The Quarryman’s Girl by Melanie Forde – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

“Gossip was a major form of entertainment in the eighteen-nineties…”

Book Blurb:

The Quarryman's Girl by Melanie FordeLife seemed to be winding down for French–Canadian immigrant Rose Dowd. She had not been fighting the inevitable until Fate forced her to gear up for yet another chapter. Much like her adopted country, as America begins staking out a new international role in World War II, Rose must reinvent herself. Quickly. Before she can move forward, however, she needs to absorb the lessons from her past. Integral to that journey are Rose’s sharp-tongued sister Izzy; her perpetually worried son Vince, a resourceful shipyard worker; her long-dead Métis mentor Mère Agathe; her bright and bubbly but sickly granddaughter Netty; and Nate, the “Ragman’s Grandson,” a club-footed, pre-law student dreading his future and inching instead toward a career as a writer. The Quarryman’s Girl follows these vivid characters from the 1880s to the 1940s, from the hard-scrabble pig farms of Quebec to the granite quarries of Quincy, from the frozen St. Lawrence to the deep-channel Fore River. A compelling story from beginning to end, once again Melanie Forde has shown why she is a consummate storyteller and one of contemporary America’s finest writers.

My Review:

The wait is often worth it.

Such is the case with this beautifully penned literary novel deeply entwined with characters so well developed you want a hug them. They’re family.

I was introduced to this author back in 2019 with the request for participation in a book tour; one I was glad to accept for Reinventing Hillwilla (final novel in the Hillwilla trilogy) followed a few months later by Decanted Truths. I loved them both, each read as a standalone and each entirely unique.

“In the Irish culture, the gift of gab was equally distributed between the sexes.”

In this novel, Rose Dowd is staring down senior hood and doesn’t like what she sees. Thank heaven she has Vince, her youngest son, to help her meet day-to-day challenges she was formerly capable of handling on her own after her husband passed on. She also has others in her life well established near the granite quarries of Quincy (KWIN-zee—not KWIN-see) where she and estranged sister Izzy were abandoned after her large Irish family left Quebec and Quincy for Manitoba. The girls, barely teens, survived and thrived.

“You’ve heard of spring fever. You know what it really means? Scurvy!”

There are a number of threads interweaving through the well-plotted narrative and we get to know each of the characters, identify easily with people we know, care about, invest in. Descriptions of scenes are so well drawn that the reader is plunked into the middle of them. Loved the inclusion of the French phrases in the storyline as well as the Native American’s contribution to the shipyard efforts—the dialogue between Vince and Walter, a Mohawk, is priceless male banter.

The Quarryman's Girl by Melanie FordeTension builds as the characters are developed and Nate, the “Ragman’s Son” is sent to perform handyman jobs at Rose’s home and to report to Vince her slips of memory. Vince is frustrated with Rose’s senior moments as he tries in vain to glean grist for a thesis, unhappily facing law school.

And then there is Izzy, her sharp tongue alienating more than immediate family, who has a crisis of her own that may force Rose to deal with the upheaval that caused their rift so many years ago.

Oh, so bittersweet, examining the hurts, the love, the physical as well as the mental constraints that bind family and friends as easily as isolate. A unique story that scrutinizes senior cognitive decline, betrayal, aspirations, and, hopefully, reconciliation.

The story is full of emotion, raw, alternately filled with wry bursts of humor. It’s written in an intelligent, sensitive, and articulate style that pulls in the reader and doesn’t let go. The conclusion is both heartbreaking and tearfully satisfying and is heartily recommended. Not just family drama. Truly literary magic.

“Intense relationships never really died.”

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Literary Fiction
Publisher: Mountain Lake Press

  • ISBN-10: ‎ 1959307002
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1959307006

ASIN: B0B7BM9KLX
Print Length: 325 pages
Publication Date: August 27, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK  |  Barnes & Noble

 

Melanie Forde - authorThe Author: For most of her writing career, Melanie Forde ghosted on international security issues. She published her first novel, Hillwilla, in 2014, followed by On the Hillwilla Road in 2015. Her West Virginia trilogy culminates in Reinventing Hillwilla, 2018. Melanie Forde - authorTwenty years in the making, her Irish-American family saga, Decanted Truths, was also released in 2018. In 2022, Forde mined the stories about her French Canadian ancestors, to publish another period novel and family saga, The Quarryman’s Girl.

Find more info about Melanie Forde here.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

The Doctor’s Daughter by Shari J Ryan – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Doctor’s Daughter by Shari J Ryan

Book Blurb:

Auschwitz, 1941: It was her father’s job to save the lives of the SS. But she chose to risk everything and save the lives of prisoners.

The Doctor's Daughter by Shari J RyanIn Nazi-occupied Poland, Sofia cannot look her father in the eye. Sofia’s mother, her papa’s cherished wife, is Jewish—how dare he work as a doctor for the SS? She cannot forgive him, even if the bargain was made to spare their lives.

In the middle of the night, Isaac emerges from a packed train with hundreds of others. Beneath Auschwitz’s barbed wire, soldiers surround them, and gunshots pierce the dark sky. The SS decide prisoners’ fates on the spot—and Isaac is chosen to work, rather than to die.

Every day, Isaac and his fellow inmates are sent to a nearby farm. From sunup to sundown, they toil the land with barely a scrap to eat. Every breath feels like it could be Isaac’s last, so when he sees a beautiful auburn-haired girl peering out of the farmhouse window, it feels like a dream…

Sofia refuses to accept what she is seeing. Disobeying her father and evading the guards, she risks her life to sneak a letter to the green-eyed boy outside. She explains that she has hidden them food, and that she’ll do everything in her power to save them.

This secret exchange sparks an escape that should have been impossible—and a love story that is unforgettable. But is love enough in the face of evil? And when Sofia and Isaac are concealed underground, holding their breath as the Nazis hunt them, will they survive?

My Review:

Does a doctor in Poland living under the Nazi occupation really have an option if he’s expected to save the lives of the SS? During the darkest part of the war, life for the Jewish is extremely tenuous. The doctor is not Jewish, but his wife and daughter are and he makes a pact with the devil in exchange for the lives of his family.

The Doctor's Daughter by Shari J RyanSofia, a teen is devastated and feels betrayal for her neighbors in her father’s efforts for the Germans. She has witnessed the prisoners from Auschwitz as they are brought in to work the land for the Germans.

“…watching us is their favorite form of entertainment—the SS officers…”

Sofia and her mother have been insulated by the favor of her father, living on their family’s farm established generations before. But rules and laws begin to turn ugly.

There is the POV of Sophia, Isaac, and Olivia, each as they strive to survive the horror they face daily, the ravishes of hunger, disease, faith.

For Isaac, he believes “every single day feels like ten, but without a future to look forward to.”

Isaac and his sister Olivia have lost both parents and live like sewer rats until they dare to venture out. When they are taken prisoner, Olivia is sent in one direction, Isaac another as a slave laborer on the farm owned by Sophia’s family and it is there they meet and conspire to find a way to better conditions.

The characters are well-formed under the author’s pen and tear at your heart, the atmosphere so dark and foreboding, so frightening. You can see the barbed wire, the soldiers with their guns, smell the decay, the death. It’s an extremely emotional read, the tears are there, the reality of much that happened. It’s almost impossible to fathom, impossible to forget. For these teens, a life borne of cruelty. Sophia noted,

“The war has been ongoing for more than a third of my life, and I can’t remember being free. I can’t recall if I was old enough to understand the perception of peace before it went away.”

The conclusion is a quiet reflection of those who fought, steadfastly refused to quit, sought hope when it seemed forever out of reach. A difficult read but recommended.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: War Fiction, Literary Sagas, Historical Literary Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09RK9ZWKR
Print Length: 345 pages
Publication Date: April 28, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

Shari J Ryan - authorThe Author: Shari J. Ryan is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Women’s Fiction, WWII Fiction, and 20th Century Historical Fiction with a focus on the Holocaust and Pearl Harbor.

Shortly after graduation from Johnson & Wales with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Shari began her career as a graphic artist and freelance writer. She then found her passion for writing books in 2012 after her second son was born. Shari has been slaying words ever since.

With two Rone Awards and over 125k books sold, Shari has hit the USA Today Bestseller List, the Amazon’s Top 100, Barnes & Noble’s Top Ten, and iBooks at number one. Some of Shari’s bestselling books include Last Words, The Other Blue Sky, Unspoken Words and A Heart of Time.

Shari, a lifelong Boston girl, is happily married to her personal hero and US Marine and have two wonderful little boys. For more details about her books, visit: http://www.sharijryan.com

©20222022 V Williams V Williams

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