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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

by Christopher de Vinck
Mailbox Monday
New On My Shelf

Image of a red letter box set in a wall. Featured image for Mailbox Monday meme

Given the strange times in which we are living right now, authors, publishers and publicists alike, are all suffering like the rest of us!

Dedicated book / reader social platforms, are all trying their utmost to promote and sustain interest in as many books as possible during the emergency, including one of my favourites, NetGalley.

As I have such a large surplus of books to plough my way through, I generally don’t tend to open NetGalley emails, as I have a few publishers with whom I already have NetGalley pre-approved status and I don’t really need to apply for any more books, which are generally by request only.

However, Sunday’s NetGalley message made me do a double-take, resulting in me being one of the first 140 lucky readers to bag myself a copy of this great sounding book on a ‘Read Now’ basis.

The cover caught my eye first and the premise piqued my interest right away. Definitely a story to savour during these long coronavirus days.


Cover image of the book 'Ashes' by author Christopher de VinckBased on true events.

A deeply touching novel about two young women whose differences, which once united them, will tear them apart forever, during Hitler’s Nazi occupation of Belgium and France.

Belgium, July 1939: Simone Lyon is the daughter of a Belgium national hero, the famous General Joseph Lyon. Her best friend Hava Daniels, is the eldest daughter of a devout Jewish family. Despite growing up in different worlds, they are inseparable.

But when, in the spring of 1940, Nazi planes and tanks begin bombing Brussels, their resilience and strength are tested. Hava and Simone find themselves caught in the advancing onslaught and are forced to flee.

In an emotionally-charged race for survival, even the most harrowing horrors cannot break their bonds of love and friendship. The two teenage girls, will see their innocence fall, against the ugly backdrop of a war dictating that theirs was a friendship that should never have been.


Image of author Christopher de VinkeA graduate of Columbia University, with a doctorate in education, Christopher de Vinck, a 40-year veteran of high school teaching and administration, spent every Tuesday night in the basement of his house, primarily writing short essays, sharing memories of his own friends and family.

Today his essays have been widely published by many of the country’s best, national newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, The College Board Review, and The National Catholic Reporter.

Christopher’s essays are also used as models of excellence in college textbooks, and in middle and high school anthologies.

To date he is the author of more than a dozen books, continues to write his essays for local and national publications, and delivers speeches across the country on faith, disabilities, fatherhood, and writing.

He has been invited to speak at the Vatican.

Christopher is the father of three and lives in New Jersey with his wife.

Picture of an English red post box - generic image to link to the mailbox Monday meme

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share links to the books that came into their house during the last week. This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well, after all you never know where that next “must read” book will come from.


Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Congratulations on your speediness, resulting in getting a copy, Yvonne! It does look like an interesting story and maybe dipping back into another age, fraught with its own problems, will be a nice diversion. Enjoy!

    • Hi Kelly,

      I was literally sat at my PC when the email came in, or I would probably have missed it.

      The cover art and title caught my eye first, but the premise made my decision easier, as it sounds really emotionally intriguing.

      A lot of the books I have read lately have WWII, either as the main feature, or as part of a dual-time storyline, although to be fair, I do prefer the latter scenario.

      My ratio of books downloaded to reviews uploaded on NetGalley, always makes requesting a download from a publisher quite hit and miss, so I generally stick to the ‘Read Now’ selections, which have given me more than enough books, over the years.

      I shall be running a full series of features about ‘Ashes’, so you can see what I think of it as I go along 🙂

  • This sounds like am amazing book. I hope you enjoy it.

    We are also slammed with all the emails. If I buy one more book, I think my husband will sigh more than he already does. I have so many unread books here.

    • Hi Cheryl,

      In all fairness and in my own defence, my husband really has no grounds on which to complain about the amount of books I have. I also get the big sigh and “I see you have downloaded yet another book” scenario, but I can honestly, hand on heart, say that I haven’t actually paid for a book for several months at least!

      I have taken part in several Blog Tours and Cover Reveals recently, and the publishers are very kind in supplying downloads of not only the relevant post material, but the entire book as well. Plus I am a pre-approved NetGalley reviewer for a couple of publishers, which offers automatic downloads for all their new titles. – (see, I have an excuse for just about every scenario!).

      I guess this supply chain is going to dry up over the coming weeks, as authors delay their publishing dates, but I have more than enough of a backlog of reading/reviewing, to keep me going well into the foreseeable future 🙂

      Take care and thanks for stopping by 🙂

    • Hi Martha.

      It is always good to be invited to promote/read/review by an author, publisher, or publicist – However for me, there is still that heightened sense of achievement to have won a book giveaway of a title that I really want to read. That’s why I still miss the ‘Goodreads Giveaways’ so much!

      I hope that hubbie and yourself continue to stay healthy and safe, as it now looks as though we are all in this for the long haul!

      Happy Reading 🙂

    • Hi Mary,

      There are a lot of books around right now, which have WWII as either their entire or partial storyline, so limiting them is actually quite difficult.

      ‘Ashes’ does sound as though it is going to be quite an emotionally challenging read though, especially as it is based on true events. So although the book I am reading right now is a dual WWII / present day timeline, it is written at an altogether different pace, much slower and calming, before I tackle this much more serious wartime saga.

      Thanks for stopping by today and Stay Safe 🙂

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Great to speak with you again, time flies by so quickly!

      I have so many new books to be getting on with, you have no idea. I now also have plenty of time, as we are both in isolation because of hubbie’s underlying health issues. The two things I don’t have, even after more than two weeks to adjust to the idea of being home, are motivation and concentration!

      I obviously work much better under pressure 🙂

      I hope that yourself and your family are managing to stay safe and sit this terrible time out 🙂

Written by Yvonne