Book Review: In Search of a Name by Marjolijn van Heemstra

About: In Search of a Name by Marjolijn van Heemstra follows a pregnant woman researching her uncle’s past after World War II. The book, originally in Dutch, won several prizes and has sold the film rights. 208 pages ISBN-10 : 1982100486 Publisher : Atria Books Language: : English My rating for In Search of a Name – 4 Buy In Search of a Name from Amazon.com* More Books by Marjolijn van Heemstra* Thoughts: This book is a somewhat unusual book which is more nuanced than what I thought it would be. The story of a woman who dares, has the courage, to dig into a family legend that created a hero is something to behold. I enjoyed the timeline, counting backwards the week to the birth of the baby. I thought it was a unique way to tell a story and In Search of a Name by Marjolijn van Heemstra uses that technique very well. The premise of this book is very interesting, and I can certainly understand that in many families this is a can of worms no one wants to open. I think that books like this, one that targets a different audience than English speakers, will do…

Book Review: The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
4 Stars , Fiction , Historical Fiction , Latest Posts / November 21, 2018

About:The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse is a young adult award winning novel, a national bestseller, which takes place in Holland during World War II. Ms. Hesse is an author and a journalist with the Washington Post. 320 pages Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Language: English ISBN-10: 0316260606 My rating for The Girl in the Blue Coat – 4Buy The Girl in the Blue Coat from Amazon.com*More Books by Monica Hesse* Thoughts:I have had this book in my house for a while, my wife bought it and I never got around to read it even though the subject matter is right up my alley. One of my trepidation about reading The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse is that it is a book geared towards young adults (YA), even though I have read, and enjoyed, many YA books previously the moment just didn’t seem right.Until it did. I have a young adult in my household, and figured at some point she might, hopefully, will read this book and hence I’ll already be a step ahead. The subject, content, and narrative of the book all fit neatly in what one would expect from the…

Fun Facts Friday: Maria Dermoût
Latest Posts / June 15, 2018

Maria Dermoût (15 June, 1888 – 27 June, 1962), was a novelist who is considered to be of the most important writers in Dutch indies literature. Books by Maria Dermoût* She was born on the island of Java, in the Dutch East Indies as Helena Anthonia Maria Elisabeth Dermoût-Ingerman. Her parents were descendants of employees of the Dutch East India Company. Most of Ms. Dermoût’s childhood was spent on a sugar plantation. The author was educated in Holland and continued writing in Dutch. When visiting the writer Johan van der Woude in 1949, Ms. Dermoût showed him some of her writings. He immediately put her in contact with his publisher. Even though Ms. Dermoût wrote all her life, most of her writings were published after she was in her early 60s. The author was awarded with immediate success (if you can call 60 years of writing “immediate”) with her first publication. During the 1960s she had many short stories published in magazines. Ms. Dermoût’s son died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. The translation of The Ten Thousand Things (1958) was named by Time Magazine as one of the best books of the year (together with Breakfast at Tiffany’s…

Book Review: House of Rocamora by Donald Michael Platt

About: House of Rocamora by Donald Michael Platt is a historical fiction book taking place in Amsterdam. This is a sequel to the well received Rocamaora: Man of Masks which I wrote about last month. 346 pages Publisher: Raven’s Wing Books (November 19, 2012) Language: English ISBN-10: 1618070916 My rat­ing for House of Rocamora — 5 Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format* More Books by Don­ald Michael Platt Thoughts: House of Rocamora by Donald Michael Platt (web­site) might not be as exciting as its predecessor (meaning there is no castle intrigue or daring escapes from under the Inquisition’s nose) however the account of the daily life of Isaac (previously Vicente de Rocamora) is just as an engrossing read. The book creates a vivid picture of the Jewish community in Amsterdam. It was very interesting to read how the Jews lived and interacted with each other and the Dutch people at the time. The protagonist has become Jewish but not an observant Jew and the community somewhat resents him for that, add that to the fact that he was a priest and even considered for the post of head of the Spanish Inquisition and you can understand their mistrust. This is an excellent companion to Rocamora: Man of Masks, however…

Book Reivew: Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
3 Stars , Fiction , Historical Fiction , Latest Posts / January 15, 2013

About: Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier is a historical fiction novel taking place in 17th Century Holland. The book has fascinating descriptions of the times, how people lived and behaved. 256 pages Publisher: Plume; Deluxe edition (August 30, 2005) Language: English ISBN-10: 0452287022   My rating for Girl with a Pearl Earring – 3 Buy this book in paper or in elec­tronic format*  More Books by Tracy Chevalier  Thoughts: Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (website | Facebook | @Tracy_Chevalier)was neither here nor there. The story seems like an episode of the old British drama “Upstairs Downstairs” set in Holland with a coming of age story neatly tucked in it as well. The plot is somewhat interesting with one well developed character (Griet) and none others I cared about. The book is written very well but nothing happens and for awhile I was actually bored. Some of the characters are well developed but I was hoping for Johannes Vermeer’s character to  be more in depth. To my disappoint Vermeer played a minor (yet important) part in the book. However, the descriptions of 17th Century Holland, the class system and mercantile society were excellent, which by itself was worth finishing the book. The descriptions of how the paintings were…

Book Review: The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva
5 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / August 22, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva on Blogcritics. About: The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva brings back Israeli spy Gabriel Allon in this seventh installment. This time we find Allon as a weary, tired agent ready to hang up his holster and, unwillingly, accept his fate in management. 385 pages Publisher: Putnam Adult Language: English ISBN-10: 0399154221 My rating for The Secret Servant – 5 Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format More Books by Daniel Silva Thoughts: I found The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva (web­site) to be a more current, at least in atmosphere, of the Gabriel Allon series. As usual with the rest of the series, the book is difficult to put down, a fast paced adventure and thriller which brings back familiar characters. The characters age with the books, which I like. None are superheroes, but people with issues and problems who only justify their acts to themselves by holding a high moral ground. However, this high moral ground must be broken from time to time which leaves them feeling confused and filled with regrets. The book is filled with many characters, bumbling politicians, Islamic extremists, non-extremists Islamic people and other hot button issues from current day world. However,…

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