And another World War II book! BUT wait! This one has a very different twist. Yep, an elephant. Here is my book review The Elephant of Belfast by S. Kirk Walsh.
In the fall of 1940 young zookeeper Hettie Quin’s dream comes true as she is put in charge of a recently orphaned elephant new to the Belfast zoo. But the winds of war are blowing and a world war rages in Europe while another war simmers at home. Tensions are escalating between British Loyalist and those fighting for a free Ireland as Germany begins a blitz on Belfast.
Walsh uses a nearly forgotten real life event to create the story of Hettie and the Elephant known as Violet. War through the eyes of an animal and a young girl, both who have lost so much, will lose even more, and desperately need each other to survive.
I really enjoyed this book, both for the indelible bond between Hettie and Violet and the look at a region devastated by Hitler that rarely gets notice in novels. But mostly this book is about how animals and humans can save each other, in so many ways.
*****Five stars for The Elephant of Belfast by S. Kirk Walsh.
Read last week’s review of The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
My current read The Lions of Fifth Avenue.
See this weeks top performing Book Review Pin The Beekeeper of Aleppo here.
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Location: Reading Wednesday
My husband would call this a chickflic. And it is. But Jojo Moyes formula for best sellers cannot be denied and this book is very popular amongst the chickflic set. I enjoyed it too.
Moyes transports the reader to depression era Kentucky where a young English-bred lady named Alice Wright arrives after a spur of the moment marriage to handsome Bennett Van Cleve.
Alice is looking to escape the constraints of British life in the early 1900’s but isn’t exactly prepared for what greets her in Kentucky; hostile and prejudiced people, rough and rural country, overbearing and violent father-in-law. And to top it off, a husband who is unable or unwilling to perform and consummate their marriage.
Alice’s loneliness finds her suddenly thrust into a new Roosevelt WPA project known as the Packhorse Librarians, a book delivery system to provide the poorest of the poor in Kentucky an opportunity to learn.
It’s here that Alice finds herself and her purpose in life and also her true love. There is a lot of turmoil and tragedy before the book ends happily.
My favorite part of the book is the factual history of the Packhorse Librarians and the success the program had in rural Kentucky and other backwoods places of deep depression era America.
This book is exactly what the major motion picture industry loves. I have no doubt we will see it on the big screen soon.
****Four stars for The Giver of Stars by Jo Jo Moyes.
Read last week’s review of City of Thieves.
My current read, Love and Other Consolation Prizes
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Location: Reading Wednesday
Well. I had high hopes for this book. Hmmmm. It got great reviews but for me it just fell short of spectacular and I was left going “meh”.
Touted as the next “Gone Girl” (big shoes) and “destined for the big screen” (maybe better as a movie?) I just couldn’t find the love for this book.
I figured out the plot twist pretty early on, and although there were some surprising turns, there were also some gaping holes.
We are introduced to a psychotherapist, a famous artist, and a famous photographer. Difficult family backgrounds and childhoods, insecurities and infidelity will play a big role in the development of these characters and how their lives and deaths come together.
Who loves who? Who is the real villain? Who is really the crazy one? And in the end will we be satisfied with the wrapping up of this “thriller”? Unfortunately, I wasn’t. Movie coming! “Meh”.
⭐️⭐️⭐️Three stars for The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Read last week’s review of The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates.
My Current Read – The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
Location: Reading Wednesday
I keep track of all the books I read and try to read more books each year than the previous year. Unlike most poeple who track their books from January to January, I track from July to July. Not sure why but I think because that is when I began keeping track.
So, as of right now I’m way ahead of my goal of reaching 75 books for the year at 41 books. And The Testaments by Margaret Atwood is right at the top of my favorites so far this year. A fabulous story.
I’ve read a lot of Margaret Atwood and she really hits the mark on some stories, while other novels of hers leave me perplexed. My favorite Atwood book is the 35 year old The Handmaid’s Tale – truly one of the best and most unique books I’ve ever read.
And so it was with both excitement and trepidation that I set out to read the sequel to The Handmaids Tale, The Testaments. I waited months on the library list for this book, and without a doubt it was worth the wait.
If you enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale you will love The Testaments. But you don’t need to have read The Handmaid’s Tale to understand The Testaments. I can’t imagine how difficult it must of been to write a sequel to a best seller like Handmaids, and to do so 35 years later. But it’s a brilliant piece of literature.
Atwood develops the characters and the dystopian society of the Republic of Gilead (the former USA) that oppresses women in a chilling and male authoritarian society. Throughout the book, told in the voice of three women (one old and cunning, two young and naive) you are kept on the edge of your seat as Atwood weaves the elaborate and complex story. I couldn’t put it down.
The book, like all books, has its critiques but I found it astonishingly believable and frightening as well as artfully crafted by a gifted storyteller.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five Stars for The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. Read last week’s review of Bear Town.