It all starts with an author’s note.  “Yes, it’s true” is the message Andy Andrews shares with his readers before they even get to the first page.  Otherwise you’d think you were reading a work of fiction – a story that could only come from the deep imaginings of Hollywood’s best.  Instead, The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances brings forth an extraordinary true story about World War II, German U-Boats, Nazis, mystery and intrigue – and the whole thing takes place on the Gulf Coast of America.

Most Americans have no idea that German submarines were out there sinking US ships right off our very own coastlines, but it’s true. Just the tip of the iceberg in this true tale, The Heart Mender tells about a woman who’s living the heartbroken life of a young WWII widow. She was cold, unforgiving, and angry. So when she finds an injured German soldier washed up on the Florida shoreline, the last thing on her mind is helping him.

The Heart Mender is full of real mystery and intruge it’s true, but it’s also a story of romance, forgiveness, and the often unexpected good heartedness of humankind.  Remember the whole Bridges of Madison County thing where we all bawled our eyes out because we thought it was true?  Then no one could turn up any National Geographic issues with bridge photos, we found out the author made the whole thing up, and readers everywhere threw up their hands in despair at the trick.  But The Heart Mender is the real deal, and it’s every bit as necessary to keep the Kleenex at hand at the end. (Okay, at the beginning and middle too.)  So if you need a bit of enccouragement – indeed if you need your own heart mended – and if crying your eyes out over emotional, jaw-dropping endings is your thing, here’s your next read.

06. January 2009 · Comments Off on Churchill’s Hour – A Novel of Defiance – by Michael Dobbs · Categories: historical nonfiction · Tags: , ,

One of the great perks of reading is having the ability to leap across the boundaries of time and space.  How else could one ever have the opportunity to follow Winston Churchill, peak into his private life, and perhaps see how the famous old bear really lived?  Michael Dobbs presents his readers with just such an opportunity, one that will help lend a whole new appreciation to the force of nature that was one of the heroes of World War II.

Written as a novel, Churchill’s Hour: A Novel of Defiance drops you right into the turmoil that was Winston Churchill’s daily life as he attempted to convince America to join in the war before Hitler swallowed England whole.  Most people know the U.S. took convincing and that we hung back until the last possible moment, but I doubt many of us have ever seen the struggle from quite this angle before.  It’s a fascinating look at Churchill’s tenacity and love of country.  

Equally fascinating is the opportunity to peer into Churchill’s personal life and get to know a little about those closest to him including members of his family, none of whom were near being perfect.  His son fought with living in the shadow of one of the most controversial characters of the era.  His daughter-in-law, with whom he was very close, began getting too comfortable with someone who wasn’t her husband – someone Churchill knew and trusted.  And Churchill himself had a bit too much of a relationship with the bottle at times.  But despite his shortcomings and the painful distractions from his personal life, Winston Churchill changed the course of history.  Churchill’s Hour: A Novel of Defiance is a provocotive look into the man, one that gives us as readers the opportunity to traverse through time and stand face to face with a historical giant.