#AtoZChallenge Stories From A Time of War – The Postmistress

Feb 23, 1945, photographer Joe Rosenthal

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, you’ll read a common phrase in my posts.  This phrase is “this novel is one of the best stories I’ve ever read”.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Do you know that there are 883 fiction 480 nonfiction books on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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The Postmistress by Sarah Blake is about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women-and of two countries torn apart by war.  It is 1940 and the United States has yet to enter the war.  Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, a small town on Cape Cod, does the unthinkable: She doesn’t deliver a letter.  In London, American radio gal Frankie Bard is working with Edward R. Murrow, reporting on the Blitz. One night in a bomb shelter, she meets a doctor from Cape Cod with a letter in his pocket, a letter Frankie vows to deliver when she returns from Germany and France, where she is to record the stories of war refugees desperately trying to escape.  The residents of Franklin think the war can’t touch them – but as Frankie’s radio broadcasts air, some know that the war is indeed coming. And when Frankie arrives at their doorstep, the two stories collide in a way no one could have foreseen.

The Postmistress is an unforgettable tale of the secrets we must bear, or bury. It is about what happens to love during war­time, when those we cherish leave. And how every story – of love or war – is about looking left when we should have been looking right.

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Don’t stop there.  So many other books about or set in the time of war are available.  Here are a few links to Goodreads:

The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Panzer Leader by Heinz Guderian

Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans Von Luck by Hans Von Luck

 

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#AtoZChallenge Stories From A Time of War – The Orphan’s Tale

Feb 23, 1945, photographer Joe Rosenthal

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, you’ll read a common phrase in my posts.  This phrase is “this novel is one of the best stories I’ve ever read”.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Do you know that there are 883 fiction 480 nonfiction books on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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Today for the letter O, I bring you a very sad story, The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff.

It is a novel about friendship during the war and set in Germany and occupied France.  What do you think it would be like to travel with a circus during World War II?  This kind of life is presented so poignantly in The Orphan’s Tale. We meet two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival.  Noa is just sixteen-years-old when she finds herself pregnant from a German Soldier.  She has been cast out in disgrace by her family.  Through a program for unwed mothers, Noa is forced to give up her baby. All alone, she lives above a small rail station where she works as a cleaner to earn her keep.  She has seen the human trains that pass through.  One day Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp and is reminded of the child that was taken from her. The infants are dead or barely alive and Noa makes a choice that will change the course of her life.  She snatches one of the babies and flees.  It is the middle of winter and Noa falls sick and exhausted in the woods near the winter home of a German circus.  The circus clown finds her and brings her to their location.  Eventually, Noa joins the circus but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected.  This idea doesn’t go over well with the lead aerialist, Astrid.  She has trained her whole life and is resentful that she must teach this girl the craft practically overnight.   Astrid is hiding too for she is Jewish and it is illegal to hire Jews.  These two women, at first rivals, soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

Though it is a story mainly about the two women and not about a Russian circus, it brought to mind the Billy Joel song, Leningrad about a Russian circus performer.

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Don’t stop there.  So many other books about or set in the time of war are available.  Here are a few links to Goodreads:

Once An Eagle by Anton Myrer

Ordinary Men: Reserve Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher R Browning

Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths by Shigeru Mizuki

Once There Was A War by John Steinbeck

 

#AtoZChallenge Stories From A Time of War – The Nightingale

Feb 23, 1945, photographer Joe Rosenthal

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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Recently I responded to a post on Facebook that someone posed the question, “What is the best novel you have ever read?”  If I had responded prior to reading today’s novel, my answer would have been something like To Kill A Mockingbird which had long been a very favorite of mine.  No The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah has forever surpassed as my favorite.

The Nightingale, published in 2015, tells the story of two sisters in France during World War II, and their struggle to survive and resist the German occupation of France.  These sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, are estranged from each other and their father and the book follows the two different paths they take.  Vianne, a schoolteacher who is married and has a child, must endure the drafting and subsequent capture of her husband Antoine, the occupation of France by the Germans after the Battle of France, and the struggle against starvation and cold for herself and her daughter.  Isabelle, the younger sister with no other family to protect, decides to take an active role in resisting the occupation.  Not wanting the spoil the story for readers, I’ll stop here.  It was wonderful to read and I couldn’t put it down.  It is soon to be a motion picture as well.

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Don’t stop there.  So many other books about or set in the time of war are available.  Here are a few links to Goodreads:

Night by Elie Wiesel

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard

 

#AtoZChallenge – Stories from A Time of War – The Maggie Hope Mystery Series

Feb 23, 1945, photographer Joe Rosenthal

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction, and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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With number 8 in the series, the Prisoner in the Castle, expected to be available to us fans in August 2018, I for one cannot wait.  In this series by Susan Elia MacNeal, we meet  Margaret Hope, Maggie to her friends and colleagues, an American-born math whiz living in London and working as a codebreaker and spy during WWII.  In these wonderful novels, our heroine interacts with a Who’s Who of Great Britain and America during the war, aiding the Allies in the war against the Nazis.  I think this would make a great television series.  Actually, Maggie Hope kind of reminds me of Agent Carter.

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Don’t stop there.  So many other books about or set in the time of war are available.  Here are a few links to Goodreads:

The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut

Mila 18 by Leon Uris

The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck

Men at Arms (Sword of Honour #1) by Evelyn Waugh

My Enemy’s Cradle by Sara Young

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel, Bret Witter (Contributor)

Miracle at Midway by Gordon W. Prange, Donald M. Goldstein, Katherine V. Dillon

The Man Who Never Was by Ewen Montagu, Alan Stripp (Introduction)

Memoirs of the Second World War by Winston S. Churchill, Denis Kelly (Abridged by)

 

 

#AtoZChallenge – Stories from A Time of War – The Longest Day

Feb 23, 1945, photographer Joe Rosenthal

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction, and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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In the Longest Day, Cornelius Ryan presents an unsurpassed account of D-Day.  It is considered to be a masterpiece of military history. In this compelling tale of courage and heroism, glory and tragedy, Ryan painstakingly recreates the fateful hours that preceded and followed the massive invasion of Normandy to retell the story of an epic battle that would turn the tide against world fascism and free Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany.

 

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Don’t stop there.  So many other books about or set in the time of war are available.  Here are a few links to Goodreads:

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

The Luck of the Weissensteiners by Christoph Fischer

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

The Lieutenants (Brotherhood of War #1) by W.E.B. Griffin

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour by James D. Hornfischer

Love and War in the Apennines by Eric Newby

The Last Battle: The Classic History of the Battle for Berlin by Cornelius Ryan

Letters from Iwo Jima: The Japanese Eyewitness Stories That Inspired Clint Eastwood’s Film by Kumiko Kakehashi

 

 

 

#AtoZChallenge – Stories from A Time of War – The Key to Rebecca

Feb 23, 1945, photographer Joe Rosenthal

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction, and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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The Key to Rebecca is a novel by the British author Ken Follett. It was a best-seller that achieved popularity in the United Kingdom and worldwide when it was published in 1980. Today, this novel is considered to be one of the best espionage novels ever written.  The code mentioned in the title is an intended throwback from Follett to Daphne du Maurier’s famed suspense novel Rebecca.

There is a brilliant and ruthless Nazi master agent on the loose in Cairo with a mission to send Rommel’s advancing army the secrets that will unlock the city’s doors. In all of Cairo, only two people can stop him. One is a down-on-his-luck English officer no one will listen to. The other is a vulnerable young Jewish girl.

In 1985, the Key to Rebecca was made into a film starring Cliff Robertson and David Soul.

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Don’t stop there.  So many other books about or set in the time of war are available.  Here are a few links to Goodreads:

King Rat (Asian Saga #4) by James Clavell

Knight’s Watch: A Life of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel by David Fraser

 

#AtoZChallenge – Stories from A Time of War – Jackdaws

Feb 23, 1945, photographer Joe Rosenthal

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction, and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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It is not easy to fulfill J in this challenge, but I’ve managed to find one.  In Jackdaws, Ken Follett strikes Nazi pay dirt as a gang of all-female saboteurs go behind German lines.  Ken Follett has several best sellers in the WW2 genre and I am likely to include him again in this challenge. Like tomorrow 🙂

D-Day is approaching and Britain’s SOE (Special Operations Executive) group has a new plan.  The new plan requires an all-woman team, none of them professionals, to be assembled and trained within days. Code-named the Jackdaws, they will attempt to infiltrate the exchange under the noses of the Germans – but the Germans are waiting for them now and have plans of their own. There are secrets Flick does not know – secrets within the German ranks, secrets among her hastily-recruited team, secrets among those she trusts the most. And as the hours tick down to the point of no return, most daunting of all, there are secrets within herself…

I think I’ll put this on my must read list.  I love stories of the SOE.

 

#AtoZChallenge – Stories from A Time of War – The Invisible Bridge

Feb 23, 1945, photographer Joe Rosenthal

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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In The Invisible Bridge, the author, Julie Ottinger tells the unforgettable story of brothers bound by history and love, of a marriage tested by disaster, of a Jewish family’s struggle against annihilation, and of the dangerous power of art in a time of war.

It is Paris in 1937.  What opportunities await, Andras Lévi, a Hungarian Jewish architecture student.  He arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver to C. Morgenstern on the rue de Sévigné.  While he studies architecture he also gets involved in society.  At this same time, his elder brother takes up medical studies in Modena, Italy and their younger brother leaves school for the stage.  As the decade ends, Europe’s unfolding tragedy sends each of their lives into terrifying uncertainty.  As readers we are transported from the Hungarian village of Konyár to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris and then from the lonely chill of Andras’s rooms to the enduring passion he discovers on the rue de Sévigné and from the despair of a Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in forced labor camps and beyond as life is hard for everyone but especially for Jewish people in Europe.

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Don’t stop there.  So many other books about or set in the time of war are available.  Here are a few links to Goodreads:

If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer

Inferno: The World at War 1939-1945 by Max Hastings

Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Months in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz by Shlomo Venezia, Simone Veil (Forward), Jean Mouttapa (Editor), Andrew Brown (Translator), Béatrice Prasquier, Marcello Pezzetti (Contributor), Umberto Gentiloni Silveri (Contributor)

#AtoZChallenge – Stories from A Time of War – Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Feb 23, 1945, photographer Joe Rosenthal

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction, and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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Today for the letter H, I bring you a novel that I just finished and I am forever changed from reading it.  I really like when a storyteller lets you walk in the shoes of their characters.  In Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, we meet compelling characters.

Imagine you are a twelve-year-old boy growing up on the west coast of the United States in the 1940s.  Now imagine, though born in the United States, you are the child of Chinese immigrants.  Now imagine that you father obtains a place for you in the “white” private school where you attend “on scholarship”.  The attack on Pearl Harbor was a just a few months ago. Do your classmates know the difference between being Japanese and being Chinese American?  No worries, your father makes you wear a badge that says “I am Chinese.”  Now imagine that your best friend attends the “white” school too and she is Japanese American.  The Japanese are your father’s sworn enemies not to mention at war with the United States.  If you are familiar with Executive Order 9066 issued in 1942, you know what is to become of the Japanese Americans in this story.  The story begins with this boy in his adulthood.  Events occurring in 1986 trigger a trip down memory lane for Henry Lee.  Come read his journey where he revisits the sacrifices he has made for family, for love, and for country.  It is a moving story of people and a history lesson about life on the homefront in Seattle, Washington.

It is also going to be a film.

I wrote about Executive Order 9066 previously including in the A to Z Challenge.

World War II from #AtoZChallenge #NaPoWriMo – J is for Japanese American Internment

This Week in World War II – War Relocation Authority

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Don’t stop there.  So many other books about or set in the time of war are available.  Here are a few links to Goodreads:

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Hiroshima by John Hersey

HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean

Honesty in World War 2 by Chris-Jean Clark

Hiroshima Diary by Michihiko Hachiya (Translator: Warner Wells)

Hiroshima Nagasaki by Paul Ham

Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie (This is one of the books that was used as a source for the HBO series, The Pacific.

#AtoZChallenge Stories From A Time of War – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Feb 23, 1945, photographer Joe Rosenthal

This month in the April A to Z Challenge, I am posting about books, fiction and nonfiction that are about or set in the Second World War.  The war and the people who experienced it have stories to tell and these stories are so overwhelming they lend themselves to greatness.  I encourage you to sample some of these stories.  I promise you will not regret taking the time.  To help me develop an alphabetical list for this challenge, I used Goodreads.com.  Did you know that there are more than 883 fiction and 480 nonfiction books in this genre on the website’s Listopia as voted on by members?  That is a lot of stories and facts just waiting for us to explore.

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“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”

Isn’t that a great line?  The movie for this book is due out in theaters this month so hurry up and read this outstanding novel.  Published in 2008, I read this many years ago.  I actually picked it up in the last chance bins at a bookstore and now with the movie, I am sure it will be back on the main shelves. By no means is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows forgettable.

In January 1946, while London is recovering from the Second World War, writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. She finds it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.  Through an exchange of letters with her new correspondent, Juliet is drawn into the eccentric world of this man and his friends. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is the greatest wartime alibi there ever was.  This alibi resulted out of being caught breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island.  In this “society” we meet the citizens of Guernsey, a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists and of course all lovers of literature.  Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.  Just where is the island of Guernsey?

Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands in the English Channel near the French coast and is a self-governing British Crown dependency.

When I started putting together the list for the A to Z Challenge, I wanted to read this novel again but this time in an audiobook.  I put myself on a long waiting list with my public library which I am happy to report, its finally my turn.  What a treat this book is in audiobook form.  I am a big fan of audiobooks because they make a commute to work better all around but when the prodution has five narrators for all the voices, that is pure entertainment.  One of them is Juliet Mills.  The format of this story is presented in the form of correspondence between the characters and it doesn’t get old. 

After you read this wonderful story, don’t look for more by its author, Mary Ann Shaffer.  Her life-long dream was to someday write her own book and publish it. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel. Unfortunately, she became very ill with cancer and so she asked her niece, Annie Barrows, the author of the children’s series Ivy and Bean, as well as The Magic Half, to help her finish the book. Mary Ann Shaffer died in February 2008, a few months before her first novel was published.

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Don’t stop there.  So many other books about or set in the time of war are available.  Here are a few links to Goodreads:

Good Night Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian

Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

The Guns of Navarone by Allistair McClean

Gone to Soldier by Marge Piercy

The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill

Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission by Hampton Sides

The Good War by Studs Terkel

The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 by Rick Atkinson