[Review] The Light Attendant: A Canadian Bluebird Novel, Part One by Wendy Fehr

Publisher and Publication Date: ShiftersPress. February 17, 2022.
Genre: Historical fiction. War literature. Nursing history during World War I.
Pages: 303.
Format: Kindle e-book.
Source: I received a complimentary NetGalley Kindle e-book. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of war stories, World War I, and romance.
Rating: Excellent.

Link @ Amazon. The Kindle copy is $2.99.

Part Two of the book is @ this link: Amazon. It is $3.99.

Wendy Fuhr @ Goodreads.

Info on Wendy Fuhr at ShiftersPress/ Instagram/ Twitter/ Facebook.

Summary:

Two main characters: Henry Ryzak and Abbigail or Abbi Grieves. They are both from Canada. They were both raised on farms. Henry is the second son, and there is animosity between him and his father. Abbi and her father do not see eye to eye on a scheme her father has planned to involve her life and the farm.

A year after World War I begins, Henry’s older brother enlists. Henry enlists to keep watch over him.

Abbi talks her father in to letting her go to nursing school, but there is a requirement for her after returning. She must fulfill an obligation.

Abbigail finished nursing school and became a Canadian Nursing Sister or Bluebird for the war.

Abbi and Henry both experience the war but from different views and experiences.

Their lives will intersect, and first impressions will be different for both. However, war has a way of changing people.

My Thoughts:

I love this story! I have several reasons why I love it.

1. This story is what I had been looking for several months ago when I began to read a couple of other books about this historical event. I wanted to read about medical care for the injured during World War I. In one of the books, it seemed more focused on the extra activities of the medical personnel and the soldiers, rather than on their roles in the war. The other book gave me more knowledge about the physicians who operated on the injured. The Light Attendant shares the gritty details of what they actually did-on a daily basis, and during specific missions.

2. One of the reasons I love this story is that even though romance is a theme, it does not take away or distract from the events and personal experiences of war. What I mean is often when I read a book about two people who care for one another and they are both directly involved in the war effort, the romantic aspect totally shifts the story and can even hijack the overall story. The war then becomes a background, and this is never the reality during a time of war.

3. War is horrific, violent, lengthy, and damaging. People who are in a war, whether they are in combat or in direct contact with caring for the injured are changed. They cannot go back to the people they were before. This is never said in the story, but I can tell by the behaviors and developments of the characters.

4. Some things I’d never thought about that a soldier did. He learned to care for his own needs. For example, mend a torn shirt. This is a task their mother or wife or sister did. Now, they must do this type of thing. This is a personal but important example to share about the soldiers.

5. I learned that injuries and death is not always on the battlefield but is a result of accidents or negligence on the part of the soldier or another soldier.

6. I love that Abbi demonstrates that nursing is a skill, but it is also showing compassion, patience, and care to the injured.

7. I love the comparison stories of Henry and Abbi. He will share his story and then in the next chapter the same scene is shared but it is through Abbi’s eyes and thoughts.

8. I love reading how triage is handled by Abbi. She is thrust into this task without having done this before. And triage is probably not a word used at this point in history, but it is still an act that must be implemented.

9. I love stories that will give me a panoramic sweeping view of what is happening. In a war, during a battle, the story can take a reader up close, and it can shift away for the reader to see the larger scene taking place. The same can be said of a hospital tent or the injured laying on the grounds in front of a hospital. To me this is such an important structure for a story! It brings the scene to life in my mind.

I love this book so much I bought the 2nd part of Henry and Abbi’s story.

[Review] Daughter of the King by Kerry Chaput

Publisher and Publication Date: Black Rose Writing. December 16, 2021.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 248.
Format: Paperback.
Source: I received a complimentary paperback from Black Rose Writing. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of historical fiction, especially France, and Canadian history.
Rating: Okay to good.

Daughter of the King is book one in the series: Defying the Crown.

Kerry Chaput’s website/ Facebook/ Instagram/ Goodreads.

Link for the book @ Amazon.

Link for the book @ Barnes and Noble.

To read more information about the Huguenot history: Huguenot Society of America.

Summary:

La Rochelle, France 1661. Isabelle is a Huguenot. Born Protestant in a land overpowered by Catholics, she has proof of her station branded onto her wrist. Huguenots, under the King’s reign, suffer persecution and lower-class citizenship unless they convert. While caring for her mother who has lost a husband to the rebellions, Isabelle works with friends to run an underground opposition.

When she isn’t sneaking through town with her closest friends, she’s secretly meeting a high-ranking Catholic soldier betrothed to a girl she’s known since childhood, but since the war, spits on her in the street. After all, Huguenots must remember their place. 

But when Isabelle saves a woman from assault in an alleyway—making the choice to out herself as a traitor to the King and the Catholics, she’s accused of a high crime. The only way to save herself is to flee, renouncing her religion and sailing across the world to New France as a potential bride for settlers. In fear for her life, Isabelle gets on the boat, venturing out for a new terrain of fur traders and grit, putting her homeland and convictions in the past as she finds her search for love and faith has just begun.

My Thoughts:

There are things I like about the book and things I dislike:

What I like:

1. Daughter of the King is a historical fiction story about a history that I didn’t know anything about. I have since read a little history on a few websites. The abuse, savagery, and wars between the Catholics and Huguenots happened in the 16th and 17th centuries. Many French citizens who were Huguenots left the country. In America, they mainly settled on the east coast. For example, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Virgina. Huguenots also settled in areas of Canada. For example, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Daughter of the King has led piqued my interest to read more about this history.
2. The lead character is Isabelle Colette. She is 19. She and her mother are all that is left of the family. Isabelle has an independent, defiant and fiery type personality. She is restless and wants to live a life outside the confines of her home, but outside there are dangers because of her Protestant faith. The start of the story, the plot, Isabelle, the graphic descriptions all drew me in immediately.
3. Despite the differences in opinions between Isabelle and her mother. I love the devotion and compassion Isabelle shows her mother.
4. Daughter of the King shows me the horrific plight of the Huguenots in France. Through graphic depictions of their abuse and sufferings I came to at least understand the horrors of that time.
5. Daughter of the King is an emotional, dramatic, and provocative story.

What I dislike about the story:

1. I feel that when there is a teeth clincher type story-which is a story with huge, dire, descriptive, graphic writing-I need a break. It is like eating a Thanksgiving meal and then being presented with an encore of more food, and more food, and more food. Pauses or rests in a busy story is important.
2. Oftentimes people feel they are in love when it is an illusion. What I am saying is a person feels they are in love with a particular person, but it is the idea of love or the idea of what they perceive that person to be. Love is a feeling that takes the longest to grow. Real love. A love of depth and devotion and commitment.
3. I wonder what this story would be like without the romantic entanglement (plural)? What if the focus had stayed on Isabelle and her religious belief? At the start of the story, she showed a determination and perseverance and loyalty to being a Huguenot. I understand her change, but I also understand how she feels in her heart. Instead, the story shifts to romantic interests and becomes clogged down-like being in a muddy pit.

(Review) The Forsaken Children (The British Home Children #1) by Naomi Finley

Publisher and Publication Date: Huntson Press. April 13, 2021.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 350.
Format: E-book copy.
Source: I received a complimentary e-book copy from the publisher and HFVBT. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of historical fiction focused on children.
Rating: Very good.

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour landing page.

Link for the book @ Amazon.
Link for the book @ Barnes and Noble.

The books in the series are Prequel/ The Forsaken Children/ Miss Winters Rapscallions (in 2022).

Author Info:

Naomi is an award-winning author living in Northern Alberta. She loves to travel and her suitcase is always on standby awaiting her next adventure. Naomi’s affinity for the Deep South and its history was cultivated during her childhood living in a Tennessee plantation house with six sisters. Her fascination with history and the resiliency of the human spirit to overcome obstacles are major inspirations for her writing and she is passionately devoted to creativity. In addition to writing fiction, her interests include interior design, cooking new recipes, and hosting dinner parties. Naomi is married to her high school sweetheart and she has two teenage children and two dogs named Egypt and Persia.

For more information, please visit Naomi Finley’s website. You can also find her on FacebookInstagram, and Goodreads.

Summary:

A riveting tale of endurance and resilience, illustrating the spirit of a child and the bond between siblings.

It’s 1921. Fifteen-year-old Hazel Winters and her six-year-old brother, William, are placed on a ship by an organization that relocates British orphans and children of poverty to new homes in Canada. Arrivals in the new land are exported to distributing houses, where devastation and heartache greet the youngsters as the headmistresses govern their fate.

The assurance of a better life across the ocean is far from what Hazel experiences. Through hardships and loneliness, she is determined to survive. Finding refuge in memories of the past, she clings to the dream of returning to her homeland while preserving a reunion in her heart.

In 1890, orphaned Charlotte Appleton and her sister Ellie were scooped up from London’s streets and sent to new homes across the ocean. Although mere miles kept them apart, Charlotte never knew her sister’s whereabouts until a chance interaction reunites them. Together the siblings vow to make a difference for the families and home children of an institution in Toronto, Ontario.

Can an unexpected guardian give Hazel renewed strength and resolve for a future of promise?

Based on the child emigration movement that occurred from 1869 through the late1930s, this poignant tale follows the lives of siblings who were burdensome byproducts of Britain’s poverty.

My Thoughts:

The Forsaken Children is aptly named. It is 350 depressing pages. Other words I’d use to describe the book is exhausting, oppressive, and filled with despair. However, The Forsaken Children is an important story. It teaches about a period in history where the most vulnerable in society were taken advantage, abused, and considered expendable.

Before I share my impressions of this story, I have been reminded of something my dad shared about his life. Dad was born in 1922 (the same period of this story). Dad was born in a small town in central Texas. He lived during the Great Depression years. His family was poor. Dad remarked that his parents generation treated children terrible. Children were often regarded with disrespectful words, humiliation, made fun of, and abused. It was rare for an adult to take up for a child. Men especially treated children bad. Dad had a low opinion of the previous generation. One story my dad shared is an adult man, a neighbor, allowed his dog to attack my dad, this man laughed at dad-he did nothing to help. This man considered it amusement. The Forsaken Children recreates this same time period and the same type of ideology.

What I love about The Forsaken Children is the heavy atmosphere and descriptions that bring the story to life. It is a harrowing tale and it has a full impact.

Hazel is a true heroine. She is described as thin and barely 5 feet tall. She is a sprite of a girl. But, she has a heart of gold. She has the will and perseverance of a super-hero. I love it that no matter what she has experienced in life, Hazel has not become bitter.

There is an additional dual time story of Charlotte’s life. I love it that the dual time periods are not back and forth too often, but they reveal Charlotte’s persistence in uncovering the truth about Hazel.

The characters are either exceptional or villainous. There is no in-between. The polar extremes makes either side 3-D.

The story does not wrap-up in a tidy package. It’s possible there will be more to this story in the next book.

Themes in the story: shame, compassion, betrayal, courage, perseverance, self-worth, power of love, and loyalty.

Giveaway:

Enter to win a mystery box of goodies + a copy of The Forsaken Children by Naomi Finley!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on April 23rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Direct link to the giveaway: The Forsaken Children (gleam.io)