Tag Archives: World War 2

The Girl from the Train by Irma Joubert


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Book Description:
Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Auschwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They mean to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her home. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

My Review:

This is a highly unusual book and story. Our heroine is very young when the story begins and while this book is fiction, a tale is told that rivals non-fiction stories of survivors that I have read from this time period. It is not graphic, but detailed without as much of the horror. You see the story though the eyes of a child in the beginning. In the middle, a young woman and in the end, a woman. While there is a romantic story line that completes this book, that is not the focus of the story. This is a wonderful book, about the means of survival that many refugees, Holocaust survivors, orphans and others experienced during WW2 and even today.

I enjoyed the unique voice the author gave to Gretl as well as to Jakob. It was highly unusual and deep writing. If you enjoy a book that will make you think and dig into history, pick this one up!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Romance, Homeschooling

When Treetops Glisten- By Tricia Goyer- Sarah Sundin- Cara Putman- giveaway


By Tricia Goyer- Cara Putnam- Sarah Sundin

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

When you see a book on the shelf written by this caliber of authors, you have to pick it up. The blend these three authors give to a story forms a seamless line up of three separate stories. Three characters, from the same family go their different ways in this Christmas story. Each one has their own unique story to tell, and because of this you will find yourself drawn in quickly.

The World War Two setting adds to the charm, as there are not as many Christmas stories set in that time period, even though there are several Christmas movies. I found that especially appealing. It interwove the history throughout the story of the characters that were all searching in their own way.


The theme of Christmas songs will have you humming and likely reaching for your DVD of White Christmas or CD of Bing Crosby songs. Do you want a Christmas read, but you like a little bit of depth in your “lighter” books as well? This is the book for you. It is not a heavy read, but it will make you stop and think throughout the stories. These authors are all well known for addressing issues in a very tasteful way, so this book would be appropriate for teens as well as adult readers. Topics of war are discussed, and there are some light romantic scenes, but it is done very skillfully.


I have a special giveaway to offer for commenters on my blog today! Pete’s favorite cookies were peanut butter, while there is also a recipe for White velvet cutouts in the book. What is your favorite cookie recipe? Do you have one to share with me? I am always looking for good cookie recipes! If you don’t have a favorite recipe to share with me, let me know what your favorite Bing Crosby movie is.

Make sure that you leave a valid email address to contact you as well, in case you are the winner.


 About the Authors:

Three of the most beloved Christian authors of World War II-era fiction have come together to gift their readers with the new Christmas release, Where Treetops Glisten (WaterBrook Press/September 16, 2014/ISBN: 978-1601426482/$14.99), a collection of three Christmas novellas.

Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman and Sarah Sundin invite readers to turn back the clock to days gone by as they listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow and get to know the Turner family. Each of the three siblings is forging their own paths in their own love story filled with the wonder of Christmas. Hailing from the heart of America in Lafayette, Indiana, these characters will never be the same as the reality of America’s involvement in World War II hits incredibly close to home.

The collaboration was unique and enjoyable for the writing trio. “We started in the brainstorming phase, throwing out character and family ideas and making them mesh,” explains Sundin. “The collaboration was challenging since our stories are more tightly connected than in most novella collections, but it was a lot of fun.”

In Putman’s White Christmas, college student Abigail Turner loses a beau to the war and is skittish about romance, until a young man with a serious problem needs her help. Pete Turner, a former fighter pilot in Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, is trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. In Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner (or “Merry” to those who know her best) is using her skills as a combat nurse in the Netherlands. She’ll have to face the deepest kind of betrayal a world away from her family, but that could be precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The unsettled World War II era may not at first glance seem like a backdrop for love to flourish. “Our purpose is to remind readers of the importance of family, of home, and of togetherness,” Goyer reveals. “Even in a time of war we can remain strong because of the love of God and the love of those we serve.”

Will the Turner family be able to absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for their futures even in such a tumultuous time? “There’s a freshness and sense of wonder to Christmas,” Putman says. “The idea that God would send His Son to earth as a newborn is an incredibly humbling thought. Combine that with great music, tradition and the love of family, and it becomes a magical time where almost anything seems possible.”

Readers will be able to feel the crunch of newly fallen snow under their feet as they get caught up in these stories of love and loss set against one of the most pivotal times in world history.


Want to buy your own copy?

Where Treetops Glisten is available from your local booksellers and online.

Where Treetops Glisten: Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War II


Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Romance

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


Book Description: (From Publisher):


And then came war . . .

Today. Sera James spends most of her time arranging auctions for the art world’s elite clientele. When her search to uncover an original portrait of an unknown Holocaust victim leads her to William Hanover III, they learn that this painting is much more than it seems.

Vienna, 1942. Adele Von Bron has always known what was expected of her. As a prodigy of Vienna’s vast musical heritage, this concert violinist intends to carry on her family’s tradition and play with the Vienna Philharmonic. But when the Nazis learn that she helped smuggle Jews out of the city, Adele is taken from her promising future and thrust into the horrifying world of Auschwitz.

The veil of innocence is lifted to expose a shuddering presence of evil, and Adele realizes that her God-given gift is her only advantage; she must play. Becoming a member of the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz, she fights for survival. Adele’s barbed-wire walls begin to kill her hope as the months drag into nearly two years in the camp. With surprising courage against the backdrop of murder and despair, Adele finally confronts a question that has been tugging at her heart: Even in the midst of evil, can she find hope in worshiping God with her gift?

As Sera and William learn more about the subject of the mysterious portrait—Adele—they are reminded that whatever horrors one might face, God’s faithfulness never falters.


My Review:

Once in awhile, you just see the cover of a book and you know you have to read it even if the author is unfamiliar to you. This book was one of those books. I pre-ordered this one in print as well as receiving an eBook for review before I had even read it, simply based on the description and the cover. I was not disappointed. This book has for certain, stood out to me as an spectacular read. The story is woven in detail, so that you will not feel you are reading, yet again, the same story of a concentration camp victim, but an amazing tale of courage and faith in the time of great horror.

I know many people shy away from books about the holocaust, claiming they are too sad, too depressing, and they read for joy and laughter often. I would not call this book depressing. It does have sad parts, I will not deny that, but throughout the pages, there is a hope that should burn within the heart of any believer that will cause you to be grateful and thankful for those that walked before us in this past time.  You will love the light romantic thread woven throughout a story where you did not think love could exist. Most of all, you will be kept up reading, abandoning all chores, schoolwork, and other responsibilities to finish this book. It is that good! This is the book you have to buy this year! Find a copy and share one with a high school student today. This book is one that will be enjoyed by teens as well as adults, as it brings a story to mind that many are forgetting today.

This book was provided for me by BookLook Bloggers. The opinions expressed herein are my own.


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Filed under Book Reviews