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Showing posts from December, 2017

Teenage Resistance Fighter with the Maquisards in Occupied France by Hubert Verneret

When Hitler invades Poland, 14-year old Hubert Verneret watches the French soldiers leaving South Morvan to fight, thinking that they will soon be marching victoriously through German cities. How little the Boy Scout knows! As the Germans march through France instead, he sees hordes of refugees fleeing their approach and he tries to help them. He also sees the French soldiers in a complete rout.

The brave young boy joins the Maquis and his adventures begin as he learns to shoot, attempts to prevent Germans retreating to the Rhine and looks for soldiers to take prisoner.  Much of his war, to his disappointment, consists of watching and waiting, and there is a nasty episode where he almost shoots one of his own.

This was written in the middle of the war and it provides a vivid picture of the suffering of the French and the courage of the Maquis and Resistance.  Some of the writing is quite beautiful and makes one wish that Verneret had written more books.  There are interviews with some…

To Light A Fire On The Earth. Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age. Bishop Robert Barron in conversation with John L. Allen, Jr.

When I went into a Catholic cathedral overseas a long time ago, someone started muttering about 'superstition and ignorance'. Unfortunately, this is an increasingly common view of Christianity and Catholicism in particular.  As Allen writes, Catholics 'have to cope with an elite snobbery that says religion is backward, benighted, superstitious, and dangerous...'  It's good, then, that Barron can actually stand up to the cleverest people of our increasingly secular world and argue about his beliefs in depth.
This book provides an interesting look at how Barron sees the Catholic faith, what he thinks about the Pope, and how to bring Catholics back into the fold.  He especially emphasizes showing someone the beauty of the Catholic world. He thinks that many people today find too much talk about 'truth' a turn-off.  Instead, it's more important to get them to look at the glorious Chartres Cathedral or Sainte Chapelle. Bishop Barron certainly has a wonderful …

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay Thomas Nelson--FICTION

When Mary Davies is offered the chance to go to a luxurious Jane Austen escape in a manor house near Bath by her best friend Isabel, she is reluctant to leave.  However, her father persuades her and she is having problems at work and with the man to whom she is attracted, so she seizes the opportunity after all.

Although the manor is beautiful and they like the other people, the 'sharp edges' of their friendship start to get in the way. Isabel's troubled childhood led Mary's parents to help her, and Mary has often felt jealous.  She also envies Isabel's attraction for men. Isabel even reminds her of the vain, sly and amoral Isabella in Northanger Abbey - not an ideal person to have for a friend! During the holiday, she discovers even more about the real Isabel, leading her to re-examine her life, her values, and what is truly important.

This is a moving and charming love story, but although I loved the way that Katherine Reay cleverly references Jane Austen stories…

Return to Shepherd Avenue by Charlie Carillo

Crowds gathered to watch the crazy man high up on Brooklyn Bridge. The police were called and people were terrified that he was going to jump.  Luckily, Joey Ambrosio just wanted to scatter his father's ashes, but the police still worried that he was mad.

People on Shepherd Avenue also thought that sixty-year old Joey was nuts when he bought his childhood home for too big a price, left his door unlocked and took the bars off the windows in a poor and crime-ridden neighbourhood.  However, after a troubled and peripatetic adolescence and an estrangement from his daughter, Joey feels the urge to return to the home where he lived with his uncle and grand-mother.

In this moving story, he finds old childhood friends, falls in love with a beautiful laundress and slowly starts to rebuild his life...

I enjoyed this very New York story by Charlie Carillo, but I wasn't sure about the author's attitude to age differences in romances.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in retur…