Ike And Kay by James MacManus – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

From the fogbound streets of London reeling from the Blitz, acclaimed author James MacManus, conjures a compelling historical novel based on the true story of the secret love affair at the heart of the Second World War.

It is 1942, and war-battered London plays host to the imposing figure of General Ike Eisenhower on a vital mission for the US army. Kay Summersby, an ambulance driver who survived the horrors of the Blitz, is chosen to be his aide, a role that will change her life forever. Charmed by Ike s affable and disarming nature so different from the stiffness of British military convention she accompanies him during the North African campaign against Rommel and the war in Europe against Nazi Germany. Amid the carnage a secret affair unfolds between the General and his attractive aide. Rumours of Ike s infidelity reach across the ocean to Washington and worse yet, to his wife. In a time where scandal and war threaten to break them apart, can Kay hold on to the man she loves?

Ike and Kay is a thrilling tale of wartime romance, brimming with love, duty, sacrifice and heartbreak, set against the backdrop of the most tumultuous period of the twentieth century.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Ike And Kay was a novel that appealed to me when I read the synopsis despite knowing little about Eisenhower and nothing at all about Kay Summersby. They were though, characters I struggled to like, despite having sympathy for both at times. I preferred Charlotte, Kay’s extremely honest friend and Mamie, Ike’s wife. I felt for her, having little contact with her husband throughout the war and reading a lot about him in newspaper gossip columns.

The account of the devastation caused by the war, the descriptions of war dead left in villages and on the side of roads, the fear felt by the soldiers and the poverty during and after the war was the part of the novel that I found the most interesting. It was evident how much research the author had done, much of it felt like a first hand account. One scene more than any other was the one where Eisenhower had to convince a terrified soldier that he needed to return to duty.

I always enjoy learning from fiction. Whenever I read a novel like this I’m eager to find out more about the characters concerned. I spent quite a bit of time looking on the internet finding out more as I read.

Stanley And Elsie by Nicola Upson – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

The First World War is over, and in a quiet Hampshire village, artist Stanley Spencer is working on the commission of a lifetime, painting an entire chapel in memory of a life lost in the war to end all wars. Combining his own traumatic experiences with moments of everyday redemption, the chapel will become his masterpiece.

When Elsie Munday arrives to take up position as housemaid to the Spencer family, her life quickly becomes entwined with the charming and irascible Stanley, his artist wife Hilda and their tiny daughter Shirin.

As the years pass, Elsie does her best to keep the family together even when love, obsession and temptation seem set to tear them apart…

A vivid picture of the life of painter Stanley Spencer, Stanley and Elsie reimagines real people and events, giving new insight from the perspective of a charismatic female lead.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Stanley and Elsie was a novel that made me cry, laugh and spend more time on the internet looking at art than any book I’ve read before. I had never heard of Stanley Spencer or Hilda Carline and I found the story concerning the painting of the chapel fascinating.

The first part of the novel which focuses on Elsie was my favourite part. I loved the way she handled both Spencer and Hilda, refusing to keep her thoughts regarding the behaviour to each other and their children to herself. She saw them as people, who made many mistakes but who also had a lot of good points despite letting Stanley’s work dominate their lives. She wasn’t just an employee, she was a friend. It was Elsie who made me laugh, she was so down to earth.

When the account switched to Patricia and Dorothy in part two my feelings regarding Stanley changed. Selfish, critical and self obsessed but I felt he didn’t deserve what they had planned for him. There was nothing that endeared me to these two.

It is the first book I have read by this author and completely different to what I usually read. I am so pleased I read it, it’s wonderful.