You may have seen the move Woman in Gold with Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. I watched it before my trip to Vienna, and I love it even more now that I’ve returned. I knew nothing about the story, and in fact didn’t even know it was based on a book until my grandmother handed it to me. I’m so glad she did because this book provided more detail and insight into the whole situation.
If you look this book up, it is described as a story about a blind girl and a German boy in World War II France. And that’s true. But it’s also the story of a town called Saint Malo – how it is occupied, destroyed, and rebuilt. It’s also a fairy tale of the old school, full of darkness and evil and danger and goodness and redemption. And yes, it is a story about a girl and boy who live a world turned upside down.
I started reading this book last month, and it was the sort of non-fiction book that made me want to read a pulpy fiction book at the same time. I took a trip to Barnes & Noble to get book number 2 in Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase series and walked out $100 lighter. Always a hazard in my world. This book was so very dry that I actually started reading three other books since I started it.
Dead Wake tells the story of the Lusitania, a civilian luxury liner that a German U-boat sank in 1915. The story follows not just the ship and select passengers, but also the story of the German U-boat and its crew. Larson also adds a global perspective to the incident with his reading of its impact on President Wilson and the eventual entry of the United States into World War I.
The Secret Life of Violet Grant is two stories in one. Story number one follows Vivian Schuyler, a 1960’s socialite who bucks the system in pursuit of journalism career. Early on in her story, she mistakenly receives the suitcase of Violet Grant, her long-lost aunt. Thus begins the second story the parallel second story.
Did you know that Germany placed secret agents in the United States during World War I? And that they carried out terrorist actions on U.S. soil? I certainly did not. But it happened, and it is better than fiction.
Elizabeth Letts is the Marguerite Henry of today, and for grown-ups. Much like Henry, she writes books about horses that are so very much more. I had the book release date marked on my calendar, and it was even more exciting to get it because I was finally travelling to Vienna, and my date with the Lipizzaners, a few months later. I was not disappointed.