original title was Der Schweizerische Robinson.

I know you will be shocked but this is the first time I've read The Swiss Family Robinson.
My granddaughter just finished reading the book and recommended it to me.
The language of the book is proper English. The words and phrases belong to a different time and culture. It is an engaging story. It is a feel good story. It is very appropriate for a child of any age.

After a storm at sea, the family and crew members must abandon ship. A nearby island is their oasis. The ship held a large cargo of supplies, including farm animals.
The island to my estimation, must be near Australia. It is a tropical island. It is visited by strong storms and a rainy season.
The family is comprised of parents and four sons. The sons are Fritz, Ernest, Jack, and Franz. Each of the boys are strong and hea…

(Review) Dangerous To Know: A Lillian Frost and Edith Head Novel, Book 2 by Renee Patrick

Publisher and Publication Date: Forge Books. April 11, 2017.
Genre: Mystery.
Pages: 304.
Source: Free copy from Forge Books.
Rating: Good.


Renee Patrick is the pseudonym for married authors Rosemarie and Vince Keenan. Rosemarie is a research administrator and a poet. Vince is a screenwriter and journalist. Both native New Yorkers, they currently live in Seattle, Washington. and on Twitter as @RPatrickBooks.

Pre-World War II. Los Angeles, California. 1938. 
Lillian Frost is a friend and protege of Edith Head. Edith Head works at Paramount as a costume designer. At one time, Frost was an actress. Some of Frost's current duties as secretary to a society millionaire is attending swanky parties. At one of the parties, Hitler is insulted. People who are pro-Hitler are angry. A murder happens.

The tone of the story is not something I'm used to. It's a mix of strong wit versus a serious back drop of a world war looming along with its dangerous ideo…

(Review) Twelve Mighty Orphans by Jim Dent

Publisher and Publication Date: Thomas Dunne Books. 2007.
Genre: Nonfiction, Texas history, football, Masonic Home.
Pages: 287.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Very good.


Further links of interest:
Masonic Home and School of Texas. Sight Marker.
An article from the Fort Worth Star Telegram. 
12 Mighty Orphans Blog.

I procrastinated about reading this book. It had been in my to be read pile for a few years. My dad bought the book and read it. He loved it.

Twelve Mighty Orphans is the story of the football team at the Masonic Home in Fort Worth, Texas. The time period is the Great Depression. The old Masonic Home and School of Texas opened in 1899. It closed in 2005. The school was its own school district. The home cared for orphaned and displaced children. The children were those born to Masonic members.
When the book begins the story of Hardy Brown is told. The Brown siblings were notable characters at the Masonic School and on the football team.
The football team at the Mason…