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Anna and the Swallow Man- Gavriel Savit


What a beautiful book, one of the best I have read. Anna is a very likeable character and the  Swallow Man is a delight, they are both alone and afraid but together discover a way to cope with the terrible things are that going on around them in WWII.  The synopsis says

An Extraordinary new wartime story that will captivate readers young and old.  Meet Anna.  Meet the Swallow Man. And follow their incredible journey together.

This is exactly what happens by reading this book you are taken on a journey which is thoroughly new and enjoyable.



Little Aunt Crane – Geling Yan

This is a complex novel about a difficult time period in Manchuria’s history.

The book centers around the life of 16 year old Tatsuru who after great tragedy is sold as a slave for the soul purpose of bearing children for a wealthy Chinese family who now own her.

First  wife Xiaohuan is not able to have children and these two women form an unlikely friendship and through several tumultuous decades of Mao’s rule in China they both find peace with the way they have come together and formed a family.



A night divided – Jennifer A. Nielsen

a night divided

This was heart felt read about a family divided overnight by the Berlin wall.

From New York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen comes a stunning thriller about a girl who must escape to freedom after the Berlin Wall divides her family between east and west.

With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family suddenly divided. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can’t help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.

But one day, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?

If You Were Me – Sam Hepburn


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Not long after Aliya’s family escapes Afghanistan for Britain, her older ex Soldier brother is accused of a bomb attack.

Aliya is sure of his innocence, but when the housing estate plumber’s son Dan finds a gun in their bathroom, whilst fixing the pipes, what’s she to think?

Dan has his own reasons for staying silent: he’s worried the gun might have something to do with his dad.

Thrown together by chance, the two of them set out to uncover a tangled and twisted truth.  This is a fast paced thriller with  lots of action and surprises, an easy read as it moves along quite swiftly.

The Dust That Falls From Dreams – By Louis de Bernieres

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This is a bit of a saga about the effects of World War one on a family and their long time friends and neighbours.  

In the brief golden years of King Edward VII’s reign, Rosie McCosh and her three sisters are growing up in an idyllic and eccentric household in Kent, with their ‘pals’ the Pitt boys on one side of the fence and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood innocence and adventure are destined to be followed by the apocalypse that will overwhelm their world as they come to adulthood.

For Rosie, the path ahead is full of challenges: torn between her love for two young men, her sense of duty and her will to live her life to the full, she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she, and her sisters, build new lives out of the opportunities and devastations that follow the Great War?

Louis de Bernières’ magnificent and moving novel follows the lives of an unforgettable cast of characters as the Edwardian age disintegrates into the Great War, and they strike out to seek what happiness can be salvaged from the ruins of the old world.

The Red Suitcase – Jill Harris

This Novel is about Ruth and her family who have been forced to leave Indonesia due to a terrorist bomb attack and return to Takapuna Beach, Auckland, where she desperately tries to establish a life at her new school. But instead she finds herself  travelling in time and seeing a mysterious airman who went missing during World War II. The only person who makes any sense of what’s happening to Ruth is physics geek Thomas Barnard – he knows something about the slippery nature of time. Help also comes from Ruth’s old friend Sally, who has a mysterious problem of her own. An exciting story about the uncertainties of peace and the need for friends to make sense of both. This is the fourth novel by award-winning writer, Jill Harris.


Inside Out and Back Again – Thanhha Lai


Told as a series of poems, Inside Out and Back Again tells the story of 10 year old Ha’s life growing up in Vietnam during the war. While a harsh life, her poems tell the story of a good life.However life changes when South Vietnam loses the war and Ha and her family are sponsored to go to America. Life becomes more of a struggle – from being top in the class, she is now the struggler. She struggles with the language, she struggles with the food, she struggles with the customs. Help from a new neighbour, gives Ha the confidence she needs to begin to integrate into American society.

The poems create a strong sense of the vibrancy and life of old Vietnam and Alabama of the 1970s.

The poetry is beautifully written and form a narrative that is very easy to follow.