Hell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World It Made

Hell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World it MadeHell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World it Made by Richard Rhodes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Richard Rhodes hit the mark with his book Hell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World it Made. Rhodes has provided a glimpse of history which has been ignored for far too long. The prequel to WWII, The Spanish Civil War was more of a testing war for Hitler, at the expense of the Spanish citizens.

Rhodes has taken his time and tracked down first hand accounts of this war. It is this which makes this book worth reading. Some history writers fill pages with so much detail or strategic information the reader gets bored. There is nothing boring about this book. There are lessons to be learned here and much to understand.

I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the time leading up to WWII. I also feel this book should be read in High School due to the historical content.

Special Thanks to The Reading Room for sending this book to me after I entered a giveaway.

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Secrets of a Charmed Life-Best Read for 2015

Secrets of a Charmed LifeSecrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I won an uncorrected proof of Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner, after entering a contest on Goodreads.

Secrets of a Charmed Life, by Susan Meissner is a beautiful book. Kendra Van Zant, an American scholar is trying to win a place in the world and sets out to interview a reclusive survivor of World War II. Isabel MacFarland has a secret and is ready to tell her story about her life during and after the war. The novel takes place in Present day, Oxford, England and 1942, England.

Kendra is under the impression she is going to be told a simple story about one woman in World War II. The story is anything but simple. Before the famous Blitz, almost one million children are evacuated to the country in England, into homes of people they do not know. With tags around their necks and belongings, they leave their homes, and journey by train. Kendra learns of one 15 year-old who does not want to be sent away to the country with her sister. Emmy’s passion for drawing wedding dresses and her future, are very much on her mind, when her absentminded mother orders her to leave the city and travel with her younger sister to the country. Emmy is determined to return to the city, without her sister, to finish her dream of becoming a Wedding Dress Designer. Things don’t go as planned and something devastating happens.

Meissner has woven a portrait of life during World War II in England that is unforgettable. Some have compared this novel to The Orphan Train. Meissner takes the story of these children so much further than The Orphan Train ever did. Her writing is smooth, and hypnotic. She has captured the pain and struggle of those during WWII with ease.

I recommend this novel to everyone I meet. I look forward to reading more of Meissner’s work. Look for this book in February 2015. Make sure it is on your reading list!

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The Pillars of the Earth

As I was walking past the small book section at my local Albertsons, I came across the book by Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth. I cross checked the small storage bank in my crowed mind, and was unable to find it listed there. Humm, I thought as I lifted the book off the rack. Interesting.

I guess I have been out of the loop lately. This book appears to have been hitting mainstream readers with a loud bang! And yet, here I sit with book in hand, unable to remember if I have ever seen it before.

Starz has even made a miniseries out of it. Why then have I not noticed it before now? I have always prided myself on being up to date on the “new” books out there. Even if I have never read them.  I am totally in love with the historical fiction novels like Gods:The Emperor of war, by Conn Iggulden. In fact, anything that has to do with Gaius Julius Caesar, the roman empire, Queen Elizabeth I or anything remotely relating to Gothic cathedrals, the 12th century, blood and lust I am in for the ride.  Ken Follett’s book is not a “new” book by any means. According to  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Pillars of Earth was written in 1989.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it.

The Pillars of the Earth is a historical novel by Ken Follett published in 1989 about the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England. It is set in the middle of the twelfth century, primarily during the time sometimes called the Anarchy, between the time of the sinking of the White Ship and the murder of Thomas Becket. The book traces the development of Gothic architecture out of the preceding Romanesque architecture and the fortunes of the Kingsbridge priory against the backdrop of actual historical events of the time.

Before this novel was published, Follett was known for writing in the thriller genre. The Pillars of the Earth became his best-selling work. The book was listed at no. 33 on the BBC’s Big Read, a 2003 survey with the goal of finding the “nation’s best-loved book.” The book was also selected for Oprah’s Book Club in 2007. A sequel, entitled World Without End, was released in October 2007

After reading this and the back cover, you can see that this book is right up my alleyway! I am not sure why I have never read it before. Could it be that I looked at the cover and never thought it would be that interesting? Could it be that I simply never have seen it before? Whatever the reason may be, I am definitely interested now. I hope you will stay tuned for my adventure with this 1007 page book. More is sure to come…

Until then, Remember

It is never too late to follow your dreams