Wish You Were Here (The Wishing Tree Series Book 3) by Kay Bratt – #BookReview – #shortstories

“Wishes in branches tied with string. Someone’s hopes. Another’s dreams.”

Book Blurb:

Wish You Were Here by Kate BrattHenry Harmon has been married more than sixty years to his bigger-than-life and talk-of-the-town wife, Greta, when he begins to see signs of a problem. When her diagnosis comes to light, he struggles to keep his oath of in sickness and health, and to do it alone.

On the other side of their small town is Neva Cabot, who many years ago put her own mental health first when she cut friendship ties with Greta. But Neva is the kindest of kind and has been the face of hospitality for their town for decades. Even so, it will take some soul-searching for her to be able to step up and help walk Henry through the hardest days of his life.

Janie Stallard and her two daughters have just moved in to the old Johnson’s house when they can’t make the next rent and will be forced to move out. Neva offers Janie a job and her family a safe haven while they figure out what they want to do, and Neva tries to figure out why they are really there.

My Review:

My introduction to this series and an emotionally draining one at that. Neva Cabot is the Linden Falls quiet but powerful voice. She has a pulse on the people and knows when to step up. In this case, she is aware that Henry Harmon is exhausted with the care he is trying to provide his wife. She has had dementia for some time and is ill as well.

Neva knows both Henry (a past beau) and his wife Greta with whom she was friends until their conflict separated them. Despite the feelings left between the three, she feels it’s time Henry had some much-needed support—whether or not Greta accepts it.

…”suspicion and paranoia went hand in hand with dementia patients.”

Neva has come to the aid of Janie and her two daughters, hiring her as a housekeeper so she can provide a roof over their heads and in the meantime the girls are becoming acquainted with Greta, who, with Henry spent many years traveling the world, seeing the sights, and enjoying life.

Wish You Were Here by Kay BrattThey didn’t have children but Greta is delighting in telling the girls about the different countries, including Taiwan. And, oh, did that bring back my own memories! As she spoke of Sun Moon Lake, I was reminded of the amebic dysentery bout I experienced there I’d gotten as a result of eating the food from vendors parked over the benjo ditches in Taipei where we’d go in search of something to eat after *s..t*-kicker night at the Maag Club. (Wonderful concerts with Tammy Wynette and Jeannie Seeley to name a couple.) Well, anyway…

I was enjoying the simple and poignant narrative at times touching close to home. There are a couple pets that lighten somewhat the heavy atmosphere. Neva is a great main character, empathetic and caring. Henry is very sympathetic. I could also identify with Janie (although I wondered how authentic the girls could be) and going into the conclusion felt my heart clutch.

Then—that little bombshell at the climax. Whoa! What a twist! Sweet, if not wholly credible. A short story that packs a powerful punch. I’m sure there are many readers who can relate to the characters and situations and I have to give the author credit for providing that zinger. Totally unexpected but satisfying.

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

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars Four point Five Stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Friendship Fiction, Single Authors Short Stories, Short Stories
Publisher: Red Thread Publishing Group
ASIN: B09BDQ2H8R
Print Length: 155 pages
Publication Date: March 9, 2022
Source: Author’s promo
Title Link: Wish You Were Here [Amazon]

 

Kay Bratt - authorThe Author: Kay Bratt; Writer, Rescuer, Wanderer

As a writer, Kay used writing to help her navigate a tumultuous childhood, followed by a decade of abuse as an adult. After working her way through the hard years, Kay emerged a survivor and a pursuer of peace—and finally found the courage to share her stories. She is the author of more than two dozen books, with ten of those published by Lake Union Publishing. Kay writes women’s fiction and historical fiction, and her books have fueled many exciting book club discussions. Her works have been translated into German, Korean, Chinese, Hungarian, Czech, Estonian, and have made it into the hands of more than a million readers around the world.

As a rescuer, Kay currently focuses her efforts on animal rescue and is the Director of Advocacy for Yorkie Rescue of the Carolinas. As a child advocate, she spent a number of years volunteering in a Chinese orphanage, as well as provided assistance for several nonprofit organizations that support children in China, including An Orphan’s Wish (AOW), Pearl River Outreach, and Love Without Boundaries. In the USA, she actively served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children in Georgia, and spear-headed numerous outreach programs for underprivileged children in the South Carolina area.

As a wanderer, Kay has lived in nearly three dozen different homes, on two continents and in states from coast to coast in the USA. She’s traveled to Mexico, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Philippines, Central America, Bahamas, and Australia. Currently she and her soulmate of more than 25 years enjoy life in their forever home on the banks of Lake Hartwell in Georgia, USA.

Kay has been described as southern, spicy, and a little sassy. Social media forces her to overshare and you don’t want to miss some of the antics that goes on with her and the Bratt Pack.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and then buckle up and enjoy the ride. You can find a full list of her published works at http://www.kaybratt.com — To be notified when new books are released, please sign up for my monthly email newsletter at http://www.kaybratt.com or at this link:

https://www.subscribepage.com/kaybrattnewsletter

©2023 V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Souvenirs from Kyiv: Unforgettable stories based on the heartbreaking experiences of Ukrainian families during WW2 by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

‘Russia has been trying to wipe Ukraine off the world map for thousands of years. They haven’t succeeded yet. Now, I’m picking up my stone and throwing it at Goliath. I want people to understand. I want to save this country.’ Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger, March 2022

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-BergerLarissa is a renowned embroiderer, surviving in occupied Ukraine during World War II as a seamstress in her ruin of a workshop. Surrounded by enemies, she expresses her defiance by threading history into her garments. But at what cost?

Mykhailo is a soldier on leave, returning to Ukraine from the front on Christmas Eve. As he travels through his country, he is confronted by the hardship the war has brought to his fellow countrymen. Will what he sees this Christmas change the course of his life forever?

Marusia and her family are woken early one morning by the arrival of the Nazis, who have come to search for her partisan brother. As the soldiers move through their house, her family has just moments to make choices that will determine their survival.

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger’s stories bring to life the true history of her Ukrainian family who fought to survive World War II. Laced with hope,Souvenirs from Kyiv celebrates the endurance and resilience of the human spirit.

Souvenirs from Kyiv was awarded 2nd Place in the 2014 HNS International Short Story Award and the collection won the silver medal in the IPPY Book Awards 2020 for Military and Wartime fiction.

His Review:

As the current attack by the Russians upon Ukraine continues, Souvenirs From Kyiv illuminates the continuing hazard in that part of the world. This country has been in the path of battles and armies since recorded history. The Russians have attempted to draw them into their country for centuries. The citizens of Ukraine have suffered continually.

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-BergerWorld War II found their male citizens being conscripted into the Nazi war machine. If they were unable to serve, they were kidnapped and forced to work on war materiel including bombs and bullets. The women were helping in the munitions factories as well and also conscripted to sew uniforms and other outfits including snow warfare camouflage gear.

Hiding some of the young men became the work of families. They would go to the forests and be part of the resistance. Families would take them in at very great risk to themselves. Should they be caught harboring these men, the whole family would wind up being shot. The Ukrainians also helped hide and protect large numbers of Jews. Harboring Jews was also a crime punishable by death.

Those members of the resistance saved many American and English pilots forced down in the fighting. The Ukrainians and Yugoslavian citizens helped to rescue the pilots as well as set up an underground system to spirit the pilots back to the west. Avoiding serving and being caught usually resulted in an immediate deployment to the Russian front.

The Ukrainians are not fond of the Russians. They hoped that the American forces would release their villages. The Russian troops had a reputation for gang raping the women and taking everything of value. The maturation of the war found the Ukrainian people praying the Allies would prevail and liberate their communities from the Nazis.

CE WilliamsStarvation was a major weapon of the Third Reich. The cities were blockaded and farmers and foodstuffs were taken by the German soldiers for the Fatherland or to feed the troops in the area. Small barley or wheat soup was the staple diet for the average citizen during the war. 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.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Fiction Short Stories, Historical Russian Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09WF1MQ8K
Print Length: 159 pages
Publication Date: April 22, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Souvenirs from Kyiv [Amazon]
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Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger - authorThe Author: IPPY Book Award 2020 silver medal winner for SOUVENIRS FROM KYIV.

Long-listed in the Flash500 Novel Competition 2017 for No Man’s Land/The Breach.

Winner of the Flash500 Short Story Competition with an extract from Bolzano.

Winner of the Coffee Pot Book Club Book Award Box and Box Set of the Year 2019 for the Reschen Valley Box Set.

A Discovered Diamond, shortlisted for Book of the Month July 2019, Reschen Valley Box Set

Reader’s Favorite 5-star reviews for Bolzano, The Smuggler of Reschen Pass, and Magda’s Mark (featured in The Road to Liberation Collection).

HNS International Short Story 2nd Place Winner 2014 for Souvenirs from Kyiv (short story in the Souvenirs from Kyiv collection)

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger was born in Minnesota in 1969 and grew up in the culture-rich neighborhood of “Nordeast” Minneapolis. She started her writing career with short stories, travel narratives, worked as a journalist and then as a managing editor for a magazine publisher before jumping the editor’s desk and pursuing her dreams of writing and traveling. In 2000, she moved to western Austria and established her own communications training company. She has won several awards for her short stories and novels and now primarily writes historical fiction. During a trip into northern Italy over the Reschen Pass, she stood on the edge of Reschen Lake and desperately wanted to understand how a 15th-century church tower ended up sticking out of the water. What stories were lying beneath? Some eight years later, she launched the “Reschen Valley” series with five books and a novella releasing between 2018 and 2021, in parallel to her WW2 novels and short story collections.

For more on Chrystyna, dive in at inktreks(dot)com.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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