Code Name Helene [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

March 17, 2022

Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon
#throwbackthursday

Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhom (coveer)

Genre/Categories/Setting: Biographical Historical Fiction, World War 11, French Resistance Movement, France

Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I highlight an older review or post a current review of an old read. Today, I’m re-sharing suspenseful, page-turning historical fiction, Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Told in multiple timelines, Code Name Hélène is the thrilling and intense story of real-life socialite spy, Nancy Wake. Helene is only one of her four code names. When Nancy Wake first meets the love of her life, wealthy Henri Fiocca, in 1936, she is a freelance reporter and an Australian ex-pat living in Paris. As the Germans invade France, she begins her spy career by using her socialite status to smuggle documents and people across borders. Eventually, she is forced to escape France and leave Henri behind. At this time she is trained for Special Operations by the British and returns to France to work in the French Resistance Movement. Known for her innovative thinking and leadership, profanity, and red lipstick, she secures weapons from the allied forces for the French Resistance fighters. This is complicated because she is also a hunted woman with a bounty on her head.”

Real-life socialite spy, Nancy Wake….

Nancy Wake in 1945

Image Source: Wikipedia

Fast-paced, suspenseful, and gritty historical fiction…

Continue here for my full review of Code Name Hélène..



QOTD:

Have you read Code Name Hélène or is it on your TBR?

 

Sisters of Night and Fog [Book Review] #WomensHistoryMonth

March 1, 2022

Sisters of Night and Fog by Erika Robuck

The Sisters of Night and Fog by Erika Robuck (cover) Image: white text over a picture of two women walking away from the camera through a foggy night

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, Europe, Biographical, Espionage, Resistance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub for a complimentary eARC of #TheSistersOfNightAndFog upon my request. All opinions are my own.

An American socialite in France meets a British secret agent…..

Sisters of Night and Fog is the story of two real life, brave young women who join the Resistance Movement during WW11. Virginia d’Albert-Lake is married and lives in France, and adventure-seeking, nineteen-year-old Violette Szabo is a French citizen but lives in England. Because Violette is an expert with firearms and has dual citizenship, she is recruited by Britain’s secretive Special Operations organization. The two women eventually meet at Ravensbruck concentration camp.

Virginia and Violette

My Thoughts:

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The Woman They Could Not Silence [Book Review] #NarrativeNonfiction #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge

February 18, 2022

Do you have Narrative Nonfiction on your bookshelf?

The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore (cover) Image: white text on a black muted background....the small graphic image of a quill and ink below the title

Today for the #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on “Narrative Nonfiction” (creative nonfiction or literary nonfiction) as I bring you a review of The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore.

Every year, I commit to reading more nonfiction. In nonfiction, I love Memoir, Biography, and Narrative Nonfiction. However, I think narrative nonfiction might be my favorite. After today’s review, I’ve included a few of my favorite “narrative nonfiction” titles.

Do you have a favorite Narrative Nonfiction title or recomendation?

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore

Genre/Categories/Setting: Nonfiction, Narrative Nonfiction, Biographical, Mental Health, Women’s/Patient’s Rights, Insane Asylum (1860)

My Summary:

In 1860, wives and daughters could be committed to insane asylums by their husbands or fathers without their consent or proper mental health evaluations. Women were property owned by the husband or father. Women could be committed for being too emotional, opinionated, independent, zealous, or intellectual….basically, any woman who can’t be kept “in line.” When Elizabeth Packard is committed to an insane asylum by her husband, she discovers that she is not the only sane woman there. Because she is labeled “crazy,” no one will listen to her appeals or intervene on her behalf and she has no voice to fight for herself because it makes her appear even crazier. Her friends who may know the truth won’t speak up for fear of the same punishment from their husbands. However, after losing her home and her children, Elizabeth has nothing more to lose and is determined to fight for her life and for the lives of innocent women.

Elizabeth Packard

Elizabeth Packard

My Thoughts:

How far we’ve come! What a nightmare scenario for women! I became intrigued with this subject after I read Woman 99 by Greer Macallister. In that story, a daughter is commited to an insane asylum for being too emotional and her sister attempts a rescue. I knew I wanted to read more about women being unfairly committed.

First, What is Narrative Nonfiction?

“Narrative nonfiction, also known as creative nonfiction or literary nonfiction, is a true story written in the style of a fiction novel. The narrative nonfiction genre contains factual prose that is written in a compelling way—facts told as a story. While the emphasis is on the storytelling itself, narrative nonfiction must remain as accurate to the truth as possible” ~Source

Elizabeth:

Drawing heavily on court reports, newspaper articles, corresponsence, and journals, the author weaves a compelling story around the facts and Elizabeth’s own words. Through Elizabeth’s determination and fearless fighting spirit, she affects change for women. The resulting law reforms brought widespread, long-lasting change in the operation of insane asylums and granted married women the right of jury trial before commitment. Her fight and contributions should be remembered and honored.

Elizabeth is an incessent talker with strong opinions and a strong will. These were textbook examples of female insanity at the time. During her confinement, Elizabeth feels like an asylum is a “storage unit for unsatisfactory wives.” Women are deemed “cured” when they become “quiet, decorous in manners and language.” Using her brilliant mind and her ability to write, Elizabeth is determined “to write her way out of her hellhole if it is the last thing she does.” She demonstrates that “a spirit cannot be killed. With spirit comes hope. With spirit comes strength. With spirit comes the energy to start the fight for justice.”

“Wronged women were not supposed to stand up for themselves. Wronged women were not supposed to come out fighting, or be angry, or battle for injustice to be overturned. Elizabeth’s course was unnatural in [McFarland’s] eyes…and therefore insane.”

Elizabeth’s life is not without controversy. In her attempts to gain her freedom, she has a complicated relationship with McFarland, the director of the asylum, and uses many methods to manipulate, outsmart, and befriend him to achieve her freedom. He becomes her lifelong adversary.

Recommended: I definitely recommend The Woman They Could Not Silence for readers who appreciate stories about the fight for women’s rights and mental health reform and for fans of stories about strong and determined women making a difference. She fought for us all. Thanks to Shellyrae @ Book’d Out for the rec!

Content Considerations: domestic abuse, difficult passages about the mistreatment of patients and the lack of care for the mentally ill

My Rating: 4 Stars

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The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore

The Woman They Could Not Silence Information Here

Meet the Author, Kate Moore

Author Kate MooreAmong other books, Kate is the author of The Radium Girls, which won the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Best History, was voted U.S. librarians’ favourite nonfiction book of 2017 and became a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

A British writer based in England, Kate writes across multiple genres including history, biography, true  crime and grift, and has had many titles on the Sunday Times bestseller list. Her work has been featured across international media and translated into more than fifteen languages. A born public speaker, Kate regularly tours her books and is equally at home spinning stories onstage as she is writing them on her laptop in London.



A Few of My Favorite Narrative Nonfiction Titles:

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede
The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (part narrative nonfiction, part historical essay)



 I’m linking up with Deb @ Deb’s World and SueDonna, and Jo for the February installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge.

Whats On Your Bookshelf Challenge



QOTD:

Do you enjoy narrative nonfiction?
What is your favorite form of nonfiction?
Is The Woman They Could Not Silence on your TBR or have you read it?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



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***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

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Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics [Book Review] #NonfictionNovember #NovFicNov

November 12, 2021

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton, Songteller by Dolly Parton (cover) Image: a portrait of Parton in a round frame against a light blue background

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Country Music

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Working 9-5 …. Jolene …. I’ll Will Always Love You …. Islands In the Stream duet with Kenny Rogers…. Coat of Many Colors …. what’s your favorite Dolly Parton song?
Enjoy this sampler from Youtube while you read my review!

My Summary:

Dolly Parton, Songteller is a celebration of a career in country music and a peek into the story behind the lyrics of a couintry music legend. Parton highlights 175 of her songs (singing some lyrics of each and narrated by Dolly herself if you have the audio version), and she shares some behind-the-scenes of each one, a few personal stories, and provides never-before-seen pictures (if you have the print version). A perfect read/listen for a country music fan or music lover.

My Thoughts:

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Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution’s Women [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

November 11, 2021

Ribbons of Scarlet by Kate Quinn et al.
#throwbackthursday

Ribbons of Scarlet by Kate Quinn et al. Image: a women dressed in red and carrying a red cloth walks off the right edge of the picture

Genre/Categories/Setting:  Historical Fiction, French Revolution, France

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing a compelling story of several women of the French Revolution, Ribbons of Scarlet by Kate Quinn.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Six masterful storytellers collaborate to share the experiences of seven unforgettable women of The French Revolution. During the Revolution, these courageous and determined women felt compelled to speak up and exert their influence wherever they could. Even though these are six separate stories, passionate convictions and ideas connect them.”

Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!

Continue here for my full review of Ribbons of Scarlet…



QOTD:

Have you read Ribbons of Scarlet or is it on your TBR?

 

 

The Women of the Copper Country [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

September 30, 2021

The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell
#throwbackthursday

The women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell (cover)

Genre/Categories/Setting: Biographical Historical Fiction, Michigan, Mining, Activism, Union

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing a compelling story of the labor movement, The Women of Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“In July of 1913, twenty-five-year-cold Annie Clements has seen enough of the unfair working conditions in the mining town of Calumet, Michigan and decides it’s time to fight for a change. The men who work in the copper mines endure long hours, dangerous conditions, and low wages. Annie organizes and encourages the women to support a strike, but she also faces possible imprisonment, her husband’s anger, and personal threats. The Women of the Copper Country is a fictionalized account of the courageous efforts of women to organize a strike in the early history of the labor movement.”

“There’s no progress in the world if we all just keep our heads down and only do what’s good and proper in our tiny corner of it.”

“We plant the seeds of justice, and justice will rise out of this muck someday.”

Annie Clements is called “America’s Joan of Arc”

Continue here for my full review of The Women of the Copper Country…



QOTD:

Have you read The Women of the Copper Country or is it on your TBR?

 

The Vanished Bride [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

September 2, 2021

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis
#throwbackthursday

The Vanished Bride Review

Genre/Categories/Setting:  Historical Fiction, Siblings, Cozy Mystery, Yorkshire

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing a historical fiction mystery, The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

The Vanished Bride is the highly imagined story of the famous Brontë Sisters before they were authors. In 1845, when all four Brontë siblings return home to live with their father (for various reasons), Charlotte, Emily, and Anne hear about the disappearance and suspected murder of a young neighbor woman, they decide to become lady detectors and embark on an ambitious endeavor to solve the mystery. Relying on their resourcefulness, determination, energy, wits, cleverness, and creativity, they investigate, interrogate, analyze clues, and follow leads. The sisters need to pursue these activities without drawing attention to themselves because of the expectations for women and their roles at that time. Since they are already intrigued by the idea of becoming authors in a male-dominated field, they are already thinking outside the box and challenging boundaries. Although at times they need to involve their brother, most of the investigation is accomplished without the knowledge of their protective father. Will they solve the mystery of the vanished bride?”

Authentic and delightfully entertaining characterizations of the three Brontë sisters….

Continue here for my full review of The Vanished Bride…



QOTD:

Have you read The Vanished Bride or is it on your TBR?

The Personal Librarian [Book Review]

June 25, 2021

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Murray (cover) Image: a young woman in a long red dress stands against the railing of a grand staircase....a small stack of books held to her chest

Genre/Categories/Setting: Biographical Historical Fiction, African-American Women, the Gilded Age, New York City

N*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary eARC upon my request. All opinions are my own.

The Personal Librarian is the fictionalized biography of Belle da Casta Greene, personal librarian to business tycoon, John Pierpont Morgan.  Belle curates a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for the Pierpont Morgan Library. In addition to becoming powerful in the art and book world, Belle develops a reputation as a shrewd negotiator and earns her place in New York Society. However, she has a well-guarded secret…..she is passing as white.

My Thoughts:

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The Women of Chateau Lafayette [Book Review]

 March 30, 2021

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray (cover) Image: a woman kneels down in an archway to speak to a young girl

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction (French Revolution, WW1, WW11), France, Women, Biographical

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for my complimentary e ARC of #TheWomenOfChateauLafayette for review. All opinions are my own.

A real castle in France, Chateau Lafayette, connects three women: noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette (wife of Gilbert Lafayette); New York socialite and actress Beatrice Astor Chanler; and French school teacher, aspiring artist, and orphan Marthe Simone. After having been the home of the Lafayette’s, the castle became a refuge for orphan children during two world wars.

Chateau Lafayette in France

Chateau Lafayette (Source: Wikipedia)

My Thoughts:

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Learning to See [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

March 11, 2021

Learning to See by Elise Hooper
#throwbackthursday

Learning to See by Elise Hooper (cover) Image: a black and white image of Dorothea Langue standing on top of a vehicle shading her eyes to see and holding a large camera with the other hand

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Fictionalized Biography, Photography, Internment Camps

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I look forward to sharing my review of a story about a real life photographer, Dorothea Lange. Learning to See….compelling, biographical historical fiction.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Learning to See is a fictionalized biography inspired by real life photographer, Dorothea Lange. We first meet twenty-two year old Dorothea Nutzhorn in 1918 as she arrives in San Francisco with her best friend. Through wit and a determination to create her own life far from her home in the Northeast, Dorothea changes her name to Dorothea Lange, takes a risk in opening a portrait studio, and marries an older established artist, Maynard Dixon. Dorothea’s portrait studio enjoys success and it provides a steady and dependable income for their growing family of two children. When the economy collapses in the 1930s, economic troubles place tremendous strain on an already fragile marriage and Dorothea desperately seeks out ways to support her two young sons and a drunken, disillusioned, and out-of-work husband. As Dorothea’s portrait business declines in the economy, she begins to take pictures of the poor and desperate people on the streets of San Francisco. In addition, she travels throughout California and the Southwest documenting labor conditions on farms, gradually realizing that these pictures are more meaningful than what she produces in her portrait studio because her pictures from the streets and fields tell a true story of the economic hardships that people are facing. Later, the United States enters WW11 and Dorothea accepts a government job photographing the internment camps into which the Japanese have been placed. Not everyone appreciates seeing the truth of these pictures and she is censored, threatened, and discouraged. This doesn’t deter Dorothea from her travels, her photographs, or her purpose. There’s a dual timeline running through the story which allows the reader to know Dorothea at the end of her life.”

“It takes a lot of practice to see things are they are, not as you want them to be.”

Continue here for my full review of Learning to See ….



QOTD:

Have you read Learning to See or is it on your TBR?