Posted in 1940's, Book reviews

“My Dearest Dietrich” by Amanda Barratt – Review

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“My Dearest Dietrich” by Amanda Barratt

Review copy from the author/publisher

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

A staggering love illuminating the dark corners of a Nazi prison
Renowned German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for his resistance to the Nazi regime and for his allegiance to God over government. But what few realize is that the last years of his life also held a love story that rivals any romance novel.
Maria von Wedemeyer knows the realities of war. Her beloved father and brother have both been killed on the battlefield. The last thing this spirited young woman needs is to fall for a man under constant surveillance by the Gestapo. How can she give another piece of her heart to a man so likely to share the same final fate? Yet when Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an old family friend, comes to comfort the von Wedemeyers after their losses, she discovers that love isn’t always logical.
Dietrich himself has determined to keep his distance from romantic attachments. There is too much work to be done for God, and his involvement in the conspiracy is far too important. But when he encounters a woman whose intelligence and conviction match his own, he’s unprepared for how easy it is to give away his heart.
With their deep love comes risk–and neither Dietrich nor Maria is prepared for just how great that risk soon becomes.
Based on detailed historical research and including photos from both Maria’s and Dietrich’s lives, this is a true love story at once beautiful and heartrending. My Dearest Dietrich sheds new light on a world-famous theologian . . . and the woman who changed his life.

My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love

My Thoughts:

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer left behind a remarkable legacy. I loved the look into his life that this book brought. Getting to know his “lost love” was an enjoyable story with a bittersweet end.
He was a man of stalwart faith, and reading about his life, even through fiction, is an encouragement! I marked several spots of his wise words. :)
While slow-moving at times, it was a good read. Not one to be rushed through.
My heart hurts for all the atrocities so many endured during WWII. And yet, what strength they showed, especially in their faith.
I didn’t particularily “bond” with Maria.  She endured a lot though, and grew much throughout her journey, I just didn’t care for her, personally.
But their shared letters were very fascinating, and their story sweet.
If you enjoy WWII fiction books that are real and down-to-earth, you’ll want to add this to your list. :)
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*I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
Posted in 1940's, Bethany House, Book reviews

“The Number of Love” by Roseanna M White ~ Book Review

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“The Number of Love” by Roseanna M White

Book #1 of The Codebreakers // Historical Fiction

Review copy from the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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About the Book:

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.

 

My Thoughts:

 

Another amazing book by Roseanna M White to add to my favorites list! Everytime I think I can name my favorite book by this author, I read her newest and change my mind. ^.^ They are all so very good! And “The Number of Love” is no exception. What a marvelous story! I was captivated from page one, and immediately fell in love with the characters. They were so very vivid in this book. And seeing a couple other characters whom I recognized from previous White books – what a fun treat. :)
Margot is such a fascinating character. I loved her so much, and Drake too! Another major favorite was Drake’s sister Dot. I could relate to her in many ways, and wish she had her own full-length novel! :D She was lovely.
One of my favorite things about this book (and there were many!) was Margot’s relationship with God. Throughout the book, faith wasn’t just a religion interwoven through the pages – it was relationship displayed through the characters hearts. And Margot’s relationship with God was so real, and present, and personable, right down to the very struggles that she thought hindered that relationship at times. It was just remarkably well-written, and so beautifully real. I really appreciated that.
One thought at the end that I had…I would have liked to have seen Margot also realize that sometimes God does ask us to sacrifice our own dreams – but that He gives us new ones that are so much better. I think this was touched on a bit, and I am still very happy with the ending how it was (it was very sweet and beautiful!), but this was just an added thought I had, knowing that God does often ask this of us.:)
The whole book was beautifully written, truly. The plot was amazing and detailed, and so interesting, and the characters, as stated, absolutely marvelous. I loved “The Number of Love” so very much – it definitely is a favorite of mine already!
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**I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher; all opinions in my review are my own. 
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“He always spoke. Always. And she listened, because God was smarter than she was – the only being about whom she could say that with certainty. She didn’t always understand His ways, but she’d learned to trust them.” 
“It doesn’t heal. We’re never restored fully, whole again, after we lose someone. We must learn to go on with the pieces missing.” 
“Sometimes running away does speak to courage instead of fear. To wisdom. Sometimes running away is necessary. Though I certainly hope not in this case.”
“Sometimes God let people die. Let His children break. And then pieced them back together into something new. Something that He could use for His glory instead of theirs.” 
Posted in 1940's, Bethany House, Book reviews

“Whose Waves These Are” by Amanda Dykes ~ Review

Raes books (6)

“Whose Waves These Are” by Amanda Dykes

Review copy from publishers/author

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

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About the Book:

In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper asking readers to send rocks in honor of loved ones to create something life-giving but the building halts when tragedy strikes. Decades later, Annie returns to the coastal Maine town where stone ruins spark her curiosity and her search for answers faces a battle against time.

 

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My Thoughts:

This book is one that should be savored. It is not a book to rush through. Just as I felt when reading the prequel novella (“Up From the Sea”), while traversing the pages of “Whose Waves These Are”, it was almost like I was holding my breath in anticipation. To see how it would all play out, to watch the characters live their lives – but it was also so much more.
I loved the little Harbor town, Ansel-by-the-Sea – it sounds so charming, and I wish it were a place that I could visit!
The writing style is very unique – and I’ll admit that at first, it took me a while to really get into it because I’m not used to reading a book written in this manner. However, once I got acclimated to the waters, so-to-speak, it was so pleasurable, and I felt so drawn in.
The characters each lept off the page. As did the story itself. It is a winding tale through several decades, but every piece is so well woven together that the completed work is rather stunning indeed.
This story evokes emotion – I wept at more than one part, and the messages impressed throughout the novel were beautiful and touching.
“Whose Waves These Are” took me a while to read, but I wish I had time to linger in it longer, for as I said – it is a story not to be devoured, but to be slowly inhaled.
I loved Bob, and Annie, and Fletch, and Bess, and Ed, and so many other characters, and I am quite certain you will too.
“He said he loves you, that it’ll be all right, that life is big…and God is bigger.”
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More Pictures:

 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.  

Posted in 1940's, Books, Revell Reads

“The Sky Above Us” by Sarah Sundin ~ Book Review

The Sky Above Us (Sunrise at Normandy, #2)

 

“The Sky Above Us” by Sarah Sundin

Book Two in the Sunrise At Normandy series//WWII fiction

Review copy through the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About the Book:

Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.
Violet Lindstrom wanted to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment for the men of the 357th in the Aeroclub on base and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.
Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever.
Bestselling author Sarah Sundin returns readers to the shores of Normandy, this time in the air, as the second Paxton brother prepares to face the past–and the most fearsome battle of his life.

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My Thoughts:

 

Ah, you just cannot go wrong with a Sarah Sundin novel! She writes some of the best and most satisfying WWII that I have ever read. <3 “The Sky Above Us” was no exception! Beautifully written with fantastic messages and amazing characters, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. There is so much depth and reality to this story, and the characters are so beautifully flawed that this easily becomes a five star read for me.  “The Sky Above Us” provided a true read with real struggles and still left me with such a happy feeling.
I loved the characters, as always. They are each so unique and just so…believable. I am continually amazed at each new release of Sarah Sundin’s. And waiting for the third book is going to be so hard! I love the Paxton brothers so much, and the heroines are amazing!!
I thought the journey Violet and Adler both were on spiritually was portrayed so well. The faith message was truly marvelous and deeply touching.
Also might I add that I really want a novella or something of Adler and Violet’s life after the last page?! That would be amazing <3
All in all, a fantastic read and I highly recommend this series!
Posted in 1940's, Book reviews, Books

“The Songbird and the Spy” by J’Nell Ciesielski ~ Book Review

 

Songbird and the Spy

“The Songbird and the Spy” by J’Nell Ciesielski

WWII fiction

I received an ecopy from the author for the purpose of this review

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

 

As shells explode over Nazi-occupied France, American music student Claire Baudin is trapped behind enemy lines, struggling to protect her identity. Singing as a barmaid while she plans her escape, a handsome Third Reich captain threatens everything she knows to be true about the enemy. 

Nazi Captain Michael Reiner isn’t who he claims to be. A British language expert turned spy, he discovers the truth about Claire, but he knows the importance of a secret. Struggling to resist his 
attraction to the songbird, he’s determined to complete his assignment, no matter the cost. His cover is threatened when a ruthless female Gestapo officer arrives, hunting Resistance fighters. The raid forces Michael’s hand: complete the mission or save Claire. 

As the war threatens to tear them apart, they must rely on each other for survival. Is there hope—and a future—for an American songbird and a British spy?

Written for the General Market (G) (I): Contains little or no; sexual dialogue or situations, violence, or strong language. May also contain content of an inspirational nature.

 

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My Thoughts:

 

What a delightful and exciting tale this book turned out to be! Not once was there a dull moment, and the characters shined throughout it all. Danger abounded, as it most often does in the case of WWII novels – especially when behind enemy lines – and the plotline was definitely a captivating one!
I fell for each of the characters, and they made such an excellent fit. So sweet and endearing! And it ended so well too! I was getting a wee bit nervous there for just a second, but oh! It was reminiscent of one of the Anne of Green Gables movies, and just smashing.
As I mentioned, “The Songbird and the Spy” is an exciting novel. There is so much intrigue and thwarted plans happening that the reader is guaranteed a rather thrilling ride.
Clair is an American on her way to a music school in France, but of course plans change. Michael is a spy for the British nation, undercover as a German Captain. And he plays the role quite convincingly, I must say! His character really is marvelous though. Quite the hero – you can’t help but fall a little bit in love with him too. ;)
The writing itself was great – everything read so smoothly and tied together. As it is War, there was *some* graphic scenes but nothing that I found shocking at all. In fact, there was one particular instance where, while it was horrible, I was glad it happened because it was realistic. But I won’t give anything away.
This is a clean read, though not Christian, so there isn’t a spiritual thread or specific Christian content. And of course, me being me, I would’ve absolutely loved if this book had that element, but since it is not marketed as Christian Fiction, I am reviewing it as such. :)
Posted in 1940's, blog tour, Book reviews

“When the Heart Sings” by Liz Tolsma ~ Blog Tour/Book Review

 

when the heart sings blog tour

 

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for When the Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

 

 

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“When the Heart Sings” by Liz Tolsma

Review copy from the author through the JustRead Tours

Series: Music of Hope #2
Author: Liz Tolsma
Publisher: Gilead Publishing
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

Natia has a secret, and she’s hiding him right beneath her captor’s nose…

The Nazis have forced Natia and Teodor from their Polish farm to a labor camp. When the couple is separated, Natia is chosen to be the housekeeper for the camp’s overseer, and Teodor is sent to work in the factory. Despite the strict camp rules—and the consequences for disobeying them—Natia finds a way to communicate with Teodor by sending messages through song as she passes Teodor’s dormitory.

The stakes get higher when Natia finds a Jewish orphan on the overseer’s doorstep. She is determined to protect the boy and raise him as the child she and her husband were unable to bear— but if her German captors discover how much she’s hiding, both she and Teodor may pay the ultimate price.

PURCHASE LINKS:  Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Christian Book | Book Depository

 

 

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Thoughts:

 

Author Liz Tolsma has written another heartfelt WWII novel, and what a story it is! I have read a lot of WWII fiction, but hers seem to be a style all of their own.  There is so much rawness, and reality in this novel that it pulls on your heartstrings for sure. The characters are life-like, and their struggles true to life as well.

The atrocities that happened to the Polish and Jewish people is horrendous, and hard to read about. And on the same hand, the daringness and bravery others showed to help them is so admirable.

This story is primarily Natia’s story. Her husband’s as well. Another character we get to know is the German woman, Elfriede who keeps Natia in her employ. They form a friendship, and both share a deep love for the child Natia found. I really liked Elfriede – her story was sad, though in different ways from Natia’s. She was naive’, and rather innocent almost like a child herself. She came into her own strength though that was impressive, and her decision at the end was painful and heroic. I know she was the side character, but I really enjoyed her, and I think maybe bonded more with her than the main characters. But I did like the main characters, and felt connected to their plight as well. There was on incident at the end though, regarding Natia’s attitude that I didn’t care for. It felt selfish and flippant in light of the situation.

The faith strand was present, though maybe a bit lightly so. I did like what was there though – it felt realistic, and the message was good.

All in all, a very well written book that deals delicately with the tough reality that was the war!

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

liz tolsma

Passionate might best describe Liz Tolsma. She loves writing, research, and editing. Her passion shone through in her first novel which was a double award finalist. On any given day, you might find her pulling weeds in her perennial garden, walking her hyperactive dog, or curled up with a good book. Nothing means more to her than her family. She’s married her high-school sweetheart twenty-eight years ago. Get her talking about international adoption, and you might never get her to stop. She and her husband adopted three children, including a son who is a U.S. Marine, and two daughters.

CONNECT WITH LIZ:  website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

 

 

 

when the heart sings blog giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive (US only)

  • a print copy of When the Heart Sings
  • Just One More Chapter’ throw pillow seen HERE

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 26, 2018 and last through 11:59pm December 3, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

 

 

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

November 26
Book by Book
Heidi Reads…
Ecc1012
Inkwell Inspirations
Where Faith and Books Meet
Reading Is My SuperPower

November 27
The Power of Words
Dee’s Farm and Family
Genesis 5020
All-of-a-kind Mom
Singing Librarian Books

November 28
Inklings and Notions
Radiant Light
The Becca Files
The Shelf Life
Southern Gal Loves to Read
Proverbial Reads

November 29
By The Book
Cara Putman
Library Lady’s Kid Lit
Happily Managing a Household of Boys
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae

November 30
Pause for Tales
Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic
Running Through The Storms
Remembrancy
Wishful Endings

Posted in 1940's, Bethany House, Book reviews

“An Hour Unspent” by Roseanna M. White ~ Book Review

An Hour Unspent (Shadows Over England, #3)

 

“An Hour Unspent” by Roseanna M. White

Book Three in the Shadows Over England Series

Review copy through the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About the book:

 

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.

 

My Thoughts:

 

Barclay. Barclay. And did I mention Barclay? Because yes. I want to reiterate how much I adored his character! His whole story. But okay. I suppose I should attempt to say more about this novel, right? Because it was all amazing! Barclay just greatly helped that factor. ;)

What a conclusion to the Shadows Over England series! But I am also so sad that it is over. Because these characters have become so real and the family so…familiar that is sad to say goodbye! I am very glad to know that the next series will still give us glimpses of these beloved characters, because I really am not ready to say goodbye. Each family member could have their own book and I would be very happy. ;)

The plot for this one was so well done, so well executed, and just perfect. I loved every piece of it. It held the right amount of intrigue, and mystery, while still not being too overwhelming. The only thing that frustrated me was a reaction of Evelina’s towards the end – understandable, but still I wanted her to do the opposite of what she did! XD Ah if we could only advise characters, right?

The setting was very good, and interwoven into the story so well that it was just part of it. I really enjoyed the clock making aspect of the book, and how the characters would relate it to God. Barclay’s faith was so real and very nicely portrayed, and encouraging. It wasn’t “perfect” because our faith does sometimes falter and we do sometimes question, but it is still strong.

And the relationships between Barclay’s makeshift family was darling to see.

I know I keep coming back to the characters but to me, a book is only as good as its characters and these really were so marvelous!! I loved them all so very, very much.

I just really loved this book. Its character, its setting, its lessons. A superb story for Barclay and Evelina <3