#WWWWednesday – 27th May 2020

WWWWednesdays

Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, this meme is all about the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Why not join in too?  Leave a comment with your link at Taking on a World of Words and then go blog hopping!


Currently reading

My Buchan of the Month, a book from my NetGalley shelf, a review copy and an audiobook (yes, it is the same one as last week, and the week before…).  

Buchan of the Month Banner 2020.jpgThe Last Secretsby John Buchan (hardcover)

A detailed record of some of the main explorative achievements of the first two decades of the twentieth century and a fascinating glimpse into one the most exciting epochs for exploration.

Then We Take Berlin AudioThen We Take Berlin (Joe Wilderness #1) by John Lawton (audiobook)

Joe Wilderness is a World War II orphan, a condition that he thinks excuses him from common morality. Cat burglar, card sharp, and Cockney wide boy, the last thing he wants is to get drafted. But in 1946 he finds himself in the Royal Air Force, facing a stretch in military prison . . . when along comes Lt Colonel Burne-Jones to tell him MI6 has better use for his talents.

Posted to occupied Berlin, interrogating ex-Nazis, and burgling the odd apartment for MI6, Wilderness finds himself with time on his hands and the devil making work. He falls in with Frank, a US Army captain, with Eddie, a British artilleryman and with Yuri, a major in the NKVD and together they lift the black market scam to a new level. Coffee never tasted so sweet. And he falls for Nell Breakheart, a German girl who has witnessed the worst that Germany could do and is driven by all the scruples that Wilderness lacks.

Fifteen years later, June 1963. Wilderness is free-lance and down on his luck. A gumshoe scraping by on divorce cases. Frank is a big shot on Madison Avenue, cooking up one last Berlin scam . . . for which he needs Wilderness once more. Only now they’re not smuggling coffee, they’re smuggling people. And Nell? Nell is on the staff of West Berlin’s mayor Willy Brandt, planning for the state visit of the most powerful man in the world: “Ich bin ein Berliner!”

Then We Take Berlin is a gripping, meticulously researched and richly detailed historical thriller – a moving story of espionage and war, and people caught up in the most tumultuous events of the twenty-first century.

The Bell in the LakeThe Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting, trans. by Deborah Dawkin (e-book, courtesy of MacLehose Press and NetGalley)

Norway, 1880. Winter is hard in Butangen, a village secluded at the end of a valley. The lake has frozen, and for months the ground is too hard to bury the dead. Astrid Hekne dreams of a life beyond all this, beyond marriage, children, and working the land to the end of her days. Then Pastor Kai Schweigaard takes over the small parish, with its 700-year-old stave church carved with pagan deities. The two bells in the tower were forged by Astrid’s forefather in the sixteenth century, in memory of conjoined twins Halfrid and Gunhild Hekne. They are said to hold supernatural powers.

The villagers are wary of the pastor and his resolve to do away with their centuries-old traditions, though Astrid also finds herself drawn to him. And then a stranger arrives from Dresden, with grand plans for the church itself. For headstrong Astrid this may be a provocation too far.

Talented architecture student Gerhard Schönauer is an improbable figure in this rugged community. Astrid has never met anyone like him; he seems so different, so sensitive. She finds that she must make a choice: for her homeland and the pastor, or for an uncertain future in Germany.

Then the bells begin to ring…

One Hundred MiraclesOne Hundred Miracles by Zuzana Ruzicková with Wendy Holden (review copy, courtesy of Bloomsbury)

Zuzana Ruzicková grew up in 1930s Czechoslovakia dreaming of two things: Johann Sebastian Bach and the piano. But her melodic childhood was torn apart when, in 1939, the Nazis invaded. Uprooted from her home and transported from Auschwitz to Hamburg to Bergen-Belsen, Zuzana endured the unimaginable. Through it all, a slip of paper printed with her favourite piece of Bach’s music became her talisman.

Reborn through the unwavering power of music, Zuzana would go on to become one of the twentieth century’s most renowned musicians and the only harpsichordist to record the entirety of Bach’s keyboard works. bereaved , starved, and afflicted with crippling injuries to her musician’s hands, the teenage Zuzana faced a series of devastating losses. Yet with every truck and train ride,

Armed with this ‘proof that beauty still existed’, Zuzana’s fierce bravery and passion ensured her survival of the greatest human atrocities of all time, and would continue to sustain her through the brutalities of post-war Communist rule. Harnessing her talent and dedication, and fortified by the love of her husband, the Czech composer Viktor Kalabis,

Zuzana’s story, told here in her own words before her death in 2017, is a profound and powerful testimony of the horrors of the Holocaust, and a testament in itself to the importance of amplifying the voices of its survivors today. It is also a joyful celebration of art and resistance that defined the life of the ‘first lady of the harpsichord’- a woman who spent her life being ceaselessly reborn through her music.


Recently finished

Links from the title will take you to my review.

Lionheart by Ben Kane

The Flowers of Adonis by Rosemary Sutcliff (e-book)

The 5th Century BC. The Greek city-states are engaged in perpetual war. But one man towers above the chaos. His name is Alkibiades. He is at once a pirate, statesman and seducer whose adventures rival those of Odysseus himself.

Citizen of Athens, friend of Socrates, sailor, warrior and inveterate lover, Alkibiades flees persecution in his native city to join the Spartan cause.

However, his brilliant naval and diplomatic victories on their behalf do not save him from the consequences of impregnating the Spartan queen, and once more he takes up the outcast’s mantle. (Review to follow)

 

 


What Cathy (will) Read Next

cover181972-mediumThe Sea Gate by Jane Johnson (eARC, courtesy of Head of Zeus and NetGalley)

A broken family, a house of secret – an entrancing tale of love and courage set during the Second World War.

After Rebecca’s mother dies, she must sort through her empty flat and come to terms with her loss. As she goes through her mother’s mail, she finds a handwritten envelope. In it is a letter that will change her life forever.

Olivia, her mother’s elderly cousin, needs help to save her beloved home. Rebecca immediately goes to visit Olivia in Cornwall only to find a house full of secrets—treasures in the attic and a mysterious tunnel leading from the cellar to the sea, and Olivia, nowhere to be found.

As it turns out, the old woman is stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her house is made habitable again. Rebecca sets to work restoring the home to its former glory, but as she peels back the layers of paint and grime, she uncovers even more buried secrets—secrets from a time when the Second World War was raging, when Olivia was a young woman, and when both romance and danger lurked around every corner…

A sweeping and utterly spellbinding tale of a young woman’s courage in the face of war and the lengths to which she’ll go to protect those she loves against the most unexpected of enemies.

9 thoughts on “#WWWWednesday – 27th May 2020

  1. Whoa, I hadn’t even heard of that Sutcliff book — I haven’t dug around that much as an adult, but as a kid I pounced on every single one of her books I could find. I’m going to have to look that up now! I still love how she sketches out such a realistic (if not always congruent with the most modern archaeological findings which she couldn’t have known about) historical world.

    Here’s my WWW post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s quite a few years (okay, a lot of years) since I read a Rosemary Sutcliff but, like you, I devoured them when I was younger. I think she’s partly responsible for love of historical fiction. That is why I was so glad when The Flowers of Adonis came up as my spin read. It’s got me in the mood to read some of other books for adults or to reread some Mary Renault.

      Like

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