Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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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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The Things We Cannot Say

I have a new favorite book for the year! Of course it’s historical fiction. If you’re not into historical fiction, I apologize, but I am trying to mix it up. It just so happens that the books the keep coming off my holds list or that are available are the historical fiction! I do have a stack of books my mom gave me, though, so I’m working through those and one one is this genre.

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer was great. It jumps back and forth between present day and the start of WWII in Poland. Alina knows she will marry Tomasz when he returns from medical school, but before that happens, the Nazis infiltrate their town near the Germany border. Her family must make tough decisions to survive, including choosing between their own children and keeping the farm up and running for the Nazi but also keeping themselves alive.

In present day, Alice tries hard to balance being there for her dying grandmother, her son with special needs, and the rest of her family. And when her grandmother sends her on an epic journey around the world to find answers from birthplace, she gets way more than she bargained for. I love how Rimmer wrote the timeline and how, as a reader, you were about a step ahead of the characters, but never knowing all of the information at once. It was a very emotional story about love and survival, in both time periods. Even though I keep reading the novels set in WWI and WWII, they’re never the same. There were so many experiences and views of those times that each story is unique. I definitely recommend this one, even if you’re not a huge historical fiction fan. Enjoy!


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Lilac Girls

Still loving the historical fiction books and this one may be up there as my favorite. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly was based on real people and real events, which makes it even better.

Three women are followed during and after WWII in Poland, Germany, and America. Their lives cross paths in different ways and they are involved in and affected by the war in very different ways. Caroline is in America, trying to help those affected overseas, especially children and worrying about a man she loves who ends up back in France. Herta is a German doctor who ends up working at one of the concentration camps. Kasia is a Polish teenager who ends up, with her sister, mother, and friend, at one of the concentration camps.

I have read enough WWII fiction and nonfiction that none of the story was necessarily surprising, but it was a more detailed story line about this specific concentration camp and what happened to a group of young girls. And even if you are familiar with WWII events, it never ceases to be completely appalling. What I enjoyed most about this story was that it continued after the war. Even after the liberation of the camps, the pain and damage, both mentally and physically, was incredible and I cannot even begin to imagine that life. But there were people like Caroline, who worked, even many years after the war, to continue to help.

I absolutely loved this story of hardship, friendship, family, and recovery. I definitely recommend it, especially if you like historical fiction.