Book Report | April 2014

It’s that time of the month…a list of great books I read this month that I just have to share with you!  As you know, I’m a big reader and fortunately, this month, every book I read was a winner!  Now, you know how I love my historical fictions, so two out of the three books have a bit of back-in-time plots.  But they mix it up with some modern plots as well!

What She Left Behind

by Ellen Marie Wiseman

whatsheleftbehindWhat She Left Behind was a fantastic book!  The first chapter or so was a little slow, but once you get past that, it speeds up and pulls you in for the ride.  There are two story lines – one set in the late 20’s – early 30s – and the other in the mid-late 90’s.  The story alternates between the two and both center around a young girl in each of the eras.  The modern character, Izzy Stone, is a teenager that is dealing with the fact that her mother killed her father when she was a child.  Her mother was deemed insane and locked away, so Izzy has been shuffled through the foster care system.  When we meet Izzy, she’s with a good family and they’re starting a project to catalog the  belongings of the residents of a nearby state asylum that has long since shut it’s doors.  Her journey during this process brings her closer to understanding her mother and what she did, as well as feeling connected to one of the asylum’s long ago residents – Clara Cartwright.

Clara, is the subject of the historical plot line.  We meet her when she’s about to get married to a man her parents want her to marry, but she does not.  Her parents are bit controlling, to say the least, and they are not at all happy when she refuses to marry their suitor of choice.  They pack her off to a care facility for nervous invalids and through a series of misfortunes, bad timing, and uninterested parents, she ends up in the state asylum.  Her story is rather heartbreaking, but has you turning the page late into the night to find out more of her story!

I’m not going to say any more about the story so I don’t give anything away, but if you want a book to sink your teeth into, this is a good one!

 

The Baker’s Daughter

by Sarah McCoy

Bakers_DaughterThe Baker’s Daughter was another fantastic read.  It is also set in two different time periods.  The first is World War 2 Germany and the second is 2007 Texas.  In the World War 2 plot, we meet Elsie Schmidt, the baker’s daughter in a small German bakery.  She’s a teenager and despite all of the horrible things going on around them, she’s eager to grow up and experience life.  She’s faced with the marriage proposal from a high ranking Nazi that has befriended the family, but she knows she’s not in love with him.  In the meantime, a young runaway Jewish boy seeks refuge with her and she proceeds to hide him in her home without her family’s knowledge.  This all plays out around towards the end of the war and we get to see the war come to an end and the Americans roll into town.  Against her parents wishes, she befriends some of the soldiers and eventually relocates to Texas, which was one of her dream destinations.

The 2007 story centers around a young journalist, Reba Adams.  She’s struggling to figure out what she wants in her life – all the way from her fiance to her job and current location.  As she’s sorting all of this out she takes on an assignment to write a fluff piece about Christmas in Germany.  She seeks out the owner of a local German Bakery – Elsie’s German Bakery – and she forges a friendship not only with Elsie, but her grown daughter.  Elsie brings her into her world as she saw it back in 1945 and the friendship helps her come to her own conclusions about what she needs in her life.

I loved how these two very different stories intertwined throughout the book.  Each was fascinating and entertaining, so mixing them together created a wonderful page turner!

 

Me Before You

by JoJo Moyes

Me-Before-You

Me Before You was my book club’s selection for our meeting next week. I just finished it and let me tell you, it was hard to put down!  It is set in current times, so no historical fiction here!  It’s a really touching story of Will Traynor and his caregiver, Louisa Clark.  Will is a quadriplegic that was injured in an accident two years prior.  Previously, he was an active dare devil type, that took on the world and lived life big.  Now, he’s confined to a wheelchair with 24 hour care.  Louisa is an ordinary girl living a rather ordinary life.  She has a steady boyfriend and lives at home with her parents, sister, and nephew.  Not a lot happens in Louisa’s world and she’s quite content with that.  After losing her job, she ends up taking the caregiver job as a 6 month contract.  At first, Will is not interested at all in having her there.  His mom hired her not only to take care of him, but to try to cheer him up and bring a little light into his life.  While these two have nothing in common – both in their current lives or their previous lives – they form a connection like neither has ever experienced before.  The love they share tests all boundaries and ends in a place no one ever hopes to be.

On some levels this is a sad story, but it’s also uplifting.  At the very least, it’s well written and though out and I literally could not put it down.  I have few bags under my eyes this week because of this book!

 

And that’s it for this month’s books!  I’m about to immerse myself on the Barnes & Noble website to see what new books I want to download to my Nook for this month.  Don’t you just love browsing for books and trying to decide which world you’ll jump into next?  Hopefully, I’ll find some more gems to share with you next month!

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