The Boat Runner, by Devin Murphy

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As most of you are aware by now, I’m a huge fan of WWII fiction. Some of my most memorable reads include All the Light You Cannot See, The Nightingale, The Alice Network, and Elie Wiesel’s Night. All of those books have told incredible stories that will stay with me. But I will tell you… this WWII novel is not like anything else I’ve read.

Here’s a quick synopsis: It’s 1939 in a small dutch town, and the Koopman family are the owners of a lightbulb factory. Jacob and Edwin, and their parents are watching as their town, their factory, and the world starts to change with the looming war. Their father decides to send the boys to a German youth camp as Hitler is coming into power. From here you see young Jacob feel torn on what is the right thing to do, and just what side of the war is whom he belongs with.

This impressive debut novel is an emotional ride, from a different perspective. This is the exact reason why it’s different from most WWII fiction. It told the side of the German soldier’s and how they were groomed for the War. I find that most WWII novels just focus on what terrible beings the Nazi’s were, forgetting that they were people too just fighting to live each day. All the Light We Cannot See also did a great job of this. A great thing about this book is the small moments of empathy for strangers that were highlighted. That the small act of kindness that you may have possibly shown someone is a reminder that better days will come.

It is the little stories of our day that hold the only things of value in this world.

It is obvious to that Murphy put an extreme amount of research went into this book.  I quickly formed an emotional connection with Jacob and could sympathize with being so torn about what to do.  The only thing that fell flat for me was the ending, I felt like I just needed to do more. But on further thought, maybe this was intentional. Do we ever really know how things are going turn out? I don’t think so… I think we just live each day in hopes that the next comes and that it is a good one.

So, all in all, I really liked this fast paced, well researched novel. If you like any of the other titles I mentioned, you will LOVE this book.

Until next time, happy reading!

The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn

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Ohhhh this book!!! I admit, I avoided reading this book because the hype around it was EVERYWHERE. I usually don’t like to jump on board with the hottest, newest book… but I just kept on hearing how great this book was. So off to the library I went to put it on hold, and low and behold… this book was incredible! I’m going to share with you a list of reasons why I loved The Alice Network:

  • Full of strong women who make a difference.
  • References to poetry (Baudelaire mostly) and music (Edith Piaf).
  • A history lesson.
  • A little romance!

What a treasure it is to read a fast-paced, well told story, and learn about this time in history. If books like this one weren’t ever written, I wouldn’t have heard of these female spies of WW1, and how they helped change the path of the War, and saved so many lives.

This book fits into the historical fictional category, and comes in at almost 500 pages. I’m going to give you the synopsis from GoodReads, because I could go on and on… Two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

This. Book. Is. Great!!!! Just read it, please!! You will fall in love with one of the main characters, Eve. She is a kickass spy from WW1, who is at first very abrasive and rough… then as more of her story pours out you see how much depth she has, and the incredible experiences she has been through.

I will not tell you one single solitary fact about my work, my friends, or the woman I was arrested with. But I will tell you this, Rene Bordelon. You’re a gullible fool. You’re a terribly lover. And I hate Baudelaire.

The fact this this fictional story is based on real people, and their real experiences is fascinating. Kate Quinn has done something that is so unique by creating a story full of historic facts. She’s given us all the chance to learn more about these women, this time period, and for that I am grateful. The women in the Alice Network were incredible, and their stories need to be heard. Do me a favour… and read the Author’s Note at the end of this book. Then flip through all the books that Kate Quinn used for research. I love when an Author’s Note elevates the experience of a book, and that’s exactly what this does.

So I guess my lesson of the day is, just read the damn book if everyone says it’s great… because it probably is. Until next, happy reading friends!