Sabine’s War: The Incredible True Story of a Resistance Fighter Who Survived Three Concentration Camps by Eva Taylor

Sabine’s War: The Incredible True Story of a Resistance Fighter Who Survived Three Concentration Camps by Eva Taylor


An astonishing tale of romance, resistance and bravery

Sabine’s War is the previously untold story of a remarkable resistance fighter and her incredible story of survival against the odds.

When Germany invaded Holland in May 1940, Sabine Zuur joined the resistance movement without a moment’s hesitation aged just 22. Helping to hide those avoiding the German authorities, she was soon betrayed and subjected to repeated violent interrogations. Many of her friends were executed but Sabine was instead sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp, via the Amersfoort and Ravensbrück camps. Enduring gruelling conditions and backbreaking forced manual labour, she survived through a combination of guile and good fortune.

But it was only after Sabine’s death that her daughter Eva discovered an archive of letters detailing her extraordinary life, revealing a rich inner world and a past she had discussed little. Amongst them were declarations of love from pilot Taro, shot down in his Spitfire over northern France aged just 26; notes from Sabine’s second love Gerard, executed by the Germans; letters to her mother smuggled out in her prison laundry; and passionate, creepy missives from a German professional criminal named Gebele who would ultimately save Sabine’s life. She emerges from this correspondence as a woman with an indefinable aura, somehow in control of her own destiny even when to all intents and purposes she was not.

A transfixing story of survival, Sabine’s War captures a remarkable life in the words of the young woman who lived it.

My Review:

Today is my spot on the blog tour for Sabine’s War by Eva Taylor (Harper North) which is published tomorrow 31st March. This is the true story of Sabine Zuur a brave Dutch resistance fighter, her story is told by her daughter Eva Taylor after she discovered an archive of letters and photographs after Sabine’s death. The letters detailed her incredible life as a resistance fighter in Holland.

Sabine Zuur was born in Samarang, Java, Indonesia in 1918 and the family moved to Holland in the early 1930’s. In the letters the Eva discovered, she manages to put together her mother’s life. As the Second World War engulfed Europe, Sabine was in love with Taro who was a fighter pilot flying Spitfires and Taro was shot down while on active service over France. Sabine like many others joined the Dutch resistance when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands in May 1940, Sabine was just 22 years-old at this time. One of her roles was to hide those that needed shelter from the Nazi regime now in control in Holland. This was a dangerous position to be in and soon Sabine was betrayed by those that colluded with the Germans.

Sabine Zuur now faced a brutal period at the hands of her Nazi interrogators as they sought to find others in the group. Sabine was not just brave she was courageous to face what she endured, but not she was to face two years in concentration camps, she was first in Amersfoot, and then Ravensbrück before being marched to Mauthausen concentration camp situated in Upper Austria. Many of her friends were executed and a number of times she believed that she was next. Sabine faced terrifying conditions with forced manual labour and little food.

Sabine managed to smuggle out letters to her mother. But it was a German criminal by the name of Gebele that despite the fact that he seemed to send Sabine terrifying letters it was he who ultimately saved Sabine’s life. The fact that she managed to survive at all is an incredible story and a powerful story at that. Sabine Zuur was brave and courageous, and her story needed to be told for future generations to understand. Sabine’s War is a remarkable story of survival against the odds.

224 Pages.

My thanks to Sofia Saghir (Midas PR) for the review Copy of Sabine’s War by Eva Taylor which is Published by Harper North on 31st March 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through that supports your local independent bookshop. UK

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The Green Indian Problem by Jade Leaf Willetts

The Green Indian Problem by Jade Leaf Willetts


Set in the valleys of South Wales at the tail end of Thatcher’s Britain, The Green Indian Problem is the story of Green, a seven year-old with intelligence beyond his years – an ordinary boy with an extraordinary problem: everyone thinks he’s a girl.

Green sets out to try and solve the mystery of his identity, but other issues keep cropping up – God, Father Christmas, cancer – and one day his best friend goes missing, leaving a rift in the community and even more unanswered questions. Dealing with deep themes of friendship, identity, child abuse and grief, The Green Indian Problem is, at heart, an all-too-real story of a young boy trying to find out why he’s not like the other boys in his class.

Longlisted for the Bridport Prize (in the Peggy Chapman-Andrews category)

My Review:

Every now and again a book come along and just leaves and indelible mark on you and even when you finish reading you cannot stop thinking about the book. The Green Indian Problem (Renard Press) by Jade Leaf Willetts is just that book. It was longlisted for the Bridport Prize but could quite easily pass you by. If you do get the chance buy a copy you will not be disappointed.

The story is set in South Wales, and it follows seven-year-old boy called Green, it is the time of Thatcher, albeit towards the end of Thatcher’s era as Prime Minister. It is a story has Green as the narrator, he is wise beyond his years, and he is inquisitive and is looking for answers to some questions in life. He is a boy you will take to your heart and cheer for. His parents are separated, and he does not get on with his mother’s boyfriend, Dennis. Home life is not at all good and there is clearly something not right here as you will read and Green, sets all this out in his diary that he writes as he finds it easier to set out what he sees everyday and the questions of his daily life at home and his school life and also about himself, he is a boy not a girl.  But at times there is so much child like innocence and humour that you cannot help yourself being but love him even more.

But then one day his friend goes missing and this leaves Green looking for answers to questions beyond his years. I have to say that Jade Leaf Willetts has written something really quite special here and cries out to be read. The Green Indian Problem is just beautiful, tragic but warm and funny at times and I for one highly recommend reading.

208 Pages.

My thanks to Renard Press for the review Copy of The Green Indian Problem by Jade Leaf Willetts. Published on 22nd March 2022 and is now available directly through Renard Press  Also via Amazon and can be ordred through your local independent bookshop or through that supports your local independent bookshop. UK

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River Clyde by Simone Buchholz

River Clyde by Simone Buchholz

Translated by Rachel Ward


Mired in grief after tragic recent events, state prosecutor Chastity Riley escapes to Scotland, lured to the birthplace of her great-great-grandfather by a mysterious letter suggesting she has inherited a house. 

In Glasgow, she meets Tom, the ex-lover of Chastity’s great aunt, who holds the keys to her own family secrets – painful stories of unexpected cruelty and loss that she’s never dared to confront. 

In Hamburg, Stepanovic and Calabretta investigate a major arson attack, while a group of property investors kicks off an explosion of violence that threatens everyone. 

As events in these two countries collide, Chastity prepares to face the inevitable, battling the ghosts of her past and the lost souls that could be her future and, perhaps, finally finding redemption for them all.

Breathtakingly emotive, River Clyde is an electrifying, poignant and powerful story of damage and hope, and one woman’s fight for survival.

My Review:

I know that I have said this many times on my blog about how creating characters in novels is so key to the success of the storyline, but in Simone Buchholz she nails this brilliantly in her books. Book five featuring the state prosecutor Chastity Riley hit the bookshops last week. River Clyde (Orenda Books) and follows on from Hotel Cartagena which was released in March 2021.

If you are new to this series of books by Simone Buchholz you may want to get hold of a copy of the previous book in the series Hotel Cartagena as this follows on as you get a real insight to some of the events that take place and will give you a real idea as to were this book takes off from.

Chastity Riley is still in a real state of shock after the events that took place in Hotel Cartagena. Chastity is in a pretty dark place that is until she receives an unexpected letter and now leaves Hamburg and her role as state prosecutor and heads to Scotland it now appears she has inherited a property but just who has left her the house? What we see in River Clyde is a different Chastity Riley. The events have left her shaken and our lead character is struggling. Being in Scotland may help and we are now seeing a very different character. In Scotland she is now looking into the past that connects her family history. So, this is a bit of a personal storyline not the usual crime novel that we have become accustomed to, but that does not mean to say that back in Hamburg there is not a crime that her team are investigating. This is much more of a sombre novel.

But there is something very different about River Clyde that I was not expecting that only Simone Buchholz could have done. I had the feeling that Chastity was on a personal journey to confront the past which could unlock her future for her, an emotional one for both Chastity and the reader. It was unexpected and yet revealing.

It is translated by Rachel Ward who again has done a magnificent job. River Clyde is different from the previous books in the series but a brilliant read. What now for Chastity Riley?

Pages: 276

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) and Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for the review Copy of River Clyde by Simone Buchholz Published Orenda Books on 17th March 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through that supports your local independent bookshop. UK

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The Man in the Bunker by Rory Clements

The Man in the Bunker by Rory Clements


Germany, late summer 1945 – The war is over but the country is in ruins. Millions of refugees and holocaust survivors strive to rebuild their lives in displaced persons camps. Millions of German soldiers and SS men are held captive in primitive conditions in open-air detention centres. Everywhere, civilians are desperate for food and shelter. No one admits to having voted Nazi, yet many are unrepentant.

Adolf Hitler is said to have killed himself in his Berlin bunker. But no body was found – and many people believe he is alive. Newspapers are full of stories reporting sightings and theories. Even Stalin, whose own troops captured the bunker, has told President Truman he believes the former Führer is not dead. Day by day, American and British intelligence officers subject senior members of the Nazi regime to gruelling interrogation in their quest for their truth.

Enter Tom Wilde – the Cambridge professor and spy sent in to find out the truth…

Dramatic, intelligent, and brilliantly compelling, THE MAN IN THE BUNKER is Rory’s best WWII thriller yet – perfect for readers of Robert Harris, C J Sansom and Joseph Kanon.

My Review:

First things first, this is the first book by Rory Clements that I have read, and I have to say it is a brilliant read from the first page through to the last. The Man in the Bunker (Zaffre) is a gripping World War II novel. The cover gives that away but even if like me you have not read any of the previous novels this does not in anyway spoil the read.

It is late summer, 1945 and the war is over, and the world can slowly begin the path to recovery, and for Cambridge Professor Tom Wilde now he can get back to the life he had before the war. Tom Wilde’s role in WWII was as a spy and now he can put this behind him or so he thinks. The allies are now rounding up senior Nazis to face trial for the atrocities during the war. But the leader of the Nazis Adolf Hitler spent the final weeks of the war in the bunker in Berlin as Berlin was being pounded by the Soviets. Hitler was said he would commit suicide in the bunker rather than being taken alive by the Soviet army and taken back to Moscow. Now the story is that Hitler did not commit suicide and somehow managed to escape the bunker and get out of Berlin.

Just to add to the mystery two British agents that were investigating whether Hitler was alive or not have been found murdered. Now Professor Tom Wilde who was just looking forward to getting back to normality is sent for to take up the investigations and is joined by Lieutenant Mozes Heck. Heck clearly has very personal reasons for hating any Nazis he comes across and his ways of extracting information is brutal and would rather kill everyone one of them and this puts both in real danger at times, but this does not stop Heck one bit, far from it. The pair will travel and track down anyone who they think will have information as to the whereabouts of senior officials with information about Hitler.

This is a really tense and pulsating read mixing both fact and fiction to create a powerful novel, there are times when some of the information about what really took place is distressing but what Rory Clements has created is a story at just under 500 pages that takes you not just into the heart of Germany just after the war but across Europe as both Wilde and Heck track down those they seek. What is described is the hell that was parts of Germany and parts of Europe as those misplaced people searched the ruins for loved ones.

No spoilers as to what happens as this is a must read and I for one now must read the previous novels that featured Professor Tom Wilde as a spy in the war. The Man in the Bunker is a stunning spy novel and is highly recommended.

484 Pages.

The Man in the Bunker by Rory Clements is Published by Zaffre and was released on 20th January 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through that supports your local independent bookshop. UK

Women and Love by Miriam Burke

Women and Love by Miriam Burke


Women and Love is a thought-provoking collection of seventeen tightly woven tales about the power of love, all its trials and complications, and the shattered lives it can leave in its wake. The stories explore a huge variety of sorts of love surrounding women in wildly differing settings, and features an unforgettable cast including GPs, burglars, inmates, emigrant cleaners, carers, young professionals, and many more.

Navigating heavy themes, with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ experiences, including gender dysphoria and searching for a sperm donor, the stories leave the reader burning with indignation, full of empathy and wonder. ‘I couldn’t sleep that night; our conversation was like a trapped bird flying around inside my head. The next morning, I texted to say I wouldn’t be coming back. I lied about having to return to my country to nurse a sick relative. I couldn’t bear to see my story mirrored in his eyes, and to see what we never had. I knew he’d understand.’

My Review:

Now I have to admit that I am a bit of a lover when it comes to short stories, and I am grateful to Renard Press for a copy of Women and Love the debut collection of short stories by Miriam Burke. Seventeen stories about love and the power of love.

The beauty of short stories is that there are so many narratives and characters, and each story is so tightly written. This is love in all its forms with LGBTQ+ being a particular focus. In the stories you get to meet Doctors, prison inmates, burglars, carers and many more. I was really taken by how Miriam Burke went about creating such a remarkable cast of characters. There is something for everyone in this collection.

These are everyday scenarios that the stories tell, and you feel that you want to know more about each of them. Sometimes love can lead to good things, sometimes bad, and sometimes you can just not read a moment very well. They are all here. It is a thought-provoking collection and there are key moments in each story that you can take away and think about.

Miriam Burke is a writer from the West of Ireland and her short story collections have appeared in anthologies and many journals. Miriam has a PhD in Psychology and before becoming a writer she worked for many years as a Clinical Psychologist in London hospitals and GP surgeries. Women and Love is her debut collection.

224 Pages.

My thanks to Renard Press for the review Copy of Women and Love by Miriam Burke Published on 23rd February 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through that supports your local independent bookshop. UK

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