By Andrea Silva, September 30, 2022—
I want to recommend books from different historical contexts. Each recommendation tells a unique story that will captivate any reader from the first page.
The Auschwitz Tattoo Artist by Heather Morris
This book centers on the testimony of Lale Sokolov, a Slovak Jew imprisoned in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. Due to his ability to speak several languages, he was appointed as the camp’s Tätowierer – a tattoo artist in German. This position required him to register new arrivals, permanently marking other prisoners with an identification number. One day, he comforts a frightened young woman who is waiting for her registration. Her name is Gita, and during this first meeting, Lale vows to survive the camp and marry her after the war. It’s a true story of survival, as he was determined to survive the horrors he experienced in the concentration camp, risking his own life to help other prisoners and keep Gita safe. This book provides a historical account of life inside Auschwitz, as Lale was a true prisoner who not only shares the horrific atrocities he witnessed, but also shares the acts of bravery and compassion he saw during his stay in the camp. As a reader, you will find yourself rooted in the love story of Lale and Gita and be amazed by the journey of determination these characters go through.
Khaled Hosseini’s kite
This novel follows the life of Amir, a young boy from a wealthy family in Kabul, Afghanistan in the 1970s. He is friends with Hassan, the son of a Hazara servant. Despite their social differences, the two boys form a strong friendship growing up. Amir has only one wish: to win the local kite tournament and make his Baba proud. In the afternoon he succeeds, something terrible happens, an event that will change his relationship with Hassan irreversibly. As the Russian army invades the city, Amir and his father flee to the United States to escape the violence and chaos and start a new life. Nonetheless, the guilt and regret Amir feels for what happened to Hassan is something the main character cannot escape. This book follows Amir’s journey to a new country and his return to Afghanistan years later. It’s a well-written story about cowardice, trust and redemption.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I am of the opinion that any reader who enters this book should do so without knowing much about the plot. Nonetheless, I want to introduce the characters to provide some context. Marie-Laure is a young French girl who became blind at the age of six. At the age of 12, Marie-Laure and her father fled to Saint-Malo where members of her family lived, Paris being occupied by the Nazis. Werner is a German orphan from a mining town. One day, he discovers a radio and finds himself fascinated by the news he hears from the machine. Growing up, Werner becomes an expert in building and repairing electrical instruments and is enlisted by the German army to hunt down members of the resistance. This book follows the experiences of these two characters on opposite sides of the war and how their stories have intertwined. This is done in a compelling way that captures the reader from the first page.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This book has been all over social media for a good reason – it’s gripping historical fiction. As the title suggests, the main plot focuses on the life story of Evelyn Hugo. Evelyn Elena Herrera grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, with the dream of “making it” in Hollywood. As the story develops, the reader can see how Evelyn’s determination leads her to 1950s Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. After retiring, the famous star contacts junior journalist Monique Grant to share her story on her own terms. This book follows Evelyn Hugo’s testimony of her fame experience, her seven marriages and the absolute love of her life. This is the story of a tenacious woman who achieved the notoriety and recognition she always desired, at a very high price.