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War rages, but the women and children of Liverpool's Dr Barnado's Home cannot give up hope. An Orphan's War is a gripping saga about love and loss on the Home Front. A lovely, heartfelt, warming slice of saga fiction set during the Second World War. Maxine endures heartbreak at the beginning of the war, she then faces an impossible choice before finding herself a job at a Dr Barnardo’s orphanage in Liverpool. Maxine is a wonderfully thoughtful, loveable character, supported by the author, who with care and compassion covers some moving and poignant topics. I found myself visiting the effects of the war on the home front, and some previously unexplored and interesting areas. There is a gentleness to the writing as it walks some difficult paths, ensuring ‘An Orphan’s War’ is an engaging, generous read. ~ Liz Robinson
A forbidden love. A deadly secret. `An absorbing, well-researched story that brings to life an extraordinary period in history' GILL PAUL, bestselling author of The Secret Wife A fascinating, bold read, allowing you access to the Second World War from an unusual viewpoint. Magda Ritter tells her own story as she moves from Berlin to Hitler’s retreat The Berghof to act as the ultimate protector, Hitler’s food taster. Magda has to be prepared to give her life for the Fuhrer, yet she finds love and a social conscience in the most unlikely of places. V. S. Alexander writes with a beautiful simplicity, allowing the heart of the story to shine through. The words encourage you to imagine, to experience, to feel. Taking you into the heart of Germany during the Second World War, ‘Her Hidden Life’ is an absorbing and intriguing foray, that encouraged me to think and feel from an entirely different perspective.
April 2018 Book of the Month 'A gloriously uplifting story about love in all its forms from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author of The Reading Group and Things I Want My Daughters to Know.' This author has certainly not lost her touch despite it being six years since her last book. This is warm, affectionate, engaging and insightful. Well written with well portrayed characters who interconnect with each other in a tale that grabs your interest from the first chapters and holds it to the satisfying final page. The story revolves around two women, young pregnant Tess who has just left her boyfriend and gone home to mum, and middle-aged Gigi who has just left her husband and needs to sort her life out. Her three kids have grown up and her marriage is stale. The person Tess loves most in her family is her grandmother Iris who is slipping away in a home. The same home houses Gigi’s father-in-law. Here then is a wonderful multi-generational cast. Mix them together, plus Gigi’s family, and you get a tale of real depth and emotion. The letters of the title are from Iris’ brother during and just after World War II plus some from her grandfather from the same period. They are poignant and affect Tess greatly. A wonderful read, highly recommended.
Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2018 | April 2018 Book of the Month At once astonishingly detailed and succinctly incisive, this remarkably readable work lays bare the fascinating story of how China came to be the powerful country it presently is. “Nationalism matters in China, and what matters in China matters to us all,” and, the author argues, China’s “new nationalism” and present-day power can be traced back to the early twentieth century, and (perhaps surprisingly) to past weaknesses - to periods of invasion and partial subjugation when , for example, parts of major cities were governed by Britons, Japanese, Germans and Russians. With a keen and engaging interweaving of cultural history, the author explores the formation, development and trajectory of outside powers within China from the post-WWI era. Naturally, high-level politics is explored with scholarly sharpness, but this places people at its heart, relating lived experiences alongside policy shifts and grapples. Truly this is narrative history at its understand-the-past-to-understand-the-present best. ~ Joanne Owen
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