Tag Archives: Netherlands

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 #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

Books of the Week #3

The Boy Between Worlds: A Biography by Annejet van der Zijl

When they fell in love in 1928, Rika and Waldemar could not have been more different. She was a thirty-seven-year-old Dutch-born mother, estranged from her husband. He was her immigrant boarder, not yet twenty, and a wealthy Surinamese descendant of slaves. The child they have together, brown skinned and blue eyed, brings the couple great joy yet raises some eyebrows. Until the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands explodes their promising life.

What unfolds is more than the astonishing story of a love that prevailed over convention. It’s also the quest of a young boy. Through the cruelty of World War II, he will fight for a connection between his father’s South American birthplace and his mother’s European traditions. Lost and displaced for much of his life, but with a legacy of resilience in his blood, he will struggle to find his place in the world.

Moving deftly between personal experience and the devastating machinations of war, The Boy Between Worlds is an unforgettable journey of hope, love, and courage in the face of humanity’s darkest hour.

books2read.com/u/mlr1lv

Still Waters (Sandhamn Murders Book 1) by Viveca Sten

On a hot July morning on Sweden’s idyllic vacation island of Sandhamn, a man takes his dog for a walk and makes a gruesome discovery: a body, tangled in fishing net, has washed ashore.

Police detective Thomas Andreasson is the first to arrive on the scene. Before long, he has identified the deceased as Krister Berggren, a bachelor from the mainland who has been missing for months. All signs point to an accident—until another brutalized corpse is found at the local bed-and-breakfast. But this time it is Berggren’s cousin, whom Thomas interviewed in Stockholm just days before.

As the island’s residents reel from the news, Thomas turns to his childhood friend, local lawyer Nora Linde. Together, they attempt to unravel the riddles left behind by these two mysterious outsiders—while trying to make sense of the difficult twists their own lives have taken since the shared summer days of their youth.

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Elven Winter (The Saga of the Elven Book 2) by Bernhard Hennen

At the height of its power, the elven court of Queen Emerelle revels in the joyful Festival of Light. Yet, as tribes gather to reaffirm their loyalty to the queen, treachery festers within the nobility. An assassination attempt leaves Emerelle severely injured and plunges the realm back into the throes of an ancient war.

While an army of trolls ravages the kingdom, the elves seek aid from Alfadas, the human hero who was raised among them. Back in the land of men, Alfadas has settled into a quiet life as his village’s protector. But when his former mentor appears asking for his help, Alfadas is quick to oblige.

Alfadas sets out to defeat the elves’ foes. However, marching to war means abandoning his village—and his wife. And Albenmark isn’t the only world facing monstrous threats…

https://books2read.com/u/bOGV59

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

Bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street and feels impelled to return it to its owner. The bag contains no money, phone or contact information. But a small red notebook with handwritten thoughts and jottings reveals a person that Laurent would very much like to meet. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?

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

Light Love Rituals: Bulgarian Myths, Legends, and Folklore by Ronesa

• Discover Ancient Bulgarian Myths, Legends, Folklore, and Mythology

• Meet Heroes from Greek Mythology with Thracian Origins

• Enjoy Diverse, Delicious Modern and Traditional Bulgarian Recipes

A book for children and adults from 8 to 108 who would like to take a journey and discover Bulgarian folk tales, legends, and mythology. Whether you want to learn a little about their ancient Thracian origins, or you want to experience rituals practiced throughout the year with a fictitious Bulgarian family, or even if you’re only interested in traditional Bulgarian cuisine, this book has something for everyone.

https://books2read.com/u/3kvE5G

Europe by Book #2

The Rhine: Following Europe’s Greatest River from Amsterdam to the Alps by Ben Coates

The Rhine is one of the world’s greatest rivers. Once forming the outer frontier of the Roman Empire, it flows 800 miles from the social democratic playground of the Netherlands, through the industrial and political powerhouses of Germany and France, to the wealthy mountain fortresses of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

For five years, Ben Coates lived alongside a major channel of the river in Rotterdam, crossing it daily, swimming and sailing in its tributaries. In The Rhine, he sets out by bicycle from the Netherlands where it enters the North Sea, following it through Germany, France and Liechtenstein, to its source in the icy Alps. He explores the impact that the Rhine has had on European culture and history and finds out how influences have flowed along and across the river, shaping the people who live alongside it.

BBlending travelogue and offbeat history, The Rhine tells the fascinating story of how a great river helped shape a continent.

books2read.com/u/3nK0eR

The German Girl: A Novel by Armando Lucas Correa

Berlin, 1939. Before everything changed, Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. But now the streets of Berlin are draped in ominous flags; her family’s fine possessions are hauled away; and they are no longer welcome in the places they once considered home. A glimmer of hope appears in the shape of the St. Louis, a transatlantic ocean liner promising Jews safe passage to Cuba. At first, the liner feels like a luxury, but as they travel, the circumstances of war change, and the ship that was to be their salvation seems likely to become their doom.

New York, 2014. On her twelfth birthday, Anna Rosen receives a mysterious package from an unknown relative in Cuba, her great-aunt Hannah. Its contents inspire Anna and her mother to travel to Havana to learn the truth about their family’s mysterious and tragic past.

Weaving dual time frames, and based on a true story, The German Girl is a beautifully written and deeply poignant story about generations of exiles seeking a place to call home.

books2read.com/u/mKEnPP

The Voice of the Violin (The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries Book 4) by Andrea Camilleri

Inspector Montalbano, praised as “a delightful creation” (USA Today), has been compared to the legendary detectives of Georges Simenon, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. As the fourth mystery in the internationally bestselling series opens, Montalbano’s gruesome discovery of a lovely, naked young woman suffocated in her bed immediately sets him on a search for her killer. Among the suspects are her aging husband, a famous doctor; a shy admirer, now disappeared; an antiques-dealing lover from Bologna; and the victim’s friend Anna, whose charms Montalbano cannot help but appreciate…But it is a mysterious, reclusive violinist who holds the key to the murder.

books2read.com/u/bpKvv6

Hippie by Paulo Coelho

After hitchhiking from Brazil to nearly halfway around the world, Paulo stumbles across Karla, a young Dutch woman and like-minded soul, in Amsterdam’s famous Dam Square.
Together they decide to take the fabled hippie trail across Europe to Nepal, aboard the Magic Bus, in search of self-discovery. So begins a life-defining love story that will set the course for the rest of their lives.

Drawing on the rich experience of his own life, Paulo Coelho relives the dreams of a generation that longed for peace and challenged the established social order.

books2read.com/u/mv7A2X

The Hermit of Hisarya by Hannah Howe

This book is available in English and Bulgarian.

Some people will stop at nothing in their pursuit of wealth and power. Indeed, the greedy will often resort to murder.

“You’ve been through a stressful time recently, ” my fiance, Dr Alan Storey said. “I’m off to Bulgaria to attend a psychology conference so why don’t you accompany me and we’ll throw in a holiday as well.”

Great idea, I thought. However, when I arrived in Bulgaria my inquisitive nature compelled me towards a mystery dating back to the Second World War. That mystery involved Emil Angelov, the Hermit of Hisarya. As I delved into the past I stirred up some ghosts, which led to murder and the prospect of spending the rest of my days in a Bulgarian gaol.

The Hermit of Hisarya – a story of corruption, of murder, of a woman and her seventy-year-old dream, offering proof that the past, the present and the future are all intrinsically entwined.

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