The Settler

The Settler

This book centres around Sarah, a young Zionist who lives quietly and peaceably with her family in the Gaza Strip.  That is until the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, reneges on his earlier promise and sends in security forces to expel the 8,000 plus Jews from their homes.  The forces then proceed to raze all the buildings leaving devastation behind.

Sarah and her family, all 5 of them, are rehoused temporarily in 2 rooms in a down market hotel.   The overcrowding, lack of privacy and sense of being in the wrong place causes Sarah to leave for Tel Avi.  Here she catches up with her cousin Dael, a musician and longtime supporter of Sarah.  Here we watch and wonder as Sarah transforms from an inexperienced, religious young woman into a nightclub superstar and the lover of Ziv, the mesmerising owner of the nightclub Atlantis.

The characters are all well written and believable.  We feel for Sarah (now called Sachar) as she makes her unsteady progress from being a loved and protected daughter in a Zionist family to the reigning Queen of Atlantis.  We move with her as she rejects all she has learned before and as she learns to dress, walk, smoke and speak in this new world in which she finds herself and then onwards to the place where she can become herself; a powerful woman in her own right.

This is an amazing story and although it is depicted as fiction I am left feeling that so much of it is based on fact.  We know all good fiction includes a certain amount of fact.

If I have any complaints it is the use of so many words unknown to those of us not of the Jewish faith.  Perhaps Orit could have translated a few more of the words for us.

Note -I was given this book to read by the author and in return, I choose to write this review.

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The Munich Girl

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This is another book about World War 2 and the legacies that outlast any war. This is the story of a Munich Girl who in fact, was Eva Braun Hitler’s mistress and the friendship between two women that began as young girls and survived through all the barbarity and ugliness of war.
We are introduced to the story by Anna a young married woman who lives in New Hampshire with a self-indulgent husband for whom she puts everything aside. After her mother’s death, she finds a hidden treasure of mementoes of the war and begins to find out more about her mother and her secret, elusive friend. After surviving a horrific accident in a burning plane, during which her (unfaithful) husband dies, Anna decides to find out more about her mother’s life during those years in wartime Germany. It’s a book to make you think and although it’s fiction, it led me to find out more about the elusive Eva Braun and her place in Hitler’s life. I thoroughly recommend this book.
Note – I was given a copy of this book by the author to read and in exchange, I choose to post this review.

The Deepest Grave

I have just seen it is a month since I wrote a review.  During that month I have read many books but have been dilatory in reviewing them.  Apologies.

So today I will start with an author and his protagonist both new to me.

The Deepest Grave

The Deepest Grave is the 6th book in the series but not having read the earlier books didn’t faze me or stop me from enjoying the book.

We are introduced to DC Fiona Griffiths, a young detective based in Wales who had suffered from and still might suffer from Cotard’s Syndrome.  I didn’t know what that was either but Wikipedia tells us “Cotard delusion is a rare mental illness in which the affected person holds the delusional belief that they are already dead, do not exist, are putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs.”

So we know that this young detective doesn’t have an easy life.

However, it has been months since there was a murder in Cardiff and now comes the news of a corpse that has been decapitated with an ancient sword and the murder scene has been staged like a clue in a crossword puzzle.  The victim, Gaynor Charteris,  is an archaeologist working on a dig in Dinas Powys.  That and the other names are unpronounceable to this Anglo Saxon but they all sound magical.

Charteris is apparently well respected and well liked so it was hard to understand why anyone would kill her and in this particularly gruesome way.

Fiona’s boss, Dennis Jackson is on leave and is temporarily replaced by Bleddyn Jones, a by the book inspector who really doesn’t know how to take Fiona and her activities, and in fact, doesn’t really like her.  That feeling is mutual.  We meet Fiona’s father Tom, who has a shady past but will do anything to protect his daughters.

Into the mix comes Katie the Anglo-Saxon, who has been working at the dig but who is suffering a terminal illness and in helping at the dig was hoping to get her PhD completed before the end.

These two women, Fiona, the Celtic-Britain and Katie the Anglo-Saxon form a deep friendship and work together to solve the mystery.

With them we are led on a journey as they uncover the plot to defraud,  there are some forged archaeological artefacts, and the case appears to go back all the way to King Arthur and Excaliber.

It is quite a long book and the ending is totally unexpected.  I recommend it.

I learned some new words, some things about archaeology and am off to the library to get another book in the series. Perhaps I shall start with book 1, Talking to the Dead and so will learn more about Fiona Griffiths.

The Girl From Munich

 

Munich

Having been brought up in London during the Second World War I found this book absolutely fascinating.  Here I was reading about the war from the other side.  Civilians who were living through many of the problems we faced.

We are introduced to Charlotte/Lotte a young girl from a high-class family, used to the privileges such a family bestows.  She is excitedly making plans for a sumptuous wedding to her best friend and fiancé, Heinrich. But life changes for the pair as in 1943 when the war is being lost by Germany she takes a secretarial job in an administrative supply section.  Lotte is immediately attracted to her superior who has lost his wife and children during the war.

We follow Lotte and her superior Erich, as they flee from the chaos and make their difficult way to where her mother is staying in the country with Lotte’s aunt.

Along the way, they realise that they are in love and we follow this pair as they try to make a new life for themselves in a Germany unlike anything either could have imagined.

This is the first novel from a woman in Australia who has a  German mother and an Italian father; she has a rich heritage on which to draw.

It is a good read and certainly one I shall recommend to my friends and followers.

Note – I was given this book to read on NetGalley and choose to write a review.