The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find 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….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

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.

I originally picked this book up because of its name. It was fifty cents at a book sale to help a hospital in my area. At the time I didn’t know about all of the acclamations it had, but when my sister raved about it, I had to move it up my reading list. And this book didn’t disappoint. It was funny and sweet, and it was also sad at the same time. It never made me lose interest. Even though I’d consider this book chick-lit, it’s a lot more than that. It takes real skill to make a post-Holocaust story humorous without undermining the horror of World War II. But Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows were able to make it perfectly. I’d recommend this story to anyone, but especially those who like humor and romance.

http://www.indiebound.org/book/

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The Traitor’s Emblem

Mysteries, tribulations, and secrets enshroud Nazi Germany citizens and for Paul Reiner, perhaps, more than most. Growing up with his mother as a servant in his aunt’s house, he deals with the abuse taken from his aunt, uncle, and younger cousin, as well as the kids at school, who hate him because his father was branded as a traitor. But when his older cousin tells him that Paul’s father was murdered in his aunt and uncle’s house, and he defends a noble Jewish girl from his younger cousin’s advances, Paul’s world is turned upside down, and he finds himself in trouble as he fights to find his father’s murderer, hold onto the girl he is in love with, and survive from day to day. It is the story of how he obtains the Traitor’s Emblem, the metal made for the Nazi who betrayed the Freemasons.

I liked this book a lot. I thought it was well put-together and very intriguing. Even when I knew I had work to do, I couldn’t help reading a few pages at every chance I got. I like how not everything is in black and white. There are even times when it’s possible to sympathize with Jurgen, Paul’s younger cousin, who later becomes a Nazi. It was suspenseful and intriguing, and I loved seeing the characters progress over the years as the events unfold. I’d recommend this book to anyone with a love for history, mysteries, and thrillers.

 If you’re interested, you can find the book here:

<a href=”http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781439198797?aff=KaraSkinner”>http://www.indiebound.org/book/</a&gt;

Beneath A Marble Sky

“My hands touch the marble and I feel Isa. He is here. Mother sits with him as do Dara and Father…. Their mood is gay and they’re as young as the seasons.” -Beneath a Marble Sky (p. 344)

One of the greatest wonders the human race has ever built is the Taj Mahal. Its breathtaking beauty and majesty can inspire poets and and make even the most skeptical person believe magic exists. It was created by Shah Jaha, a Mughal emperor, in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. But even though something beautiful was created, it was a time of sorrow. For not only was the beloved empress dead, but a war was being fought between her sons, Dara and Aurangzeb.

John Shors writes with poetic elegance as he describes his interpretation of the war between siblings.

Dara was the peaceful brother. He’d rather spend his time studying Hindu and Muslim religion than warring and negotiating politics. He hoped that someday the Hindus and Muslims could live in peace with no religious tension. He’s well-humored and dotes upon his younger sister, Jahanara.

Aurangzeb, on the other hand, hates Hindus to the point that he won’t even kill them in war because they’re not good enough for his sword point. Not only that, but he’s sexist, and thinks Jahanara is worthless because she’s a girl. When he was only twelve he watched his sister almost drown with a smile on his face.

Shors describes Jahanara’s life from when she is thirteen years old to when she’s an old woman as she plots and schemes with Dara and her father to defeat Aurangzeb and insure Dara’s place on the throne, all the while dealing with an abusive husband, her mother’s death, her forbidden love with the chief architect of the Taj Mahal, captivity, and several attempted murders.

Beneath a Marble Sky is a good read for anyone looking for a classic love story that deals with family hardships and religious tension.

You can find it here: http://www.indiebound.org/book/