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The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a very good historical fiction set in Paris during WWII and is based on a true story. Odile is a young French girl who dreams of working at the American Library in Paris. She obtains her dream job, forming deep friendships with the other workers. She also starts to date a handsome police officer introduced to her by her father. When war breaks out and the Nazis occupy Paris, she and her fellow librarians are determined to keep the library open. They send valuable books out of town to safety, and they smuggle books to Jewish patrons that are forbidden from going to the library.

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The Unwilling by John Hart

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is another great mystery/thriller by John Hart. I always look forward to his books because they are so well written, and the stories are so original, that it’s an immense pleasure to read them. This book is set in the South during the Vietnam War and follows one family as they struggle with the invisible wounds of PTSD and the growing pains of coming of age.

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Deacon King Kong by James McBride

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was the book for our January book club meeting. I hadn’t heard of the book until it was chosen, and then it seemed like I saw it everywhere. The book is a well-written peek into the life of residents in a section of a housing project in south Brooklyn. The story starts with an alcoholic, cranky elderly church deacon named Sportcoat shooting the local drug dealer in front of everyone in the middle of the project’s courtyard. From there, the book weaves the stories of the various residents from the Five Ends Baptist Church that witnessed the shooting and are affected by it, as well as the police officer assigned to investigate the shooting and a local Italian mobster.

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A Time for Swords by Matthew Harffy

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a rousing historical fiction set in northern England in AD793. On June 8, AD793 Vikings pillage the monastery on Lindisfarne, and the Viking Age has begun. While Vikings kill and rape monks and villagers as they try to run from danger, a young monk named Hunlaf runs toward danger. Despite never swinging a sword before, he takes up a weapon and kills his first man. And so begins Hunlaf’s journey from monk to warrior, and his quest for vengeance.

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