The Secret Keeper by Siobhan Curham – #BookReview – #historicalfrenchfiction

The Secret Keeper by Siobhan Curham

A gripping and emotional World War 2 novel, inspired by true events

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Blurb:

Nazi-occupied Paris, 1942. “I want to create a world where we are free to be together, to be in love,” he whispered. I gulp down the sobs building in my throat. “I want that too. I’ll come back to you. I swear I’ll come back.”

The Secret Keeper by Siobham DurhamElena Garcia knows that the mission she has been tasked with is her most dangerous yet. With a tearful goodbye to the man she has grown to love, the dark-eyed and warm-hearted Santiago Lozano, she hurries to catch the train to the drop-off point, the coded maps she is delivering for the resistance concealed in a pack of playing cards in her purse.

As she leaves the underground meeting, she hears heavy footsteps closing in behind her. Her heart pounds, and a dark figure comes into her line of sight. Expertly fighting off her attacker, Elena races back to the station, barely making it onto the train. She is forced to confront the worst: her cover is blown and now nowhere will be safe. Somebody close to her is a traitor, but when you live in the shadows, how do you know who you can really trust?

To stay alive, Elena must flee the country – and that means leaving Santiago behind. But she refuses to abandon her mission while Europe is still in the clutches of the enemy, and she will not leave Santiago to face the wrath of the Gestapo alone.

But when Elena uncovers that the love of her life has been having meetings with high-ranking government officials and hears German officials greeting him by name in the street, it’s clear that Santiago has his own secrets.

Elena must now ask herself: should she risk everything to save Santiago… or was he the one who betrayed her to the enemy? And now, with millions of innocent lives across Europe at stake, how can she know what is the right choice?

An epic, gripping and emotional wartime novel based on the true stories of the female spies sent into occupied Europe. Fans of The Alice Network, Soraya M. Lane and Pam Jenoff will be totally hooked.

His Review:

Elena has grown up in the Los Angeles area but loves the letters from her Grand-mere Rose. After Pearl Harbor, Elena is approached by the Office of Strategic Services to become an operative. Her beloved grandmother had moved back to France and is now encased in a Nazi-controlled country. Because Elena speaks three languages fluently, she is a perfect candidate to become a spy.

The Secret Keeper by Siobhan CurhamHer training in a camp in Maryland is extensive and rigorous. She is taught many things including how to disarm or kill a man in close physical combat. Her training includes ciphers and other coding techniques. She knows that if she is caught, she will be tortured by the enemy for information and secrets and then killed.

She wants to be an actress and has been training to become one. Her persona is a Spanish actress working in a play in Madrid. She has a minor role in the production. Madrid is lousy with German operatives who are trying to catch allied personnel who are trying to get back to England! Her primary role is to infiltrate the German high command and thereby help the pilots elude capture.

CE WilliamsThe author has written a believable saga of a young girl in occupied Europe. The amount of danger and efforts to stay alive bring credibility to this character. Knowing the result of not staying vigilant will result in a slow and painful death. Danger moves with her every step of the way. I could not put the book down. Read and enjoy the efforts of this masterful storyteller. 5 stars – CE Williams

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

Book Details:

Genre: Historical French Fiction, Women’s Religious Fiction, Women’s Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B0B12NDDTD
Print Length: 426 pages
Publication Date: July 27, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Secret Keeper [Amazon]
 

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Siobhan Curham - author
Siobhan Curham – author

The Author: Thank you for visiting my Amazon author page! It still blows my mind to be able to say that I’m an award-winning, best-selling author of over 40 books for adults, young adults and children, because I’m also a former council estate kid and university drop-out who gave up on my writing dream because I didn’t think I was from the right (aka posh enough) background. So I really am proof that miracles can happen!

It’s safe to say that my books cover very wide ranging subjects, from spirituality, love and friendship to World War 2, the refugee crisis and talking animals! One theme remains constant however, my desire to leave my readers feeling uplifted and inspired.

My first historical novel, An American in Paris, was published in 2021 and became an Amazon best-seller in the US and UK, which I was over the moon about, as it turns out I have a real passion for writing historical fiction. I love unearthing the lesser known facts and details from World War 2 and presenting them to readers in stories that will resonate today. My other World War 2 novels are Beyond This Broken Sky, The Paris Network, and the yet to be titled ‘Book 4’ – which will be published by Bookouture in August 2022.

I’m also currently writing two more books for my Moonlight Dreamers series for young adults.

Because my path to writing success has been such a bumpy one, I love nothing more than helping other people achieve their writing dreams via my online community, THE WRITING ADVENTURE (you can find us on Facebook).

You can find out more about my writing and sign up to my newsletter, GRIT, GRACE & GRATITUDE, at http://www.siobhancurham.com

And you can connect with me on social media here…

Facebook: Siobhan Curham Author

Instagram: @SiobhanCurham

Twitter: @SiobhanCurham

Thanks so much to everyone who has read my books and taken the time to leave a review here on Amazon, it really helps so I very much appreciate it.

Siobhan

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

My fairy garden

The Sea Nurses: An absolutely heartbreaking wartime saga by Kate Eastham – #BookReview – #historicalfiction @Bookouture

The Sea Nurses by Kate Eastham

Book Blurb:

The young nurse ran across the wooden deck, her feet skidding. She spotted an injured young man clinging to the ship’s rail, his eyes wide with terror. She could see the water rushing up to meet them. ‘We need to jump!’ she screamed. In that moment, a wave washed over them. She lunged forward to grab his hand, but she was a second too slow. Somewhere, deep inside the vessel, came a loud crack. The hospital ship was breaking apart…

The Sea Nurses by Kate Eastham1914. Evie Munro is a Scottish fisher girl, working the herring season from Wick to Great Yarmouth. For Evie, every day is the same – gutting fish at the docks, shoulder-to-shoulder with her friends, followed by fresh bread, a warm whiskey toddy and an early night. But when Germany declares war on Britain, everything changes.

As her village begins to empty of young men, Evie’s life is marked by a heartbreaking tragedy at home. Her happiness destroyed, she vows to join the war effort as an army nurse, caring for wounded soldiers on the imposing hospital ship Britannic.

But as the war rages on and the ship comes under direct fire, Evie’s courage is put to the ultimate test. Can Evie and the nurses of the HMHS Britannic save the day and heal the patients in their care? Or will her life become one more casualty in Britain’s heroic fight for freedom?

His Review:

Hospital ships rolling in a tempestuous sea is the setting for this saga. Iris Purefoy is a worker in a fish processing plant turned nurse. She has always had a knack for taking care of injuries in the processing of fish and also setting broken limbs. The tale begins on large ocean-liners, The RMS Olympic and HMHS Brittanic!

The Sea Nurses by Kate EasthamHospital ships are prime targets for German submarines because they carry wounded enemy combatants. If they are cured or rehabilitated, they will be sent back into battle to attack Germany again. Better to have them at the bottom of the sea rather than returning to battle.

The nurses serve twelve hour shifts six days a week and only have Sundays off. The pressure is immense and the pace grueling. Extreme mental duress is always a factor. Thinking or dwelling on any young patient can cause a serious degradation of morale. Looking at a patient with a limb missing and then assuring them that all will be well is not an easy task!

Nurses by their personalities are empaths  and feel the need to assuage the pain of those in their care, but they must effectively remove themselves from the obvious pain of their charges and work as quickly and effectively as possible. Triage is one of the most critical and heartbreaking tasks of their job. Assuring the patient he will be taken care of quickly, knowing that he is dying is heartbreaking but necessary.

CE WilliamsThe dialogue and descriptions of the nurses in this book is heartwarming and endearing. I found myself drawn to their humanity and abilities fulfilling. Whether they were on cruise ships or hospital ships, they treated their patients with professionalism and caring. I applaud the author in her treatment of this heartbreaking anthology of nurses in time of war. 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: Women’s Historical Fiction, Sisters Fiction, Women’s Friendship Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09VHDPX1Z
Print Length: 284 pages
Publication Date: June 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Sea Nurses [Amazon]
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Kate Eastham - authorThe Author: Kate Eastham trained as a nurse in the late 1970s and enjoyed a long career before a change in circumstance meant that she needed to be a full time carer for her partner. Determined to make the most of this new role ‘working from home’ she cleared a space at the kitchen table for a pile of books and a writing pad and started to make notes on the history of nursing. Inspired by the achievements of Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole during the Crimean War she was also captured by the sheer grit and determination of other ‘ordinary women’ whose voices from the past are seldom heard. An idea for a novel was born and her first book, ‘Miss Nightingale’s Nurses’, was published by Penguin in 2018, closely followed by three more in the series.

Having thought that she would never find anything to replace the work in nursing that she loved, she is now equally immersed in her writing, drawing on years of experience and the stories told by so many patients. With her passion for history, Kate aims to continue making visible the lives of ordinary yet extraordinary women from the past.

Her current fiction is set during the World Wars and will be published by Bookouture.

©CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

I'm not getting out of bed today.

The Last House on the Street: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain –#BookReview – Women’s Historical Fiction

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars 

Book Blurb:

1965

The Last House on the Street by Diane ChamberlainGrowing up in the well-to-do town of Round Hill, North Carolina, Ellie Hockley was raised to be a certain type of proper Southern lady. Enrolled in college and all but engaged to a bank manager, Ellie isn’t as committed to her expected future as her family believes. She’s chosen to spend her summer break as a volunteer helping to register black voters. But as Ellie follows her ideals fighting for the civil rights of the marginalized, her scandalized parents scorn her efforts, and her neighbors reveal their prejudices. And when she loses her heart to a fellow volunteer, Ellie discovers the frightening true nature of the people living in Round Hill.

2010

Architect Kayla Carter and her husband designed a beautiful house for themselves in Round Hill’s new development, Shadow Ridge Estates. It was supposed to be a home where they could raise their three-year-old daughter and grow old together. Instead, it’s the place where Kayla’s husband died in an accident—a fact known to a mysterious woman who warns Kayla against moving in. The woods and lake behind the property are reputed to be haunted, and the new home has been targeted by vandals leaving threatening notes. And Kayla’s neighbor Ellie Hockley is harboring long buried secrets about the dark history of the land where her house was built.

Two women. Two stories. Both on a collision course with the truth–no matter what that truth may bring to light–in Diane Chamberlain’s riveting, powerful novel about the search for justice.

My Review:

I am still gasping, trying to calm the emotions this novel rammed home. So much going on in my country, still shaking my head at the ignorance, wallowing in our own problems of 1965—the CE trying to graduate prior to being drafted (and sure to be sent to ‘Nam if he was). But my operation took him out of school and changed the trajectory of our lives; our upheaval cocooned in California was far from the events of the south. We only got a small taste of what that meant (and was appalled) when he was sent by the Navy to Pensacola, Florida for training in ’66.

This narrative divides into a dual timeline: 1965 and 2010. In 1965, Ellie, an idealistic, privileged white coed full of righteous indignation defied her family, her boyfriend, and her town by joining a Civil Rights crusade called SCOPE (Summer Community Organization and Political Education Project) volunteering to spend the summer living with Black host families so the members could contact one on one local families to educate them on the importance of registering to vote. Something long awaited, their right to vote, hanging on President Lyndon B Johnson’s signing of the Voting Rights Act.

The mission is dangerous; seriously dangerous.

“I wasn’t just moving from one town to another. I was moving from one world to another…”

The Last House on the Street by Diane ChamberlainIn 2010, Kayla has just lost her husband in a house they designed together on an exclusive end lot surrounded by trees. It’s ready for her and her small daughter to move in. She should be excited. The home is gorgeous, the first in newly created Shadow Ridge Estates, Round Hill NC, only a much older home on the same lane the owner having refused to sell to the developer. She views her new home with dread but has no alternative but to occupy.

It’s not long before she is confronted with shocking circumstances, innuendo, gossip regarding the lot, dark history of the area. Then she meets Ellie, now 65 living temporarily in the old home up the street who is caring for a terminally ill brother and elderly mother. She isn’t happy being back after living in San Francisco for decades.

The author alternates between first person accounts of the experiences of Ellie working to gain registered voters and that of the more contemporary Kayla trying to make sense of what is happening with her new home. The accounts as related by Ellie brings to life the circumstances of those she encounters, the friendships, social injustice, racial prejudice, and eventually forbidden love. Unthinkable then, interracial relationship. The reader is fed small impressions and stories regarding Ellie’s motivations.

Prejudices, suspicions, terrorist activities by the KKK spreading hate. The atmosphere is alive with tension, static, dread. A horrible time in our history.

The 1965 accounts are electric, pervasive, and lead the frank, mind-blowing plot. Gradually, the two main characters stories merge, peeling away minute reveals, building tension, heartbreak, fear. The descriptions of the window dominated house clashes wildly with the dark, invasive moss-covered forest surrounding it.

The storytelling is immersive, impactful, tragic. It’s a tough read and one that will play over again in your mind for some time to come. I highly recommend this novel, now on pre-order, and will be looking for other books by this author. I’m hooked.

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: Women’s Historical Fiction, Mothers & Children Fiction, Family Life Fiction
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
ISBN: ‎1250283175
ASIN: B092T7TFP2
Print Length: 346 pages
Publication Date: January 11, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Diane Chamberlain-authorThe Author: Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and (London) Sunday Times best-selling author of 27 novels. The daughter of a school principal who supplied her with a new book almost daily, Diane quickly learned the emotional power of story. Although she wrote many small “books” as a child, she didn’t seriously turn to writing fiction until her early thirties when she was waiting for a delayed doctor’s appointment with nothing more than a pad, a pen, and an idea. She was instantly hooked.

Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and lived for many years in both San Diego and northern Virginia. She received her master’s degree in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, she was a hospital social worker in both San Diego and Washington, D.C, and a psychotherapist in private practice in Alexandria, Virginia, working primarily with adolescents.

More than two decades ago, Diane was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which changed the way she works: She wrote two novels using voice recognition software before new medication allowed her to get back to typing. She feels fortunate that her arthritis is not more severe and that she’s able to enjoy everyday activities as well as keep up with a busy travel schedule.

Diane lives in North Carolina with her significant other, photographer John Pagliuca, and their odd but lovable Shetland Sheepdog, Cole.

Please visit Diane’s website at http://www.dianechamberlain.com for her event schedule and for more information on her newest novel, Big Lies in a Small Town, as well as a complete list of her books.

©2021 V Williams – V Williams

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