It’s the first Monday of the month so you know what that means – Calendar Girls!!! Hosted by the ever amazing Melanie @ MN Bernard Books and Flavia @ Flavia the Bibliophile. If you’re not aware of this event, here is some info. Each month a new topic is chosen for us to post and talk about. Posts are published on the first Monday of every month. A winner is chosen (via a vote) for each round. Sound like fun? It is! Join us – come to the dark side – mwahahaha!! *cough cough* I mean, It’s fun!
This is probably the most difficult topic yet! Historical fiction is one of my absolute favourite genres and so many of the books I’ve read I’ve rated 5 stars. Narrowing it down to just one feels like torture! There’s The Book Theif (Marcus Zusak), that drew me into the life of an innocent young girl with the thirst for knowledge and unconditional love in her heart. Even more heartbreaking than that was Between Shades of Gray (Ruta Sepetys), that brings us on the journey of a young girl as she’s torn away from everything she’s loved and is forced into a camp for many years, struggling to keep herself and her hope alive. And there’s also The Walled City (Ryan Graudin), that brings us into the depths of the Kowloon Walled City where we follow three different people in their attempts at freedom, showing connections and hope within darkness. Yes, these three books were OUTSTANDING but, there’s one that I keep coming back to. And the winner is……….. *drumroll please*…………..
CITY OF THIEVES by David Benioff
During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.
By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.
I wish that I could explain why this book has impacted me so much!! I can try to explain it in words but I know it won’t come close. First of all, the plot. Two men get a second chance at life when they’re given the task of finding a dozen eggs for the Colonel instead of being executed…… I mean what?! That sounds so crazy! As soon as I heard that this book was about finding eggs I knew I had to read it!! We get so many different perspectives and varying degrees of severity when it comes to struggles in WWII. We of course get the perspectives of the two main characters, but as they travel many miles, and across enemy lines, we learn of the trials of many others. Some of their pain is the same, some of them hold on to something that doesn’t make sense to others. Some are able to separate what needs to be done to survive while others are ruined by it. Each and every person they met along the way I found myself absolutely attached to. I didn’t realize just how attached I was until I had tears running down my face and was on the brink of sobbing (which I did after I closed the book!). Best part of all was that there was some humour to it all. Even through the pain, starvation, freezing, weakness, etc, these two managed to form a friendship and find some humour in it all. Especially when it comes to WWII historical fiction, humour is next to impossible to come across. It was done in a tasteful and sensitive way and in just the right amount. I really hope to reread this one soon!!!
So there it is – if I’m forced to choose – right now my choice is this! Have you participated in this event? Are you thinking of it? I hope so!
Until next time, happy reading!