An intriguing tale with WWII mystery
I can tell you this: This book was not what I expected.
Anything World War II will instantly hits my radar and I'm especially intrigued by the history of German occupied countries. As I mentioned, it just isn't what I expected.
In Tangled Ashes, MichÃÂ¨le Phoenix weaves together a story of secrets, mystery and family. It kept me going because the mystery was far too intriguing to stop reading. What's Beck hiding? What happened from the prologue? And who is the mysterious person roaming the land?
As the story unfolded, not only did you see how it affected the characters lives, you gained insight into some different stories of WWII.
***Below is only one spoiler (if you can call it that, but it felt right to tell you guys)***
Now that part I didn't expect? Becker. It took me awhile to like Becker, and I still don't know if I like him. Every time he did something jerkish I wanted to yell "BRO, QUIT BEING A BUTT FACE!" Yes, Internet I just wrote that.
I would have liked the story to continue as well. Becker was slowly changing and I wish I could have seen more of that. It left a lot open (which I think was the intent), and since I usually prefer more closure, it was unexpected. But even with some of the story left untold, it's an intriguing tale of the present and the mysterious past colliding.
September 1, 2013
Mystery knits German past with renovation now
This fabulous mystery opens with a prologue: German soldiers guard a fire of burning documents while others watch the castle grounds as a girl grabs a baby, wraps her in a blanket and sheet and lowers her out a window, then jumps to the ground below. In Chapter 1 a business partner tells his friend Beck that for his own good, Beck must go to France to restore a castle in time for the 40th birthday party of Mrs. Fallon, his boss's wife. This contract might open doors to numerous other projects. To his horror Beck learns when he gets to France that he has 11 weeks to renovate a 12th century castle with high ceilings, ornate molding, ancient wallpaper, hardwood floors, some rotten boards, and a urine stench, as well as strange things happening. That night urine stench made Beck sleep in the hallway to be woken in the morning by a boy and girl followed by a lady he assumed was Mrs. Fallon, but was their nanny, Jade. Beck also had to work with Therese, an interior designer, who showed him around the castle. Unfortunately, Therese didn't supervise well the men installing a satellite dish, and a carved limestone cornice was destroyed when it broke off and fell, much to Beck's horror. He needed alcohol to ease the frustration he experienced. At night he woke hearing keening. He finds pipes in the wrong place, rat pups dead, and trash searched. He has horrible nightmares. A well is destroyed. As the modern renovation story proceeds, there are chapters in italics that tell what happened years ago at the castle as two young French girls, Maria and Elise, work for the Germans at the castle to get food and money for their families. They are stunned when pregnant girls arrive, and Elise questions Karl, the young German soldier she'd met. Karl tells her women come to deliver special Aryan babies to give to Hitler. Although Marie warns Elise not to be infatuated by Karl, she's determined, goes to a ball with him and gets pregnant. Why was there so much damage at the castle and who was doing it? Why did Beck leave the 40th birthday party early? What caught on fire? What frustrated Fallon and Beck's rescue plans? How did Jojo help? Who was rescued? What happened to Elise? What happened to Marie? What did Jojo tell them he learned from his long wait to meet his daughter? What caused the fire in the stable that nearly killed Therese? What did Beck urge Jade to do when he was leaving? Why is the title appropriate?
August 4, 2013
I really enjoyed reading this book. The author did a really good at making the book visual to the reader, and when ever there is a flashback the script changes to help keep you focus on present and the past.
July 30, 2013
In Tangled Ashes, Becker is an American working in France to help restore a mansion that was once used by the NaziÃ¢ÂÂs to build up the Aryan race. Volunteers would come to the mansion pregnant with babies from SS officers that would be adopted and raised by German families all in the name of Hitler. Becker is a tormented man who uses alcohol to try to escape from the pain of his past. He meets Jade, who is serves as a cook and caretaker of her employersÃ¢ÂÂ children. Jade and Becker, though tending to butt heads with each other often, form a strange sort of friendship with one another as Jade tries to help Becker come to terms with his addiction. Meanwhile, JadeÃ¢ÂÂs employer Therese has a secret of her own and is connected to a reclusive character named JoJo, who also has a secret he hides. As the story unfolds, the characters learn how the mansion and its history ties into Therese and JoJoÃ¢ÂÂs lives. I found this book to be captivating and I really liked how the story was divided into excerpts from modern day to the past during World War 2. I also appreciated how the author added good grains of truth about God into the story.
July 30, 2013