I am an avid eclectic reader.
It is obvious that Elizabeth Wein did a great deal of research to write this book. The book is emotional and intense but the subject is important as it captures an important aspect of World War II we should never forget. Rose Justice is an American civilian who is a pilot with the transport service ferrying planes. She is to fly from England to Paris now the area is under Allied control. On her way back to England she is forced down by Nazi planes and taken to Germany. As a civilian she has no protection under the Geneva convention so she is sent to the infamous Ravensbruck concentration camp for women. The story is about the women she meets, the problems of survival in the camp and her escape. She is a lone American in a group of Polish, French and Soviet women many who are being used for medical research. Rose gets extra slice of bread for each poem she makes up. Wein uses the poems to move some of the story. I think the use of the Nuremburg Trials and the British Trials of concentrations camps personnel was a great way to tie up Rose's story with the bigger picture. Rose develops friendship with a few prisoners a 16 year old Polish girl being use for medical experiments, a fellow pilot "Night Witch" a Soviet Air Force Ace fighter pilot and a famous French writer who's Jewish husband and sons were gassed by the Nazi's.
Wein also provides us with what happened to these girls after the war. The book does leave you satisfied with the ending. Sasha Pick does a good job narrating the book. This is a must read book for everyone. The story is one we should never forget and periodic reading about it helps us keep it sharp in our minds.
As part of my WW1 reading I came across this story about a War Horse in WW1 so decided to read it. The narrator, John Keating did a great job reading the story. The story is told from the point of view of the horse just like Black Beauty. The use of the horse Calvary in WW1 was a good example of trying to fight the with the equipment and tactics of the past. Machine guns, tanks and gas made the use of the war horse a disaster. The story has Joey following another war horse through the German lines. He is captured and becomes a German war horse then later he returns to English hands. The boy that raised him joins the army veterinary corp in a hope to find Joey. Read the story you will find it interesting as just a story but you can also learn a bit of history.
This is my first Audrey Couloumbis book and I found it enjoyable. It sort of reminded me of Lee Harper's "To Kill A Mockingbird" as it is told by a perky 11 year old girl. The topic of course is very different. Maude and Sallie are orphaned again when a stray bullet kills their aunt Ruth. They are place with a preacher and family but are worked liked slaves and the preacher and his wife take all their belongings etc. from Aunt Ruth's house which the bank just foreclosed on. Sallie is 11 and Maude just turned 17 run away to find Aunt Ruth's brother Arlen Weeks who they think is in Independence, Mo. They have lots of adventures, fun, and dangerous encounters on their trip. The man who killed Aunt Ruth encounter them on the trail, after he escaped from jail. He stays with them a while as he feels responsible for making them orphans. The papers post photo of Maude saying she stole the preacher's horses now she is an outlaw. I will not give away the story but needless to say when told from the view point of a perky 11 year old girl who loves to read "dimers" books, and wants to learn as much as possible the book is most enjoyable. Lee Adams does an outstanding job narrating the book. This book makes a delightful change of pace from heavier reading. Hope Audible will provide more Couloumbis books.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
The final words of the book, spoken by Death who has been the storyteller, sums up my feelings about this reading experience. The story is so much about the power of words, and the author uses his words so eloquently, visually descriptive in their ability to evoke sensory understanding of the characters' experiences. But beyond the words, the true story is about the souls of the characters - both good and bad. The very best is of course Hans, the father whose kindness, generosity and deep understanding of what is right becomes the guiding star to the devestated orphan who comes to his home. Liesel's life is saved and formed through his influence and she becomes extraordinary as a result. Rosa, Rudy and the others living in this wartorn village become our literary neighbors. I will be haunted by these humans for some time to come.
A comment - other reviewers have stated their inability to get into the story. It took 3 tries for me to get past the beginning also. The prologue is confusing and the writing style unique, requiring some patience and concentration. Please don't give up. By the first hour when the Storyteller begins the real narrative, you will understand and begin a transforming journey. The narrator is superb, bringing all of these characters to life.