The Girl from Bologna (Girls from the Italian Resistance) by Siobhan Daiko – #BookReview – #WWIIfiction

The Girl from Bologna by Siobhan Daiko

Book Blurb:

The Girl from Bologna by Siobhan DaikoBologna, Italy, 1944, and the streets are crawling with German soldiers. Nineteen-year-old Leila Venturi is shocked into joining the Resistance after her beloved best friend Rebecca, the daughter of a prominent Jewish businessman, is ruthlessly deported to a concentration camp.

In the spring of 1981, exchange student Rhiannon Hughes arrives in Bologna to study at the university. There, she rents a room from Leila, who is now middle-aged and infirm. Leila’s nephew, Gianluca, offers to show Rhiannon around but Leila warns her off him.

Soon Rhiannon finds herself being drawn into a web of intrigue. What is Gianluca’s interest in a far-right group? And how is the nefarious leader of this group connected to Leila? As dark secrets emerge from the past, Rhiannon is faced with a terrible choice. Will she take her courage into both hands and risk everything?

His Review:

The year is 1981. A young lady from Wales is in Italy to continue her Italian studies. She has found a room at a reasonable fee with a widower named Leila. They get along fabulously and she settles in for the coming semester. Leila’s nephew Gianluca takes care of his aunt and Leila and Gianluca become a couple.

World War II split Italy into factions; those who side with the Nazi’s and those who are opposed to them. The opposition is called the partisans and they do everything they can to disrupt the Nazi war machine. When caught, the partisans are immediately put in front of a firing squad. There is no trial, just a quick death.

The Girl from Bologna by Siobhan DaikoThe Germans offer substantial rewards, extra food and benefits to those who turn on their fellow citizens. Torture is applied to the captured partisans with promises of freedom if they will disclose their compatriots. The society becomes very fearful because you have no idea who you can trust.

Now 35 years after the end of WWII, distrust and hate are still rampant in Italy! Leila is trying to write down her experiences during the war. She was widowed when her husband was captured by the Nazi’s and executed. She will not forgive and cannot forget. The student, Rhiannon, is thrust into a society rampant with intrigue and acts of terror and vengeance against both sides. A bomb destroyed the west wing of the Bologna train station! Leila’s failing health spurs her to write her memoirs.

Siobhan Daiko has written a very engaging story of love, vengeance and hate in this gripping novel of a survivor of the occupation. Sabotage and disruption of supply lines to the Germans by the resistance caused quick retribution and killings nearly every day. The Nazi’s showed no mercy to the Italian people after they surrendered and withdrew from the war in 1943.

CE WilliamsThis book is very engaging and evokes sympathy for the people trapped in a war from which they wanted to withdraw.  The characters are well developed and powerful in their beliefs. Enjoy the adventure! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

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

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Italian Fiction, Historical German Fiction, Historical European Fiction
Publisher: Asolando Books
ASIN: B09NTXCHKG
Print Length: 360 pages
Publication Date: June 29, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Girl from Bologna [Amazon]
 

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Siobhan Daiko - authorThe Author: Siobhan Daiko is an international bestselling historical romantic fiction author. A lover of all things Italian, she lives in the Veneto region of northern Italy with her husband, a Havanese dog and two rescued cats. After a life of romance and adventure in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK, Siobhan now spends her time writing and living her best life near Venice.

You can find her on Facebook: Asolando Books, Twitter: @siobhandaiko and email: asolandobooks@gmail.com

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan – #BookReview – #psychologicalthrillers

The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan

A Reading Ireland Month book 4 leaf clover

Book Blurb:

The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernanFor fans of the compulsive psychological suspense of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a mother-daughter story—one running from a horrible truth, and the other fighting to reveal it—that twists and turns in shocking ways, from the internationally bestselling author of The Scholar and The Ruin.

First Rule: Make them like you.
Second Rule: Make them need you.
Third Rule: Make them pay.
They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system.
They think I’m working hard to impress them.
They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row.
 They’re wrong. I’m going to bury him.

His Review:

Law schools across the nation have different academic statuses. Maine has very good schools but they pale to those in Virginia. Hannah Rokeby needs to fill her experience basket and applies for a position with “The Innocence Project” and Professor Robert Parekh. Although the positions have been filled, she is able to coerce the good professor with knowledge of events he would like to keep quiet.

The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernanEight hundred clients were clamoring for assistance from The Innocence Project. One of the cases was “The Dandridge Case.” Dandridge had been found guilty of rape and murder and received a thirteen years to life sentence. His case was coming up for appeal the following week. Hannah wanted to be involved but another of the volunteers had been selected. Hannah devised a way to get her to quit the project.

Dervla writes a compelling tome into the life of a third-year law student. There are many hours spent reviewing the case as originally tried looking for loopholes.

After tricking the other member of a three-person review team into leaving for a job interview, she is put on the review team. She immediately starts investigating the entire case. Circumstances proceed and show that the investigation and discovery techniques leave a lot to be desired. Can the team prove that Dandridge had been unfairly tried and convicted?

CE WilliamsEnjoy this book as you find that becoming a lawyer is not an easy task and one’s personal life can get in the way of hours of investigation. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

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

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

Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: William Morrow
ASIN: B0983LWC3J
Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: May 10, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): The Murder Rule [Amazon]
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The Author: Award-winning, number one bestseller Dervla McTiernan has established herself as one of the biggest names in crime fiction. Her books have garnered critical acclaim around the world and sold over 400,000 copies in Australia and New Zealand alone.

In 2022, McTiernan returns with her first-ever standalone thriller, The Murder Rule. Inspired by the true story of a young law student who worked at the Innocence Project and eventually uncovered evidence which exonerated a man who had been in prison for 26 years, McTiernan has created an unforgettable, twisty thriller – the must-read novel of the year.

Sign up for Dervla’s Newsletter at https://dervlamctiernan.com/newsletter/

About Dervla:

Dervla McTiernan’s debut novel, The Rúin, is a critically acclaimed international bestseller published around the world. The Rúin won the Ned Kelly, Davitt and Barry Awards and was shortlisted for numerous others. It was on the Amazon US Best Book of the Year list 2018 and screen rights were snapped up by Colin Farrell’s production company and Hopscotch Features. Dervla’s second book, The Scholar, won the International Thriller Award and debuted straight into the Nielsen Bookscan Top 5 on release in 2019, and her third, The Good Turn, went straight to no.1, confirming her place as one of Australia’s best crime writers.

https://dervlamctiernan.com/

Instagram: @dervlamctiernan

Facebook and Twitter: @DervlaMcTiernan

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great weekend!

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Let the Great World Spin - Banner

A Reading Ireland Month book

“The world spins. We stumble on. It is enough.”

Book Blurb:

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter-mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in best-selling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author’s most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s. 

My Review:

It was in August 1974 when 24 year old Frenchman Philippe Petit made it his “le coup” to illegally walk on a high wire across the top of the twin towers a total of eight times, the “artistic crime of the century.” And the feat was so bizarre, so over-the-top astounding that a film was released about it October 2015 called “The Walk.” I wrote a short article about the headline capturing story on July 2, 2016, not knowing that Colum McCann released this book in January 16, 2015. To be fair, I have not viewed the film.

It wasn’t long before I realized the book was about a particular group of people who may (or may not) have been impacted by this stupendous feat. The first half of the book is very slow, and for me, disjointed. I was trying to figure out how these characters had anything to do with the event that was unfolding before their eyes, or in some other unrelated capacity, connecting them. Indeed, for quite some time it didn’t.

It wasn’t a book about the feat itself or the man who walked the high wire. It was a deep-diving story that eventually begins to form a wire itself—uniting the stories of those five or six of the sixteen plus million people in mid-70s New York City.

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCannYou probably couldn’t find a more disparate group of people to dissect, from Irish priest (okay, monk), to mother and daughter hookers. Tillie’s story is graphic and profane but at least she finally breathed some much needed energy into a novel long in the tooth, reveling in finding a topic and expanding on it sixteen different ways, “the wind of the…, the trees of the…, the whatever…eventually just feels like filler to me and indeed, this narrative manages to extend beyond fifteen hours. Not a style I particularly enjoy—the constant philosophizing. It seemed dark, depressing. And when I thought it would get on with the story simply introduced yet another new character that was then studied to within of that life with no discernible bond to any of the previous characters.

I especially had a problem with the “Nam” references since the CE is a veteran of that era; we lived through it. But at least I could identify with the gold star mothers since I lost a brother during that time, not as a mother, but a sister. A pain that gradually dulls but never lets go and also gripped the mothers in this emotional support group.

The author does draw the characters finally together in a cohesive, sensitive manner—a study of the people, of the time. Perhaps not the event, but event driven? In the end, we also get the inside story of the judge, laid open and bare, warts and all, the storyline tied by his wife’s support group, while he’s ecstatic he got the defendant of the year in his court–sufficient to relieve his judicial boredom.

Well, mercy. One final stinging epithet.

Book Details:

Genre: Urban Fiction, Fiction Urban Life, Family Life Fiction
Publisher: Random House Audio
ASIN: B00SC80QC4
Listening Length: 15 hrs 15 mins
Narrator(s): Richard PoeGerard DoyleCarol MondaJohanna ParkerRamon De Ocampo
Publication Date: January 16, 2015
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Let the Great World Spin [Amazon]

 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three-point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

 

Colum McCann - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Colum McCann is the author of three collections of short stories and six novels, including “Apeirogon,” due to be published in Spring 2020. His other books include “TransAtlantic,” “Let the Great World Spin,” “This Side of Brightness,””Dancer” and “Zoli,” all of which were international best-sellers.

“Let the Great World Spin” won the National Book Award in 2009. His fiction has been published in over 40 languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, Paris Review and other places. He has written for numerous publications including The Irish Times, Die Zeit, La Republicca, Paris Match, The New York Times, the Guardian and the Independent.

Colum has won numerous international awards and has been a bestseller on four continents. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the Irish association of artists, Aosdana. He has also received a Chevalier des Artes et des Lettres from the French government. He is the cofounder of the global non-profit story exchange organisation Narrative 4.

In 2003 Colum was named Esquire magazine’s “Writer of the Year.” Other awards and honors include a Pushcart Prize, the Rooney Prize, the Irish Independent Hughes and Hughes/Sunday Independent Novel of the Year 2003, and the 2002 Ireland Fund of Monaco Princess Grace Memorial Literary Award. He was recently inducted into the Hennessy Hall of Fame for Irish Literature.

His short film “Everything in this Country Must,” directed by Gary McKendry, was nominated for an Academy Award Oscar in 2005.

Colum was born in Dublin in 1965 and began his career as a journalist in The Irish Press. In the early 1980’s he took a bicycle across North America and then worked as a wilderness guide in a program for juvenile delinquents in Texas. After a year and a half in Japan, he and his wife Allison moved to New York where they currently live with their three children, Isabella, John Michael and Christian.

Colum teaches in Hunter College in New York, in the Creative Writing program, with fellow novelists Peter Carey and Tea Obreht.

Colum has completed his new novel, “Apeirogon.” Crafted out of a universe of fictional and nonfictional material, McCann tells the story of Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan. One is Israeli. One is Palestinian. Both are fathers. Both have lost their daughters to the conflict. When Bassam and Rami learn of each other’s stories they recognize the loss that connects them, and they begin to use their grief as a weapon for peace.

In the novel McCann crosses centuries and continents. He stitches together time, art, history, nature and politics in a tale both heartbreaking and hopeful. Musical, cinematic, muscular, delicate and soaring, Apeirogon is a novel for our times.

Sign up for Colum’s newsletter: http://bit.ly/mccannsignup

Website: http://www.colummccann.com

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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