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Marceline Loridan-IvensDescription of But You Did Not Come Back by Marceline Loridan-Ivens

“You might come back, because you’re young, but I will not come back.”—Marceline Loridan’s father to her, 1944

A runaway bestseller in France, But You Did Not Come Back has already been the subject of a French media storm and hailed as an important new addition to the library of books dealing with the Holocaust. It is the profoundly moving and poetic memoir by Marceline Loridan-Ivens, who at the age of fifteen was arrested in occupied France, along with her father. Later, in the camps, he managed to smuggle a note to her, a sign of life that made all the difference to Marceline—but he died in the Holocaust, while Marceline survived.
 In But You Did Not Come Back, Marceline writes back to her father, the man whose death overshadowed her whole life. Although her grief never diminished in its intensity, Marceline ultimately found her calling, working as both an activist and a documentary filmmaker. But now, as France and Europe in general faces growing anti-Semitism, Marceline feels pessimistic about the future.

Her testimony is a memorial, a confrontation, and a deeply affecting personal story of a woman whose life was shattered and never totally rebuilt.

My Thoughts On But You Did Not Come Back by Marceline Loridan-Ivens

I have read many fictional, non-fiction, and memoirs about the Holocaust.  I just can’t seem to get enough of the subject.  I think it is a deer in the headlights kind of thing, I keep wondering how humanity can let this happen.  Yet, similar things keep happening to this day.  How is shooting or bombing mass amounts of people, much different than making them work in forced labor and then gassing them to death so different?  I personally don’t think it is.  They are all evil.

In ‘But You Did Not Come Back’, 15 year old Marceline Loridan-Ivens is taken with her father from France to the camps during WWII and the Holocaust.  They are in neighboring camps and her father manages to get a note to her which lifts her spirits.  She is relieved to know he is still alive.  However, by the time she is rescued, she finds out he did not make it. 

When she returns to France she is reunited with her mother and other family members who were able to hide when her father and herself were taken.  They can’t possibly understand what she went though and it was hard for her to relate to them the same way as before.  It is hard for her to just go on as if nothing had ever happened.  However, she does find a way to move on.

Marceline Loridan-Ivens writes a poetic almost meditative account of her experience during the Holocaust.  It is deeply moving and had me in tears, in parts.  However, She is a survivor and an inspiration to us all!  She has gone on to work as an actress, a screenwriter, and a director. 


I received the ebook version via Net Galley for my honest review.

About Marceline Loridan-Ivens

Marceline Loridan-Ivens was born in 1928. She has worked as an actress, a screenwriter, and a director. She directed “The Birch-Tree Meadow” in 2003, starring Anouk Aimee, as well as several documentaries with Joris Ivens.

About Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith is the translator of “Suite Francaise” and eleven other novels by Irene Nemirovsky, as well as a new translation of Camus s “L Etranger.” She has been awarded the French-American Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize and the PEN Translation Prize. She lives in New York.”



Stephen YochBecoming George Washington
By Stephen Yoch

Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Paperback & Ebook; 382 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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George Washington, action hero . . .

Long before Washington was the old man on the dollar bill, he was a fatherless boy with few resources and even less education. So how did he become the most famous person in American history?

Becoming George Washington tells the story of a young man with boundless energy, bravery, and passion, who grew from a fatherless boy into a self-confident leader. At the same time, he struggled to suppress both an awful temper and his love for a married woman, Sally Fairfax. A courageous war hero, Washington rose to the pinnacle of Virginia politics. His experiences as a young man allowed him, decades later, to lead the Revolution.

This compelling historical novel reveals the person behind the famous face and how he grew to become America’s leading Founding Father.


Guest Post by Stephen Yoch

Washington Shared One Unhappy Trait with Many Other Leaders– He Was Raised Without a Father by Stephen Yoch

George Washington is often called the father of our country, which is ironic for two reasons. First, he fathered no children; and second, he spent most of his childhood without a father. Washington’s dad died when George was 11. Even before his death, his father was often absent, traveling for business.

Washington’s mother never remarried. George, as the eldest of her children, was forced to bear the heavy burdens of providing leadership of his five other siblings and assisting his mother in managing their limited resources. As a result of his father’s death, George was not given a first class education. He felt the burden of that lack of education for the rest of his life.

Historians and psychologists can only speculate on the impact of the early loss of a father on a developing adolescent. What is clear is that an inordinate number of the fathers of U.S. presidents died while their sons were young or abandoned them. Twelve presidents (just under a third of those who have served in the office) lost their fathers at a young age: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Grover Cleveland, Hubert Hoover, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama. Of those, three had fathers die before they were even born: Andrew Jackson, Rutherford B. Hayes and Bill Clinton. Many others fathers died when their sons were young: James Garfield (age 1), Andrew Jackson (age 6), George Washington (age 11), and Thomas Jefferson (age 14).

Even before Washington’s father’s death, George was largely left to the care of his mother. This “alive but ignored” category is shared by others including George Herbert Walker Bush who admitted that he played little role in raising future president George W. Bush.
Nineteen presidents lost their fathers before they were 30, and only two fathers were actually able to attend their sons’ inaugurations. What appears consistent among many of the absent fathers, is that even in neglect or death, they were venerated and high achievers. For example, Jacob Johnson, father of Andrew Johnson, was the poorest presidential father, yet was a veritable legend in his hometown. Even Barrack Obama, who was largely abandoned by his father, was always proud that his father was the first African admitted to the University of Hawaii and graduated first in his class. While many presidents have been affirmed and coddled by their mothers’ love, the hurt and frustration of an absent father may have caused them to strive for greater achievements.

There is an interesting study, “The Fiery Chariot: A Study of British Prime Ministers in Search of Love,” analyzing British prime ministers noting a similar history of loss at a young age. It confirms that prime ministers lose their fathers at a much higher rate than the population as a whole. One possible explanation for achievement in the face of such loss is the development of hyper-sensitivity of the feelings of others around them as a coping mechanism. Certainly, the death of a father figure often forces an early leadership role as was the case for George Washington.

About Stephen Yoch

Steve doesn’t golf or fish and is a below average hunter, but his love of history and writing compelled him to pick up his pen and tell the little-known stories behind the men that made American history. After years of extensive research, Steve wrote his first book on young George Washington.

Steve lives in a suburb north of St. Paul, Minnesota with his supportive wife and two fantastic teenage sons. He graduated with honors from Boston College and the University of Minnesota Law School. He has enjoyed over two decades of practicing law in the Twin Cities, helping individuals and businesses solve complex problems.



Giveaway of Becoming George Washington by Stephen Yoch

This giveaway is for one print copy and is open to the U.S. only.  This giveaway ends on December 31, 2015 midnight pacific time.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Tour Schedule for Becoming George Washington by Stephen Yoch

Monday, December 07
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, December 9
Review at Library Educated

Friday, December 11
Spotlight at The Writing Desk

Monday, December 14
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Tuesday, December 15
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, December 16
Interview at Layered Pages
Spotlight at Historical Readings and Reviews

Thursday, December 17
Guest Post & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, December 18
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Monday, December 21
Review at Bookish

Tuesday, December 22
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Wednesday, December 23
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Guest Post & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, December 24
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, December 28
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight at Puddletown Reviews

Tuesday, December 29
Review at The Absurd Book Nerd
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, December 30
Review at Luxury Reading
Guest Post at The Absurd Book Nerd

Thursday, December 31
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Stephen Yoch

Alyssa PalomboThanks to Jessalyn Foggy of St. Martin’s Press, I am giving away one print copy of ‘The Violinist of Venice’: A Story of Vivaldi by Alyssa Palombo.

Description of Violinist of Venice by Alyssa Palombo

A sweeping historical novel of composer and priest Antonio Vivaldi, a secret wealthy mistress, and their passion for music and each other 

Like most 18th century Venetians, Adriana d’Amato adores music-except her strict merchant father has forbidden her to cultivate her gift for the violin. But she refuses to let that stop her from living her dreams and begins sneaking out of her family’s palazzo under the cover of night to take violin lessons from virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. However, what begins as secret lessons swiftly evolves into a passionate, consuming love affair.

Adriana’s father is intent on seeing her married to a wealthy, prominent member of Venice’s patrician class-and a handsome, charming suitor, whom she knows she could love, only complicates matters-but Vivaldi is a priest, making their relationship forbidden in the eyes of the Church and of society. They both know their affair will end upon Adriana’s marriage, but she cannot anticipate the events that will force Vivaldi to choose between her and his music. The repercussions of his choice-and of Adriana’s own choices-will haunt both of their lives in ways they never imagined.

Spanning more than 30 years of Adriana’s life, Alyssa Palombo’s The Violinist of Venice is a story of passion, music, ambition, and finding the strength to both fall in love and to carry on when it ends

Vivid and alive and thrumming with the exquisite strains of violin music, the novel explores the impossible choices between love and duty and the demands of art in the decadent world of early 18th century Venice.”―Kate Forsyth, international bestselling author of Bitter Greens

About Alyssa PalomboAlyssa Palombo

ALYSSA PALOMBO has published short historical fiction pieces in Black Lantern, Novelletum, and The Great Lakes Review. She is a recent a graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively, as well as a trained classical musician. The Violinist of Venice is her first novel. She lives in Tonawanda, New York. 

 Giveaway of Violinist of Venice by Alyssa Palombo

This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on December 31, 2015 midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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