Reading

The Postmistress of Paris – Meg Waite Clayton | A Book Review

The Postmistress of Paris - Meg Waite Clayton

Title: The Postmistress of Paris

Author: Meg Waite Clayton

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It’s a standalone following a young American woman named Nanée. She helps artists hunted by Nazis escape Europe by delivering information to those in hiding. Edouard Moss has left Germany with his daughter only to be sent to an internment camp in France. When their lives collide, Nanée puts herself in danger to help Edouard.

I received an advanced reader copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I like the title and cover. The premise piqued my curiosity, so I was looking forward to seeing what would happen. The pacing is slower at first, but it picks up as the story goes on.

Characters: Nanée and Edouard are likeable and easy to root for. I enjoyed learning about their past as well as watching them grow in the present. I also found the secondary characters to be interesting.

Quote:

“To have expectations was to open your heart to breaking.”

Writing: The book is inspired by Mary Jayne Gold, a Chicago heiress who worked with American journalist Varian Fry, helping to smuggle artists and intellectuals out of France. It’s about 400 pages with short chapters written in the third person. The description and detail make the events seem even more vivid and real.

Final thoughts: The early references to art and photography confused me at first, but everything comes full circle. I didn’t know what to expect, but the ending is so emotional and fitting. If you’re a fan of historical fiction and romantic relationships set during World War II, check out The Postmistress of Paris.


You can add me as a friend on Goodreads to see what I’m reading.

This post contains affiliate links to Book Depository. If you make a purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Reading

A Castaway in Cornwall – Julie Klassen | A Book Review

A Castaway in Cornwall - Julie Klassen

Title: A Castaway in Cornwall

Author: Julie Klassen

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It’s a standalone novel that follows Laura Callaway who feels like an outsider living with her uncle and his second wife in Cornwall after the death of her parents. When a man washes ashore after a shipwreck, she helps nurse him back to health but soon realizes he’s not who he says he is.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications.

First impressions: I like historical fiction, but this book isn’t what I normally reach for. I don’t know much about the early 19th century, Christianity, or Cornwall. Even so, I enjoyed learning more about that time period and the seaside setting.

Characters: Even though the characters live such different lives than we do nowadays, they’re still easy to relate to. I think the relationship dynamics developed well throughout the novel, especially between Laura and the castaway.

Quote:

“She had chosen this course and would choose it again.”

Writing: It’s almost 400 pages in length. The chapters aren’t too long with an epigraph at the beginning of each one. Klassen includes a short prologue and epilogue as well.

Final thoughts: I wasn’t too sure what to expect for the ending, but I like how the story ends. There’s also an author’s note with more information about the story in addition to discussion questions. If you’re interested in a historical romance set during the 1800s, check out A Castaway in Cornwall.


You can add me as a friend on Goodreads to see what I’m reading.

This post contains affiliate links to Book Depository. If you make a purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Reading

Things We Didn’t Say – Amy Lynn Green | A Book Review

Things We Didn't Say - Amy Lynn Green

Title: Things We Didn’t Say

Author: Amy Lynn Green

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It’s an epistolary novel set in Minnesota during World War II. Johanna Berglund, much to her reluctance, takes a job as a translator at a camp for German prisoners of war. On one hand, some individuals in the town don’t want anything to do with the POWs. On the other hand, Johanna treats them well and advocates for better treatment only for the lines between compassion and treason to blur.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications.

First impressions: I enjoy reading historical fiction novels set during wartime, so I was excited to read this story. I wasn’t expecting it to be written almost entirely in letters, but the format is different and interesting.

Characters: Although the author doesn’t get a chance to describe the physical appearance of the characters because everyone is writing letters to each other, they still came to life and felt real to me. I think Johanna is a relatable protagonist with her own strengths and flaws. I didn’t realize she was so young because she seemed older than her age. I also appreciate the inclusion of a Japanese American character in Peter Ito along with the exploration of racial issues between different races.

Quote:

“It is time for you to live the life in front of you, instead of wondering what might have been.”

Writing: I like the short length of the letters and how easy they are to read. The book also contains newspaper articles published in the local paper in addition to editorials.

Final thoughts: The epilogue answers lingering questions. I recommend Things We Didn’t Say to readers who want to learn more about American life during the Second World War.


You can add me as a friend on Goodreads to see what I’m reading.

This post contains affiliate links to Book Depository. If you make a purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Reading

The Berlin Girl – Mandy Robotham | A Book Review

The Berlin Girl - Mandy Robotham

Title: The Berlin Girl

Author: Mandy Robotham

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It follows Georgie Young, a reporter, who arrives in Berlin when the country is on the brink of war. Georgie and Max Spender, another journalist from London, put their life on the line in Nazi Germany.

I received an advanced reader copy from HarperCollins Canada in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I’m a fan of historical fiction, especially stories set around wartime. The premise piqued my curiosity, so I was excited to pick up this novel. I haven’t read anything by Robotham before, so I didn’t know quite what to expect.

Characters: The story mainly revolves around Georgie and Max. I adored how their relationship with each other evolved. I found myself rooting for Georgie because she’s such a strong protagonist. I also enjoyed learning more about the secondary characters, which included other journalists as well as Jewish families.

Quote:

“Feeling had become a luxury he couldn’t afford.”

Writing: It’s about 400 pages long. The chapters are short, and the chapter titles hint at what’s going to happen. I felt a lot of different emotions while reading as the author examines difficult issues.

Final thoughts: The ending is interesting, and there’s also an epilogue. Robotham uses newspaper articles to show what happens to the different characters after the war. If you want to read about the influence of journalism in Europe leading up to the war, I would recommend The Berlin Girl.


You can add me as a friend on Goodreads to see what I’m reading.

This post contains affiliate links to Book Depository. If you make a purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Reading

When We Were Young & Brave – Hazel Gaynor | A Book Review

When We Were Young & Brave - Hazel Gaynor

Title: When We Were Young & Brave

Author: Hazel Gaynor

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It’s a novel inspired by true events set in China during World War 2. The story follows a group of teachers and students from a missionary school who are sent to a Japanese internment camp.

I received an advanced reader copy from HarperCollins Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I haven’t read any historical novel about the wars set in China, so I was intrigued. The title and cover lend readers an idea of what to expect. Also, the beginning caught my attention and gave me chills.

Characters: The main protagonists are Elspeth Kent, a teacher who wants to return home to England, and Nancy Plummer, a ten year old British girl. I grew to admire both of them as well as some of the secondary characters.

Quote:

“And yet there is a curel irony in that the memories I would rather forget are precisely the ones that I recall most often.”

Writing: It’s a little more than 400 pages. The story is told in first person alternating point of view between Elspeth and Nancy. There’s also some additional content at the end of the book with a brief history of the Girl Guides, a list of resources for further reading, and a reading group guide with dicussion questions.

Final thoughts:  I enjoyed the ending. Ultimately, it’s a sad story that examines grief and loss but also kindness and hope. If you want to learn more about internment camps in China, check out When We Were Young & Brave.


You can add me as a friend on Goodreads to see what I’m reading.

This post contains affiliate links to Book Depository. If you make a purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Reading

Alice by Heart – Steven Sater | A Book Review

Alice by Heart - Steven Sater

Title: Alice by Heart

Author: Steven Sater

Genre: Historical Fiction (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s based on a musical that follows Alice Spencer in London during 1940. She has to take shelter in a tube station because of World War II. Alice reads her favourite book, Alice in Wonderland, to Alfred, who is sick with tuberculosis. But slowly the two worlds begin to blur.

I received an advanced review copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: Even though I’ve never read Alice in Wonderland before, I found the premise intriguing. It took me a while to get into the story though.

Characters: I like the relationship between Alice and Alfred; it was very sweet and wholesome. There are a number of other characters as well, and I found them to be quite unique.

Quote:

“Although it breaks my heart, I’ll help you let me go.”

Writing: The author is descriptive, as he includes a lot of imagery. I enjoyed the photos as well as the illustrations interspersed throughout the book. They added to the reading experience, making it easier to visualize some of the scenes described.

Final thoughts: The ending isn’t too unpredictable, but I liked the end nonetheless.

I’d recommend reading Alice in Wonderland before reading Alice by Heart. That way, the story is easier to follow and you can understand all the references.


Feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads to see what I’m reading.

This post contains affiliate links to Book Depository. If you make a purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Reading

The Downstairs Girl – Stacey Lee | A Book Review

The Downstairs Girl - Stacey Lee

Title: The Downstairs Girl

Author: Stacey Lee

Genre: Historical Fiction (Young Adult)

About the book: It follows a Chinese teenager named Jo Kuan. She works as a maid by day and writes an anonymous advice column by night. Jo challenges commonly held ideas of race and gender in 1800s Atlanta, which leads to backlash from readers.

I received an advanced review copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The cover sold me. I was also intrigued by the title and premise.

Characters: Jo is curious and resourceful. I saw so much of myself in her. I enjoyed seeing the different individuals develop as the story went on. I wasn’t too fond of certain characters early on, yet they grew on me.

I love diversity and representation of traditionally marginalized groups, especially when it’s done right.

Quote:

“One should never confuse cost with value.”

Writing: There’s a little bit of romance but not too much. I’m no expert on how people in Atlanta around 1980 spoke, but in my opinion, the language seems to capture that time period well.

Final thoughts: The novel gets better, and the ending is satisfying.

I highly recommend The Downstairs Girl especially if you’re a fan of historical fiction. Even if you aren’t, it’s an eye-opening read that explores racism and sexism from different perspectives.


Feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading.

This post contains affiliate links to Book Depository. If you make a purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Reading

Like A Love Story – Abdi Nazemian | A Book Review

Like A Love Story - Abdi Nazemian

Title: Like A Love Story

Author: Abdi Nazemian

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It’s set in 1989 during the outbreak of the AIDS crisis, following three teenagers named Reza, Judy, and Art.

I received an advanced review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The title and cover are interesting.

Characters: I enjoyed seeing the growth of all three protagonists throughout the story. There’s diversity with both Reza and Art being gay. I love how the characters aren’t perfect because they all have their own problems.

Quote:

“Don’t you want to create your own life?”

Writing: The book alternates between different points of view with each POV told in the first person. Some of the romantic scenes are more mature in nature. Nazemian makes many references to popular culture in the late 90s, most of which went over my head. That being said, I didn’t mind not knowing the songs or movies mentioned. If anything, it made the book feel more grounded in the late 1900s.

Final thoughts: I didn’t know what to expect for the ending, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. This novel isn’t just about love. It’s also about family and friendship. I think the themes are relevant and will resonate with a lot of young readers.

I’d recommend Like A Love Story to those interested in stories exploring homosexuality.


Feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading.

This post contains affiliate links to Book Depository. If you make a purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!