Mr. Churchill’s Secretary

Mr. Churchill's Secretary My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While this book spiked my interest enough to pick it up from Book Warehouse, a small independent   bookstore in Vancouver on Main street, it never quite lived up to its potential. A historical fiction novel set in 1940 and focusing on  WWII on the home front, and in particular the evolving role of women during the period, it simply lacked the depth of character to seem even remotely realistic -I was disappointed. I found heroine Maggie Hope confusing with her inner dialog not always aligning with her actions, and often inconsistent altogether.

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary does include does include cryptography, spies, murder, and intrigue, and of course a depiction of Winston Churchill himself, however you may find this is not quite enough to make this a memorable read without a greater depth of character development.


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Walls of Wind

Walls of WindWalls of Wind by J.A. McLachlan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What if males and females were completely different species from each other… Walls of Wind captivates you with a civilization where this is the exactly the case.

Bria Ghen, and the challenges they face as an evolving community, are masterfully illustrated through a series of relatable, and at times heartbreaking characters that speak to conflicts between security and truth.

The Goldfinch

The GoldfinchThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Donna Tartt writes in raw but artistically detailed style that allows you to easily enter Theo’s conscious an experience his loss first hand.

This book is written beautifully. Its depiction of how grief and guilt play out following tragedy is one of the most realistic I have read in a modern setting. Theo’s life takes a dramatic turn when a tragic event leaves him utterly alone.

Donna Tartt’s narration of the years that follow is a very realistic illustration of Survivor’s Guilt, which is recognized as a form of post traumatic stress disorder. While some may find Theo’s decision making outrageous, frustrating and inexcusable,  looking deeper you see that it is born out of deep sadness and a profound sense of guilt for both his parents deaths that drastically impacts his mental health.

Those, like myself, who experience Survivor’s Guilt, know that it often prevents you from believing you deserve to heal or deserve to be happy. I see this is Theo as well.

What is unfortunate is that Theo cannot bring himself to be honest with Pippa, who was injured in the same bombing and lost her grandfather “Welty”. She is one of the few who could have the capacity to understand. But Theo holds back.

I hope The Goldfinch can remind us to cherish those close to us. I hope it can prompt us to empathize with those who struggle to work through their grief. I hope it can make us look deeper into those we cannot understand.
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