“What was the occasional indiscretion compared to the impending possibility of world peace on one hand or mass extinction on the other?” Jan Eliasberg’s intensely engrossing novel transports readers between Berlin, 1938, to Los Alamos, New Mexico, 1945. The suspense and secrecy surrounding the development of the atomic bomb, The Manhattan Project, keeps readers alert and ready to run for shelter. Brilliant “non-Aryan” female physicist, Hannah Weiss, has been exiled to New Mexico to lend her expertise to the mission of the research team of J. Robert Oppenheimer: Be the first to build a bomb. Major Jack Delaney, wounded in liberating Paris, arrives on a three day interrogation mission to catch the spy leaking encoded equations to Hitler’s scientists. Due to Hannah’s involvement with the infamous Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin ten years earlier, Jack, now a member of military intelligence, has decided that Hannah is the spy. Now to prove it.
Jan Eliasberg’s expert director’s eye creates a vision of intrigue and deception laced with lies; while covering the “blackboard of suspense” with the perfect equations for love to unfold and trust to develop. Is the love and trust merited, or is it all a masquerade? Readers will be trapped in Jan Eliasberg’s net until the last telegram is delivered. Five Atomic Stars! GR
Book #1 – the Popularity Pact Series-Publishing April 14, 2020
The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab
Maisy and Bea, best friends since their preschool years, have grown up together. Maisy has spent her sixth grade year doing everything in her power to “hold her spot” in the M&M’s-the most popular girls’ group at school. During this same year Bea has become invisible and spent her days at school in complete silence; eating alone while reading a book, speaking to no one and no one speaking to her. It was if she “ceased to exist.” What happened to cause the split between these two best friends?
It’s the summer before seventh grade and Bea, an only child, is sad to leave her single mom, but excited as she heads off to Camp Amelia. She’ll join her BFF’s in the Sunflower Bunk, all in great anticipation of training to win the coveted trophy at the end of camp tournament; as the Sunflowers do every camp season. Maisy is unknowingly signed up by her dad for Camp Amelia -a high adventure camp for girls. Maisy’s mom is mysteriously not “in the picture.” Anxiety ridden and not athletic at all, Maisy cannot tolerate the thought of spending six whole weeks with a bunch of “losers.” The summer saga begins to unfold as Maisy and Bea end up on the same “ancient yellow bus” heading from Mapleton to Camp Amelia. Maisy is mortified. Mapleton School World and Camp Amelia World are colliding. When these two worlds collide, the Popularity Pact erupts.
Belonging- gaining status as an essential part of a group. This is a feeling understood by every age group, but it seems SO crucial to the “happiness” of Middle School girls. Striving to belong to a group begins at a young age- early elementary for most. Guiding young girls through this tangle of feelings is never so traumatic as in the Middle School years. Teachers at this level deserve so much respect and gratitude for helping girls cope and survive the “daily dilemmas” of seventh and eighth grade. Maisy and Bea are dealing with difficult family situations but aren’t comfortable sharing their inmost fears. But then, who is?
Eileen Moskowitz-Palma’s series, The Popularity Pact, brings a myriad of doubts and emotions to the surface for readers-young and old, alike. Adults may conjure fond memories or even disturbing emotions. “Camp Clique provides valuable lessons about friendship, identity, belonging, and the power of kindness.” Young girls will identify with Maisy, Bea, or one of the Sunflowers. In any case, Book #1, Camp Clique, will leave all campers ready to barge boldly into the halls of Mapleton Middle School to find out just exactly how Maisy and Bea uphold their end of the Popularity Pact. Campers will be clamoring to register for Book #2-School Squad-coming fall of 2020.
“When Eileen Moskowitz-Palma double majored in Elementary Education and English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, she thought she would have to choose between a career as a writer or a teacher. It wasn’t until she was almost 40 that she realized she could do both.
Now, Eileen divides her time between writing middle grade novels and teaching Beginner Novel Writing and Writing for Children and Young Adults at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College.
Eileen is a fitness enthusiast and lives a vegan-ish lifestyle unless you count the occasional bacon cheeseburger. She lives in Westchester, NY, with her college sweetheart husband Douglas, their daughter Molly, and their Wire Fox Terrier Oscar, who is one snaggle-tooth away from being a doggy model.”
An utterly uplifting feel-good summer romance (Lake Summers Book 1)
The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab
Discover artistic beauty and creativity in a refreshing springtime novel that mends hearts and broken families during one short summer at a lake resort in the Adirondacks. Barbara Josselsohn’s The Lilac House will wrap the reader in the arms of grief, regret, and finally forgiveness and the realization that life does go on. Newly widowed, Anna is hiding in the shadows of grief and living her future by reliving the memories of her lost husband. Taking her children, Zac and Evie, to Lilac House, the enchanting two-story Colonial Greg had surprised her with for their first anniversary, seems to be the right thing to do the summer after Greg’s untimely death. Maybe they’d all return for one last time to say good-bye and then sell the house? Anna returns to the charming Main Street of Lake Summers, to find the business owners of the quaint downtown preparing for a busy summer of campers, seasonal visitors, and Fourth of July festivities.
Lilac Pointe, the dance shop on Main Street, is owned by Anna’s Aunt Hope. The beautiful dance studio also has the best shoe and leotard selection in the region, along with an accomplished choreographer and dance instructor; but is still struggling. Enter Aidan, a new consultant in town, and his teenage son, Liam. Aidan is full of ideas on how to improve business in the resort town of Lake Summers. Hope doesn’t trust “consultants” and is not interested; Anna is.
Trust is an issue for Hope and Anna. Trusting one’s own feelings and the decisions of others can be a challenge for so many. Readers can trust Barbara Josselsohn to guide Anna and Hope to discover all the options for this last visit to Lake Summers and Lilac House. The pirouettes, plies and recalling of the Lilac Variation from The Sleeping Beauty, along with the discoveries of Hope and Anna’s trust in each other, will keep readers “on pointe!”
For readers searching for hope and renewed faith in discovering new love, second chances, and that comfortable feeling of “finding home”- take a jaunt over to The Lilac House on Main Street. Stay awhile and bask in the glow of sunset on the lake. Savor a meal at Sogni di Lago while the tiny lights glitter in the trees. Then stroll down to the Smoothie Dudes for the new Lilac Pointe Smoothie! The Lilac House is a ***** “QuaranRead!” GR
One dress. Three generations of women. A lifetime of love.
In any wedding, “the dress” takes center stage. The most elegant and best-remembered wedding dress was worn by Grace Kelly. The famous actress became Princess of Monaco, starring in her own fairy tale wedding on April 19, 1956. That bridal gown is known as one of the most famous since the mid-20th century.
In The Grace Kelly Dress Brenda Janowitz escorts the reader down the aisle, right up to the altar; three times over three generations. As each “bride to be” tells her story, the reader is drenched with delicious details of how each “groom to be” came into the picture. But, the main focus is the Grace Kelly Dress and how it all started in the atelier of Madame Michel, with a bride’s choice of pattern and design. Madame says, “This dress is the most important dress a bride will ever wear. Choose carefully.”
The Grateful Reader relished the conversations and images inspired by the intricate details of the mother-daughter relationships as wedding dates drew closer. The developing changes in feelings for each other, fathers and siblings in regard to the memories “the dress” carries for each potential bride, is also captivating and will resonate with readers.
As the designer and seamstress of the dress pictured above, the painstaking attention to details as the Grace Kelly dress is constructed, remade, and even agonized over; is not missed. Readers are cordially invited to conjure beautiful memories of a groom at the altar, floral bouquets & giggling flower girls; bridesmaids, nervous caterers, tilting cakes and hankies at the ready for daddy-daughter dances. Brenda Janowitz greets each guest with a lovely wedding story. Please add your name to the wedding registry as a reader of The Grace Kelly Dress. Five Stars *****- Reception to follow at the home of the bride.
“Two years after Grace Kellys royal wedding, her iconic dress is still all the rage in Paris and one replica, and the secrets it carries, will inspire three generations of women to forge their own paths in life and in love in this beguiling new novel from Brenda Janowitz.” Goodreads
“Brenda Janowitz is the author of five novels, including The Dinner Party and Recipe for a Happy Life. She is the Books Correspondent for PopSugar. Brenda’s work has also appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Salon, Redbook, and the New York Post. She lives in New York. “
“You should own all the pieces of your life, good or bad. They make up who you are.” Hannah to her grandmother.
The Last Bathing Beauty will whisk readers away to Stern’s Summer Resort in South Haven, Michigan, during the carefree summer of 1951. Betty Clare Stern, is the cherished granddaughter of the owners of the resort-one which happens to be a premier destination of the Jewish elite for miles around. Raised by her grandparents from the age of 4, when her parents decided she’d be better off without them; Betty has spent her summers participating and then helping, with the children’s activities. Now at 18 years old, she plans to attend college and forge a career in the New York fashion industry. (The “standard” expectation of Marriage and motherhood might come later.) For now Betty wants to enjoy one last glorious, sun drenched summer in South Haven, palling around with childhood friends, Doris and Georgia; then she’ll be off to follow her dream. The pieces of her puzzle are falling into place.
Fast forward to the summer of 2017, “Boop,” as she is known, is expecting her friends, Doris and Georgia, for a long planned reunion. The arrival of Hannah, her granddaughter, preempts the arrival of Boop’s friends; but no matter, Doris and Georgia are known as Hannah’s “bonus bubbes.” The “bubbes” cajole stories out of Hannah, while “smothered memories are gasping for air through unguarded cracks in Boop’s consciousness.” Author, Amy Nathan, sorts through all the pieces in Boop’s memory as she slowly unpacks the “tackle box that holds her happiest and her saddest memory… love and loss, comedy and tragedy, past and future.”
What will be the final piece to Boop’s life puzzle- that “puzzle of family, love and being true to oneself while honoring those around you?” Readers will be so satisfied with the final and complete, whole picture of The Last Bathing Beauty.
Writer of novels, lover of cats, morning coffee, dark chocolate, and bold lipstick. Former vegetarian, occasional crafter, adequate cook, loyal friend, proud mom to two awesome adults.
Lisa Wingate is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Before We Were Yours, which remained on the bestseller list for fifty-four weeks in hardcover and has sold over 2 million copies. She has penned over thirty novels and coauthored a nonfiction book, Before and After with Judy Christie. Her award-winning works have been selected for state and community One Book reads throughout the country, have been published in over forty languages, and have appeared on bestseller lists worldwide. The group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. Booklist summed up her work by saying, “Lisa Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller.” She lives with her husband in North Texas. More information about her novels can be found at www.lisawingate.com where you can also sign up for her e-newsletter and follow her on social media.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours comes a new historical novel: the dramatic story of three young women searching for family amid the destruction of the post–Civil War South, and of a modern-day teacher who learns of their story and its vital connection to her students’ lives.
Lisa Wingate is an author whose new book should fly into your “cart” without even reading the description. But when the description is revealed, “the hand has been dealt;” it’s a winner. Here’s a brief description from Lisa’s page:
“Louisiana, 1875: In the tumultuous era of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Hannie, a freed slave; Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now destitute plantation; and Juneau Jane, Lavinia’s Creole half sister. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following roads rife with vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of stolen inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and siblings before slavery’s end, the pilgrimage west reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hope.
Louisiana, 1987: For first-year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt—until she lands in a tiny, out-of-step Mississippi River town. Augustine, Louisiana, is suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled live oaks and run-down plantation homes lie the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.
“Sad thing when stories die for the lack of listenin’ ears.” Granny T
The story of Hannie, Lavinia, and Juneau Jane bundles the reader off into directions and paths that are difficult for a conscientious reader to tolerate; much less acknowledge an awareness of family and community involvement in similar situations, either by stories handed down from the 1870’s or from a primary source in the 1980’s. In either case, this dual timeline between the three young girls on their travels through Texas in 1875 and the “tales of a teacher” in rural south Louisiana, 1987. will keep readers wide eyed and awake; pondering for days how Lisa Wingate has woven such a “saga of sadness” into a ‘jump for joy” celebration for her readers.
The idea for book of lost friends actually sprang from a book lover. This avid reader, a volunteer with the Historic New Orleans Collection, was entering database information in order to preserve the history of the “Lost Friends” column. These were ads, published in the Southwestern Christian Advocate, a Methodist newspaper. The paper went to preachers, post offices, and subscription holders. Preachers read the ads from the pulpit, hoping families separated before “the Freedom” could be rejoined. After reading LW’s Before We Were Yours, this New Orleans’ book lover thought this was another, similar, piece of history.
As a “girl from south Louisiana” and a teacher, this novel had me rooting for Hannie, Lavinia, and Juneau Jane, and cheering for Benny. First year teacher, Benny was determined to make inroads into the community, the school board and most importantly to finding the keys to students’ learning that had been locked for years behind bars of prejudice: “no expectations, no encouragement, neglect, & abuse.” Benny wants her students to “see that there is no faster way to change your circumstance than to open a great book.”
So to all Grateful Reader followers: Open The Book of Lost Friends, and be changed.
“And They Called It Camelot is the book club pick of the year. Stephanie Marie Thornton brings an American icon to life: Jackie the debutante, the First Lady, the survivor who at last becomes the heroine of her own story.”—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Huntress
And the “praises” just keep on coming! “
Stephanie Marie Thornton is a USA Today bestselling author and a high school history teacher. She lives in Alaska with her husband and daughter.
The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab
“You don’t just turn everything beautiful, you turn it to gold!” Jack to Jaqueline
Jackie Kennedy was “our” First Lady; really as close to a queen as Americans would ever get. Her beauty, style and grace were admired and copied by women around the world. Jackie’s intellect, wit and command of languages was impressive and absolutely necessary to Jack and the Kennedy family in his run for the Senate and the Presidency. The devotion and commitment as mother to her children was unmatched and probably sometimes, unknown. The grief she bore during her lifetime is unthinkable. What you think you know of Jackie-the magazine profiles, the evening news clips, the newspaper headlines, countless biographies; even the “tell all” by Maud Shaw, the Nanny to Caroline & John- are just the tip of the iceberg.
Stephanie Marie Thornton takes the reader up that shining hill to a place dubbed Camelot: “November 22, 1963- The pink pillbox hat and Chanel-inspired boucle suit awaited her on the bed.” Readers know what’s coming; still, it’s gut wrenching to keep reading. When news of President Kennedy’s assassination was broadcast, readers of a certain age know the exact location, person who was speaking, and what happened next. What Americans didn’t know was the “middle” leading up to the gruesome ending of the story that was presented as a fairy tale.
Every fairy tale has good and evil elements; along with the element of three or sometimes seven. Stephanie Marie Thornton completes the fairy tale chart with an eye-appealing, rich tableau of family scenes, glittering balls and Oleg Cassini gowns, state dinners and the well documented historic renovations in the White House. The “evil” column includes the dastardly demons that surround Jackie, in the form of family, press, movie stars and even Jack; and of course, her memories. Before a breath can be taken the gut-punch of emotion draining dialogue and shocking behavior of those who are supposed to love her, leave the reader in complete awe as Jackie recovers over and over and over again. Not without a tumultuous toll, for sure.
Stephanie Marie Thornton’s tale of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis is filled with characters the reader will applaud and those that deserve resounding “boos!” Unfortunately, the details of the Kennedy assassination and the basic facts are splayed for all to learn or recall. Fortunately, Jackie Kennedy lives on in our minds and memories as a devoted wife, mother, and beloved First Lady. She is known for saving Grand Central Terminal in New York, restoring and protecting the White House, Lafayette Square and Egypt’s temple of Abu Simbel. Miraculously, through all the projects, pain and grief, Jackie found herself and became a survivor.
But, “For one brief shining moment there was Camelot.” Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy November 29, 1963
Tracey Enerson Wood has always had a writing bug. While working as a Registered Nurse, starting an interior design company, raising two children, and bouncing around the world as a military wife, she indulged in her passion as a playwright, screenwriter and short story writer. She has authored magazine columns and other non-fiction, written and directed plays of all lengths, including Grits, Fleas and Carrots, Rocks and Other Hard Places, Alone, and Fog. Her screenplays include Strike Three and Roebling’s Bridge. The Engineer’s Wife is her first published novel. Other passions include food and cooking, and honoring military heroes. Her co-authored anthology/cookbook Homefront Cooking, American Veterans share Recipes, Wit, and Wisdom, was released in May, 2018, and all authors’ profits will be donated to organizations that support veterans.
COMING APRIL 7, 2020 Available for pre-order now!
“Who really built the Brooklyn Bridge? With its spunky, tough-minded heroine and vivid New York setting, The Engineer’s Wife is a triumphant historical novel sure to please readers of the genre. Like Paula McLain, Tracey Enerson Wood spins a colorful and romantic tale of a storied era.” – Stewart O’Nan, author of West of Sunset
“The Engineer’s Wife is historical fiction at its finest.” – Andrea Bobotis, author of The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt
Designing and building a bridge is quite a feat-even for an engineer and all the skilled laborers involved. But especially for the “engineer’s wife!”
Washington D.C. 1864- At a ball attended by Union soldiers, Miss Emily Warren is introduced to Captain Washington Roebling. The rest, as they say, is history. Washington Roebling had already worked with his German father to design and build a bridge connecting Kentucky and Ohio and announced at the ball that they would be designing an even grander bridge connecting New York and Brooklyn.
That fateful night links the two families, including their “baggage.” Emily and “Wash” embark on a journey to not only survive the Battle of Gettysburg, but to continue as man and wife working side by side to build the Brooklyn Bridge. Wash’s father, Papa, sends them to Germany, France, and England to learn the latest technology in underwater foundation. Readers will delight in the Roeble’s travels to see the architecture of Christopher Wren at the Royal Navy Observatory, and in Scotland, the new clipper ship being made ready for launch, the Cutty Sark. By 1869 in order to raise funds and improve public relations, Papa has arranged meetings with consultants: engineers, political leaders, and the contractor William Kingsley. Straddling the political lines, the stock market investors, and the railroad engineers turns into quite an undertaking for the now ailing Wash and his suffragette wife, Emily. The infusion of trigonometry, geometry, chemistry, physics, and architectural concepts combined with the daily struggles of financially continuing the bridge building as a woman, makes for not only an educational experience for Emily, but an emotional journey as she explores her own feelings for Wash and the infamous, PT. Barnum. Yes, him.
Tracey Wood constructs a perfect blend of history and science; and readers will easily relate to the relationships and memories that haunt both Emily and Wash- the physical and emotional turmoil that shadow a soldier and his wife. Will Emily follow her heart or her brain?
The Engineer’s Wife will transport readers with a bit of anxiousness as bridge laborers live and die; marriages are taxed, presidents come and go and women fight for the right to vote-all while perched with a bird’s eye view of the progress on the stone towers and wired cables of a bridge spanning the East River from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Nothing is simple. Face that fear of heights- Emily did. Climb the tower and read Tracey Wood’s The Engineer’s Wife! GR
“The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York City, spanning the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Opened on May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the first fixed crossing across the East River.”
“She possessed a stunning beauty. She also possessed a stunning mind. Could the world handle both?
Her beauty almost certainly saved her from the rising Nazi party and led to marriage with an Austrian arms dealer. Underestimated in everything else, she overheard the Third Reich’s plans while at her husband’s side, understanding more than anyone would guess…..”
“Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years’ experience as a litigator at two of the country’s premier law firms, who found her calling unearthing the hidden historical stories of women. Her mission is to excavate from the past the most important, complex and fascinating women of history and bring them into the light of present-day where we can finally perceive the breadth of their contributions as well as the insights they bring to modern day issues. She embarked on a new, narratively connected series of historical novels with THE OTHER EINSTEIN, which tells the tale of Albert Einstein’s first wife, a physicist herself, and the role she might have played in his theories. The next novel in this series is the USA Today bestselling CARNEGIE’S MAID — which released in January of 2018 — and the book that followed is the New York Times bestseller THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM, which published in January of 2019. In January of 2020, LADY CLEMENTINE will be released. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also published the historical novels The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare.” Goodreads Bio
The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab
Deliciously MADDENING! The story of Hedy Kiesler, her astounding beauty and intellect, and what she achieves as Hedy Lamarr, is just stunning. As we celebrate “Women’s History Month,” this is the perfect book choice for a great discussion on relationships: father/daughter, mother/daughter, employer/female, husband/wife. The “maddening” part is the men who influence and lead her to wear so many masks that she hardly knows who she is under all the “shellac.”
The book opens in Vienna, Austria, 1933, whereHedy Kiesler is in her role at the theater as the nineteenth-century Bavarian empress Elizabeth. Raised in the wealthy family of a banker, Hedy’s Jewish background was not common knowledge, nor did she initially have any fears regarding her family’s heritage. It’s actually Hedy’s father’s concern for her welfare, and all Jewish people, in the wake of Hitler’s desire to annex Austria, that leads to Hedy’s marriage at the very young age of 19. She marries Fritz Mardl, a munitions manufacturer, and one of the richest men in Austria. Mr. Kiesler is sure this marriage will protect Hedy and the family.
The reader will cringe and wince many times as the manipulating ways of Fritz and his high-ranking Nazi political figures immediately impact her daily life as Mrs. Mandl. Hedy’s acting skills keep her alive in the many roles she ‘plays’ as she transforms herself over and over in order to survive. Her beauty and intellect help her defy the many men in her life who only see her outward features of gorgeous hair, fantastic figure, stunning face and style. Most of the men are quite easily beguiled so Hedy is successful when she needs her acting skills to emerge.
There are many “maddening” pieces to this novel. The same “maddening” issues women face in today’s world and workplace. Women become who others feel they need to be- many times a day! Hedy Lamarr says, “I’d midwifed myself through multiple rebirths, donning a fresh persona with every new iteration, only to return to my original veneer again and again.”
Readers will find much to discuss and ‘hash out’ as the roles of women in history are in the spotlight for the month of March. Hedy Lamarr’s determination and the pure persistence required to become a successful movie star and inventor earn her hero status. The Navy’s response for turning down her proposal will stun the reader, as it did Hedy, into “silent immobility.” After getting past the obstacles of anger and resentment for the men who changed history with such lame excuses, find a book store and buy a ticket to a “front row”, mesmerizing, unbelievable read: The Only Woman in the Room.
“The Yellow Bird Sings is Jennifer Rosner’s debut novel. She is the author of the memoir If A Tree Falls: A Family’s Quest to Hear and Be Heard, and the children’s book, The Mitten String. Her writing has appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines. Jennifer lives in western Massachusetts with her family.”
“A mother. A child. An impossible choice.
Poland, 1941. After the Jews in their town are rounded up, Róza and her five-year-old daughter, Shira, spend day and night hidden in a farmer’s barn. Forbidden from making a sound, only the yellow bird from her mother’s stories can sing the melodies Shira composes in her head.
Róza does all she can to take care of Shira and shield her from the horrors of the outside world. They play silent games and invent their own sign language. But then the day comes when their haven is no longer safe, and Róza must face an impossible choice: whether to keep her daughter close by her side, or give her the chance to survive by letting her go.” Goodreads
The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab
“Beauty will save the world,” – The hope and optimism shared from mother to daughter.
Roza and Shira are running for their lives; fighting the memories of the killing and devastation of families and homes. With the chilling descriptions the reader is left wondering how in the midst of such tragedy does a mother find the fortitude to keep going? In Jennifer Rosner’s own words: “to fight the sting in her thighs, the rolling bile in her stomach, the biting cold at her nose and cheeks and fingertips. She pushes on despite the pain and atrophy, despite her acute desire to stop and rest. She tries to outrun her loss.”
Jennifer Rosner’s detailed descriptions take the reader on a roller coaster of the senses. Through her deftly chosen words the reader cringes at the sting of the biting cold, the pungent, rotting smells of the barn and the itchy hay and stiffness of legs and arms. Just at the right moment the reader reaches the crest and is lifted and encouraged as the memories of those glorious and melodic sounds of violins, cellos and music halls are shared. Then oh so quickly, plunged and jerked back to the dreaded fear of being found and shot. The “death defying ride” is worth it in the end.
This emotional tale of a mother’s love and her daughter’s devotion is intricately and indelibly woven with a ‘fairy tale of hope;” told by Roza so that Shira remains perfectly still and quiet. It’s her story of how an imaginary yellow bird sings in a garden of daisies- perfect for weaving garlands for princesses, and magical music that helps the flowers bloom. Of course, every fairy tale must also include an element of evil: the “boot stomping” giants and beasts that are to be feared.
This debut novel rotates between Roza’s frantic search for Shira, and the stoic quest of a daughter to rejoin her mother. The rubble and chaos of war is mixed with the tuning of violins and ecstasy of concertos; leaving the reader breathless, anxiously awaiting the crescendo.
Jennifer Rosner’s The Yellow Bird Sings is indeed a true “symphony!” GR