Saturday, June 24, 2017

Beneath a Scarlet Sky


It seems that I am on a WWII kick.  In the last year I have read two books about Germans during WWII, one about the French resistance and now this one about what was going on in Italy during WWII.  The plot in this book is about a young Italian boy who is living in Milan during WWII.  His parents send him to the mountains for safety.  Instead of safety he is drawn into helping Jewish families escape across the alps into Switzerland.  As far from safety as one can get.  Then he is brought back to Milan and his parents insist on his joining the ....well.....let me paste into this a review from Amazon:

An Amazon Charts Most Read and Most Sold book.
Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, USA Today bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours.
Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.
In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.
Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.
Fans of All the Light We Cannot SeeThe Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love.

The very interesting thing about his being a spy in the book is that we see the war from both the perspective of the resistance and of the Nazis who are serving in Italy in this time period.  I recommend this book as an opportunity to get a feeling for what was happening in Italy during WWII.  

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Women in the Castle

I don't usually write ....hmmmm that is not true....often I make notes as I read.  But tonight the words caused me to rush to my computer to "get them down" for my memory!

As the women and children spend the night somewhat in hiding as the Russian troops were in their "yard".....

Marianne and Anya sit in the kitchen.....they are waiting for the Russians to come to the door to get the last of the Snapps .....when the knock at the door comes, the women answered it together.....

The horse is on the spit...the men leave with the liquor.  And as the women sat together in the dark, a weird peace descended on Marianne:

She had found a partner and for the moment this was enough.

At this point, there are only two women who have joined her in the castle:  Conny's wife and son and Anya and her two sons.  Conny's wife does not seem to be a partner.....but this woman who Marianne has rescued and did not know before seems to pull her weight.  She cooks....something that Marianne is not well versed in.  She add something to the group!

So I will add one of the reviews or blurbs so that the blog post makes sense:

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined.....
 Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

Olive Kitteredge

I usually put some sort of review into this space.  But none of the reviews that I read tonight captured the essence of this book for me....so no review.

When Olive goes to her son's house to meet her new daughter-in-law who has brought children with her into her new marriage and is now pregnant with Olive's grandchild, I thought to myself:  I DON'T like this woman!  I don't care what happens to her....I am through with the book!

But I turned the phone back on and finished the book.  And was not sorry.  The last scene when Olive decides to climb into bed with her new friend gives one hope that indeed Olive will continue to LIVE and give her new friend reason to live as well.  That is what life is about.  Not living the perfect life, but making one's imperfect life work.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Ocean at the End of the Lane



From a review:  
“Fantasy of the very best.” Wall Street Journal
A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.



I read this book because it is the choice for book club this month.  I am not sure that I will be able to attend, but the book was a quick and easy read.....so why not?  I liked the book.  My thoughts as I read this book were:  hmmmmmm...Why do we read?  To be entertained?  To learn?  To have something to do while we knit?  There are a million reasons.  I believe that this book was all about being entertained and listening to a story while I knitted.  That is OK.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Rosie Effect


I didn't like this sequel to the Rosie Project quite as well as I liked the the Rosie Project.  But I don't finish books that I don't like....and I did finish it.  Don is so likable....Rosie is likable as well.  You can't help but hope that their marriage "makes it" in the long run....with a little help from their friends!

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Place Called Freedom

I was a bit slow reading this book.  I thought that the book was a bit silly.  Too many coincidences keeping the characters entwined and too many overly dramatic experiences.  But I did like the fact that the author used an excellent imagination to give the reader a feeling for so many things that are a part of our history.  Starting with the coal mining in the 1700s and the terrible conditions of the coal miners in the British Isles, he moves on to many, many other parts of everyday history:  London in the 1700s and the TERRIBLE plight of the poor as they struggled to make ends meet.  The people who were hung for small crimes and only if lucky enough to have someone of importance to plead for them were they lucky enough to be transported instead.  The terribleness of the ships that transported the prisoners.  The brutal fact of life if one was a black slave or a white person sold into slavery in Virginia.

I also enjoyed the explanation of a young couple moving towards the Cumberland Gap from Fredericksburg, Virginia in the era before the Revolutionary War.  And also the description of the Fredericksburg area in the time period.  Jay Jamison was probably not far from being what the real plantation owners were ......younger sons....and not necessarily good business men.  He lacked an interest in running his plantation himself and was very contented to leave the management to an overseer who was not necessarily a good and honest leader with lack of real understanding of the farming practices that led to a good plantation.  It was an interesting read.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Wonder



The book club is reading Wonder this month.  I forgot.  At knitting today Mitzi said that she had finished the book and had liked it....I looked it up....I don't think that I'll read this one.....hmmmmm....Mitzi said she liked it.  That is what book clubs are about:  reading books you might not read otherwise.


I LOVE IT!  I LOVE IT!  I LOVE IT!

I am listening to it on audible and I think perhaps listening is the absolute best way to read this book!

The marriage of Mr. Tushman and Miss Butt.  Oh my gosh, how perfect is that!  Perhaps it is the sense of humor that both Augie and his dad have that saves all!

I asked a young girl on the plane last night if she had read it and she said yes....when she was in the 5th grade.  And she and I agreed that we liked the book a lot.  Her comment about it was that she liked the way much of the story was told from other character's perspective....just the comment that I made at book club!  Good read!