The Beloved by Joy Margetts is a companion book to The Healing, which I reviewed earlier. While The Healing is a novel, The Beloved is a novella. It is set in 1250 a few years later than The Healing (1231), but some of the characters will be familiar to readers of the earlier book. The tagline is ‘When Love whispers, will the heart respond?’
The Beloved is a light read suitable for Young Adult or adult readers. I read this heart-warming, well-written story the day I downloaded it. As with The Healing, passages from the Bible are included. It is available on Kindle.
Both the books I am reviewing here are described as Young Adult having teenage girls as the main protagonists. They both have historic events from World War 2 as a background. The holocaust was important for the plots of both these books. I hadn’t realised reading them, or indeed when I began to review them, that Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK is on 27 January, six days after this post is published.
Being Lena Levi by Bobbie Ann Cole
In 1950 Marlene Roberts finds out her true identity and has to make a decision. The settings of post-war Canterbury, Germany before WW2 and overseas travel to Israel are described vividly. I was drawn into Lena’s dilemma and found that the book was a page-turner. The characters are credible and the events could not be predicted. It is a very informative, emotional read.
Being Lena Levi is a recent publication from Instant Apostle, which I received as a Christmas present. My review of one of Bobbie Ann Cole’s earlier books, Love Triangles, is here.
The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington
The Red Ribbon: Every dress she makes could mean the difference between life and death is the January book club book from Cumbria Libraries (and other UK public libraries). I read it as an e-book on BorrowBox. It is set during 1944-5 against the backdrop of the holocaust. It is a story of friendship and creativity inside a notorious concentration camp. The details about dress-making are accurate – the author has an interest in costume, also writing nonfiction books. There are complex characters and twists and turns in the plot. Each chapter has the name of a colour. Again there is excitement and the reader is drawn into the story emotionally.
Both the books reviewed in this post were BorrowBox books, which I read on my phone.
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
I chose this book because I also have experience of working in a bookshop. During the timespan covered in the diary, every day The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland was open the author recorded the online orders and whether they were fulfilled, the till takings and a report of customers, staff and their idiosyncracies. His dry sense of humour and discussion of the state of the second-hand book trade in the twenty-teens make this an informative and entertaining book. His fishing trips and preparations for the Wigtown Book Festival as well as visits to people’s houses to buy books, add variety. I enjoyed it.
The Muse by Jessie Burton is a bestseller. The first part was so authentic that I wondered whether it was memoir rather than fiction. One disadvantage of reading on BorrowBox is that I have not found a way of flipping to the end to check the author’s notes and other appendices. This is a historical novel set in the 1960s and 1930s. Some of the scenes described are disturbing. The whole novel is well-researched, extremely well-written and absorbing. There are hints about the provenance of one of the characters, which I was pleased to have noticed and guessed correctly. Works of art (and one in particular) form a thread linking the two historical periods. I shall be looking out for Jessie Burton’s earlier novel, The Miniaturist.