TBD on Ning

I sometimes feel like an interloper here.  I come and snitch ideas for books to read and yet I don't really contribute.  I have been blessed to read 3 really good books, or at least I thought they were good, so I thought I would share them here.

A Higher Call by Adam Makos

IDecember, 1943: A badly damaged American bomber struggles to fly over wartime Germany. At the controls is twenty-one-year-old Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown. Half his crew lay wounded or dead on this, their first mission. Suddenly, a Messerschmitt fighter pulls up on the bomber’s tail. The pilot is German ace Franz Stigler—and he can destroy the young American crew with the squeeze of a trigger...

What happened next would defy imagination and later be called “the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II.”

The U.S. 8th Air Force would later classify what happened between them as “top secret.” It was an act that Franz could never mention for fear of facing a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search the world for each other, a last mission that could change their lives forever.

The House at the Edge of the Night by Catherine Banner

Castellamare is an island far enough away from the mainland to be forgotten, but not far enough to escape from the world’s troubles. At the center of the island’s life is a café draped with bougainvillea called the House at the Edge of Night, where the community gathers to gossip and talk. Amedeo Esposito, a foundling from Florence, finds his destiny on the island with his beautiful wife, Pina, whose fierce intelligence, grace, and unwavering love guide her every move. An indiscretion tests their marriage, and their children—three sons and an inquisitive daughter—grow up and struggle with both humanity’s cruelty and its capacity for love and mercy.

Spanning nearly a century, through secrets and mysteries, trials and sacrifice, this beautiful and haunting novel follows the lives of the Esposito family and the other islanders who live and love on Castellamare: a cruel count and his bewitching wife, a priest who loves scandal, a prisoner of war turned poet, an outcast girl who becomes a pillar of strength, a wounded English soldier who emerges from the sea. The people of Castellamare are transformed by two world wars and a great recession, by the threat of fascism and their deep bonds of passion and friendship, and by bitter rivalries and the power of forgiveness.

Catherine Banner has written an enthralling, character-rich novel, epic in scope but intimate in feeling. At times, the island itself seems alive, a mythical place where the earth heaves with stories—and this magical novel takes you there.


The Red Coat by Dolley Carson

Irish domestic worker Norah King's decision to ask her wealthy employer, Caroline Parker, for an elegant red coat that the Beacon Hill matriarch has marked for donation ignites a series of events that neither woman could have fathomed. The unlikely exchange will impact their respective daughters and families for generations to come, from the coat's original owner, marriage-minded collegian Cordelia Parker, to the determined and spirited King sisters of South Boston, Rosemary, Kay, and Rita. As all of these young women experience the realities of life – love and loss, conflict and joy, class prejudices and unexpected prospects – the red coat reveals the distinction between cultures, generations, and landscapes in Boston during the 1940s and 50s, a time of change, challenge, and opportunity. 

Meet the proud, working-class Irish and staid, upper-class Brahmins through the contrasting lives of these two families and their friends and neighbors. See how the Parkers and the Kings each overcome sudden tragedy with resolve and triumph. And witness the profound impact of a mother’s heart on her children’s souls. Carlson brings us front and center with her knowing weave of Celtic passion – both tragic and joyful – words of wisdom, romance, humor, and historical events. Dive into Boston feet first! The Red Coat is a rich novel that chronicles the legacy of Boston from both sides of the city, Southie and 

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for your recommendations, Lyn!  A Higher Call caught my eye and will see if my library has it.  My college boy friend, later a USAF co-pilot of a RB-47, was shot down by the Russians and imprisoned In Moscow's Lubyanka prison in July 1960.  He was one of two  survivors.  When JFK took office he got the two pilots released and brought them home.  Later they wrote a book titled THE LITTLE TOY DOG telling about their experience. I treasure the book and the letter he wrote upon his return thanking me for the prayers.

Hope I can find the book you recomended.       

what a wonderful story.  I hope he had a wonderful life after his release, I cannot imagine being imprisoned.

Thanx for the recommendations Lyn.  I have ordered 2 of them at the library.  

Can't say enough about how much I enjoyed Robert Dugoni's The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell.  Finished it last night and it is very much a memorable read.  Thanks so much for recommending it! Plan to check out some of Dugoni's mysteries as well as any stand alones. 

I just finished The Shadows We Hide by Allen Eskens. It is a mystery, a thriller and was very hard to put down. But more than that, is the story of addiction and redemption. Basically, it tells of the search by a man for his father, who abandoned him before he was even born and a mother who was addicted to booze and meth. I recommend it highly.

thanx for reminding me to put this on hold loruach.  I have read all of his previous books... excellent... all of them, especially The Life We Bury.

In my simple system of annotating books I have read, I have marked those I like best with an asterisk. For The Life We Bury I used an asterisk with a plus sign.

I just finished The Man who came Uptown by George Pelecanos. This writer has never been mentioned (except by me) on this site, so I’ll do so again, because he is really good. And that opinion is supported by the reviews of this, and his other works, on Goodreads, which are mostly given four and five stars.

Pelecanos writes crime novels where the word Noir is often used in reviews. While true of this one, the latest of his novels, the book is as much as anything a celebration of the joy of reading. One of the leading characters is a librarian whose job includes acting as a prison librarian, who recommends and provides books to prisoners and holds book discussions with them. The main character in the story, Michael Hudson, becomes an avid reader and book lover because of her. This, by itself, should make the book interesting to Bookoholics members.

That is what I especially liked about the book, although Pelecanos also skillfully develops his characters, who in spite of (or perhaps because of) their flaws, make his stories so compelling. It is a relatively short book of only 263 pages, but I highly recommend it.

sounds really good loruach, I've never read Pelecanos but always like finding a new author to enjoy. 

Thanx for the recommendation.

This morning I finished The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni. What an extraordinary book it was! I'll not say more about it than to recommend that anyone here who has not done so already.... get it and read it. I have annotated it as a "best read of 2019" candidate when the year draws to an end.

I absolutely agree loruach...  I loved that book as well and have actually gotten others by that author.  I just started The 7th Canon by Dugoni and I think I'm gonna like it also.

I recently finished a WWII novel that is worthy of a recommendation.  The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker is set in Germany during the war and (spoiler alert) is based on a true story...  which you don't find out until the authors notes at the end of the book... but I like to know that ahead of time... makes the story more believable. Hope those of you who like the WWII genre will give it a try.

I agree! Have read most of Dugoni’s books since reading THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE of SAM HELL.  Am now reading most of James Grippanodo’s mysteries. Am most fond of his JACK SWYTECK novels.

For a change of pace I’ve checked out the late Charles Krauthammer’s THE POINT OF IT ALL.  Always admired him!




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