Posted in Books I have read

All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

Historical Fiction 4*s
Historical Fiction
4*s

This is the story to all the light we cannot see: most relevantly to this story radio waves that are on the wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum that are beyond the ability of human eyes to see is the literal translation but there is another one, this is a story that hasn’t yet been told, one of the many that escaped the notice of the world when faced with the bigger stories of World War II. Anthony Doerr has given us two stories one for each of the youngsters who just happened to be born on opposing sides before there was a war.

First we have Marie-Laure who before the war is living in Paris with her father, a locksmith at the Museum of Natural History. Marie-Laure is blind, she lost her sight at six and is generally doted upon by the museum staff as well as her father. To help her with her independence he has built her a model of her neighbourhood, she learns from her fingers where the buildings are. He is also a lover of puzzles so each year on her birthday she receives a box with a treasure hidden inside it, and if she is lucky a braille book telling of magical creatures; Marie-Laure has a fascination with molluscs.

Werner has had an entirely different start to life. He lives in a mining town in Germany, an orphan after his father lost his life in the very mines that Werner is destined to work in as soon as he is old enough. Meanwhile Werner and his younger sister Jutta find a radio which sparks a love of the music and the tales from foreign lands for Jutta and for Werner it is an opportunity for him to learn how it works. It is clear that for Werner a life down the mines will be a waste of an exceptional talent.

Of course we know that life won’t go down the tracks expected for either of these children in Paris Marie-Laure’s father is sent on a mission which ends up in St Malo and for Werner his journey starts with Hitler’s Youth. There are some similarities though, Marie-Laure’s life is curtailed, it isn’t safe for her to venture out of the house of her Uncle Etienne and soon there is a ban on television. Werner on the other hand has to overcome his own instincts in order to survive but at what cost. His relationship with his sister damaged the day he breaks their radio for one that can only receive German stations, she has lost the inspiration of the Frenchman giving children’s lectures and soon she will be left behind at the orphanage. In time these two main characters lives converge and both will need to dig deep to find what seems like impossible reserves of courage.

Widely acclaimed All The Light We Cannot See deserves its accolades although it took longer than I expected for the book to get into its stride. The timeline moves around quite rapidly and so the précis I have given takes a while to fully emerge whilst empathy for both characters is established. Without the profound underlying tale, I was predisposed to like this book as a large part of it is set in St Malo, the place we visit from Jersey, a mere hour away on the ferry. I go to sit outside in the sunshine in the cafes eating galettes and macarons to wander the many alleyways and to walk along the ramparts and look out to sea, never realising until now quite how much of this beautiful walled city was damaged during the war. That said there are a few off-key phrases where the author lets the modern world slip in, but these can be forgiven for the wonderful strands that connect the story together from the first to the last page.

St-malo4

St Malo

I received my copy of this book from the publishers Harper Collins UK in return for my honest opinion.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (December 2)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I have finally started All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, a book that has been on my TBR for way too long.

All The Light We Cannot See

Blurb

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.
In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.
Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work. NetGalley

I have just finished the absolutely fascinating This House of Grief by Helen Garner where I got way too involved in the details of this Australian murder trial.

This House of Grief

Blurb

On the evening of September 4th 2005, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother, Cindy, when his car left the road and plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven and two, all drowned. Was this an act of revenge or a tragic accident? In a tale reminiscent of In Cold Blood (1966), Helen Garner decided to reveal every aspect of this complicated and highly emotional case.In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of a man with a broken life and bears witness to an often uncomfortable truth. Amazon

My review will follow shortly

In the new spirit of choosing more books from my TBR I have decided to read something a little lighter next so I have chosen The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

The Hypnotist's Love Story

Blurb

Hypnotherapist Ellen is fascinated by what makes people tick. So when she falls in love with Patrick, the fact that he has a stalker doesn’t faze her in the slightest. If anything it intrigues her, and the more she hears about Saskia, the more she wants to meet this woman. But what Ellen doesn’t know is that they’ve already met . . .
Saskia has been posing as one of Ellen’s clients. Unable to let go of the life she so abruptly lost, she wants to know everything about the woman who took her place. And the further she inches her way into Ellen’s world, the more trouble she stirs up.
Ellen’s love story is about to take an unexpected turn. But it’s not only Saskia who doesn’t know where to stop: Ellen also has to ask herself what lines she’s prepared to cross to get the happy ending she’s always wanted.
Thought-provoking, sympathetic and smart, Liane Moriarty’s The Hypnotist’s Love Story is a novel for anyone who’s ever loved, lost or found it hard to let go. Amazon

What are you reading this week? Do share!

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 16)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

I’m still getting books from NetGalley and this week has bought a few interesting looking books, first up is The Exit by Helen FitzGerald . Helen FitzGerald is the author of The Cry which was possibly one of the most disturbing book I read in 2013, so when I realised there was a new book out….. well!

The Exit

Blurb

23-year-old Catherine is mainly interested in Facebook and flirting, but she reluctantly takes a job at a local care home after her mother puts her foot down – and soon discovers that her new workplace contains many secrets.
One of the residents at the home, 82-year-old Rose, is convinced that something sinister is going on in Room 7 and that her own life is under threat. But Rose has dementia – so what does she actually know, and who would believe her anyway?
As Catherine starts investigating Rose’s allegations, terrible revelations surface about everyone involved. Can Catherine find out what’s really going on before it’s too late? NetGalley

I requested the next book based upon some wonderful reviews in the blogosphere and as St Malo is one of our favourite places to go for a weekend visit, this book had too much going for it to resist a click of that request button. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All The Light We Cannot See

Blurb

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.
In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.
Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work. NetGalley

I have a copy of You Belong To Me by Samantha Hayes whose last two books are Until You’re Mine and Before You Die

You Belong To Me

Blurb

Fleeing the terrors of her former life, Isabel has left England, and at last is beginning to feel safe.
Then a letter shatters her world, and she returns home determined not to let fear rule her life any more.
But she’s unable to shake off the feeling that someone who knows her better than she knows herself may be following her.
Watching. Waiting.
Ready to step back into her life and take control all over again. NetGalley

Lastly from Amazon Vine I have a beautiful book, the picture really doesn’t do it justice and the story sounds just right to read on a cold and windy day: The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley

The Book of Lost and Found

Blurb

In many ways, my life has been rather like a record of the lost and found. Perhaps all lives are like that.
It’s when life started in earnest
HERTFORDSHIRE, 1928
The paths of Tom and Alice collide against a haze of youthful, carefree exuberance. And so begins a love story that finds its feet by a lake one silvery moonlit evening . . .
It’s when there were no happy endings
PARIS, 1939
Alice is living in the City of Light, but the pain of the last decade has already left its mark. There’s a shadow creeping across Europe when she and Thomas Stafford – now a world famous artist – find each other once more . . .
It’s when the story begins
LONDON, 1986
Bequeathed an old portrait from her grandmother, Kate Darling uncovers a legacy that takes her to Corsica, Paris and beyond. And as the secrets of time fall away, a love story as epic as it is life-changing slowly reveals itself . . . Amazon

So there are my finds! What have you found to read this week?