Recently I have found myself wanting more from different genres. I even found myself turning to a personal fav, historical fiction. These are just some quick thoughts on the last couple of books that I have finished.
Angels of the Resistance by Noelle Salazar
As bombs fall across Europe, fourteen-year-old Lien Vinke fears that the reality of war is inescapable. Though she lives a quiet life with her mother and older sister, Elif, in their small town of Haarlem, they are no strangers to heartache, having recently suffered an immeasurable loss. And when the Nazis invade the Netherlands, joining the Dutch resistance with Elif offers just the atonement Lien craves.
Trained to shoot by their late father, the sisters are deadly wolves in sheep’s clothing. They soon find themselves entrenched in the underground movement, forging friendships with the other young recruits, and Lien even discovers a kindred spirit in a boy named Charlie. But in wartime, emotional attachments are a liability she can’t afford, especially when a deeply personal mission jeopardizes everything she holds dear—her friendships, her family, and her one shot at redemption.
What I enjoyed about this World War II story is that it follows two young sisters who are recruited to help with the underground movement against the Nazis in the Netherlands. The story is told mainly from Lien’s point of view. She is the younger sister of Elif who is recruited first to join the Dutch resistance. Both girls are pushed to their limits, mentally and physically, as they complete mission after mission. The girls are able to train and complete these missions with the help of their mother. This is a story of love, determination, sacrifice, pain, and hope. I always enjoy a good war story that takes place beside the war but stands strong on its own. The author did a wonderful job with her research and execution of the story.
I would recommend this book to those readers who love historical fiction, especially stories that are based on true events.
The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi
In the first book of a visionary fantasy trilogy with its roots in the mythology of Africa and Arabia, three women band together against a cruel empire that divides people by blood.
Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.
Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.
Clear is the blood of the slaves, of the crushed, of the invisible.
Sylah dreams of days growing up in the resistance, being told she would spark a revolution that would free the empire from the red-blooded ruling classes’ tyranny. That spark was extinguished the day she watched her family murdered before her eyes.
Anoor has been told she’s nothing, no one, a disappointment, by the only person who matters: her mother, the most powerful ruler in the empire. But when Sylah and Anoor meet, a fire burns between them that could consume the kingdom—and their hearts.
Hassa moves through the world unseen by upper classes, so she knows what it means to be invisible. But invisibility has its uses: It can hide the most dangerous of secrets, secrets that can reignite a revolution. And when she joins forces with Sylah and Anoor, together these grains of sand will become a storm.
As the empire begins a set of trials of combat and skill designed to find its new leaders, the stage is set for blood to flow, power to shift, and cities to burn.
I was on the hunt for a fantasy read and didn’t know where to turn so I turned to the wonderful world of book people and The Final Strife was one of the recommendations. The story follows Sylah, Anoor, and Hassa in a treacherous world of prejudice and classism. Each needing to find their place in the world. Sylah has been raised to help overthrow the current government. Anoor was born into wealth and status or was she? She lives a life separate from her ruling mother because of a crucial, deadly secret. Hassa is part of the underground moving in silence by force and necessity. Each character has trials to overcome and eventually they all need each other and must break the lines of prejudice and classism. I enjoyed how the story develops, how each character’s point of view separately helps build toward the merge of the storylines, and the subject matter.
I would recommend this book to those who are looking to start a relationship with a new fantastical world and story. A story that is centered around characters of color.
Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Montgomery, Alabama 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend has big plans to make a difference, especially in her African American community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she intends to help women make their own choices for their lives and bodies.
But when her first week on the job takes her down a dusty country road to a worn down one-room cabin, she’s shocked to learn that her new patients are children—just 11 and 13 years old. Neither of the Williams sisters has even kissed a boy, but they are poor and Black and for those handling the family’s welfare benefits that’s reason enough to have the girls on birth control. As Civil grapples with her role, she takes India, Erica and their family into her heart. Until one day, she arrives at the door to learn the unthinkable has happened and nothing will ever be the same for any of them.
Decades later, with her daughter grown and a long career in her wake, Dr. Civil Townsend is ready to retire, to find her peace and to leave the past behind. But there are people and stories that refuse to be forgotten.That must not be forgotten.
Because history repeats what we don’t remember.
Civil is a young nurse whose first clients are the Williams sisters. Civil is shocked to find out that the girls are on birth control being so young. The story is told from Civil’s point of view almost like a letter that she is writing to her daughter. Civil recounts the timeframe that the Williams sisters were her patients. About how she became more than just a nurse to them, especially after a life changing event happens in the girls’ lives. This was such an informative, yet heartbreaking story centered around poor, black women and girls and the government forcing birth control on them from the depo shot, which at the time was not FDA approved, to the more permanent solution of a tubal ligation(tubes tied). The victims and their families often times didn’t know what they were signing and basically giving permission to. When reading this story, you can tell how well the author researched this subject. I feel that this is an important book to read.
I would recommend this book to those readers who love historical fiction that is based off real life events.
Each book mentioned is now available except Angels of the Resistance which will be available on November 29, 2022.