Friday 31 August 2018

Book Review: Auschwitz Lullaby

Book Description

Auschwitz Lullaby brings to life the story of Helene Hannemann—a woman who sacrificed everything for family and fought furiously for the children she hoped to save.
On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene’s worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family—sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined.
After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself.
Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele’s intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz—an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.
Based on a true story, Mario Escobar’s Auschwitz Lullaby demonstrates the power of sacrifice and the strength of human dignity—even when all hope seems lost.

My Reflections: 

This book was such a heavy, saddening read. Of course, I knew it going in but the author's vivid writing was able to capture the events in such explicit detail that the very darkness and evil of this horrendous time shook me to the core.

The pure light in this book is Helene Hannemann. Though this book is fiction, the character is based on historical events and real people who showed courage in the face of the most terrifying time under the rule of Hitler.  

I often find myself drawn to fluffy, feel-good books, there is quite enough suffering in the world around me to not want to read about more. However, I believe that we must know the atrocities of the Holocaust in order to not let this be a mere time in history that is forgotten. This is not a feel-good book, it is, however, a must read. Its story and events must be retold. 

Helene Hannemann is a real hero, along with the many others who endured the atrocities. She managed to hold tight to her love for family, and those in her charge. She shows such dignity and courage!
Helene made a difference in the midst of horrors I hope we never know. Through it all, we see her humanness, a truth to self that anyone would experience.  

Escobar is able to tell the story with such power that I was literally sobbing and broken for these people and their realities. 

Surprisingly this book was first published in Spanish and then later translated. I encourage you to delve into the stories of Helene. 
Hitler was not the only sick individual read up on Dr. Mengle. The doctor who essentially experimented and tortured many innocent children. I read an article where to this day they don't fully know what he was injecting into these people. Some of his tactics were pure evil!

I would recommend this book to individuals over the age of 12 due to the graphic content. I will be sharing this book with my 16-year-old. I will certainly be looking at more from this internationally best selling authour!

I received this book free of charge from Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest review. Thank you, Book Look!

Mario Escobar Golderos has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the executive director of an NGO and directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans.

Friday 24 August 2018

Book Review: Together Forever

From The Back:

Will the Mistakes of Their Past Cost Them a Chance at Love?
Determined to find her lost younger sister, Marianne Neumann takes a job as a placing agent with the Children's Aid Society in 1858 New York. She not only hopes to offer children a better life, but prays she'll be able to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train so they can finally be reunited.

Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing-out trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children, firm but tender and friendly. Underneath his charm and handsome looks, though, seems to linger a grief that won't go away--and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden.

As the two team up, placing orphans in the small railroad towns of Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever. 
My Reflections:
Jody Hedlund sets the bar high once again with another fantastic sequel in her series "Orphan Train." 
This emotionally charged story will have your heart tucked within the first pages. This is the second book in the series and while it certainly could be read as a stand-alone, for your reading pleasure I would recommend reading this story in its intended order.
I simply love the way the authour pulls history and fiction together seamlessly. It makes for a fascinating, educationally rich delight. 
In this installment, we delve into the second Neumann sister's story. Marianne is an agent who travels on the orphan train and places children with prospective families. She teams up with Andrew another fellow agent and together they face many joys and trials as they help their charges find new beginnings. I so enjoyed both of these characters, their willingness to engage with the children and the genuine care they display was extremely touching. 
Although there are strict guidelines they must adhere to as agents, they find themselves growing more and more dependent on each other. Both have obstacles that must be overcome before they can truly share their hearts freely. Will the pain of the past be too much to overcome or will the shared experiences and healing journey be enough to endure?
I'm so eager to read the next book, there is a lead in to book three in this series where we will most likely delve into Sophie and Reinhold's story!
You can always count on in Jody Hedlund's novels to draw her readers into a story filled with grace, love, reconciliation and unique historical detail. Well done!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."
Jody Hedlund
Jody Hedlund is the author of over a dozen novels, including Love UnexpectedCaptured by LoveUnending DevotionThe Preacher's Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a...
Continue reading about Jody Hedlund

Monday 13 August 2018

Book Review: A Rebel Heart

From The Back:

"Full of intrigue, grit, and grace, A Rebel Heart is Beth White at her finest."--Jocelyn Green, award-winning author of A Refuge Assured
Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family's Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land--until a hotel management agent for the railroad offers her hope for the future. 

If she'll turn her home into a hotel, Levi Riggins says, he can all but guarantee it will be saved. Selah isn't sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee. Yet what other options does she have? She'll have to stay on her guard . . . but she never expected to have to guard her heart.
My Reflections:
From the first page to the last this story captures its readers with tender moments, raw depictions and everything in between. If you love historical romance, this one will not disappoint.  
A Rebel Heart is well written and has a colourful cast of characters. I usually struggle to keep large character casts in line but Beth White is a master storyteller who makes reading this very intriguing book a breeze. 
Set in Mississipi in the 1870's these are the turbulent years following the Civil war. This was a challenging time for the South, fraught with sides still being taken, and men and women still hurting. 
Levi Riggins, Pinkerton agent and former Yankee military officer finds himself the hero of the day when he single-handily rescues many in a devastating train accident. One young lady in particular, however, catches his eye with her selfless nature and her steely resolve. When Levi Learns that her home is in jeopardy he devises a plan to help everyone involved. Problem is there seems to be much more to this story than meets the eye. Will, he be able to assist the very pretty Selah and her little family or will the sins of the past and present be too great to overcome? 
Selah is fiercely loyal to her family and the plantation she holds dear. She will do what it takes to stay on her property. Her values and faith keep her on the path to truth.  But will the truth really set her free or will she be buried under the many lies and sins? Selah does have a knight in shining armour in Levi and together they work to uncover the threads that bind the past and present together in a very unexpected bramble. 
This is a strong start to the series and I am eagerly awaiting the next book and what happens to the two other sisters. Hopefully, we don't have to wait long!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Beth White

Beth White's day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride and The Creole Princess. Her...
Continue reading about Beth White
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