Book reviews

A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead (link)

Most books about WWII and Auschwitz are tough reads, this one is no different. I read this during my lunch hour and sometimes the hour would pass and I would hardly notice that I had been reading for 60 mins - I just couldn't leave these women and return to my work. This book is compelling.

I often wonder why we read such tragic stories of suffering and horror - is it so we don't forget or we are simply fascinated by what happens to others from the comfort of our homes.  I can't help but think "What would I do", if placed in the same situation.  This is a question I never want to find out. 

In January 1943, a group of 230 French women were rounded up and sent to Aushwitz in Silesia (now in Poland) only to be released at the end of the war. The youngest was 15, the eldest was 68. Only a handful were Jewish.  These were French resistance fighters trying to defend their country from Nazi occupation. Only 49 returned home, all suffered ill health for the rest of their lives.  This is their story and one that is so sad, so horrible but so full of friendship.  These women held onto each other, supported and cared for one another, worked together in their attempt to survive.  Of the 181 who did not return home, they died from typhus, brutality, starvation, gassing or simply gave up the fight. No one over 44 survived. This is a story worth reading but it does take a bit of courage to read.

 It was an excellent read. 

Rating: ★★★★★

Kisses for Katie by Katie Davis with Beth Clark (link)

This is another book of human suffering.  Katie Davis, a very young Christian missionary from the US goes to Uganda and witness first hand the poverty and appalling conditions of the Ugandan people, in particular the children. However she is determine to make a differences. It is uplifting and inspirational.  Whilst I needed courage to read "A Train in Winter", I can't imagine how much courage Katie has needed to do all that she has in Uganda, mostly by herself at the tender age of 21.  Katie, however, would probably say that none of what she has achieved, she has done alone, the Lord has always been her leader and she has simply followed.  

Katie runs Amazima ministries through which she educates hundreds of children and presently feeds over 1 600 per day. She has adopted 14 orphan girls, this in its self is incredible.  Her love for the Lord and her desire to share it with everyone comes through clearly in this book.  Her faith is amazing for such a young woman. 

Many who have read this book (check out the comments on Amazon) say that it was "life-changing", I won't go that far - however, it is encouraging, inspiring and a very interesting read.  I would highly recommend it to others and I will give it five stars.

This is Katie's blog and worth a visit: link

Rating: ★★★★★

Katie with her adopted daughters - from her blog
From Katie's blog.  She has a wonderful smile.


  1. I have been very curious about the book Kisses from Katie. I've seen it mentioned many places and it's displayed prominently in all the Christian bookstores here. I've been burned a few times reading what's trendy or a "bestseller," but this one sounds like it has some real inspiration to it. Thanks for the review!

  2. Amy, I'm with you - I get scared away from books that are considered bestsellers and have so much hype. I felt many of the comments of Amazon were over the top with this book, as I said, it "didn't change my life" in any way, however it was still very inspiring and interesting.

  3. Kisses for Katie...over a month ago I saw that book and recommended it to my daughter-in-law...well she finally decided to take my suggestion and she can't stop talking about it, it has changed her life and inspired her and our son

    I don't know if I have the courage to read the other one

  4. I'd not heard about this book till today (Katie)
    I will check out her blog.
    Thanks for the reviews:)

  5. Janette – it is funny how books affect different people. “The Train in Winter” hooked me completed and I was deeply moved by the story and those women who suffered so much (with tears during part of it). I had a much stronger emotional feeling to that one that I have to “Kisses for Katie".

    I wonder what it is that makes it different for people. I would be interested to know what “changed my life” really means. I would love to find out, can you ask her?

  6. Joyfulmum - do check out her website as it will give you a good feel of the book. I hear about the book from another blogger but I can't remember who!! It is worth reading, Kathie is an amazing young woman.

  7. I don't think I could read the first book - too sad.

    But the second book sounds interesting - I read Katie's blog and her journey and adventures sound very interesting and inspiring - if only more people were willing to make such sacrifices as she. Just imagine how much her efforts have changed all those lives who she has helped in Uganda. I'm not sure about the ethics of a single woman going to a foreign country alone (I think the Biblical example of missionaries in the NT is of either couples (husband and wife) or men travelling to minister.) However I wouldn't dispute the fact that God seems to have used her greatly where she is.

  8. The second book sounds SO interesting! Just my kind of book. I have checked the library catalogue and as usual, they don't have it! Have requested it though, so will see if I can get my hands on a copy...
    Had heard of Katie before, not sure how she has the courage to go to such a country alone, but I guess it takes all types. How can she look after so many children? I find two are stretching me enough!!! =)

  9. Dear Bets - I think katie now has 13 girls to look after (adopted) and far more - I think she has a little help, but i felt exhausted after reading that she cooked 28 slices of toast each morning!!

    If you can't get a copy I will lend you mine. Your sisters might like to read it to.

  10. I meant to say it was the first one I was most interested in. The second one I might be getting for Ros for her bday. She is very interested in reading it...
    P.S. If you want to lend me the first, I would be thankful, coz the library might not think it worth while to buy...

  11. No problems - I will put it in the post for you. Do you want me to include some tissues!!


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