Tag: historical

Book Review: In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills, by Jennifer Haupt

10,000 hills
Image belongs to Central Avenue Publishing.

Title:  In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills
Author:  Jennifer Haupt
Genre:  Fiction
Rating:  5/5

In 1960s Atlanta, Lillian Carlson was swept along in the Civil Rights Movement; listening to Martin Luther King speak and working to see change. She fell in love with Henry, a photographer intent on capturing the impact of solitary moments, but violence tore them apart. Heartbroken, Lillian moved to Rwanda to run an orphanage, making a difference in the lives of children.

Nadine is a young Tutsi woman whose life was shattered by the Rwandan genocide. While she seeks to make her dreams come true, the violence of the past haunts her present and her future, and the secret she keeps could endanger everyone around her.

Rachel is Henry’s daughter, reeling from the loss of her mother and her baby, and desperate to find the father who abandoned her years ago. She knows she needs to heal, but she doesn’t expect to find so much hope in a country scarred by hatred and violence.

This book. This book. It started out slowly, but I kept reading because of the characters. I loved all three women and wanted to see each of them find peace and happiness. The Rwandan culture comes to life on the pages, as the author delves into the horrors that happened between the Tutsi and the Hutus—and the survivors’ search for peace. I knew almost nothing about the genocide before reading this, so that part of it horrified me, but there is so much hope in this novel, and the beauty of Rwanda fills the pages.

Jennifer Haupt is a journalist and an author. In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills is her first novel.

(Galley provided by Central Avenue Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)

 

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Book Review: White Chrysanthemum, by Mary Lynn Bracht

wc
Image belongs to Putnam Books.

In Korea, 1942, Hana is a haenyo, a diver who provides for her family by what she finds in the sea. Her heritage makes her proud, and she’s fiercely protective of her family. Then Hana saves her younger sister from a Japanese soldier. As a result, she is sent to Manchuria to become a “comfort woman” in a Japanese military brothel. When other girls surrender and give up, Hana’s pride as a haenyo keeps her going. She will make it home.

In South Korea, 2011, Emi has been searching for her sister for over 60 years. She hasn’t forgiven herself for being the reason her sister was taken away, and she wonders if she can find Hana and gain forgiveness for herself. But Emi has been hiding the truth from her children, and she must shine light into the dark places of her life if her children are ever to heal their own wounds from the war that scarred Emi’s home and family forever.

White Chrysanthemum was not an easy, fun book to read. This book tells the harrowing story of untold numbers of Korean women, and the horrors inflicted on them in the 1940s. Told from Hana’s and Emi’s viewpoints, this story is emotionally wrenching and sad, but beautifully written and moving. Very much worth reading.

Mary Lynn Bracht is American, of Korean descent, and lives in London. White Chrysanthemum is her new novel.

(Galley provided by Putnam in exchange for an honest review.)

 

Book Review: A Twist in Time, by Julie McElwain

 

a twist in time
A Twist in Time,
by Julie McElwain. Image belongs to Pegasus Books.

Julie McElwain’s newest novel is A Twist in Time, part of the Kendra Donovan Mysteries series.

Former FBI agent Kendra Donovan’s efforts to return to the 21st century fail, leaving her stranded in 1815. Her protector, the Duke of Aldridge, believes it’s because she must help save his nephew, Alec, who’s been accused of brutally murdering his mistress.

The trail of the bizarre murder—Lady Dover was found stabbed with a stiletto, her face carved—leads straight to the Ton, London’s elite class, where things are never as they seem. As Kendra uncovers Lady Dover’s relationships with various men, sordid details about her past also emerge, leading a crime boss to threaten Alec. Now Kendra must learn the truth about the murder—before Alec is found guilty of a crime he didn’t commit.

A Twist in Time was an entertaining, fun read. I have not read the first book in the series, but I would, gladly. Kendra is a great character—tough, smart, and independent—stuck in a society where women are treated like property incapable of intelligent thought. I cannot imagine her frustration with the culture and with society, but the similarities she finds to modern times are disturbing, showing that our culture is not necessarily the better of the two.

(Galley provided by Pegasus Books via NetGalley.)