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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A Talent for Murder

Talent for Murder

 

For 11 days in December 1926, nobody knew where Agatha Christie was.  It has remained a mystery for all these years, that is until Andrew Wilson wrote his book, a Talent for Murder.The book is a result of a series of interview with Agatha Christie agreed to on the condition that the resultant book should not be published until 40 years after her death. So while this book is based on fact, there is certain fiction included as some of the protagonists were not available to be interviewed.  So to the book.

The book is a result of a series of interviews with Agatha Christie agreed to on the condition that the resultant book should not be published until 40 years after her death. So while this book is based on fact, there is certain fiction included as some of the protagonists were not available to be interviewed.  So to the book.

The book is written in the first person so we have some understanding of Christie’s thoughts at the time.

She has recently learned of her husband’s infidelity and so is distracted and feels she is being watched.  As a small girl, she had suffered from nightmares in which a gunman played a big part.  She is feeling the same kind of fear she felt then; but when she is pushed in front of an oncoming train at the Hyde Park station of the London Underground, and then rescued just as suddenly she begins to think the fear is not only in her imagination.

Her rescuer and attacker, is a Doctor who has a plan that he wants Agatha to carry out – namely the killing of his wife.  His thinking is that as the two women are unknown to each other, nobody would suspect Agatha of the murder.  Apparently, Doctor Kurs is a Christie fan and had just finished reading her latest book, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.  In fact, the doctor likens himself to Roger Ackroyd.

Kurs’ offer to Christie is that if she performs the dastardly deed, he will not go to the press with the story of her husband’s infidelity nor her brother’s drink and drug problems.  No physical harm would come to her daughter Rosalind, her brother or her husband.  Kurs describes in detail what his acquaintance could do to the 11-year-old Rosalind.

We are introduced to John Davison who works at Whitehall in the Civil Service and his companion Una Styles who really wants to be a writer.  These people want to help Christie whom they meet immediately following her meeting with Kurs.   And Davison also has been hoping to meet her and talk to her about helping in his department.

A plan is made by Kurs and followed out by Christie.  It is made to look like Christie has wandered away from a car accident and supposition is rife that she has been murdered or killed in the accident, or she has lost her memory and wandered away because if she is not dead or suffering memory loss, why would she not be in touch with her family.

The story has many twists and turns  Scary things arrive in the mail, there is the death of the young Una Styles who is attempting to discover what has happened to Agatha Christie.  There is a Police Superintendent who is determined to find the body and therefore, solve a murder. It is very much a Christie-type story.

This book has only just been published but if you can get hold of a copy, and if you are an Agatha Christie fan (as am I) then you will enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

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 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.