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50bookchallenge

Feburary Reads

9.  Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen  This book starts out with Jacob witnessing the death of a man who had two sides to his personality and it then cuts to an older Jacob who is looking at his past life in a nursing home while waiting for his relatives to take him to the circus.  Jacob is looking back at the summer that he had spent working for a third rate circus during the Great Depression.  From his flashbacks we get an idea how circus life really was instead of being as glamorous that we think that it is.  He joins the circus as their vet after losing his parents in a car accident.  He is left without nothing left in the world and has to make his own way.  He meets the various characters that make up the circus and who travels along with them.  He meets Marlena and her husband August who is mentally ill and his mental illness is used to excuse his behavior.  The ending of the book is a surprise and who you think killed August at the beginning of the book is not the same as who did.
10.  Tapestry by Belva Plain  This book starts out in the roaring twenties and ends at the end of World War II and is told from the viewpoint of an American Jewish banker.  It is interesting to see events in American history from a Jewish perspective.
11.  Miss Fortune by Julia London  In this book Rachel Lear who is thirty years old and is still in school for her doctorate has her financial support cut off from her father who wants her to be able to live in the real world instead of the academic bubble that she has created for herself.  She is forced to take a series of temp jobs in order to pay the bills through a magic spell that her best friend has performed a handsome British man enters into her life.  While learning how to rely on herself for support she also falls in love.  She also has an ex boyfriend who has secrets that Rachel learns by the end of the book, Flynn her British boyfriend also has some secrets as well.
12.  Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin  This book begins with the narrator Harriet in jail for transporting illegal liquor during Prohibition during her time in prison she has time to think back on the women who had come before her and their bravery.  Starting with her great grandmother Hannah who hid runaway slaves in times of slavery she thinks about the causes of each of the women and thinks about her place in the world.  Her grandmother, Bebe campaigned for Prohibition while her mother later on in life begins to campaign for women’s suffrage.  Harriet is frustrated with her life when her grandmother tells her to rely on God for purpose in life.  This book talks about how women were treated from before the Civil War to the end of World War I.  There is prejudice against married women working outside the home during this time which you still see today in Christian circles with married women with small children working outside the home though today that prejudice is more subtle than when it was during this time period.
13.  Night by Elie Wiesel  This memoir by Elie Wiesel talks about his time in a concentration camp during the end of World War II.  He is separated from his mother and sisters when he first arrives and is encouraged to lie about his age when he first arrives.  At this time during the war the Germans are losing and are moving the Jews in order to prevent the Allied troops from finding them.  He goes into detail about the horrors that he witnesses in these camps and even during their forced marches.  This is a good book to learn more about the truth about the Holocaust.  
14.  Someone to Blame by C.S. Lakin  The Moore has already experienced plenty of tragedy in their family by losing two of their sons when they move to the small coastal town of Breakers.  When a young drifter moves to town he is blamed for the wave of thefts in the area and other mischievous acts.  The Moore family learns about the blessings that they have.  This is a good book by the author by judging someone by outward appearances and sometimes those early judgements are proved to be wrong.
15.  The Island by Victoria Hislop  This book is a tale of two generations of women who have been affected by leprosy.  Eleni is the first woman in the family to be affected by leprosy and is exiled to the island of Spinalonga after she is diagnosed.  She has two daughters Maria and Anna who are different from each other.  Maria is the one who looks after her father when her mother leaves while Anna dreams of leaving their village behind.  The book opens when Eleni’s great granddaughter, Alexis  travels to the village where her family is from while on vacation.    Alexis is in a loveless relationship when she makes the trip to learn more about her family and to visit the site of the former leper colony.  She meets one of her grandmother’s oldest friends and she learns more about her family history and the secrets that her family has kept for generations.
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