Saturday, 18 September 2021

Emma's Review: The Girl Across the Wire Fence by Imogen Matthews

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

On a cold, dark day in a tiny Dutch village, Saskia and her boyfriend Frans watch as Nazi soldiers force thousands of prisoners towards Amersfoort Concentration Camp. Their hearts break as they see the desperate faces of innocent men and women and realise that the war is closer to them than it’s ever been before…

Saskia’s father’s shop is raided when the guards suspect that he is Jewish, and Frans is soon forced to enter the concentration camp every day to collect scraps of food as it’s the only way to feed the animals on his family’s farm. But despite the growing fear the couple feel, when a prisoner begs Frans to send a letter to his beloved reassuring her he is alive, they know they must risk everything to help him. They smuggle his letter out, right under the noses of the Nazis. And eventually they ferry hundreds of messages for prisoners, bringing them hope in the darkest moments of their lives.

But every letter Frans gets out of the camp puts him in even more danger.

And every reply Saskia manages to collect is a risk.

And then Saskia is led into Kamp Amersfoort and is forced to wear a yellow star.

Inside, she cannot ignore the pain of the other prisoners, and Frans knows she will be putting herself in more danger to help them – attracting the attention of the guards. The couple know they must act. Everyone says it’s impossible to escape the camp, but it’s the only option they have left. Their love has kept them together but is it enough to help them survive?

Book Links: Kindle or Paperback

Friday, 10 September 2021

Emma's Review: The Italian Girl's Secret by Natalie Meg Evans

Reviewed by Emma Crowley 

For Carmela del Bosco, a farm girl in a remote Italian village, sheltering an English spy is the most dangerous thing she could do. If she’s caught by the fascists it would be the end, especially for her beloved grandmother sleeping soundly upstairs. But taking in the pleading brown eyes of the man calling himself Sebastiano slumped at her door, and his terrible injuries inflicted by the Nazi occupiers, Carmela remembers how Nonna always taught her right from wrong. Risking everything, she hides him in a ruined tower on the edge of the farm.

Each day Carmela tends his wounds, and the passion that kindles between them is a light in the darkest time. Sebastiano has information that could end the war, and needs her help to send it. But tracking down fellow members of the resistenza in the mountains means risking her life and bringing danger to everyone she knows.

Carmela knows she must find the courage to do what’s right for her country. But if she leaves the farm, will she ever see her beloved nonna again? And will her sacrifice tear her away from the only man she’s ever loved, forever?

Book Links: Kindle or Paperback

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Emma's Review: The Girl Who Survived by Ellie Midwood

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

For eighteen-year-old Ilse life is unrecognizable. A year ago, she wasn’t forced to wear a star on her clothes. A year ago, her parents were alive, not yet killed by their own countrymen. A year ago, she had her freedom.

Now, at the break of dawn, she steps off the cattle train into a Minsk ghetto. This is Ilse’s new home: trapped by barbed wire, surrounded by SS guards she is forbidden to look in the eye, with no choice but to trade the last of her belongings for scraps of food. Sentenced for the crime of simply existing, she doesn’t expect to live past the summer.

Yet the prisoners in the ghetto refuse to give up––the underground resistance is plotting their escape. Ilse’s first act of defiance is smuggling from the munitions factory, slipping bullets into the lining of her pockets.

But this is just the beginning… When Ilse meets Wilhem, a local SS administrative officer, she never dreams that her greatest rebellion will be falling for him. Wilhem promises that she will survive, even if the cost is his life. But in a world of such danger, daring to love is the most dangerous risk of all…

Book Links: Kindle or Paperback

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Emma's Review: The Woman at the Gates by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Resistance fighter Antonia is out in the forest behind her family’s beloved farm when the Nazi soldiers arrive. As she sees her sister Lena and her young nephews herded towards the trucks, guns pointed at their heads, she faces a split-second, heart-wrenching decision: to stay hidden, stay free and continue the fight. Or to give herself up and go with her family to protect them—no matter what lies ahead.

As she clutches her nephew’s little hand in hers, her other arm tight around Lena, she knows she has made the right choice. And as the truck rattles towards a brutal labor camp, and they start to wonder what fate has in store for them, Antonia’s only thought is of how to escape.

Because before they were captured, Antonia worked tirelessly to free her country from those who had turned her homeland into a bloody battleground. By her side had been clever, handsome Viktor. The man she was to marry, whose love shone like a light in the darkness of war surrounding them.

Antonia does not know if Viktor has been caught or executed. But she knows she must try to find a way back to him and she cannot wait any longer to be saved. Her precious nephews will die without proper food and they could all be killed at any moment.

The world outside the camp gates is full of danger, but they have to find a way through them first. And that is their only hope, even if it costs Antonia her life. The Nazis have taken everything from her, but they can never take away her courage…

Book Links: Kindle or Paperback

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Emma's Review: The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Thea’s having a bad month. Not only has she been made redundant, she’s also discovered her husband of nearly twenty years is sleeping with one of her friends. And he’s not sorry – he’s leaving. 

Bewildered and lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But, when she learns the great-uncle she barely knew has died and left her his huge collection of second-hand books and a house in the Scottish Lowlands, she seems to have been offered a second chance. 

Running away to a little town where no one knows her seems like exactly what Thea needs. But when she meets the aristocratic Maltravers brothers – grumpy bookshop owner Edward and his estranged brother Charles, Lord Hollinshaw – her new life quickly becomes just as complicated as the life she was running from... 

Book Links: Kindle or Paperback