Monday, August 27, 2018

Book Review: Surprised by Love: An Amish Family Novella by Kathleen Fuller

Ever since living near the Amana Colonies in Iowa, I have been interested in the Amish and their way of thinking as well as their way of life. This book is a nice collection of four love stories showing that the Amish when it comes to love deal with the same problems that the rest of us deal with. There are moms pressuring kids into a marriage and then there is a mother, who thinks she absolutely needs to support her daughter when the baby comes because her daughter is blind. Mom of course does not realize that the daughter is no child and can handle the pregnancy like any adult.The overbearing and intrusive attitude of the mother is almost ruining the pregnancy and the happiness of having a child for the daughter. While mom may act out of love and concern, she needs to learn that her daughter is a functional adult and that is difficult to learn for many parents, Amish or not. Then there is a story of two friends who become lovers, of course after some obstacles, because without obstacles the story would only be half as much fun. The last story is "Building Trust"; a story about a couple that are planning to get married, but the wife's father will not bless their union. This of course is a major problem and while things turn out well in the end, as most love stories this story is not a smooth ride.
Overall, a nice selection of stories that show the variety of stumbling blocks one can encounter when one is in love. For those not used to Amish life and culture, there is also a glossary included that explains some of the terminology used. I would recommend this book for those of us that are hopeless romantics or just like a good love story.

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this blog post is solely my own opinion and has not been influenced by any third party.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Book Review: Auschwitz Lullaby: A Novel by Mario Escobar

This book presents an interesting twist of the story regarding survival  at Auschwitz. The author tells us about a pure German woman named Helene, who is married to a Roma and has five children with him. An unusual union given the time and the distrust between both Germans and Roma and that union is about to be tested even more. The year is 1943 and Helene is under no illusion what fate awaits them. While she as a German is free from prosecution, both her husband and kids are subject to prosecution by the Nazis. And so one day in 1943, the knock occurs at the door and the policy arrive to deport the family. Helene can choose to stay behind, but is determined to protect her family and her children as much as possible and so she does the unthinkable - she vo9luntarily joins the transport to Auschwitz.
Arriving at the camp after a ride of several days, they are greeted by chaos and mayhem. Her husband is separated immediately and so it is up to Helene to protect her children and ensure that they have a chance to survive. Helene is not only German, but also a trained nurse, a skill very useful in the camp that has rampant outbreaks of diseases. The author goes on to describe in vivid detail not only the horrific daily routine in the camp, but also the attempts by Helene to set up some kind of normalcy for her children and the other children in the camp.
Not giving in to the Nazis, Helene makes daily attempts to protect the children, not just from the horrors of Auschwitz, but also the horrors of war, by giving them glimpses of what a normal childhood outside of KZ and war would look like. This is a very moving book, that shows that hope can overcome many obstacles.

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this review is my own and has not been influenced by any third party.