The Wartime Sisters

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman. New York: St. Marin's Press, 2018. 285 pages. *****

Two estranged sisters;  Ruth and Millie, raised in Brooklyn are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. Ruth the older of the two resents how her parents have always doted on her younger, prettier sister, Millie. Breaking free from her sister's shadow after the death of their parents, Ruth enjoys her life as an officer's wife and her job at the Armory. When Millie arrives as a war widow and once again is the center of attention, old resentments surface and both sisters fear their secrets are about to be exposed. Told from both points of view, it is easy to understand how they each perceive the other as being the problem in their sibling rivalry. 

"During World War II, the armory again turned to women to overcome the labor shortage. By June 1943, somewhere between 11,300-11,800 people worked at the armory, and of that number 43 percent were women." Loigman has written a poignant story capturing that time in history and crafting a story that brings the reality of their lives to the reader.  Even in wartime, a hierarchy and snobbishness exist among the women workers and the officer's wives belying the strength that is required to survive the hard times. The Author's Note provides background on the Springfield Armory and is a welcome addition in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will go on to read her first novel, The Two-Family House.

I received an ecopy for a review. 

Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. She received a B.A. in English and American Literature from Harvard College and a law degree from Columbia Law School. Lynda practiced trusts and estates law in New York City for eight years before moving out of the city to raise her two children with her husband. She wrote The Two-Family House while she was a student of the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. The Two-Family House was chosen by Goodreads as the best book of the month for March 2016, and was a nominee for the Goodreads 2016 Choice Awards in Historical Fiction. The Wartime Sisters is her second novel and will be published on January 22, 2019. Follow her at http://lyndacohenloigman.com, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lynda-Cohen-Loigman-Author-1707732082781276/ Twitter: @lyndacloigman.

#springfieldarmory #historicalfiction #womenworldwarII 


a spark of light

a spark of light by Jodi Picoult.  Ballantine Books, 2018. 384 pages. *****+

Jodi Picoult chooses to write about divisive topics in today's society and this one is no exception. I expect that a spark of light will be discussed and dissected by all who read it. The story opens with a typical day at a women's health center; protestors outside and patients inside nervously sitting in a waiting room. Not all who wait are there for an abortion, however, the man who enters and begins shooting doesn't care. Picoult takes us back from that moment to what happened hourly leading up to the shooting.

Capturing my attention from the very beginning, it was a tough and haunting read. Picoult's gift is to transport the reader into the midst of the action. I was in that waiting room watching and listening. My sympathies went back and forth as she unfolds each person's life and purpose in being there, from the doctor and nurse to the patients and the police negotiator. The shooter has a mission and is seeking revenge for what happened to his daughter and while not a sympathetic character, I felt compassion for him. Did it change my mind on what I believe about abortion? No, but it did make me pause and think. The way the situation unfolds in this book will make it a good choice for a Book Club. This book is Jodi Picoult at her best; her passionate writing and knowledge of the topic are what makes her characters come alive. I have read all of her books and each one stands alone in its complexity and ability to challenge preconceived thoughts on a given issue.

I received an advanced reading copy for a review.

Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-three novels. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband. To connect or learn more about Jodi...Website: jodipicoult.com, Facebook.com/jodipicoult, Twitter:@jodipicoult, Instagram: @jodipicoult

#abortion #abortionfiction #asparkoflight #netgalley


Mary Lee Bendolph and Gee's Bends Quilts

I had the privilege today of attending "Celebrating the Quilts of Gee's Bend with Concurrent Exhibitions at Swarthmore College." It is a free exhibit and will be there September 6- October 28, 2018. These quilts were created by Mary Lee Bendolph and were made between the 1970s and 2010. I attended a lecture presented by her children, "Gee's Bend: Personal Narratives and Artistic Legacies." What an amazing story of a Mother's love, acceptance, and faith. Mary Lee led her children in a song that she believed was given to her by Jesus. It is exactly what I needed today to feed my soul with art, love, and faith. 

There will be a Public Reception and Curator's Talk for Piece Together: The Quilts of Mary Lee Bendolph and Responses to Gee's Bend. Tuesday, October 23, 4:30-6:00 pm. McCabe Library Atrium. 

My personal favorite!



Three Days Missing

Three Days Missing by Kimberly Belle. Park Row Books, 2018. 336 pages. ****

Ethan, a nine-year-old genius is missing from a second-grade school overnight field trip. His mother, Kat Jenkins, is involved in a nasty divorce battle and can't think of anyone who would harm her son, not even his father. Evidence at the site suggests that a fire was deliberately set as a distraction to allow the kidnapper to take Ethan. As the investigation continues, questions arise as to whether the wrong boy has been snatched. Neither Kat nor her ex-husband has anything of value or the means to pay a ransom, why was Ethan chosen? Like the clues that Ethan leaves behind, Belle hints throughout the story that all is not what it seems.

I purchased this book to read on a long flight and it held my interest until I finished it. I guessed the identity of the kidnapper but wasn't sure of the motive. If you are looking for suspenseful, escapism reading, you will not be disappointed. I enjoyed her book, The Marriage Lie, and recommend that one also.

Review of The Marriage Lie

Kimberly Belle is the bestselling author of four novels: The Last Breath, The Ones We Trust, The Marriage Lie, and Three Days Missing. Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, has been translated into a dozen languages and was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Kimberly worked in marketing and nonprofit fundraising before turning to writing fiction. She lived for over a decade in the Netherlands and currently divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

The Alice Network

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. New York: William and Morrow, 2017. 560 pages. ****

The Alice Network is told in the alternating voices of Charlie St. Clair and Eve Gardiner and in two different time frames, 1915 and 1947. Charlie is on a quest to find her cousin Rose who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war and is lead to Eve, a drunk, who wants nothing to do with reliving her life as a spy and a member of the Resistance. Throw in a handsome, rugged, handyman and driver for Eve and romance ensues.

I picked up this book to take on a river cruise in France. One of the towns, Rouen is mentioned in the book and visiting that town helped to bring the book alive. Women spies fascinate me and that story line held my interest. While more character driven than possibly historically factual, my interest was held and now I want to read more books on this subject. Quinn mentions events that happened and puts her own spin on the why of the atrocity that occurred. Read more about it here. I enjoyed this novel and will probably do some research on the Massacre of Oradour-Sur-Glane. I wish I had been able to visit Limoges and this town. 

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with “The Alice Network” and the upcoming “The Huntress.” All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

#thealicenetwork #womenspies #theresistance