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QBD Reviews: Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

Author Heather Morris

Happy publication day to Cilka's Journey!

The sequel to Heather Morris' International  Bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz, is available in stores from today. 

Readers  have wondered what happened to Cilka, and this book answers all their questions (and then some!)

QBD's Quick Synopsis: 

After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to Siberia. But what choice did she have? She was only a child when she arrived in Auschwitz. 

Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

Some of our readers were lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Cilka's Journey. Here's what they thought: 

"The Tattooist of Auschwitz was one of my favourite books of 2018 and it was where we were first introduced to Cilka. In Heather Morris’ follow up novel, Cilka’s Journey, the war is over. This should mean freedom for Cilka but she is arrested for ‘consorting with the enemy’ and sentenced to 15 years at the Vortuka Gulag in Siberia. The conditions are inhumane and every minute is a battle for survival. Despite all this, we see the light of humanity shine through as Cilka makes friends and we are introduced to some very strong female characters. Cilka’s Story is one of unrivaled strength and a raw determination to never give up and to survive. A truly inspirational read."

Julie, Woodgrove QBD

"When I heard this book was nearing release, I began to count down the days, eagerly awaiting a story I knew would not disappoint. Continuing on from where The Tattooist of Auschwitz ended, Cilka's Journey tells of Cilka's move from accused Nazi collaborator, to Siberian prisoner for an arduous 15 years.

The challenges Cilka faces are a horribly familiar, but begin twisting into something unrecognizable as she mistakenly garners the attention of the self-proclaimed 'head prisoners'. But through her daily encounters with death and terror, Cilka meets a woman doctor, who takes her under her wing, allowing her to try aid the ill and struggling where she can.

Cilka definitely lives up to Lale's assessment as 'One of the strongest women (he has) ever known', and her inspirational story shows that even in your darkest days, there may be a little bit of room for love."

Kirsty, Geelong QBD

"Heather Morris is back with another gut-wrenching masterpiece from one of the darkest periods in human history. We follow Cilka in her journey after Auschwitz, to the Gulag in Siberia. Sentenced to fifteen years hard labour for what she was forced to do to survive Auschwitz, Cilka shivers her way through the harsh conditions, fearing what her fellow hut-mates will do when they find out her secret. Based on true events, this is an incredible story of heartache, uncertainty, and above all, survival. A must read."

Rosie, Mandurah QBD

Cilka's Journey is available in store & online now. Purchase your copy here.

Historical fun for everyone!

Are you interested in history but find facts, figures and dates boring? Want a little bit more pizzazz and adventure with all the educational mumbo jumbo? Then historical fiction is the genre for you and I’m going to give you the scoop on some of the amazing titles floating around out there for all ages!

9781847374592The Lady of the Rivers  by Philippa Gregory:
Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI. Widowed at the age of nineteen, she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her household for love, and then carved out a life for herself as Queen Margaret of Anjou’s close friend and a Lancaster supporter – until the day that her daughter Elizabeth Woodville fell in love and married the rival king Edward IV.

A Waltz for Matilda by Jackie French:
In 1894, twelve-year-old Matilda flees the city slums to find her unknown father and his farm. But drought grips the land and the shearers are on strike. Her father’s turned swaggie and he’s wanted by the troopers. In front of his terrified daughter, he makes a stand against them, defiant to the last.
Set against a backdrop of bushfire, flood, war and jubilation, this is the story of one girl’s journey towards independence. It is also the story of others who had no vote and very little but their dreams.

9780552775311Two Brothers  by Ben Elton:
Berlin 1920. Two babies are born. Two brothers. United and indivisible, sharing everything. Twins in all but blood.
As Germany marches into its Nazi Armageddon, the ties of family, friendship and love are tested ot the very limits of endurance, and the brothers are faced with an unimaginable choice. Which one of them will survive?

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden:
The extraordinary tale of Sayuri, a young girl who grows up to become and acclaimed geisha, spanning a quarter of a century, from 1929 to the post-war years of Japan’s dramatic history and opening a window into the half-hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation.

9780141014081The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman:
One for the graphic novel lovers, Maus is an adaptation of the author’s fathers experiences in Nazi Germany and the concentration camps. Using cartoonish depictions of cats and mice to the tell his father’s tales which Spiegelman’s detailed black and white illustrations add interesting dimensions to, Maus is ultimately a survivor’s tale which endeavours to help us understand the horrors experienced by the Jews under Nazi reign.

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah:
A semi-fictionalised version of her breathtaking biography Falling Leaves for younger readers, Chinese Cinderella recounts Adeline’s childhood in a strictly traditional Chinese household where she was considered bad luck after her mother died giving birth to her.

QBD Reviews: Jennifer Donnelly’s The Tea Rose

tea roseI don’t often read historical novels so I wasn’t sure how I would go with this but this was such a delightful read! The writing isn’t stuffy or heavy, it flows with real ease and I was absolutely transported to 1888. From the poor streets of Whitechapel to New York where Fiona really does make her fortune the setting became so vivid in my mind. Jennifer Donnelly has created a main character who exhibits real gumption and independence while also being quite delicate and sensitive, Fiona is truly endearing. While there hardships and tragedy this was such a lovely, heart-warming story.

Kate, QBD Buyer

Book of the Month: Midnight Watch by David Dyer

9781926428727 (1)"Sometimes the smallest of human failings can lead to the greatest of disasters..."

QBD's March Book of the Month is David Dyer's masterpiece of historical fiction, The Midnight Watch. Based on true events, the novel centres around the crew of the Californian, a British steam ship that had stopped near the Titanic but failed to assist, despite witnessing the Titanic's distress rockets.

It's April 1912 and all eyes are on the Titanic and it's passengers. The unsinkable ship has sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and both the UK and America want answers. But while everyone is focusing their attention on the Titanic herself, it is journalist John Steadman that decides to look in another direction, that of the SS Californian who was the Titanic's only company on that fateful night. Both ships were in sight of each other, the Titanic sent distress rockets, but the SS Californian failed to assist and the result was the untimely death of 1500 passengers.

This novel investigates why the SS Californian sat idly as the Titanic sunk and the consequences such actions had.
Undoubtedly one of the best historical fiction novels I have ever read.

-Erin, Cairns QBD

You can read a short  extract of The Midnight Watch here.

About the author:
0000008906David Dyer grew up in a coastal town in NSW, Australia, and graduated as dux of his high school in 1984. From the mid-1990s until early 2000s David worked as a litigation lawyer in Sydney, and then in London at a legal practice whose parent firm represented the Titanic's owners back in 1912. In 2002 David returned to Australia and obtained a Diploma in Education from the University of New England, and commenced teaching English at Kambala, a school for girls in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

David has had a life-long obsession with the Titanic and has become an  expert on the subject. In 2009 he was awarded a Commonwealth Government scholarship to write The Midnight Watch as part of a Doctorate in Creative Arts at the University of Technology, Sydney. The doctorate was conferred in November 2013. David's research for The Midnight Watch took him to many and varied places around the world including libraries and sites of interest in New York, Boston, London and Liverpool.

'I spent days reading Lord's papers in the archive of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, the highlight of which was my finding of the original letters of the Californian's second officer and apprentice, written within days of the disaster, in which they describe the rocket-firing ship they saw. Tears came to my eyes as I held these flimsy letters in my white-gloved hands. 'I observed a white flash apparently on her deck,' writes the apprentice, 'followed by a faint streak towards the sky which then burst into white stars…'' These rockets were, of course, a desperate cry for help.

(Author information as taken from penguin.com.au)

 

Reviewsday: Lady Helen & The Dark Days Club

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London, April 1812. The Prince of Wales, commonly known as Prinny had been regent for 1 year, Britain was on the brink of war with America, and in it's tenth year of war with France and it's Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. It was also the month in which Queen Charlotte returned to the practice of holding Drawing Rooms for the presentation of young ladies into High Society. However, unbeknownst to all of them, a different war was about to be begin...

Lady Helen Wrexhall is a young woman at war with her very nature. Tip-toeing between polite society and the need for adventure pulsing through her veins, she is constantly reminded of the looming shadow of her mother's disgrace. After a not-so-chance meeting with a less-than-charming gentleman, she wrestles with the fact that she could be destined for more than high society parties and an advantageous marriage. She may have to face the reality that there is more to the world than she had first thought. However coming to terms with this knowledge becomes increasingly difficult when her Aunt insists she attend every High Society event and her Uncle's rather loud displeasure follows any misstep she takes.

In Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, Alison Goodman seamlessly mixes her own unique paranormal mythology with all the pomp and splendour of Regency London. Lady Helen is a strong-willed and quick-witted heroine that feels both true to the time and a little ahead of it, making her an intriguing character to explore as the story unfolds.

"I had not thought to find a fellow rationalist in you, Lady Helen"
"I rather think, Lord Carlston, that you had not thought to find any thought in me at all."

Together with a good dose of female friendship, a murky romance, and battles fought in the shadows this book is one that will keep you reading well into the night.