Having read very little since Christmas I bought four books from a cheap book site (£2 each or 3 for £5!) and in little over a week I’ve read them all! Some were recommended, others followed on from previous reads or just appealed;
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri; This is about a couple living in Aleppo, Syria, he is a beekeeper, she is an artist. When ‘the unthinkable happens’ they are forced to flee, travelling through Turkey and Greece towards Britain. It is beautifully written and very moving. It is one of those books that everyone should read, just to help understand what refugees have gone through trying to find somewhere safe to live, how bad things are for them to abandon everything to escape. It is not an easy read, quite harrowing in places, particularly as it’s set in fairly recent history. In many ways it reminded me of when I watched ‘Killing Fields’ at the cinema, it was on TV fairly recently and my OH mentioned it. I said if you’ve not seen it, you should watch it, but I don’t want to watch it again.
I wanted something a bit lighter next…
The Foundling by Stacey Halls; This is set in London in the 1700’s, Bess leaves her newborn illegitimate daughter at the Foundling Hospital. Six years later, she returns to reclaim her daughter only to be told someone else has already claimed her, Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her daughter. I really enjoyed this, couldn’t put it down!
Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris; this is a sequel to the Tattooist of Auschwitz, it’s based on a true story. Like most people, having read the Tattooist, I was left wondering what happened to Cilka… Cilka was taken to Auschwitz at the age of 16. She was immediately chosen to be ‘camp wife’ to a couple of the senior SS guards, enduring the rape and abuse for three years before Auschwitz was liberated. This book starts as the camp is liberated. Cilka is deemed to have collaborated with the enemy and is therefore arrested and sent to a brutal labour camp in Siberia. As it says on the back cover ‘ Cilka’s Journey is a powerful testament to the triumph of the human spirit. It will leave you astonished and uplifted by one woman’s fierce determination to survive, against all odds’
The Familiars by Stacey Halls; By chance I bought two books by the same author! This one is set in the early 1600’s during the time of the Pendle witch trials. Pendle is an area of Lancashire not too far from here and in 1612 twelve women were sent to trial for being a witch, eleven were hung and one was released. The story starts just before the trials, Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17, mistress of Gawthorpe Hall and pregnant for the 4th time having miscarried three babies at various stages of pregnancy. She meets Alice Gray by chance, a young midwife who promises to help her have a healthy baby. When Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations, Fleetwood risks everything to help her. Another great read, made even better by actually knowing the area.
I’m hoping the library opens soon so I can go back to borrowing books instead of adding to my already groaning bookshelves!