Midnight on the Marne

I haven’t read a lot about World War I, so I enjoyed this title by Sarah Adlakha. Her main character is a French woman named Marcelle Marchand, who joins a nursing unit along with her sister Rosalie, with whom she is very close. Marcelle also becomes a spy for the British Intelligence, and is called “the witch of the river” for her ability to outsmart the Germans. Eventually she is captured, and tortured until two American soldiers help her escape. The descriptions of the torture were tough to read, but it was the reality of her experience. The author offers differing views of the plot, with the idea that two of the characters return after being killed, to change outcomes of the war. Adlanka did model her story on real people, places and events, even while taking liberties with other elements. All in all, it was a satisfying read.

Skinny House: A Memoir of Family by Julie L. Seely

Despite having limited details and most of the book’s featured people being dead, Julie Seely paints a vivid picture of her family’s experience during the Depression. Now instead of seeing an architectural anomaly, I see a man who tried his hardest to hold his family together. 3/5 stars.

–An anonymous summer reading participant

Two Nights in Lisbon

This mystery/ thriller begins with American Ariel Pryce visiting Lisbon with her husband of three months on a business trip. She wakes up alone in the hotel and her husband has disappeared. She goes to the police and the US embassy for help to find him. The beginning started off quickly grabbing my interest, but the drawn-out protracted uncovering of the past and the crime got bogged down. I was curious enough to read until the end, but felt it could have been a better story if it was tighter and more compact.

The Long Ride Home

A new picture book recently released tells the poignant story of two best friends, a koala and a tiger. On a long car ride home, the koala friend is reminiscing about the good times they’ve had together in the past. But as the car ride ends, it turns out they had lived next door to one another, until the tiger moved away. A sweet children’s story about separation, just in time for the angst of starting school…

Book of Night by Holly Black

This was an interesting book but it took awhile to get into and actually understand what was going on as the beginning was very confusing. Overall it was entertaining for what it was, though I didn’t realize going into it that there would be a sequel. So waiting until the 2nd book would probably be best before starting this one. 3/5 stars.

–An anonymous summer reading participant