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.

Sorties VO • Février 2021

The Paris Dressmaker • Kristy Cambron • Thomas Nelson • 400 pages • 16 février

Paris, 1939. Maison Chanel has closed, thrusting haute couture dressmaker Lila de Laurent out of the world of high fashion as Nazi soldiers invade the streets and the City of Lights slips into darkness. Lila’s life is now a series of rations, brutal restrictions, and carefully controlled propaganda while Paris is cut off from the rest of the world. Yet in hidden corners of the city, the faithful pledge to resist. Lila is drawn to La Resistance and is soon using her skills as a dressmaker to infiltrate the Nazi elite. She takes their measurements and designs masterpieces, all while collecting secrets in the glamorous Hôtel Ritz—the heart of the Nazis’ Parisian headquartersBut when dashing René Touliard suddenly reenters her world, Lila finds her heart tangled between determination to help save his Jewish family and bolstering the fight for liberation.

Paris, 1943. Sandrine Paquet’s job is to catalog the priceless works of art bound for the Führer’s Berlin, masterpieces stolen from prominent Jewish families. But behind closed doors, she secretly forages for information from the underground resistance. Beneath her compliant façade lies a woman bent on uncovering the fate of her missing husband . . . but at what cost? As Hitler’s regime crumbles, Sandrine is drawn in deeper when she uncrates an exquisite blush Chanel gown concealing a cryptic message that may reveal the fate of a dressmaker who vanished from within the fashion elite.

The Shadow War • Lindsay Smith • Philomel Books • 416 pages • 23 février

World War II is raging, and five teens are looking to make a mark. Daniel and Rebeka seek revenge against the Nazis who slaughtered their family; Simone is determined to fight back against the oppressors who ruined her life and corrupted her girlfriend; Phillip aims to prove that he’s better than his worst mistakes; and Liam is searching for a way to control the portal to the shadow world he’s uncovered, and the monsters that live within it–before the Nazi regime can do the same. When the five meet, and begrudgingly team up, in the forests of Germany, none of them knows what their future might hold.

As they race against time, war, and enemies from both this world and another, Liam, Daniel, Rebeka, Phillip, and Simone know that all they can count on is their own determination and will to survive. With their world turned upside down, and the shadow realm looming ominously large–and threateningly close–the course of history and the very fate of humanity rest in their hands. Still, the most important question remains: Will they be able to save it?

The Girl from Shadow Spring • Ellie Cypher • Simon Schuster • 320 pages • 9 février

Everyone in Shadow Springs knows that no one survives crossing the Flats. But the threat of a frozen death has never deterred the steady stream of treasure hunters searching for a legendary prize hidden somewhere in the vast expanse of ice. Jorie thinks they’re all fools, which makes scavenging their possessions easier. It’s how she and her sister, Brenna, survive.

Then Jorie scavenges off the wrong body. When the dead man’s enemy believes Jorie took something valuable from the body, he kidnaps Brenna as collateral. He tells Jorie that if she wants her sister back, she’ll have to trade her for the item he thinks she stole. But how can Jorie make a trade when she doesn’t even know what she’s looking for?

Her only source of information is Cody, the dead man’s nephew and a scholar from the South who’s never been hardened by the harsh conditions of the North. Though Jorie’s reluctant to bring a city boy out onto the Flats with her, she’ll do whatever it takes to save her sister. But anything can happen out on the ice, and soon Jorie and Cody find they need one another more than they ever imagined—and they’ll have to trust each other to survive threats beyond their darkest nightmares. 

The Witch’s Heart • Genevieve Gornichec • Ace Book • 368 pages • 9 février

Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.

Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.

With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.

We are the ashes, we are the fires • Joy McCullough • Dutton Books • 400 pages • 9 février

Em Morales’s older sister was raped by another student after a frat party. A jury eventually found the rapist guilty on all counts–a remarkable verdict that Em felt more than a little responsible for, since she was her sister’s strongest advocate on social media during the trial. Her passion and outspokenness helped dissuade the DA from settling for a plea deal. Em’s family would have real justice. 

But the victory is lived. In a matter of minutes, justice vanishes as the judge turns the Morales family’s world upside down again by sentencing the rapist to no prison time. While her family is stunned, Em is literally sick with rage and guilt. To make matters worse, a news clip of her saying that the sentence “makes me want to use a fucking sword” goes viral.

From this low point, Em must find a new reason to go on and help her family heal, and she finds it in the unlikely form of the story of a 15th-century French noblewoman, Marguerite de Bressieux, who is legendary as an avenging knight for rape victims.

Dearest Josephine • Caroline George • Thomas Nelson • 384 pages • 2 février

2020: Chocolate and Earl Grey tea can’t fix Josie De Clare’s horrible year. She mourned the death of her father and suffered a teen-life crisis, which delayed her university plans. But when her father’s will reveals a family-owned property in Northern England, Josie leaves London to find clarity at the secluded manor house. While exploring the estate, she discovers two-hundred-year-old love letters written by an elusive novelist, all addressed to someone named Josephine. And then she discovers a novel in which it seems like she’s the heroine…

1820: Novelist Elias Roch loves a woman he can never be with. Born the bastard son to a nobleman and cast out from society, Elias seeks refuge in his mind with the quirky heroine who draws him into a fantasy world of scandal, betrayal, and unconditional love. Convinced she’s his soulmate, Elias writes letters to her, all of which divulge the tragedy and trials of his personal life.

As fiction blurs into reality, Josie and Elias must decide: How does one live if love can’t wait? Separated by two hundred years, they fight against time to find each other in a story of her, him, and the novel written by the man who loves her.

While Paris slept • Ruth Druart • Grand Central Publishing • 464 pages • 23 février

After. Santa Cruz, California, 1953. Jean-Luc and Charlotte Beauchamps have left their war-torn memories of Paris behind to live a quiet life in America with their son, Sam. They have a house in the suburbs, they’ve learned to speak English, and they have regular get-togethers with their outgoing American neighbors. Every minute in California erases a minute of their lives before — before the Germans invaded their French homeland and incited years of violence, hunger, and fear. But their taste of the American Dream shatters when officers from the U.N. Commission on War Crimes pull-up outside their home and bring Jean-Luc in for questioning.

Before. Paris, France, 1944. Germany has occupied France for four years. Jean-Luc works at the railway station at Bobigny, where thousands of Jews travel each day to be « resettled » in Germany. But Jean-Luc and other railway employees can’t ignore the rumors or what they see on the tracks: too many people are packed into the cars, and bodies are sometimes left to be disposed of after a train departs. Jean-Luc’s unease turns into full-blown panic when a young woman with bright green eyes bursts from the train one day alongside hundreds of screaming, terrified passengers, and pushes a warm, squirming bundle into his arms.

The upstairs house • Julia Fine • Harper • 304 pages • 23 février

Ravaged and sore from giving birth to her first child, Megan is mostly raising her newborn alone while her husband travels for work. Physically exhausted and mentally drained, she’s also wracked with guilt over her unfinished dissertation—a thesis on mid-century children’s literature.

Enter a new upstairs neighbor: the ghost of quixotic children’s book writer Margaret Wise Brown—author of the beloved classic Goodnight Moon—whose existence no one else will acknowledge. It seems Margaret has unfinished business with her former lover, the once-famous socialite and actress Michael Strange, and is determined to draw Megan into the fray. As Michael joins the haunting, Megan finds herself caught in the wake of a supernatural power struggle—and until she can find a way to quiet these spirits, she and her newborn daughter are in terrible danger.

The Invisible Woman • Erika Robuck • Berkley Books • 368 pages • 9 février

France, March 1944. Virginia Hall wasn’t like the other young society women back home in Baltimore–she never wanted the debutante ball or silk gloves. Instead, she traded a safe life for adventure in Europe, and when her beloved second home is thrust into the dark days of war, she leaps in headfirst.

Once she’s recruited as an Allied spy, subverting the Nazis becomes her calling. But even the most cunning agent can be bested, and in wartime trusting the wrong person can prove fatal. Virginia is haunted every day by the betrayal that ravaged her first operation, and will do everything in her power to avenge the brave people she lost.

While her future is anything but certain, this time more than ever Virginia knows that failure is not an option. Especially when she discovers what–and whom–she’s truly protecting.

The Family Ship • Sonja Yoerg • Lake Union Publishing • 412 pages • 23 février

Chesapeake Bay, 1980. Eighteen-year-old Verity Vergennes is the captain of the USS Nepenthe, and her seven younger siblings are her crew. The ship—an oyster boat transformed into a make-believe destroyer—is the heart of the Vergennes family, a place both to play and to learn responsibility. But Verity’s had it with being tied to the ship and secretly applies to a distant college. If only her parents could bear to let her go.

Maeve and Arthur Vergennes already suffered one loss when, five years earlier, their eldest son, Jude, stormed out and never returned. Now Maeve is pregnant again and something’s amiss. Verity yearns to follow her dreams, but how can she jump ship now? The problem, and perhaps the answer, lies with Jude.

When disaster strikes and the family unravels, Verity must rally her sibling crew to keep the Nepenthe and all it symbolizes afloat. Sailing away from home, she discovers, is never easy—not if you ever hope to find your way back.

A History of What come next • Sylvain Neuvel • Tor.com • 304 pages • 2 février

Always run, never fight. 
Preserve the knowledge.
Survive at all costs.
Take them to the stars.

Over 99 identical generations, Mia’s family has shaped human history to push them to the stars, making brutal, wrenching choices and sacrificing countless lives. Her turn comes at the dawn of the age of rocketry. Her mission: to lure Wernher Von Braun away from the Nazi party and into the American rocket program, and secure the future of the space race. 

But Mia’s family is not the only group pushing the levers of history: an even more ruthless enemy lurks behind the scenes.

A darkly satirical first contact thriller, as seen through the eyes of the women who make progress possible and the men who are determined to stop them…

The Girl from the Channel Islands • Jenny Lecoat • Graydon House • 304 pages • 2 février

The year is 1940, and the world is torn apart by war. In June of that year, Hitler’s army captures the Channel Islands—the only part of Great Britain occupied by German forces. Abandoned by Mr. Churchill, forgotten by the Allies and cut off from all help, the Islands’ situation is increasingly desperate.

Hedy Bercu is a young Jewish girl who fled Vienna for the island of Jersey two years earlier during the Anschluss, only to find herself trapped by the Nazis once more—this time with no escape. Her only hope is to make herself invaluable to the Germans by working as a translator, hiding in plain sight with the help of her friends and community—and a sympathetic German officer. But as the war intensifies, rations dwindle and neighbors are increasingly suspicious of one another. Hedy’s life is in greater danger every day. It will take a definitive, daring act to save her from certain deportation to the concentration camps.

Where madness lies • Sylvia True • Top Hat Books • 344 pages • 1 février

Germany, 1934. Rigmor, a young Jewish woman is a patient at Sonnenstein, a premier psychiatric institution known for their curative treatments. But with the tide of eugenics and the Nazis’ rise to power, Rigmor is swept up in a campaign to rid Germany of the mentally ill.

USA, 1984. Sabine, battling crippling panic and depression commits herself to McLean Hospital, but in doing so she has unwittingly agreed to give up her baby.

Linking these two generations of women is Inga, who did everything in her power to help her sister, Rigmor. Now with her granddaughter, Sabine, Inga is given a second chance to free someone she loves from oppressive forces, both within and without.

Of Silver and Shadow • Jennifer Gruenke • Flux • 480 pages • 16 février

Ren Kolins is a silver wielder—a dangerous thing to be in the kingdom of Erdis, where magic has been outlawed for a century. Ren is just trying to survive, sticking to a life of petty thievery, card games, and pit fighting to get by. But when a wealthy rebel leader discovers her secret, he offers her a fortune to join his revolution. The caveat: she won’t see a single coin until they overthrow the King.

Behind the castle walls, a brutal group of warriors known as the King’s Children is engaged in a competition: the first to find the rebel leader will be made King’s Fang, the right hand of the King of Erdis. And Adley Farre is hunting down the rebels one by one, torturing her way to Ren and the rebel leader, and the coveted King’s Fang title.

But time is running out for all of them, including the youngest Prince of Erdis, who finds himself pulled into the rebellion. Political tensions have reached a boiling point, and Ren and the rebels must take the throne before war breaks out.

Muse • Britanny Cavallaro • Katherine Tegen Books • 352 pages • 2 février

The year is 1893, and war is brewing in the First American Kingdom. But Claire Emerson has a bigger problem. While her father prepares to reveal the mighty weapon he’s created to showcase the might of their province, St. Cloud, in the World’s Fair, Claire is crafting a plan to escape.

Claire’s father is a sought-after inventor, but he believes his genius is a gift, granted to him by his daughter’s touch. He’s kept Claire under his control for years. As St. Cloud prepares for war, Claire plans to claim her life for herself, even as her best friend, Beatrix, tries to convince her to stay and help with the growing resistance movement that wants to see a woman on the throne. At any cost.

When her father’s weapon fails to fire on the fair’s opening day, Claire is taken captive by Governor Remy Duchamp, St. Cloud’s young, untried ruler. Remy believes that Claire’s touch bestows graces he’s never had, and with his governing power weakening and many political rivals planning his demise, Claire might be his only and best ally. But the last thing that Claire has ever wanted is to be someone else’s muse. Still, affections can change as quickly as the winds of war. And Claire has a choice to make: Will she quietly remake her world from the shadows—or bring it down in flames?

All girls • Emily Layden • Saint Martin’s Press • 320 pages • 16 février

A keenly perceptive coming-of-age novel, All Girls captures one year at a prestigious New England prep school, as nine young women navigate their ambitions, friendships, and fears against the backdrop of a scandal the administration wants silenced.

But as the months unfold, and the school’s efforts to control the ensuing crisis fall short, these extraordinary girls are forced to discover their voices, and their power. A tender and unflinching portrait of modern adolescence told through the shifting perspectives of an unforgettable cast of female students, All Girls explores what it means to grow up in a place that promises you the world––when the world still isn’t yours for the taking.

The Kitchen Front • Jennifer Ryan • Ballantine Books • 416 pages • 23 février

Two years into WW2, Britain is feeling her losses; the Nazis have won battles, the Blitz has destroyed cities, and U-boats have cut off the supply of food. In an effort to help housewives with food rationing, a BBC radio program called The Kitchen Front is putting on a cooking contest–and the grand prize is a job as the program’s first-ever female co-host. For four very different women, winning the contest presents a crucial chance to change their lives.

For a young widow, it’s a chance to pay off her husband’s debts and keep a roof over her children’s heads. For a kitchen maid, it’s a chance to leave servitude and find freedom. For the lady of the manor, it’s a chance to escape her wealthy husband’s increasingly hostile behavior. And for a trained chef, it’s a chance to challenge the men at the top of her profession.

These four women are giving the competition their all -even if that sometimes means bending the rules. But with so much at stake, will the contest that aims to bring the community together serve only to break it apart? 

The nature of fragile things • Susan Meissner • Berkley Books • 384 • 2 février

April 18, 1906: A massive earthquake rocks San Francisco just before daybreak, igniting a devouring inferno. Lives are lost, lives are shattered, but some rise from the ashes forever changed. 

Sophie Whalen is a young Irish immigrant so desperate to get out of a New York tenement that she answers a mail-order bride ad and agrees to marry a man she knows nothing about. San Francisco widower Martin Hocking proves to be as aloof as he is mesmerizingly handsome. Sophie quickly develops deep affection for Kat, Martin’s silent five-year-old daughter, but Martin’s odd behavior leaves her with the uneasy feeling that something about her newfound situation isn’t right.

Then one early-spring evening, a stranger at the door sets in motion a transforming chain of events. Sophie discovers hidden ties to two other women. The first, pretty and pregnant, is standing on her doorstep. The second is hundreds of miles away in the American Southwest, grieving the loss of everything she once loved.

The fates of these three women intertwine on the eve of the devastating earthquake, thrusting them onto a perilous journey that will test their resiliency and resolve and, ultimately, their belief that love can overcome fear.

La Culture avec un grand A et du latte #1

Parmi mes résolutions de 2018, j’avais envie d’explorer de nouveaux genres littéraires et cinématographiques. En 2017, j’avais lu et adoré de la poésie et de la science-fiction, sortant ainsi de mes habitudes. Je voulais continuer durant la nouvelle année, mais sans avoir d’idées précises. Le mois de Janvier fut relativement classique. Je ne suis pas vraiment partie à la découverte, mais je me suis rattrapée en Février.

Une conférence sur l’image de la femme dans les westerns américains m’a fait prendre conscience que je n’y connaissais absolument rien en la matière. Je pense en avoir vu deux dans toute ma vie : Django Unchained (2013) et Le bon, la brute et le cinglé (2008). Le conférencier a donné un grand nombre de références et de classiques dont même le nom ne me disait rien. Du coup, il faut que je répare cela. Cependant, j’ai expliqué l’univers des westerns par une pièce de théâtre qui s’interrogeait aussi sur les femmes et leurs conditions à cette époque qui sont limitées à trois rôles : l’épouse, la prostituée et l’esclave. Wild West Women était joué par trois femmes de talent : deux actrices et une bruiteuse qui était à couper le souffle et qui rendait la pièce encore plus vivante. Les deux actrices étaient tout aussi incroyables. Elles jouaient plusieurs personnages en même temps et arrivaient toujours à leur donner parfaitement vie les uns après les autres. Je n’ai pas vu les trois heures quarante-cinq minutes que durait la pièce. C’est un énorme coup de coeur pour des performances à vous couper le souffle… Et quel bonheur de retourner au théâtre.

En revanche, je n’ai pas vu encore de westerns, mais pourquoi pas en mars. Du point de vue des films vus durant Février, le bilan est plutôt mitigé. Ma seule véritable surprise tenait à Wonder (2017). Il ne me disait rien et pourtant… C’est une très belle histoire d’amitié, d’acceptation de soi et de l’autre, des différences. Ce film fut un mélange incroyable de moments d’émotion, de bonheur et de joie de vivre. Pour ma déception du mois, le grand gagnant est sûrement The Shape of water (2018), le nouveau film de Guillermo del Toro. Ce film a beaucoup fait parler de lui et j’avais encore en tête l’incroyable Labyrinthe de Pan (2006). J’ai pu retrouver la touche esthétique de Del Toro avec des plans travaillés, des couleurs sombres et bleutées. Je n’ai rien à redire des performances des principaux acteurs, Sally Hawkins et Michael Shannon. Là où je suis déçue, c’est concernant l’intrigue. L’histoire est sans surprise et la fin se devine bien avant qu’elle arrive. Elle n’apporte rien de plus au thème de la différence.

Parmi les autres films vus, il y a eu The Snowman (2017), Invincible (2014) qui est un bon film historique, La Tour sombre (2017). Elle fait partie des nombreuses adaptations de l’oeuvre de Stephen King de 2017. Malheureusement, je n’ai pas été conquise par cet univers (ou ce qu’ils en ont fait). Rien n’est abouti, l’univers et les personnages sont à peine effleurés. Je pense qu’il y avait matière à faire quelque chose de bien mieux. A futile and stupid gesture (2017) ainsi que Jupiter, Le destin de l’univers (2015) ne me laisseront pas un souvenir impérissable. Ils m’ont même un peu ennuyée… J’ai aussi vu (enfin) Dunkerque (2017) et ce fut une bonne surprise. Les plans aériens étaient époustouflants. Ce n’est pas non plus un coup de coeur, mais un film intéressant, plein de tension. J’avais un peu peu d’un Harry Styles acteur, mais ça passait. Le Crime de l’Orient Express (2017) fut le dernier film vue pour Février et il se finit sur une bonne note. Visuellement irréprochable, il réunit un très bon casting. Je ne me suis pas ennuyée et je me suis facilement prise au jeu, devinant un peu avant le dénouement le coupable. Une victoire pour moi ! De plus, il m’a vraiment donné envie de me plonger dans l’oeuvre d’Agatha Christie que je connais très mal, ayant seulement lu Dix petits nègres.

En parlant de romans, je dois avouer que c’est plutôt de ce côté que je suis sortie des sentiers battus en lisant deux romans de la rentrée littéraire de septembre 2017. Cela faisait un moment que je fuis non seulement les auteurs français mais également la rentrée littéraire. Je n’en ai plus lu depuis au moins quatre ans. J’y suis revenue avec deux ouvrages traitant de la Seconde Guerre mondial et qui furent récompensés par le prix Goncourt et le prix Renaudot. J’ai nommé L’ordre du jour d’Eric Vuillard et La disparition de Josef Mengele d’Olivier Guez. Si je suis un peu mitigée sur le livre de Vuillard, j’ai trouvé celui de Guez passionnant. Ils m’ont réconcilié avec les auteurs français. Au point d’en lire un autre qui sort également de mes lectures habituelles, une bande dessinée. Aveline m’a recommandé La Mort de Staline de Fabien Nury et Thierry Robin en prévision du film qui va bientôt sortir. Il a l’air franchement bien, quoique plus drôle que la BD. Bref, quasiment un sans faute pour les auteurs français et j’ai continué mon exploration en ce début du mois de Mars.

Pour les auteurs étrangers, j’ai adoré The Miniaturist de Jessie Burton qui propose une immersion dans les Pays-Bas de l’âge d’or. Il a d’ailleurs fait l’objet d’une adaptation sous la forme d’une mini-série par la BBC. Je compte également m’y intéresser car j’ai vraiment été conquise par cette histoire et les personnages. Je pense d’ailleurs lire son autre roman, The Muse dont l’intrigue se déroule dans le monde de l’art. Il ne peut que me plaire. Ma plus grande déception du mois va pour So near the horizon de Jessica Koch. Il m’a été chaudement recommandé et je parlerai plus en détail de ce livre dans un billet prochainement.

Du coup, dans mes envies de Mars, il y a encore des auteurs français. Je les découvre à nouveau et avec moins d’a priori qu’avant. 2018 commence sous leur signe, quand bien même ce n’était pas du tout ce que j’avais en tête pour de nouvelles découvertes. Je varie les plaisirs. J’aimerais aussi terminer Sapiens, A brief history of humankind de Yuval Noah Harari qui est un essai brillant et très bien écrit. Je ne fais aucune autre prévision que ce livre. Je ne suis pas habituée au pile à lire du mois, changeant souvent d’avis.

Pour finir, le mois de Février fut également riche culturellement, mais d’une autre manière. Je me suis enfin décidé à réellement me promener dans Metz. Je suis allé voir la Porte des Allemands, les vitraux de Jean Cocteau qui sont une merveille de beauté et de poésie. J’ai visité les deux expositions du Centre Pompidou. Dumb Types a un côté un peu dérangeant avec une scénographie plongée dans le noir, des bruits et des lumières qui clignotent. Et pourtant, certaines oeuvres avait un côté absolument fascinant. Elle est sincèrement à recommander, surtout que c’est la première fois que le collectif expose en France. Cependant, c’est avec la deuxième partie de Japanorama que j’ai été séduite. Je ne connaissais aucun des artistes présents, mais il y avait un certain nombre d’oeuvres sur lesquelles je me suis longuement attardée. Néanmoins, rien à comparer de l’Infinity Mirror Room de Yayoi Kusama. Ce fut un choc de la voir. Je pense qu’il s’agit de la plus belles oeuvres que j’ai pu voir de ma vie et je compte prochainement y retourner pour de nouveau m’y perdre. Je prépare un article dessus, il sera un peu différent de ce que je peux proposer sur le blog, mais j’ai envie d’un peu de changements.

Je vous retrouve le mois prochain pour un nouveau bilan culturel, de mes envies en la matière. Si vous avez des recommandations, des suggestions de westerns, de romans ou d’auteurs français, n’hésitez pas à me les laisser en commentaire.

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Dark, Saison 1

Un enfant disparu lance quatre familles dans une quête éperdue pour trouver des réponses. La chasse au coupable fait émerger les péchés et les secrets d’une petite ville.

Avec : Louis Hofmann ; Oliver Masucci ; Jördis Triebel…

•••

Netflix nous gâte en cette fin d’année en nous proposant une nouvelle série dont le trailer m’avait déjà happé dans cette petite ville de Winden, en Allemagne. Dark m’a passionné d’un bout à l’autre et il s’agit d’une des rares séries allemandes sur la plateforme, d’où ma curiosité. J’ai toujours apprécié ce qu’ils pouvaient proposer, dès lors que j’arrive à en trouver, car je suis friande de leurs comédies romantiques, notamment celles de Matthias Schweighöfer et Till Schweiger.

Malgré mon intérêt pour le cinéma allemand, le seul acteur que je connaissais était Oliver Masucci qui a joué Adolf Hitler dans le frappant et glaçant Il est de retour (David Wnendt, 2015). Il a un vrai potentiel dramatique dans Dark, devenant un des personnages que j’ai préféré alors que ce n’est pas celui qui a le plus de secrets, du moins dans cette première saison. Mais, je l’ai trouvé juste dans son jeu, dans sa douleur et dans sa quête… C’était un plaisir de le retrouver à chaque fois pour suivre sa progression.

Toutefois, il n’est pas le seul à retenir dans cette série. Quelques acteurs m’ont quelque peu laissé de marbre. Leurs interprétations n’étaient pas mauvaises mais ils sont peut-être moins intéressants ou marquants que d’autres. C’est le cas, par exemple, de Martha ou Katharina, la fille et la femme d’Ulrich Nielsen (Oliver Masucci). Elles sont un peu fades par rapport à d’autres. Louis Hofmann, jeune acteur allemand qui joue Jonas Kahnwald, le héros de Dark, efface relativement les autres acteurs de son âge. Il a un réel talent et j’ai pensé que son interprétation était parfaite d’un bout à l’autre. Il incarnait totalement son personnage. Il est, à mon humble avis, la révélation de cette nouvelle série signée Netflix.

Ce qui est intéressant dans Dark, outre l’histoire, c’est justement ces quatre familles que nous suivons à travers le temps et surtout trois époques : 1953, 1986 et 2019. Au départ, honnêtement, j’étais un peu perdue pour savoir qui était qui à travers le temps, leurs relations familiales, les amitiés… Cependant, une fois tous les liens et les personnages fixés dans mon esprit, ce fut un régal de voir leur évolution, que les secrets et les mystères sont là depuis le début… Et encore, je suis sûre que les scénaristes n’ont fait qu’effleurer la surface dans les dix épisodes qui constituent cette première saison. Hannah, par exemple, était un peu l’archétype de ce que je viens de dire. C’était un personnage que j’appréciais au début mais qui, petit à petit, révèle son vrai visage. J’ai adoré cette palette de personnages très différents avec de vrais caractères, très humains. J’ai envie de les retrouver au plus vite pour connaître davantage leurs secrets. Certains ont déjà été touchés du doigt.

C’est une constante dans Dark. L’intrigue est construite de manière à ce que le spectateur soit toujours en demande de plus. Tout était bien dosé entre l’avancement de l’intrigue, les révélations sur les personnages, les sauts dans le temps, les explications sur ce qu’il se passe à Winden. Rares sont les séries qui m’ont autant tenu en haleine. J’ai enchaîné tous les épisodes à un rythme effréné. Il y avait tout le temps un élément qui faisait que je continuais. Dark a un effet absolument fascinant et, une fois commencé, il fut impossible d’arrêter.

Souvent, je bâtissais des théories, parfois un peu folles sur qui était qui, les relations et les secrets. Je pensais quelques fois que c’était un peu fou et, à d’autres, j’avais raison… De manière assez improbable car je suis généralement pas très douée pour les devinettes et énigmes en tout genre. Les hypothèses peuvent être loufoques mais certaines se révèlent vraies. Cependant, elles gardent tout de même une cohérence d’un point de vue narratif. Je garde aussi à l’esprit qu’à la fin de cette première saison, une petite partie des choses ont été révélées. J’en sais un peu plus sur les comment du voyage dans le temps mais pas encore réellement pourquoi. Je veux des réponses à bien des interrogations qui sont encore en suspend : pourquoi Jonas ? Qu’est-ce qui va arriver à Ulrich ? Qui a encore des secrets ? Qu’est-ce que cache Noah et quel est son rôle ? La toute dernière scène ouvre également de nouvelles possibilités pour la suite. Ces dernières minutes m’ont totalement abasourdie, c’était inattendu mais ce fut totalement à l’image de la série.

J’espère vraiment une deuxième saison. Netflix arrête parfois des séries. Ils en proposent trop et font le tri en fonction des réactions du public. Dark est une série prometteuse, tant du point de vue de l’intrigue que des personnages et de l’esthétique. J’ai beaucoup l’ambiance avec un étalonnage de couleurs froides. J’ai vraiment vu un effort pour donner un visuel plutôt bien travaillé, qui est en accord avec l’histoire, les mystères et les secrets des habitants… Il y a une véritable corrélation entre le fond et la forme. Que dire de la musique ! Elle était incroyable, chaque épisode était une pépite pour les oreilles. J’ai pu retrouver du Fever Ray, par exemple.

Pour autant, la série n’est pas totalement parfaite et elle présente quelques incohérences. Une m’a particulièrement sauté aux yeux… Pourquoi les personnages du passé qui croisent des personnages du futur ne se souviennent absolument pas d’eux ? Je m’explique ! Jonas, pour citer un exemple, a effectué un retour en arrière où il a croisé sa mère quand elle n’était encore qu’une enfant. Quand il revient, cette dernière n’en a gardé aucun souvenir. Je trouvais cela bizarre et un peu perturbant dans la mesure où aucune explication n’est donné. C’est vraiment cet aspect qui m’a le plus dérangé en regardant la série, tout en ne m’empêchant pas d’adorer chaque seconde et d’avoir dévoré la série d’un bout à l’autre en deux-trois jours !

Cette série allemande fut, pour ma part, une des révélations de 2017. Il y avait bien longtemps qu’une série ne m’avait pas autant rendu accro. J’étais dans un état proche de la fascination. Il m’en fallait toujours plus et, même des jours après l’avoir terminé, je ne cessais de me torturer l’esprit pour trouver des solutions, des explications plus ou moins logiques à certains problèmes. J’attends la deuxième saison de pieds fermes, même si je sens que je vais devoir prendre mon mal en patience, car Netflix n’est pas toujours pressé de sortir les saisons de nos séries préférées, en témoigne la troisième saison de Daredevil que j’espère depuis un petit moment maintenant.

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Cinq livres à offrir à Noël

J’adore offrir des livres à Noël et j’essaie toujours d’en glisser un ou deux sous le sapin. Avec le choix qui s’offre dans les librairies, il n’est pas toujours de trouver le bon. Pour vous donner quelques idées, voici cinq ouvrages tirés de mes coups de coeur de l’année.

Milk & Honey – Rupi Kaur

Est-il encore nécessaire de le présenter ? Il a été récemment traduit en français. Rupi Kaur m’a fait découvrir la poésie contemporaine. Elle aborde dans ses textes de nombreux thèmes allant du fait d’être une femme aujourd’hui, son viol, sa relation avec son corps, les relations amoureuses… Ce n’est pas toujours une lecture facile, mais un grand nombre de textes peuvent nous toucher.

Hex – Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Encore un roman qui a été traduit il n’y a pas si longtemps et il serait vraiment dommage de passer à côté de ce livre. L’auteur néerlandais signe ici un des meilleurs romans d’horreur que j’ai pu lire depuis un moment. Impossible à lâcher et cauchemars assurés. C’est une histoire qui happe le lecteur dès les premières pages qui attend fébrilement que le drame explose.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Le livre a été adapté cette année en série, remettant le livre, publié dans les années 1980 sur le devant de la scène. Une dystopie féministe… L’histoire n’a pas pris une ride depuis et reste d’actualité. Un classique à lire et relire sans modération.  La première saison est à recommander également.

S.P.Q.R. – Mary Beard

Mary Beard est une professeur d’histoire romaine à l’université de Cambridge. Elle a écrit plusieurs ouvrages sur l’Antiquité gréco-romaine, dont certains sont traduits en français, où elle démontre une volonté de vulgarisation historique, sans pour autant perdre en qualité. Elle ajoute sa touche personnelle avec de l’humour, des anecdotes, tout en donnant une belle part aux sources. Cette histoire de Rome, traduite en français, est très agréable à lire et est loin d’être ennuyante.

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

Des dieux auraient-ils foulé notre terre bien avant nous ? Ce premier tome reste une de mes plus belles surprises de l’année. Je ne lis quasiment jamais de science-fiction et je ne me suis jamais réellement intéressée à ce genre littéraire. Pourtant, Sleeping Giants m’a passionné d’un bout à l’autre avec une écriture très originale qui rend la lecture très dynamique. La mythologie est très bien développée, avec de vraies questions de fond.

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