Welcome! We’re glad you’ve joined us to discuss all things books. Here and in the Facebook group (click the button on the right and we’ll add you) we love to make a cuppa and talk about the latest books we’ve read – why we liked them, what we gained, or why we wanted to throw them across the room in disgust.

Each month in the magazine, I choose a book or two and tell you how they captured me. I also interview a Christian author about their love of books. And I choose five top reviews from you – and those women receive complimentary copies of my selection and the latest book from the author I interview.

Join in and let us know what you’re reading. We benefit from the lively banter and interchanges. And come on over to our Facebook group, where along with our discussions we often have extra book giveaways.

I look forward to hearing what you’re reading!

Amy Boucher Pye

This month I'm reading ...

The Girl from the Train
Irma Joubert (Thomas Nelson, ISBN 978-0529102379)

You may know that the Woman Alive book club has an interactive presence on Facebook. At the request of readers there, I chose a fiction and nonfiction book for us to discuss, which I would then feature here. For the novel, we read The Girl from the Train (not to be confused with the wildly popular The Girl on the Train) and later we’ll discuss The Heaven Promise by Scot McKnight. Do join in if you’re able!

I’m glad I chose the novel for our discussion, not least because it took me a while to get into the story (I knew I had to persevere!). It recounts the life of Gretl, a German girl with some Jewish ancestry who was caught up in the events of the Second World War. The story follows her and her protector Jakob through their lives in Poland and eventually South Africa, weaving in themes of identity, faith, family, racism, the relationships between Christian denominations, home and love.

As readers we appreciated the window into life in South Africa. As Kathryn Price said, “I hadn’t known about the children ‘exported’ to South Africa, and found that very interesting. We don’t often hear about white South Africans, it’s usually just the apartheid situation, and it was interesting that it felt unbalanced.” Anne Shakeshaft agreed, saying, “I had no idea that South Africans had adopted German orphans.” She found it interesting “to read of the prejudice against Germans, Jews and Communists, as well as other faith denominations” and found the book enjoyable but heart-wrenching in places.

The view of identity was strong for Caroline Seal, for she supports various missionary families and has thus read about “MKs (missionary kids) or TCKs (third culture kids).” She says of Gretl, “She constantly has to hide parts of who she is … you can see how she wants people to accept her, so is a bit of a chameleon doing things that will please people... TCKs are also trying to get things right in the culture they live in and in their passport culture.”

Chris Vickery anticipated the ending, wishing it would have come sooner in the sense of us seeing the life of the protagonists together. I agree – why can’t more novels examine what life looks like after the romance survives the hurdles? I’d love to read what “happily ever after” looks like.

I appreciated Julia Wilson’s full review of the novel, which touches on themes of belonging, one’s roots, friendship, how stress can be rooted deep within, and symbolism such as names and fire.

If you’re interested in this novel, have a look at the Facebook discussion and add your views – it’s a much richer experience to read and discuss together!

What are YOU reading?

See the magazine for reader reviews and our author interview


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