It may seem like I’ve been in a reading frenzy lately, but I don’t think it is any more than usual – but I’ve finished a couple nearly at the same time, so I’ll briefly review them both. The first is entitled “War Brides”, written by Helen Bryan. It’s set in a genre that I love, WWII England. I’ll admit that the name of the book is rather cheesy, and when I started reading it I wondered if it was going to be another of those silly, fluffy romance novels that I hate. But I kept on reading because I held out hope that it would be a good book. After all, it was recommended by the handful of us WWII nuts on Paperbackswap.com (of which I am one) who share these English novels between us. I’m glad I hung in there. This book was not a bunch of silly gibbering about wartime romance, apart from what the title would imply. It was about a group of five women from all different walks of life who end up living the war years mostly together in a large home in the English countryside. I think the biggest problem I had with the book was as I mentioned, the beginning. The author did not do a great job (IMHO) of introducing each character. I found it quite confusing for a while, but was so glad I hung in there. A great story about strong women who lived through some incredibly tough times.
I’ve often asked myself why does the WWII era interest you so?? I guess it’s for several reasons. It was a time when everyone had to pull together, to actually fight (in many ways) for the freedom that I think we take waaaay too much for granted. It was an era where my own parents met and fell in love, and I often imagine them listening to some of those great old Glenn Miller songs together. And why England? Well, I like WWII novels set in the USA as well, but it was in England where people really had to struggle with daily life and the fear of what could be flying overhead or landing on the beach, everyday. Maybe I have a bit of a soft spot for England because my dear husband’s parents lived that struggle themselves. He in the Royal Worcestershire Regiment and she, at home, in a mine detonator factory. I think I would have loved to have lived then…. but maybe I’m wrong.
The next book is called “Room” by Emma Donoghue. I’d heard – or read a lot of great things about this unusual novel and was excited to get the audio version from our local library. People, I have listened to a LOT of audio books and never has one grabbed me the way this one did. Frankly, I’m surprised I was able to drive and listen at the same time! My mind was completely caught up in the world of “Room”. Room was an 11 X 11 foot converted garden shed where Jack (the 5 year old main character) and his Ma lived his entire life. They were held captive by “Old Nick” – the bad guy who kidnapped Ma when she was 19 and kept her “all to himself”. Obviously, Room was locked so Ma and Jack had to depend on Old Nick for virtually everything. I won’t do a synopsis of the book, but suffice it to say, this was incredible. The person reading Jack’s part in the audio version was the most convincing reader I have EVER heard. The whole book was strange, and scary, and crazy, and amazing, and yet full of love. If I were giving star ratings, I’d give this one 4 out of 5, only because the middle of the book fizzled a tiny bit. But only a tiny bit. This was a great read!