The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A SPARROW IN TEREZIN - A Hidden Masterpiece Novel #2 By Kristy Cambron

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date:  April 7, 2015
Pages:  353
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Format:  Kindle
My Rating: 4+ Stars⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Book: 
Bound together across time, two women will discover a powerful connection through one survivor's story of hope in the darkest days of a war-torn world. Present Day--With the grand opening of her new art gallery and a fairy tale wedding just around the corner, Sera James feels she's stumbled into a charmed life--until a brutal legal battle against fiancé William Hanover threatens to destroy the perfectly planned future she's planned before it even begins. Now, after an eleventh-hour wedding ceremony and a callous arrest, William faces a decade in prison for a crime he never committed, and Sera must battle the scathing accusations that threaten her family and any hope for a future.

1942--Kája Makovsky narrowly escaped occupied Prague in 1939, and was forced to leave her half-Jewish family behind. Now a reporter for the Daily Telegraph in England, Kája
discovers the terror has followed her across the Channel in the shadowy form of the London Blitz. When she learns Jews are being exterminated by the thousands on the continent, Kája has no choice but to return to her mother city, risking her life to smuggle her family to freedom and peace.

Connecting across a century through one little girl, a Holocaust survivor with a foot in each world, these two women will discover a kinship that springs even in the darkest of times. In this tale of hope and survival, Sera and Kája must cling to the faith that sustains and fight
to protect all they hold dear--even if it means placing their own futures on the line.

Wanda's Thoughts: 
The marriage of William and Sera is hindered by William's past. He is being charged of felony grand theft and forgery, and is facing prison time for crimes he didn’t commit. But Sera is determined to face the humiliation because she trusts her husband, and believes in his innocence.

Kaja fled Nazi-occupied Prague in March of 1939, leaving her half Jewish parents behind, with a promise from them that they would be on the next train. Kaja’s parents had sent her away because things had begun to turn bad in Prague, but they had no way of knowing that their daughter was now in the most dangerous place in the world. War had chased her to an ARP Shelter in the heart of London – she was living in the Blitz, caught up in another nightmare.

Kaja read that the Nazis were killing Jews, rounding them up and sending them away where many of them were never heard from again. The camps in the East were killing centers where the Jews, along with women and children, were murdered with bullets and by gas. Kaja makes the decision to return to Prague to rescue her parents.

Liam Marshall, a reporter assigned to the war beat, meets Kaja in London, and is immediately attracted to her. A romance soon blossoms between them. Liam knew there was no way of stopping Kaja from returning to Prague. He understood Kaja’s heart and used his connections to help her in her quest. Kaja was a woman of incredible will, and astounding courage, who was about to embark on a harrowing journey of great sadness.

And the story unfolds as Kaja returns to Prague and ends up in Terezin, a halfway point – a holding pen for Jews that was a combined ghetto and concentration camp. Between 1942 – 1944 more than 15,000 children passed through Terezin, living in horrific conditions, while they awaited to be transported from the ghettos to one of the Nazi killing centers.

The author cleverly weaves together two storylines that are compelling and beautifully written. The characters are strong and unique, and the engrossing story that takes place during WWII is vividly described – quite captivating.

A slight negative comment – I couldn’t become fully engaged with the story of William and Sera, and I did read the first book in the series, The Butterfly and the Violin. My rating is 4.5 stars.

Prepare to lose yourself in this thrilling novel, beautifully crafted, by an extraordinary author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for and honest review.  

About the Author: 
I'm active on social media - stop by Twitter @kcambronauthor and Facebook to say Hello!

Jesus follower. Wife & mom. Author of THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN and A SPARROW IN TEREZIN. Love all things vintage. Not a fan of cancer. Friend to coconut mocha lattes the world over. KristyCambron.Com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

THE PLUM TREE By Ellen Marie Wiseman

Publisher:  Kensington
Release Date: 2012
Pages: 387
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Format:  Kindle
My Rating: 5+ Stars⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Book:  A deeply moving and masterfully written story of human resilience and enduring love, The Plum Tree follows a young German woman through the chaos of World War II and its aftermath."Bloom where you're planted," is the advice Christine Bölz receives from her beloved Oma. But seventeen-year-old domestic Christine knows there is a whole world waiting beyond her small German village. It's a world she's begun to glimpse through music, books--and through Isaac Bauerman, the cultured son of the wealthy Jewish family she works for. 

Yet the future she and Isaac dream of sharing faces greater challenges than their difference in stations. In the fall of 1938, Germany is changing rapidly under Hitler's regime. Anti-Jewish posters are everywhere, dissenting talk is silenced, and a new law forbids Christine from returning to her job--and from having any relationship with Isaac. In the months and years that follow, Christine will confront the Gestapo's wrath and the horrors of Dachau, desperate to be with the man she loves, to survive--and finally, to speak out. 

Set against the backdrop of the German homefront, this is an unforgettable novel of courage and resolve, of the inhumanity of war, and the heartbreak and hope left in its wake.

Wanda's Thoughts: 
This was not an easy read, and certainly not for the faint of heart, but an incredible story about the Holocaust, that was just heart wrenching. WWII and the Holocaust was a horrible time in our history that brought great sadness to the Jewish people. But this is the story of survival, and the misery of six years, told from a German girl’s perspective.

Details of WWII are woven together with a romance between a seventeen–year-old German girl, Christine, and a German Jew, Isaac, who were from two different worlds. Isaac was the son of a wealthy lawyer, and Christine was the daughter of a poor mason. As a result of their forbidden love, they found themselves in a boxcar, headed to Dachau, crushed like kindling, filling every square inch of space. It was dark and stifling hot, the stench unbearable – a harrowing and devastating experience.

From the book – “War makes perpetrators of some, criminals of others, and victims of everyone. Not all of the soldiers on the front are fighting for Hitler and his ideals. Just because a soldier is in the battle, doesn’t mean that he believes in the war.”

“They’re murdering thousands of people. Along with Jews, they’re killing Gypsies, the crippled, the feeble minded, the elderly. They’re gassing them and burning the corpses in giant ovens. Unless prisoners can be of some use, and then they’ll work them until they die.”

The writing and plot are solid, the in-depth storyline intriguing, and the characters are captivating. I can’t imagine anything more horrific than WWII and the Holocaust. This is a story you’ll not soon forget. I highly recommend. 5+ stars.

About the Author:  Ellen Marie Wiseman's debut novel, The Plum Tree, was released by Kensington Publishing on December 25th, 2012. Set in Nazi Germany, The Plum Tree is an epic story of human resilience and enduring hope that follows a young German woman through WWII as she struggles to survive poverty and Allied bombs, finds the courage to outwit SS officers, and risks everything trying to save the love of her life, a Jewish man. Find Ellen on Facebook at: or like The Plum Tree at: Fan Page:

Monday, May 11, 2015


Publisher:  Ballantine  Books
Expected Release Date: July 28, 2015
Pages: 368
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating:  4 Stars⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Book:  Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller The Paris Wife, takes readers into the glamorous and decadent circle of British expats living in Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun tells the story of the beautiful young horse trainer, adventurer, and aviator Beryl Markham, from her childhood in British East Africa to her relationship with hunter Denys Finch Hatton and rivalry with Out of Africa author Karen Blixen—a notorious love triangle that changed the course of Beryl’s life.

Wanda's Review: 
Paula McLain certainly created an interesting cast of eccentric characters, bringing them to life, and the writing is both beautiful and descriptive. I was immediately pulled into the storyline.

Beryl Markham emerges as a strong and determined woman, but also a very complicated woman with an adventurous spirit. She becomes a horse trainer, stepping into her father’s shadow, and is granted an English trainer’s license at a young age. It was a dream - come true. Later, she becomes an aviator, where the challenges of flying brought her alive, giving her a feeling of freedom.

Beryl struggled with one failed relationship after another, many of them poor choices, and seemed to be at the center of many scandals and gossip. She becomes friends with Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa, but soon betrays her by becoming romantically involved with Denys Finch Hatton, and a love triangle evolves. Karen and Beryl both loved Denys, but Denys belonged to no one and never had. Denys was perhaps the only man Beryl ever truly loved, and their relationship changed the direction of her life over and over again.

The beautiful and bold Beryl Markham was certainly ahead of her time, led an adventurous life, a life that never lacked confidence. A great read! 4 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Goodreads as a first-reads-winner.

About the Author:  Paula McLain has published two collections of poetry, “Less of Her” and “Stumble, Gorgeous,” both from New Issues Poetry Press, and a memoir entitled “Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses” (Little, Brown, 2003). “A Ticket to Ride,” is her debut novel from Ecco/HarperCollins. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996, and has since been a writer-in-residence at Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, and The Ucross Foundation Residency Program, and received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council. Individual poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including the Gettysburg Review, Antioch Review, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. As well as teaching part-time at John Carroll University, she is a core faculty member in the low-residency MFA Program in Poetry at New England College.