Emotional · Historical fiction · Non-Fiction · War

*BLOG TOUR* The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe ★★★★★

Blurb; ‘It wasn’t an extensive library. In fact, it consisted of eight books and some of them were in poor condition. But they were books. In this incredibly dark place, they were a reminder of less sombre times, when words rang out more loudly than machine guns…’

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious books the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ – prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp.

But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor…

My Review; Oh my heart. I teared up so many times througout reading this, I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like. Not an easy read, but one that has changed my life and will stick with me forever. It’s changed the way I look at life and realise how lucky we all are compared to how they were treated and had to survive in Auschwitz. Just terrible.

The Librarian of Aushwitz is beautifully translated and written by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites. It is based on a true story and it hurts how close to the truth it really is, makes it all the more real and heart-breaking.

Within the story you really get to know each character individually and when you lose one, IT HURTS! It’s upsetting. I felt that! The story highlights how important friends, family and books are… Even though there was only 8 books they meant the world to block 31 and the children. There are so many beautiful quotes about books in this story. It was their form of escape from reality during the worst of times.

Ditas character (based off a real woman). Wow. She was only fourteen and had so much responsibilty placed on her, she risked her life technically daily. She is one strong and determined woman. I really do look up to this woman and appreciate her and applaud her for what she did. What a wondeful woman! I love to meet her.

An absolute eye opener of a read! The truth is in this book about what really happened at Auschwitz camps. I’m tearing up writing this review. A must read. A well deserved five stars from me and it obviously has a space in my top twenty of the year and honestly this might be stuck with me for life. I learnt a lot from this book.

(Sorry for the long review, if you made it this far, thank you).

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crime · Historical fiction · mystery

*BLOG TOUR* The Courier – Kjell Ola Dahl ★★★★

Blurb; In 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In a great haste, she escapes to Sweden, saving herself. Her family in Oslo, however, is deported to Auschwitz. In Stockholm, Ester meets the resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, who has left his little daughter and fled both the Germans and allegations that he murdered his wife, Åse, who helped Ester get to Sweden. Their burgeoning relationship ends abruptly when Falkum dies in a fire.
And yet, twenty-five years later, Falkum shows up in Oslo. He wants to reconnect with his daughter. But where has he been, and what is the real reason for his return? Ester stumbles across information that forces her to look closely at her past, and to revisit her war-time training to stay alive…

My Review; I have read and enjoyed previous books by Kjell Ola Dahl so this was a must read for me. What a brilliantly written and translated story! This is the perfect historical, crime novel. Really takes you back to the 1940s and 1960s during WWII. It also links to the present day, each is set out clearly so there is no confusion for the reader.

This is not your everyday, average mystery its unique and written perfectly. I loved the two female characters Ester and Ase. It is a page turner of a read which you will not want to put down. I wanted more after finishing this I just loved it all! Fast paced story for me, devoured it. Also contains short chapters which I love! I was lost into this story and didn’t want to come back to reality.

Highly recommend. A well deserved four stars from me. One you won’t regret reading. A story that I won’t forget for a long time.

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Christmas · Historical fiction · War

Christmas on Coronation Street – Maggie Sullivan ★★★★★

Blurb; Elsie Grimshaw lives in one of the worst streets in Weatherfield and is desperate to escape from life at home with a brutal father and the drudgery of working at the local mill. Grabbing at the slim chances that come her way, Elsie emerges from the heartbreak of first love and her marriage to bad boy, Arnold Tanner at only sixteen years old, if not much older, then certainly wiser.

Going under her married name of Elsie Tanner, she and Arnold move in to No.11 Coronation Street in 1939 as war breaks out. Her cheeky self-confidence immediately puts her at loggerheads with local busy-body Ena Sharples and Annie Walker, landlady of the Rovers Return.

As Christmas approaches, the residents of Coronation Street must put their petty squabbles aside if they are to survive the worst that Hitler’s Luftwaffe can throw at them. And as the Manchester Blitz grips their home town of Weatherfield, the residents must pull together to make this a Christmas to remember – for all of the right reasons…

My Review; This was my Christmas read over the festive period. I absolutely loved it. I fell in love with the sisters Elsie and Fay. Although having a tough upbringing they both manage to get away and live happy lifes.

This book is an up and down book at times, plenty of happy, shocking moments but also plenty of the bad including deaths. Has you feeling the whole range of emotions. I was hooked. A real page turner. Highly recommend.

This story takes you to coronation street and the surrounding streets during the war and Christmas. It was lovely to see both Elsie and Fay growing up throughout this book. A lovely ending. A well deserved five stars from me.

Currently 99p on amazon UK.

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