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Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

This enchanting story involves three women, all trying to begin new and meaningful lives. Sophia is a therapist, but when her abusive fiancee dies, she struggles with her conflicting feelings, and seeks answers in a new life in Cornwall, a world away from her practice in America.  Ginny, her new boss, also has to deal with a broken heart, wondering why her husband left her. Emily lived in the nineteenth century, but when Sophia finds her journal,she wonders if there is a message there for her.

This is a beautifully written and captivating novel with engaging characters, lovely heroes, wonderful descriptions of Cornwall and excellent Christian values. You can almost smell the salt from the sea and taste the Cornish food! Reading it would make anyone want to escape to Cornwall, like Sophia. It's a good place in which to rediscover hope and faith.

However, I found the modern stories better-written than Emily's tale. I also found that there were a lot of characters when I first started reading this book, and this was a bit confusing until I got used to it. I highly recommend it, and I will start looking for Lindsay Harrel's other novels.

I received this free book from BookLook Bloggers in return for an honest review.

All For Her The Autobiography of Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. by Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C. Ave Maria Press

Father Peyton, came from a harsh background of almost unremitting poverty in Ireland, to found the famous Family Rosary and Family Theater Productions, and mix with movie stars, such as Loretta Young and Bing Crosby.  A clever boy, he despaired about his future in Ireland, because his father died young and his mother found running the farm together with a large family impossibly difficult.  He was lucky enough to have his talents spotted, and travel to the US with his brother. There, he received a good education and decided to become a priest, but his troubles were not over. He had a terrible time with TB and it was a miracle that he recovered.

This first half of the book was interesting, although harrowing, and a bit like a rags-to-riches story. The second part about his campaigns and TV shows got rather technical, even though he met movie stars. This was disappointing. I have to admit to thinking that it would be the other way around! However, he was a very wise man, who overcame great difficulties due to his devotion to the Virgin Mary, and started a crusade to bring prayers and the Rosary back to families.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Prince Albert. The Man Who Saved The Monarchy by A.N. Wilson

A.N. Wilson does the extremely talented and multi-faceted Prince Albert justice in this long biography.  Prince Albert was a surprisingly progressive prince with liberal ideas and attitudes, who liked to be involved with politics, technology, the arts, and even helping the working classes. He was the President of The Anti-Slavery Society, and interested in getting rid of the oppressive Corn Laws. His supreme achievement, however, were the wonderful museums in Kensington and the Crystal Palace Exhibition.

When Queen Victoria came to power, the monarchy had a bad reputation due to the dissolute George IV and the Dukes and their mistresses.  Prince Albert and Queen Victoria with their stable family life and large number of children restored the reputation, and Prince Albert, once regarded as a German interloper, came to be admired and respected.

This book is an excellent study of his private and public life - it goes into the storminess of the marriage, for example. However, I found it a bit heavy-going. Also, Wilson writes that there hasn't been an extensive biography for a long time but I have another one from the 1980s.

I received this free ebook from Edelweiss. in return for an honest review.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Dutch Girl Audrey Hepburn and World War II by Robert Matzen


I am pleased to be joining the Blog Tour for Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen. I hope that you like my review.

Audrey Hepburn was terrified. The teenage girl was returning from delivering a message to an Allied airman when she saw German soldiers coming towards her. She knew that she would not only be asked for her identity, but also what she was doing. This required fast thinking. Audrey started picking wildflowers, smiled sweetly at the soldiers, and told them that she was taking the flowers home.

This is just one of the many tales Robert Matzen  tells in this exciting, but extremely harrowing book about Audrey Hepburn’s time in the war. Although the star was quite a heroine, the war affected her so badly that she didn’t want to talk about it so she kept it mostly secret except from her sons. Also, her aristocratic mother was once a fan of Fascism and even met Hitler, misguided by her Irish husband, Audrey’s dissolute father. Her mother saw the light quite quickly, however, once the Nazis invaded Holland.

Although Audrey did manage to establish a fledgling ballet career during the war, she had a terrible time. Her beloved uncle was taken hostage and shot. She saw her older brother dragged to a Nazi camp and Jews taken away on the cattle trains. She lived in Velp near Arnhem and towards the end of the war, people were suffering from malnutrition, including Audrey herself. The war raged around them and they turned to despair when the Battle of Arnhem was lost. Audrey once said: ‘Don’t discount anything you see or hear about the Nazis’. She said that: ‘It was worse than you could ever imagine. She was once helped by UNICEF and never forgot it – this led to her becoming an ambassador for the organisation.

During this dreadful time, Audrey and her mother helped a doctor who worked for the Resistance, Audrey delivered a Resistance newspaper, and her family even hid an Allied airman! She also helped to raise funds for the Resistance.

This is a well-researched story which reads like a novel and might make people see the wonderful star in a different light. The only point that I would quibble at is that Matzen  seems to give the impression that all of the Mitford sisters were pro-Nazi. Nancy was very much for the Allied cause and Jessica became a Communist and ran away to America. 

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.