Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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The Nightingale

I realize I am about 5 years behind in reading this book, especially considering how much I love historical fiction, but better late than never! And since I’ve loved 2 of the author’s other books it comes as no surprise that I loved this one.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is up there as one of the best historical fiction books I’ve read. It’s 1939 and the Germans are taking over France and tearing families apart. One sister, Vianne, tries to keep her head down and survive in the small town she lives in. The other sister, Isabelle, wants to do everything she can to fight against the Germans. And their father, who sent them away as children after their mother died, is working for the Germans in Paris. They all end up taking very different paths through the war but also having similar and shared experiences. It’s a story of love, war, family, and survival at all costs.

This book is intense at times and, as I always say, I cannot imagine how so many people survived that war. Definitely read this one!


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The Alice Network

Another fantastic historical fiction! I definitely need a break now, though from war stories. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn follows three unlikely friends, all dealing with their own ghosts from their pasts. Eve was a spy in WWI and is still haunted by people and actions from her time in France. Finn, a little more minor character, was a soldier in WWII. Charlie (short for Cahrlotte) is in search of her cousin who hasn’t been seen since the end of WWII.

This crew finds each other and their lives begin to interlace in ways unimanginable. They cross countries in search of leads and answers. And along the way, we read of Eve’s adventures and tasks as a spy. This book was fascinating to me, especially after learning that some of the characters were based on real people. Not the 3 main characters, but the others in the spy network Eve worked in – The Alice Network – were. I think I will always be fascinated by WWI and WWII historical fiction because, again, there is so much information and so many stories. And the stories about women’s roles in those times is so interesting.

Check it out and let me know what you think!


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Orphan Train

Thanks to my mom for sharing this book! Like the last book, this is a story set in two different times. But the two main characters share a very similar life. Both orphaned at a young age and left to survive the system. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is still historical fiction but it wasn’t directly set during a World War. Many historical events are happening during the story but they are not the main story. I had no idea that in the 1920s orphans in the northeast were put on trains and taken around the midwest to try to find families, so this was an interesting new piece of history.

Molly is seventeen and has been through many foster families. When she gets in trouble and has to do community service, she ends up at the house of 91-year-old Vivian. She’s there to help her go through her attic and get rid of things, but quickly realizes Vivian doesn’t actually want to get rid of anything. What she begins to learn, though, is that Vivian has a fascinating story and one that mirrors her own, to some degree. Vivian was also orphaned as a child and began an incredible and sometimes horrific life journey at the age of seven.

This was a great quick read and definitely a unique story line. Enjoy!