{Book Review} The Warsaw Orphan

The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer is a story of love, tragedy, hope, and a fight for justice, from Nazi occupation to Soviet communist regime.

Photo of a book cover, The Warsaw Orphan

The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

It’s 1942 and Elzbieta Rabinek is a young girl with nowhere to do. The Nazis occupy Warsaw, Poland. Elzbieta is not allowed to go to school or go on many outings. Bored, she befriends her neighbor Sara and starts sneaking away to spend time with her new friend each day. But one night, Elzbieta stumbles upon Sara’s secret and she can’t look back.

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{Book Review} Sunflower Sisters

Sunflower Sisters is a story of slavery, the Underground Railroad, and the Civil War through the eyes of three strong but very different women. 

Book Review: Sunflower Sisters

Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

The sharp divisions between the North and the South have finally resulted in war in the United States. Sunflower Sisters follows three women from  very different backgrounds, showcasing both slavery and the Civil War through each woman’s eyes. 

Ann May, owner of the Peeler Plantation in Maryland, and her slave Jemma are two of the characters. Jemma was born into slavery and has lived most of her life on the tobacco plantation. By contrast, Ann May grew up in Louisiana but came to Maryland after she married, to run the plantation left to her by an aunt. Even within her household, loyalties are divided between North and South.

Finally, there is Georgeanna Woolsey (Georgey) from New York City. Georgey comes from a family of strong women who fight for their beliefs. Not one to sit at home and wait for marriage, Georgey makes a name for herself as a Union nurse. 

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Best Books of 2021

2021 was a slow year for reading and an even slower year for blog posting. Life started returning to some sort of new normal in late spring. The kids went back to school part time and I resumed working fulltime, not just coming off of reduced hours due to the pandemic but actually going back to a 40-hour a week job. (And boy, do I miss my day off each week!)

Last year, I also leaned toward spending more time on crafts – mostly knitting and scrapbooking (trying to catch up on the many years of albums I haven’t done!) rather than reading or being at a computer to blog. (If you’re interested in my crafting, you can follow #booksncookscrafts on Instagram.) Anyway, as 2021 came to a close, I realized I read a few great books but had never actually posted the reviews. Those – here and here – went up earlier this month, so now you have my favorite books read (not necessarily published) in 2021. 

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{Book Review} The Paris Seamstress

The Paris Seamstress packs in mystery, intrigue and romance in two intertwined timelines, present day and World War II, from New York to Paris. 
Book Review: The Paris Seamstress

The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester

It’s 1940 and the Nazi army is approaching Paris. Seamstress Estella Bissette finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Within just 24-hours, her world is turned upside down, with new truths revealed about her family and herself. Her mother forces her to flee. Estella boards one of the last ships to the U.S. before the Nazis reach Paris. 

Estella arrives in New York City with little money, her mother’s sewing machine, and the gorgeous gold dress that she wears. Her mother dreamed of her safety and her success as a seamstress and a designer – but can she do it alone? And what will her journey look like? 

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Ladies of the Secret Circus

The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers is a fiction novel set in a fantastical world with just a little bit of mystery and romance. Sayers created a world that sucked me in, with beautiful writing and a plot that kept me guessing. 
Book Review: The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers

The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers

For over 80 years, there were rumors that a Secret Circus – le Cirque Secret – existed in Paris in the 1920s. A spectacular show of animals and acrobatics, circus tickets were delivered to a chosen few; the circus hidden from the uninvited. While there were rumors and stories from those that were lucky enough to attend, the circus’s existence was never confirmed. As far as anyone knows, there were no photographs or paintings, old tickets or posters… no material proof of that the circus was real. But it was never forgotten. 

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