Book Review: A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead

A Train in WinterA Train In Winter
Caroline Moorehead
HarperCollins, November 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-165070-3
Hardcover

This is one of the most difficult, mesmerizing, and amazing books I have ever had the priviledge of reading. I do regret that I have an advance reading copy which does not contain all the photographs intended for the finished edition. This is, as the cover states, “an extraordinary story of women, friendship and resistance in occupied France.”

In mid-June, 1940, the German army occupied Paris and France fell. At first, relations between the occupiers and the subjugated French were almost cordial. During the next two years many of France’s second-class citizens, it’s women, took up the battle and became foundations and facilitators of the much celebrated French Resistance. It’s noteworthy that French women were denied the priviledge of voting until 1944. Ironically, French dismissive attitudes toward women worked to their advantage as they became top organizers and couriers in the resistance movements all over the country.

Gradually, informers and collaborators working with the Gestapo amassed evidence of women’s activities, arresting and gathering women into prisons.  In January, 1943, 230 women, the youngest 15, the oldest in her sixties, were loaded into cattle cars and shipped east, to Auschwitz. Only 49 survived to the end of the war. This is the well-documented story of those women.

The author has, through extensive archival research, personal interviews with survivors, and family members, and the development of original sources, pieced together the individual and collective stories of these ordinary yet incredible women. The stories are set against the political and the social turmoil of the times. The women, from all classes of society across the political and social spectrums, bonded together to support one another in fighting for their survival. They had no weapons save their wits, their intelligence and their essential humanity, against a huge and terrible effort to obliterate them. Only a few were Jews. That any survived is testament to their grit, their determination and their mutual support.

This work is meticulously documented with an extensive bibliography, source notes by chapter, and short biographies of the women who live again in these pages. Moorehead’s tone is straightforward; no hysteria, no loud condemnations, there are no exclamation points. But the book, in the weight of its facts here illuminated, is condemnatory.  It condemns Nazis, the Gestapo, and French collaborators as well as the post-war government of France which preferred to forget much of the pestilence that came with the occupying German army.

This is a book that should be read by anyone with the slightest interest in human rights and human history. It throws a bright light on an aspect of World War II in Europe little known or studied. And the book is a reminder that we who ignore the lessons of history will inevitably suffer repetition of those devastations.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, July 2013.
Author of Red Sky, Devils Island, Hard Cheese, Reunion.

Cover Reveal: What Remains by Nicole R. Taylor

What Remains

Title: What Remains
Author: Nicole R. Taylor
Publication date: October 15th 2013
Genres: Adult, Post-Apocalyptic

**********

Synopsis:

I’d never known true darkness until the lights went out.
I had never known what it was to be hungry.
Everyone I ever knew was dead. If they weren’t, then they wished they were.
I know I did.

Prue Ashford has been surviving alone in the Australian bush for the last three years.

After an unknown virus wiped out most of the human population, she
escaped the chaos and hid. Every town and city was locked down into
quarantine, but that only led to the inevitable. Death.

Living off the land, avoiding other survivors turned bad, she’s led a lonely
life, surviving on the edge of a very narrow cliff. The moment she begins
to lose hope is when she meets the handsome and enigmatic, Shaw.

He’s the first human being she’s seen in three years that hasn’t tried to kill
her and she doesn’t dare to hope. She’d given up finding anyone alive
that still had goodness inside of them.

Her only option if she wants to live is to trust Shaw and he takes her to the
isolated community he calls home. Being among people again is it’s own
challenge and Prue finds herself tested on every front. Making friends was
never easy for her and making them after an apocalypse is even harder.

Hannah, the town’s apprentice doctor, becomes the closest thing Prue has
to a best friend and Nan fast becomes her surrogate mother. Shaw brings
feelings to the surface that she would rather forget and Eva, the mayor’s
daughter, seems hell bent on making her life a living hell.

In the end, Prue must make a decision. Stay in the town at the end of
the world and learn how to love again, or go back into the wasteland of
human civilisation and go it alone.

*

What Remains is a gritty story of human survival. When society crumbles
and chaos reigns, people become desperate. They turn to violence and
resort to extreme measures to go on living. Parts of this story may be
confronting for some people. It contains violent situations staged by
desperate people, the extremes that people go to to show their love
and a dose of bad language. It’s recommended for readers 18 and up.

**********

Nicole R. Taylor Prue Quote

Goodreads

**********

Purchase Links:

Smashwords                    Amazon

**********

About the Author

Nicole R. TaylorNicole R. Taylor is a Paranormal, Urban Fantasy and Contemporary Romance author from country Victoria, Australia.

Previously, she has written for various small street press music and entertainment publications as a gig and album reviewer before publishing her first Urban Fantasy novel in early 2013.

When she isn’t writing, Nicole likes to spend time curled up with a good book and her 3-year-old rescue cat, Burger. She gets itchy feet more often than not and has lived in three countries and travelled to three times as many.

Author links:

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Xpresso Book Tours Button