Matthew 14:6

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Matthew 24:6 KJV

Friday, April 21, 2017

Book Review: Rose of Anzio #3 DESIRE by Alexa Kang




About Rose of Anzio – Desire:
(Volume 3): A WWII Epic Love Story

“We have so much ahead of us, Tessa. What we have ahead is this sea. It’ll be the same sea we’re looking at now, vast and beautiful. It’s already here, waiting for us. It won’t change. The war can’t take it away.”

The third book of the Rose of Anzio series, this sequel to Jalousie is a love story that blossomed in the midst of WWII.

Caught in a brutal war of attrition with no end in sight, Lieutenant Anthony Ardley faces the challenges of fighting the enemy and gaining the respect of troops. When their captain embarks on a plan that will lead to their doom, their survival hinges on what choices Anthony will make.

On the Anzio beachhead, Tessa Graham reunites with Anthony and becomes an army nurse, but finds herself in direct line of enemy fire. While under siege, she meets the handsome, charismatic Jesse Garland, the medic from New York with a hidden past who harbors a secret admiration for her. Their encounter leads him to question everything about his life. Will their growing bond become more than she can handle?

This continuing saga traces the history of the Battle of Anzio, one of the most heroic and least recognized stories in WWII history. It follows the U.S. Army Third Division as they fight through Southern Italy and beyond.


Excerpt:


     In the months that followed, Anthony had come to realize that he, along with the rest of the infantry soldiers and non-coms under his command, were nothing more than dispensable tools for Harding. The only exception was Wesley. Wesley was a rare soldier whom everyone considered to be a perfect fighter. Harding usually gave weight to Wesley’s opinions, but not always. As Wesley had said, the captain had his own agenda. What the agenda might be, Anthony could never guess. And now, he couldn't figure out why Harding was resisting their suggestions either.
     “Command may have plans we don't know about yet.” An odd, fervid gleam flickered in Harding’s eyes. Anthony couldn't make out what it meant, but it unsettled him. “Our order is to hold,” the captain said. “We'll hold. We’ll secure the beach heads.” He straightened up to indicate the discussion was over. “That'll be all, gentleman.” He acknowledged them and took his leave.
     After he left, Anthony turned to Wesley. “That's it? There's nothing we can do?”
     Wesley gave him a stern look. Anthony thought the situation had come to a dead end, but Wesley's expression loosened and he pulled a photo  out of a file on the table. The photo showed a German Wehrmacht officer, an intelligent - looking man in his early thirties with a cunning demeanor.
     “This is German Army Major Heinrich Klaus, star commanding officer on the battlefield. He's the reason why the captain doesn't want to push ahead.
     Anthony looked at him, puzzled.
     “When we first took Sicily, Klaus was leading the German defense on the ground. He was only a captain then, Wehrmacht Hauptmann. We found him when we attacked and captured a German outpost, except we didn't know then he was with the Wehrmacht. He was wearing an American army uniform."
     "What?"
     "he pretended to be an American army captain and a prisoner of war captured by the Germans."
     Anthony looked more closely at the man in the photo.
     “He spoke perfect American English. We found out later he spoke perfect Italian too. We questioned him every way we could. His answers were impeccable. He had us all fooled.” 
     Anthony thought about how Klaus might have come to possess an American army uniform, but he didn't want to ask what had happened. Most likely, Klaus and his men had captured a real army captain, interrogated him, and killed him. That must have been how Klaus could deceive even Wesley. Klaus had enough information to pass himself off as one of them.
     "We verified everything as best as we could, but all the troops had just landed in Sicily. Communications were terrible. Everything was disorganized. All the units were still trying to link up. He was with us for two days. He and the captain spent quite some time together. They hit it off like brothers. He was very helpful to when we were making our way in and needed to gather information from the locals. Unfortunately, he also gathered a lot of information from us.” Wesley's eyes tensed. “Including some that were military secrets. He got most of that from Captain Harding himself.”
     Anthony widened his eyes. “What happened then?”
     “Then he disappeared. When we finally regrouped with the rest of our division, we found out who he really was.”
     Anthony exchange glances with Warren. Warren looked as surprised as he was. Anthony picked up the photo. “Did regiment know?”
     Wesley smiled but didn't answer.
     “There were reports of company M finding a captain from the 45th division who was reported missing,” Warren said, his voice hesitant as he too was still taking in what Wesley had just told them. "he was lost again, presumed dead.”
     Wesley took the photo of Klaus. “The captain vowed he would never let Klaus off if he finds him again.” He gave Anthony a grave, cautionary look before putting the photo back into the file. “Well, we just learned, Klaus is now a major. He's someone high on division command’s radar. He's commanding and leading the German's Anzio ground defense under Kesselring."
     “That means Klaus is on his way here,” Warren said.
     “Is that why the captain doesn't want us to push on?” Anthony asked.
     Wesley glanced at the entrance. When he was sure no one was near, he said, “The captain won't give up any chance to get Klaus. If Klaus is coming here, the captain is ready to meet him here.” Without waiting for Anthony and Warren's response, he gathered up the files. “You're never to discuss this with anyone else,” he said and left the tent.
 


My Book Review:



This book is many things. It is a glimpse at a military campaign in Italy with which I was not familiar until I read this book. New names, and the challenges of both the soldiers involved and the medical personnel kept busy by the myriad of casualties made this chapter in World War Two history come alive for me.


Then there was the situation of a fairly new lieutenant, Anthony Ardley, what most battle-hardened soldiers considered a 90-day wonder, who finds himself leading men after the loss of his mentor and example. How can he gain the trust of his men? How can he protect them from the decisions of those who are in authority over them who have their own private agendas that they put ahead of the most effective battle plan operations and the safety of their men? I love how the author presented this scenario (one I’m sure has always existed and exists even today more often than we would like to consider), and how she had her hero resolved the issue.

Then there was the love triangle. I am in love with Anthony myself, so it does not surprise me that Tessa is, also. In addition, Tessa is serious-minded, not your usual flirty gal trying to attract the attention of the men around her. Not only are Tessa and Anthony in love, but a man who has always been able to attract women and charm them into giving him what he wants in exchange for him convincing them they are irresistible finds for the first time he is in love. Jesse is a guy I love to hate, but almost feel sorry for. Great how this part of the story is written.

The worst part of his book? It is part of an epic—a four-part series. The story of the three main characters continue in the next and final book.





However, I would not let that deter a reader from starting from the beginning and reading to the end. I will be doing a book review on the last book, Remembrance, in two weeks. I read and loved the first book, Moonlight, which you may purchase by CLICKING HERE. You may find my book review for the second book, Jalousie, by CLICKING HERE.
 

About the Author:

Alexa Kang’s debut series, Rose of Anzio, was first released on Amazon on January 22, 2016. Alexa grew up in New York City, and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She has traveled to more than 123 cities, and she loves to explore new places and different cultures. This September, she took a special WWII tour of Southern Italy to visit historical sites of the Allies’ Italian campaign (including the sites where scenes from Rose of Anzio occurred). You can view the albums of her tour on her Facebook Author Page.

When not at work, Alexa lives a second life as a novelist. Alexa loves writing larger-than-life romantic tales and hopes to bring you many more. 

Connect with Alexa Kang:
 
 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Book Review: UNWAVERING







About Unwavering:

From inspiration to heartache, hope is fleeting as
freedom becomes a distant memory…


Wilhelm Quedlin’s plan to change the tide of the war is thwarted when he is arrested. And, making matters worse, with the arrest of his wife, Hilde, the fate of their children is thrown into chaos. The situation is desperate and the circumstances become even more dire when Q finds out who was behind his capture and imprisonment.

Yet hope remains...

In the midst of their situation, Q and Hilde are encouraged when they meet like-minded political prisoners in the penitentiary and rumors of reprieval make the rounds.

Despite darkness and despair looming in the distance, their hope never fades.

Will they evade the inevitable and come out unscathed by the claws of the Gestapo?
 
Purchase links for Unwavering:


Excerpt from the Author’s Notes:

     Most of what I know comes from letters that Q (Hansheinrich in real life) and Hilde (Ingeborg) sent to their family members. Unfortunately, the letters the two of them exchanged during their time in prison were never found.
     The letter to Q’s cousin Fanny in America (in Chapter 44) never made it across the ocean and was later found at the prison Plötzensee.
     I took some artistic liberty with the person of Werner Krauss. He is a real person who survived the war and was indeed Hansheinrich’s cellmate, but only for a few months. Krauss wrote a 33-page report about his involvement with the Schulze-Boysen group, which included several pages about his time in Plötzensee, sharing a cell with my grandfather. From this report, I have reconstructed their friendship to the best of my ability.
     Pfarrer Bernau, the priest, was modeled after the Catholic Priest Buchholz and his Protestant colleague Harald Poelchau, who worked both in Plötzensee and belonged
to the Resistance.
     The Plötzenseer Blutnächte, when the mass executions were carried out, happened between September 7 and 12th after a large portion of the prison was destroyed. Apparently, Hitler had complained about the slow clemency appeal process shortly before the air raids, but the destruction of many holding cells might have been the perfect excuse to speed up the killings.
     It is not known why Hansheinrich Kummerow and Werner Krauss were among the few who were spared during those terrible five nights……

     After the war, the family was further torn apart by politics. Some of them lived in the part of Berlin that belonged to the German Democratic Republic, the rest in West-Berlin, and the Federal Republic of Germany.
     Hilde and Q’s good name wasn’t completely reinstated for decades in the Western world because they had the “wrong” political reasons in their fight against the Nazis.
     During the Cold War, it was unthinkable to commemorate someone who had believed in the ideals of communism and had worked together with the archenemy, the Soviet Union. This changed only with the reunification of Germany in 1989.
     But it wasn’t until 1995 when a student of political sciences visited my parents’ house to write a bachelor thesis about my grandfather. This was the seed for me to start challenging old beliefs and stoked the desire to learn what really happened.
     Thankfully, my uncle had collected all letters from that era, and I was able to reconstruct much of their lives and their characters from those letters and other material.

My Book Review:

This book grabbed my interest from the very beginning. It starts with the main character, Wilhelm Quedlin known to friends and family as “Q”, being arrested by the Gestapo. At almost the same time, his wife, Hilde, is also arrested. They are separated from their two young children who are allowed to go with family. Much of the story takes place while the two are in prison awaiting the outcome of their trials and legal pleas.

The author liberally used letters written between the characters to move the plot forward. It turns out many of these letters are based on letters actually written by the people on which these characters are based.

This well-written story is based on the lives of the author’s grandparents. What a legacy to leave to their descendants. It leaves me pondering if I or my family members would have the courage to do what her grandparents did and be willing to endure the hardships involved in order to work for what they believed to be best for the future of their country.

This is the third book in a series. You may read my reviews of the first two books, Unrelenting and Unyielding, by clicking on the hyperlinked titles. I definitely recommend reading each of the books in order.
 
About the Author:

Marion Kummerow was born and raised in Germany, before she set out to "discover the world" and lived in various countries. In 1999 she returned to Germany and settled down in Munich where she's now living with her family.

After dipping her toes with non-fiction books, she finally tackled the project dear to her heart. UNRELENTING, UNYIELDING and UNWAVERING are the story about her grandparents, who belonged to the German resistance and fought against the Nazi regime.

UNWAVERING is a book about resilience, love and the courage to stand up and do the right thing.
 
Visit her blog at kummerow.info or her facebook page at facebook.com/autorinkummerow


Connect with Marion Kummerow:
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