All posts tagged: WWII

Daring resistance efforts of Jewish women in the ghettos of Nazi occupation, a remarkable portrait of resilience and strength in this tremendously researched new book, THE LIGHT OF DAYS by Judy Batalion

By Leslie Lindsay  In these history-changing times, one thing has remained hidden until now: the daring resistance efforts of Jewish women in the ghettos of the Nazi occupation. Now, let’s see the light.  ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Recently optioned by Stephen Spielberg for a major motion picture Memoirist Judy Batalion (White Walls) delivers a remarkable portrait of young Jewish women who fought in the Polish resistance during WWII in THE LIGHT OF DAYS (William Morrow, June 23 2020). Drawing from “dozens of women’s memoirs” and “hundreds of testimonies,” Batalion documents an astonishing array of guerilla activities, including rescue missions for Jewish children trapped in Polish ghettos, assassinations of Nazi soldiers, bombings of German train lines, jailbreaks, weapons smuggling, and espionage missions. These women were couriers, smugglers, spies, and also…inspirations.  “A vigorous narrative that draws on interviews, diaries, and other sources, Batalion delivers an objective view of past events that are too quickly being forgotten—and a story much in need of telling.” –Kirkus Reviews, starred review But be warned: no details are spared …

Sylvia True talks about her astonishing novel-based-on-a-true story, WHERE MADNESS LIES, combining elements of historical fiction, medicine, mental illness, motherhood, secrets, more

By Leslie Lindsay Such a beautifully tragic and heart-wrenching tale of hope and redemption, a lesser-known slice of WWII, combining intergenerational trauma, mental illness, secrets, more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Women’s Historical Fiction I was absolutely struck by the themes and ideas—and writing—in WHERE MADNESS LIES (Top Hat Books, February 1 2021) by Sylvia True, which is a gorgeous and devastating voyage into the madness of madness, tracing the Nazis’ view of the morally disgusting idea of racial hygiene, but also eradicating ‘any life not worth living,’ such as those deemed feebleminded, mentally ill, sexually degenerate, more. Alternating between the 1980s Massachusetts, and 1930s Germany, with a brief stint in Switzerland, WHERE MADNESS LIES is so beautifully rendered. I was in awe at the breadth of this book–in terms of historical accuracy, emotional intelligence, compelling voice/characters, how it’s based on a true story, and so much more. This story is hauntingly compelling, devastating, and horrifying, yet there’s a glimmer of hope dangling from a pearl. WHERE MADNESS LIES is achingly honest and masterful, a page-turner with fully developed characters and timelines, each …

Gilly MACMILLAN chats about her serpentine new domestic suspense TO TELL THE TRUTH; a missing child, WWII bunkers, how truth can be so vastly interpreted, the love of her town, more

By Leslie Lindsay Gilly Macmillan is back with a chilling tale set in the Stoke Woods of England about a writer, and a missing child.  ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~  I’ve read and loved ALL of Gilly Macmillan’s troubling and twisty domestic thrillers–and TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH (WilliamMorrow September 22, 2020) is another serpentine thriller that delivers a potent blend of atmosphere, tarnished memories, and stunning family secrets. In TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, bestselling mystery writer Lucy Harper’s talent for invention has given her fame, fortune, and an army of adoring readers. But her private life isn’t all that it seems. Her hapless husband Dan has unfulfilled writing ambitions of his own creating tension in the marriage. When he surprises Lucy with a home near the Stoke Woods, the wood where she once played as a child, she is undone by a dark foreboding. What could have happened at that spot to evoke such a strong reaction in her so many years later? When Dan suddenly goes missing, Lucy can no longer …

Inspired by true events and the lush land of Hawaii, Sara Ackerman’s RED SKY OVER HAWAII will transport you to another time and place

Leslie Lindsay  Inspired by real places and events of WWII, RED SKY OVER HAWAII immerses the reader in a time of American history full of suspicion and peril in this lush and poignant novel. ~WEDNESDAY SPOTLIGHT|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ USA Today Bestselling and Hawaiin powerhouse author Sara Ackerman returns with a fabulous new work of historical fiction… Continue reading →

Award-winning director, screenwriter, and producer Jan Eliasberg talks about her debut fiction, inspired by true events and strong women in science, HANNAH’S WAR, plus WWII movies, RBG, and more

By Leslie Lindsay A gripping story of one woman’s bravery and brilliance during WWII, exploring themes of identity, deception, and more. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ JAN ELIASBERG DIRECTOR, WRITER AND PRODUCER KNOWN FOR CREATING EVOCATIVE MATERIAL FEATURING PERFORMANCES FROM TODAY’S MOST COMPELLING ACTORS. With HANNAH’S WAR (Little Brown/Back Bay Books, March 3 2020), award-winning screenwriter and film director, Jan Eliasberg turns her gaze toward fiction, but staying true to form, she is continuing to highlight strong, independent female characters. I was blown away with the writing in HANNAH’S WAR and had to remind myself this is a debut novel for the author. The writing is fast-paced and beautifully descriptive. Inspired by real-life scientist, female physicist Lise Meitner, HANNAH’S WAR is Eliasberg’s answer in seeking truth and information about scientific discovery, women’s place in the workforce (and in war), discovery, morality, love, family, and more. There’s a bit of everything in HANNAH’S WAR–from mystery and science, to spies, and romance; a wartime story of loyalty and truth and the unforeseeable fallout from one women’s …

Now in paperback! Jennifer Chiaverini’s sweeping WWII historical fiction, RESISTANCE WOMEN, about a woman from Wisconsin, friendship, romance, and more

by Leslie Lindsay  A captivating historical novel that recreates the danger, sacrifices, and romance of the WWII era, inspired by a true story.  *COMING FEB 4th IN PAPERBACK* RESISTANCE WOMEN by New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini RESISTANCE WOMEN (William Morrow, Paperback February 4, 2020) was an Amazon Best Book of June; a June Indie Next pick; and received praise from People, OprahMag.com, and a slew of other media outlets. American-born Mildred Fish Harnack is well known throughout modern Germany, where streets and schools have been named after her. A literary scholar and anti-Nazi resistance fighter, Mildred was the only American woman whose execution during World War II was personally ordered by Adolf Hitler.  Yet here in her native country, Mildred’s story is largely unknown.  Coming in Paperback Feb 4th After University of Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding …

Can one ever escape the ‘family roles’ we’re given? Lynda Cohen Loigman explores this and more in her smashing historical family drama set in WWII

By Leslie Lindsay  Captivating and stunning examination of family dysfunction, disharmony, sisterhood, and WWII in Lynda Cohen Loigman’s THE WARTIME SISTERS.    I had such admiration for Ms. Loigman’s debut, THE TWO-FAMILY HOUSE (2016), and was delighted to see that she chose to continue her writing journey into historical fiction; she truly shines when exploring complicated familial relationships, and it makes for such authentic writing. Now, Lynda returns with her second novel, THE WARTIME SISTERS (St. Martin’s Press, Jan 22 2019) and it’s every bit as good–if not better–than her first. This is a mesmerizing tale of sisterhood, lies, betrayal, rivalries, motherhood, withheld communication, even religion. Told in alternating POVs with distinct places and time periods (1930s Brooklyn; 1940s Springfield, MA), the voices truly sing.  Ruth and Millie have never been close–not as toddlers sharing a bedroom in their Brooklyn apartment, not as teenagers navigating suitors and school (Ruth was the homely but smart sister and Millie the less-studious gorgeous sister), and certainly not as mothers with young children of their own. Ruth has always been the ‘responsible older sister’ who had to …

Wednedays with Writers: Inspired by her grandmother’s stories of WWII, an adorable lion cub, delicious berry pies, and the gorgeous landscape of Hawaii, debut novelist Sara Ackerman takes us on her journey, touching on acupuncture, paddleboarding, and more in ISLAND OF SWEET PIES AND SOLIDERS

By Leslie Lindsay  Wartime novel set among the lush landscape of Hawaii about friendship, loyalties, and love.  I fell right into the folds of this novel, as the glittering paradise of Hawaii came to life with Ackerman’s detail and ease. It’s 1944 and Violet and her daughter, 10-year old Ella are piecing their lives back together after her husband and high school principal, Herman goes missing. It’s been a year and still no final word on Herman’s fate. Suspicions and rumors swirl–was he a spy? Was he as loyal as others believed? And then there’s Ella; she knows something but isn’t saying. Ella struggles at school and is trying to move forward, but something–or someone–seems to be holding her back. Told in alternating POVs, between Violet and Ella, ISLAND OF SWEET PIES AND SOLDIERS is historical fiction about fiction, racism, war, mother-daughter relationships with a dash of suspense and romance. I found I really fell in love with Ella and could see a bit of myself in her. This is a different take on the usual WWII …

WeekEND Reading: James William Brown talks political unrest, shadow puppetry, the resilience and spirit of the Greek people, and so much more in his sweeping novel, MY LAST LAMENT

By Leslie Lindsay  A poignant and evocative novel of one Greek woman’s story of her own–and a nation’s–epic struggle in the aftermath of WWII. I was definitely intrigued with MY LAST LAMENT (Penguin/Random House, April 2017). The cover is gorgeous, plus I spent about a month living with a Greek family as a teenager. And then there’s the economic strife Greece is currently facing…in fact, it’s so bad in areas, one of our neighbors recently brought her mother (who was living in Greece) to her U.S. home to work and save money that she could send back to her family. Another little fun fact: I recently watched an episode of WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE featuring John Stamos; much of the episode was filmed in Greece. The imagery is gorgeous, the people strong…but not without shame, hard work, and more. MY LAST LAMENT is ‘told’ on a cassette tape by Aliki–an old woman and the last of the village lamenters–women who compose lament-poems for grieving families (this provides a very intimate storytelling method and …

Write On, Wednesday: Meg Waite Clayton on Her NEW Historical Fiction–THE RACE FOR PARIS

By Leslie Lindsay  A crisp September evening. Preschoolers tucked in bed. New friends. Wine and books…this was my first introduction to Meg Waite Clayton, author of THE WEDNESDAY SISTERS. After our introductions (some of us didn’t know each other yet), a sweet, quiet and assuming member thrust a book my way, “You need to read this,” she encouraged with a smile. I did. Later, flipping the pages, and nodding in agreement, in reliability, I knew this was my life. A writer is first a reader. That’s what I think Meg Waite Clayton’s book taught me. Today, I am honored to have Meg chat with us about her newest book–perhaps her most ambitious title to date, THE RACE FOR PARIS. For me, it’s the perfect combination of history, women’s rights and independence, my appreciation for photography, and of course–books. Welcome, Meg!  Leslie Lindsay: Can you tell us in a few words what The Race for Paris is about? Meg Waite Clayton: The novel was inspired by the actual “Race for Paris” and the journalists who first reported the …