Heat Lightning by Ruth Coe Chambers

Heat Lightning

By Ruth Coe Chambers

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

3half

The town of Bay Harbor waits for the return of their fathers, sons, brothers, and fiancés from World War II. While they begin to enjoy the return of freedoms lost through rationing and the war effort, they gradually welcome the men and face the aftermath of battle with them. Some return unable to face the lives they once led, while others come home to build lives they never started.  Through tragedy and renewal readers can join in the dynamics of the people of the town and their relationships. Will the town ever be the same again?

I enjoyed this story and the multifaceted characters Ruth created. Her portrayal of the small town with all the uncomfortable transparency of living really drew me in. The characters’ dramas tantalized and made me want to hear more. Their motivations and transgressions pulled me through the tale wondering what would come of it and who would win out in the end.

The structure of the story and the tragedy of the ending confused me a little after the tense but quiet life of the town before everything came unraveled. The author took on a brave task with the myriad characters and their personal dramas, mostly succeeding at separating their individual threads of the tapestry. Throughout, I wondered if Anna Lee really was the main character. Sometimes it seemed as if the book had no main character, though the ending focused on Anna Lee and her impressions. I also felt a little bit of a rush toward the ending to cram in the remainder of Anna Lee’s life before her return to the town. Her experiences in Tallahassee and beyond could have made their own book, but I think a time jump would have made more sense.  Sporadic passive writing also added some discontinuity to the narrative.

Whether you love small-town life or hate it, Ruth’s tale of a changing society in the confines of a sleepy Florida town will pull you in and  make you feel part of their life and dramas.

I received this book from the author for the purposes of an unbiased review.

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Pre-review: Wolfsangel by Liza Perrat

Wolfsangel_CoverFinal_EBOOK

Wolfsangel

by Liza Perrat

Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

Five stars

 

Generations after the life of Victoire from Spirit of Lost Angels, her ancestor, Celeste Roussel, lives her life in the town of Lucie Sur Vionne. Celeste, inheritor of the bone angel necklace, now endures the Nazi occupation of France in World War II. Life, once rich and bountiful, has become tenuous and difficult. Any wrong move can mean trouble or death for the occupied French, especially Celeste’s brother and the other Lucie Sur Vionne boys who have joined the resistance, and her sister, a nun who hides Germans in the convent. Celeste longs to join too, but finds herself torn between her duty to her country and a blossoming love for a forlorn and seemingly misplaced German soldier named Martin. Can Celeste avoid the traps and perils that loom around every corner to resist the “Boche”? Will her heart lead her to betray her family and friends, and will any of them live to be betrayed anyway? Will she leave behind her oppressive and unloving mother or will she discover why Maman’s heart was so closed to her?

Like Spirit of Lost Angels, Liza has written another historical fiction gem in Wolfsangel. She brings the era to life with the struggles of her characters in a dynamic and beautiful depiction. Biography can not explore the variety of scene and struggle like Liza’s tales, and I love to hear so much about the time period all in one contrasting, unified whole. I find it hard to reconcile that her characters are not real people and that Liza did not experience what they experienced.

The relationships of Wolfsangel fascinated me and moved me. No simple romance for Liza’s characters! I love her bravery and head-on exploration of taboo romance and complicated, close relationships clouded by hardship.

Excitement and tension fill the pages. No restful peace awaits Celeste as danger after danger threaten her and those she cares about. I felt the anguish and stress of never knowing who would be caught, hurt, or killed by an enemy with all power and no motivation for mercy. Wolfsangel kept me eager and afraid for each new chapter.

Liza has given us a new and exciting tale of a turbulent time in French history with her daring and endearing style. I thoroughly enjoyed this thrilling tale.

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I received this book from the author for the purposes of an unbiased review.

Wolfsangel will be released November 16!