After waiting nearly nine years to receive this book, it finally arrived and it was definitely worth the wait. As the title says, it is the story of a child who lost the majority of her family close to the end of WWII, and how she coped. Only her older brother, still a child himself, was with her during the three years they were held as slave laborers by the invading people at the end of the war. It is written simply and clearly. A fact filled autobiography that does not dwell on self-pity, but states the truth of their hardships and fears. If you enjoy this genre, do not miss this one. Excellent! D.
This book is about a man who, even as a young boy, could dream of the future and then watch it happen minutes, hours or days later. It was never a good event, always something horrible tragic. As an adult, he has repeated dreams that he is the one responsible for his daughter's death. To avoid this fate, he escapes to another country, another life. It has become tedious at this point, with the same recurring dream. It made me depressed. D.
This book had a lot of promise. It had to be written on a computer, which can recognize misspellings but not incorrect word usage. Where are the editors? Where are the proof readers? If you are an avid reader, sentences like "Their was something so fragile about her..." and "Their was a sweetness between them..." or "They could here the sounds..." (there, hear) are almost offensive. The plot dragged through most of the book, but I stuck with it, eager to see the lovers reunited in the end. Instead of a sweet reunion, it was written like a dream sequence with lots of pointless words and run-on sentences that made NO sense to the plot. BIG disappointment! At one point,the main character shoots and kills a man in cold blood, but we never know who it was or why he did it. I cannot recommend this book, nor would I read another one from this author. D.
It is time for Leo Demidov to retire, and go away. This is the third and highly anticipated book in the Demidov series. The first two were incredibly tense, dealing with the Cold War period of the USSR. This was told in more recent times, i.e. the war in Afghanistan. Because it is now familiar to us as a current event, it is much less tense. Because he is in a foreign country, it is less mysterious. Leo becomes an opium addict after the sudden loss of his wife in NYC. He is forbidden to go to America to solve her murder. Instead, it takes well over 400 pages of effort and war to get through. Many chapters felt irrelevant and could have been left out entirely. I agree with the previous reviewer: this book was too long and too slow to get to the point. Will still look forward to reading this author, however. His prose is smooth and descriptions thorough. You feel as if you are right there with the characters. Hope he can now move on to new territory and leave the Soviets completely. Just sayin'. D.
This is a gentle and surprisingly modern parable about a young man who seeks his personal destiny. He learns about life with each day he gets closer to his goal. With every experience he is taught some truth about life. An easy read, but also one that provokes thought. D.
The story is based during WWII with the focus on the French Occupation and the liberation of France. It follows several young lives from early childhood, and how they are changed forever by war. Beautifully written - indescribably sad. D.
A strange book. Very, very strange. Hard to get into, even harder to describe. Yet I came away from it with a deep sense of satisfaction. The writing was excellent, the story very descriptive and detailed. Full of American icons, i.e. fast food. Suspend all belief in reality and let the plot wash over you. D.
It baffles me how this book earned more than 4 stars! I found it really boring. The only reason I continued to read it to the end was because I thought I was maybe missing something that would make it exceptional in later chapters. NOT so! An okay read at best. D.
As usual with this author, this was a sad, sad tale. At times difficult to follow, when he switches to completely different characters without transition, and you are left to keep reading to find out who the narrator is this time. However, each character is thoroughly covered by telling his own side of the events for the time frame, and eventually the facts of their lives are rounded out. D.
It was on the power of other reviewers' words that I decided to request and read this book in the first place, and they were not mistaken! As one said, it was hard to get into at first, and I wondered what all the hype was about until...well, the deeper into the story I read, I could only agree with the person who wrote it was "stunningly beautiful writing". Every few pages, I wanted to copy down a turn of phrase, or the author's description of an event. Not surprising, since he was a professor of creative writing himself, that he knew the craft so well. It won the Pulitzer Prize, which also is not surprising. Based on the true story of his grandmother as left behind in her letters and her own writing, it is well worth the hefty length.
Excellent! Loved the author's way with words, and her characters. For those who only got half way through it, you really missed out! Just as it started to feel like it was starting to drag a little, there was a shocking twist, and how the characters worked through it was great. Loved it! D.
Meet Owen Archer, possibly the world's first undercover cop. Long before DNA, before "caught on tape", even before fingerprints, Owen Archer is asked by the Archbishop to investigate two suspicious deaths at the abbey outside the town of York. It is the fourteenth century, and all he can rely on is questions, reactions, and deductions. He must pretend he needs employment, and becomes an apprentice under Lucie Wilton, who runs her husband's apothacary during his illness, and is herself an apprentice. What really happened at the abbey? Why is Master Wilton so ill? Who was the pilgrim who died first? What really happened to the Summonor? All the characters are well fleshed out and the intrigue continues right to the end...great Medieval mystery! D. (gardngal)
This author can make the history of medicine read like a great novel. You can't help but empathize with the patients who are the people she writes about, and their doctors who struggled to help them in light of a brand new, unknown affliction. The symptoms that are manifested AFTER a person recovered from sleeping sickness are incredibly bizarre. To this day, it is not known what caused this epidemic, nor what might cure it.
Truly a forgotten disease, she wrote this book based on her observatitons of her grandmother, who contracted it as a teenager. Thoroughly researched, it is told on a case by case basis. A fascinating, easy read and a great follow up to "American Plague" by the same author.
Unlike another reviewer, I did not like this book. Initially I was very excited to read another book by this author, having just finished The Life of Pi, and even bought it new. It was a big disapointment. Perhaps it should be read with a group in a book club and discussed as it proceeds. It was hard to get into, and plodded along without much action so that it was tedious to read. The main character, Henry, meets a taxidermist who has written a play. It consists of the conversation between two animals. It is a parable of sorts for the Holocoust. This author seems to use animals in his books to portray his ideas. Then towards the ending, he describes severe, horrendous torture of one of the animals so graphically that it sickened me. If you are sensitive about the suffering of animals or graphic violence, do not read this book. Just my opinion.
Loved this book!!! Tense, psycological thriller that kept me up until 3 AM to finish it. Sincerely hope this author writes more - I checked and this is her only book - :( It is creepy, scary and wonderful. D.
Written as an intriguing mystery, and based on actual history, this novel rates five++ stars. It is the heart wrenching story of the Tennessee Children's Home Society and the powerful woman who ran it. It was hard to put down as the narration switches back and forth between a modern day woman digging into her family's past, and one of the victims whose entire life was altered by unforgivable events. Georgia Tann kidnapped numerous children from the indigent and ignorant families she met, by false and criminal means, and became rich while securing their "adoptions" for money. A tragic story about real people. D.
A group of girls in a private school during the Civil War help an injured soldier. Each character tells a part of the story from her own perspective. The book is well written and a good plot. The stylized prose of the period, with it's unfamiliar stiffness and formality made it slow for me to get through. After just a few pages, I was the one who was "beguiled"...it put me to sleep every time. It took more than 125 pages to finally get moving, past all the discussion. I liked it, but couldn't recommend it. D.
Easy to read and easy to follow the characters. This book reminded me of People of the Book, in which an ancient Hebrew manuscript is preserved throughout the centuries, but this is about a Bible. A dying Confederate soldier gives the book to the man who shot him on the last day of the Civil War. This Bible then travels from Pennsylvania to the Gold Rush in Californina, to Egypt, to Belgium and beyond. Each of the people entrusted with it are to "save lives and give life" as predicted by the first person. How each fulfills that prophesy before passing the book to the next person is a fascinating tale. The plot moves along smoothly. It is not difficult to follow the characters, as they all are connected by this particular Bible. Excellent story, excellent writing! I really enjoyed this book. D.