Review: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

Kim Edwards’ captivating novel, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, shows how one lie told on the spur of the moment, can greatly affect the lives of those around you. Nora’s labour starts during a snowstorm and her doctor can’t make it on time for the delivery. Her husband, Dr. David Henry, with the help of his nurse, Caroline Gill, go ahead with the delivery. Nora gives birth to a beautiful baby boy, but when her labour pains start again, her doctor sedates her to ease her pain. When he delivers the second child, a baby girl with Downs Syndrome, he instructs Caroline to bring the child right away before his wife wakes up to a home for children with special needs. He then tells his wife that the child was stillborn. This is the lie that will forever alter his marriage, his relationship with his son, the life of Caroline Gill, and the life of the baby girl he has rejected.This is a story of deceit, of troubled relationships, and of how love and determination can overcome the intolerance faced by those with disabilities. It also brings us down memory lane when pregnant women were sedated on the delivery table and couldn’t participate in the birth of their child. A great read!



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Military Uniforms During the War of 1812

Wonderful post about Canadian military uniforms!

All About Canadian History

Fashion Flashback: Given that fashion was instrumental in the creation of Canada, this blog series explores the development of what Canadians wore one era at a time.

Three War of 1812 uniform examples. From British Forces in North America 1793–1815 by René Chartrand. Illustrations by Gerry Embleton. [Source]

Getting back on track with the historical fashion posts, we left off in the 1810s. However before we can look at the clothes Canadians wore during the Regency Era, there is a little matter of the War of 1812. As with any war, uniforms varied greatly on the battlefield to distinguish rank, unit, whether you were part of the infantry, cavalry, or navy, etc. This post will be looking at uniforms worn by British and Canadian soldiers during the 1812-1815 conflict from a general perspective, as well as how military uniforms reflected the overall trends of men’s…

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Strength in Numbers: A Two-Part Portrait of the Filles du Roi (Part 1)

Great post on Québec history.

All About Canadian History

Arrival of the Brides by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale (c. 1927)

If you were a French woman in the 17th century, packing your bags, uprooting your life, and sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to settle in the New World was probably last on your list of things to do.

Yet from 1663 to 1674, 770 women did just that.

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Review: A Polish Woman’s Struggle to Survive in Nazi Germany by Christoph Fischer

Christoph Fischer’s historical novel, Ludwika: A Polish Woman’s Struggle To Survive In Nazi Germany is a riveting page-turner that presents human drama at its best.In this World War II novel, Ludwika Gierz, a young beautiful Polish woman, suffers the loss of all the men in her life. She is still in mourning of her brother, Franz, who has drowned two years earlier when her father goes missing in action in the beginning of the war. Her mother, her sister Stacia and her young daughter Irena are left to fend for themselves on

the farm while the German invaders force their neighbours off their land. Manfred, a handsome SS German officer, falls in love with Ludwika and the family is allowed the special privilege of remaining in their own home on condition that she accompany him to Germany. She is forced to leave her family behind but she believes her sacrifice will guarantee their safety. Her decision begins her horrific journey of pain and suffering as she lives first hand the humiliation of being a young innocent woman at the mercy of cruel oppressors.

Another touching historical drama by an author who writes with the heart.





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Review: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Ken Follett’s gripping, and extremely detailed historical epic, The Pillars of the Earth, takes place in England during the twelfth century. The backdrop is the continuous battle for the English throne between King Stephen and the Empress Maud. Tom Builder, a poor mason, insists on following his dream of building a cathedral. Times are hard and jobs are rare—he ends up starving and freezing with his family in the forest. His wife dries from childbirth and, unable to feed his newborn son, is forced to leave his infant son to die on top of the mother’s grave. Unbeknownst to him, the crying baby is rescued by a monk who brings him to his monastery. Enter the evil Hamleigh family aided by the corrupt Bishop Waleran, the beautiful and independent Aliena who is raped by her suitor, and Jack Jackson, the talented master-builder who finds a way to fulfill Tom’s dream, and the great page-turning saga begins.This story takes place during the era in England when Church and state walked hand-in hand to govern the land and its people. Priests and churchmen were often corrupt because of the power they had. Women were second-class citizens no matter what class they were in. But in the midst of all the cruelty, the betrayals and the injustice, we find moral, passionate characters that confront the status quo, i.e. Prior Philip, Tom Builder, Aliena, Ellen, Jack Jackson, to name a few. These characters follow their dreams and refuse to give up no matter how bleak their future appears. It is because of these characters that this brilliant epic is such a great and memorable read.



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Review: The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

Having read Colleen McCullough’s historical romance, The Thorn Birds, years back, and having been a fan of the TV series, I decided to reread the 692 page novel to see why I had enjoyed it then. I was reintroduced to the great Australian countryside, to the intensity of sheep farming, to the isolation and hardship of back country living. The description of Australia’s vegetation and animal life was vivid and educational. The historical aspect dealing with the Aussie participation in the wars was also well detailed.What I found lacking,though, was my bonding to the characters. The plot was certainly well crafted with family secrets, betrayals, long-distance romances and timely deaths and births, but I had a hard time getting under the characters’ skin. They all mellow after a while and become more likeable, but now I know why I didn’t remember what I had liked about it–the characters aren’t immortalized for me. A great achievement, and certainly an Australian classic.



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Review:On my Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

This is my second reading of Ann-Marie MacDonald’s  historical novel Fall On Your Knees and I enjoyed the page turner just as much as the first time. The story is basically a saga of the Piper family living in New Waterford, a small village in Cape Breton Island during the early part of the 20th century. The setting is ordinary but the characters certainly aren’t. When James Piper’s wife commits suicide after the death of their daughter and grandchild, he brings up his three remaining daughters on his own away from prying eyes. It is a story of harsh love and abuse. The girls must find their way through the brutal reality of living with a parent who claims to have one good daughter, one bad daughter, and one angelic one. Each one must eventually fall on her knees before escaping from the tyranny of his love. The plot is complex and compelling and the storytelling brilliantly executed. I wondered though at the backstory,  a journal written by the eldest daughter, Kathleen, added to the end of the novel. It explained a crucial scene that occurred almost in the mid-section of the plot. Whatever the reason, this is without a doubt, a great read.


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August 2016 is Write An Amazon Review Month! By @TerryTyler4 #AugustReviews #TuesdayBookBlog – authortranslatorOlga

As you know I am part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team and Terry Tyler has had a fabulous idea. Here is the post! On Monday 25th July, book blogger Rosie Amber wrote this post encouraging re…

Source: August 2016 is Write An Amazon Review Month! By @TerryTyler4 #AugustReviews #TuesdayBookBlog – authortranslatorOlga

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Review: The Birth House by Ami McKay

The Birth House, Ami McKay’s debut novel is about the struggle of a small fishing village in Nova Scotia trying to come to terms with the advances of modern medicine. Marie Babineau is an elderly Acadian midwife and trusted healer who has seen to the medical and spiritual needs of the village women for years with herbs and spells in exchange for baked goods and local produce. With her young apprentice, Dora Rare, by her side, she fights a continuous battle to keep the old traditions alive. The newly arrived, manipulative Dr. Thomas fights hard to usurp the age-old midwifery with his expensive and often de-womanizing modern treatments. This is a compelling story of a woman’s need to control her own body and to determine her role in a male-oriented society. Certainly a must read for herbalists and those with a keen interest in the women’s movement



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Review: Away by Jane Urquhart

Jane Urquhart’s enchanting novel, Away, is a touching tale of love and abandonment that spans four generations and covers two continents. Esther, an elderly woman narrates her great-grandmother Mary’s poor beginnings on the northern Irish coastline and her desperate move across the Atlantic to the unforgiving shores of the Canadian Great Lakes.
Her description of the suffering and terrible injustices experienced by the victims of the Irish potato famine was heart wrenching, as was the crude and poor conditions of the Irish settlers living in Montreal’s Griffintown. Not much, unfortunately, was mentioned of the horrors of Grosse-Ile where so many Irish immigrants perished
The writing is lyrical and well-crafted, blending the magical and the political with the stark realism of each generation.



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