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.

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

Any Other Family

Eleanor Brown has crafted a novel with a new premise: a mother has birthed four children, placing them all up for adoption. The three families that agree to adopt the siblings then form a new family, where they spend holidays together, along with the birth mother, Briana. Vacations, birthdays, really any event of importance, are also celebrated as a group. The idea is to raise the siblings together to keep their familial bond. But when the birth mother is again pregnant, the families need to scout out a yet another couple to join their circle. Of course the moms grate on each other’s nerves from time to time, but ultimately get along. I wonder if this has happened in real life. The author herself has adopted a child, and her intent with this title was to challenge people to redefine their idea of what families are…