The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Goodreads blurb: In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners. Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive. One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.
My take: 3.5 out of 5. This was my book club selection and i was expecting to love this book because it is completely up my alley. However it did not fill its expectations. I actually did not shed a tear throughout the whole book and that for me is a feat for any sad historical fiction novel, i usually have the box of kleenex on standby next to my bed. I think for me the issue is I never warmed up to Lale. Also the only moment i truly appreciated the story was when i realized it was a true story at the end of the book. Some of the unbelievability of it made more sense, as it wasn’t someones fantasized version but reality so it made me appreciate it more. However, in what is an amazingly strong genre of WWII books, this does not go to the top of my list at all. I prefer lilac girls and the nightingale amongst many more.
Goodreads blurb: In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn’t correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy’s childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and he can’t figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button.
When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken–and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they’ll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they’ve broken, the plans they’ve changed, and the secrets they’ve kept. They’ll need a lot of help, but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance–right up until the last out.
My take: 3.5 out of 5. A solid book not a great one. A coming out of tragedy and into one’s one that really appealed to me, but its not going to win any major awards. Read it you are looking for a quick and nice read, a little self empowerment, but if you skip this for other greats you are not going to miss out. However, I just have to say, I kind of want an Dean in my life and you should all too 🙂
The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
Goodreads blurb: A twisty, compelling novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in murder…From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana was exquisitely polite, and properly friendly, but Lucy knew that she was not what Diana envisioned. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice who helped female refugees assimilate to their new country. Diana was happily married to Tom, and lived in wedded bliss for decades. Lucy wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.
That was five years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer.
But the autopsy finds no cancer.
The autopsy does find traces of poison and suffocation.
Who could possibly want Diana dead?
Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her adult children and their spouses?
With Lucy’s secrets getting deeper and her relationship with her mother-in-law growing more complex as the pages turn, this new novel from Sally Hepworth is sure to add to her growing legion of fans
My take: 4 out of 5. A really good book. An easy to read family drama and mistery that holds all the right cues until the end. I really enjoyed the characters relationship progressions and the ending had me really excited.