Days of Grace by Catherine Hall

Alternating between WWII and the present, Days of Grace tells the story of Nora Lynch, who at the age of twelve, is sent as an evacuee to live with the Rivers family in the English countryside. Nora immediately feels welcomed and loved by Mr. and Mrs. Rivers and their daughter Grace. From the outside, the Rivers seem like the perfect family, but in reality, there are many cracks beneath the surface, and Nora is too young to understand. The young girl is just happy to have found a friend in Grace and she enjoys every minute that they spend together. However, as her feelings for Grace become stronger with each passing day, Nora realizes that she cannot suppress her passion for Grace any longer, thus, she decides to return to London. 

When a pregnant young woman enters her life fifty years later, Nora is ready to reveal the secrets that she has kept for so long, and when she does so, the reader will be very surprised!

Days of Grace is an emotional story about friendship, suppressed passions, dark secrets and jealousy. As soon as you begin reading about Nora, you cannot help but feel moved by her dramatic story. That’s why this gripping tale will linger in your mind for a long time, as you will sympathize with Nora and you will be eager to learn all of her secrets.

I must say that I normally don’t like to read books on war, but I was interested in this one because I wanted to learn more about the children who were evacuated during the war. I wanted to find out how these children felt and how they dealt with this difficult situation, since they were separated from their parents. Furthermore, I wanted to learn how they were treated by their surrogate families. That’s why I liked Days of Grace so much; it showed all of these things and even more.

Days of Grace is an engaging novel packed with beautiful writing, historical detail, drama and heart-warming characters. Overall, I was really pleased with this book and I would recommend it to everyone out there who likes to read books on war and to Sarah Waters and Daphne du Maurier fans!

Note: I would like to thank Meredith Burks from Penguin Group for sending me a copy of this book!

Andreea

A Kid for Two Farthings by Wolf Mankowitz

Six-year-old Joe is a curious little boy who asks many questions and who has a vivid imagination. Joe is living with his mother in 1950s East End London, where he is always surrounded by hard-working people. From his neighbour Mr. Kandinsky and the wrestler Shmule to the shop owner Mrs. Abramowitz, little Joe is accompanied by people who are very fond of him and who take good care of him.

As all of Joe’s acquaintances seem to need a little bit of luck in their lives, Joe brings home a unicorn (which is actually a goat) since he hopes that his ‘unicorn’ will fulfil his friends some wishes. Mr. Kandinsky needs a steam press for his shop and Shmule needs to buy a ring for his beloved Sonia. Joe and his mother also have a wish – to join Joe’s father in Africa. Will Joe’s ‘unicorn’ really be able to fulfil all these wishes?

A Kid for Two Farthings is a lovely book full of wonderful people who work very hard and who have humble wishes. Although they are very busy, Joe’s neighbours still make time for little Joe because the boy doesn’t really have anyone to talk to, since his father is away and his mother is working. Joe really likes to be surrounded by his neighbours, because he can ask them many questions and thus, he gets the attention he needs. In return, Joe wants to do everything in order to see his friends happy. That’s why he brings home a ‘unicorn’ – the little boy hopes that his new ‘pet’ will grant all of their wishes.

I really liked this touching book and I liked reading about little Joe. The little boy is very curious and has a great imagination. He believes in the magic of his ‘unicorn’ and he wants to help his friends and see them happy. Joe is very playful and inventive; he always wants to know everything and that’s why I liked him so much. I also liked the other characters, as they are all very friendly, humble and warm, despite the fact that their lives are hard. Mr. Kandinsky is a very great person and he is like a grandfather to Joe. When the little boy brings home his ‘unicorn’, Mr. Kandinsky doesn’t tell Joe the truth, because he sees how happy Joe is. Therefore, he lets Joe believe that his goat is a unicorn, which can grant wishes and make people happy. Mr. Kandinsky encourages Joe’s imagination and creativity and that’s why I liked him so much!

Overall, I must say that A Kid for Two Farthings was a great book, which I enjoyed very much. It’s a quick read and I recommend this adorable little book to everyone who likes to read books set in the past and to everyone who likes to read a heart-warming and hopeful story.

Andreea

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda Wormwood is no ordinary girl – at the age of three she taught herself to read. Since then, she has been devouring books just as other children devour candy. Books fascinate the little girl since she delights in discovering new worlds and meeting new and amazing characters. However, her parents don’t seem to appreciate Matilda’s vocation as they are too preoccupied with watching TV and scamming other people. Thus, when the little girl finally attends school, she is happy to have found a friend in her kind teacher, Miss Honey, who immediately recognizes that Matilda is a special child. But when Miss Honey tries to speak to the headmistress regarding Matilda’s outstanding learning abilities, the cruel and frightening Miss Trunchbull doesn’t believe Miss Honey, since she despises children. As Matilda discovers that she possesses even greater abilities, the little girl is determined to use her extraordinary tricks in order to defend the helpless and to fight for justice.

Matilda is such a wonderful and delightful book about a young girl with amazing abilities and a great sense of justice. This lovely book is packed with charm, intelligence, warmth and magic and I loved everything about it as Matilda delivers some very important messages to everyone out there! Matilda is a brave young girl who is ready to fight for justice at all cost; she is not afraid of anyone and is willing to do everything in order to help those who are weak and who cannot stand up for themselves. That just shows how great this little girl is and others really can learn a lot from her. I loved Matilda’s courage, her enthusiasm for books and her drive for knowledge and I think that she sets a perfect example for other children.

I must admit that I have watched the movie Matilda quite a few times without even knowing that the book existed. But when I checked out Roald Dahl’s books, I discovered Matilda and I was eager to read it, as I love the movie. And I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this beautiful book, as I think that it’s even better than the movie. Matilda is now one of my favorite books and I can’t wait for my daughter to grow up so we can read this book together.

When I finished reading this book, I was very sad, as I wanted to read more about this little girl and her adventures. Actually, I was so sad that I had to hug this book a few times! Luckily, Roald Dahl has written many books, and I plan to read some of them in the future.

Matilda is a charming story about friendship, courage and justice, and I highly recommend it to everyone book lover out there and to everyone who wants to read a book with a positive and conscious theme.

Note: I would like to thank Puffin Books for giving me the opportunity to read such an amazing book!

Andreea