Friendship’s Gallop by Ross Davis is a riveting work of fiction stemming from the conflicts and resolutions between Indians and Caucasian Americans. This story instantly pulled me in from the beginning. David, who was the young son of a settler, hunted on the grounds of an Indian tribe and later learned the ways of the tribe. Although he was a young boy, he understood the meaning of Indian culture. During his stay, at their encampment he gained valuable friendships and a new respect for the culture. One of the most heartwarming gestures in this story is the trade off between David and Painting Horse. David giving up one of his mother’s gifts was a gesture of genuine friendship.
I love how Ross Davis captured many positive aspects of Indian people. Having knowledge about tribes and cultures made this novel more enjoyable and feel more authentic. I also felt like the small details created a wider lens from which to view many problems we face to this day. The tribe felt a certain way about Calvary men and vice versa. Towards the end of the trail they reached a better understanding of each other. Unfortunately the war in the story caused collateral damage to both participants. I was happy that David never forgot the kind gestures the Lakota have shared with him. Using his knowledge, he was able to share the goodness of the Lakota people. I was expecting David to turn heartless, but instead he became inspirational. I really enjoyed the stirring character development throughout this adventurous historical fiction novel.
I would give Friendship’s Gallop by Ross Davis 5 out of 5 stars because I remained engaged throughout the entire story and the moral was powerful. I was intrigued by the exotic culture and wanted to learn more as the author added key pieces that contributed to the diversity and unity of the tribes and settlers. The author also did a phenomenal job wrapping up the story with another heartwarming moment between David and Painting Horse.
Pages: 72 | ASIN: B08FPCKPZ2
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The Road Remembered is a riveting historical fiction novel by author Kaye D. Schmitz which recounts the final months of World War II through the eyes of two main characters. On one side, there’s American soldier Sam Ryan, fresh out of training in the 89th Infantry Division, and on the other Gerda Ziegler, a German woman responsible for saving the lives of countless Jewish children.
The author has done impeccable research and interviewed several veterans to bring this story to life, including her own father, the real-life figure who served as inspiration for Sam Ryan. Gerda is also based on a real hero, Irene Sendler, the woman responsible for saving over 2,000 children during the war.
Together, these two viewpoints create a vivid picture of war that condemns the Nazi ideology, but also shows there were good people on both sides of the conflict. The writing is the strong point of the book. The accounts are so detailed that it is very easy to get absorbed by the narrative and feel like you are living that reality with the characters.
Both main characters are well developed and their thoughts and motivations are well explained. The narratives and settings from these two perspectives differ wildly from one another. However, the horrors created by war are ever-present in the protagonists’ minds.
As events unfold, we are curious to know the outcomes of the characters, since we know the one from the war. There is also some excitement about which circumstances the protagonists will meet and what will come out of that.
The book keeps a steady pace right up until the end of the war where we are then treated to something of an epilogue in the last few pages. However, in the end, there’s a beautiful payoff that wraps it all up beautifully.
The Road Remembered is a compelling account of events from World War II with enough liberties taken to make it a fantastic piece of historical fiction. With realistic characters and an enveloping narrative this is a book I highly recommend.
Pages: 334 | ASIN: B0975VVDH6
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Cleon’s by author’s April Pulliam and Amy Grantham is a feel-good read that will give you a nostalgic feeling. The book follows a little girl and her story of growing up in her historic house. The images that accompany the descriptions are captivating and bring the short story to life. As I read this heartfelt book I began to think about the house I grew up in as a child, although not nearly as historic or important, it reminded me of all the small things that you recall about your house, not the grand things everyone hears about, the minor things that effect you personally. I appreciated that the pictures were in black and white and had a rustic touch to it as it shows the age of the house and how time has passed as the little girl grew up. There’s little details to the pictures that tell a story all on their own. I felt as though I was looking through the family’s scrapbook. The descriptions, as brief as they are, are so powerful that you are taken back in time and you can imagine the smells and sounds in Cleon’s house. You can feel the love, happiness, and safety that the little girl felt growing up in her home and how she hoped those same feelings would be passed on to the next generation.
In just thirty six pages the reader is taken on an emotional and reminiscent journey to Cleon’s house. Cleon’s is a short and sweet mini-family-saga, mini-memoir, mini-tribute to something that has affected an entire family, and generations past, and Amy shares her personal story in an evocative and charming way.
Pages: 36 | ASIN: B099BYLKWQ
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In the memoir From Rubble to Champagne, author Vivianne Knebel tells us the story of her life. Vivianne’s early life was full of hardships. As an illegitimate child in Nazi Germany she realized very early on how cruel life could be. Dealing with poverty, her family had to figure out how to keep afloat amidst war-torn Germany, as many other Germans had to do during that period of time. This is an impassioned story of survival and love: through Vivianne’s narration we can see vividly the life of a child that starts with tragedy but that, with time and with the right attitude, flourishes and becomes something awe-inspiring and incredibly beautiful.
The book is splendidly written, Vivianne tells her story in such a way that one can both learn about a relevant and dark part of human history, and also feel inspired by the beauty of human life and its resilience. Moreover, this book showcases a story that many times is not told and gets ignored in our history, and that’s the story of the Germans that saw themselves affected by all this conflict, just wanting and trying to survive and save their families from poverty and from the war. Vivianne mirrors this point of view by sharing with us the story of her mother, who as a single mom had to deal with poverty and many times needed to search for shelter to protect both of her young daughters from the constant bombings that were so common during that period. Reading this story, one can not help but feel empathy and total support for Vivianne’s journey: despite the terrible realities of what she had to endure from a very young age, she finds a way to build a new life for herself, dealing with immigration and walking the long path of self-discovery and self-fulfillment, ending the story with a relevant reflection about the importance of love, family and gratitude.
It was a pleasure to read this book and I feel honored to be given the opportunity to learn about Vivianne’s story and her teachings. Her entire life is a demonstration of what we, as humans, are capable of going through and building for ourselves. It is a story about the hard, terrible realities of human life, but also of the beauty that’s always awaiting all of us, of love and of happiness. There’s always something better for all of us and Vivianne does an excellent job portraying this to her readers.
Through her book, Vivianne guides us and helps us reflect about our own lives. From Rubble to Champagne is an inspiring story about survival and resilience, filled with important teachings that pushes us to live, work hard, better ourselves and find beauty in even the most adverse situations.
Pages: 208 | ASIN: B08NFMSJYV
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Elmer & Virginia tells the personal and emotional story of your parents through a collection of letters they wrote one another during World War II. Why was this an important book for you to write?
These letters sat mostly untouched and unopened for the better part of half a century. When I began reading them after the deaths of my parents, I realized what a treasure they were. Their writing and story-telling skills were superb, and they vividly brought to life their experiences and their era, as they grew up during a most fraught and perilous time. I couldn’t let them stay hidden from the world.
Was there anything that you learned about your parents that was surprising when you read their letters?
I always knew what basically honest and decent people they were, from observing and being raised by them. But these letters brought out their kindness, their goodness, their integrity, and their courage. And it was a wonderful experience to “meet” them as young people and not as “your parents.”
Were there any letters that nearly made it into the collection but didn’t?
Oh yes. There were many that fell by the wayside for considerations of brevity and focus. Also passages about family matters, that would be of little interest to the general reader, were cast aside. And in a few cases there were letters our family just didn’t want to share.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your parents’ story?
This book really illustrates the incredibly brave responses of ordinary people to extraordinary events. And it shows that –really – there are no such things as ‘ordinary’ people. The book also shines a bright light on a lost form of communication – words written on paper and preserved for posterity.
Posted in Interviews
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Midnight Flight to Nuremberg, by Marcus A. Nannini, is the riveting story of Harry Watson Jr’s time as an aviation pilot during World War II. Harry Watson recounts his time enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, as well as his home life, in this stirring and dramatic memoir.
Harry Watson Jr. dreamed of being a pilot. He knew his only chance to get out of a life in the coal mines was to enlist in the military. He went through the necessary training to become a C-47 Pilot/Instructor and earned many awards throughout his time in the Air Corps. One of the most important flights during his career was to bring Franz Von Papen back to base from Nuremberg, Germany. Von Papen was held high in German society and a key contributor to Hitler’s rise in power.
Author Marcus Nannini tells Harry’s time in the Air Corps with precision and a keen eye on the key aspects of a gripping story. As a reader, you feel as if Harry is telling you about his experiences himself. Nannini does Harry justice in the way he tells this story. The reader is able to see what is behind the scenes for a soldier during World War II, the path to becoming an aviation pilot during those times, and who Harry was as a person. Nannini was also able to give the reader a glimpse into the lives of Harry’s fellow crewman and friends. The friendship between Lang and Watson was one I adored reading about. This book not only tells Harry’s military story, but offers further insight into tactics and important figures during Hitler’s reign of terror, making this perfect for military history enthusiasts.
Midnight Flight to Nuremberg is a wonderful retelling of Harry Watson Jr’s experiences as a pilot and instructor during World War II. I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys history, listening to real-life experiences from World War II, and to those who want to follow a compelling person through one of the most dramatic times in history.
Pages: 224 | ISBN:1526792737
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Out of Poland, by Charles Breakfield and Roxanne Burkey, is the action-packed story of a group of Polish citizens who band together to fight against Hitler and the German army. In this historical thriller an ambassador, soldiers, and a family of Gypsies all come together to save Poland.
Ferdek Watcowski is the Polish ambassador and father of the main character, Ferdek. Younger Ferdek, a former lieutenant in the Polish military, devises a plan to undermine the German forces. Two of his comrades, along with a family of gypsies, travel to Gdansk to obtain a device known as “Baby”. I feel giving this device such a soft name allows for the authors to put the reader at ease, as well as introduces humor in calling a dangerous device “baby”. The plot of the story propels forward as these characters risk their lives to obtain a device that could change the war rising in Poland, and possibly save their country from the grasp of the Germans.
Breakfield and Burkey have a writing style that is simple yet intriguing. They move the plot along quickly and engage the reader throughout the entire story. The action throughout the story, as well as the suspense, leaves the reader at the edge of their seat. Throughout the entire story, you are wondering if these characters will make it out alive and achieve their goal of saving Poland.
This story is short but still captivating, but I would have loved to delve deeper into the characters and their backstories as they were so compelling, and what’s given leaves me wanting more. The heart the characters have for their country, along with their fighting spirit leaves you rooting for them, and relating to them, throughout their suspenseful journey.
Out of Poland is a fast paced historical thriller that is relentlessly moving forward and accurately portrays a perilous time in history. The authors skill with words is on full display. Any reader who enjoys historical fiction that gets the details right, and a story that knows how to setup compelling characters, will have plenty to enjoy in this gripping novel by Breakfield and Burkey.
Pages: 102 | ASIN: B096WQ77C8
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Weeping Goes Unheard provides a detailed account of the atrocities Canada has inflicted on indigenous people. What inspired you to write a book on this topic?
I was inspired to write Weeping Goes Unheard after I came across one of the numerous old journalism notebooks, marked ‘Racial profiling in Canada that was gathering dust in my basement cellar. I had a bad time trying to decipher my notes that were shorthand scribbled. I have long forgotten this technique and had to take a refresher course! But I’m so glad I did because nothing justifies the racial genocide of Canadian Indigenous Peoples.
What is the biggest obstacle indigenous people face in seeking recognition of these atrocities from the Canadian government?
Genuine acknowledgment of wrongdoing (past and present) because “sorry” is as hollow as a drum coming from the Canadian government and religious officials who hide in foxholes of protection and denial.
What can people do to support indigenous people today?
Write to their First Nations Chiefs and tell them that you hear them, feel their anguish and what can you do to help. I did by telling their story that will keep echoing in my heart forever and hopefully many more caring humans will after they have read Weeping Goes Unheard. Let politicians know that it is unacceptable, a crime against humanity, to treat their citizens so shamefully.
I appreciate the fantastic research that went into this book. Was there anything that surprised you while researching this book?
As a seasoned journalist, nothing normally surprises me, but the overwhelming vast numbers of dead and missing Indigenous women who didn’t get the same intense criminal investigation as a non-Indigenous person was indeed eyebrow-raising not to mention the small-pox-infected blankets intended to wipe off the original owners of Canada.
Posted in Interviews
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