a consuming read

by jenna on September 6, 2011

Now this was a great book!! And a little more upbeat than my previous two choices. Let it be known, though, that I absolutely LOVED Room despite the chill factor.

But this book, however, was a little more up my ally. The story takes place on the island of Guernsey during World War Two and centers around the life of one woman who, while her husband is away at war, scandalously falls in love with the German soldier next door. It was an absolute fantastic read and the perfect book to bring along on our “mini-cation” last weekend. I just love books that grab my attention from the very first page and don’t let me go until the last…and this was one of those!

It consumed my thoughts until I had finished it and now I think I’m back on a World War Two epic drama kick…what should I read next?!

 

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{ 89 comments… read them below or add one }

Mel September 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Ooohh…this book looks very much up my alley! I picked up some good reads yesterday at Value Village and the Goodwill (LOVE Labor Day sales!) and after waiting months I am finally #1 on the wait list for The Paris Wife! Can’t wait to start that- have you seen the movie Midnight in Paris? It was absolutely fabulous and a lit lovers dream!

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Stacy R. September 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I just picked this up at Borders to take on my honeymoon next weekend per your earlier post.

I’m so excited to dive in and read it!

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Sweet and Savvy September 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm

That book sounds really, really good! I love books set in the WW2 era! :)

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Mary September 6, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Have you read “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet”? It’s about a Chinese boy growing up in Seattle during WWII (around the time of Japanese internment). It’s not so much an epic drama, but really, really good.

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Mel September 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I also loved this book! Such a sweet story, and I live near Seattle so I appreciated the hometown flavor of it!

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Claudia September 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I third that choice for Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet! Lovely read.

Not quite WW11 era- but my two favourite books this year have been Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (such an inspiring, amazing woman and an addicting read, true story, about her life) and Too Close to the Falls by Catherine Gildiner (a hilarious memoir about growing up in the 1950′s in a town close to Niagra Falls- I loved it so much I immediately read the next one she wrote called After the Falls, which was equally as good)

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Melissa @ Journey to Marvelous September 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I think I remember you saying that you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society…this sounds like sort of a “sister book” to that one. At least from your description…I’ll have to pick it up!

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Tab September 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Goodness you read fast! Did you read the Paris Wife? I’m in the middle of that now – it’s pretty good so far….

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Annalise September 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm

If you want WWII drama, I highly recommend “Atonement”, if you haven’t read it already. It was made into a movie (with Kiera Knightly) a few years ago, but the book is far superior!

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Liz September 6, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I loved that book! (I did enjoy the movie, too, but the book is better)

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rebecca September 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm

yes! Atonement is amazing! Also amazing is Suite Francaise.

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Jill September 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Oh there are SO many books written based on this time period. I have a lot of them on my Kindle because my Mom loves them and I end up loving them, too. (We have linked accounts). Try Flowers from Berlin, Unbroken or Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I’ve just added The Soldier’s Wife to my library list. The name made me think of Army Wives, the TV series I am currently addicted to. :)

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Monica September 7, 2011 at 8:58 am

The Corner of Bitter and Sweet was so good… wow, so sad though! But SO GOOD!

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Jess September 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Looks like an awesome story, definitely adding it to my list. You should check this one out, it’s next up for me: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.

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girl in the pink September 6, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Ahh I need a book like that, I have been trying to read King of Thrones for my husband, but I just can’t get that into it! I need a book that captures me from page one!

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Mollie September 6, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Suite Francaise is an amazing book – one of my top ten!
http://www.eatrunread.com/2010/01/literary-bite-suite-francaise.html

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Jenn September 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I’m reading Bitter Is The New Black – end of summer breezy read is needed! It took me a bit to get into – 83 pages to be exact, but I’m enjoying it now. I want Jen and Fletch in my personal life!

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Liz September 6, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I really enjoyed all of her books (except the most recent, a fiction book)

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Jenn September 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm

What’s the name of that one?

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga September 6, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Glad you enjoyed your book and that you loved it from page 1 to the very end. THOSE are the best kind of books!

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Jackie September 6, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I just finished How To Be An American Housewife. Excellent!

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Missy September 6, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I just started ROOM today and am struggling to get into it. The writing style is so different… I’m interested to see where it’s going to go. You and I seem to have similar tastes in books so I’m going to have to put this one on my reading list as well!

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Barbara September 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I thought ROOM was a great read. So unique – it was so interesting to read from the child’s perspective.

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Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance September 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I need to hop on this book club bandwagon!

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Barbara September 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I’m just starting Eric Larsson’s In The Garden of the Beasts – also a WWII read. I loved his Devil in the White City, and I’m hoping this is just as good!

Love hearing good book recommendations!

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Jen September 6, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Now THAT sounds like a great book – it’s so coming along on holidays with me next week! Have you ever read any of Pam Jenoff’s stuff? She’s got some good WW2 stories. I think the last of her’s that I read was called the Kommondant’s Girl, but I think that was the sequel to the one before it. Look her up on Amazon!

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Christina @ This Woman Cooks! September 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm

This sounds really good! Thanks for the recommendation. I’m adding it to my goodreads. :)

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Lara @ TresLaLa September 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows? Sounds like it might be a good follow-on to this one…

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Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove September 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Sounds interesting! I’m in the middle of reading the books “True Blood” was based off of. They’re very easy to read and a lot of fun (for me at least). A nice series to get me back into the swing of reading!

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Sarah@The Flying ONION September 6, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Oh yay! Another book review. I’ll be checking this one out. :D

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Erin September 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Haha I don’t think my National Guard boyfriend would like me reading this book if he ever goes overseas. But as for recommendations, I have recently read the girl with the dragon tattoo, the help and the first two books int he outlander series (outlander and drangonfly in amber). All great!

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Jen September 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Oooooh I <3 the Outlander series! I think I've read the first Outlander book more than any other, ever (okay, I've probably read Gone With the Wind a few more times). Awesome, awesome series!

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Juliann September 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I love that you post book reviews! Also, here’s an hour long interview with Emma Donoghue about Room. I haven’t listened to it yet but it’s supposed to be great.

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Carolyn September 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Read: The Book Thief!!
http://www.amazon.com/Book-Thief-Markus-Zusak/dp/0375831002

It is a YA book actually, but don’t let that fool you! This one is great! Very unique perspective of WWII.

I am super impressed, btw, by how much you read. You are on busy lady! Where was your mini-vaca?

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Kristina September 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I second that – The Book Thief is a-mazing. My husband is a 9-10th grade English teacher so I end up reading a lot of YA lit that I find lying around…this was an excellent book.

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TiffanyS September 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm

The Book Thief was a very interesting read! It was my community wide read a couple years ago. I highly enjoyed a different perspective of WWII. I usually enjoy young adult literature.

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Cait's Plate September 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I’m looking for an upbeat book right now – so this may just be what I pick up next! Thank you for yet another excellent book review :)

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Jaclyn September 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I’m so excited to read this! I got it out of the library (had to wait patiently in the holds queue) and I’m planning to start it as soon as I finish my other library book. If you’re looking for a WWII book, have you read “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” yet? If not, definitely consider checking that out. I don’t know anyone who has read it and not loved it. It’s an epistolary novel about a writer in London who starts a correspondence with a group of people on occupied Guernsey and becomes attached to them. I couldn’t put it down! (If you’ve already read it, then obviously feel free to ignore my suggestion :))

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Jeni @ hippiewildmama September 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Have you read ‘Cutting For Stone’? by Abraham Verga-something? It’s not WWII, but it is pretty awesome.

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Kait @ One Love Run September 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I just finished Sarah’s Key, another WWII book! The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diana Ackerman is another good book set in WWII about Polish zookeepers who hide hundreds of people from the Nazis. And I loved the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but I’m sure you have read that already!

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Jess-The SemiAbnormal Gal September 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

This is WWI, but Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants.

It’s the 1st of a trilogy, and the WWII (with the children of first books characters) will be out this spring. He is hands down my favorite “modern” author.

Enjoy!

PS. I actually listened to this one as an audiobook and the “production” was fantastic, because the narrator did all the accents. An extra bonus if you are into that type of thing….I drive a lot, so I am, but I find myself bringing my book inside and listening more as I cook dinner!

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Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats September 7, 2011 at 10:24 am

I can’t WAIT for the second book in this series to come out!

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mi September 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm

please please PLEASE read “the bronze horseman” series. there are 3 books (by paullina simons), and i know you would love them if you’re a wartime epic fan! trust me!

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen September 6, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I love that you’re always one ahead of me on the books. Just finished Room, which I liked a lot but I need a change of pace after that one. This looks like a great pick!

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Sarah @ w30 September 6, 2011 at 3:23 pm

It’s a little different, but I loved The Plot Against America by Philip Roth. The narrator is a young Jewish boy growing up in Newark just before and during WWII. It’s an alternate history book, where FDR is defeated by (anti-semite) Charles Lindbergh, and America sides with Germany. Not only interesting, but a compelling and vivid read!

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Madelin September 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Not WW2 but I loved Sister by Rosamund Lupton. Her new book Afterwards is also excellent. Both are gripping from the first page and I couldn’t put them down! I’m currently reading One Day, before the movie comes out.

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Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) September 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I just read The Art of Racing in the Rain which I LOVED. Also read A Soft Place to Land which was also very gripping from the beginning. Now I’m reading The Shack which I’m not so sure about yet. I’m gonna check this one out you’re recommending.

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Pam September 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm

The Art of Racing in the rain was such a good and memorable book, but also it is the only book that ever made me cry.

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Kristin September 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

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Jen September 6, 2011 at 4:30 pm

LOVED this book. Trudy’s Promise is another good one in this genre.

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Greta September 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel! It’s based in Poland during WWII and offers a fascinating/haunting twist on the children’s story. I could NOT put it down.

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Ginny September 6, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I love your book suggestions, I’m following right along on my kindle!
..while eating split pea soup :)
(not really with the soup, but I wish!)

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Tessa @ Amazing Asset September 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Thank you again for your suggestions! I will be picking up this book soon (or downloading it on my kindle :) )
I also wanted to let you know I read the Murder’s Daughters at your suggestion and really enjoyed it!

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes September 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Sounds great! I definetly want to read this before my textbook load starts :)

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Jenn September 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Have you ever read The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher? It has the World War II drama in it, unrequited love and lots of family drama. It’s so good! It’s one of those books that I read again every few years just to visit the characters again.

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Vicki September 6, 2011 at 9:03 pm

ooo! ooo! This is the one I was going to suggest!

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Sally Anne @ PaleoRunnerGirl September 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I am absolutely addicted to Elizabeth Berg and she writes a book about WWII “Dream When You’re Feeling Blue.” Her books are simply delicious reads. :)

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Stacey September 6, 2011 at 5:09 pm

This:

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Incredible True Story of a German-Jewish Teenager’s Struggle to Survive in Nazi-Occupied Poland

The BEST WWII era book I’ve ever read. And I’ve read quite a few!

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Christine @ The Pantry Drawer September 6, 2011 at 5:16 pm

I just purchased Room and can’t wait to read it! I haven’t found much time to get started (or to finish Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged…) but I hope I love it as much as you did!

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Kelsey @ aslolife September 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Sounds good! I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society last summer which is a about a writer researching for her next book and living on Guernsey. I’ll have to check this one out!

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Sharon September 6, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I’m reading The Rules of Civility. It is fairly newly published. It takes place in NYC in the 1930′s. I’ve enjoyed reading it.

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Natalie September 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I always look forward to your book reviews and this particular novel looks like it will fantastic. I absolutely love historical fiction. I recommend Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. It is not WWII era; it takes place in 1930s Manhattan. I am about halfway through and it’s a great escape so far.

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Courtney September 6, 2011 at 6:43 pm

WWII novels and biopics are my favorites! I loved Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, but a few other amazing books are Sarah’s Key and Unbroken. Also a fan of Next to Love by Ellen Feldman (she wrote Lucy, another great read), which looks at how coming home wasn’t as easy as many expected, both for those away and the ones waiting for them,

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cathy September 6, 2011 at 6:47 pm

have you read any of wally lamb’s novels? amazing writer.

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caryn September 6, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Memory by Philippe Grimbert
http://mostlyfiction.com/world/grimbert.htm

It’s a WWII family/romantic drama, and it’s super good!

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Svitlana September 6, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels.

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tabitha September 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Sounds scandalous and amazing. Thanks for sharing.

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Kait September 6, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Absolutely read Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand! So amazing! non-fiction, WWII story. You won’t be able to put it down. It was incredibly moving and entertaining. Read it!!

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Tasha September 6, 2011 at 11:32 pm

In addition to scrumptious eats, I like how you always give us wonderful book recommendations!

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Ashley @ Hop Skip Jump September 7, 2011 at 1:08 am

Have you read Firefly Lane? I just finished it last night and it was soooo good. I think you would love it also. I couldn’t put it down!

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Katrina September 7, 2011 at 4:11 am

Will check this out!

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Hannah (Balancing on Two Feet) September 7, 2011 at 4:53 am

This isn’t related to the book you are currently reading, but you need to RUN to your e-reader (kindle? nook?) and download “The Forty Rules of Love” by Elif Shafek. Amazing.

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Kristina September 7, 2011 at 5:56 am

I am obsessed with Guernsey – mostly because of Victor Hugo. Have you ever read The Toilers of the Sea? If not, I highly recommend it, it’s one of my favorites of his even though it doesn’t get as much recognition… it’s not a quick read (lots of lengthy descriptions…he tends to like those…) but totally worth it IMO.

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Bethany September 7, 2011 at 6:44 am

Love WWII fiction! I’ve recently read and liked The Diplomat’s Wife and The Kommandant’s Girl, both by Pam Jenoff. My Enemy’s Cradle by Sara Young was a really good, quick read. It’s about the Lebensborn birthing centers for Aryan children during WWII and a Jewish girl who goes into hiding in one. Try it!

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Tashina September 7, 2011 at 7:05 am

We’ve got a very similar taste in books! I’ve also been on a WWII reading kick this summer. Although I nearly always prefer fiction, I did pick up this summer and really enjoyed it – http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Beasts-Terror-American-Hitlers/dp/0307408841/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315403587&sr=1-1. Like “The Soldier’s Wife” and “Those Who Save Us”, “In the Garden of Beasts” is written from a unique perspective – that of the US Ambassador to Berlin and his family from 1933-1937. Its a pretty fascinating account of Hitler’s rise to power from the perspective of those living within Germany.

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jamie @ cueyourlife September 7, 2011 at 7:50 am

Thanks for the book review! Reading your blog has totally renewed my desire to pick up some new books…and now that I’m done with school, I can actually start in on my book list. I’ll have to take a picture of the books I’ve been picking up over the last few years to read…the stack is as high as my kitchen counter! Thanks again and happy reading! Cheers!

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Shari @ The Daily Dish September 7, 2011 at 7:52 am

This book sounds great. Thanks for the recommendation! :)

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Monica September 7, 2011 at 8:57 am

I will have to try that book! I’m always looking for another book that’s hard to put down :) Have you read ‘The Help’ yet? Wow it was SO GOOD! Another really good one is ‘Pillars of the Earth’ by Ken Follett… both I still pick up and just start to read again because its so easy to get lost in the setting!

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R @ Learning As I Chop September 7, 2011 at 9:26 am

If you need a suggestion, I just read “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen. Some of the critics gave it so-so reviews, but I enjoyed it. Definitely the kind of book that sucks you in.

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Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats September 7, 2011 at 10:21 am

Eek, I’m a little late to the party here, but have you read “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand? UH-MAZING WWII POW story. I tell everyone I know about the book!

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TiffanyS September 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I have this one on my pile to read. I loved her writing style in “Seabiscuit”. I’ve heard so many good reviews of this. Can’t wait till I have more time to squeeze it in!

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Kristin Staley September 7, 2011 at 11:39 am

Have you read The Bronze Horseman trilogy? It is amazing!!!

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Julie from Burnt Carrots September 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Oh! I cannot wait to read this one. If you like these kinds of books, I think you will love Fall of the Giants. Its about WWI and unbelievably captivating!

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Lauren September 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I would highly, highly recommend the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It’s a wonderful, heart-wrenching, beautiful book told all through letters immediately following the war. One of my all-time favorites.

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JoyinChina September 7, 2011 at 9:08 pm

I love Brock and Bodie Thoene’s Zion Chronicle Series. Wow, do they ever know how to write! In face, I love almost everything they’ve ever written. Definitely, you should read them next!

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Veronica September 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Hi there! I am a new follower and this book review reminded me of a book I read this summer…maybe you have already read it, but it was so good, and takes place partly in the Guerney Islands. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel” I have been totally intrested in these little islands ever since reading this book – now I have another book to read! Thanks for the review :)

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Maria September 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm

OoO! this looks good :-) I just started reading One Day, which is now a movie. So far I really like the book!

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Erin @ vie balance September 10, 2011 at 4:12 am

I love WW II period pieces. Have you read the Post Mistress? I read it last summer and it consumed me!! I tore through it in a matter of days.

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kate @ pomelo sunshine September 10, 2011 at 10:46 am

I’m always looking for books to add to me list and have been in a bit of a rut lately, nothing has looked good. This is right up my alley though, thanks for the recommendation!

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