The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt Och Dag – Review

Mickel Cardell, an infirm ex-soldier and former guard, fishes out a mutilated corpse from the fetid lake of Stockholm. The corpse has no limbs, eyes, teeth, or tongue. The only thing that distinguishes it from a discarded carcass is his mass of golden hair.

Cecil Winge is a brilliant consulting detective to the Stockholm police and is suffering from tuberculosis. Together, Winge and Cardell must race against time to discover the monster who ravaged this unidentifiable man.

Meanwhile, Kristopher Blix—a joyful fellow—arrives in Stockholm from his village to become a doctor. His initial good fortunes soon take a turn for the worse.

In another corner of the city, Anna Stina—a young woman—is unjustly imprisoned in a workhouse. She hopes to escape from the hellhole, but she should do it soon since she is the next target of a sadistic guard. The paths of these extraordinary characters collide in unexpected ways in The Wolf and the Watchman penned by Niklas Natt Och Dag.

The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt Och Dag - review & book cover
The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt Och Dag – review

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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True Freedom: How America came to fight Britain for its Independence by Michael Dean – Review

True Freedom by Michael Dean
True Freedom: A Novel by Michael Dean

Rating – 4/5

Set in Boston and London and spanning sixteen years, True Freedom: How America came to fight Britain for its Independence by Michael Dean chronicles the events that led to the American Revolutionary War (1775 – 1783). Focusing on a few prominent characters, Dean provides the readers with an insider’s view into what shaped the revolution.

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When They Made Us Leave by Annette Oppenlander – Review

When They Made Us Leave by Annette Oppenlander
When They Made Us Leave by Annette Oppenlander

“I think about a time when eating your fill and feeling safe was normal. … and the worst I worried about was doing my homework. I long for that time, but as I lay there in Wolfgang’s threadbare blanket, another conviction grows inside me like a terrible sore.

I realize I’m mourning instead because that time will never return.”

Quoted from When They Made Us Leave by Annette Oppenlander

A longing for the past that is never going to return – that’s the aftermath of a war. Annette Oppenlander’s “When They Made Us Leave: A Novel about Hitler’s Mass Evacuation Program for Children” details the brutalities of the Second World War from the perspective of the German youth (and their families) who had to attend the much-loathed KLV program (an evacuation program).

As the frequency of Allied bombings increases in Germany, parents are encouraged, and in some cases forced, to send their children to youth camps where they will supposedly lead a better life. Fourteen-year-old Hilda and her childhood friend and love, Peter, are among them. While Hilda is reluctant to leave her mother, Peter is ecstatic to attend such a camp and spend time on the beaches, as promised by the camp organizers.

However, Peter soon realizes the farce behind such camps which are being run in a military style by dogmatic individuals. Hilda, too, must endure a draconian Abbess in the cloister she is forced to attend.

Oppenlander describes Hilda and Peter’s heart-wrenching journey through a war-stricken Germany back to their ravaged homes and into each other’s hearts in this book.

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Soul of the Elephant by Pam Laughlin – Review

Soul of the Elephant by Pam Laughlin Book Cover
Soul of the Elephant by Pam Laughlin – Review

Rating – 4/5

Born in a family of mahouts (elephant trainers), Hemit dreams of getting his elephant in the cattle fair next year. He is a gentle soul and understands animals in a way that no one can. He believes the relationship between a mahout and his elephant should be based on trust, love, and respect. However, his father uses harsh ways to dominate his elephant. Unable to withstand any more ill-treatment towards the elephants in the family stable, he takes a stand against his father.

Hemit’s yearning to understand the elephants better leads him to a mystical fakir, who everyone believes is an evil sorcerer. But Hemit sees otherwise and accepts the fakir’s help to learn how to communicate with his beloved elephant. Will Hemit succeed in convincing his father that love and respect are the only ways to gain an animal’s trust? With his new-found learning, can Hemit win Asha’s (an abused elephant) trust? Read Soul of the Elephant by Pam Laughlin to find out.

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The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson – Review

Cover of The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson
The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson – Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Set in 1491 during the reign of the last sultanate in the Iberian Peninsula, The Bird King is the story of Fatima, the only remaining Circassian concubine to the sultan, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. 

Hassan has a secret–he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?

As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

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An Unfortunate End by Lisa Zumpano – Review

An Unfortunate End by Lisa Zumpano book Cover
An Unfortunate End by Lisa Zumpano – Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

New York City, 1919. Lillie Mead is a husk of her former self as she mourns the loss of her beloved in the war. She stays with her married sister and struggles to carry on with her life. A proposal, from a wealthy British friend, to investigate and report the possible murder of a British aristocrat gives her a glimmer of hope – of rebuilding her life.

What initially transpires as an open-and-shut case soon spirals into something more sinister. Can Lillie expose the truth before she follows the deceased aristocrat’s way? Read An Unfortunate End by Lisa Zumpano to find out. 

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