Stiff Upper Lip

Dear Mrs. Bird by A J Pearce is a novel I truly enjoyed! It takes place in London during the German blitzkrieg in WWII. Emmeline, the main character, is a woman in her early twenties who dreams of becoming a war correspondent. Unfortunately, the closest she comes is a part-time position at a women’s magazine. Her boss, Mrs. Bird, is a close-minded woman from another era who authors the advice column. Bird’s overly strict moral code prevents the majority of the scant letters from readers to go unanswered. Sensitive to the needs of the young women whose requests for advice end-up in the waste basket, Emmeline begins to secretly responded to those rejected.

There’s much more to the story and the author cleverly weaves the letters from readers in with the lives of Emmeline and her friends and coworkers to paint a moving portrait of everyday life in London during these trying times.

I think this is an excellent novel. It runs the gamut of emotions. I highly recommend it and am grateful to have read it!

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Screaming Wash Me Please

Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen is a lighthearted novel with a designer little black dress as the main character. This amusing story tells an implausible tale of a little black dress and the nine women who wear it within a short span of time. Each woman has an encounter or agenda of one sort or another; the black dress playing its role in the scenario.

I think most women have had a memorable experience involving a favorite or in this case, new dress. This story expands on the effect a special outfit can have on a woman’s life. In fact, it can be any article of clothing! How many people have that one thing we consider lucky when we wear it? For me, it was an apricot colored outfit which always seemed to bring me good luck.

This is a cute story and quick read. It kind of made me want to buy myself a new little black dress! Enjoy!

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Breaking Tradition

Code Girls: The untold story of the American women code breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy is an exceptional book about the lives and achievements of women and men who played significant roles in secret government offices during World War Two. Sworn to secrecy, these patriots never talked to family, friends, or spouses about the importance of the task to which they dedicated themselves which was code breaking secret communications generated by countries we fought against.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, America’s eligible men enlisted in droves, leaving a void of personnel stateside to man the newly created code breaking offices. Government officials decided to recruit women in colleges to fill the vacancies. Over time, more and more women were required and they rose to the challenge. They didn’t know what they were getting into, but they left their jobs, schools, and everything familiar behind and relocated to wherever they were assigned. Living and working in substandard facilities were the least of the difficulties faced, but they forged ahead.

The code breakers overcame great obstacles and due to their heroic efforts and success in deciphering enemy communications, countless lives were saved.

I loved this book which reveals an amazing part of history and the incredible people who played significant roles in the deciphering offices previously kept secret. I am grateful to the author for writing this book and making this story and the people involved known. Highly recommended reading!

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Marsh Girl

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It is a fictional story about a girl named Kya who lives in North Carolina.

I choose to classify this novel as a mystery because, the story unfolds after a man named Chase is found lying dead in the swamp. The author skillfully leads us back and forth in time. The reveal doesn’t come until the very end. I was led on an emotional path of wonder as the omniscient narrator recounts the story of Kya and her dysfunctional family.

Left to her own devices, Kya learns to survive without the benefit of love, education or family in a ramshackle house surrounded by wetlands. Vivid depictions of the marsh and its inhabitants make this a stimulating visual story.

Yes, a crime has been committed, but the question here is, who was the real victim? I think this is an amazing novel of survival and the human psyche not to be missed. Excellent and highly recommended!

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Pioneer Puppeteer

The Good Neighbor: The life and work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King. It would be a lie if I told you I’d been a fan of the Mr. Rogers program. If memory serves me correctly, my children and I preferred the colorful competition on PBS. However, after watching the fine documentary about Fred Rogers, I gained new insight which prompted me to read this biography.

I never realized what a multi-talented man Mr Rogers was! Truly, he was amazing. This memoir covered many of the highlights of the all too short life of the familiar man in cardigan sweaters and sneakers, a dedicated educator who cared deeply for children. Without doubt, he touched countless lives spreading his message that every child is special.

I am grateful to have read this biography and highly recommend it to my followers.

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Sing a New Song

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg is another delightful read by one of my favorite authors. Flagg’s work always gives me a lift!

When divorced Chicago native Oswald Campbell discovers his rapidly approaching death, his elderly doctor hands him a faded brochure for a hotel in Alabama. The physician recommends it as a fitting place to live out the remainder of Oswald’s days. After discovering the hotel burned down years prior, a local offers to allow Oswald room and board in her home. Without a moment of hesitation, Oswald packs his meager possessions and boards a train for Alabama.

He arrives in a very small town populated with a cast of typical Flagg charactersdown home, quirky folks with welcoming ways. He quickly settles in, discovers a new passion for bird watching as there’s not much else to do, and waits for his impending death.

His newfound friends and lifestyle lead to amazing transformations; changing Oswald’s life for the better.

I recommend this novel. It will warm your heart!

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Wine, Women and War

The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough is the first novel in a series of books based on Ancient Rome. I gratefully acknowledge fellow blogger Martie for her recommendation!

This is an amazing historical fiction book which brought Rome and its inhabitants alive. Based on extensive research, these stories captivated my imagination.

The only difficulty I had was with the characters lengthy names. This is based on the audio version I acquired and my short memory! There are graphic depictions of sex and violence which made me squirm at times, but the quality of storytelling was so superior I didn’t turn away from the novel.

There are more books in the series which I may read at a later date. For now, I recommend the one I read with great enthusiasm.

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