ARC REVIEW: A Woman Of War – by Mandy Robotham

Title: A Woman Of War
Author: Mandy Robotham
Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: December 7th 2018
Publisher: Avon
Finished reading: November 30th 2018 
Pages: 352

“When you saw so much horror, destruction and inhumanity in one place, it was the simplest things that broke your resolve and reminded you of kindness in the world.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Avon in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I always have a weak spot for WWII historical fiction… As soon as I recognized the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp entrance I was able to see with my own eyes a few months back on the cover, I just new I had to read A Woman Of War. Although I admit I was a bit disappointed to not see that particular camp featured, there is no doubt that the author has a very interesting premise here. The plot of A Woman Of War is a proper fictional one and more a what if? story than one based on true events. It also shows some pro-Nazi characters in a very positive light; something you don’t see often in historical fiction, but also something I’m not sure how I feel about. The writing style flows and makes it quite easy to read this story rapidly despite the sometimes heavy topics and more graphic scenes. It shows that the author is a midwife herself, as there are detailed descriptions about women in labor and birth itself. The main character Anke is a midwife and her role is key in A Woman Of War. It brings forth a very interesting ethical and moral question: either Anke helping one of Hitler’s inner circle’s women during her pregnancy and betraying her own beliefs, or her refusing and being responsible for the death of her family. Seeing pro-Nazi characters in a positive light makes me feel uncomfortable and I could have done without the romance, but overall it was quite an interesting read. Anke’s flashbacks of her life before working as a midwife and during her time as a prisoner in Ravensbrück were a good balance to the more ‘fictional’ present narrative. Fans of the genre will no doubtly find A Woman Of War an interesting read.

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Anke Hoff used to work as a midwife in Berlin, but she was caught helping a Jewish woman deliver her baby and sent to camp Ravensbrück as a political prisoner and enemy of the Reich. Then one day she is called with the request to serve as the midwife of one of Hitler’s inner circle, with a clear threat that if she refuses or doesn’t do her job, her family will die. Soon after her arrival at the Berghof she learns nothing is as it seems, and she finds herself torn between her duty as a midwife and her hatred for the regime.

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There is no doubt that A Woman Of War offers quite an original take on a what if? situation that could have changed everything. I’m not sure what to make of the way the pro-Nazi characters are portrayed, but it is definitely quite unique no matter how you feel about it. The writing was solid and I especially enjoyed Anke’s flashbacks even though the parts set in Ravensbrück were quite brutal. All in all an interesting although a bit unorthodox WWII historical fiction read.


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WWW Wednesdays #199 – December 5th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently almost finished with Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, the final book for the When Are You Reading? challenge. I could have finished it days ago, but I’ve been busy prepping and painting walls, ceilings and other DIY stuff, leaving me without much free time to do other things… Including all things bookish. It also explains why I’ve been MIA lately… The fun part is that I’m still not finished either. xD I promise I will bloghop and answer all pending comments soon!

I’m also starting the ARC My Life In A Cat House by Gwen Cooper. How could I resist that cover? It sounds like an interesting read as well… And yes, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon finally appears on my currently reading list. I’m hoping to making a dent in the story as soon as I finish my other current reads.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Blue Blood by Sara Blaedel (4/5 stars) REVIEW 13/12
This translation from a Danish crime writer (also called Call Me Princess in some translations) was without doubt an entertaining ride. The writing style was easy to like, and I just loved the setting in Denmark. I was drawn to the story and plot straight away, and found myself literally flying through the pages… Trigger warnings are in place for rape and violence, but the subject is really well handled and reading more about the dangers of online dating is definitely intriguing.

2. A Woman Of War by Mandy Robotham (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/12
There is no doubt that A Woman Of War offers quite an original take on a what if? situation that could have changed everything. I’m not sure what to make of the way the pro-Nazi characters are portrayed, but it is definitely quite unique no matter how you feel about it. The writing was solid and I especially enjoyed Anke’s flashbacks even though the parts set in Ravensbrück were quite brutal. All in all an interesting although a bit unorthodox WWII historical fiction read.

3. Love Looks Pretty On You by Lang Leav (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 11/12
Unfortunately, I can’t say Love Looks Pretty On You turned out to be an entirely positive experience. There was just something about the writing style and tone this time around that didn’t manage to convince me completely. I found that the poems in Love Looks Pretty On You lacked proper cohesion between them and there was no absolute theme and obvious connection between all of them. Instead of the positive tone I was expecting from the title, there were a lot of negative feelings portrayed in the poems. Not bad perse, but not what I expected and somehow I wasn’t able to connect to most of the poems.

4. The Songbird Girls by Richard Parker (4/5 stars) REVIEW 19/12
I always enjoy reading Richard Parker‘s thrillers, and this sequel to a new detective series is no exception. The writing style makes it easy to fully emerge yourself in the story, and the case detective Tom Fabian has to investigate this time around is without doubt fascinating. I love myself a good serial killer mystery! I did have my doubts about certain aspects of the credibility of it all and I was surprised to see this story was rather ‘mild’ compared to his other dark, twisted and nailbiting stories… But it was without doubt an entertaining and still thrilling read. And that ending! I’m definitely impatient to find out what will happen in the next one.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Sorry Not Sorry by Sophie Ranald is one of my next pending ARCs, and it sounds like a superfun read at that. Just the change of genre I need! I also want to read A Spark Of Light by Jodi Picoult some time soon… And I need to read the ARC The Girl Without Skin by Mads Peder Nordbo soon as well. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble.


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WWW Wednesdays #198 – November 28th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading two titles… The first a historical fiction ARC set during WWII: A Woman Of War by Mandy Robotham. The second one of the physical copies I got during our Europe trip and one I’ve been meaning to read: Blue Blood by Sara Blaedel. I totally didn’t realize this was the second book of a series, so fingers crossed it can be read as a stand-alone.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Children Of Blood And bone by Tomi Adeyemi (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/12
While I do have to say that this first book of a new high fantasy series failed to blow me away completely, I can also understand the love for this story. In fact, I was going to give it an even higher rating before the appearance of the romance scenes… Which I felt were completely unnecessary and made me feel a little disappointed. The writing is good though, and I really like the idea behind Children Of Blood And Bone. The quest was a bit too simple to my taste, and the plot twists a bit too abrupt, but overall it was without doubt a very entertaining YA fantasy read with pleasant enough characters.

2. Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW
If you are looking for an interesting thriller read with an original touch, Hunting Annabelle is a good option. Set in 1986, this story doesn’t follow the typical thriller structure and plot and with the help of unreliable narrator Sean you will find yourself spinning in circles while you try to figure out what is happening. The final twists were a bit too farfetched and over the top to be credible for me, but it definitely isn’t something you will see coming… Dark, intriguing, a healthy dose of blood and serial killer and a very interesting mental health angle: Hunting Annabelle has it all.

3. Babel by Gaston Dorren (3/5 stars) REVIEW 04/12
Some of you might already know I’m actually a philologist and linguistics has always been one of my favorite areas of study. Therefore I thought Babel would be perfect for me… I mean, traveling the world through twenty languages that together can make you communicate with at least half of the world population? Sounds like pretty much a dream topic for philologists to me. Sadly, this book failed to hit the mark completely for me.

4. Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt (3/5 stars) REVIEW 05/12
The idea of a historical fiction read with a Western vibe about a gang of female outlaws sounded absolutely fascinating, so I’ve been looking forward to Heresy. While I still think the idea behind this story is fascinating, somehow I wasn’t able to enjoy the execution as much as I thought I would. Between the slower pace, lack of cohesion and parts that dragged, it took me a relatively long time to reach the final page. And while I rooted for Margaret and her gang, I also somehow just wanted to get it over with… And that’s never a good feeling. I do think this was mostly me though, so if you don’t mind a slower pace and an unusual format, you will probably enjoy this one.

5. PLUS+ by Bethany Rutter (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/12
I know, I know, you are probably as surprised as I am to see this title pop up on my blog. PLUS+ isn’t just a little out of my comfort zone, it’s waaaaaay out. But, as someone who has struggled with her weight her whole life, there was just something about this title that drew me in.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

With only one month left in 2018, I really need to step up my goal game and finally read my 800+ pages book. So I’m going to start Outlander by Diana Gabaldon soon! I’ll probably read it in between other books depending on how much I like it. I also need to read a few more pending ARCs… The Songbird Girls by Richard Parker and Here And Now And Then by Mike Chen are probably next. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble; I won’t be able to get to it this month, but I’m hoping to read it before the year is over.


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