The Quiet Girls by J.M. Hewitt (#2 – Carrie Flynn)

The Quiet Girls: An absolutely addictive mystery thriller

The Quiet Girls by J.M. Hewitt

 Publishing: November 13, 2019 by Bookouture

3.5 stars

 

 

Previous Book in the Series: #1 – The Night Caller

 

The Quiet Girls by J.M. Hewitt is a psychological thriller, the second in the Detective Carrie Flynn series.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  

Series Background:    (Warning – May contain spoilers from previous books)
DS Carrie Flynn lost her sister Hattie, when she was a child.  Hattie was abducted, and never found.  Their mother has spent the last two decades in a nursing home, not speaking, not really there.  Carrie spent years in foster care.  She has become a very independent woman, who doesn’t really let people in.  She needs to be in control at all times, so stays away from booze and drugs.  She is partnered with DC Paul Harper.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

The police have received a message from a distraught caller stating that they had provided information in the past, and nothing was done.  It looks like the caller is now going to take matters into their own hands.  Carrie wants to follow up, insisting that the caller is a victim, while Paul looks at the caller as a perpetrator.

Three girls enter a house and one of them is attacked by a pedophile.  One of the girls, 11-year old Melanie Wilson, gets the other two girls out.  Later, she ends up missing, along with her parents.

Another family, mother, father, and twin 15-year olds also go missing.

There is something about these cases that are stirring up Carrie’s memories of her missing sister.  After 20 years, Carrie still aches for Hattie.

 

My Opinions:  

I enjoyed this second book in the series much more than the first.  We got to know a lot more about Carrie, as we explored what happened to her sister.  This really helps to involve the reader.  I think I may have let this series go by the wayside if the author had not done this.  I like how Hewitt told both Carrie’s story and the active case in alternate chapters.  I do, however, believe that the tie-in between the two was a little far-fetched.

The plot was good, and it moved quickly.  It is a very fast read.  The characters were interesting, and as they book moved along, the strength of some increased, while others fell off.   The author created survivors!

The book explores the idea of living off-the-grid, and the reasons it would or not appeal.  To me….no…I have to have somewhere to charge my e-reader!

Overall, I enjoyed the book.

 

For a more complete review of this book and others (including author information and quotations), please visit my blog: https://katlovesbooksblog.wordpress.com/

 

Read: November, 2019

 

Favorite Quotes from The Quiet Girls:

 “She had spent too long being quiet, she realised. A quiet girl, just like Liz, like Willow, like Melanie. Quashed into keeping quiet to placate the men.”

 

 About The Author:   Jeanette Hewitt is a British author.  She has previously published two books independently.  Jeanette has won numerous awards and has been nominated for even more.

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3006698476

 

 

 

The Afrikaner by Arianna Dagnino

The Afrikaner

The Afrikaner by Arianna Dagnino

Published: April, 2019

3stars

 

 

Just a Few Words:  I was approached directly by the author to read her book.  Although the blurb looked interesting, it wasn’t a real good fit with my normal reading genre, and I should have refused.  Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone works.  Not always.

 

The Afrikaner by Arianna Dagnino is a tale of love, loss, and racial tension in South Africa.

First, let me thank the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

My Synopsis:     (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Zoe du Plessis, a paleontologist, heads to the Kalahari Desert in South Africa to finish the work her colleague and lover could not.  He was killed in a car hi-jacking in Johannesburg.

Zoe is a white woman, of South African descent, who still struggles with the White/Black balance of her country.   She is not the only one.  Apartheid is over, and the governing body is now Black, but politics aside, the country is still grappling with their identity.

Zoe is also struggling with the loss of her boyfriend, being the new boss in his dig, and the new partnership her brother is entertaining in his desires to grow their vineyard.  Then there is the matter of her Aunt’s diaries, and the apparent curse that has been handed down.
My Opinions:
This is not my normal genre, so I was totally out of my comfort zone when it comes to this book.  I do not read history,  political, nor romance novels, and this seems to be all three.  I have very little knowledge of South Africa, their troubles, Apartheid.   So, while this was a learning experience for me, it was also a difficult read.  I read fiction to be entertained….I read non-fiction to be taught.  I felt like I was being taught.

Zoe is on a journey of self-discovery, and her thoughts describe the voyage, as she travels deep within the desert, and back to the family’s winery.

The actual writing was clear, and the overall story was fine, but I could not relate to most of it, or even like any of the characters.

There was nothing wrong with this book, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.  It was, therefore, difficult to rate.  What I usually do when I have this issue, is to toss out the area that gave me the most trouble with the book, and then rate on the rest.   This, unfortunately, tosses out all the political/racial and South Africa issues, which is a major part of the book (and which I admit to occasionally skimming).  Trying to be fair to the author,  on the writing alone I am giving it 3 stars, which still denotes a good book in my standards, but not something I will re-read.

While others will no doubt enjoy this book immensely, I will sit on the fence.

 

Read: October, 2019

 

Arianna DagninoAbout The Author:  Arianna Dagnino was born in Italy,  but has lived in many countries. She was an international reporter, literary translator and academic researcher.  She lived in South Africa for 5 years, holds a PhD from the University of South Australia and currently teaches Italian Studies at the University of British Columbia.

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2999163160

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond (#6 Imogen Grey)

Woman in the Water

Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond

Publishing:  November 11, 2019 by Avon Books

5Stars

 

 

Previous Book in the Series: #5 – Truth or Die

 

 Just a Few Words: This one astounded me….and the best in the series so far!

 

Woman in the Water is the 6th in the Imogen Grey detective series.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Avon Books, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  

Series Background:    (Warning – May contain spoilers from previous books)
DS Imogen Grey, and her partner DS Adrian Miles don’t always play be the rules, but they are both top-notch detectives.  They have learned to trust one another.  Their relationship is complicated.  Their boss, DCI Mira Kapoor is relatively new, but they have learned to trust her, but the jury is still out on DI Matt Walsh.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Adrian saves a woman who was half submerged in the icy river, but she is uncooperative, stating she doesn’t know her name or know how she ended up in the water.  Her body shows signs of abuse, and she seems terrified.   The body of a dead man is found further down the river.

By identifying the man, they hope to identify the woman….who disappears from the hospital.  When they find the man’s old boss, they discover that his wife is their missing woman.  They are sure that her husband is abusing her, but the woman still refuses to co-operate.  It is starting to look like the husband is a bully, in both his work and home life, and thinks he is above the law.

Adrian is having problems with this case.  All he wants to do is save this woman from any more harm.  Reminiscent of his own home, where his mother was the abused woman, this case quickly becomes personal, and Adrian starts taunting the husband, just as he had taunted his father in hopes that his mother would be spared.  This does not go exactly as planned.

Meanwhile, Adrian and Imogen have taken their relationship to the next level, but it is still secret.  However, this case may put an end to many things.  Secrets are never good.

 

My Opinions:  

First,  read these books in order, as the background of the characters is important.

Second, I think this is one of the police procedural series out there.  I love the writing, and the author’s descriptions are graphic and leave little to the imagination.  I love the characters, who are gritty, and very “real”.  I still don’t like relationships between co-workers.  However, the author makes this work.

As I’ve noted before, the author has no problem dealing with difficult topics, but WOW.  She really stunned me in this one, she has made a gutsy move.  We went from spousal abuse, to bullying, to rape.  It’s a somewhat dark tale.  Without giving anything away, to say that the twists surprised me is an understatement.  To say it made the book even more interesting, well, that goes without saying.  It was an emotional read.

I cannot wait to see where Katerina Diamond takes us next.

 

Read: October, 2019

 

 

Katerina DiamondAbout The Author: Katerina Diamond is a British author who lives on the East Kent coast with her husband and children. She was born on Friday the 13th.

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2925505985

 

 

 

The Other Daughter by Shalini Boland

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The Other Daughter by Shalini Boland

 Publishing: November 5, 2019 by Bookouture

5Stars

 

 

The Other Daughter by Shalini Boland is a psychological thriller.

 First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Rachel has a new life in Dorset, but she has never forgotten Holly, her first-born.  Holly was taken from a shopping mall in London when she was only two and a half.   The police never found her child, nor any trace of her kidnapper.

Nine years later,  Rachel,  her boyfriend Matt and the two children are doing well.  When a new family moves in, Rachel is shocked.  She is sure that their eldest daughter Bella, is actually Holly.  She just has to prove it.

All Rachel ever wanted was to have her family intact.  With Holly back in the picture, she sees that her family will be perfect.  She will do whatever it takes to get her daughter back.  Whatever it takes!

 

My Opinions:  

The story is told in both current time from Rachel’s point of view, and in the past from Catriona’s point of view.

This was a really fast read, and although I knew a twist was coming, when it came it shocked me.  I knew something was wrong with the narrative, but really didn’t see what it was.  I loved it!  The plot was good, and seemed so straight forward….until it wasn’t.

I have read a number of books by this author, but I admit that this was one of the better ones.  I am highly recommending this one! 

 

Read: October, 2019

 

 

Shalini BolandAbout The Author: Shalini Boland writes suspense thrillers and dark adventures.  She lives in England with her husband, two children and dog.   Before writing novels, Shalini was signed to Universal Music as a singer/songwriter.

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3034074272

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Roses of May by Dot Hutchison (#2 – Collector)

Roses of May (The Collector, #2)

The Roses of May by Dot Hutchison

 Published: May, 2017 by Thomas and Mercer 

4stars

 

Previous Book in the Series: #1 – The Butterfly Garden

 

The Roses of May by Dot Hutchison is the second in the Collector series.

 

Series Background:    (Warning – May contain spoilers from previous books)

FBI agents Victor Hanoverian, Brandon Eddison and Mercedes Ramirez work as a team to solve complex, horrendous crimes.  They are still working through the last major case, where a deranged man had kidnapped and kept a garden full of girls, whose backs he tattooed with butterflies, and killed when they reached the age of twenty-one.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

While the agents are trying to cope with suicides from the surviving “butterflies” in their last case, they are also in search of another killer, one who slits the throats of girls, and surrounds them with flowers.  This man has been killing for sixteen years, one girl every spring, leaving a different flower behind each time.  If they don’t catch him soon, another girl will be dead.

Priya Sravasti had a sister who was a victim of this spring killer, and she and her mother keep moving, trying to find a place to start fresh.  They have become friends with the FBI agents, and they keep in touch.  They have not always been forthcoming with the fact that Priya has been receiving flowers….the same flowers, and in order, as those left with each dead girl.  Now Priya herself may be a target of this killer.

Priya and one of the “butterfly” girls, Inara, have started corresponding, each hoping the other has some wisdom to share in coping techniques.

 

My Opinions:

First, please, you really must read these books in order, as the first book plays a big part in this one.  I thought the author tied the last book to this one quite well.  I wasn’t sure who the series was going to follow, but it looks like the FBI agents will be the main focus.  We learned a lot more about them in this book,  and each has his or her own quirks which will lend well to the stories.  Eddison seemed to take the lead in this one.

This book takes a good look at survivors.  It looks at the different coping methods they use, which was quite interesting (I’d probably go the food route, although smashing things does have its own appeal).  It also looks into the idea of justice, from the survivors perspectives, and their different ideas of what justice means to them, and how it can change over time.   The book also made a point to show that both the survivors and their families can be be tormented by the non-stop publicity.

I really liked the characters, and the increased information that the author provided on both the FBI agents and the “butterfly” girls was welcome.  Sometimes, however, I felt the police force was portrayed in a very poor light, and I’m not sure why.

Although I had a good idea as to the identity of the perpetrator, the reason behind his actions was a surprise.

I liked the first book better, this was still very good.


Definitely looking forward to the next in the series!

Read: September, 2019

 

Favorite Quotes from The Roses of May:

“How do you put yourself back together when the pieces permanently lost are the only reasons anyone’s looking at you?”

“Some people stay broken, others put themselves back together with all the sharp bits showing”

 

About The Author:  Dot Hutchison is the author of A Wounded Name, a young adult novel based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and the adult thriller The Butterfly Garden. With past experience working at a Boy Scout camp, a craft store, a bookstore, and the Renaissance Faire (as a human combat chess piece), Hutchison prides herself on remaining delightfully in tune with her inner young adult. She loves thunderstorms, mythology, history, and movies that can and should be watched on repeat.

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2377973213

 

Hey followers….Have you read this series?  Loved it/hated it?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Break the Silence by D.K. Hood (#7 – Kane and Alton)

Break the Silence (Detectives Kane and Alton, #7)

Break the Silence by D.K. Hood

 Publishing: November 4, 2019 by Bookouture

4stars

 

 

Previous Book in the Series: #6 – Whisper in the Night

 

 Break the Silence by D.K. Hood is the 7th in the Detectives Kane and Alton series.

 First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  

Series Background:    (Warning – May contain spoilers from previous books)
Jenna Alton is the Sheriff in Black Rock Falls, Montana. She is new to being Jenna Alton. She has a new name, and a new ID, because her past is still out there. She’s former DEA. Deputy David Kane also has a new name and new ID. Similar reasons. He’s a former Special Forces sharpshooter with exceptional profiling skills. He lost his wife in a bombing, that left him with a plate in his head, and bad headaches. Forensic Scientist Shane Wolfe is not only a Medical Examiner with amazing computer skills, he used to be Kane’s handler. So, with a few other deputies, Jenna has a good team to handle crime in the small Black Rock Falls town, which seems to have more murders than a small town should.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

The sheriff and her deputy are barely back from vacation, and already the ME is at their door.  The fully-clothed body of a Chrissie Lowe was found in the shower of her dorm room, wrists slashed, apparent suicide.  Wolfe isn’t so sure.  It looks like she’d been gang-raped.

As the investigation continues, the prime suspects in Chrissie’s rape become the college football team…except they are starting to die as well.

The sheriff and her team are sure that Seth Lyons, star quarterback with an attitude to match, is responsible for Chrissie’s death, but proving it is going to be hard.  They can’t even prove he raped her.  Evidence cannot even determine that it was really a suicide, and that is not the only problem.  Even the deaths of the team-mates look like they could be accidents.  Without solid evidence, the true cause of these deaths will never be solved.

 

My Opinions:  

I think you should really read these books in order, as the core characters share a lot of background.  Although I have some problems with these books, overall it is a good series.

My main problems are 1) the relationship between Alton and Kane — a little too close for any sort of true professionalism, and 2) the fact that Alton, although sheriff, defers to Kane entirely too much.  She comes across as weak.  If you are going to put a woman in the main role, she has to be strong, and she is much too wishy-washy.  She’s great until Kane opens his mouth.

However, the plots are always good, as was this one.  There was a lot of action, and a few twists.  I liked the ending, because it wasn’t all wrapped up in a bow.  There were a number of suspects, and at one point the actual perpetrator did cross my mind, but I quickly dismissed him.  Go figure!

Overall, a good fast read.

 

Read: October, 2019

 

 

Favorite Quotes from Break the Silence:

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About The Author: D.K. Hood was born in London England, but now lives in Australia.  She is a member of the International Thriller Writers, but for 20 years she was an All Breeds International Cat Judge.  She now writes full-time.

 

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3009759155

 

 

 

The Empty Nest by Sue Watson

The Empty Nest

The Empty Nest by Sue Watson

 Publishing: November 1, 2019 by Bookouture

3stars

 

 

The Empty Nest by Sue Watson is a psychological thriller.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Kat Ellis is a worried mother.  Her 18-year old daughter did not come home from university on the weekend as planned.  It is Sunday, and Kat hasn’t heard from Amy since yesterday.    She doesn’t understand why no one believes there’s a problem.  It’s a whole day.  Yes, Kat may have over-reacted to things in the past, but it was always because she loved her daughter, and she had to protect her.  Yes, she may have lied in the past, but it was always to keep Amy safe.   Yes, she goes a little overboard occasionally, but none of that matters now.  Kat is sure that something awful has happened this time. Amy would never abandon her plans with her mother, not without at least calling or texting.  Amy tells her mother everything, doesn’t she?

Kat’s husband, Richard, is trying to calm Kat down, but to no avail.

Kat’s best friend Zoe is also trying to keep Kat calm.  She and her daughter Jodie know that Kat can “crowd” her daughter a little too much.  They aren’t having much luck keeping Kat under control either.

When it turns out that Amy really is missing, secrets are going to be revealed.  Apparently everyone is keeping some….and lying.

 

My Opinions:  

First, I have to tell you that I really disliked most of the characters in this book.  I guess Richard and Josh were okay, if a little bland.  Kat was over-bearing to the extreme, Zoe was overly sympathetic, and Jodie just whined.  Then there was Amy, who we mostly heard about in a round-about way, but she didn’t appeal either — sounded like a mean, egotistical child.  So I couldn’t relate, or enjoy any of the characters, which made the book a hard read for me.  As well, my feelings for the characters did not change from beginning to end.

However, the plot, the writing, and the twists, were all good — if a little predictable.  

So overall, the book was “okay” in my opinion.  This one just didn’t have the spark that Sue Watson’s “Our Little Lies” had.  Although I found it more than a little annoying, I am sure others will love it.  I will also continue to be interested in books by this author.

 

Read: October, 2019

 

Sue WatsonAbout The Author: Sue Watson is a British author, previously a journalist, and then a TV Producer at the BBC until she wrote her first book and was hooked.   She has written a dozen “chick-lit” novels, mainly around cake.  Our Little Lies was her first psychological thriller.

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2987653002

 

 

 

Upcoming Book Reviews – November 2019

 

Upcoming Book Reviews – November 2019

A challenging month, as there are so many books I plan on reviewing.  To pick only 5 to display here is difficult.  I will try for a mixture of the good, the bad, the in-between — it’s up to the reader to figure out which is which.

 

The Afrikaner The Afrikaner by Adrianna Dagnino – Published April, 2019

Apartheid is over, and the new government is Black, but South Africa still struggles with its identity.  Zoe du Plessis, an Afrikaner (white)  paleontologist struggles too…with more than just her identity.

Adrianna Dagnino is an Italian writer currently teaching at University of B.C.

 

Here To Stay

Here to Stay by Mark Edwards – Published: September 2019

A whirl-wind courtship turned marriage has Elliott meeting the in-laws from hell.  He may have moved a little too fast when he met Gemma, and asked too few questions.  Too late now!

Mark Edwards is an American author.

 

 

Roses of May (The Collector, #2) The Roses of May by Dot Hutchison – Published May 2017

The second in The Collector Series has the FBI agents tracking a serial killer who has killed 16 young girls in the last 16 years.  One per year, every spring.  If they don’t catch him soon, a 17th girl’s life will be lost.

Dot Hutchison is an American author.

 

Woman in the Water Woman in the Water by Katerina Diamond –Publishing: Nov., 2019

This is the 6th in the Detectives Imogen Grey and Adrian Miles series.  A woman’s body is found submerged in the water but she is still alive. A dead body is found, but then the woman disappears.  Further investigations just bring more questions.

Katerina Diamond is a British author.

 

 

The Endarkening

The Endarkening by J.T. Ellison  – Published: 2017

This is a short horror story.  Evie Williams moves from Nashville to Scotland to enjoy the art scene.  She is about to become part of the painting that draws her in.

JT Ellison is an American author.

 

 

So…what do you think…have you read any of these?  Plans?

 The Six by Luca Veste

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The Six by Luca Veste

 Publishing:  October 31, 2019 by Simon and Schuster

5Stars

 

 

Just a Few Words:  Absolutely loved this book.  Just as good as The Bone Keeper.

 

The Six by Luca Veste is a psychological thriller.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Simon and Schuster, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Friends forever, three couples decide to re-live their youth by attending a 3-day music festival in a farmers field.  On the last night of their stay,  one of their group is attacked, and they all come to his rescue.

What follows becomes their secret.  Instead of trying to explain the circumstances to the police, they form a pact to never discuss where they buried the body, or to wonder what happened to the other one.   But that is easier said than done.

A year later, Matt and Alexandra have separated.  Neither one of them has ever really gotten over that night.  Matt is barely sleeping.  Stuart and Michelle are not together either, but Chris and Nicola seem to have moved on from that horrendous night.

When it becomes evident that someone is targeting the six, both Matt and Michelle are sure that a serial killer has re-surfaced, and is out for revenge.  The others are not convinced.  How many will die before Matt figures out who the killer is.

 

My Opinions:  

After reading The Bone Keeper by this author, I have kept my eyes open for his next stand-alone novel, so was thrilled when I saw this.  My only concern was that my expectations may be a little too high.  I was wrong.  This book sucked me in and did not let go.  It is a captivating, creepy and totally gripping book.

The story, written from Matt’s point of view, allowed the reader to see into the mind of a guilt-ridden, very tired and somewhat agoraphobic man, who just wants to save his friends…and sleep.   (Sometimes I wondered if he was a reliable narrator.)  We learned how the friendship between these six came to be, their childhood escapades and university triumphs, right up to the fateful night that changed everything.   We also learned how a secret among friends can have adverse affects on each of them, and put a strain on their relationships with each other.  The author nailed the way the information was given out, in piece-meal, thereby not giving too much away at one time, and yet keeping everything straight-forward.

The writing was excellent, there were a number of interesting twists, and I loved the ending.  What more can I say….highly recommended! 

 

Read: October, 2019

 

Favorite Quotes from The Six:

“You never know the moment your life changes forever. Not until later, when you can look back and pinpoint it. Say, that’s it – that’s when it all went wrong. Until then, you’re just battling against the tide.”

Our lives had taken a turn in one night and now we seemed to be trapped in an endless nightmare. The worst thing about it – there was no escape from it. Not alone, in my house. Even there, all I could think about was that night and what we did. Now I knew we had never really left those woods. Something was following us and trying to drag us back in.”

 

 

Luca VesteAbout The Author: Luca Veste is a writer of Italian and Liverpool heritage, married with two young daughters. He studied psychology and criminology at university in Liverpool. He is the author of the popular Murphy & Rossi series.

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2961979300

 

 

 

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

The World That We Knew
The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

 Published: September 24, 2019 by Simon and Schuster

5Stars

 

 

Just a Few Words:  Magical Realism, Historical Fiction, WWII, it doesn’t matter how it is classified, it is a book that will stand the test of time.  It is a story of hope.

 

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman is part fantasy, part fiction, part history….all good!

 First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Simon and Schuster, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

WWII, and it doesn’t matter what country, if you are Jewish, you are being hunted.

Hanni Kohn will do anything to keep her 12 year old daughter Lea safe.  Lea must leave Berlin, but Hanni cannot travel with her.  She enlists the help of Ettie, the daughter of a rabbi.  Ettie has learned a lot of the old religion by watching her father.  They create a “golem” out of clay, and water, and air and words.  The golem comes to life and they call her Ava.  She will keep Lea safe on her journey to their distant cousins in France, and continue to keep her safe until the need passes.  

Ettie and her sister Marta also try to escape Berlin on the train, but their VISA’s are obviously fake.  They leap from the train, but Marta is killed in the field.  Ettie joins the resistance group to avenge her sister’s death.   

The paperwork Lea and Ava present pass inspection.  Having reached their cousins, Lea and Ava take refuge with the Lévi’s, although they are not really welcomed.  Viktor Lévi soon leaves to join the resistance, but his younger brother Julien becomes close with Lea.  Unfortunately,  evil is on the brink of finding the Lévi’s house, and Ava and Lea move on.  Before they leave, Lea and Julien make a pact to stay alive.

But Lea and Ava and Ettie are still tied together, and they are bound to meet again.  Their journey’s take unexpected turns.

 

My Opinions:  

First, let me just say that I love the cover.  Second, this was a little out of my comfort zone, because I rarely read anything about wars or history.  That being said…..this book was amazing.

The characters were wonderful, the writing sublime, and the story heart-breaking and up-lifting all at the same time.  It is about the travesty of war,  about bigotry and hatred, and the atrocities that follow.  It’s also about love and sacrifice, bravery and hope…and it’s about humanity, which can sometimes be found in strange places.

I loved how the author wove fairy tales and real events.  How she took stories that were handed down from one generation to the next so that they live on.  I worried how she would end this tale, but it was perfect.

Alice Hoffman has now written another epic tale, one that will live on in my mind for a long time to come.  I will never look at a heron the same way again! 

 

Read: September, 2019

 

 

Favorite Quotes from The World That We Knew (there are so many more):

“Her heart was already beginning to break, but she was a seamstress and she stitched herself together well enough so that she could go forward.”

“A lone heron stood at the edge of the river. Ava could tell this one was in mourning, for herons were always in pairs. His heron wife had been shot by a farmer who believed the flesh of a heron brought good fortune and courage. It was an old story, fashioned out of a lie, but people believe lies if they’re told often enough. In ancient Rome, this was the bird of divination. Its hollow bones tossed onto the floor would form an augury used to predict the future, and its bold call warned men of wars and famine. In Greece, herons were messengers, for both mortals and gods.

“But the thing about saving yourself is that once you do, you have to live with it.”

 

Alice Hoffman

About the Author:  Alice Hoffman (March 1952 – ) is an American writer. She has published over thirty novels, three books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. She lives near Boston.

 

I have also reviewed this book on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2996196784