Top 5 Wednesday #2 • Backlist Book

Thème : Backlist Book

Le premier thème du mois de juin concerne les livres qui ont été publiés il y a un ou plus, mais qui n’ont pas encore été lu et/ou achetés. Voici mes cinq livres prioritaires en ce moment.

Les thèmes du mois peuvent être trouvés ici.


1. The Poppy & the Rose – Ashlee Cowles

1912: Ava Knight, a teen heiress, boards the Titanic to escape the shadow of her unstable mother and to fulfill her dream of becoming a photographer in New York. During the journey she meets three people who will change her life: a handsome sailor, a soldier in the secret Black Hand society that will trigger World War I, and a woman with clairvoyant abilities. When disaster strikes the ship, family betrayals come to light.

2010: When Taylor Romano arrives in Oxford for a summer journalism program, something feels off. Not only is she greeted by a young, Rolls Royce-driving chauffeur, but he invites her to tea with Lady Mae Knight of Meadowbrook Manor, an old house with a cursed history going back to the days of Henry VIII. Lady Knight seems to know a strange amount about Taylor and her family problems, but before Taylor can learn more, the elderly woman dies, leaving as the only clue an old diary. With the help of the diary, a brooding chauffeur, and some historical sleuthing, Taylor must uncover the link between Ava’s past and her own….

Je suis une grande lectrice de romans historiques. Celui-ci me tente énormément, car il est plutôt rare que je lise autour du Titanic, pourtant un événement qui m’intéresse.

2. Mercy House – Alena Dillon

In the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn stands a century-old row house presided over by renegade, silver-haired Sister Evelyn. Gruff and indomitable on the surface, warm and wry underneath, Evelyn and her fellow sisters makes Mercy House a safe haven for the abused and abandoned.

Women like Lucia, who arrives in the dead of night; Mei-Li, the Chinese and Russian house veteran; Desiree, a loud and proud prostitute; Esther, a Haitian immigrant and aspiring collegiate; and Katrina, knitter of lumpy scarves… all of them know what it’s like to be broken by men.

Little daunts Evelyn, until she receives word that Bishop Robert Hawkins is coming to investigate Mercy House and the nuns, whose secret efforts to help the women in ways forbidden by the Church may be uncovered. But Evelyn has secrets too, dark enough to threaten everything she has built.

Evelyn will do anything to protect Mercy House and the vibrant, diverse women it serves—confront gang members, challenge her beliefs, even face her past. As she fights to defend all that she loves, she discovers the extraordinary power of mercy and the grace it grants, not just to those who receive it, but to those strong enough to bestow it.

J’aime les histoires où la maison, demeure… prend une place importante. À cela s’ajoute le destin de femmes hors du commun et que tout semble opposé pour sauver leur refuge. Je suis impatiente de pouvoir le découvrir.

3. Daughter of the Reich – Louise Fein

As the dutiful daughter of a high-ranking Nazi officer, Hetty Heinrich is keen to play her part in the glorious new Thousand Year Reich. But she never imagines that all she believes and knows about her world will come into stark conflict when she encounters Walter, a Jewish friend from the past, who stirs dangerous feelings in her. Confused and conflicted, Hetty doesn’t know whom she can trust and where she can turn to, especially when she discovers that someone has been watching her.

Realizing she is taking a huge risk—but unable to resist the intense attraction she has for Walter—she embarks on a secret love affair with him. Together, they dream about when the war will be over and plan for their future. But as the rising tide of anti-Semitism threatens to engulf them, Hetty and Walter will be forced to take extreme measures.

Il doit sortir prochainement en français. Le résumé m’a tout de suite plu, car il me rappelle les Mandy Robotham que j’aime beaucoup. Je l’avais déjà mis en avant dans un article sur les sorties en anglais qui me tentent énormément, il y a un an. Depuis, il traîne dans ma wish-list et il n’a toujours pas été acheté et lu. Sûrement un de mes prochains achats avec le prochain.

4. The Ratline – Philippe Sands

As Governor of Galicia, SS Brigadeführer Otto Freiherr von Wächter presided over an authority on whose territory hundreds of thousands of Jews and Poles were killed, including the family of the author’s grandfather. By the time the war ended in May 1945, he was indicted for ‘mass murder’. Hunted by the Soviets, the Americans, the Poles and the British, as well as groups of Jews, Wächter went on the run. He spent three years hiding in the Austrian Alps, assisted by his wife Charlotte, before making his way to Rome where he was helped by a Vatican bishop. He remained there for three months. While preparing to travel to Argentina on the ‘ratline’ he died unexpectedly, in July 1949, a few days after spending a weekend with an ‘old comrade’.

In The Ratline Philippe Sands offers a unique account of the daily life of a senior Nazi and fugitive, and of his wife. Drawing on a remarkable archive of family letters and diaries, he unveils a fascinating insight into life before and during the war, on the run, in Rome, and into the Cold War. Eventually the door is unlocked to a mystery that haunts Wächter’s youngest son, who continues to believe his father was a good man – what happened to Otto Wächter, and how did he die?

J’ai beaucoup aimé son premier essai, East West Street, sur le dévéloppement des notions de génocide, crimes contre l’humanité. Il retourne sur ce terrain fertile de la Seconde Guerre mondiale en parlant du réseau de fuite nazi. Je connais cet aspect du conflit, mais sans être réellement rentrée dans les détails. Cela fait un an qu’il est sorti et je ne l’ai toujours pas acheté, mais prochainement.

5. Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell

Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.

Ce livre a beaucoup fait parler de lui et il m’intéresse énormément, car il parle de Shakespeare. Ce dernier a toujours été un de mes auteurs préférés. Il est sorti l’année dernière et il a été traduit récemment en français, aux éditions Belfond.

Sorties VO • Mai 2021

The Radio Operator • Ulla Lenze • Harper Via • 4 mai • 304 pages

At the end of the 1930s, Europe is engulfed in war. Though America is far from the fighting, the streets of New York have become a battlefield. Anti-Semitic and racist groups spread hate, while German nationalists celebrate Hitler’s strength and power. Josef Klein, a German immigrant, remains immune to the troubles roiling his adopted city. The multicultural neighborhood of Harlem is his world, a lively place full of sidewalk tables where families enjoy their dinner and friends indulge in games of chess. 

Josef’s great passion is the radio. His skill and technical abilities attract the attention of influential men who offer him a job as a shortwave operator. But when Josef begins to understand what they’re doing, it’s too late; he’s already a little cog in the big wheel—part of a Nazi espionage network working in Manhattan. Discovered by American authorities, Josef is detained at Ellis Island, and eventually deported to Germany.

Back in his homeland, fate leads him to his brother Carl’s family, soap merchants in Neuss—where he witnesses the seductive power of the Nazis and the war’s terrible consequences—and finally to South America, where Josef hopes to start over again as José. Eventually, Josef realizes that no matter how far he runs or how hard he tries, there is one indelible truth he cannot escape: How long can you hide from your own past, before it catches up with you?

The woman with the blue star • Pam Jenoff • Park Row • 4 mai • 336 pages

1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents amid the horrors of the Kraków Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous sewers beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers.

Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish girl living a life of relative ease with her stepmother, who has developed close alliances with the occupying Germans. Scorned by her friends and longing for her fiancé, who has gone off to war, Ella wanders Kraków restlessly. While on an errand in the market, she catches a glimpse of something moving beneath a grate in the street. Upon closer inspection, she realizes it’s a girl hiding.

Ella begins to aid Sadie and the two become close, but as the dangers of the war worsen, their lives are set on a collision course that will test them in the face of overwhelming odds. Inspired by harrowing true stories, The Woman with the Blue Star is an emotional testament to the power of friendship and the extraordinary strength of the human will to survive. 

Luck of the Titanic • Stacey Lee • G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers • 4 mai • 304 pages

Southampton, 1912: Seventeen-year-old British-Chinese Valora Luck has quit her job and smuggled herself aboard the Titanic with two goals in mind: to reunite with her twin brother Jamie–her only family now that both their parents are dead–and to convince a part-owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus to take the twins on as acrobats. Quick-thinking Val talks her way into opulent firstclass accommodations and finds Jamie with a group of fellow Chinese laborers in third class. But in the rigidly stratified world of the luxury liner, Val’s ruse can only last so long, and after two long years apart, it’s unclear if Jamie even wants the life Val proposes. Then, one moonless night in the North Atlantic, the unthinkable happens–the supposedly unsinkable ship is dealt a fatal blow–and Val and her companions suddenly find themselves in a race to survive.

The shadow in the glass • J.J.A. Harwood • Harper Voyager • 4 mai • 416 pages

Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid. 

Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter. 

One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it. 

Madam • Phoebe Wynn • St Martin’s Press • 18 mai • 352 pages

For 150 years, high above rocky Scottish cliffs, Caldonbrae Hall has sat untouched, a beacon of excellence in an old ancestral castle. A boarding school for girls, it promises that the young women lucky enough to be admitted will emerge “resilient and ready to serve society.”

Into its illustrious midst steps Rose Christie: a 26-year-old Classics teacher, Caldonbrae’s new head of the department, and the first hire for the school in over a decade. At first, Rose is overwhelmed to be invited into this institution, whose prestige is unrivaled. But she quickly discovers that behind the school’s elitist veneer lies an impenetrable, starkly traditional culture that she struggles to reconcile with her modernist beliefs—not to mention her commitment to educating “girls for the future.”

It also doesn’t take long for Rose to suspect that there’s more to the secret circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of her predecessor—a woman whose ghost lingers everywhere—than anyone is willing to let on. In her search for this mysterious former teacher, Rose instead uncovers the darkness that beats at the heart of Caldonbrae, forcing her to confront the true extent of the school’s nefarious purpose, and her own role in perpetuating it.

The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany • Gwen Strauss • St Martin’s Press • 4 mai • 336 pages

The Nine follows the true story of the author’s great aunt Hélène Podliasky, who led a band of nine female resistance fighters as they escaped a German forced labor camp and made a ten-day journey across the front lines of WWII from Germany back to Paris.

The nine women were all under thirty when they joined the resistance. They smuggled arms through Europe, harbored parachuting agents, coordinated communications between regional sectors, trekked escape routes to Spain and hid Jewish children in scattered apartments. They were arrested by French police, interrogated and tortured by the Gestapo. They were subjected to a series of French prisons and deported to Germany. The group formed along the way, meeting at different points, in prison, in transit, and at Ravensbrück. By the time they were enslaved at the labor camp in Leipzig, they were a close-knit group of friends. During the final days of the war, forced onto a death march, the nine chose their moment and made a daring escape.

The Cave Dwellers • Christina McDowell • Gallery Scout Press • 25 mai • 352 pages

They are the families considered worthy of a listing in the exclusive Green Book—a discriminative diary created by the niece of Edith Roosevelt’s social secretary. Their aristocratic bloodlines are woven into the very fabric of Washington—generation after generation. Their old money and manner lurk through the cobblestone streets of Georgetown, Kalorama, and Capitol Hill. They only socialize within their inner circle, turning a blind eye to those who come and go on the political merry-go-round. These parents and their children live in gilded existences of power and privilege.

But what they have failed to understand is that the world is changing. And when the family of one of their own is held hostage and brutally murdered, everything about their legacy is called into question.

They’re called The Cave Dwellers.

The lights of Prague • Nicole Jarvis • Titan Books • 18 mai • 416 pages

In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of otherworldly creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – a secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavice, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek find solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischerová– a widow with secrets of her own.

When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady – a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle – he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp, a mischievous spirit known to lead lost travellers to their death, but who, once captured, are bound to serve the desires of their owners.

After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavice that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.

The whispering dead • Darcy Coates • Poisoned Pen Press • 4 mai • 256 pages

Homeless, hunted, and desperate to escape a bitter storm, Keira takes refuge in an abandoned groundskeeper’s cottage. Her new home is tucked away at the edge of a cemetery, surrounded on all sides by gravestones: some recent, some hundreds of years old, all suffering from neglect.

And in the darkness, she can hear the unquiet dead whispering.

The cemetery is alive with faint, spectral shapes, led by a woman who died before her time… and Keira, the only person who can see her, has become her new target. Determined to help put the ghost to rest, Keira digs into the spirit’s past life with the help of unlikely new friends, and discovers a history of deception, ill-fated love, and murder.

But the past is not as simple as it seems, and Keira’s time is running out. Tangled in a dangerous web, she has to find a way to free the spirit… even if it means offering her own life in return.

James Wyllie • Femmes de nazis (2020)

Femmes de nazis • James Wyllie • Alisio Éditions • 2020 • 416 pages

Une plongée fascinante dans les méandres féminins du pouvoir nazi. Goering, Goebbels, Himmler, Heydrich, Hess, Bormann… derrière ces noms synonymes de pouvoir et d’influence dans l’Allemagne hitlérienne, se cachent Emmy, Magda, Margarete, Lina, Ilse et Gerda. Compagnes des plus hauts dignitaires nazis, elles ont participé à la conquête du pouvoir, se sont tenues au côté de leurs époux, les ont encouragés parfois. 

Ferventes idéologues, personnalités fascinées par Hitler ou en quête de pouvoir et de richesse, elles jouèrent un rôle déterminant dans la conduite des affaires du Troisième Reich. Et pourtant, écartées des grands procès qui ont suivi la Seconde Guerre mondiale, elles furent largement reléguées au second plan de l’Histoire. Explorant pour la première fois le destin de ces femmes de nazis, James Wyllie pose une question fondamentale : pourquoi ne tient-on pas les femmes autant responsables de l’Histoire que les hommes ?


Un essai historique qui m’avait déjà interpellé, puisque je l’avais présenté dans mon article sur les sorties VO de novembre 2020. Il est déjà traduit et publié en France. Le sujet est intéressant et peu abordé de manière générale. J’avais donc pas mal de choses à découvrir en commençant ce livre.

La quatrième de couverture propose un programme ambitieux pour cet essai. James Wyllie se pose la question suivante : pourquoi ne tient-on pas les femmes autant responsables aux yeux de l’Histoire que les hommes ? C’est une problématique importante et qui est très peu posée. Pourtant, elle m’a interpellé et j’étais curieuse de connaître les réflexions de l’auteur sur ce sujet, quelles pistes il offre. Je ne m’attendais pas non plus à des réponses claires et nettes. Je me doute qu’elles puissent varier en fonction de l’optique avec laquelle on explore la question. Je voulais voir comment l’auteur allait aborder ce sujet ambitieux et, globalement, je suis déçue.

En effet, le contenu n’est pas aussi audacieux que ce que j’espérai. J’ai plusieurs raisons à évoquer pour expliquer ma déception. En premier lieu, le livre s’intéresse aux épouses des hauts dignitaires nazis. Cependant, elles s’effacent trop souvent au profit de leurs maris. Elles sont encore des satellites de ces derniers et elles ne sont pas toujours évoquées pour elles-mêmes. Concernant le sujet principal, certaines sont plus pertinentes que d’autres.

Deuxièmement, le contenu reste très en surface. Il manque de développements, de creuser un peu plus à mon goût. James Wyllie ne propose pas de réelles réflexions sur la place et la responsabilité des femmes dans les grands événements historiques à travers l’exemple des épouses des principaux nazis. Cela aurait presque pu être un cas d’école. J’ai plus eu le sentiment de lire un peu les ragots du Troisième Reich à certains moments : qui n’aime pas qui et pourquoi, qui est isolée par rapport aux autres, qui est trompée par son mari… C’est presque une chronique des moeurs des grands dignitaires, surtout en quoi ils sont en total décalage avec la ligne officielle du Parti sur la vision de la femme et du mariage. Ce n’est pas vraiment ce à quoi je m’attendais en lisant cet ouvrage.

Cela s’explique facilement par le fait que l’auteur ne soit pas un historien, mais un scénariste et auteur. Certes, il a fait des recherches, la bibliographie est relativement fournie. Toutefois, le livre reste basique et factuel, avec un manque de précisions. Ce qui a aussi joué sur mon avis, ce sont les bien trop nombreuses fautes de frappe, et typographie… Des coquilles, en veux-tu, en voilà. Ça influe énormément sur ma perception du texte et de son sérieux. Il y a aussi le type de plan choisi par l’auteur. Ce dernier est chronologique. C’est vraiment par goût personnel, mais j’aurai trouvé un découpage en fonction des épouses plus pertinent, mais également plus clair. James Wyllie a tendance à les appeler par leurs prénoms et les maris par leurs noms de famille. Cela prête parfois à confusion de se rappeler qui elle est. Les oeuvres chronologiques ont souvent la préférence des auteurs anglo-saxons et américains, et je m’en suis rendue compte alors que j’étudiais au Trinity College de Dublin et que je rédigeais mes essais en histoire et histoire de l’art.

Malgré tout ce que je viens d’évoquer, c’est une lecture avec laquelle j’ai pu récolter de nouvelles connaissances et informations, qui ne m’ont pas toujours très intéressés sur la vie privée des dirigeants nazis, pour être honnête. La partie la plus intéressante de l’ouvrage reste les derniers chapitres et la conclusion. Ils tournent de la fin du régime et de la guerre, les procès de Nuremberg et l’après. C’est dans ces passages que l’on commence enfin à toucher un peu à la question de la responsabilité des femmes dans l’Histoire. Ils correspondaient plus à mes attentes pour Femmes de nazis, à la fois en terme de qualité d’écriture, de réflexions et de contenus. C’est une lecture qui me laisse un sentiment mitigé. Il y a des choses à en retirer, mais il n’est pas aussi ambitieux qu’aux premiers abords.

Sorties VO • Avril 2021

Le mois d’avril est rempli de nouvelles parutions plus prometteuses les unes que les autres avec des réécritures de la mythologie grecque, la publication d’un nouveau roman pour une auteur que j’adore, Christina Henry, des ouvrages autour de la Seconde Guerre mondiale qui ont l’air passionnant (dont une réécriture d’Hamlet qui est une de mes pièces de théâtre préférée)… Laquelle de ces nouvelles sorties VO vous fait le plus envie ?

Eva & Eve: A Search for My Mother’s Lost Childhood and What a War Left Behind • Julie MetzAtria Books • 6 avril • 320 pages

To Julie Metz, her mother, Eve, was the quintessential New Yorker. Eve rarely spoke about her childhood and it was difficult to imagine her living anywhere else except Manhattan, where she could be found attending Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera or inspecting a round of French triple crème at Zabar’s. 

In truth, Eve had endured a harrowing childhood in Nazi-occupied Vienna. After her mother passed, Julie discovered a keepsake book filled with farewell notes from friends and relatives addressed to a ten-year-old girl named Eva. This long-hidden memento was the first clue to the secret pain that Julie’s mother had carried as a refugee and immigrant, shining a light on a family that had to persevere at every turn to escape the antisemitism and xenophobia that threatened their survival. 

Interweaving personal memoir and family history, Eva and Evevividly traces one woman’s search for her mother’s lost childhood while revealing the resilience of our forebears and the sacrifices that ordinary people are called to make during history’s darkest hours.

Ariadne • Jennifer Saint • Wildfire • 29 avril • 400 pages

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

Near the bones • Christina Henry • Berkley Books • 13 avril • 331 pages

Mattie can’t remember a time before she and William lived alone on a mountain together. She must never make him upset. But when Mattie discovers the mutilated body of a fox in the woods, she realizes that they’re not alone after all.

There’s something in the woods that wasn’t there before, something that makes strange cries in the night, something with sharp teeth and claws.

When three strangers appear on the mountaintop looking for the creature in the woods, Mattie knows their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry.

Sistersong • Lucy Holland • MacMillan • 15 avril • 400 pages

535 AD. In the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia, King Cador’s children inherit a fragmented land abandoned by the Romans.

Riva, scarred in a terrible fire, fears she will never heal.
Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, when born a daughter.
And Sinne, the spoiled youngest girl, yearns for romance.

All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold – a last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. But change comes on the day ash falls from the sky, bringing Myrddhin, meddler and magician, and Tristan, a warrior whose secrets will tear the siblings apart. Riva, Keyne and Sinne must take fate into their own hands, or risk being tangled in a story they could never have imagined; one of treachery, love and ultimately, murder. It’s a story that will shape the destiny of Britain.

Ophelia • Norman Bacal • Barlow Books • 15 avril • 312 pages

To be or not to be, that is the question Ophelia faces in this Hamlet modernization.

The story opens in Nazi-occupied Denmark: a fisherman and his son risk their lives on dark, stormy seas to transport the family of a Jewish merchant to safety. When the fisherman refuses any reward, the merchant makes a vow that will transcend generations.

Sixty years later the fisherman’s son, Geri Neilson has built an international pharmaceutical company. When Geri dies in mysterious circumstances, his son Tal is convinced that Geri’s business partner, Red King, orchestrated murder as part of a scheme to take control of the company. Geri’s voice in Tal’s head, urges him to fight for the legacy and seek vengeance.

Enter Ophelia, the granddaughter of the merchant Geri and his father saved. She is sworn to protect Tal without his knowledge, in accordance with the vow that has become a secret family obsession.

And she’s been trained to risk her life to do it.

The battles between good and evil, addiction and independence, ambition and love, play out in an international epic. Twists and turns abound in this study of obsession, secrecy, romance, and duty to family.

The Venice sketchbook • Rhys Bowen • Lake Union Publishing • 13 avril • 412 pages

Caroline Grant is struggling to accept the end of her marriage when she receives an unexpected bequest. Her beloved great-aunt Lettie leaves her a sketchbook, three keys, and a final whisper…Venice. Caroline’s quest: to scatter Juliet “Lettie” Browning’s ashes in the city she loved and to unlock the mysteries stored away for more than sixty years.

It’s 1938 when art teacher Juliet Browning arrives in romantic Venice. For her students, it’s a wealth of history, art, and beauty. For Juliet, it’s poignant memories and a chance to reconnect with Leonardo Da Rossi, the man she loves whose future is already determined by his noble family. However star-crossed, nothing can come between them. Until the threat of war closes in on Venice and they’re forced to fight, survive, and protect a secret that will bind them forever.

Key by key, Lettie’s life of impossible love, loss, and courage unfolds. It’s one that Caroline can now make right again as her own journey of self-discovery begins.

Courage, my love ! • Kristin Beck • Berkley Books • 13 avril • 336 pages

Rome, 1943

Lucia Colombo has had her doubts about fascism for years, but as a single mother in an increasingly unstable country, politics are for other people–she needs to focus on keeping herself and her son alive. Then the Italian government falls and the German occupation begins, and suddenly, Lucia finds that complacency is no longer an option. 

Francesca Gallo has always been aware of injustice and suffering. A polio survivor who lost her father when he was arrested for his anti-fascist politics, she came to Rome with her fiancé to start a new life. But when the Germans invade and her fiancé is taken by the Nazis, Francesca decides she has only one option: to fight back.

As Lucia and Francesca are pulled deeper into the struggle against the Nazi occupation, both women learn to resist alongside the partisans to drive the Germans from Rome. But as winter sets in, the occupation tightens its grip on the city, and the resistance is in constant danger. 

The Passenger • Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz • Metropolitan Books • 13 avril (réédition d’un livre de 1939) • 288 pages

Berlin, November 1938. Jewish shops have been ransacked and looted, synagogues destroyed. As storm troopers pound on his door, Otto Silbermann, a respected businessman who fought for Germany in the Great War, is forced to sneak out the back of his own home. Turned away from establishments he had long patronized, and fearful of being exposed as a Jew despite his Aryan looks, he boards a train.

And then another. And another . . . until his flight becomes a frantic odyssey across Germany, as he searches first for information, then for help, and finally for escape. His travels bring him face-to-face with waiters and conductors, officials and fellow outcasts, seductive women and vicious thieves, a few of whom disapprove of the regime while the rest embrace it wholeheartedly.

Clinging to his existence as it was just days before, Silbermann refuses to believe what is happening even as he is beset by opportunists, betrayed by associates, and bereft of family, friends, and fortune. As his world collapses around him, he is forced to concede that his nightmare is all too real.

The Mary Shelley Club • Goldy Moldavsky • Henry Holt & Company • 13 avril • 480 pages

New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep. But as one of the few scholarship kids, Rachel struggles to fit in, and when she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends.

To her surprise, however, the prank attracts the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. But as the pranks escalate, the competition turns cutthroat and takes on a life of its own.

When the tables are turned and someone targets the club itself, Rachel must track down the real-life monster in their midst . . . even if it means finally confronting the dark secrets from her past.

The last night in London • Karen White • Berkley Books • 20 avril • 480 pages

London, 1939. Beautiful and ambitious Eva Harlow and her American best friend, Precious Dubose, are trying to make their way as fashion models. When Eva falls in love with Graham St. John, an aristocrat and Royal Air Force pilot, she can’t believe her luck – she’s getting everything she ever wanted. Then the Blitz devastates her world, and Eva finds herself slipping into a web of intrigue, spies and secrets. As Eva struggles to protect everything she holds dear, all it takes is one unwary moment to change their lives forever.

London, 2019. American journalist Maddie Warner travels to London to interview Precious about her life in pre-WWII London. Maddie, healing from past trauma and careful to close herself off to others, finds herself drawn to both Precious and to Colin, Precious’ enigmatic surrogate nephew. As Maddie gets closer to her, she begins to unravel Precious’ haunting past – and the secrets she swore she’d never reveal…

Lost in Paris • Elizabeth Thompson • Gallery Books • 13 avril • 352 pages

Hannah Bond has always been a bookworm, which is why she fled Florida—and her unstable, alcoholic mother—for a quiet life leading Jane Austen-themed tours through the British countryside. But on New Year’s Eve, everything comes crashing down when she arrives back at her London flat to find her mother, Marla, waiting for her.

Marla’s brought two things with her: a black eye from her ex-boyfriend and an envelope. Its contents? The deed to an apartment in Paris, an old key, and newspaper clippings about the death of a famous writer named Andres Armand. Hannah, wary of her mother’s motives, reluctantly agrees to accompany her to Paris, where against all odds, they discover great-grandma Ivy’s apartment frozen in 1940 and covered in dust.

Inside the apartment, Hannah and Marla discover mysterious clues about Ivy’s life—including a diary detailing evenings of drinking and dancing with Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, and other iconic expats. Outside, they retrace her steps through the city in an attempt to understand why she went to such great lengths to hide her Paris identity from future generations.

The Divide, The last watch • J.S. Dewes • Tor Books • 20 avril • 480 pages

The Divide.

It’s the edge of the universe.

Now it’s collapsing—and taking everyone and everything with it.

The only ones who can stop it are the Sentinels—the recruits, exiles, and court-martialed dregs of the military.

At the Divide, Adequin Rake, commanding the Argus, has no resources, no comms—nothing, except for the soldiers that no one wanted.

They’re humanity’s only chance.

Churchill’s secret messenger • Alan Hlad • John Scognamiglio Book • 27 avril • 304 pages

London, 1941: In a cramped bunker in Winston Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms, underneath Westminster’s Treasury building, civilian women huddle at desks, typing up confidential documents and reports. Since her parents were killed in a bombing raid, Rose Teasdale has spent more hours than usual in Room 60, working double shifts, growing accustomed to the burnt scent of the Prime Minister’s cigars permeating the stale air. Winning the war is the only thing that matters, and she will gladly do her part. And when Rose’s fluency in French comes to the attention of Churchill himself, it brings a rare yet dangerous opportunity.

Rose is recruited for the Special Operations Executive, a secret British organization that conducts espionage in Nazi-occupied Europe. After weeks of grueling training, Rose parachutes into France with a new codename: Dragonfly. Posing as a cosmetics saleswoman in Paris, she ferries messages to and from the Resistance, knowing that the slightest misstep means capture or death.

Soon Rose is assigned to a new mission with Lazare Aron, a French Resistance fighter who has watched his beloved Paris become a shell of itself, with desolate streets and buildings draped in Swastikas. Since his parents were sent to a German work camp, Lazare has dedicated himself to the cause with the same fervor as Rose. Yet Rose’s very loyalty brings risks as she undertakes a high-stakes prison raid, and discovers how much she may have to sacrifice to justify Churchill’s faith in her…

The End of Men • Christina Sweeney-Baird • Double Day Canada • 27 avril • 416 pages

The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland–a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic–and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien–a women’s world.

What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus’s consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the male plague; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal–the loss of husbands and sons–to the political–the changes in the workforce, fertility and the meaning of family.

The last bookshop in London • Madeline Martin • Hanover Square Press • 6 avril • 320 pages

August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in the heart of London.

Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war.

The Dictionary of lost words • Pip Williams • Ballantine Books • 6 avril • 400 pages

Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the « Scriptorium, » a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Young Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word « bondmaid » flutters to the floor. She rescues the slip, and when she learns that the word means slave-girl, she withholds it from the OED and begins to collect words that show women in a more positive light.

As she grows up, Esme realizes that words and meanings relating to women’s and common folks’ experiences often go unrecorded. And so she begins in earnest to search out words for her own dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words. To do so she must leave the sheltered world of the university and venture out to meet the people whose words will fill those pages.

The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos • Judy Batalion • William Morrow • 6 avril • 560 pages

Witnesses to the brutal murder of their families and neighbors and the violent destruction of their communities, a cadre of Jewish women in Poland—some still in their teens—helped transform the Jewish youth groups into resistance cells to fight the Nazis. With courage, guile, and nerves of steel, these “ghetto girls” paid off Gestapo guards, hid revolvers in loaves of bread and jars of marmalade, and helped build systems of underground bunkers. They flirted with German soldiers, bribed them with wine, whiskey, and home cooking, used their Aryan looks to seduce them, and shot and killed them. They bombed German train lines and blew up a town’s water supply. They also nursed the sick and taught children.

Yet the exploits of these courageous resistance fighters have remained virtually unknown.

Erik Larson • Dans le jardin de la bête (2011)

Dans le jardin de la bête • Erik Larson • Le Livre de Poche • 2013 • 648 pages

1933. Sollicité par le président Roosevelt, William E. Dodd accepte d’être le nouvel ambassadeur américain à Berlin. S’il n’est pas diplomate mais historien, il a un solide atout : il est germanophone. Lorsqu’il débarque en Allemagne en juillet, sa femme et ses enfants l’accompagnent. Sa fille, Martha, 24 ans, succombe vite aux charmes du nazisme et plus particulièrement à ceux de Rudolf Diels, le chef de la Gestapo. Au fil des mois, les yeux de W. E. Dodd se dessillent. Il tente d’alerter le département d’Etat américain sur la vraie nature du régime. En vain. Martha, elle, s’éprend d’un espion russe, qui la convainc de mettre ses charmes et ses talents au service de l’Union soviétique. Thriller politique et roman d’espionnage, Dans le jardin de la bête nous introduit dans les coulisses du pouvoir nazi, grâce aux notes personnelles de William et de Martha Dodd, mises en scène avec brio par l’auteur du Diable dans la ville blanche.

•••

Erik Larson est un auteur largement présent dans mes envies de lectures. Dans le jardin de la bête se trouvait dans ma bibliothèque depuis un long moment et je me suis enfin décidée à le lire.

Dans cet ouvrage, l’auteur relate majoritairement la première année en poste du nouvel ambassadeur des États-Unis d’Amérique à Berlin. Ce sont les années 1933-1934, plus précisément. Il s’intéresse vraiment à ce moment-clé où Hitler est nommé chancelier et le parti nationaliste-socialiste prend de lus en plus le pouvoir, transformant la République de Weimar en une dictature. Est montrée également l’emprise progressive des nazis sur tous les aspects de la société. Il y a vraiment des points intéressants qui sont évoqués dans ce livre. J’ai déjà évoqué deux d’entre eux juste au-dessus et qui m’ont passionné. À ceux-là, s’ajoute également la position des ambassadeurs face à ce nouveau régime : être conciliant, un manque de fermeté. Souvent, ils se disent que les nazis vont s’assagir.

Cependant, en tant que passionnée d’histoire et fervente lectrice d’essais historiques, j’espérai avoir plus de développements sur certains aspects. Il passe très vite sur des sujets intéressants. C’est une synthèse qui peut donner quelques pistes de réflexions ou envie d’aller explorer d’autres thématiques pour en savoir plus. Surtout qu’une bibliographie est présente à la fin du livre. Je referme tout de même ce livre en ayant appris pas mal de nouvelles informations. Par exemple, j’ai toujours pensé qu’Heydrich a été depuis le début à la tête de la Gestapo. Or, ce n’est pas le cas.

Cela tient aussi à la forme que revêt le roman. Dans le jardin de la bête est présenté comme un thriller. Or, il a plus l’aspect d’un essai historique romancé. C’est une des particularités de ce type d’ouvrages chez les anglophones. Leurs ouvrages scientifiques ont une véritable volonté d’être le plus accessibles possibles. Je recommanderai plus facilement un Mary Beard ou un Jerry Toner, autour de l’Antiquité, que Paul Veyne, même si j’aime beaucoup ses écrits (Mais je les apprécie parce que j’ai suivi de très nombreux cours autour de l’histoire, l’archéologie et l’art gréco-romain et j’ai donc le bagage pour. Pour les auteurs anglo-saxons, tout le monde peut les lire et les comprendre sans avoir de connaissances pointues dans le domaine.). Dans le jardin de la bête se lit aisément… Comme un roman.

Erik Larson s’intéresse surtout à l’ambassadeur Dodd et sa fille, Martha. Les portraits qu’il en livre ne sont pas flatteurs. L’ambassadeur est montré comme un homme faible, par fait être pour dans une ambassade, surtout à Berlin au début des années 30. Il est peu soutenu, même par son gouvernement. Au sein du livre, il s’efface souvent au profit de sa fille qui a eu une vie très mouvementée. Cependant, dans le cadre de sa vie berlinoise, elle semble flirté avec la haute trahison. Ce ne sont pas forcément des personnages historiques avec lesquels j’ai ressenti de l’empathie. J’ai beaucoup plus apprécié le contexte historique et les Dodd en sont juste une excuse, à mon avis, pour évoquer la montée du régime nazi.

Même si ce n’est pas totalement un coup de coeur, j’ai bien envie d’en lire d’autres de cet auteur, car j’aime ce côté romancé de son essai historique. En début d’année, il a publié The Splendid & the Vile qui me tente énormément et qui fera sûrement partie de mes prochains achats.

Sorties VO • Décembre 2020

The Last Resort Susi Holliday • 1 décembre • Thomas & Mercer • 300 pages

When Amelia is invited to an all-expenses-paid retreat on a private island, the mysterious offer is too good to refuse. Along with six other strangers, she’s told they’re here to test a brand-new product for Timeo Technologies. But the guests’ excitement soon turns to terror when the real reason for their summons becomes clear.

Each guest has a guilty secret. And when they’re all forced to wear a memory-tracking device that reveals their dark and shameful deeds to their fellow guests, there’s no hiding from the past. This is no luxury retreat—it’s a trap they can’t get out of.

As the clock counts down to the lavish end-of-day party they’ve been promised, injuries and in-fighting split the group. But with no escape from the island—or the other guests’ most shocking secrets—Amelia begins to suspect that her only hope for survival is to be the last one standing. Can she confront her own dark past to uncover the truth—before it’s too late to get out?

Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder • T.A. Willberg • 29 décembre • Park Row • 336 pages

Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder plunges readers into the heart of London, to the secret tunnels that exist far beneath the city streets. There, a mysterious group of detectives recruited for Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries use their cunning and gadgets to solve crimes that have stumped Scotland Yard.

Late one night in April 1958, a filing assistant for Miss Brickett’s named Michelle White receives a letter warning her that a heinous act is about to occur. She goes to investigate but finds the room empty. At the stroke of midnight, she is murdered by a killer she can’t see—her death the only sign she wasn’t alone. It becomes chillingly clear that the person responsible must also work for Miss Brickett’s, making everyone a suspect.

Almost unwillingly, Marion Lane, a first-year Inquirer-in-training, finds herself being drawn ever deeper into the investigation. When her friend and mentor is framed for the crime, to clear his name she must sort through the hidden alliances at Miss Brickett’s and secrets dating back to WWII. Masterful, clever and deliciously suspenseful, Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is a fresh take on the Agatha Christie—style locked-room mystery with an exciting new heroine detective at the helm. 

The Cousins • Karen McManus • 1 décembre • Delacorte Press • 336 pages

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious–and dark–their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over–and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

The Chanel Sisters • Judithe Little • 29 décembre • Graydon House • 400 pages

Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel know they’re destined for something better. Abandoned by their family years before, they’ve grown up under the guidance of pious nuns preparing them for simple lives as the wives of tradesmen or shopkeepers. At night, their secret stash of romantic novels and magazine cutouts beneath the floorboards are all they have to keep their dreams of the future alive.

The walls of the convent can’t shield them forever, and when they’re finally of age, the Chanel sisters set out together with a fierce determination to prove themselves worthy to a society that has never accepted them. Their journey propels them out of poverty and to the stylish cafés of Moulins, the dazzling performance halls of Vichy—and to a small hat shop on the rue Cambon in Paris, where a business takes hold and expands to the glamorous French resort towns. But when World War I breaks out, their lives are irrevocably changed, and the sisters must gather the courage to fashion their own places in the world, even if apart from each other.

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie • Marie Benedict • 29 décembre • Sourcebooks Landmarks • 288 pages

In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car—strange for a frigid night. Her husband and daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away. 

The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark exploration into the shadows of history, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such a murky story. 

The Berlin Girl • Mandy Robotham • 8 décembre • Avon • 400 pages

Berlin, 1938: It’s the height of summer, and Germany is on the brink of war. When fledgling reporter Georgie Young is posted to Berlin, alongside fellow Londoner Max Spender, she knows they are entering the eye of the storm.

Arriving to a city swathed in red flags and crawling with Nazis, Georgie feels helpless, witnessing innocent people being torn from their homes. As tensions rise, she realises she and Max have to act – even if it means putting their lives on the line.

But when she digs deeper, Georgie begins to uncover the unspeakable truth about Hitler’s Germany – and the pair are pulled into a world darker than she could ever have imagined…

The Berlin Shadow: Living with the Ghosts of the Kindertransport • Jonathan Lichtenstein •15 décembre • Brown Spark • 320 pages

In 1939, Jonathan Lichtenstein’s father Hans escaped Nazi-occupied Berlin as a child refugee on the Kindertransport. Almost every member of his family died after Kristallnacht, and, upon arriving in England to make his way in the world alone, Hans turned his back on his German Jewish culture.

Growing up in post-war rural Wales where the conflict was never spoken of, Jonathan and his siblings were at a loss to understand their father’s relentless drive and sometimes eccentric behavior. As Hans enters old age, he and Jonathan set out to retrace his journey back to Berlin.