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World War II Fiction

22nd January 2011

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr: This juvenile autobiographical novel tells the story of 9 year old Anna and her family.  Anna’s family must flee their Berlin home for the relative safety of Switzerland, leaving friends, family, and most of their belongings behind.  Anna’s life as a refugee is completely different from the one she left in Germany.  In spite of the hardships and danger, she learns to cherish her family even more, and even finds satisfaction in making their new life together.

Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer: Gustave and his family leave Paris just ahead of the Nazis, settling in a small French village that happens to be just across the river from Nazi occupied France.  Even though the Nazis technically aren’t in control of Gustave’s village, the Vichy French government is still in complete cooperation with the Nazi agenda.  Gustave comes to realize that he must face his fears and help the people close to him, even if it means risking his life to do so.  While the story is fiction, many of the events in the book are based on real events from the Meyer’s father’s life.

While We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin: Penny, trying to escape her domineering parents, agrees to care for handsome Eddie Shaffer’s children, Esther and Peter, when he goes off to war.  Jacob Mendel, still grieving after his wife’s death, spends every spare moment searching for his grown son and family, trapped in Nazi controlled Hungary.  Esther and Peter, missing both mother and father, desperately need someone to love and care for them.  Everyone is searching for meaning, comfort and reason in a broken world.  This was definitely one of Austin’s best books.  The stories of the characters are alternately told, without being distracting.  While the ending was somewhatpredictable, there were a few surprises, and throughout the book, God’s love, mercy, providence and unseen workings are gently shown, without being preachy or overly dramatic.

Stones in Water by Donna Jo Napoli: Roberto and his friends are taken from their Italian town by German soldiers and sent to a work camp deep in Nazi occupied Europe.  Struggling to survive and to protect his best friend, Roberto must find the courage to finally fight for his freedom.  An excellent book.  There is a sequel, Fire in the Hills, that I am eager to read.

The Carlson sisters leave their homeland of Sweden to come to America.  But once they arrive in Chicago, the land of opportunity is so much different than they expected.  Did they make a mistake?  This is a sweet, somewhat predictable story.  It’s much better than Austin’s last book, A Proper Pursuit, which I didn’t even finish because it was so horrible.  My biggest complaint about this book is my complaint about most Christian fiction: Even though authors try to write about female characters finding strength in God, they almost always find a handsome husband too.  Is it possible to find God without finding a man?

During World War II, four women band together working in a shipyard. In addition to learning new skills as electricians, the women also must cope with personal challenges and learn to rely on their friendship.  Virginia is feeling stifled in her role as mother and wife. Jean is torn between an offer of marriage and her dream of college. Helen is mourning the loss of an old flame, and Rosa is learning how to be a wife and a mother, even though her husband is serving overseas. This book wasn’t fantastic, but it was entertaining, and not quite as predictable as I first thought it would be.

A Womans Place: A Novel

My Father’s God

28th November 2005

My Father\'s God: A Novel (Austin, Lynn N. Chronicles of the King, Bk. 4.)When I last wrote of the Chronicles of the Kings series, I called it a trilogy. I was mistaken. It’s not a trilogy, although it should have been. This is the fourth book in the series, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s completely unnecessary. The first three books were very good. This book is mediocre at best. I don’t think I will be reading the rest of the books in this series.

All She Ever Wanted

04th November 2005

All She Ever WantedKathleen is estranged from her parents and siblings. Now her teenage daughter is showing signs of rebellion, and Kathleen knows that something must change. So she takes her daughter Joelle, and heads back to her hometown, in an attempt to fix some mistakes of the past. When she gets there, Kathleen discovers old friends and family, who give her a new perspective on the lives of her mother and grandmother.

Kathleen’s story wasn’t very interesting to me, but I did enjoy reading her mother’s and grandmother’s stories. Overall, the book was pretty good, although the ending wrapped up a little to easily and neatly. The book reminded me a lot of another book by Austin – Eve’s Daughters. Eve’s Daughters was also told by revealing the history behind each generation in a family. However, it was much more interesting and suspenseful than All She Ever Wanted. Both books reflected the theme of the sins and mistakes of the past affecting future generations, and the theme of learning from the past to change your own life.

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