Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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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.


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The Storyteller

New year, new reading challenge! I exceeded my 2019 reading goal, so I set my bar high this year with 50 books. You can follow my progress and books on Goodreads!

My first book of the year was a good one. I’ve read numerous Jodi Picoult books over the years. They are usually pretty heavy topics so I never read more than one of hers in a row. And this one was right up my alley for historical fiction and WWII. The Storyteller is fiction, history, mystery, and deception – all used to tell the stories of numerous people who are related in different ways.

Sage is a baker whose past scars haunts her daily. She attends a grief support group where she befriends an elderly man, Josef who is beloved in their community. Josef confides a huge secret that could have legal and moral implications for him, but also emotional implications for Sage. As she navigates what to do with the information he gives her, she connects deeper with her grandmother and meets someone new who sees past her scars to her true person. I don’t want to give too much away, but the information Josef confesses has to do with the Holocaust and the story goes back to that time for a good bit of the book, with lots of details. So if you are easily affected by tough facts from that time, this may not be the best book for you. But it is truly fascinating and appalling all at the same time.

I feel like I picked a good one to start the year, so here’s to another year of good books!


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The Dressmaker’s Gift

I love historical fiction, especially when a story takes place during World War II. I don’t know why, it’s just fascinating to me. I cannot imagine living during those year, especially in Europe.

The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy takes place in Paris during WWII but also in the current time. Harriet gets an internship working in fashion in the same building that her grandmother lived and worked at during the war. But that’s all that Harriet knows of her grandmother, Claire. All she has is a photo of her and two other girls who lived with her. Harriet just happens to end up living with the granddaughter of one of the other women in the photo, who takes her on a journey learning about her own grandmother and her role during the war.

The war-time story line is fascinating. Claire and the other two seamstresses work with the resistance against the Germans. Two of them end up at a camp and fight to stay alive. The present day story line I honestly could have done without. I found Harriet a little annoying and whiny. I think the story would have been great without that aspect of her finding her past. But that’s just my opinion. I still really enjoyed the book and if you like historical fiction, you should definitely check it out!