Welcome to the first of the Cafe Updates for the week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.
The first review is for the recent poetry collection, Behind Closed Doors by Robbie Cheadle.
About the collection
What goes on behind closed doors: in the boardroom, after death, in the home, during lockdown, and in nature? This collection of poems, ranging from rhyming verse to twisted nursery rhymes, captures the emotions and thoughts people hide behind the masks they present to the world.
What thoughts are hidden
Behind her immobile face
Eyes cold and indifferent
Scrutinising me – hawk like
This book includes some of Robbie Cheadle’s spectacular fondant art and cakes.
A recent review for the collection
“Behind Closed Doors” is a unique assortment of symbolic, free and rhyming verse that creatively show us what is hidden behind one of those closed doors. Plus, I loved seeing some of the beautiful fondant cake art. Some poems moved me while others had me thinking, but all touched on an emotion. The tankas may have been my favorites, but I enjoyed them all. Here are a few favorite lines. “as she danced, unfettered/in her own, glittering world/The stars gave her hope/allowed her to soar….” “Desperately, she peers through the dimness. An assorted array of items drift past her….” “Gratefully she sinks/Into sleep’s loving embrace/Thoughts gently unfurl/Reorganising themselves/Answer revealed in sweet dreams,” and “The crimson rose/Stands tall and alone/A stately queen….” A great glimpse into current events through a poetic eye. This is a poetry collection I recommend.
A selection of books for adults and children by Roberta Eaton Cheadle.
The next review is for the latest book by Paulette Mahurin set in WW2 – Over the Hedge.
About the book
During one of the darkest times in history, at the height of the German occupation of the Netherlands in 1943, members of the Dutch resistance began a mission to rescue Jewish children from the deportation center in Amsterdam.
Heading the mission were Walter Süskind, a German Jew living in the Netherlands, Henriëtte Pimentel, a Sephardic Jew, and Johan van Hulst, principal of a Christian college. As Nazis rounded up Jewish families at gunpoint, the three discreetly moved children from the deportation center to the daycare across the street and over the backyard hedge to the college next door. From the college, the children were transported to live with Dutch families. Working against irate orders from Hitler to rid the Netherlands of all Jews and increasing Nazi hostilities on the Resistance, the trio worked tirelessly to overcome barriers.
Ingenious plans were implemented to remove children’s names from the registry of captured Jews. To sneak them out of the college undetected past guards patrolling the deportation center. To meld them in with their new families to avoid detection. Based on actual events, Over the Hedge is the story of how against escalating Nazi brutality when millions of Jews were disposed of in camps, Walter Süskind, Henriëtte Pimentel, and Johan van Hulst worked heroically with the Dutch resistance to save Jewish children. But it is not just a story of their courageous endeavors. It is a story of the resilience of the human spirit. Of friendship and selfless love. The love that continues on in the hearts of over six hundred Dutch Jewish children.
One of the recent reviews for the book
This is a heartwrenching, riveting story of three courageous members of the Resistance who risked their lives to save Jewish children during the Nazi Occupation of Holland. Although I am familiar with similar stories of Dutch citizens, most notably that of Miep Gies, who helped the Frank family in hiding, I wasn’t aware of the efforts of this heroic trio. (One of them later served as Senator from the Netherlands and was also a European Parliament member.) Without hesitation and under extreme duress, they secretly moved children at risk of deportation to Nazi concentration camps, first to a daycare center, then across a hedge to the neighboring college. From there, they were taken in by Dutch families, although tragically, never saw their parents again.
This is a difficult read due to the extreme and senseless violence and abuse inflicted on innocent Jews. It’s also painful to read how the Occupation turned family members and friends against one another in order to make 7,5 guilders, or the price on a Jewish head. The author does a good job of keeping each of the story threads open and intriguing. It’s a suspenseful read which you’ll want to continue to the end because you hope against all hope that all three—and the 600-plus children they saved—will survive. I won’t give away the ending but will admit I needed a tissue or two.
Kudos to the author for this engaging book on a tough subject. Her research was very thorough, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she has a personal connection to someone in the story, perhaps one of the children who survived.
Also by Paulette Mahurin
Profits from Pauline’s books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.
The final review today is for Mark Lee Myers and his book The Tomato Smuggler: How One Man Stood Up To Communism.
About the Tomato Smuggler
A son’s tribute.
His father waged war without bullets, triumphing over communist oppression during Dictator Ceauşescu’s final decade in rural Romania.
Communism robbed freedom, so Nicolae’s father led the family to subtle and overt resistance to retain their dignity. The Cismigiu family built a thriving tomato business and smuggled tomatoes to market to survive. Creatively defying tyranny brought harassment and intimidation directed at what was most valued: family, a prized workhorse, and their tomato farm.
Zeal to keep the spirit of freedom alive came at a cost many could not pay, even the death of a friend during one of their harrowing, midnight tomato smugglings. Joy and sorrow were interwoven into the fabric of the family’s life story, but they focused on happiness and contentment. Grandpa always believed the Americans would come and liberate Romania after WWII but never lived to see the day. Ironically, his dream did come true. It skipped a generation and impacted Nicolae.
One of the recent reviews for the book
This book is really good! I love the historical fiction aspect of the book. The book is based on Romanian life after and during WW2. Which isn’t something you see very often! It’s definitely a book where you need to like the genre to really get into it. Overall a very good and interesting book!
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.