The Bronze Horseman – Review

I finally read The Bronze Horseman, people! That’s enough for a celebration in itself since it has been sitting on my Kindle app for almost a year now! Everyone raves about this book and I just knew I was going to love it intensely. You guys know how much I love a good World War II story. There’s a little part of me that is always anxious to read what I know will be an amazing book because I know I will only get to experience it for the first time, well, the first time. It’s incredible to fully live inside the pages of a book that one loves, but the pain of it being over is sometimes so devastating. It’s like having a friend move to the other side of the world to my empathetic brain. I don’t want to say goodbye. Luckily I have two more books to get me through my sorrows…at least until they are over.

The Bronze Horseman was a book that reinforced my love of reading. It made me feel as if I was living the life of my characters. I stopped seeing words on the pages, forgetting about grammar, and only imagined the movie playing in my mind. When the characters were cold, I was cold. When they were starving, my stomach was rumbling. When their bodies were completely devastated, I felt physically drained. I felt the love, the agony, and the anger at Communist Russia and Nazi Germany, I felt as if I was in Leningrad in the 1940s. Only a great story, a great writer, can transport someone to a place they will never have a chance to witness personally and truly take them there with their words. It is pure magic.

While some people find fault with the characters personalities, I didn’t mind feeling annoyed with them, even sometimes angry. When I’m reading about such a heartbreaking time in history, the characters shouldn’t be flawless. I need them to be human for the story to be truly captivating.

The love between Tatiana and Alexander was epic. It compares to that of Claire and Jamie in Outlander. It is a true, soul-wrecking love story. The kind of love people only hope to experience in their lifetime. A love that ruins a person for all other people.

I can’t say enough good things about this novel. I want more, but I want to soak up this story and live in it a little longer before I start the next book. I am fortunate to be reading this novel with some former high school classmates for our book club, and will get to discuss it all over again with them in May. It will do my heart good to talk about Tatiana and Alexander again!

If you’re waiting for the chance to start this book like I was, get started now and fall in love with Tatiana and Alexander. Be transported to the war-torn Russia in 1941-1943.

Happy Reading,
♥Ashley

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Between Shades of Gray – Review

I have been drawn to books detailing the struggles of people during World War II since I have been a child.  For that reason, I wanted a chance to read this book for years. Finally I was able to check it out through Overdrive from my library and was anxious to be transported back in time.

The story begins in Lithuania with Lina, her mother, and younger brother being deported by Soviet officers in a filthy train car to a place they had never experienced before – Siberia. Lina and her family, along with others that become family to her, are forced to work in cruel conditions at labor camps for Stalin’s regime. Lina uses her love for art as a tool to tell the story of the horrors she faced, despite the danger of her drawings being discovered. She hopes her art will help her father make his way back to her family after she finds him in a separate train car going to a different location.

In the first few pages of this story, I was confused about what was taking place because I had not seen the mention of the characters being Jewish. I even stopped reading to ask my husband, who happens to be a History major, if he could clear up my confusion. We were both stumped. Eventually I came to realize through my reading that only one of the characters was in fact, Jewish. The deportations were actually a result of “Sovietization” and the result of Communism in Russia. Citizens from the Baltic states were removed, murdered, or forced into labor camps to further the agenda of Stalin. This was an unfamiliar aspect of history to both my husband and me. Continue reading “Between Shades of Gray – Review”

From Sand and Ash

from-sandAmy Harmon is unstoppable! Yet again, I am blown away by her talents for storytelling.  I love WWII-era Historical Fiction to begin with, so I already knew Amy Harmon + the 1940s would = complete magic.

From Sand and Ash begins in the 1930s with young Eva and Angelo.  Angelo is forced by his father to move from New Jersey to Italy with his family.  There his grandparents work for a Jewish family who takes Angelo in like a son. Angelo’s path is aligned to become a Catholic priest and to ease his burden on society. However, when he connects with Eva, the daughter of his grandparents’ Jewish boss, though their mutual grief of losing their mothers, he finds himself at a crossroads. When war comes to Italy, Angelo is faced with the question of how to best protect Eva, while simultaneously being torn with his love and commitment to God. After all, can a human serve two masters?
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Continue reading “From Sand and Ash”

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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Like certain songs and smells can trigger memories, I feel like the books I read can help me remember certain instances from my childhood or similar reading experiences I may have had years ago.  This book was one of those welcome triggers for me.  It made me feel almost childlike again, captivated by an exciting world I had yet to discover.
As I began reading, I wasn’t sure what to expect other than what I had read from the synopsis years prior and the clips I had seen on the previews for the new movie.  It looked interesting, and I had heard it compared to Harry Potter.  Of course, I was instantly sold.