I have two great historicals that I wanted to spotlight today. One is set in the 50’s-60’s during the Cold War in Post WWII Berlin and the other is set in the rural outback of Kentucky in the early 1900s. Both kept me riveted from page one to the end.
The Slow March of Light by Heather B. Moore
This story followed the life of US Army soldier Bob Inama in the early 60’s. He’s stationed in Germany and tasked to be a spy against East Germany right before the Berlin wall becomes more permanent. It also follows a fictional character’s journey (based on real events), Luisa Voigt, as she and her father move to West Berlin and she starts working for the underground in her nurse position to help desperate people escape East Berlin, including her grandmother. It’s a crazy story, and very inspirational (especially the ending). Very informative about how the aftermath in Berlin worked almost 2 decades after WWII.
The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes
This was a beautiful tale set in the Kentucky backwoods in 1937. The federal government (through first lady Eleanore Roosevelt) starts a traveling library run by women around the country to get books to those who live in rural areas who don’t have access to schools or libraries. In the small town where this is set, Margery, a single, headstrong half-Cherokee woman, heads up a group of very different ladies to take books throughout the woods on treacherous horse paths each day. Alice is Margery’s opposite, a delicate Englishwoman who just came to America as Bennett Van Cleve’s new bride. But her monotonous, tense marriage (with her father-in-law living under the same roof) has left her feeling mutinous, so she volunteers to help the Packhorse Librarians to escape her tomb of a house. As she and the other women learn to navigate the wilds of Kentucky and make connections with the those living off the grid, they learn more about themselves and what they’re capable of as well.
I couldn’t put this book down. When I read the synopsis, I thought it sounded kind of boring. But there is nothing boring or tedious about this book. It was brilliantly written and had such complex, heart-achingly gorgeous character arcs and some cool twists that keep the story always pertinent and riveting, that it was super hard to stop reading to get normal duties accomplished. I loved each of the women featured. It shows them in their weakness and how they gain strength and unity as fellow sisters through their hardships and trials.