The Zookeeper’s Wife (Diane Ackerman)

The Zookeeper's Wife MIT.indd

When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city’s zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen “guests” hid inside the Zabinskis’ villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital.

Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes.With her exuberant prose and exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Diane Ackerman engages us viscerally in the lives of the zoo animals, their keepers, and their hidden visitors. She shows us how Antonina refused to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her.

—                         —                         —

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman is one of those books I’ve been hearing about for a few years, without knowing much about, other than it was set in World War II. It is actually a non-fiction book, that tells the story of a husband and wife in Nazi-occupied Poland and their efforts in the Polish underground. Together, they saved scores of Poles from Nazi SS squads, and participated in organized groups to undermine and sabotage Nazi operations in Poland.

I found the information in this book to flow well between factual and narrative, although at times the author did seem to briefly fall down a rabbit hole of information linked to – but not directly regarding – the Zabinski family or their efforts.

Growing up in Canada, I mostly learned about WWII in relation to the Western Front, the causes, the homefront, and conflicts between Japan and the USA. We spent very little time on lessons about the Eastern Front except as a lead-in to the Cold War and relations with Russia post WWII. So learning about the underground Polish Resistance was fascinating, particularly because one of my close friends is from Poland. There were multiple times throughout the books where I listened to Antonina Zabinski’s story and thought of my friend’s grandparents, who likely shared those experiences.

I listened to the audiobook version of this story. It took me longer to get into than most of my other recent books, but eventually I did fall into the rhythm of the story and listened with avid fascination, and at equal turns horror.

The narrator moves between the narrator’s normal European accent and heavy Polish, Russian, and German accents depending on who is speaking in the narrative. While this did help me to distinguish between individuals during conversations, it was at times jarring as well.

The Zookeeper’s Wife was turned into a blockbuster film in 2016. I’m not sure if it is one I will be able to watch. Although the focus of the story is not set on animals being hurt or killed during the war, it does happen, and that is something I usually cannot tolerate in media. For now, I will stick with what I have learned from the book.

* * * *

xx

Advertisements

Eventide of the Bear – January 26th

CheriseSinclair_EventideOfTheBear_200

I am so excited about this book. It comes out January 26th and is the loooong awaited third instalment to the Wild Hunt series.

The Wild Hunt series is paranormal. Were-creatures (lions, bears, wolves…) have their own communities in the mountains, ruled by the Consantir of the territory who is given his legitimacy by the God Herne. While I am not usually a huge fan of fantasy, Ms. Sinclair does it right.

I am a huge fan of Cherise Sinclair, she is my most trusted author. Which means that she is the one author who I will follow into uncharted territory, whether I like the sound of a book or not. I trust that she will make it all ok, and is an automatic one-click in my books. I’ve been waiting a long time for this book, hopefully it will help clear away some of the mid-winter blues!

Here is the blurb to Eventide of the Bear:

She risked her life to save a human child.  Pain was her reward.

All her life, Emma longed for someone to love. Instead, disaster sees the brand-new bard banished from her people for long lonely years. Injured saving a child, the werebear has to steal food from humans, breaking shifter Law. The territory’s Cosantir and his lethal grizzly warrior catch her in the act. To her surprise, she’s healed and welcomed. Obviously, they don’t know her past. But oh, she can’t resist being around other shifters—especially the captivatingly powerful warrior. Maybe she can stay…just a little while.

As a grizzly warrior, Ben is ordered to house the pretty werebear until she heals. His littermate abandoned him, his home is empty, and he’s been alone for a long time. Intelligent and sweet and lushly curved, Emma is a delight…even if she is oddly reticent about her past. Although having sworn off females, he’s sorely tempted by this one. Damned if he doesn’t want to keep her, secrets or not.

Females were trouble. Years past, one split Ryder from his littermate. Now the panther shifter is returning to Ben, bringing his cub with him, a four-year-old he stole from the abusive female. To Ryder’s annoyance, his brother is sheltering a wounded bear. A female. Even worse, she’s beautiful and gentle and loving—damned if he’s going to fall for that act again. But when the dark of the moon arrives and death reigns supreme, he’ll discover that not all females are alike.

In a world filled with hellhounds and pixies, can three lonely shifters and one silent cub create a new family together? 

Genre: Paranormal erotic romance (menage)

Ms. Sinclair has posted an excerpt from the first chapter on her website. You’ll find it here.

The two books in this series are Hour of the Lion, followed by Winter of the Wolf.

xx

Cover Reveal: Reaper’s Fire by Joanna Wylde

reaper's fire

Are you ready for Gage and Tinker’s story?!

Coming June 28th, 2016

Blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Joanna Wylde returns to the “wild and raw” world of the Reapers MC with the story of Gage and Tinker…

 

The club comes first.

I’ve lived by those words my whole life—assumed I’d die by them, too, and I never had a problem with that. My Reaper brothers took my back and I took theirs and it was enough. Then I met her. Tinker Garrett. She’s beautiful, she’s loyal, and she works so damned hard it scares me sometimes . . . She deserves a good man—one better than me. I can’t take her yet because the club still needs me. There’s another woman, another job, another fight just ahead.

Now she’ll learn I’ve been lying to her all along. None of it’s real. Not my name, not my job, not even the clothes I wear. She thinks I’m nice. She pretends we’re just friends, that I’ve still got a soul . . . Mine’s been dead for years. Now I’m on fire for this woman, and a man can only burn for so long before he destroys everything around him.

I’m coming for you, Tinker.

Soon.

 

Available for Pre-order at the following retailers.

Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/1mD6Sma

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1IOuRJI

iBooks: http://apple.co/1JUbzxl

Nook: http://bit.ly/1mzrJaD

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1Uu6bXu

Google Play:  http://bit.ly/1SxRDaQ

About the Author:

joanna wylde

Joanna Wylde is a New York Times bestselling author and creator of the Reapers Motorcycle Club series. She currently lives in Idaho.
Stalk Her: Website | Facebook | Twitter |  Goodreads