Tag Archives: #worldwar2

Review: Ambulance Girls

Ambulance Girls by Deborah Burrows
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Source: Paperback copy courtesy of publisher

Ever since I fell completely in adoration of Deborrah Burrows’ last book, A Time of Secrets a couple of years ago, I’ve been waiting for another book. And while I was waiting, I kinda stalk her on Goodreads and twitter so I knew she’s been traipsing (sorry, researching) all over London when living there. I greeted the cover reveal of Ambulance Girls with a squeal of excitement and I think my heart might have stopped for mo when I received a copy in the mail.

Firstly, I do love this cover and I really like war historical fiction especially when this particular book’s main character was inspired by a real life historical Aussie woman serving in the London Auxiliary Ambulance Station during the Blitz. There were a lot of things I learnt from this novel about women during the Blitz. I guess there have been quite a number of books or even documentaries but the way it was written here made it all the more real to me. It was obvious that a lot of research was done in the writing of this novel and not just about the women or the Blitz as novel itself feels like veritable literary tour of London.

The novel opens with Lily on duty and having to face one of her fears of enclosed spaces. It was a great start to the novel and you’d easily fall in love with Lily. Her other fears though were not as easily conquered… Aside from her courage, empathy, and her wish to do well unto others, she’s also got a great sense of humour. Maybe that’s her Aussie flavoured humour that coloured her interactions with her friends and gave the book a reminiscent air. We follow Lily through her struggles with daily life during the Blitz; the grief of losing a friend and the joy of falling in love. There were some shaky moments where I thought things were just not going to be right with this book but thankfully, all was made quite well! I had to give the book a bit of a hug from relief and an affectionate pat when I finished reading for I was well & truly shaken.

There were a number of characters both likeable and despicable in this book and the variety and dynamics between these characters were really quite interesting. The book is told from Lily’s perspective only so in a way, we miss out on a lot about the other characters as only a few were well developed. However, as this is the first book of a trilogy, I do believe we will get to know some of the others quite well later on (and I look forward to this!). What you cannot mistake in this novel is the author’s views on anti-semitism (ignorant) and Hitler (evil); she’s loud and clear on that front. Hear! Hear! These things can never be stated enough and whilst Hitler is gone, there are still those like him & share his views.

If you loved the show, Call the Midwife, or the books that inspired it, you would love Ambulance Girls. Lily Brennan may not be English but she’s as brave as those midwives in facing uncertainties & adversities of the time. And I dare say that her Australian personality shone through especially against the foil of English reserved façade.

Thanks to Penguin Books Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

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Review: Life After Life

life after lifeLife After Life by Kate Atkinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: Uncorrected Proof provided by publisher

The essential idea of Life After Life is similar to the movie, Groundhog Day, except that it does not repeat only the one day but a number of pivotal life events from which there is a chance of an alterable future. A concept, I’m sure, each one of us would love to experience… What would have done differently? If you had the chance, would you save your loved one or would you save the world?

Life After Life began with a very interesting little chapter that got me truly excited. From this, I expected some sort of intrigue –a war spy sort. However, the book really began with the birth of Ursula Todd and her chances at life. At first, I was enjoying the novelty of this concept applied to Ursula. I enjoyed hanging out with Ursula and her family but halfway through the book, it wore off and I was getting restless as I felt this isn’t going anywhere…

Unfortunately, Ursula also wasn’t going anywhere fast. It took her sometime to affect that which is most precious to her in life and there were just lives where she drifted away. She was, to me, too slippery to grasp. I really wasn’t sure what to make of her.

I might be a bit slow but I finally got the point right at the end when it was all spelt out for me –despite, I realised retrospectively, all the clues in the book. I was a little disappointed as my expectation was for something grander. However, after a certain period of consideration, it really is a lovely story.

Thank you, Random House via The Reading Room, for copy of ARC

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