THE PARIS ARCHITECT by Charles Belfoure

It is Paris in the spring of 1942. Paris, the glorious “City of Lights” is even more wondrous in the springtime….but not for the French, not in 1942. It is the second year of the victorious Nazi occupation, and the French are struggling to get by. There are economic problems with the payment of the costs of a three-hundred-thousand strong occupying German army, which amounts to twenty million Reichmarks per day; lack of food for French citizens – the Germans seize about 20% of the French food production, which causes severe disruption to the household economy of the French people; the disorganization of transport, except for the railway system which relies on French domestic coal supplies; the Allied blockade, restricting all imports into the country; the extreme shortage of petrol and diesel fuel; (one walks or rides a bike); France has no indigenous oil production and all imports have stopped; labor shortages, particularly in the countryside, due to the large number of French prisoners of war held in Germany. And then there was the Jewish problem.

December 8, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, France

THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS by Elizabeth Gilbert

From the opening pages, it is evident that Gilbert can write with lyricism, confidence, and substance. I was afraid that her mass popularity would lead to a dumbed down book with pandering social/political agendas or telegraphed notions. I am thrilled to conclude that this was not the case. Gilbert is a superb writer who allows her main characters to spring forth as organically as the natural world that they live in.

December 5, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Facing History, Family Matters, Reading Guide, United States, US Mid-Atlantic

MURDER AS A FINE ART by David Morrell

MURDER AS A FINE ART by David Morrell is one of the best mystery books I’ve read this year. It is historically based, taking place in the nineteenth century. As some of you may know, Morrell is best-known for his book, First Blood, upon which the the Rambo movies are based. Murder as a Fine Art is very different from his first writings. It is literary fiction and page-turning at its best.

December 3, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Facing History, Literary, Mystery/Suspense

QUEEN OF AMERICA by Luis Alberto Urrea

Like its predecessor, THE HUMMINGBIRD’S DAUGHTER, Urrea’s sequel, QUEEN OF AMERICA is a panoramic, picaresque, sprawling, sweeping novel that dazzles us with epic destiny, perilous twists, and high romance, set primarily in Industrial era America (and six years in the author’s undertaking). Based on Urrea’s real ancestry, this historical fiction combines family folklore with magical realism and Western adventure at the turn of the twentieth century.

November 30, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: California, Facing History, italy, Latin American/Caribbean, Mexico, NE & New York, New Orleans, New York City, Texas, United Kingdom, US Southwest, Washington, D.C., Wild West

THE THIRD REICH by Roberto Bolano

Bolaño cites this quotation from Goethe (also given in German) towards the end of this early but posthumously discovered novel. It is as good a key as any to what the book may be about. The protagonist, Udo Berger, a German in his mid-twenties, is literally a guest — in a hotel. He is taking a late summer vacation with his girlfriend Ingeborg in a beach hotel on the Costa Brava where he used to come with his family as a child. Together with another German couple, Hanna and Charly, they engage in the usual occupations: swimming, sunbathing, eating, drinking (a lot), and making love. But shadows hang over this idyll.

November 22, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Germany, World Lit

11/22/63: A NOVEL by Stephen King

Dedicated Stephen King fans are in for an epic treat—an odyssey, a Fool’s journey, an adventure with romance. A genre-bending historical novel with moral implications, this story combines echoes of Homer, H.G. Wells, Don Quixote, Quantum Leap (the old TV show), Jack Finney’s TIME AND AGAIN, and even a spoonful of meta-King himself, the czar of popular fiction.

November 8, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Alternate History, Facing History, Speculative (Beyond Reality), Texas, y Award Winning Author