Summer 2023 Reads & Reviews (New!)

SUMMARY: Liverpool, 1935: Raised in a strict Catholic family, Viv Byrne knows what’s expected of her: marry a Catholic man from her working-class neighborhood and have his children. However, when she finds herself pregnant after a fling with Joshua Levinson, a Jewish man with dreams of becoming a famous Jazz musician, Viv knows that a swift wedding is the only answer. Her only solace is that marrying Joshua will mean escaping her strict mother’s scrutiny. But when Joshua makes a life-changing choice on their wedding day, Viv is forced once again into the arms of her disapproving family.

REVIEW: While the WW2 book genre is currently flooded with books (which I don’t mind!), this one stands out by its plot and writing. I will say that the characters are developed, the details are accurate, and the ending is unpredicatable. I also liked the interplay of faiths and how families struggled with religiion during the war. 4/5 stars

SUMMARY: Alix St. Pierre. An unforgettable name for an unforgettable woman. She grew up surrounded by Hollywood glamor, but, as an orphan, never truly felt part of that world. In 1943, with WWII raging and men headed overseas to fight, she lands a publicity job to recruit women into the workforce. Her skills—persuasion, daring, quick-witted under pressure—catch the attention of the U.S. government and she finds herself with an even bigger assignment: sent to Switzerland as a spy. Soon Alix is on the precipice of something big, very big. But how far can she trust her German informant…?
After an Allied victory that didn’t come nearly soon enough, Alix moves to Paris, ready to immerse herself in a new position as director of publicity for the yet-to-be-launched House of Dior. In the glamorous halls of the French fashion house, she can nearly forget everything she lost and the dangerous secret she carries. But when a figure from the war reappears and threatens to destroy her future, Alix realizes that only she can right the wrongs of the past …and finally find justice.

REVIEW: If you are new to the historical fiction genre, then this book is perfect for you. OR if you love fashion and Parish, then this book is for you. It’s a perfectly mixed martini of high fashion, spies, and war led by a feisty female lead. I loved reading the details of Dior and fashion throughout the war as well as Alix, too. This was a great read and perfect for summer! 4/5 stars.

RECOMMEND: Pair this book with a viewing of Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. The discussion and visuals of Dior and Paris complement each other perfectly!!

SUMMARY: A woman must rescue her cousin’s family from a train bound for Auschwitz in this riveting tale of bravery and resistance, from the bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris

1942. Hannah Martel has narrowly escaped Nazi Germany after her fiancé was killed in a pogrom. When her ship bound for America is turned away at port, she has nowhere to go but to her cousin Lily, who lives with her family in Brussels. Fearful for her life, Hannah is desperate to get out of occupied Europe. But with no safe way to leave, she must return to the dangerous underground work she thought she had left behind.

Seeking help, Hannah joins the Sapphire Line, a secret resistance network led by a mysterious woman named Micheline and her enigmatic brother Matteo. But when a grave mistake causes Lily’s family to be arrested and slated for deportation to Auschwitz, Hannah finds herself torn between her loyalties. How much is Hannah willing to sacrifice to save the people she loves?

REVIEW: Jenoff’s lastest action historical fiction does not dissappoint. Jenoff always writes relatable and powerful female lead characters, and, in this novel, who grapple with the real moral struggle of war. It takes place in Belgium and follows the women behind the scenes, on the Sapphire Line, as they figure out how to save themsleves and others. This genre type is very competitive and there are many other books attempting this kind of story, but I think Jenoff’s are well worth the time! 3.5/5 stars


Two former female spies, bound together by their past, risk everything to hunt down an infamous Nazi doctor in the aftermath of World War II—an extraordinary novel inspired by true events from the New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls

American Josie Anderson and Parisian Arlette LaRue are thrilled to be working in the French resistance, stealing so many Nazi secrets that they become known as the Golden Doves, renowned across France and hunted by the Gestapo. Their courage will cost them everything. When they are finally arrested and taken to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, along with their loved ones, a reclusive Nazi doctor does unspeakable things to Josie’s mother, a celebrated Jewish singer who joined her daughter in Paris when the world seemed bright. And Arlette’s son is stolen from her, never to be seen again.

REVIEW: Like Jenoff, I always look forward to Martha Hall Kelly’s releases. She is a phenomenal writer and well researched. This one is just like her others: realistic, fast, and well written. However, it does the two timelines and two characters plot back and forth, so it does become tricky to keep track of which character is in which decade. If you like her previous books, you will like this one, too. 3.5/5 stars


When a woman discovers a rare book that has connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood spent in the English countryside during World War II are revealed.

In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora are evacuated to a rural village to escape the horrors of the Second World War. Living with the kind Bridie Aberdeen and her teenage son, Harry, in a charming stone cottage along the River Thames, Hazel fills their days with walks and games to distract her young sister, including one that she creates for her sister and her sister alone—a fairy tale about a magical land, a secret place they can escape to that is all their own.

But the unthinkable happens when young Flora suddenly vanishes while playing near the banks of the river. Shattered, Hazel blames herself for her sister’s disappearance, and she carries that guilt into adulthood as a private burden she feels she deserves.

REVIEW: I loved Henry’s book about C.S. Lewis’ wife, so I was really looking foward to this one! It deals with the Pied Piper evacation out of London during WW2, two sisters, the English countryside, and books – what isn’t there to love?

First, I thought her detials of the places and countryside were exquisited; I wanted to escape there. It also really reconized the tension for parents who had to send their children away and the emotions that it cause. I enjoyed the main character, Hazel, and all of the experiences she had with books and her job in the bookstore. Again, I think the double timeline (past and prsent) is overdone in fiction and would’ve like this without both. I also felt like the ending was unrealistic? It worked and I see how the pieces feel together but I wasn’t on board with it. However, despite those thoughts, I definitely recommend reading it especially on a lazy day outside in a garden! 4/5 stars