(Review) No Woman’s Land: A Holocaust Novel by Ellie Midwood

02_No Woman's Land
Publisher and Publication Date: Independent. May 15, 2019.
Genre: Historical fiction. World War II. Holocaust.
Pages: 314.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author, but was not required to give a positive review.
Audience: Readers of World War II, Holocaust, and historical fiction.
Rating: Excellent.

Amazon
The Kindle Unlimited copy is free for members.

“It was very dangerous for him, and he knew it. But his love for me was stronger than fear.” – Ilse Stein

Summary:
This novel is based on the inspiring and moving love story of Ilse Stein, a German Jew, and Willy Schultz, a Luftwaffe Captain in the Minsk ghetto, who risked his life to save the one he loved the most.
When the last of the Jews’ rights are stripped in 1941, Ilse’s family is deported to a Minsk ghetto. Confined to a Sonderghetto and unable to speak the locals’ language, Ilse struggles to support the surviving members of her family. Befriended by a local underground member Rivka, Ilse partakes in small acts of resistance and sabotage to help her fellow Jews escape to the partisans.
A few months later, after losing almost his entire brigade of workers to one of the bloodiest massacres conducted by the SS, a local administrative officer Willy Schultz summons the survivors to form a new brigade. Ilse’s good looks immediately catch his eye, and he makes her a leader of the new unit and later, an office worker. Soon, an unlikely romance blossoms amid death and gore, moving a Nazi officer to go to great risks to protect not only Ilse but as many others as possible and allowing a Jewish girl to open her heart to the former enemy. Knowing that the ghetto would soon be liquidated, Willy Schultz swears to save Ilse, even if the cost would be his own life.
“We live together, or we die together,” – an ultimate oath of love in the most harrowing setting.
Dark, haunting, but full of hope, No Woman’s Land is a testament to the love that is stronger than fear and death itself.

My Thoughts:
I love this story!

Reasons why I gave No Woman’s Land an excellent review:
•Chapter One begins in 1940. World War II is going on, but for Ilse Stein and her family in Frankfurt they do not see the effects of war. The Stein family has experienced the restrictions of Jews in Germany, but Ilse is still able to work. She is still able to rebel a bit. In the first chapter, I’m given a glimpse at the strong and resilient personality of Ilse. She is a teenage girl, but has the heart of a lion. She is a great character. I see her strengths and also see what is going on around her. I feel an investment in her outcome. She is a character that keeps me reading.
•Descriptions are significant to setting the scene and atmosphere of a story. I felt, Midwood did an excellent job at creating the dark despair of the time period.
•An interesting element is shown in the Jewish Ghetto Ilse is sent to. It is how the Soviet and German Jews view one another. This is not something I’d thought of before and I’m glad Midwood brought this to the story.
No Woman’s Land is fiction, but the story is based on fact. The main characters and their stories are true. Many of the things about the story is true or based on fact. I wonder why Midwood chose to write a fiction book and not a biography? The story is wonderful, but I feel if it had been all factual information it would also be wonderful. Either way it is an unusual love story in harrowing surroundings.

About the Author:
Ellie Midwood is a best-selling, award-winning historical fiction writer. She’s a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, a neat freak, an adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew and a doggie mama.
Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.
Readers’ Favorite – winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) – “The Girl from Berlin: Standartenfuhrer’s Wife
Readers’ Favorite – winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) – “The Austrian” (honorable mention)
New Apple – 2016 Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing – “The Austrian” (official selection)
For more information on Ellie and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

03_Ellie Midwood

I do not host giveaways. This link will take you to the giveaway link: https://gleam.io/Tiz79/no-womans-land

03_No Woman's Land Poster

(Review) Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

Hannah Coulter
Publisher and Publication Date: Counterpoint LLC. 2005.
Genre: Fiction. Women. Family. World War II.
Pages: 190.
Source: E book copy from Library.
Audience: Readers of women and family stories. This is a thinking story. A thoughtful book.
Rating: Excellent.

Amazon

 

 

 

Further links on Wendell Berry:
Poetry Foundation
Wendell Berry books
Britannica

Wendell Erdman Berry was born in 1934. He was born in Kentucky. He is a farmer and writer. The Britannica link gives a full biography.

This is the first book I’ve read by Wendell Berry. I plan to read more of his writings.

The title of the book is the name of the main character. Hannah is the voice. This is the story of her life. Her perspective, thoughts, feelings, fears, sadness, wistfulness, joy, longing, and reflection.
The story begins by letting me know some of the big moments: who she will marry, children, and the early part of her husband’s life before the war. So, I was given a little information about the books journey, but I didn’t know the fullness of experiences Hannah lived.
Hannah lived in a rural area most of her life. She is a white woman. She didn’t travel or have the ability to know much about what happened outside her community. She lives in Kentucky. She is born in the early part of the 20th century. She is apart of the Builder’s Generation. The Greatest Generation. People who experienced the Great Depression and World War II.
I’ve read a few reviews on this book and readers have been bothered that Hannah does not know people of other races. They don’t understand how this could be true. If you live in a rural area and amongst people who look like you do. If there isn’t Internet, and desegregation has not happened, and when going to town you don’t encounter people of another race, then that experience is not apart of your life. This is a different time period. This is history. People in history lived differently than we do.
A second point on this topic: Hannah shared about herself, family, and close friends. This was her world. She wrote about what she knew. When an event (World War II) impacted herself or family she reflected on it.
A final point: Hannah’s life experiences are things that people of any race or gender can identify. For example: an amazing grandmother.
I think it’s interesting Wendell Berry does not use technology. It’s possible that his non use of technology is transferred to the female character of Hannah. Internet makes the world closer to home. This is a personal choice to use or not use technology.

What I love about this story:
•Hannah shares her wisdom. When she realizes she has made a mistake about a perception or judgement of a person, she admits this and what she’s learned. I’m able to watch Hannah grow into the woman she becomes. Through life experiences, how she handles them, what she learns from them, and how she makes peace.
•She is a patient person. She knew her husband suffered from PTSD, but did not push him to reveal what he didn’t want to reveal. She was just there, beside him, and in a loving manner she loved him as best she could.
•She greets changes in life with grace. She had hard life experiences. She had joy. She raised children and watched them depart from home. At each stage, she had the grace to meet those challenges.
•Hannah is a person of gratitude. Even while experiencing grief, Hannah has reasons to be thankful.
•She reflects on the past, but lives in the present.
•This book is filled with memorable quotes. Quotes that are sheer beauty. They are filled with emotion. They prick the heart.
•She is okay with silence. She is not a woman or person who needs noise to fill her senses. She is okay with silence. She is okay with the quiet but hardworking life in rural Kentucky.
•Hannah Coulter is the story about the dynamics of relationships. Husbands and wives, parents and children, women who help other women, and friends.

Final Thoughts:
•It’s rare for me to cry while reading a book. I shed tears while reading the ending.
•This is a book that in some way most readers can relate or identify with.
•This is one of the most memorable and touching stories I’ve read.

A final point. I promise!
Wendell Berry writes long sentences. I counted 142 words in one sentence.
Do you remember a famous author who wrote lengthy sentences?

(Review) My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love by Amanda Barratt

42183262
Publisher and Publication Date: Kregel. June 9, 2019.
Genre: Historical fiction. World War II. Germany.
Pages: 360.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Kregel, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Audience: Readers of World War II history. Readers who want to understand civilian life in Germany during World War II. Bonhoeffer readers.
Rating: Good.

Amazon

The edition I reviewed is an ebook copy through NetGalley.

It’s important to note this book is based on the historical research on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This book is a work of fiction. It is not a biography. The thoughts and dialogue of Bonhoeffer is what the author has fictionalized.

Summary:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Protestant theologian, pastor, and writer. He was born in 1906 and died in 1945.
My Dearest Dietrich focuses on the period of time Dietrich was involved in an action against Hitler. As the war progressed, and as the brutalities against the Jews escalated, and Dietrich was silenced by the Nazi regime, Dietrich became apart of a plot against Hitler. During this period of involvement against Hitler, Bonhoeffer became romantically involved with a young woman named Maria von Wedemeyer.

Further links of interest:
Britannica
Biography Online
Holocaust Encyclopedia
“Bonhoeffer in Love”/Christianity Today.
In the above article from Christianity Today, they allow a snippet to be read (they want subscribers only.)

List of books by or about Bonhoeffer on Amazon.
For a biography of Bonhoeffer, please read Eric Metaxas’s book. It is 608 pages. Link for book at Amazon.

My Thoughts:
•I have read several books about people who no longer live that have been fictionalized. No one but that person knows what they think and feel unless they communicate these things and someone writes them down verbatim as acknowledged truth. Private conversations between lovers are rarely passed on to other people because they are of a private nature. I state all of this to address the first point I have on this book. It is an educated guess as to what Bonhoeffer and Wedemeyer spoke about and felt. A huge help is from the book, Love Letters from Cell 92. I have not read this book, but it is the correspondence between them. These letters give a glimpse of their feelings and relationship, but do not give the totality. People may read My Dearest Dietrich and forget it is historical fiction.
•From what I’ve read about Dietrich, he was a reserved and private man. My Dearest Dietrich gives a solid view of those personality qualities. Maria was similar in temperament. When both of the main characters are reserved type people the book can be humdrum. Their personalities compliment one another and go together well, but to read about their relationship it is not as interesting.
•What I enjoyed reading is Bonhoeffer’s commitment, perseverance, and sacrifice to stop Hitler at all cost. This is the passion that is big in the book. Yes, I believe he loved Maria and was committed to her. The big story is his involvement in the plot and sacrifices made to thwart the Nazi regime.

(Review) Understanding Medicines For Anxiety by Wallace B. Mendelson MD

Understanding Medications for Anxiety
Publisher and Publication Date: Independent published. June 24, 2019.
Genre: Psychology. Anxiety. Medications.
Pages: 120.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author, Wallace B. Mendelson, MD., but was not required to leave a favorable review.
Audience: Readers who want to understand medications used for anxiety and depression.
Rating: Excellent.

Amazon
The Kindle copy is free in the Kindle Unlimited program.

 

If you take medication for anxiety or depression. If you have a loved one who takes medication for anxiety or depression. I recommend this book to you!

Dr. Mendelson has a page on Amazon. He is a Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Chicago.

Summary:
Understanding Medicines For Anxiety is a brief educational study of anxiety and the medications used to treat it. In this book, Mendelson explains: the definition of anxiety, the list of medications, how the compounds work, adverse reactions, history of anxiety medicines, and other treatments used. The last chapter helps a person with anxiety decide a course of action. This includes questions to ask, how to create a plan, and goals.

My Thoughts:
Reasons why I gave Understanding Medicines For Anxiety an excellent review.
•A quick read that explains in terms that are understandable.
•The list of medications are given, how they work, and adverse reactions they may have.
•Medications used for one thing, but doctors have learned they treat something else. For example: Quetiapine is a antipsychotic drug that can also be used for anxiety or to help a person sleep.
•An explanation of the different types of anxiety disorders.
•Bold print in an easy to read type font size. I believe it is 12 point.
•Clinical studies are explained for medications.
•Medical marijuana and CBD use for anxiety. How they work, what studies show, and side effects.
•This book addresses anxiety, but depression is often included.
•20 black and white, and color illustrations are used.
•How the drug compound works in the brain.
•The history of drugs used for anxiety in the 19th and 20th centuries, and how they began to be abused.

Understanding Medicines For Anxiety is an excellent tool for a person who has anxiety or has a loved one with anxiety.

 

(Review) Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb

Daughters of the Lake
Publisher and Publication Date: Lake Union Publishing. 2018.
Genre: Fiction.
Pages: 317.
Source: Kindle Unlimited copy.
Audience: Hard to tell. Readers who are drawn to fiction, two time periods, and ghost stories.
Rating: Okay.

Amazon
This book is free in the Kindle Unlimited program.

 

 

I was drawn to the book because of the title and cover art. Secondly, I was enticed by the description of the story.
The front cover is gush worthy!

Summary:
Kate Granger is separated from her husband. She’s moved back to her hometown to live near family. Kate and her dog, Sadie, a German Shepherd, go for a walk along Lake Superior. They find the bodies of a woman and infant. Kate is deeply disturbed by finding the two bodies. Even though the police are investigating, Kate, being an investigative journalist, embarks on finding out about the deceased woman. Kate’s cousin is Simon. He and his partner own a bed and breakfast. It is a family home that they are renovating. Kate spends much of the time in this ancestral home filled with aparitions, dreams, and memories to reveal.
Other elements in this story is the legend about Lake Superior. A book that’s been handed down. The mystery surrounding the deaths. Dreams and ghosts. A love story. And, two time periods.

My Thoughts:
There are things I like and dislike about the book.

Dislike:
•Predictable. Kate is a journalist, and it is predictable she’d want to investigate like a bloodhound what happened to the woman and infant. Other predicable things, like the link of Kate and the woman, Kate’s husband is the one who caused the split, and Kate has a gay cousin named Simon. I made that last point, because it could have been the other way around and made the book not predictable. An example, Simon is the main character.
I want to read stories that have not been told before or told in a different way. Teach me something about people I didn’t know. Show me a vulnerable side or a strong side of people who are not the norm predicted to be such.
•The ending. The ending is a rushed-strange-possession-I’ve got whiplash trying to keep up with what’s going on.
•I love a good ghost story, but this one is tepid. It’s possible the building up or descriptions were not icy or edgy enough.

Like:
•The legend of Lake Superior. I’ve not read anything about the curious legend. I’ve googled this, and found there are several legends and stories surrounding Lake Superior.
•The setting. I loved reading about small town quaint life near Lake Superior. So many of the stories I read have a location of the big city or Europe. The description of the town and the area surrounding the lake made me feel I was there.