Welcome back to the bookish version of Six Degrees of Separation. Here’s how it works: Start with the book suggested by Kate over at booksaremyfavouriteandbest, and see where you end up by linking it to six other titles. It’s easy and it’s fun, and no two chains are the same!
This week’s starting point is Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. I have this book on hold at the library and I can’t wait for it to come in so I can finally read it!
First Degree: Hamnet is about the loss of a child, so I immediately thought of Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. It’s been a couple years ago since I read this one, but the gist of the story is about one night in a graveyard as President Lincoln grieves the loss of his eleven-year-old son, Willie. In a strange sort of purgutory, Lincoln grapples with ghosts to fight for the safety of his son’s soul. It’s quite unique and a lot of characters (166?) to manage, but also quite memorable!
Second Degree: Speaking of unique narrators, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells the stories of four lovers’ tales to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in Lovely War by Julie Berry. Aphrodite attempts to answer the question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another?
Third Degree: By the time Aphrodite is sitting down and relaying her story to her husband and lover in a Manhattan hotel, World War II is at its height. Whenever I think of WWII stories that blew me away, The Huntress by Kate Quinn always comes to mind. Nina Markova is a Night Witch – an all-female night bomber regiment from the Soviet Union that attacks the invading Germans from above. One night she becomes stranded behind enemy lines, and Nina has to outmanuever a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress in order to survive.
Fourth Degree: Speaking of the Soviet Union, The Patriots by Sana Krasikov, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn, New York for a job in Moscow in the 1930s. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape, and abandoned by her home country, the United States. This is a novel about the Cold War years, a timeline that’s not overly saturated in the historical fiction category.
Fifth Degree: Inspired by a true story, The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott takes place at the height of the Cold War. Two secretaries working for the CIA have to smuggle the banned book, Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, out from behind the Iron Curtain.
Sixth Degree: My next book, The Four Winds, isn’t out yet, but is one of my most anticipated releases of 2021! First of all, I love Kristin Hannah and will read anything she writes. Second, I am so intrigued with the synopsis – set in Texas in 1934, unemployment is high and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance. (This book will be released on February 2, 2021! – Preorder your copy here (affiliate link).
Next month (February 6, 2021), we’ll start with Anne Tyler’s latest novel, Redhead By the Side of the Road.