Fire and Ice is chugging right along. Here we are at Day 11! Are you entering the giveaways and enjoying the posts? I have more stops for you today:
Cambria Hebert@CambriaHebert: Cameo Renae
Sara@Sara In Bookland:Komal Lewis: Impossible
Christy@Love of Books: Kristin Halbrook:Nobody But Us
Karla@Book Addict: Jus Accardo
Kimba@ The Caffeinated Reviewer:Stacy Gail: Nobody's Angel
Veronica @ Mostly Reviews:RIchelle Mead: Vampire Academy
If you need anything your hostess for the week is CambriaHebert: so be sure to check her blog.
Today, I have a historical romantic read set during the World War II era. I personally am always drawn to this time in history as I like to see how the world was for my grandparents. I have author Pam Jenoff here with her latest book: The Ambassador's Daughter Pam wrote a lovely and poignant post on how grief helped her write this book. First, here is Pam's bio:
Pam Jenoff was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. Following her work at the Pentagon, Pam moved to the State Department. In 1996 she was assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. It was during this period that Pam developed her expertise in Polish-Jewish relations and the Holocaust. Pam left the Foreign Service in 1998 to attend law school and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked for several years as a labor and employment attorney both at a firm and in-house in Philadelphia and now teaches law school at Rutgers. Pam is the author of The Kommandant's Girl, which was an international bestseller and nominated for a Quill award, as well as The Diplomat's Wife, Almost Home, A Hidden Affair, The Things We Cherished and The Ambassador's Daughter. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three children. Visit Pam on her website, Facebook, twitter and Goodreads.
Here is Pam to tell us about her journey through grief:
On Writing And Grief
I lost my dad on January 3 last year. He slipped away during a nap on a cold, blustery afternoon much like this one while I read to my three preschoolers in our playroom not a mile down the road, oblivious to what was happening. Four days later, while shiva (the Jewish mourning period) was not yet over and the condolence cards lay unopened on the table, I sat down at the computer to resume work on The Ambassador’s Daughter. Looking back now, I can see that my writing and myself as a writer were both fundamentally changed.
My dad was not a reader. He had only in the past year committed himself to reading one of my books, The Things We Cherished, and he awarded himself one of my son’s potty training stickers each time he painstakingly finished a chapter. There were six stickers on the book when he died. I tucked a photo of my children inside and I put it in the casket with him. Nor did he really understand my job, the kind that could be done as easily in pajamas or Starbucks as in an office. He was an honest critic. Just two months before he died, he came to one of my book events and told me that I spoke too fast and said “um” too much. But he was a staunch supporter of my dreams and I will miss mightily with this book release the e-mail he always sent to his friends around the world, exhorting them to buy his daughter’s latest title.
It was not just the looming deadline that compelled me to keep going. My editors would have understood. I needed to go back, though. To say I lost myself in the work would be cliché and untrue, because the pain was always there. But getting to the computer each morning became kind of a ritual that kept me going. The writing became a bit of an escape for a few hours. Hearing from my publisher about covers and publication dates were little lifts for my spirit in the darkness. I would say that, other than my children, it was the writing that sustained me.
It has been a year and it has not gotten easier. Like a broken leg, Anne Lamott said once, that never quite heals properly. Indeed, this is the first time I have written about it. But I remember as a child how he kept going when his own parents passed. He would expect no less from me. And so I press on with my work.
The grief affected my writing too. When I started The Ambassador's Daughter , my first book to explore in-depth the father daughter relationship, I did not know that my own dad would not be here for the completion. In the book, Margot’s father suffers a serious illness. I had at one point considered killing him off (something that was perhaps prescient) but had to keep him for the sake of story. If only I could have done the same for my own dad. What I’ve been through has made me think more deeply about love and loss and the relationships that define our lives. I grieve lost characters in a way I had not previously, and rejoice more deeply in the lives of those who carry on. Writing provides a connection to my dad in that way. I can feel the love in every word I type.
Thank you, Pam for such a touching post. I know your father is watching over you and as proud as ever. Best of luck to you! As part of The Fire and Ice Tour, Pam is generously offering a signed copy of The Ambassador's Daughter to one lucky U.S. resident. Fill out the Rafflcopter to enter. Good Luck!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
The Ambassador's Daughterby Pam Jenoff
Paris, 1919.The world's leaders have gathered to rebuild from the ashes of the Great War. But for one woman, the City of Light harbors dark secrets and dangerous liaisons, for which many could pay dearly.
Brought to the peace conference by her father, a German diplomat, Margot Rosenthal initially resents being trapped in the congested French capital, where she is still looked upon as the enemy. But as she contemplates returning to Berlin and a life with Stefan, the wounded fiancé she hardly knows anymore, she decides that being in Paris is not so bad after all.
Bored and torn between duty and the desire to be free, Margot strikes up unlikely alliances: with Krysia, an accomplished musician with radical acquaintances and a secret to protect; and with Georg, the handsome, damaged naval officer who gives Margot a job—and also a reason to question everything she thought she knew about where her true loyalties should lie.
Against the backdrop of one of the most significant events of the century, a delicate web of lies obscures the line between the casualties of war and of the heart, making trust a luxury that no one can afford.Paperback, 336 pagesPublished January 29th 2013 by Harlequin MIRA
Three and a half stars: A compelling look back at a historical time of great change.
Margot accompanies her father to Paris where he is a German delegate for the Peace Conference of 1919. It is a hopeful time as the powers of the world attempt to forge a new understanding and new world order after the harsh and brutal culmination of World War I. Margot is hiding a secret....a secret of her heart. She is not in love with her fiancé, Stephen. Stephen was a friend who courted her before the war and she promised him her hand before he left to fight, but her heart never beat wildly for him. He returned four years later, a crumpled and wounded man, a shell of his former self. No matter how hard she tries to convince herself to marry him, she can't. Paris provides an excellent opportunity for her to escape. Stephen's letters lay on her table, unread as Margot begins to forge new friendships and to express her own opinions on politics, not knowing that her mutterings will land her in a very precarious position. Margot befriends a German solider, Georg, and she begins helping him translate documents for the peace conference, hoping the two can make a difference for Germany. She doesn't expect to find herself falling head over heels in love with him, but she can't love him as she is engaged to another man. Will Margot listen to her heart or follow societal expectations?
What I Liked:
- I admit, my knowledge on World War I is limited, especially when it comes to the proceedings that followed. I am aware that the powers that be tried to establish a New World Order and they laid the groundwork for the U.N. and such. I do know that the reparations taken toward Germany were the beginnings of the unrest that ultimately led to Germany's participation in World War II. This book helped me to understand a bit more about the time and the Peace Conference. I liked learning more about this historical time and I could easily see the start for the prejudice against the Jews. Of course, it is easy to look back and see how Germany was treated at this peace conference and conjecture why they armed against the rest of the world, but to live it is a whole other matter.
- Margot is a complex character indeed. She is a young woman who feels the strangling constraints of society and her family's expectations tightening around her like a corset. Her impending nuptials pull tighter and tighter as she continually struggles to break free and live her own life. She is on the cusp of new beginnings for women all over the world, as the women in Germany have just gained the right to vote. Slowly, women are breaking free of the traditional roles of wife, mother and caretaker and allowing themselves to envision futures with careers, travel and opinions of there own. It is a struggle for her to free herself from everything and it is a reminder for all of us women today of all that our predecessors endured in order for us to have the freedoms we enjoy today. I very much liked reading Margot's journey.
- I adored the relationship between Margot and her father. They have been on their own for over ten years since the death of her mother and they are as close as can be. Yet, they have their differences as well as their secrets from one another. Their relationship is complex like any relationship and throughout the book it is tested several times. I admired the way the two were able to talk openly and come to an understanding. The relationship felt so real and it was truly my favorite part of the book.
- The romance in this one is not fiery or passionate. It is more of a slow burner, and I liked that. It starts as a slight attraction and grows into a friendship and then something more. It is fraught with difficulty as Margot is engaged to another man, and Georg has never really been in love. It moves at a slow and steady pace, and it takes its time to develop, which made it seem genuine. I liked that the pair were able to overcome so many obstacles.
And The Not So Much:
- This book moves at a slow pace, and it took me awhile to settle into the story. I was very interested in the Peace Conference and learning more about this period in general so I was able to keep reading. The final third of the story picks up the pace and it moves to a fast, jaw dropping finale. There is a big reveal and a very surprising event at the end that notched up the action. You must be patient with this one, and I assure you the ending really packs a punch.
- I read an ARC version of this book, and I am guessing that this will likely be corrected in the final copy, but there were numerous times when the story jumped ahead in time from one paragraph to the next and I was confused. I noticed that there were no chapter breaks in my copy so I think that when the story unexpectedly jumped ahead when there was likely a chapter change.
- I have to admit, the big twist at the end was not surprising to me at all. I think because I saw a movie that incorporated this same idea and it was in my head throughout the book. Also, there were some indications along the way that totally made me think there was something amiss with Margot's friendship with the musician. It was still a startling reveal despite my previous conjectures.
The Ambassador's Daughter was an entertaining read that revealed to me the struggles that women in this era faced as they fought to move beyond the traditional female role. It was a time of great promise, as the world powers attempted to find a peaceful solution after the tragic war, but in the end their efforts set in motion the unrest in Germany that ultimately led to World War II. I enjoyed learning more about this time period and following Margot's story. If you are a fan of historical fiction and want to learn more about this era definitely pick them.
"Papa has always accepted me wholly as I am, with all of my rough spots and imperfections."
"There is no peace without war."
"It's a hard thing to be rejected simply for being who you are."
"The war changed people in so many ways and we all have to live with who are now."
"There is no one in the world to whom I feel closer than Papa. Yet despite our deep affection, there are vast areas of darkness, things unsaid, parts of ourselves that we cannot share."
"The things he has seen have worn grooves in him, like driftwood pounded by the water, making him fascinating in a way that other men simply are not."
"It's always politics, isn't it, unless it is our own point of view? Then it is the truth."
"What is it about ourselves that makes us believe we can change great events with our thoughts and deeds?"
"There's a connection between us, a spark that would burn through the decades, through the everyday, and all of the great hurts and triumphs."
"I reach out and cup my hand around the back of his neck, holding him. Everything I have ever wanted is both inches and lifetimes away."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Check in tomorrow for a fun Friday Forecast and Saturday I have a hot, big girl panty book:Confessions of an Alli Cat (The Cougar Chronicles, #1) by Courtney Cole as Fire and Ice continues.