Tag Archives: Memoir

Books of the Week #33

The Boys In The Boat: An Epic Journey to the Heart of Hitler’s Berlin by Daniel James Brown

Cast aside by his family at an early age, abandoned and left to fend for himself in the woods of Washington State, young Joe Rantz turns to rowing as a way of escaping his past.

What follows is an extraordinary journey, as Joe and eight other working-class boys exchange the sweat and dust of life in 1930s America for the promise of glory at the heart of Hitler’s Berlin. Stroke by stroke, a remarkable young man strives to regain his shattered self-regard, to dare again to trust in others – and to find his way back home.

Told against the backdrop of the Great Depression, Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat is narrative non-fiction of the first order; a personal story full of lyricism and unexpected beauty that rises above the grand sweep of history, and captures instead the purest essence of what it means to be alive.

https://books2read.com/u/31GqD7

Dis-moi ! Les grandes découvertes (French Edition) by Caroline Fait, Patrick Chenot, Laurent Kling, Mauro Mazzari, Loïc Méhée

Un ouvrage de 112 pages, qui propose 212 questions sur le thème des plus grandes découvertes humaines, réparties en 4 thèmes :Les découvertes scientifiques.Les découvertes techniques.

Les découvertes géographiques et spatiales.Les découvertes géologiques, paléontologiques et archéologiques.Les 4 parties sont séparées au moyen de 4 intercalaires.

Quelques exemples de questions : Qui a inventé le zéro ? Qu’a découvert Galilée ?Pourquoi les bateaux flottent-ils ?Depuis quand le mètre existe-t-il ?Qui a inventé l’ampoule électrique ?Qui a donné son nom à l’Amérique?Y a-t-il encore des peuples inconnus ?Qu’est-ce que la malédiction de Toutankhamon ?Existe-t-il des écritures non encore déchiffrées ?

https://www.amazon.com/Dis-moi-grandes-découvertes-French-Caroline-ebook/dp/B07YN6HM2X/

Wine from the Emerald Tree by Louise Shelley

For as long as she can remember, something has plagued Gaby. She could never quite put her finger on the cause of her doubts and anxieties, until one day, the reflection in her mirror is not her own. 

As she investigates the girl in the mirror, Gaby discovers a story of romance, tragedy and injustice, in which the past drips into the present, forcing her on a journey of self-realisation.

https://books2read.com/u/mgZlQK

The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen

From childcare to healthcare, provision for the elderly and tackling issues of homelessness, the Nordic countries are world leaders in organising society – no wonder Finland has been ranked among the happiest places in the world.

But when Finnish journalist Anu Partanen moved to America, she quickly realised that navigating the basics of everyday life was overly complicated compared to how society was organised in her homeland. From the complications of buying a mobile, to the arduous task of filing taxes, she knew there was a better way and as she got to know her new neighbours she discovered that they too shared her deep apprehensions.

The Nordic Theory of Everything details Partanen’s mission to understand why America (and much of the Western world) suffers from so much inequality and struggling social services. Filled with fascinating insights, advice and practical solutions, she makes a convincing argument that we can rebuild society, rekindle optimism and become more autonomous people by following in the footsteps of our neighbours to the North.

https://books2read.com/u/bMpXp7

The Wanderer – A Tear and A Smile: Reflections of an Immigrant by Ronesa Aveela

A memoir of the life of Ronesa Aveela, relating stories of life in Bulgaria and abroad.
Each person is a constant project: changing and adapting—sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. All our lives we wander to find a better place to live or a better job, to learn new skills, to make a discovery, or to invent something of value.

Today, technology has removed boundaries. We can easily physically travel to different places in the world, but we can also “bounce” around the virtual space of the web, where we make acquaintances worldwide.

In our travels, we build our homes, make new friends, raise our children, attend weddings, and say goodbye to friends and family, sending them to the world beyond. Even thousands of miles from where we were born and raised, we keep our customs and practice the traditions that we have been nourished with. We share them with friends who have a different cultural heritage, upbringing, and faith; and we in turn accept new ones. We must learn to respect other cultures as much as we support people in our own community.

Traditions are a great way to teach children the cultural and religious history of mankind by giving them their own identity and roots.

Culture is a temple for the human soul. This is what we carry with us as we wander, what we develop as we adapt to the place we choose to call our home.

https://books2read.com/u/b55kRw

Books of the Week #32

The Promise of Provence (Love in Provence Book 1) by Patricia Sands

On the evening of her twenty-second wedding anniversary, Katherine Price can’t wait to celebrate. But instead of receiving an anniversary card from her husband, she finds a note asking for a divorce.

Fifty-five and suddenly alone, Katherine begins the daunting task of starting over. She has her friends, her aging mother, and her career to occupy her, but the future seems to hold little promise—until, after a winter of heartbreak, Katherine is persuaded to try a home exchange holiday in the South of France.

In Provence, bright fields of flowers bloom below medieval hilltop villages with winding cobblestone streets. Charmed by the picturesque countryside, the breathtaking Côte d’Azur, and the enchantment-filled boulevards of Paris, Katherine feels life opening up once again. Lavender perfumes the air, and chance encounters hint at romance and passion. But memories of heartbreak and betrayal linger—and her former life waits for her back home. Can she find the courage to begin again?

https://books2read.com/u/3nvpL9

The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker

Germany, 1942. Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann is stripped of his place in the world when his school is seized by the Nazis. He relocates to a small German hamlet to wed Elisabeth Herter, a widow who seeks a marriage—in name only—to a man who can help raise her three children. Anton seeks something too—atonement for failing to protect his young students from the wrath of the Nazis. But neither he nor Elisabeth expects their lives to be shaken once again by the inescapable rumble of war.

As Anton struggles to adapt to the roles of husband and father, he learns of the Red Orchestra, an underground network of resisters plotting to assassinate Hitler. Despite Elisabeth’s reservations, Anton joins this army of shadows. But when the SS discovers his schemes, Anton will embark on a final act of defiance that may cost him his life—even if it means saying goodbye to the family he has come to love more than he ever believed possible.

https://books2read.com/u/31GrzD

The Beast, the Emperor and the Milkman: A Bone-shaking Tour through Cycling’s Flemish Heartlands by Harry Pearson

Every nation shapes sport to test the character traits it most admires.

In The Beast, the Emperor and the Milkman, committed Belgophile and road cycling obsessive Harry Pearson takes you on a journey across Flanders, through the lumpy horizontal rain, up the elbow juddering cobbled inclines, past the fans dressed as chickens and the shop window displays of constipation medicines, as he follows races big, small and even smaller through one glorious, muddy spring.

Ranging over 500 years of Flemish and European history, across windswept polders, along back roads and through an awful lot of beer cafes, Pearson examines the characters, the myths and rivalries that make Flanders a place where cycling is a religion and the riders its lycra-clad priests.

https://books2read.com/u/4XXXZ6

My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman

Everyone remembers the smell of their grandmother’s house.
Everyone remembers the stories their grandmother told them.

But does everyone remember their grandmother flirting with policemen? Driving illegally?Breaking into a zoo in the middle of the night? Firing a paintball gun from a balcony in her dressing gown?

Seven-year-old Elsa does.

Some might call Elsa’s granny ‘eccentric’, or even ‘crazy’. Elsa calls her a superhero. And granny’s stories, of knights and princesses and dragons and castles, are her superpower. Because, as Elsa is starting to learn, heroes and villains don’t always exist in imaginary kingdoms; they could live just down the hallway.

As Christmas draws near, even the best superhero grandmothers may have one or two things they’d like to apologise for. And, in the process, Elsa can have some breath-taking adventures of her own . . .

https://books2read.com/u/bzooBL

El honor de la familia: Un misterio de Sam Smith (Spanish Edition) by Hannah Howe

Cuando el mayor mafioso del país te hace una oferta que no puedes rechazar, ¿qué deberías hacer? En mi caso, decidí aceptar la oferta que me hizo el Sr. Vincent Vanzetti. Vanzetti me contrató para encontrar a su hija desaparecida, Vittoria, enfrentándome a la amenaza de represalias si fracasaba en mi tarea. Mientras buscaba a Vittoria, tuve que tratar con otros miembros del clan Vanzetti: Sherri, la segunda mujer de Vanzetti, de la misma edad que Vittoria, Sherri era una «actriz», una estrella del porno cuya ambición era aparecer en un reality de televisión; Catrin, la exmujer de Vanzetti, dura como el granito, el poder detrás de su imperio criminal; y V. J. Parks, el novio de Vittoria, boxeador, un joven en plenitud entrenándose para intentar conseguir un título mundial.

Mientras tanto, en el terreno personal, era hora de que una servidora y su pareja, el Dr. Alan Storey, tomásemos decisiones. Alan tenía muchas ganas de casarse, mientras que yo todavía estaba aceptando mi pasado y los años de abuso físico. ¿Sería capaz de encontrar el coraje para, por fin, dejar a un lado los fantasmas del pasado y comprometerme a un futuro con Alan?

El honor de la familia, la historia de un mafioso y su familia, la historia de un dilema moral. ¿Debería matar en nombre de la justicia o debería dejar que un delincuente quedara libre? Al responder a tal pregunta descubrí mucho sobre mí misma y sobre la persona que quería ser.

https://books2read.com/u/m0OONy

Books of the Week #30

The Supreme Victory of the Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Synchronicity by Sharon Rawlette

When her French fiancé told her about the other woman in his life, she began to wonder if there was more to love–and the universe–than she had dared imagine.At 29, Sharon Hewitt was about to see her dreams come true. For the past decade, she’d been living the academic high life in New York, Paris, and Boston but struggling to feel at ease far from her rural roots and the religious faith she’d left behind in college. Now, engaged to a Frenchman and about to settle on a beautiful farm in the rolling countryside of Brittany, she felt she’d finally come home…

…until a girl her fiancé had known in high school unexpectedly resurfaced, changing everything.

The Supreme Victory of the Heart is Sharon’s candid account of the months following her French fiancé’s tearful admission that he wasn’t sure he could marry her after all, when she stood to lose not only the man she deeply loved, but the country she had inwardly adopted as her own. Torn between rage and sorrow, sympathy and steely resolve, Sharon found herself plumbing the depths of human love, as well as encountering the distinct possibility of something she’d given up on long ago: a higher purpose behind it all. This book tells the story of her challenging personal journey, and of the intriguing synchronicities that left her with a growing suspicion that love just might be destined to emerge victorious after all.

https://books2read.com/u/bP958j

The Beatrice Stubbs Boxset Two (Beatrice Stubbs Series Boxset Book 2) by JJ Marsh

For lovers of intelligent crime fiction, three more heart-racing European adventures in one boxset.

Beatrice Stubbs of Scotland Yard: detective inspector, metaphor mixer and stubborn survivor. Battling crime by day and her own demons by night, the question is always the same.
Justice or the law?

Cold Pressed: “Two things people fear the most? Change and death.”

Santorini. Turquoise seas, ancient ruins and beautiful sunsets. And a woman thrown from a cliff. The violent death shocks fellow passengers of the Empress Louise, a grand cruise liner packed with British tourists. DI Beatrice Stubbs flies to Greece to assist. When another lady is killed in her cabin, terror spreads like contagion. Murder is aboard and someone has Beatrice in his sights. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Human Rites: “Judgement is in the eye of the beholder.”

Adrian Harvey has a stalker. Someone is stealing his post, vandalising his shop and making allegations to the police. And who is that nun? When DI Beatrice Stubbs is dispatched to Germany to investigate art theft, Adrian seizes the chance to flee the city. Yet the stalker is still on his heels. Adrian runs from danger to the remote island of Sylt. But danger follows and Adrian has run too far.

Bad Apples: “Some people are just rotten to the core.”

A police conference in Portugal is hardly a dangerous assignment, so Beatrice Stubbs invites family and friends for a holiday. It should be the perfect work-life balance. Until one of her colleagues is murdered. An eclectic alliance of international detectives forms to find the assassin. But are they really on the same side? Meanwhile, tensions rise at the holiday villa. A clash of egos sours the atmosphere and when a five-year-old child disappears, their idyll turns hellish. Trust can be a fatal mistake.

https://books2read.com/u/mZKPME

Murder in Mykonos (Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis Series Book 1) by Jeffrey Siger

First in a series of “thoughtful police procedurals set in picturesque but not untroubled Greek locales” (The New York Times), revealing the wildly lucrative dark side of an internationally renowned Greek island playground for the world’s rich and famous, those battling for control of its vices, and the innocents affected by it all.

Politically incorrect detective Andreas Kaldis, promoted out of Athens to serve as police chief for Mykonos, is certain his homicide days are over. Murders don’t happen in tourist heaven. At least that’s what he’s thinking as he stares at the remains of a young woman, ritually bound and buried on a pile of human bones inside a remote mountain church.

Teamed with the nearly-retired local homicide chief, Andreas tries to find the killer before the media can destroy the island’s fabled reputation with a barrage of world-wide attention on a mystery that’s haunted Mykonos undetected for decades.

When another young woman disappears, political niceties no longer matter. With the investigation now a rescue operation, Andreas races against a killer intent on claiming a new victim…

https://books2read.com/u/3yEDB6

Trailing the Hunter: A Novel of Misconception, Truth, and Love by Heidi Eljarbo

Opposition, courage, and determination. Not the most pleasing qualities for a young, eligible woman.But to some, her strength could mean life or death.

1661 in Norway.Clara Dahl has made a decision. She has seen the dread and sorrow witch-finder Angus Hill has caused in her hometown and sets out to find him. Her goal is to fight the wrongful and wicked misconceptions about witch hunting. But the witch-finder’s influence is strong. How can she warn the villagers of something they don’t understand?

Clara’s heartfelt desire is to protect and rescue the women who are in danger without causing more harm. As Clara develops secret plots to thwart the plans of the notorious witch-finder and works to help the villagers, she finds friendship and the possibility of true love.

From the bestselling author of Catching a Witch comes the continuing story of a brave, unwavering woman who defends the innocent. Set during a tumultuous time in history, Trailing the Hunter will captivate readers.

https://books2read.com/u/4AzJKo

Le chant de Sam par Hannah Howe

L’amour fait mal. Pour Derwena de Caro, chanteuse, icône de la pop et des ados, le succès a apporté avec lui drogues, alcool et un petit ami coureur de jupons. Le succès a également apporté la fortune, la gloire et un harceleur, selon ses dires. Et c’est là que j’entre en scène : pour enquêter sur l’identité de ce soi-disant harceleur, en étant loin de m’imaginer que la piste me mènera jusqu’au meurtre et un scandale qui fera la une des journaux pendant des mois.

L’amour fait mal. Pour moi, Samantha Smith, détective privée, l’amour est toujours arrivé au bout d’un coup de poing. D’abord avec ma mère alcoolique, qui se défoulait sur moi quand j’étais plus jeune, puis avec mon mari, Dan, qui considérait les violences conjugales comme faisant partie intégrante du mariage. Mais j’ai survécu. J’ai obtenu le divorce, conservé mon sens de l’humour et un semblant d’optimisme. J’ai lancé ma société et gagné le respect de mes pairs. Mais je n’étais ni prête à ce que Dan refasse irruption dans ma vie ni pour l’affection que le Dr. Alan Storey me porte – un psychologue empathique et assez alléchant.

Le chant de Sam est l’histoire d’une semaine qui a pour toujours changé ma vie.

https://books2read.com/u/mKxkoV

Books of the Week #28

Skitnikut – usmivki I sulzi: Rasmisleniata na edin bulgarski emigrant (Bulgarian) by Ronesa Aveela

Vseki chovek e edin postoyanen proekt: promenya se, adaptira se – ponyakoga kum po-dobro, drug put– kum po-losho. Tsyal jivot nie se skitame, za da namerim po-dobro myasto za zhivot, po-dobra rabota, da usvoim novi umeniya, da napravim otkritie ili da izobretim neshto stoinostno.

V nashi dni tekhnologiite premakhnakha fizicheskite granitsi. Skitame ne samo putuvaiki do razlichni mesta po sveta, no vuv virtualnoto prostranstvo s lekota „ot·skachame“ v mrezhata, kudeto suzdavame poznanstva v sveta okolo nas. Kogato putuvame, nie gradim novi domove, namirame novi priyateli, otglezhdame detsata si, vdigame svatbi i kazvame posledno sbogom na priyateli i blizki, izprashtame gi v otvudnia svyat. Dori na khilyadi kilometri ot myastoto, kudeto sme otgledani i vuzpitani, nie produlgavame da spazvame nashite obichai i da praktikuvame traditsiite, s koito sme zakurmeni. Spodelyame gi s novi priyateli, koito imat razlichno kulturno nasledstvo, mirogled i vyara; i na svoi red priemame novi. Tryabva da se nauchim da pochitame drugite kulturi tolkova, kolkoto podkrepyame horata ot sobstvenata si obshtnost.

Traditsiite sa chudesen nachin da nauchim detsata na kulturnata i religiozna istoriya na roda, kato im dadem sobstvena samolichnost i koreni.

Kulturata e khram za choveshkata dusha. Tova e neshtoto, koeto nosim sus sebe si, dokato se skitame; neshtoto, koeto razvivame, kogato se prisposobyavame kŭm myastoto, koeto izberem da narichame svoi dom.


The Wanderer – A Tear and A Smile: Reflections of an Immigrant by Ronesa Aveela

A memoir of the life of Ronesa Aveela, relating stories of life in Bulgaria and abroad.

Each person is a constant project: changing and adapting—sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. All our lives we wander to find a better place to live or a better job, to learn new skills, to make a discovery, or to invent something of value.

Today, technology has removed boundaries. We can easily physically travel to different places in the world, but we can also “bounce” around the virtual space of the web, where we make acquaintances worldwide.

In our travels, we build our homes, make new friends, raise our children, attend weddings, and say goodbye to friends and family, sending them to the world beyond. Even thousands of miles from where we were born and raised, we keep our customs and practice the traditions that we have been nourished with. We share them with friends who have a different cultural heritage, upbringing, and faith; and we in turn accept new ones. We must learn to respect other cultures as much as we support people in our own community.

Traditions are a great way to teach children the cultural and religious history of mankind by giving them their own identity and roots.

Culture is a temple for the human soul. This is what we carry with us as we wander, what we develop as we adapt to the place we choose to call our home.

https://books2read.com/u/3Raq5j

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? / Oso pardo, oso pardo, ¿qué ves ahí? (Bilingual board book – English / Spanish) (Brown Bear and Friends) by Bill Martin, Jr and Eric Carle

A big happy frog, a plump purple cat, a handsome blue horse, and a soft yellow duck– all parade across the pages of this delightful bilingual edition of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? (Oso pardo, oso parado, que ves ¿qué ves ahí?). Children will immediately respond to Eric Carle’s flat, boldly colored collages. Combined with Bill Martin’s singsong text, they create unforgettable images of these endearing animals.

https://books2read.com/u/31rEAr

My Brilliant Friend (Neapolitan Novels Book 1) by Elena Ferrante

From one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, comes this ravishing and generous-hearted novel about a friendship that lasts a lifetime. The story of Elena and Lila begins in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else, as their friendship, beautifully and meticulously rendered, becomes a not always perfect shelter from hardship. Ferrante has created a memorable portrait of two women, but My Brilliant Friend is also the story of a nation. Through the lives of Elena and Lila, Ferrante gives her readers the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country undergoing momentous change.

Elena Ferrante is the author of three previous works of critically acclaimed fiction: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, and The Lost Daughter. With this stylishly plotted novel, the first in a series dubbed the “Neapolitan Novels,” she proves herself to be one of Italy’s greatest storytellers.

https://books2read.com/u/baW17L

A Solitary Reaper: A Captain Savva Mystery by Rachael Wright

Secrets, lies, and pain lie under the beautiful and serene mask of the isle of Lesvos, Greece. Captain Alexandros Savva of the Hellenic Police knows all three first hand. The decade-old murder of his only child haunts him and pushes him to solve every case regardless of how undeserving its victim.

Savva and his team are called to Mount Lepetimnos by an American tourist who finds a man murdered on the summit. After fingerprints identify the victim as Matthias Papatonis, a former Greek mafia enforcer, locals and police brass alike label the murder a revenge killing and declare the case closed.

Amid the arrival of a trafficked woman in his home, rescued by the efforts of Syrian refugees, Savva and his newly-minted Lieutenant, Stelios Booras, question what really happened to Matthias. Twenty years ago Matthias ruined countless lives during his tenure in Athens. As Savva investigates to see if there’s more to the brutal murder than the mafia tying up loose ends, long-buried secrets resurface, as do the people who are haunted by them. For not on the small island of Lesvos, nor on the quiet streets of Mitilini, can secrets be kept forever.

A gritty, emotionally-charged mystery, A Solitary Reaper, is a profound exploration of the love which binds us and the secrets which tear us apart.

https://books2read.com/u/b68yO6

Saving Grace: A Victorian Mystery by Hannah Howe

Based on a true story and written by Hannah Howe, author of the Amazon #1 Sam Smith Mystery Series, Saving Grace, “the courtroom drama of the year.”

The Western Mail

2 August 1876

Sensation in the Charles Petrie Case!

Readers may recall that a young banker, by name Mr Charles Petrie, with every opportunity of succeeding in his profession, and commanding a not illiberal income, returned home after riding his horse to dine with his wife, Grace, and her companion, Mrs Quinn. During and after dinner he had nothing to excite him save the receipt of a letter which somewhat annoyed him, and that his wife consumed rather more wine than he considered to be good for her health. Immediately after retiring to his room he was seized with symptoms of irritant poisoning, and despite every effort made on his behalf, he succumbed to its effects. An inquest was held, which vexed the minds of the Coroner’s jury to a degree without precedent in Coroners’ Inquest Law, and an open verdict was returned. However, the matter will not rest there, for after questions in Parliament, a second inquest has been called under suspicion that Mr Charles Petrie was murdered.


* * *

Who poisoned Charles Petrie? Dr James Collymore, a man familiar with poisons, a man harbouring a dark secret that, if exposed, would ruin his career; Florrie, the maid who supplied Charles with his bedtime drink; Bert Kemp, a disgruntled groom, who used poisons in his work, who four months previously had predicted Charles’ dying day; Mrs Jennet Quinn, a lady’s companion with a deep knowledge of poisons, and a deep fear of dismissal; or Grace Petrie, Charles’ wife of four months, a woman with a scandalous past, a woman shunned by polite society.

With crowds flocking to the courtroom and the shadow of suspicion falling upon Grace in the shape of the hangman’s noose, could dashing young advocate, Daniel Morgan, save her?

Finnish, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish versions are also available.

https://books2read.com/u/bpO09W

Books of the Week #22

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy set in turn-of-the-century France.
For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.
Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.
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The House by the River by Lena Manta

From acclaimed Greek writer Lena Manta comes an emotionally powerful saga following five young women as they realize that no matter where life leads them, the only constant is home.
Theodora knows she can’t keep her five beautiful daughters at home forever—they’re too curious, too free spirited, too like their late father. And so, before each girl leaves the small house on the riverside at the foot of Mount Olympus, Theodora makes sure they know they are always welcome to return.
Having survived World War II, the Nazi occupation of Greece, and her husband’s death, Theodora now endures the twenty-year-long silence of her daughters’ absence. Her children have their own lives—they’ve married, traveled the world, and courted romance, fame, and even tragedy. But as they become modern, independent women in pursuit of their dreams, Theodora knows they need her—and each other—more than ever. Have they grown so far apart that they’ve forgotten their childhood home, or will their broken hearts finally lead them back again?
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Never Stop Walking: A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World by Christina Rickardsson

An extraordinary memoir of one woman’s fight to find her true self between the life into which she was born and the one she was given.
Christiana Mara Coelho was born into extreme poverty in Brazil. After spending the first seven years of her life with her loving mother in the forest caves outside São Paulo and then on the city streets, where they begged for food, she and her younger brother were suddenly put up for adoption. When one door closed on the only life Christiana had ever known and on the woman who protected her with all her heart, a new one opened.
As Christina Rickardsson, she’s raised by caring adoptive parents in Sweden, far from the despairing favelas of her childhood. Accomplished and outwardly “normal,” Christina is also filled with rage over what she’s lost and having to adapt to a new reality while struggling with the traumas of her youth. When her world falls apart again as an adult, Christina returns to Brazil to finally confront her past and unlock the truth of what really happened to Christiana Mara Coelho.
A memoir of two selves, Never Stop Walking is the moving story of the profound love between families and one woman’s journey from grief and loss to survival and self-discovery.
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Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

Andre Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.
Now a Major Motion Picture from Director Luca Guadagnino, Starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, and Written by James Ivory
WINNER BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY ACADEMY AWARD
Nominated for Four Oscars

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Stardust: A Sam Smith Mystery (The Sam Smith Mystery Series Book 10) by Hannah Howe

Hired by multimillionaire Jeremy Loudon, my task was simple – find his missing briefcase. Loudon claimed that his briefcase held ten thousand pounds, his winnings from a poker game. However, as the trail unravelled and led to Europe my suspicions deepened. What was in Loudon’s briefcase, beyond the money? Why was he being so evasive? Why did he insist on no police involvement?
My search for the missing briefcase took me to pimps, pornographers, radical feminists, gun runners and the Red Light District of Amsterdam.
Meanwhile, my investigation held a mirror to my own life. Loudon had everything – more money than he could spend, a successful business and a beautiful lover. My business was doing well and my marriage offered plenty of love and happiness. Yet, encounters with my Dutch colleagues raised the question – should I ask for more out of life?
Stardust, the story of one woman’s dream and my hopes for the future.
Also available in Dutch.
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Books of the Week #19

My Love Affair With Italy: Memoir of a single woman’s travels to Italy spanning 45 years from a teenager to retirement by Debbie Mancuso

As a 17-year old Italian American from New Jersey, Debbie became obsessed with the idea of traveling to Italy, and the summer after completing her junior year in high school, she realizes her dream when her parents agree to send her on a student tour for 40 days with no one she knew. Friendships form with another American student, and with Cesare, an Italian medical student living in the same “hotel.” But what transpires is something no one ever expected, especially her mom.
Over the next 45 years, Debbie returns 11 more times, mostly alone. Other trips include her two best friends, another with her father, and horseback riding adventures in the Chianti Region of Tuscany with cousins. Some of the places visited include Rome, Tuscany, the Almalfi Coast, Sicily, Capri, and a 2,500 year-old village in Umbria where the only mode of transportation allowed is a moped or donkey. One hundred years after her great grandmother migrated to America, Debbie locates her family in the most unusual way, culminating with a heartwarming reception.
Rarely staying in hotels, My Love Affair With Italy describes each of the trips, all the types of accommodations such as the agriturismi (farmhouses), the apartments, vineyards, the medieval villages, monastery, villas, and horseback riding centers she stayed in addition to the romances and friends met along the way. At the age of 50, Debbie learns how to horseback ride English style and takes a 100-mile tour cantering through Tuscany, something she was not nearly qualified to do. Within a year, she becomes an exchange student and enrolls in school in Siena, one of Tuscany’s most magnificent cities, to learn Italian and moves in with a local family, she not knowing Italian and they not knowing English. While in school, she befriends a German woman who invites her to stay at her home in the beautiful Bavarian Alps during her next visit to Europe, and Debbie accepts in an attempt to practice Italian with her former classmate, but the trip becomes a shocking revelation.
The book also details the “jewels” of Rome not mentioned in brochures such as The Scala Sancta, the Holy Stairs, holy because they are said to be the stairs that Jesus climbed on his way to his trial before Pontius Pilate, and the Aventine Keyhole, a nondescript-looking door on the Aventine Hill, neatly placing the dome of St. Peter’s right in the center.
Each trip also details why she returns each time, the struggles endured at home after becoming a caregiver, the 50-year friendships that get her through it all, and the shocking way her father shows his presence in Piazza Navona. Lastly, four decades after it all began, there are very surprising reunions and the most unusual romance.
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Treacherous Is the Night (A Verity Kent Mystery Book 2) by Anna Lee Huber

In 1919 England, in the shadow of The Great War, many look to the spirit world for answers. But it will take an all too earthbound intrigue to draw in the discerning heroine of Anna Lee Huber’s latest mystery . . .
It’s not that Verity Kent doesn’t sympathize with those eager to make contact with lost loved ones. After all, she once believed herself a war widow. But now that she’s discovered Sidney is very much alive, Verity is having enough trouble connecting with her estranged husband, never mind the dead. Still, at a friend’s behest, Verity attends a séance, where she encounters the man who still looms between her and Sidney—and a medium who channels a woman Verity once worked with in the Secret Service. Refusing to believe her former fellow spy is dead, Verity is determined to uncover the source of the spiritualist’s top secret revelation.
Then the medium is murdered—and Verity’s investigation is suddenly thwarted. Even Secret Service agents she once trusted turn their backs on her. Undaunted, Verity heads to war-torn Belgium, with Sidney by her side. But as they draw ever closer to the danger, Verity wonders if she’s about to learn the true meaning of till death do us part . . .

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Night Train To Lisbon by Pascal Mercier

Night Train to Lisbon tells the story of mild-mannered, middle-aged Classics scholar Raimund Gregorius. When, one afternoon, he walks out of his class while in the middle of giving a lesson, his uncharacteristic impulsiveness surprises him as much as his students. This break from his usually predictable routine is driven by two chance encounters that morning on his way to work – the first with a mysterious Portuguese woman, and the second with a book discovered in a forgotten corner of an old bookshop, the journal of an enigmatic Portuguese aristocrat. With the book as his talisman, Mundus finds himself boarding the night train to Lisbon on a journey to find out more about its author, Amadeu del Prado – who was this man whose words both haunt and compel him, seeming somehow clairvoyant?
His investigations lead him all over the city, and bring him into contact with those who were entangled in Prado’s life. Gradually, he makes unexpected friends and the picture of an extraordinary man emerges: a difficult, brilliant, charismatic man, a doctor and a poet, and a rebel against Salazar’s dictatorship. And as Prado’s story comes to light so, too, Gregorius himself begins his life anew.
Hurtling through the dark, Night Train to Lisbon is a rich tale, wonderful told, propelled both by the mystery at its heart and its evocative subject.
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Spartacus: The Roman History of the Heroic Slave Revolution by Kelly Mass

Spartacus is the central figure in the first few chapters of this book. He led the slaves to rebel against the Roman oppressors insomuch that it made a significant impact. His name will be remembered in history because of his heroic deeds. Subtopics will be addressed, such as:
 
– Soldiers in the army of Rome.
– Spartacus’ flame and rebellion, and his refuse in Vesuvius.
– What the slave war did.
– Other slave wars.
– The significance of the Auxilia.
– The day the Romans were hit by the Vesuvius’ eruption.
– Historical figures involved in the slave revolution.
– Via Appia and the habit of crucifying.
– Rights of slaves, prostitutes, and household members.
– Racism, taboo, and sexuality in the ancient Roman Empire.
– The rebellion in Sicilly.
– Public patterns and rituals among the Roman population.
– Facts about the soldiers, the army, and the organization of it.
 
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Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey by Ronesa Aveela

Past, present & future come together in this explosive modern tale of love and revenge.
 
Travel to the world of the Balkans with Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey and discover the secret lives of samodivi (Veelas). You’ve met these wondrous, mysterious creatures in different books. Now let Mystical Emona introduce you to samodivi as legend portrays them.
 
Carina, the most enchanting maiden in all of Thrace, is ravished on her wedding day her ring cursed. It will bring happiness to none but her. The curse will be broken only when the ring guides her true love back to her. Every spring she goes to “the other side of the moon” to await the return of her soul mate. After centuries, the ring flashes like a beacon to guide a handsome man named Stefan to Emona.
 
Stefan is a widowed artist from Boston, Mass, with a young daughter. He hopes moving to a secluded village on the Black Sea coast will ease his pain, and the wild, untamed beauty of this surrounding will inspire him to take up his art once again. He meets a mysterious woman and his life changes. He is drawn to her by some unknown bond, but cannot give his heart to her fully because his memories refuse to release their hold on him. Then the dreams begin. Some delightful. Others terrifying.
 
Take the journey to Mystical Emona and find out if the lovers reunite. The book is sure to enchant you with its perfect blend of history, legends, rituals, and romance.
 
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Books of the Week #4

A Vineyard in Andalusia by María Dueñas 

1861. A ruined silver-mine owner sets sail from Mexico City to seek his fortune in the New World.

Mauro Larrera has just four months to pay his creditors, or his bankruptcy will be revealed and his family’s honour will be in tatters. In magnificent Havana — home to beautiful women and dangerous men who deal in mysterious trades — he gambles what little he has left on what will become the greatest adventure of his life …

A Vineyard in Andalusia is a novel of glories and defeats; of silver mines, family secrets, vineyards, cellars, and splendid cities of faded grandeur; of unexpected passion, and love in the strangest of circumstances.

Below the Surface (Maria Kallio Book 8) by Leena Lehtolainen

When a woman’s body turns up in a lake—a bullet to the back of her head—Violent Crime Unit commander Maria Kallio, freshly back from maternity leave, is fast to get on the case. The victim is ID’d as Annukka Hackman, wife of a prominent publisher and author of an upcoming unauthorized tell-all book on Sasha Smeds, Finland’s celebrated racing rally driver.

Almost as soon as the inquiry starts, it goes off the rails, as those connected to Annukka—and to Smeds—seem to have more secrets than they have alibis. Was the journalist about to reveal a bombshell that someone was desperate to keep quiet? Or will it take some reading between the lines? The clues may be few, but the list of suspects is long. As she struggles to balance her home life, run a department tainted by career-threatening allegations, and catch a killer, Maria is shocked to find just what someone was willing to do in the name of love…or revenge.

https://books2read.com/u/bzWQeE

Where the Desert Meets the Sea: A Novel by Werner Sonne

An illuminating and heart-stirring historical novel set in post-WWII Palestine, where the boundaries of love and friendship are challenged by the intractable conflicts of war.
Jerusalem, 1947: Judith, a young Jewish survivor of the Dachau concentration camp, arrives in Mandatory Palestine, seeking refuge with her only remaining relative, her uncle. When she learns that he has died, she tries to take her own life in despair.

After awakening in the hospital, Judith learns that Hana, a Muslim Arab nurse, has saved her life by donating her own blood. While the two women develop a fragile bond, each can’t help but be drawn deeper into the political machinations tearing the country apart. After witnessing the repeated attacks inflicted on the Jews, Judith makes the life-changing decision to join the Zionist fight for Jerusalem. And Hana’s star-crossed love for Dr. David Cohen, an American Jew out of his element and working only to save lives, will put her own life in danger.

Then the political situation worsens. When tensions erupt, a shocking act of violence threatens Judith and Hana’s friendship—and the destinies of everyone they love.

https://books2read.com/u/4jel7X

Lives Other Than My Own: A Memoir by Emmanuel Carrère 

In Sri Lanka, a tsunami sweeps a child out to sea, her grand-father helpless against the onrushing water. In France, a young woman succumbs to illness, leaving her husband and small children bereft. Present at both events, Emmanuel Carrère sets out to tell the story of two families—shattered and ultimately restored. What he accomplishes is nothing short of a literary miracle: a heartrending narrative of endless love, a meditation on courage and decency in the face of adversity, an intimate and reverent look at the extraordinary beauty and nobility of ordinary lives.

Precise, sober, and suspenseful, as full of twists and turns as any novel, Lives Other Than My Own confronts terrifying catastrophes to illuminate the astonishing richness of human connection: a grandfather who thought he had found paradise—too soon—and now devotes himself to helping his neighbors rebuild their village; a husband so in love with his ailing wife that he carries her in his arms like a knight does his princess; and finally, Carrère himself, longtime chronicler of the tormented self, who unexpectedly finds consolation and even joy as he immerses himself in the lives of others.

https://books2read.com/u/mg0VXD

Stardust: A Sam Smith Mystery by Hannah Howe

Available in Dutch and English.

Hired by multimillionaire Jeremy Loudon, my task was simple – find his missing briefcase. Loudon claimed that his briefcase held ten thousand pounds, his winnings from a poker game. However, as the trail unravelled and led to Europe my suspicions deepened. What was in Loudon’s briefcase, beyond the money? Why was he being so evasive? Why did he insist on no police involvement?

My search for the missing briefcase took me to pimps, pornographers, radical feminists, gun runners and the Red Light District of Amsterdam.

Meanwhile, my investigation held a mirror to my own life. Loudon had everything – more money than he could spend, a successful business and a beautiful lover. My business was doing well and my marriage offered plenty of love and happiness. Yet, encounters with my Dutch colleagues raised the question – should I ask for more out of life?

Stardust, the story of one woman’s dream and my hopes for the future.

https://books2read.com/u/38EkEw