Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with new releases and recent reviews for authors on the shelves.
Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Marina Osipova a novel of love and fate – Too Many Wolves in the Local Woods
About the book
Two unlikely women with a shared history, two different turns of fate.
The end of the 1930s. The specter of twisted paranoia of Stalin’s unrelenting dictatorship continues to tighten over the Soviet Union. NKVD, the country’s secret police, coerces University graduate Ursula Kriegshammer, a Soviet Volga German with special skills, into serving this regime.
Natasha Ivanova, a worker at a metal plant in Vitebsk, a city at the western border of the
When in 1941 the German Army invades Byelorussia, both women seem to be helping the cause to fight the ruthless occupiers. But when their paths cross, tragedy strikes and one must carry the burden of guilt. Will she ever find peace with herself and the way out of the trap fate prepared for her?
Years later, the daughter of one of them launches on a quest to uncover the heroic nature of her mother’s role in WWII, only to discover a heart-shattering revelation of her own parentage.
One of the early reviews for the book
Too Many Wolves in the Local Woods, by Marina Osipova, is an historical fiction novel set in World War II Stalinist Russia at the outset of the Nazi invasion of the Motherland, and throughout the war years. The novel starts out slow, detailing the lives of two women, leading entirely different lives in different cities. One of them is trained as a spy and killer, destined to lead a double life in service of Russia; while the other woman takes a different path, but one which, by coincidence more than plan, also winds her up in the same spider’s net.
Their paths eventually cross in the most unlikely, and in fact, shocking manner, and when they do, this story suddenly ramps up into a thrilling intrigue. While the threads of romance provide the humanistic link that pulls the reader along, there is another weave of brutality in this book that reminds us how terrible and shocking war really is – one that provides an inside view of Stalinist Russia, and the fascist Nazi invaders, and just how barbarous and callous both regimes were. One sees this war torn theater through the eyes of these two women, both loyal to Russia, and yet both torn by their circumstances, to the point where their patriotism is the death of their principles and self respect.
The author has done a brilliant job of painting a picture of just how cold and pallid and Spartan was the existence of the Russian people, not only because of what the Nazi’s did to them during the invasion, but also because of the very nature of Stalin’s oppressive grip over their lives and their minds, one which created a world of deprivation in the name of a demented ideology – one that demanded, by fear and terror, their unabated loyalty. One sees, through the eyes of these women, that both Hitler and Stalin were equally mad, and equally destructive.
We need more books like this, books that remind future generations to preserve unalloyed freedom and to ensure that tyrannical people and their divisive attempts to trade that freedom for something else, never sees the light of day again. This story will keep you transfixed, to the end, because you only really find out what happens in the final pages. A great read
Other books by Marina Osipova
The first author with a recent review is Jan Sikes for her latest release, the short story Brazos Wind…
About the book
War-torn drifter, Jack McClean is left with nothing but bad memories, scars, and a restless soul. When he stumbles upon a burning homestead, and an unconscious woman, beside the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, he stops to render aid. Grieving widow, Savannah Logan, sees no reason to live, and only wants to join her husband and children in their graves. But, Jack refuses to let her die. In saving her, he might somehow find redemption for himself and hope for a new tomorrow. Is it possible that both Jack and Savannah can find a new destiny in the changeable flow of the Brazos wind?
One of the recent reviews for the book
I’m not a fan of Westerns, but I’ve enjoyed other short stories by this author, so I decided to take a chance. I’m glad I did. This story is set in Texas in the 1880s. Jack McClean is at a point in his life where he just wants to settle down. He’s seen enough killing and just wants to “retire” and enjoy what’s left of his life. Along the journey, he comes across Savannah, the damsel in distress. Her house has burned down and she is injured. Jack, being the gentleman that he is, stops to help her. The Brazos Wind pushed their paths together for a great ending.
This was a great read. The author did a wonderful job of letting me immediately fall into the characters’ lives and connect with each of them. As much as I wanted more in the ending, I also realize things weren’t that way during those times. She stayed true to the era, but left enough of a hint to let my imagination run wild with the wind. 😉
A selection of books by Jan Sikes
The next book is Timeless Echoes a collection of poetry by Balroop Singh
About the collection
Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.
Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.
While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.
One of the recent reviews for the collection
“Timeless Echoes” by Balroop Singh is a compilation of poems that center on the inner being. For example, each poem puts you in setting, tells you what you see, or begs to ask a question. Singh’s poems surround a symbolic self-awareness and give messages of affection, hope, and what we as individuals may perceive our road in this world is.
It’s been a while since I read so many pieces of poetry that I have forgotten how soothing and re-vamping the art is. Reading it at night was especially enjoyable for me. I also read several of them out loud to my husband to see what message he got from it. One that captivated me was “A Shrieking Echo,” it came like fleeting emotion of a random woman expressing her pain of having lost a child. If you like to collect poetry or want to find stillness in an over-stimulating world, this is the fit for you.
Also by Balroop Singh
The final author today is Mary Smith with a recent review for her novel No More Mulberries
No More Mulberries is a story of commitment and divided loyalties, of love and loss, set against a country struggling through transition.
British-born Miriam’s marriage to her Afghan doctor husband is heading towards crisis. Despite his opposition, she goes to work as a translator at a medical teaching camp in a remote area of rural Afghanistan hoping time apart will help are see where their problems lie. She comes to realise how unresolved issues from when her first husband was killed by a mujahideen group are damaging her relationship with her husband and her son – but is it already too late to save her marriage?
One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads
When Miriam literally runs into the man of her dreams, Jarad, she doesn’t realize what a profound impact he will have on her future.
Convincing his family doesn’t come easily, but in the end their love triumphs and the young couple marry. Miriam takes to the cultural differences of her new country and thrives- until the sudden death of her husband.
Lost, desolate, but determined to raise their son in his father’s homeland, Miriam agrees to wed Iqbal and travel with him to his village to act as midwife in his clinic. Iqbal is kind and generous, but rigid in his belief of a woman’s place in his home.
Over time, resentment builds and when Miriam is offered a chance to get away to a teaching school for a couple of months she decides to accept.
What follows is a journey into the past for both Miriam and Iqbal, who carries burdens of his own.
This story is written with an obvious affection for the Afghan people and their culture. I enjoyed learning about a way of life so far removed from mine. Though Afghanistan has its problems, it’s a beautiful country with kind and caring people.
I give No More Mulberries 5 stars- this is a must-read!
Also by Mary Smith
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have found some books to take away with you.. thanks Sally.