Anne Bonny Top 5 #ww2Fiction #Historical picks from the TBR pile @VirginiaBaily @swlittlefield @CescaWrites @jingwrites Katie Quinn @ThatSadieJones @FleetReads @WmMorrowBooks @CorvusBooks @OneworldNews @vintagebooks

***Here are some books from my ww2 fiction TBR pile, that I am DYING to read. In no particular order***

the fourth shore
The Fourth Shore by Virginia Baily
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible – PB March 2020
Synopsis ~

The Fourth Shore: the sliver of fertile land along the Tripoli coast, the ‘lost’ territory Mussolini promised to reclaim for Italy. Which is how, in 1929, seventeen-year-old Liliana Cattaneo arrives there from Rome on a ship filled with eager colonists to join her brother and his new wife.

Liliana is sure she was on the brink of a great adventure, but what awaits her is not the Mediterranean idyll of cocktail parties, smart dances, dashing officers and romantic intrigues she had imagined. Instead she finds a world of persecution, violence, repression, corruption and deceptions both great and small.

A child of fascist Italy, blown about by the winds of fascism and Catholicism, Liliana becomes enmeshed in a dark liaison which has terrible consequences both for her and those she loves most.

The Fourth Shore is the engrossing and intensely poignant story of Liliana’s journey from Rome to Tripoli to a north London suburb where, as plain Lily Jones, she begins to uncover a secret she has buried so deeply that even she is far from certain what it is.

The daisy children
The Daisy Children by Sofia Grant
Available in PB/Ebook/Audible
Synopsis ~

Inspired by true events, in Sofia Grant’s powerfully moving new novel a young woman peels back the layers of her family’s history, discovering a tragedy in the past that explains so much of the present. This unforgettable story is one of hope, healing, and the discovery of truth.

Sometimes the untold stories of the past are the ones we need to hear…
When Katie Garrett gets the unexpected news that she’s received an inheritance from the grandmother she hardly knew, it couldn’t have come at a better time. She flees Boston—and her increasingly estranged husband—and travels to rural Texas.
There, she’s greeted by her distant cousin Scarlett. Friendly, flamboyant, eternally optimistic, Scarlett couldn’t be more different from sensible Katie. And as they begin the task of sorting through their grandmother’s possessions, they discover letters and photographs that uncover the hidden truths about their shared history, and the long-forgotten tragedy of the New London school explosion of 1937 that binds them.

the silent hours
The Silent Hours by Cesca Major
Available in PB/Ebook/Audible
Synopsis ~

An epic, sweeping tale set in wartime France, The Silent Hours follows three people whose lives are bound together, before war tears them apart:

Adeline, a mute who takes refuge in a convent, haunted by memories of her past;

Sebastian, a young Jewish banker whose love for the beautiful Isabelle will change the course of his life dramatically;

Tristin, a nine-year-old boy, whose family moves from Paris to settle in a village that is seemingly untouched by war.

Beautifully wrought, utterly compelling and with a shocking true story at its core, The Silent Hours is an unforgettable portrayal of love and loss.

how we disappeared
How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible – PB April 2020
Synopsis ~

The heart-rending story of survival and endurance in Japanese-occupied Singapore

Singapore, 1942.
As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only three survivors, one of them a tiny child.

In a neighbouring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is bundled into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel. After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced there still haunts her.

And in the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is sitting beside his ailing grandmother when he overhears a mumbled confession. He sets out to discover the truth, wherever it might lead, setting in motion a chain of events he could never have foreseen.

Weaving together two timelines and two very big secrets, this evocative, profoundly moving and utterly dazzling debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, and heralds the arrival of a thrilling new literary star.

the alice network
The Alice Network by Katie Quinn
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible/PB
Synopsis ~

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.
Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.

Not ww2 fiction, but set post-ww2 in Cyprus. I also CANNOT resist this epic cover!
small wars
Small Wars by Sadie Jones
Available in PB/Ebook
Synopsis ~

Hal Treherne is a soldier on the brink of a brilliant career. Impatient to see action, his other commitment in life is to his beloved wife, Clara, and when Hal is transferred to Cyprus she and their twin daughters join him. But the island is in the heat of the emergency; the British are defending the colony against Cypriots – schoolboys and armed guerillas alike – battling for union with Greece.

Clara shares Hal’s sense of duty and honour; she knows she must settle down, make the best of things, smile. But action changes Hal, and the atrocities he is drawn into take him not only further from Clara but himself, too; a betrayal that is only the first step down a dark path.

Anne Bonny #BookReview Stasi 77 By @djy_writer David Young 5* #Historical #Thriller #ww2Fiction #KarinMuller #Stasi #Series @ZaffreBooks

Stasi 77 by David Young ~ Karin Muller #4
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

A secret State. A dark conspiracy. A terrible crime.

Karin Müller of the German Democratic Republic’s People’s Police is called to a factory in the east of the country. A man has been murdered – bound and trapped as a fire burned nearby, slowly suffocating him. But who is he? Why was he targeted? Could his murderer simply be someone with a grudge against the factory’s nationalisation, as Müller’s Stasi colleagues insist? Why too is her deputy Werner Tilsner behaving so strangely?

As more victims surface, it becomes clear that there is a cold-blooded killer out there taking their revenge. Soon Müller begins to realise that in order to solve these terrible crimes, she will need to delve into the region’s dark past. But are the Stasi really working with her on this case? Or against her?

For those who really run this Republic have secrets they would rather remain uncovered. And they will stop at nothing to keep them that way . . .

A gripping and evocative crime thriller, moving between the devastating closing weeks of the Second World War and the Stasi-controlled 1970s, STASI 77 is David Young’s most compelling and powerful novel yet

My Review ~

Stasi 77 Is #4 in the Karin Muller series. Each title offering up a unique historical theme. Stasi 77 is set between 1977 and 1943. The chapters alternate, which makes the reading feel so very intense. I found the 1943 scenes from the ww2 concentration camps particularly harrowing. But then they are historically accurate and superbly researched. The history of the ww2 concentration camps is supposed to be uncomfortable reading. If the author is doing their job correctly and bringing the horror of the camps alive on the page.

1977 – Schonefeld Airport – East Berlin
Major Karin Muller and Deputy Werner Tilsner from the serious crimes department arrive to find a victim dead from smoke inhalation. The victim is a leading local party official and is found in an abandoned old cotton mill (state owned). Who is the man? And why would somebody want to kill him?
As Karin investigates she uncovers the murder is not only deliberate but methodically planned. The victims fingernail marks leaving a sign of the sheer terror they knew before death brought salvation.

1943 – Oct – Scene from the camps
Three brothers Gregoire, Marcellin and (narrator) Philippe are transported from Buchenwald, in dire and bleak conditions…
‘I’m not a religious man. But if I was – and if I’d done some of the things that have been done to me and my compatriots and fellow prisoners – then I might imagine, one day entering hell. Today, I no longer need to imagine for I have arrived’ – Philippe
We come to learn the back story of the three brothers, who they are , why they are at the camps and the brutality of camp life they must endure.

Karin must navigate a secretive world. Where access to information depends on who you are and what position you hold. Karin comes to realise she doesn’t hold the relevant title or access to information on leading political figures and that continuing such leads, may put her own life in danger.

‘I never knew their names. But I will never, ever forget those faces’ – Philippe

When the ending finally approached and my time with Major Karin of the Kriminalpolizei was drawing to an end. I desperately wanted to read on…

‘My life is over, but I have memories to cherish, and they flicker like a well-worn newsreel’ – Philippe


David Young
My Review of A Darker State
An Extract of Stasi 77
My Review of Stasi Wolf and Q&A with David Young

Anne Bonny #BookReview Should You Ask Me by @MarianneKav #NewRelease #Historical #Literary #ww2 @HodderPublicity @HodderBooks ‘I especially love the inclusion of an 86yr old protagonist who is captivating.’

Should You Ask Me by Marianne Kavanagh
Review copy

‘I’ve come about the bodies. I know who they are.’

Mary is eighty-six years old, and she’s tired of being quiet.

She has a story to tell, and she’s only going to tell it once, so she won’t be rushed.

Especially as it’s not just a story, it’s a confession.

Because Mary has a dark secret, buried decades before. And while William, the nice young constable, might think she just wants someone to talk to, everything she says forces him to confront his own difficult past.

A unique and poignant novel about passion, regret and heartbreak, set during one of the most tumultuous periods of modern British history.

My Review:

This is such a quirky novel! I was really surprised as it was not what I was expecting at all. The cover gives the impression of a mystery/thriller, which it is. What you don’t fully grasp is that this is set amongst the backdrop of ww2. I felt as though I was going on a journey with Miss Mary Holmes, a journey through her past. I was absolutely hooked! I think this would make a great TV drama. I especially love the inclusion of an 86yr old protagonist who is captivating.

The novel opens on a normal Monday morning in Dorset. The only thing slightly unusual is that Mary makes her way to the police station to make a confession. When I say ‘slightly unusual’ that is because Mary is known to spin a yarn or two. . .

‘You could say that I killed them’ – Miss Holmes

Recently in the little town of Acton there has been the discovery of two people’s remains. When Mary Homes makes her confession to the on-duty young constable William, it is clear she has a story to tell. She starts with her brief admission that she is responsible for both deaths. The whys/how’s are going to take much longer to get to the bottom of. This is a secret Mary has held for 60yrs.

‘I’m eighty-six years old. I’m tired of being quiet’ – Miss Holmes

The chapters also alternate between Mary’s past and that of William the police officer she is confessing too. It would seem both of them have a past and both of them have secrets.

‘The guilt eats away at you. A lifetime of telling lies’ – Miss Holmes

Over a series of days, Mary’s story is eventually unravelled by the ever-patient and attentive William It is a long drawn out story, but it is intriguing nevertheless. This novel is slow-burning as clearly stated. But it is one of those cosy reads, you’d enjoy by a log fire. I did find the story to be very realistic. My background is in adult mental health and I have worked in dementia care. I can assure you, the elderly often harbour, some secrets you’d never suspect by simply looking at them. 4*

Marianne Kavanagh

#Review Faith And Beauty and #QandA with #Author @janethynne @simonschusterUK

I am  huge WW2 geek and read a variety of novels set in the era. A friend of mine, Rachel recommended Jane’s novel’s via the Facebook group ‘second world war club’ and I actually found a signed copy in a local charity shop. Although my TBR pile is mountainous, this novel proved difficult to ignore, the cover is eye-catching and immediately has you wanting to know what lurks inside….
So here is my review and a Q&A with the author herself, Huge thank you to Rachel for the recommendation, you were right, I did love the novel as much as you predicted!

Faith And beauty by Jane Thynne (#4 Clara Vine series)

The synopsis:

Berlin, on the eve of war…

As soldiers muster on the streets, spies circle in the shadows and Lotti Franke, a young woman from the Faith and Beauty Society – the elite finishing school for Nazi girls – is found in a shallow grave.

Clara Vine, Anglo-German actress and spy, has been offered the most ambitious part she has ever played. And in her more secret life, British Intelligence has recalled her to London to probe reports that the Nazis and the Soviet Union are planning to make a pact.

Then Clara hears of Lotti’s death, and is determined to discover what happened to her. But what she uncovers is something of infinite value to the Nazi regime – the object that led to Lotti’s murder – and now she herself is in danger.

In a drama which traverses Berlin, Paris, Vienna and London, Clara Vine tries to keep her friends close, but finds her enemies are even closer.

My review:

The novel opens in Berlin 1939, on the eve of war! Immediately we are swept away with the faith and beauty society, the goings on and inner workings, of this elite clique of Aryan German women being groomed for the future of the Reich! However, it becomes clear that not everything is as it seems and the ‘Third Reich’s vestal virgins’ are not as pure as the Nazi movement would have you believe……….

The idea of a society that can manipulate women in to roles and re-define their journeys through adulthood, almost seems laughable in 2017. But this is not 2017, it is 1939 and the Nazi party are in power and growing eternally power crazed! They must control, dominate and manipulate all the citizens and the includes German women!

“Who will ever ask in three or five hundred years’ time, whether a Fraulein muller or schuize was unhappy?” Heinrich Himmler

Hedwig and Lotti, are two young women, in the prime of their lives. At the faith and beauty society they learn music, tapestries and sketch landscapes. They make an oath to the Fuhrer pledging loyalty, sacrifice and achievement. It is when the body of Lotti is found savagely murdered, that Hedwig begins to question the Nazi ideals.

Across Berlin, a young actress rubs shoulders with the Nazi Party’s spouses. She moves amongst them with ease, almost as if she belongs to their clique. Her name is Clara Vine and Clara has secrets, secrets that could get her killed………. Befriending the Nazi’s spouses with their scheming ways and secrecy is never going to be an easy task. Clara excels at her role, making close friendships with Frau Hess, Emmy Goering and the insufferable Magda Goebbels. But why is Clara so interested in Goebbels and his propaganda?

“History is whatever Doktor Goebbels says it is”

As the outbreak of war looms ever closer and there is speculation of a Russian/German alliance, tensions are frazzled, people scheme and violence escalates.

The historical accuracy within this novel is absolutely outstanding! I have read lots of ww2 fiction throughout my life and this has to be one of the finest and neatest, I have ever read! The author manages to describe Berlin with such vivid paragraphs, that you almost feel as though you are there and watching the history take place around you. Obviously this makes for emotive reading, especially the descriptions of the Nazi atrocities.

“The carpet of broken glass had spawned its own sinister, poetic coining, known the world over Kristallnacht The Night Of Broken Glass”

Within the novel the author really has brought to life the members of the Nazi party, their wives and family members also. Listening to their conversation and attitudes, is terrifying, yet spellbinding, all at the same time. Clara meets with an engages with a wide-variety of people, which adds so much depth to her story and characterisation. I can see her being many readers, favourite ww2 book character.

When Clara meets Hedwig, she becomes caught up with the mystery of Lotti’s murder. Who killed her and why? With war looming will they ever be caught? The faith and beauty society is the Nazi’s way of bringing German women in line and conditioning the women to the Nazi Ideals. But essentially this is a story of 3 of those women, whom for various reasons, refuse to be controlled. I think the author has also created a very balanced novel, which fully shows how the Nazi’s won power and the love of the German people.

“Germany is the first country in Europe to make laws to protect animals” Whilst Hitler passes laws to protect animals, he also passes laws that sentence an entire demographic’s to death!

Clara continues to ascertain as much information as she can gather. Whilst also attempting to help Hedwig uncover her friend’s killer. But it is upon meeting Obersturmbannfuhrer Adler that her own Aryanization is called into question. Will Clara survive the war? Who can she trust to help her hide her secrets.

“To be the subject of gossip was never a surprise in Nazi Germany. But a warning from the propaganda ministers wife was far more worrying”

This is a definitive novel of secrets/lies and loyalty/dishonour in Nazi Germany! The historical accuracy is second to none and the plot keeps the reader gripped to the end! I highly recommend this novel 5*



Q) Hi Jane, for the readers could you give us a summary of yourself and your ww2 fiction series featuring Clara Vine?


A) Hi Abby, thanks so much for having me on your blog!

Before writing the Clara Vine series I was a journalist both at the BBC and Fleet Street. I’m mostly a full time writer now, which is wonderful, though I admit I miss the water cooler gossip. There are five novels in the series to date. Clara’s adventures started in Black Roses, which is set in 1933, just after Hitler has come to power in Germany. She arrives in Berlin at the age of 26, hoping to make a career at the famous Babelsberg studios, the Hollywood of Europe. By chance she comes into contact with Magda Goebbels, wife of the Propaganda Minister, and becomes privy to the gossip of the VIP Nazi wives. Later, she agrees to relay information to British Intelligence, and thus becomes actress by day, spy by night.

Q) What was the inspiration behind the character of Clara Vine?

A) Although Clara herself is not modelled on any specific historical character, I did read the diaries of young British women who had visited Germany before the war, and observed the build-up of Nazism. They came back and warned people about the rise of the Nazis, but their warnings fell on deaf ears. I thought it would be good to have an actress as my spy heroine, because actresses are accustomed to playing a role, and they are trained to observe detail. Clara’s entire life in Berlin is an act, but her glamour blinds the Nazi VIPs to her real purpose.

Q) Why is the role of women in ww2, so important to you? And who are your personal heroes from ww2?

A) I’m delighted that the role of women in WW2, particularly in the field of espionage, is finally being celebrated, with a stack of books about the SOE heroines. But I wanted to look at the lives of ordinary German women – mothers, brides, schoolgirls – whose lives were tightly controlled under the regime. The society was extremely gender segregated – there was even a female Führer, called Gertrude Scholtz-Klink – yet these women get very little attention from historians and their lives are largely hidden. As for heroines, there are too many to count, but I also have one anti-heroine in the form of Unity Mitford, who fell in love with Hitler. Although her behaviour was generally abhorrent – she asked for pistol lessons so that she could shoot Jews – some of it is so eccentric as to make hilarious reading. She used to take copies of Tatler to Goebbels with rings around the pictures of people who might be approached for Nazi fund-raising.

Q) I have noticed in the ww2 historical fiction genre, there is often a divide of topics and themes by female/male writers, possibly more than any other genre. With male writers, writing predominately male characters and vice versa. Why do you think this occurs in this genre?

A) Nothing divides like war. It involves both weaponry, battles and politics that has traditionally appealed to men, and intensely emotional relationships that tend to interest women.

Q) What is it about the ww2 era that fascinates you the most? What are the stories that influence your writing?

A) What fascinates me is how people survive in a regimented totalitarian society where everyone feels spied on and normal human relationships are fraught with mistrust. One of my big influences was Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Nazi Germany was the ultimate dystopia, in which women were primarily valued for their breeding potential, and the Nazi Bride Schools that I wrote about in The Winter Garden or the Mother Service in A War of Flowers were fact long before I used them for fiction.

Q) As stated in my review, I think the historical accuracy is second to none and I often paused to research real-life people from history. What is your research process?

A) I have been writing the Clara Vine series for six years now, and to be honest I have also spent six years reading books about Nazis. But I do read other things! I also go to Germany frequently, especially Berlin, and I love visiting the sites that I’m going to use in my fiction. There’s a special kind of thrill in seeing a place that I know I’m going to revisit with Clara Vine.

Q) what are your favourite ww2 fiction novels?

A) I like novels that take an oblique angle on the vast canvas of war. Stories in which the battles and politics are not in the foreground. For example, Graham Green’s The Third Man, although it’s set just after the war’s end, because it’s about love and crime against the ruins of Europe. And for home front literature, I adore the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard.

*Huge thank you to the author for taking part in a Q&A on my blog! 🙂

Jane Thynne
Authors links:
Twitter: @janethynne

Clara Vine Series:
#1 Black Roses
#2 The Scent Of Secrets
#3 A War Of Flowers
#4 Faith And Beauty
#5 Solitaire
*more information is available via the authors web site.