She Came to Slay - Book Review

June 19, 2021 



Today, June 19th, we celebrate the anniversary of the freedom of the enslaved Blacks from slavery and oppression.

What better way to celebrate this day than to talk about Harriet Tubman, the American abolitionist who escaped slavery and managed to bring over 70 enslaved folks, including her parents and siblings, to Canada, on foot.

'She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman', written by Historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar, is an informative biography that details the life of Harriet Tubman in a way it's never been heard or read before, narrating her time as a slave, her escape, and her resilience to free her people.

This woman was bold, ambitious, resilient. She would let nothing stop her, not even her bouts of seizures that came on her randomly and left her unconscious for hours. These seizures began when she had a hard hit on her head that cracked her skull and left her bleeding and almost dead. She was left to die with no aid or help, and in spite of her injuries, she was still expected to continue her duties as a slave to her owner. Through all of that, she survived, pushed on, held on to her faith, and determined to get out of the evil bondage called slavery.

She managed to escape all the way to Canada, with the help of the Underground Railroad (a secret network of abolitionlists), and after settling herself, she made plans to return for her folks, for she felt her freedom meant little if the rest of her family and black folks were still enslaved. She felt she had been called by God to free her people from slavery, so she went back. Back and forth she traveled, on foot, and came back to Canada with more free black folks.

Harriet became the first woman -- black or white -- to plan and lead an armed military expedition during the civil war. She was a spy, an advocate, and a suffrage.

If activists and abolitionists like Harriet hadn't pushed back against slavery and, years later, against segregation, slavery would likely still have continued until this day, and blacks and whites would still have been brazenly separated today.

Harriet was a true inspiration, and she cannot be talked about enough. She is known as the Moses of her day, literally freeing her people from Pharaohs and advocating for their rights.

Indeed, Harriet Tubman 𝘤𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘭𝘢𝘺.

Happy Juneteenth💖🔥


The Book of Lost Names - Book Review


BOOK SYNOPSIS
Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.

An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice Network, The Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil.


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Whenever I'm blown away by a book, it takes me a long while to review it because I'm still processing what I read and trying to get my thoughts together. This was one of such reads.

'The Book of Lost Names' by Kristin Harmel is heartbreaking, thrilling, and head-swooning all at once. I typically like a good romance that goes beyond 'boy meets girl' storylines, but this! This was so much more. The book covered several themes and was such a lovely read, it's definitely among my top favorite reads of all time.

It was enlightening to read details of the Holocaust and WW2 from the perspective of a forger, Eva Traube Abrams, a member of a Resistance group, and my heart broke many times just reading through the pages. Although it's a book of fiction, it's inspired by the true story of the Jewish children who fled to Switzerland with forged papers during the war, and the forgers and the Resistance groups who risked everything they had to help them escape.

It's hard to go into more details without revealing several spoilers, so I'll just leave it here for now and conclude by simply saying 'The Book of Lost Names'  is 𝘥𝘦𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺 a book to pick up. Perhaps some day I'll give a full literary review of this book. It's one of those books that leaves an permanent imprint within you.

I look forward to reading more books by Kristin Harmel!🔥

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 
Genre: Literary fiction, History, Romance
Maturity rating: 13+



Why She Wrote - Book Review


 
Talk about Literary classics! 

"Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers", written by Hannah K. Chapman and Lauren Burke and illustrated by Kaley Bales, features eighteen (18) women writers in the 18th-19th centuries whose unique writings became their legacies. ⁣
 ⁣ The book is a combination of prose and illustrations, and it explores 𝘸𝘩𝘺 these women wrote, crucial moments in each writer's life when their writing took a turning point, and how they became such sensations -- some while they still lived, and others posthumously.⁣ ⁣
I loved how reading about these women took me down memory lane to my university days when we studied their works vigorously in my English Lit classes. Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, Jane Austen, Mary Anne Evans (alias George Eliot), Mary Wolstonecraft Shelley, Frances E. W. Harper, Louisa May Alcott -- these ladies' works are, to me, the embodiment of what classic literature is all about.⁣

It's evident a lot of research was done to put this book together to what it is now -- a beautiful compilation about the women who took literature to different levels, and whose legacies still live on today. ⁣ ⁣
To anyone looking to read more classics -- this book provides a great introduction. An exceptional read indeed.⁣ ⁣ Many thanks to Chronicle books and Netgalley for my advanced e-copy in exchange for an honest review. "Why She Wrote" was published on April 20, 2021 and is available for purchase.⁣ 
 ⁣ ⁣ ᴍʏ ʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 ⁣
ᴍᴀᴛᴜʀɪᴛʏ ʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ: 13+
ɢᴇɴʀᴇ: ᴄʟᴀꜱꜱɪᴄ ᴍᴇᴍᴏɪʀꜱ, ʟɪᴛᴇʀᴀʀʏ ᴄʟᴀꜱꜱɪᴄꜱ, ɢʀᴀᴘʜɪᴄ ʟɪᴛᴇʀᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ⁣