Tag Archives: WW2

Diana’s Autumn Book Reviews (5) The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea

Why did I chose this book?

It is a novel set on another familiar island; an evocative story based on truth. We visited The Orkneys several years ago and loved them, especially the uncovered layers of history everywhere you turn, from Mesolithic and Neolithic tribes through to World War 2. There is none more moving than the Italian Chapel built from an old Nissen hut and beautifully painted by Italian Prisoners of War, as if it was a famous chapel in the heart of Rome. I looked forward to reading The Metal Heart, not only to whisk me back to The Orkneys, but to also to bring these Italians from WW2 alive in my head!

Did I feel empathy for any particular character?

I could not help but be drawn both the Dorothy and Con as they struggled to survive; supporting each other through thick and thin and comforting each other for the loss of their parents. They escaped the town for a tiny island, only to be surrounded by strangers who become more than that, especially to Dorothy. I can imagine being entranced by the building of the chapel and mesmerised by the inside of it. Not to mention the exotic Italian men who created it!

Is there a lasting thought or memory from the book which remains with me long after the novel is finished?

Self sacrifice ~ Dorothy and Con gave up their seclusion to be war time nurses on the main island, and yet their gain was to keep safe from harm.

Then there was ultimate self sacrifice ~ I will not expand on this to be a spoiler, but it made me question, and still does when thinking about it:

  • ‘How much do I give of myself for the benefit of others?’ ‘In the end is it true that I gain as much myself, as I give?’
Many people talk of ‘service before self.’

What do you think?

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Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Reading a novel

Scottish Author ~ Book Review ~ Hamish Brown and EAST of WEST, WEST of EAST

Following the series of blog reviews of ‘Contemporary Scottish Authors’ in the Spring I thought I’d continue by introducing you to other exciting literary discoveries made since I moved north of the border.

51egwbmuHVL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Hamish Brown is a prolific local author who lives in Burnisland, better known for his exploratory books about expeditions on mountains both here in Scotland and further afield in the world.

‘East of West, West of East’ is quite a different venture for Hamish. This is an account of the life of his family at the time of the fall of Singapore and their amazing escape from Japan, finding themselves refugees, seeking shelter and safety. The parallels with people today in their plight was not lost on me as I was reading.

Hamish has chosen to use actual letters to take you back to the thoughts, fears and unimaginable experiences of his close family, especially his father. With Hamish’s eloquent style, the reader is able to fill in the gaps and imagine living alongside both those fleeing war and those awaiting news at home in Scotland.

A compelling read of a period of history of which I am less familiar, made all the more poignant by having met the author on numerous occasions.

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Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Scottish authors