What an amazing book that weaves historical events based on true story with beautiful fictional characters. This read was both heartbreaking and beautifully triumphant at times. The resilient Librarians Clara Button and Ruby Monroe faced sexism, Bureaucracy , domestic issues and the heartbreak of war while continuing to champion their communities right to access books regardless of age, gender ,and class. It really spotlights how books provide an escape, a safe place and hope in even the darkest of times.
The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson, (List Price: $16.99, Forever, 9781538724217, February 2023)
If you love family epics told across sweeping history, The Night Travelers will engage you from page one. It tells a particular piece of the Holocaust story not often heard, of the small group of Jews who managed to find safety after leaving Germany in the I’ll-fated St. Louis. Four generation of women struggle to understand both their origins and the loving sacrifice made to ensure their survival. Each woman struggles with decisions they should not be asked to make. The story has just the right number of twists to keep you reading.
The Night Travelers by Armando Lucas Correa (List Price: $27.99, Atria Books, 9781501187988, January 2023)
This story of three women shines a light on the existence of Nazi breeding programs during the WW2 era. These maternity homes facilitated the births of thousands of “true German babies” to help repopulate and rebuild the “new Germany.” I had never heard of this! Gundi, Hilde and Irma each had their own reasons for being involved as they were, and for making the risky decisions that would change the path they were on. Engaging, enlightening and well written!
Cradles of the Reich by Jennifer Coburn, (List Price: $27.99, Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781728250748, October 2022)
“The first part of The Wild Hunt that came to me was the setting; the second was the sluagh. I was living in Scotland at the time and knew I wanted to try to capture the feeling I had there, the landscape and the history and — yes — the weather. I was interested in the way that story, myth and legend shaped communities. I started researching Scottish folklore, and found the myth of the sluagh, creatures that are said to carry the souls of the dead. I started playing with the legend, and the earliest seeds of The Wild Hunt started to grow.” –Emma Seckel, Interview, All Arts
What booksellers are saying about The Wild Hunt
Spooky, speculative fun…so atmospheric (and full of dread) that I couldn’t pull myself away. Perfect for lovers of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. ―Maggie Robe from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina Buy from Flyleaf Books
An excellent mix of fantasy and historical fiction. The Wild Hunt is a book that grabs you from the beginning and still doesn’t let go at the end. On this small island that Leigh has lived ever since she was born, minus the last few years, they are dealing with the ramifications of World War II along with their own Celtic legend that has always been there. Seckel does an amazing job of telling the story of love and loss, and that through compassion things can change. Just a little compassion goes a long way and sometimes what you give you get back tenfold!
―Mandy Harris from Angel Wings Bookstore in Stem, North Carolina Buy from Angel Wings Bookstore
I am always mesmerized by any tale featuring the mythology and lore of Ireland, Scotland and all points in that direction. The slaugh has arrived in Scotland. According to Celtic legend they are bands of crows known to carry the souls of the dead and they inhabit the island of Kate’s birth. Kate returns from city life back to this isolated island and is faced with disturbing events that she must deal with. Mysterious and provocative, I got lost in this story and couldn’t put it down. Tantalizing tale! ―Stephanie Crowe from Page & Palette in Fairhope, Alabama Buy from Page & Palette
About Emma Seckel
Emma Seckelis an award-winning writer and photographer living in Vancouver, Canada.
These three stories make an important addition to the canon of Dazai translated into English (still too slight!) The title story is classic Dazai autofiction about the effects of Allied firebombing in Imperial Japanese cities. "Villon’s Wife" is an exquisite piece, with all the charm of Japanese folk tales and the perversity of modernity, that echoes Dazai’s classic "No Longer Human." "One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji," however, is the jewel; for readers in English, this may be the first inkling of the author’s sense of humor. Altogether a stunning collection, and a great introduction to one of the masters of 20th century existential literature.
Early Light by Osamu Dazai, (List Price: $17.95, New Directions, 9780811231985, August 2022)
Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi
Adriana Trigiani’s The Good Left Undone transports you through both time and place, moving effortlessly through four generations of the Cabrelli family and from country to country during one of Europe’s most trying times. It not only impresses the importance of family and the love we share with those we choose, but the importance of the stories and heirlooms that are passed down from one generation to the next.
The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani, (List Price: $28, Dutton, 9780593183328, April 2022)
Quite simply one of the most beautiful books I’ve read all year. Historical fiction with well-drawn heroines and interesting love stories aren’t uncommon. What makes this book absolutely sing is the care and attention given to all the relationships in this book. The mother who has lost her child and the child who has lost his family; women forging deep, meaningful friendships that are treated with the same importance as the romantic entanglements; and perhaps even better, everyone grows. In a field cluttered with WWII era novels this book rises about the field with its unusual setting and lovely relationships, but also with the author’s distinct voice and prose.
Under the Golden Sun by Jenny Ashcroft (List Price: $27.99, St. Martin’s Press, 9781250274762, March 2022)
A young girl is kidnapped from her German parents before the rise of the Nazis and is raised in the forest to protect her from becoming a Nazi. But even an attempt to shield her from her inevitable future is futile and she becomes enmeshed in Jewish refugees’ lives and becomes important to their survival. But interaction with others has its consequences and takes Yona on a complicated journey of finding herself and learning who she really is. The ending was poetic and left me wanting to understand more. As a side note, Kristin did a great job of explaining the historical background that inspired the book. Hands down, a different spin on the human condition and experiences during the Holocaust.
The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel, (List Price: 28, Gallery Books, 9781982158934, 2021-07-06)
The Forest of Vanishing Stars is about a young girl kidnapped from her wealthy German parents and raised in the forests of Eastern Europe. From her earliest years, she is taught to survive in the woods. When her captor dies, she is alone until she comes upon a group of Jewish people fleeing from the Nazis. She decides to do whatever she can to protect them until a family secret threatens everything. Atmospheric with hints of fairy tale, The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a stand out in WWII Historical Fiction
The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel, (List Price: 28, Gallery Books, 9781982158934, July 2021)
Well, this was beyond lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed this story with it’s loveable cast of characters and the SIDE LOVE STORY. How refreshing that the love story, though present and beautiful, was mentioned, I think, about five times? Even so, I’m still swooning over George. SWOONING. Booksellers will adore this novel of a reader discovering her passion for books. Readers will love this novel for the tender descriptions of loving a book. And I love this novel for it’s honest, harsh descriptions of life during war. The losses great and small (which are often the ones that discourage most.) I can’t wait to shove this book into the hands of my customers. I cannot wait!
The Last Bookshop in Londonby Madeline Martin (List Price: $16.99, Hanover Square Press, 9781335284808, 4/6/2021)
You know those books that you start reading and Cannot. Put. Down?? This is definitely one. With so many WWII books out there, Kate Quinn manages to put a fresh spin on the war with The Rose Code and makes you feel like you’re reading something new. The writing is amazing, the characters relatable, and the story fast-paced, heartbreaking, jubilant, and redemptive all at the same time. This historical fiction about the codebreakers of Bletchley Park will be one of your favorite reads of 2021.
The Rose Codeby Kate Quinn (List Price: $17.99, William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062943477, 3/9/2021)
We have always known that librarians are heroes, and this book is based on the true story of the amazing women working at the American Library in Paris, as they join the Resistance after World War II breaks out. On a different timeline, a teenage girl interviews her older neighbor, who is one of the French librarians, and discovers her bravery… but also her complicated past.
The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles (List Price: $28, Atria Books, 9781982134198, 2/9/2021)
Reviewed by Anne Peck, Righton Books in St. Simons Island, South Carolina
A deep and delightful story of what it means to be part of a family. William, Edmund, and Anna discover enemies, friends, compassion, and the power of books are all part of their search for a forever home. Like cocoa on a winter day, this book will leave you cozy and smiling.
A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus (List Price: $17.99, Margaret Ferguson Books, 9780823447053, 2/2/2021)
Janusz Korczak ran an orphanage for Jewish children in Warsaw, where conditions became increasingly harsh during WWII. Gifford tells with great detail of their daily lives–struggling to find food to eat and to not be killed by the Nazis. Over 95% of the 350,000 Jews in Warsaw did not survive the war. A sad story to read but one we must not forget.
The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford (List Price: $25.95, Pegasus Books, 9781643136363, 1/5/2021)