Jo’s Book Reviews

What I’m Reading…. I belong to two book clubs so am always trying to get some reading done and be ready for the lively discussion I know will be the focus of the meetings.


The German Wife

The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer is unique in the popular genre of WWII fiction. It takes place both before and after the war. The story is based on an actual post war US government project called Operation Paper Clip that will surprise many readers. As a writer who thrives on finding little known historical facts and building a novel from them (see Monica’s War), I couldn’t turn these pages fast enough.


  • Hair-raising and heartbreaking, The German Wife depicts the cruelty of a madman who brainwashed his followers into believing he was right in his actions while destroying the lives of countless innocent people. This story offers an excellent example of the fact that we should never judge others. Nancy Carty Lepri, New York Journal of Books
  • This is an emotionally complex plot that shows how hate can fester, grow, and destroy people’s lives. This thought-provoking novel delves into choices people make because of obligation, fear, force, or a willingness to turn a blind eye. It is a riveting tale of morality and how far someone will go to be able to live their lives, both figurately and literally. Military Press
Jo’s Review?

Night Came with Many Stars

Night Came with Many Stars by Simon Van Booy is a novel about family and survival and finding one’s way in a chaotic world. As a writer I was fascinated when I realized a chapter titled with a character’s name did not necessarily mean the reader would be in that character’s head or point of view. Instead it meant this was about that character, maybe as seen through the minds of other characters. For me, it was a new way of looking at telling a story through multiple points of view.


  • …a stained-glass window, shattered. It is a series of vignettes — of moments lifted whole and raw from the lives of a Kentucky family, generations deep — and not pieced together but curated. Each on display. Each its own and complete, but part of a greater whole. NPR Review by Jason Sheehan
  • This well-crafted and often serendipitous saga recognizes that family cannot be escaped but can be expanded. Kirkus Review
Jo’s Review?