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Because my paternal grandparents are Irish, I enjoy reading anything Irish. This triology took me through so many emotions - happiness laughter and sadness and tears. I felt like I was right in the middle of each story. I could hardly take a break from reading. I would definitely recommend it to anybody.
This was a really good and uplifting book. It has some of the horrors of World War II but really touches on people pulling together and helping Jewish children. The characters are well developed. Looking forward to the next book!
In The Star and the Shamrock, Jean Grainger has written a gut wrenching, heart warming story about the Jewish children send abroad to escape Hitler's purge. I love everything Ms. Grainger writes even though I hate reading about the atrocities of war. This book focuses instead on the love, support and community that took care of some of these children. I could not put the book down. It is amazing. The Emerald Horizon details life as WW II is ending - in Ballycreggan for the Liebers and Ariella's children and in Germany for Ariella Bannon. This sweeping saga began in Book 1 - The Star and the Shamrock. Book 2 can be read as a standalone - but if you plan to read Book 1, read them in order because Book 2 gives away some things from Book 1. Ms. Grainger's books are always an emotional read for me. I become completely immersed in the story and it becomes my reality until I finish the book. Nothing much gets done while I read. This book has amazing characters and a completely realistic plot. You must read this book! In The Hard Way Home, the war has ended. Once again these characters who have become my family, leap off the page and wrap me in their struggles. Reading about war and the aftermath is difficult, but Jean Grainger always makes it worth while. This is an amazing story of faith, love, family, overcoming fear and seeing if you can go home again. It will make you laugh, make you cry and make you rejoice at the human spirit.
Covering a bit more than 12 years this wonderful historically based 'trilogy' tells the story of WWII through the eyes of two German Jewish children, Liesel and Eric Bannon. They left their home in Berlin in 1938 on the Kindertransport finally being settled in Ireland. Mrs. Grainger has with great skill and compassion woven a true to life coming of age story culminating in 1950, five years after the end of WWII in Europe. Liesel is now a university student having to confront, as a young adult, tragedies that occurred in her preteen years. During this time she has helped make life as normal as possible, for her younger brother, Eric, while she tried to protect him from the gradually emerging horrible truths of their pasts. Each book stands alone, but together they tell a seldom heard tale of truth on an aspect of that period from which many writers and readers alike shy and take shelter. I would urge all who have any sense of historical truth, to read these volumes. Mrs. Grainger is truly a one of a kind author, as she weaves her stories in a skillful, yet truthful manner. She is compassionate, but does not avoid the hard truths of the era. Joe Clark Ohio, USA
I'm so glad to see this series as a set. For those like myself with an aging memory, it's much easier to read them all at once. That said, I'm always impressed with how the author seamlessly reintroduces folks and facts to help us remember the things from a former book. We've all read about the Kindertransports, taking Jewish children from Germany to the UK to save them from the Nazis. However, rarely have we seen stories that see those children through the war and into adulthood. The familiar "It takes a village" saying was certainly proven, providing these frightened, distraught strangers with the love, care, and feeling of importance needed to survive as reasonably stable adults. It was interesting to see the options the various survivors chose: staying in Ireland, going to Israel, heading for a new life in America, etc. They were the lucky ones, of course, and the sad realities of so many others are not glossed over, but overall an uplifting story of the power of love and community spirit.
What a marvelous story! Every book introduces you to unforgettable characters and the strength of love in caring for others. Jean Grainger never disappoints. Her characters are full of heart, but yet, also human with weaknesses. Her careful research shows in introducing us to one of the destinations of the Kindertransport that saved the lives of hundreds of young Jewish children. Follow Liesl and Erich Bannon as they escape Nazi Germany in 1939 finding a second home with their father’s cousin Elizabeth, first in England, then in Ireland. The first book is mainly about the children, the second book picks up with their mother, Ariella, in Germany, and the third gives us a touching conclusion of Liesl’s college education and a return to Berlin along with the heart wrenching emotions that involves. Each can be read alone, but you will never want the story to end, so you might as well get all three at once!
The Star trilogy should be a must read for all lovers of outstanding historical fiction, especially WWII history. The stories revolve around Jewish children sent to Ireland on the Kindertransport, the community that took them in and the harrowing story of one mother’s struggle to stay alive in Nazi Germany. The final book examines what one of the now grown children finds when she is able to return to Germany after the war. Ms. Grainger has created characters that embody both the goodness of some and the abject brutality of others during the war. This is a series that readers will remember. I was fortunate to receive ARCs of the three books and voluntarily reviewed each story when published. Most highly recommend.