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Monday, May 8, 2017

Revisiting the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope.

I am repeating my earlier review because 100 years ago today America had been an active participant in WWI for one month. Sometimes we Americans forget that much of the rest of the world had been at war since 1914. In Daffodils Alex Martin vividly, but beautifully, reminds us of that fact.
Daffodils  might seem a bit of an incongruous title for a book about war. It is not, for even in war we must have hope. Daffodils in the fields of England and daffodils in the fields of France raise their sunny faces and offer hope even in the darkest of times. Daffodils by Alex Martin is a book about hope. And love, and sorrow, and despair. And war. But always, hope pushes through just as daffodils will push through the the seemingly frozen earth in Spring.

Katy has a zest for life. A thirst for adventure. When that zest and thirst take her job and her reputation, Jem, who has loved her forever, steps forward and saves at least her reputation. He also gives her a new title, housewife and later mother. Heartache and deep sorrow tear the young couple apart and WWI offers Jem a refuge.

Upon the news of his possible death in the field, Katy, trying to escape a manical Vicar who wants her love, joins the WAAC. Her life no longer belongs to her, but to the military, her country, and the war. It is here that Katy finally finds her strength.

There are many contrasts in this book, none greater that the contrast between the two settings: Wiltshire, England and the battlefields of France. A second major contrast is between the classes that occupy rural England in the years before WWI. There is also a contrast between types of love. These contrasts Katy must learn to discern.

This is an enjoyable historical fiction. An easy and quick read, the book has many descriptive passages. I most enjoyed the play with words that the author uses when she is describing a character's thought processes. The scenic descriptions are more predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless. The author's in-depth research is evident.

There is now a sequel Peace Lily. Yes, I will read that one and any others that follow.

I recommend this book. My copy was a verified purchase through Amazon and Amazon UK.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Something for Everyone: A Gathering of Books

With time getting away from me, I want to take a moment and give you a short review of several of the books I have read lately. Most of them are lovely and worthy of your reading time. All are available in the mass market.

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

Finished reading this book a couple of days ago based upon recommendations from my daughter-in-law and daughter.  I thoroughly enjoyed it. A really good cold case...did he do it or didn't he. My daughter's recommendation came with a warning that I would probably give up on it because of its gruesomeness. I didn't, and it wasn't that gruesome. A good read for springtime lounging. Very well written. The author can turn a phrase to perfection.

From the book's blurb: "College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same.

Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder."

The Secret Wife by Gill Paul

I love this book, but then I love everything written about the Romanov family. This book is fully researched and when the research has no definitive answers, the author's fertile mind provides possible answers to the ever present Romanov question of who, if anyone, survived. Then of course, there is the ever present connection to today which moves the story along. I and hundreds of other readers, highly recommend this historic love story.

Ineke's Mitten by Charles McNamara

I fell in love with this book because, to my amazement, it was about a young Norwegian man who had to flee his homeland when, early in WWII, the Russian army invaded his homeland and killed his fiancĂ©. When I started the book, I had no idea the protagonist would join a division of the American army which is near and dear to my heart---the 10th Mountain Division, the Alpine troops.
From the book's blurb:  "After Nazis kill his fiancĂ©, a young Norwegian struggles to overcome grief and loneliness, avenging her death by leading the most daring nighttime raid in U.S. Army history on Riva Ridge in Italy.

The majestic mountains of Norway, Vermont, Colorado, and Italy provide the backdrop for this high-stakes saga of a Norwegian racer and an Italian mountain climber, both marooned in America to escape death sentences in their homelands.

When German agents discover them in Vermont, they volunteer for the new Tenth Mountain Division, a specialized American mountain infantry unit training in Colorado. Together they climb at high altitudes, survive blizzards, and become the "Phantoms of the Snow."

Ineke's Mitten is a powerful and captivating story of courage, bravery and tragic loss throughout World War II".

From the horror of war on the streets of his hometown to Colorado, and on to Italy with his skiing, outdoorsmen comrades in arms as they attack Riva Ridge, we come to care about Nels and his broken heart.

The Tumor by John Grisham

John Grisham says THE TUMOR is the most important book he has ever written. It is one of the most frightening I have ever read...and probably one of the most important.
In this short book, he provides readers with a fictional account of how a real, new medical technology could revolutionize the future of medicine by curing with sound.

From the Blurb:
"THE TUMOR follows the present day experience of the fictional patient Paul, an otherwise healthy 35-year-old father who is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Grisham takes readers through a detailed account of Paul’s treatment and his family’s experience that doesn’t end as we would hope. Grisham then explores an alternate future, where Paul is diagnosed with the same brain tumor at the same age, but in the year 2025, when a treatment called focused ultrasound is able to extend his life expectancy.

Focused ultrasound has the potential to treat not just brain tumors, but many other disorders, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, and prostate, breast and pancreatic cancer.

For more information or to order a free hard copy of the book, you can visit The Focused Ultrasound Foundation’s website. Here you will find a video of Grisham on the TEDx stage with the Foundation’s chairman and a Parkinson’s patient who brings the audience to its feet sharing her incredible story of a focused ultrasound “miracle.”

Readers will get a taste of the narrative they expect from Grisham, but this short book will also educate and inspire people to be hopeful about the future of medical innovation. "

I recommend that we all read it and think about our medical future.

It is very short and is now free on Kindle.