Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Nevermore: Lost German Slave Girl, The Road, Gap Year, Her Last Flight, Miracle at At. Anna, Twisted Twenty Six

Reported by Kristin

Nevermore book club members read widely and love to share their findings with others, whether that be in person or more recently during our Zoom meetings. This week, one reader enjoyed The Lost German Slave Girl by John Bailey. In 1818, a group of Germans migrated to the United States intending to settle in Philadelphia. After spending months on ships, many of them dying, some of the survivors ended up at the Port of New Orleans where they were treated as indentured servants to pay their expenses. One young girl who lost most of her family is sold into slavery, and doesn’t learn of her heritage until 1843. Our reader found this true story to be really interesting in that New Orleans culture was so richly portrayed using court documents and first person accounts.

The next Nevermore reader was sadly disappointed in one of the books she read this week, The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Even though this title is a national bestseller and won McCarthy the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished fiction by an American author, (and even though this reader usually enjoys books about walking,) she found this one to be a total waste of her time and she could not name one thing that she liked about it.

Fortunately, our disappointed reader also picked up a new book by a local author that included walking, and enjoyed it much more. Gap Year: Rambling Through Brambles in England and Scotland by Anna Hess is a retrospective of sketching nature twenty years ago, as the author looks back at her earlier travels during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a small book which uses distinctive art and hand lettering to share her memories. Two more volumes are expected, covering the author’s continued journey through Costa Rica and Australia.

In historical fiction, Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams recounts the tale of Janey Everett, a photographer and war correspondent intent upon researching aviator Sam Mallory. In 1947, Janey is looking back over the last decade of early flight, and seeks answers, that may or may not lie in a remote area of Hawaii. Our reader enjoyed the book and recommended it to others.

Miracle at St. Anna by James McBride was yet another piece of historical fiction, this one also very much enjoyed by our next reader. Four black American soldiers in the Second World War, aka “Buffalo Soldiers,” found a different culture as they served in Italy. A heartwarming story, the black soldiers discovered a community without prejudice based on the color of their skin. Our reader claimed that she could not put it down.

Lastly, another book club member read Twisted Twenty-Six, the latest in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Grandma Mazur is up to her usual high jinks, but this time she makes it all the way to the altar with gangster Jimmy Rosolli. Fortunately, Stephanie doesn’t have to hear about the wedding night, because the groom expires from a heart attack within his first hour of marital bliss. Our reader called this a very silly, light read, and a great escape.

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