My monthly round up of the books that I’ve read for mutteringmummy’s blog is a bit thin on the ground for April. I went on holiday and had three books uploaded on my Kindle, but I only managed to read one of them. Prior to that, I finished a book I had been taking my time over. I feel that both books are worth writing about though, which is why I have still done this post.
The Last Letter to your Lover – Jo Jo Moyes
The reason I took my time with this book is that I found it a little difficult to get in to. But once I did, I couldn’t put it down. The story covers two lives and at different times; Jennifer in the 1940’s, a London, upper class, society wife, who has no recollection of her life following a car crash. And Ellie, a journalist in the present day, struggling with her career and life as a mistress of a married author. Ellie’s link to Jennifer is a series of love letters Ellie finds in the archive of her newspaper’s office. Touched by the intimacy of the words on these letters, Ellie is determined to find out who wrote them and how the story ended.
The story floats between Ellie’s and Jennifer’s lives, and also goes back to before Jennifer’s accident to allow the series of events leading up to it to unfold. Jennifer’s story of love and loss helps Ellie to face her own feelings about her relationship and future. What she finds also brings Jennifer’s story to a close.
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
I wanted to read this book ever since I saw a poster at my local cinema advertising the film. I had never heard of it before, but I knew immediately that I had to read it. That’s the power of advertising you might say, but it was the title that I was also drawn to. Before I even knew what the book was about, I was intrigued by the title alone.
The fact that it is set in Second World War Germany, makes for an interesting perspective. It’s not often that you read stories that reflect how life was for the ordinary German citizens caught up in the madness of the Hitler regime. And added to that, telling the story from the point of view of Death himself, takes it to a whole other level. The author has tried to capture a view of humans from the ‘other side’, so to speak and it is a perspective that tries to take in and decipher the madness of our species, especially during the time of war.
Liesel, the protagonist of this story, finds her solace through reading books, something that was frowned upon during Hitler’s reign (unless they were propaganda books). Although a member of the Hitler Youth, Liesel struggles to come to terms with the concept of her mother being killed for being a communist and her former neighbours being marched off to Dachau for being Jewish. Death tells us Liesel’s story, via a book that she wrote, describing her life during the war. Unlike most humans he would tend to walk away from, Death tells us that he is drawn to this girl because of the way her life touched others.
It is a truly lovely story and I’m glad I eventually got around to reading it. It was the only book I managed to read on holiday and guess what? I watched the film on the plane home too!
The Sophie series – Dick King Smith
I wanted to add these books to my review this month because I have been reading them with my seven year old daughter. Sophie is a girl like no other. At the start of the series she is four and just about to start school. Sophie is a stocky little tomboy, most at home in the garden wearing scruffy clothes and wellies. She aspires to be a lady farmer when she grows up and collects insect ‘flocks’ in preparation. At school Sophie is a loner, but content that way. She befriends a boy whose dad is a farmer in the hope of gaining an apprenticeship. Other than that she is happier to be with her pets.
These are lovely books, following Sophie’s development. Each chapter tells a new story in her life. They are gentle and funny and you can’t help but take to this quirky little character.