Saturday, July 20, 2019

Historical Book Review: When Sally Came Marching Home by Richard Milton

When Sally Comes Marching Home by Richard Milton
Published 2019 by Bowater Books
Genre: British Historical Fiction, Action Thriller 

Reviewers note: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for honest opinion.

Plot: In 1946 Major Sally Honeychurch, finds herself demobilized and teaching in a girl’s school. Life is dull compared to her work in the war for the Special Operations Executive, where she spent two years behind enemy lines. She’s called back to action when the City of London is threatened. Sally must use all her training to save the city from destruction.

Characters: Sally Honeychurch, tall, blond and extremely smart, is a well drawn and believable character. I quickly found myself cheering her on, a spunky woman in a male-dominated world. But she is not without her flaws, which makes her human and a better hero. I appreciate that the ‘bad guys’ are also human, a mixture of good intentions and evil outcomes. The men who help and hinder her along the way, overcome their male bias against her as she races to save the day. 

As with most action thrillers, the reader must suspend some belief to fully enjoy the book. But if James Bond can save the entire planet, surely Sally Honeychurch can rescue London.

History: The author is well versed in English history before, during and after the war. I found the book fascinating from a historical standpoint. I enjoyed learning about the rise of Fascism in England in the pre-war years and some interesting tidbits concerning HRH Edward, Duke of Windsor. Woven through the story are many ‘real’ characters which added a sense of reality to the story.

Writing: Told in third person, past tense, the book zips along. It is well written, the pace is fast, the story action packed. Although there is quite a bit of historical information packed between the pages, it never bogs down the story. The last few chapters will have you on the edge of your seat. The resolution of the story does not disappoint. 

Conclusion: I really enjoyed this well written action-packed story. A sharp clever main character and a page turning story make for a winning combination. I don’t give out many five stars, but this one fits the bill. I recommend When Sally Comes Marching Home to anyone with an interest in pre/post war England, and action thrillers.

I give this book 5 Stars

If you are interested in this book, click on the cover and the link will take you to Amazon.

My Ratings: 

1  Star: Not good at all, do not read!

2  Stars: Read only as a last resort, no other books available

3 Stars: Good, enjoyed it, will recommend with reservations

4 Stars: Really good, read this book!

5 Stars: So good, I might read it again sometime! Highly recommend

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Historical Fiction Book Review: Of Bitter Herbs and Sweet Confections by Susan Shalev

Of Bitter Herbs and Sweet Confections by Susan Shalev
Self-Published December 2018
198 pages
Genre: Biographical Historical Fiction

Reviewers Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Of Bitter Herbs and Sweet Confections is a wonderfully written book. I was immediately pulled into the story of Tanya and her family. The year 1939, ten-year-old Tanya has no concerns other than hanging with her friends and members of successful Jewish family. Her father makes sweets, her grandfather runs a successful bakery. Life is good, and then it’s not. War rolls through Poland, flattening everything in sight. Tanya’s father wisely decides to flee, leaving behind his company and their beautiful apartment. With little more than the clothes on their back they head east into Russian. 

This is a tale of survival, and resilience under dire circumstances. Riding out the war is Siberia is no picnic as the family moves from town to town, seeking safety.  Even with peace comes more challenges, as Tanya and her family struggle to regain some semblance of their former lives. 

Written in first person, this narrative is fast-paced and intimate. Although fiction the author based the story is based on the real-life experiences of a young girl retold as a grown woman. The characters are well drawn and leap from the pages. Tanya was a delight, and I found myself cheering for her from start to finish. 

Congratulations to Susan Shalev on this amazing novel. 

I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Jewish history, history of WWII, the holocaust, and historical fiction. 

I would rate this book 4 ½ stars 

You may also be interested in the following book:

Fake Papers by Aaron Rocket Another true story of a young Jewish woman who survives the holocaust.