Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Sunday Salon... Books with Buzz that Travel Through Europe during Times of War

Hey, it's Sunday! Welcome to The Sunday Salon! Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of Joe and settle in for a bit of book talk! Fall seemed to settle in, in Connecticut. We threw a few logs in the wood stove at night, and put a jacket on as we stepped out the front door in the morning. Fall also seems to be the time of year for some great reading! Today we'll be traveling through Europe with the books that caught my eye this week, as well as seeing a bit of war - first we take a trip to northern Spain during the Spanish Civil War, then we'll head to England during WWII, and finally a stop in the French Pyranees after The Great War, or WWI...

The Wrong Blood by Manuel De Lope... In the Basque Country in northern Spain, just before the Civil War, three men in dinner suits stop for a drink at a bar before continuing on their way to a wedding. Their trip is interrupted when their leader, the wealthy Don Leopoldo, has a stroke in the restroom.This event, bizarre and undignified though it is, begins to weave together the lives of two remarkable women: the bride, the beautiful and distinguished Isabel Cruces, and María Antonia Etxarri, the bar owner’s adolescent daughter. Shortly after the outbreak of the war, María Antonia is raped and Isabel’s newlywed husband, Captain Julen Herraiz, is shot. Both women find themselves violently altered, alone, and pregnant. A crippled but wise local doctor is the only witness to the mysterious, silent agreement these women conclude in the loneliness and desperation of their mutual suffering. Many years later, a young student, grandson to Isabel, returns to the scene of the events to spend an innocent summer studying for law exams. As he goes about his work, he unwittingly awakens the ghosts haunting both María Antonia and the doctor, and through their memories the passionate stories of the past unfurl before the reader.

The Wrong Blood has gotten great reviews, particularly for its beautiful writing and imagery. The novel starts out sixty years after the war, and moves back and forth to the time of the war. I love novels that transport me back in time and I'm looking forward to that in this novel, which is on my TBR list! This is also the first novel translated into to English by the Spanish author, Manuel De Lope. This book has been recommended for people who enjoyed Shadow in the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, not so much for the story, but the similar writing style. The Wrong Blood is available now from your local bookstore! *P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready!

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton... A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WW II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.

This sounds wonderful! Secrets revealed, a crumbling castle, exploring the past! Fans of The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton will be happy to find another book to devour by the author- this time a romantic thriller. Pre-release reviews have given The Distant Hours great reviews, although some thought that it was a little long. I'm still excited about this book, whose release date is officially November 9th! *P.S. This Book will be Kindle Ready!

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse... A compelling story of ghosts and remembrance. The Great War took much more than lives. It robbed a generation of friends, lovers and futures. In Freddie Watson's case, it took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. In the winter of 1928, still seeking resolution, Freddie is travelling through the French Pyrenees. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. He stumbles through woods, emerging in a tiny village. There he meets Fabrissa, a beautiful woman also mourning a lost generation. Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories. By the time dawn breaks, he will have stumbled across a tragic mystery that goes back through the centuries. By turns thrilling, poignant and haunting, this is a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage.

Another great story that moves between the past and the present, The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse has been referred to as an "old school" ghost story. This story started out as a novella called The Cave and was written for the Quick Reads campaign to encourage adult literacy. The writing is not as "complex" as other books written by Kate Mosse, or as long (only 272 pages), but The Winter Ghosts has gotten thumbs up reviews, and should be an enjoyable quick read. The Winter Ghosts is currently available (although on back order) at UK bookstores such as The Book Depository, and will be released here in The States Feb. 11th, 2011. (I guess that would make this a UK Fall read and a US Winter read...)

There are plenty of biographies and memoirs coming out too! But we'll chat about that tomorrow for Memoir Monday. In the meantime, I'll be picking winners for the giveaways for Dewey's Nine Lives by Vicky Myron, Dewey the Small-Town Library Cat by Vicky Myron, and The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris. If you missed entering the giveaways you can still read my reviews by following the links. AND there's still time to enter the giveaways for Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye (a great father & son book), and The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett.

Have a great rest of the weekend! And don't forget to share what you've been reading too! I'd love to hear what books YOU spotted this week on your reading adventures!


Anonymous said...

I can't wait for The Distant Hours! I haven't read anything by Kate Morton yet, but her books have been recommended to me over and over. I'll definitely be giving this one a shot!

Anonymous said...

I just got a galley of the Distant Hours and it sounds really good. I've not read anything by Kate Morton, so I'm looking forward to it.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Erin,
I'm with you- I've been told by so many people to READ KATE's Books, but I haven't dived in yet. This book I am definitely going to read too!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Page!
You are a lucky girl! I can't wait to hear what you think of the Distant Hours! It just sounds so intriguing! And it's definitely going to be on my reading list now!

Aisle B said...

Getting a copy of Distant Hours this week from Simon & Schuster... Can't WAIT! I got my copy of Wrong Blood absolutely beautiful!

Ahhhh this is going to be a fantastic month :)

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

All (3) of these sound wonderful. I can't wait to start Distant Hours.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Aisle B!
I am so jealous! Not only did you get an ARC of Distant Hours, but a copy of Wrong Blood too! Good for you! I can't wait to read what you think of both of these!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Bibliophile BTS!
I can't wait to start reading these either! I think Distant Hours will be first up for me, since I have a few reading obligations the next week and won't get to any "additional" reading until probably Nov. 9th.

Mason Canyon said...

These all sound like interesting books, but I think THE DISTANT HOURS would grab my attention first. I guess it's the long lost letter that makes it so intriguing.

Thoughts in Progress

Alyce said...

The first two look very good. I'm especially interested in the Kate Morton book. I loved Shadow of the Wind, but more for the story than the writing style, so who knows if I'd like the first one. I guess I'd just have to give it a try to tell.

Marg said...

I love books that are set against war, and also with the alternating time frames, so these are all right up my alley!

I am very excited at the prospect of new Kate Morton.

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