The Last Paladin (P T Deutermann WWII Novels) by P T Deutermann – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

The Last Paladin by P T Deutermann

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

A gripping tale of anti-submarine warfare in the World War II Pacific Theater, by a master of military adventure fiction.

The Last Paladin by P.T. Deutermann is based on the true story of the USS Holland (DE-24), a World War II Atlantic Fleet destroyer escort which has spent the past two years in the unforgiving battle for survival against the German U-boats of the North Atlantic.

The Last Paladin by P T DeutermannSummoned to relieve destroyers that are bogged down by escort duty in the escalating Pacific Theater, the Holland is met with a rather cold reception. In the eyes of Pacific Fleet sailors, North Atlantic convoy duty pales in comparison to the bloody, carrier-sinking battles of Savo Island and Guadalcanal. However, Atlantic Fleet ships have had to specialize in one thing: anti-submarine warfare.

The Holland is sent off into remote South Pacific operating areas with orders to find and destroy Japanese submarines—but with little expectation of success. Her commanders take the mission literally; using radio intercepts that are being ignored at higher levels, they determine that the Japanese have set up a 1000-mile-long picket line of six submarines, an entire squadron’s worth, to act as a moveable barrier against the expected American advance into the next set of islands. These submarines are poised to sink every American aircraft carrier and destroyer and to change the course of the war.

What happens next is one of the legendary stories of the US Navy. The Last Paladin is high stakes naval warfare at its best, told with utter authenticity and a former ship captain’s understanding of dramatic, intense combat. P. T. Deutermann continues his acclaimed series of WWII thrillers in this unforgettable novel.

His Review:

The war in the Pacific Theater is at its’ zenith. The USS Holland has been in the Atlantic working with the British and has been re-outfitted and sent to the Pacific to aid in the fight against Japanese submarines. The Pacific fleet commanders are less than cordial with the arrival of one of the Atlantic fleets’ destroyer escorts. The ship receives a less than tepid welcome and is assigned a backwater near the Solomon Islands to patrol.

The Last Paladin by P T DeutermannThis saga is told from both the ships’ captains’ point of view and the second in command. The story is fictional and covers the sinking of six Japanese submarines during the war. A picket line of Japanese subs is set up to warn the Imperial Navy of ship movements toward the Marianas and Solomon Islands. The crew of the USS Holland discover the submarines and set out to eliminate the threat. The purpose of the Japanese picket line of submarines was to give advance warning of U.S. Naval Fleet movements.

Some of the history disclosed is very interesting. I found the push and pull between Admirals Spruance and Halsey to be particularly interesting. The story points out the tremendous pressure both of these fine admirals were under. The lives of countless sailors, ships and marines and army were in the balance.

The maintenance of secrecy and the health of the sailors aboard the ship is well defined. Hunting submarines during the war was a duty fraught with danger. Using such tools as sonar and radar often alerted the submarines that the ship was in the area. These tools for discovery were often as valuable to the enemy sailors as to the personnel aboard the Holland.

CE WilliamsThe story is fictional but alludes to the exploits of an actual ship the USS England (DE 635). I could not verify this ship or information because the construction of a ship with this name was not completed because of the wars’ end. However the tension and dynamics of this story kept me involved and reading during every free moment. Enjoy the ride! 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 World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction, War Fiction
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
ASIN: B09CNFWMX9
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Last Paladin [Amazon]

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P T Deutermann - authorThe Author: Peter Deutermann was born in Boston in 1941. His father was in the Navy, so he subsequently lived all over the United States and also in Argentina. He graduated from the naval academy in 1963 and served in the navy for 26 years, rising to the rank of Captain. While in the navy, he published one textbook on naval operations and several professional articles in navy-oriented journals. He held three commands: a Swiftboat in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, a guided missile destroyer in the Atlantic Fleet, and a destroyer squadron based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. His last tour of duty was as the division director for chemical, biological, and radiological weapons arms control negotiations on the staff of the Joint Chiefs in Washington, DC.

He retired from active duty in 1989 and began his fiction-writing career. He has published twenty novels since 1992, all with St. Martins Press, including the just-released World War II navy novel, entitled The Commodore, and the Washington thriller, The Red Swan. He has completed his 21st novel, entitled The Iceman, a World War II navy submarine story, scheduled for publication in August, 2018. See all the books on his website at http://www.ptdeutermann.com

In addition to a BS in naval engineering, Mr. Deutermann holds an MA in public administration from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He is also a Member of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. He is married and has two children. Mr. Deutermann and his wife of 50 years live in Rockingham County, in the Piedmont of North Carolina, on their family pony farm.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Chill--It's Sunday

The Physicists’ Daughter by Mary Anna Evans – #BookReview – #historicalmysteries

The Physicists’ Daughter by Mary Anna Evans

Book Blurb:

New Orleans, 1944.

The Physicists' Daughter by Mary Anna EvansSabotage. That’s the word on factory worker Justine Byrne’s mind as she is repeatedly called to weld machine parts that keep failing with no clear cause. Could someone inside the secretive Carbon Division be deliberately undermining the factory’s Allied war efforts?

Raised by her late parents to think logically, she also can’t help wondering just what the oddly shaped carbon gadgets she assembles day after day have to do with the boats the factory builds. When a crane inexplicably crashes to the factory floor, leaving a woman dead, Justine can no longer ignore her nagging fear that German spies are at work within the building, trying to put the factory and its workers out of commission.

Unable to trust anyone—not the charming men vying for her attention, not her unpleasant boss, and not even the women who work beside her—Justine draws on the legacy of her unconventional upbringing to keep her division running and protect her coworkers, her country, and herself from a war that is suddenly very close to home.

His Review:

Justine Byrne was taught welding, trained by her parents. She knew things that most Americans could only dream of. She was given a job at Higgins Industries Carbon Division. She and the people in the division were making parts designed by others that they had never seen assembled into anything. Justine’s parents had been killed because of the technology they helped develop.

The Physicists' Daughter by Mary Anna EvansJustine is young and lovely and two suitors are attempting to win her heart. One is a spy placed by Germany prior to WW II. The Higgins Plant was hidden in the bayous of southern Louisiana. There was an airfield next to the plant where the top-secret parts were made.

Supervisors at the plant were men with infirmities that kept them from being enlisted in the military. They were usually self-important oofs who lorded over everyone, particularly the women. They made life miserable for the better-looking girls.

Saboteurs were sent in by the Nazi’s to find out what was being made at the plant and also to slow or stop production. This was extremely unusual for a young lady during the war. Parts that were broken in the fabrication were quickly welded by her and production continued.

CE WilliamsThis tale of the valiant efforts by women hired in all war industries showed the ability of women to do jobs formerly only held by men. The women were being paid more than they had ever been paid before, the same wage as a man doing the same work. Six, ten to twelve-hour days, left them only Sundays to rest and prepare for the following week. The book is very well written and I could not put it down! 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 World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction, Historical Mysteries
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
ASIN: B09TGB4BVK
Print Length: 345 pages
Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Physicists’ Daughter [Amazon]

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Mary Anna Evans - author
Mary Anna Evans

The Author: I’m the author of the upcoming historical suspense novel THE PHYSICISTS’ DAUGHTER and the award-winning Faye Longchamp archaeological mysteries. My thriller, WOUNDED EARTH, is available in print, ebook, and audiobook editions.
I’m a university professor of writing, and I’m also a chemical engineer by training and license, with a degree in engineering physics thrown in for spice. This background came in handy while writing THE PHYSICISTS’ DAUGHTER, which features Justine Byrne, who works at a Rosie-the-Riveter-type job during World War II. I like to describe Justine like this: “The Nazis are no match for the physicists’ daughter.” As for the protagonist of my archaeological mysteries, I’d say, “Faye Longchamp digs up trouble.” If you like strong, smart, independent female protagonists, I think you might like Justine and Faye.
My other fiction includes several short stories, available separately as ebooks, and as a collection in both ebook and print form, called JEWEL BOX: SHORT WORKS BY MARY ANNA EVANS. YOUR NOVEL, DAY BY DAY: A FICTION WRITER’S COMPANION is available for novelists in both ebook and print form.
I am a co-editor with Dr. JC Bernthal of an upcoming book on the bestselling novelist of all time, the BLOOMSBURY HANDBOOK TO AGATHA CHRISTIE. It is very much a labor of love to the Queen of Mystery.
I enjoy reading, writing, teaching, gardening, spending time with my family, cooking, and playing my 7-and-a-half-foot-long monster of a grand piano. For more information on my work, visit http://www.maryannaevans.com.

©2022 – CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint Publishing

The Pilot’s Daughter by Meredith Jaeger – #BookReview – #HistoricalWWIIFiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The glitzy days of 1920s New York meet the devastation of those left behind in World War II in a new, delectable historical novel from USA Today bestselling author Meredith Jaeger.

The Pilot's Daughter by Meredith JaegerIn the final months of World War II, San Francisco newspaper secretary Ellie Morgan should be planning her wedding and subsequent exit from the newsroom into domestic life. Instead, Ellie, who harbors dreams of having her own column, is using all the skills she’s learned as a would-be reporter to try to uncover any scrap of evidence that her missing pilot father is still alive. But when she discovers a stack of love letters from a woman who is not her mother in his possessions, her already fragile world goes into a tailspin, and she vows to find out the truth about the father she loves—and the woman who loved him back.

When Ellie arrives on her aunt Iris’s doorstep, clutching a stack of letters and uttering a name Iris hasn’t heard in decades, Iris is terrified. She’s hidden her past as a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl from her family, and her experiences in New York City in the 1920s could reveal much more than the origin of her brother-in-law’s alleged affair. Iris’s heady days in the spotlight weren’t enough to outshine the darker underbelly of Jazz Age New York, and she’s spent the past twenty years believing that her actions in those days led to murder.

Together the two women embark on a cross-country mission to find the truth in the City That Never Sleeps, a journey that just might shatter everything they thought they knew—not only about the past but about their own futures.

Inspired by a true Jazz Age murder cold case that captivated the nation, and the fact that more than 72,000 Americans still remain unaccounted for from World War II, The Pilot’s Daughter is a page-turning exploration of the stories we tell ourselves and of how well we can truly know those we love.

His Review:

This excellent book shows the contrasts of women’s lives between the 1920’s and the second world war years. First Lieutenant William A. Morgan went down with his plane in the Adriatic Sea. His daughter Ellie received the dreaded letter from the War Department and subsequently his belongings. She was in denial regarding his death and felt he was more probably missing in action.

The Pilot's Daughter by Meredith JaegerWhile checking through the box of his effects she comes upon a packet of letters addressed to Ms. Lillian Dell. The letters allude to their daughter and love for each other! Ellie is flabbergasted to think that her father may have had another family in New York! She and her aunt Iris set out for New York to solve the mystery. Iris had been one of the headliners in the Ziegfield Follies in the early twenties. Iris had left the city and returned to San Francisco after a very dangerous entanglement with a married man.

The author melds the experiences and lives of both ladies with the hand of an artist. I appreciated the experiences of both Ellie and her aunt Iris. They have a very close family bond while Ellie and her mother are not close at all. The trip to New York is exciting and holds some danger for aunt Iris. The diving back between the experiences of the 1920’s and mid 1940’s provides a clear view of the change of respect that women received before and after WWII.

CE WilliamsI highly recommend this book as a treatise on the social change that occurred in this country as a result of the war and the need to have women more closely involved in the development and production of aircraft and weapons 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 World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction, Women’s Detective Fiction
Publisher: Dutton
ISBN: ‎ 0593185897
ASIN: B08VWZP9PJ
Print Length: 351 pages
Publication Date: November 2, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Pilot’s Daughter [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Meredith Jaeger - authorThe Author: Meredith Jaeger is the USA Today bestselling author of THE PILOT’S DAUGHTER, BOARDWALK SUMMER and THE DRESSMAKER’S DOWRY. She’s a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was raised by a Swiss father and an American mother. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Meredith wrote her debut novel, THE DRESSMAKER’S DOWRY, while working for a San Francisco startup.

THE PILOT’S DAUGHTER has been called “unputdownable” (NYT bestselling author Sally Hepworth) “stirring and powerful” (NYT bestselling author Fiona Davis) and “historical fiction at its finest” (NYT bestselling author Lori Nelson Spielman).

Meredith lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, their young daughter and crazy rescue dog.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

TV Netflix movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society vs #Audiobook by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows – #historicalfiction – #TBT

TV Netflix movie vs audiobook

“If books do have the power to bring people together, this one may work it’s magic.”

Trust the CE to find the pseudo-Hallmark of the week, in this instance, the Historical Fiction of the adaptation of a book published more than ten years previous amid vocal yays and nays. But, once again, my attention snagged, I sat and watched the two hour 3 minute movie with him. Seems we are in the grip of WWII stories and it doesn’t take much more than the slightest undertones of romance and a happy ever after to get the attention of those who hear the ka-ching in the wind. So yes, FIRST I watched the movie, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, although it was awhile before I noticed the audiobook come up at my local, well-stocked (audiobook) library. Once more I discovered quite the wide disparity of book vs TV version and glad I saw the Netflix rendering first.

Netflix Movie

No doubt most of my readers watched this movie before I did. Briefly, for those who haven’t, a successful London writer gets a letter from a resident of Guernsey and responds to his inquiry which begins an odyssey into the war history of the residents who invented a book club in the face of probable arrest by the Nazi occupiers.

In 1941, four friends confronted by soldiers of the German occupation invent a book club to explain why they’ve broken curfew. The historical romantic-drama borrowed heavily from the cast of Downton Abbey in forming a solid, immersive cast on film.

In 1946, Juliet Ashton receives an inquiry from one of the residents of Guernsey that sets off a barrage of correspondence eventually resulting in her move to the island to get to know them better and write a book about their WWII stories. Juliet has been writing successfully as Izzy Bickerstaff but explains to her publisher, Sidney Stark, that she wishes to write something of greater substance and senses a winning story.

It doesn’t take long to get to know the residents, appreciate their kindness, and understand their reticence in sharing emotional stories. Many of the stories keep revolving around another resident named Elizabeth, the founding member of the Society. Elizabeth’s daughter Kit was left with members of the Society when Elizabeth was arrested. She is still missing but hope remains for her return.

Juliet had left Mark in London expecting to return, an American in the armed forces, who proposed to her shortly before she left for Guernsey. He gleans info regarding Elizabeth for Juliet to relay to the Society, but her heart is now in Guernsey; the people, a man named Dawsey, Kit, and she’ll stay there.

Enter your happy ever after, queue the violins, swell the volume, fade to scenic pictures of the happy couple with the sun setting on the surf.

My Thoughts

Being a war baby, I got stories from my mother, the pictures, the music—the wartime mentality. Stamps for provisions, making due (chicory instead of coffee), darning until the clothes fell apart, shoes stuffed with paper or cardboard. So, yes, perhaps I tend to get a bit nostalgic. I’m not big on romance novels or movies, but there is more to this story than the romance both Juliet and Dawsey were denying. There is happiness gleaned in stories of triumph and the tragedy of loss. The scenes shot across England were beautiful, the clothing and hairstyles authentic. The production is engaging enough to forgive a few little details that might have been glossed over. 5 stars

Audiobook

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…. 

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends – and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island – boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever. 

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

My Thoughts

WHOA! What a shock to discover the novel is actually Epistolary Fiction. Not that I haven’t read other books in that particular format, I guess, just that I didn’t know there was a name for that. Letters. A literary work made entirely in the form of letters. Hence, the multiple narrators (for the different characters in the audiobook).

Not at all what I was expecting. But then after a chapter or two, I expected it to evolve. It didn’t.

he Guernsey Literary and PPP Society audiobook coverFirst, the speed with which letters seem to fly back and forth left me wondering about post-wartime posts. With addresses disappearing daily during the raids and people missing, there was still the capacity of posting and receiving letters that fast?

Rather than trading letters and characters every chapter, I wished for some off-page narration. A little filler.

The letters, though written (and narrated) by different characters all seemed to have much the same sense of humor and insight. Only the character of Mark, the wealthy American, who was largely offensive, seemed distinct.

I did enjoy a number of the little side stories, dips into the characters for instance of Dawsey Adams, a pig farmer, and how a pig was used to dupe the Germans. I’m quite sure many such shenanigans were played, lightening the dark times just enough to make bearable another day under deplorable conditions.

Still, I was never able to become engaged with Juliet and the letters as laid out, always wanting to “fill in” what I perceived missing. 3 1/2 stars

Overall Impression

This would not have been my choice of reading had I known it was an Epistolary novel. And quite possibly, I’d have denied myself the pleasure of the book seen through the visionaries in the Netflix movie had I read the book first. So much is conveyed through sight and scene, the flashbacks, the instant impressions that make the movie come alive. The desperation, hurt, denial, and guilt, missing in part in the novel. The actors were superb. Their eyes spoke volumes. The letters failed to impart that emotion for me.

I have to give the Netflix movie the nod over the novel. If you haven’t had the pleasure, even at this late date, look for it.

Book Details

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Genre: World War II Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Audio (Unabridged)
ASIN: B001FVJIN8
Listening Length: 8 hrs 7 min
Narrator:  Paul BoehmerSusan DuerdenRosalyn LandorJohn LeeJuliet Mills
Audible Release: September 2, 2008
Publication Date: August 1, 2006
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Publisher: The Dial Press
Genre: Epistolary Fiction, Historical World War II Fiction, World War Historical Fiction
Print Length: 306 pages
ISBN : 0385341008
ASIN: B0015DWJX2
Publication Date: July 29, 2008
Title Link: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society [Amazon]

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Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - authorsThe Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer who passed away in February 2008, worked as an editor, librarian, and in bookshops. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel.

Annie Barrows - author[Goodreads] Mary Ann Shaffer worked as an editor, a librarian, and in bookshops. Her life-long dream was to someday write her own book and publish it. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel. Unfortunately, she became very ill with cancer and so she asked her niece, Annie Barrows, the author of the children’s series Ivy and Bean, as well as The Magic Half, to help her finish the book. Mary Ann Shaffer died in February 2008, a few months before her first novel was published.

The Narrators: Paul BoehmerSusan DuerdenRosalyn LandorJohn LeeJuliet Mills

Juliet Maryon Mills (born 21 November 1941) is a British-American actress of film, stage, and television. She is the daughter of actor Sir John Mills and Mary Hayley Bell born November 1, 1941 in London and the eldest of three siblings; her younger siblings are actress Hayley Mills and director Jonathan Mills. [Wikipedia]

©2021 V Williams

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