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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn


Library Thing ER

March 9, 2021

William Morrow

Historical fiction, print book, 

656 pages

ISBN: 9780062943477



I received a complimentary print copy of this book from William Morrow and Library Thing ER in exchange for an unbiased review.


In Autumn 1939, Hilter‘s advances seemed unstoppable and they thought Enigma was unbreakable.


The story travels from London, November 1947 back to December 1939. Three very different women meet because of the the war. Mab Churt has dreams of going to school to be a writer. She is forced into the work force at 14 years old as she was the 5th of 6 children that her single mother tried to raise on her own when her father abandons them. Mab works tirelessly to improve her situation by taking secretarial courses to get a better paying job. It isn’t long before Mab receives a curious letter that directs her to go to Bletchley to serve her country.


Olsa Kendall, a debutante born in Quebec but raised in London, gets kicked out of her expensive boarding school. She returns home to work with her cousin Sally Norton drilling holes in Durol sheets for aircrafts. Her mother is divorced 3 times and hardly a source of support for Olsa. She finds herself set up to meet Prince Philip, a cadet at Dartmouth related to the king and his uncle Lord Dickie Mountbatten. Olsa also receives the same vague letter instructing her to report to Bletchy Park, which appears to be an asylum. 


Olsa and Mab meet on the train ride to Bletchy Park, where they soon realize they were recruited to be code breakers. The government places them as billets in the home of Beth Finch and her controlling dismissive mother. Olsa and Mab live there under very strict rules while working all hours of the day and night at Betchley Park. They are under orders to never disclose the nature of their work to anyone, not even family. 


Olsa and Mab discover that Beth is very talented in cryptology and bring her into the secret work at Bletchy Park. This is extremely difficult as Beth has never stood up to her overbearing mother and must lie daily as to the nature of her work. She soon triumphs over the imposed guilt and negative feelings her mother has bestowed upon her over years. She learns that the negative comments from her mother were not true and that she actually is intelligent and capable of important work.


Years later when Mab and Olsa have moved on in their lives trying to forget the disaster that befell them at Betchley Park, they receive a mysterious message from someone begging for their help. They realize the message is from Beth and wonder if they can trust the claims of Beth being locked in the clock tower. The women realize that their work has bound them in ways that can never be broken and that they still have one more mission to complete to finally make peace with the past. 




Monday, December 13, 2021

Oh William! By Elizabeth Strout


October 19, 2021


Random House

Publisher invite, fiction, digital, book series

256 pages

ISBN: 9780812989434

Amgash, book 3



My Name is Lucy Barton, book 1(2016)


Anything is Possible, book 2 (2017)



“This is the way of life: the many things we do not know until it is too late.”


This is the third book of the Amgash, IL series which originated with the departure of Lucy Barton from the run down town and onto pursue her dreams. Lucy receives a college scholarship and eventually becomes an accomplished author. In this book, Lucy is older and writes this book as if taking notes in a journal, reflecting on her life, marriages, daughters and in particular, William Gebhardt her first husband who is 6 years older. At this time Lucy and William are both around 70 years old having made successful careers and remarrying. Lucy met William when she moved to attend college as he worked in a lab as parasitologist and taught microbiology at NYU. When they married, Lucy devoted herself to being a loving, caring mother to her two daughters. She wanted to give them all the support and attention she craved as a child. As the years past, Lucy realizes that she needs to put herself first and rekindles her passion to become a writer. 


Although they divorced, Lucy and William continued to have a symbiotic relationship that only two people who know each other so well can have. They seemed to experience many life events relying on each other for support and advice. Lucy recalls how William provided comfort when her second husband, David Abramson, died. She remembers his second wife, Joanne, because he had been having an affair with her for 6 years before the divorce. William married her a year after their divorce. Then, William married Estelle, his third wife who is 22 years younger and they had a daughter Bridget together. 


Lucy and William have come to rely on each other through the years. William has been tormented over the years with night terrors about his mother, Catherine. Another memory which lingers relates to Germany and how his father died when he was 14 yo following surgery to remove an intestinal polyp. Although he didn’t believe in the afterlife, he often thinks about death and his convoluted family history. They have an open, honest dialogue about the course of life and the comfort of the “familiar” place were most married people end up after years of marriage. Ironically, they seem to know each other’s quirks and routines but acknowledge that sometimes people end up with kind and thoughtful people. But the routines and familiar are often superficial with people not fully understanding the depths of the other person.













Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

 January 12, 2016

Library loan, fiction, book series

193 pages

Audio book, re-read


7/4/16-8/11/16 first review 


Amgash, book 1 (2016)

7/17/21-7/20/21 (re read)


Updated review:


“I have sometimes been sad that Tennessee Williams wrote that line for Blanche DuBois, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Many of us have been saved many times by the kindness of strangers, but after a while it sounds trite, like a bumper sticker. And that’s what makes me sad, that a beautiful and true line comes to be used so often that it takes on the superficial sound of a bumper sticker.”


Lucy Barton awoke to find her estranged mother at her bedside after having surgery to remove her infected appendix. Her husband was caring for the two children aged 5 and 6 and called mother to come to see her. It was an unexpected and awkward experience since her mother sat with her for 5 days. Lucy presently lived a totally different life from which she was raised. The book explores her past challenges and how she managed to achieve her dreams by leaving her past behind. There are many characters which are further explained in the book 2, Anything is Possible. After reading that book I was able to put this book into context since there are more characters discussed which initially seemed insignificant. In book 2, they provide further history into the life from which Lucy escaped by explaining how their lives were affected by staying in that environment. Through hard work and determination, Lucy received a scholarship to attend college to pursue her dreams of being a writer. In New York, Lucy became an accomplished author married William who was from Massachusetts having 2 daughters, Christina and Becca. 


Lucy comes to understand how the past tends to repeat itself over generations. She grew up poor and hungry living in a garage until her great uncle dies and they move into his house. Lucy learns that her mother was raised under similar circumstances. How does a person learn about social norms if there’s no one to teach you? Lucy’s mother provides an update on the history of the many colorful characters of her hometown. Their convoluted storylines and their relationship to Lucy didn’t become apparent to me until I read book two. Ultimately, book three wraps it all up to complete the story. 


2016 review 3/5

Unfortunately, this is my second book by this author and I did not like the Burgess Boys, either. I really tried and wanted to like this story. The author's writing does not appeal to me as her thoughts seem to wander from topic to topic. Although there is a story buried within all the jumbled words, I felt apathetic and no compassion for the characters.