Influences of American history in compelling and lasting ways
This year is the 100th anniversary of U.S. entry into World War I, and just last month many veterans and others across our country marked the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, a turning point for the Allies in World War II. Both conflicts have influenced American history in compelling and lasting ways, and with World War II in particular, these episodes offer insight and inspiration for those dealing with various kinds of adversity in the seven-plus decades since.
We all react to adversity in different ways. Some find their way out by helping others, others by creating art to inspire and entertain. The ability to find humanity and beauty, even when the world is full of destruction and sadness, makes for a story well worth reading, like the ones in today’s column. Although several of them are set during World War II, each one is unique and offers a compelling perspective of this famous conflict.
“The Chilbury Ladies Choir” by Jennifer Ryan begins in 1940. In the quaint village of Chilbury, England, everyone has the war to worry about, but on the home front there is a crisis: no men to sing in the church choir, since the war began. Several bold ladies decide to form a women-only choir (imagine the shock) and bring music to the town. Meanwhile, the rest of the town is not as cozy as it looks, as the readers will discover by following the ladies’ journal entries and letters.
Different points of view are an important part of “The Women in the Castle” by Jessica Shattuck. In spite of the title, there are no fairy tale princesses in this castle, only Marianne von Lingenfels. Her husband died in a famously failed plot to assassinate Hitler. Left to pick up the pieces of her beloved homeland, following World War II, Marianne vows to find and protect the widows of the other conspirators, but it is no easy task. After being reunited, the women have the difficult task of learning to survive and protect their children—all while living with the dark secrets and the horrible choices they kept from even their rescuer, Marianne.
Another example of someone who was compelled to help others is the heroine of “Lilac Girls” by Martha Hall Kelly. The lives of three women, from three very different places, begin to entwine when one of them is sent to a women’s concentration camp during World War II. Despite its grim subject matter, this is historical fiction that people are talking about: inspiring, well-researched and based on a real person—Caroline Ferriday, whose story is now being told.
Finally to France, quickly overrun by the Nazis during the early days of World War II, where we have the setting for “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. Two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, must live side-by-side with the enemy, while one of them joins the Resistance and risks her life to save others and help the Allied cause.
Lastly we feature “Jewels in the Junkyard: An Artist’s Guide to Find Healing After Loss” by Warren Ludwig. We’re so proud to add this to our collection since the author grew up in El Dorado, and because it fits in with today’s topic. The book features not only Ludwig’s wonderful drawings and his late wife’s photographs, but he’s also written about his loss and coming to terms with grief. He found his art was a tremendous help, and now we can enjoy it as well.
Don’t wait to get your hands on these titles—they are going fast! Visit the SouthArk Library today to secure your free library card, access to Hoopla Digital and other new and exciting offerings! Library staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:librarystaff@ southark.edu> and (870) 864-7115, or at our website www.southark.libguides.com<http://www.southark. libguides.com/>! We’ll see you in the library!