Historical Thriller Falls Short Despite Promising Premise

Andrew Gross’s The Saboteur promises a gripping WWII tale of resistance and espionage but ultimately falls short in execution. Set against the backdrop of Nazi-occupied Norway, the story follows Kurt Nordstrum, a Norwegian resistance fighter who teams up with Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) to sabotage The Norsk Hydro plant, a heavily guarded factory set atop unscalable cliffs where the Nazis are manufacturing heavy water—a crucial component of nuclear weapons. It’s a mission they expect they will not survive. While the author’s meticulous research and inclusion of real historical figures add authenticity, the novel suffers from several significant flaws. One of the most glaring is the lack of character […]

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Immortal Chaplains

3.5 stars rounded up to 4. On January 23, 1943, troop ship, the SS Dorchester left New York city en route to Greenland as part of a convoy of three troop ships escorted by Coast Guard cutters. During the early morning hours of February 3, the German submarine U-223 torpedoed the vessel off Newfoundland. Over 900 souls were on board. Also aboard were four chaplains—Alexander Goode, John Washington, George Fox, and Clark Poling—representing different faiths, who comforted soldiers and sacrificed their own lives to save others when the Dorchester sank. In twenty-five minutes, one torpedo killed more than a quarter of the number of personnel lost during the entire attack on Pearl Harbor. […]

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A Riveting Investigation in 1940s Paris

Mark Pryor returns with the second installment of the Henri Lefort series, The Dark Edge of Night, an interesting blend of mystery and historical drama set in 1940 Paris. Police Inspector Henri Lefort tackles two challenging cases amidst the chaos. The first involves the suspicious death of a Frenchman during a botched robbery. The second, imposed on him by the Gestapo, revolves around the mysterious disappearance of a neurologist involved in secretive work at a Paris hospital. As Lefort digs deeper, he discovers a chilling connection to several missing children’s cases. Pryor excels in character development, presenting Lefort as a likable yet complex protagonist whose sharp instincts shine in the […]

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Tears of Amber

  “The most shocking fact about war is that its victims and its instruments are individual human beings, and that these individual beings are condemned by the monstrous conventions of politics to murder or be murdered in quarrels not their own.”—Aldous Huxley. Sofía Segovia, the bestselling author of The Murmur of Bees, has written another extraordinary historical novel, this time set in Eastern Europe during WWII. Tears of Amber is inspired by actual events—not only by official texts but also by the accounts of two children and their families who traveled enormous distances to survive one of the biggest exoduses in human history. The Nazi Party pushes eastward, reaching the […]

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Facing the Mountain Book Review

“They couldn’t know that they were about to see things and do things that would change them utterly, things they would regret, things that would sear their souls, and things they would cherish beyond all reckoning. They couldn’t yet understand that they were about to step off the edge of the world.” — Daniel James Brown, Facing the Mountain. From the author of Boys in the Boat comes another phenomenal read, this one begins as the U.S. enters WWII. At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, approximately 125,000 Japanese Americans lived on the U.S. Mainland and 200,000 immigrated to the territory of Hawaii. Some were […]

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Amy’s May 2022 Reads

Only one 5-star review this month, but once again, Ruta Sepetys takes the top spot. I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys Please remember that when adversity is drawn out of the shadows and recognized, we ensure that human beings living under oppression—past and present—know they are not forgotten. Together, we can shine a light in dark corners of the past. Together, we can give history a voice.—Ruta Sepetys, I Must Betray You. Ruta Sepetys’s latest novel is set in Romania in 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe, but tyrannical dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, who has been in power for twenty-four years, still governs by isolation and fear. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams […]

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