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Saturday, 6 February 2021

False Impression by Jeffrey Archer (5/52 Books in 52 Weeks)

 Week 5 of 52 Books in 52 Weeks. I almost missed the deadline to share my latest read with you.  Jeffrey Archer is one of those authors not to miss.  The very first book I read from this author was Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less.  A brilliant tale.

This week I have chosen to revist another favourite from his pen: False Impression.  I had forgotten just how much every little detail is important when reading his stories.

False Impression

  • Format Paperback | 538 pages 
  • Dimensions 104 x 191 x 36mm | 295g 
  • Publisher St Martin's Press 
  • Language English 
  • ISBN10 0312939779 
  • ISBN13 9780312939779 

From Book Depository: "Why was an elegant lady BRUTALLY MURDERED the night before 9/11? Why was a successful New York banker not surprised to receive A WOMAN'S LEFT EAR in the mail? Why did a young woman with a brilliant career steal an IMPRESSIONIST PAINTING? Why was an honors graduate working as a temporary secretary after INHERITING A FORTUNE? Why was a SENIOR FBI AGENT trying to work out the connection between these four apparently innocent individuals? A breathtaking journey of twists and turns from New York to London, from Bucharest and on to Tokyo ends up in a sleepy English village where the mystery surrounding Van Gogh's last painting will finally be resolved."

This book is a sit on the edge of your seat masterpiece.  A fully engrossing tale of the missing masterpiece Van Gogh's Self Portrait with a Bandaged Ear.  Each twist and turn is full of heart stopping close calls and threads of complexity to rival the best. False Impressin will have you dashing accross the world from New York to London, Hong Kong to Bucharest and back again. Join FBI agent Jack as he tries to unravel the mystery before him.


Tuesday, 26 January 2021

The Girl from the Train by Irma Joubert (4/52 Books in 52 Weeks)

It's week four of 52 Books in 52 Weeks. This weeks reading adventure took me back to the land of my birth South Africa although the story begins in Europe.  I spent a delightful few days immersed in World War II in Germany, Poland and South Africa reading The Girl From the Train (not to be confused with the popular mainstream novel The Girl on the Train)

The Girl From the Train

  • Format Paperback | 384 pages 
  • Dimensions 138 x 214 x 22mm | 362g 
  • Publisher Thomas Nelson Publishers 
  • Language English 
  • ISBN10: 0529102374 
  • ISBN13: 9780529102379 
  • Available as a paperback and audio book.

The Girl From the Train was originally published in Afrikaans under the title Tussen Stasies (I really wish they had kept the direct translation for the title - Between Stations.) 

Irma takes us on a journey of discovery, illustrating the effects of the war in the lives of children. The story is a beutiful illustration of how unconditional love can impact and redeem the sadest of experiences and change lives for the better.

The story opens near the end of World War II in southern Poland in April 1944 with a family desperate to save their children from the horrors of Aushwitz.  We meet Gretl Schmidt on a train bound for Aushwitz..., and Jakob Kowalski who is fighting witht the Polish resistance and is planting a bomb on the tracks.

Gretl escapes the train and by a series of events meets Jakob who takes her to his family farm to be cared for and thius begins the journey of two lives that become entertwined, spanning 15 years and two continents.  

Gretl is adopted by a family in South Africa where she lives with her secrets and grows up with a family who loves her deeply as thought she were born into their arms.  

Jakob stays in Poland.  Through the years they each are followed by the echo of the other clinging to the momories until due to circumstances the improbable happens. 

From Book Depositiory: "Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Aushwitz. Jakob Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.

As World War II draws to a close, Jakob fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl's unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakob discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can't stay with him forever. Jakob sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families-so long as Gretl's Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakob and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome. "

 The Author - Irma Jouber

  •  International bestselling author
  • She was a history teacher for 35 years before she began her writing career.
  • Writes in her native language of Afrikaans.
  • The Girl from the Train is her first novel to be translated into english.
  • She won the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels.
  • Connect with her on Facebook here.

I discovered that  The Girl From the Train is book two in the first trilogy from this author.  I am keen to read the other two books. It seems I may need to brush up on my Afrikaans reading in order to read them.

Books by this author

  • 1. Veilige hawe
  • 2. Tuiskoms (a collection of short stories)
  • 3. Verbode Drif (a historical novel, spanning 1903–1910)

First trilogy:

  • 4. Ver wink die Suiderkruis (set in 1932–1933)
  • 5. Tussen stasies (The Girl From the Train )(spanning World War II to 1958)
  • 6. Tolbos (set in 1976–1989)

Second trilogy:

  • 7. Anderkant Pontenilo (historical novel spanning 1938 - 1945)
  • 8. PĂ©rsomi, kind van die brakrant  (Child of the River) (1938–1968)
  • 9. Kronkelpad (The Crooked Path) (1938–1983)

Third trilogy (in progress):

  • 10. Immer wes (a historical novel spanning 1905–1947)
  • 11. Mentje - Kind van die Pas-Opkamp (a historical novel)

Who are some of your favourite historical authors?

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

The Good Master by Kate Seredy (3/52 Books in 52 Weeks)

 One of the reasons I enjoy home educating using Sonlight is their selection of twaddle free books.  This year Nathaniel has 12 weeks left of World History Year 2 of 2. I had a lot of good intentions to read with Nathaniel during 2020 but alas life happened and I did not keep up.  I decided the best way to catch up was to add some of his books to my 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. This week I chose to read The Good Master by Kate Seredy.  

The Good Master

  • Format Paperback | 192 pages 
  • Dimensions 130 x 198 x 14mm | 162g 
  • Publisher Penguin Books Australia 
  • Language English Edition 
  • ISBN10 - 014030133X 
  • ISBN13 - 9780140301335 
  • Puffin Newberry Library

From Book Depositiory: "No child should miss out on the adventures of headstrong Kate, a girl from Budapest who spends summers with her cousin Jancsi on his father's ranch in Hungary. Horseback races across the plains, country fairs and festivals, a dangerous run-in with gypsies, and the chores and the joys -- and the colorful cultural trappings -- of daily life in pre-war Europe create a vivid, unforgettable world."

I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed this historical novel.  Headstrong Kate (Seredy herself) is not at all what Jancsi or his family expected. She is sent to live with her cousin Jancsi and Uncle Nagy on their family farm on the Hungarian plains. Uncle Nagy is known by all as "The Good Master" for his wise and gentle ways.  Kate is soon caught up in the daily life of the farm and soon opens the eyes of those around her to the wonders all around them that they take for granted. She soon calms down and develops a sounder set of values.

This books captures you with is vividly detailed scenes and beautiful illustrations by the author.   You will read about the history and stories of the people of Hungary through the people who touch their lives.

The sequel is The Singing Tree which takes Kate and the family through World War I, when Jancsi's father must join the army and he is left in charge of the ranch, which becomes a refuge for family, neightbors and war orphans.

 Author - Kate Seredy

  • 10 November 1899 to 7 March 1975
  • Born in Budapest Hungry
  • Immigrated to the USA 1922
  • Study at Academy of Art in Budapest for six years.
  • Earned a living illustrating lampshades, greeting cards and sheet music.
  • Illustrated for other authors including Caddie Woodlawn 
  • Illustrated her own books.
  • The Good Master is her first and most popular book.
  • She wrote several books which are still in print and available for purchase on Book Depository.

Do you have any historical novels you enjoy?

Linking with BW3 on Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks.

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