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Claiming My Place: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust
By Planaria Price with Helen Reichmann West

Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hardcover, eBook, AudioBook

Genre: YA/NF/History/Holocaust/WWII

 

 

A Junior Library Guild selection

Claiming My Place is the true story of a young Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust by escaping to Nazi Germany and hiding in plain sight.

Meet Gucia Gomolinska: smart, determined, independent, and steadfast in the face of injustice. A Jew growing up in predominantly Catholic Poland during the 1920s and ’30s, Gucia studies hard, makes friends, falls in love, and dreams of a bright future. Her world is turned upside down when Nazis invade Poland and establish the first Jewish ghetto of World War II in her town of Piotrkow Trybunalski. As the war escalates, Gucia and her family, friends, and neighbors suffer starvation, disease, and worse. She knows her blond hair and fair skin give her an advantage, and eventually she faces a harrowing choice: risk either the uncertain horrors of deportation to a concentration camp, or certain death if she is caught resisting. She decides to hide her identity as a Jew and adopts the gentile name Danuta Barbara Tanska. Barbara, nicknamed Basia, leaves behind everything and everyone she has ever known in order to claim a new life for herself.

Writing in the first person, author Planaria Price brings the immediacy of Barbara’s voice to this true account of a young woman whose unlikely survival hinges upon the same determination and defiant spirit already evident in the six-year-old girl we meet as this story begins. The final portion of this narrative, written by Barbara’s daughter, Helen Reichmann West, completes Barbara’s journey from her immigration to America until her natural, timely death. Includes maps and photographs.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Praise

“Price has boldly elected to tell the story in Basia’s own first-person, present-tense voice. The result is a dramatic, suspenseful account of survival in extremis, told in collaboration with Basia’s American daughter.” ―Booklist

“Price’s rendering of West’s mother’s early life reads like suspenseful historical fiction, telling a rarely heard side of the Jewish experience during WWII . . . Family, friendships, and romance give poignancy to this unique coming-of-age story, which is further enhanced by maps, a glossary, and an afterword.” ―Publishers Weekly

“A rich exploration of a Holocaust survivor’s sheltered childhood, the atrocity that failed to destroy her, and her later life as an immigrant.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“I was completely engrossed by this drama of survival. Barbara Reichmann’s story is quite extraordinary. It is sad, and terrible, and yet somehow captivating. The whole story of those who survived the Shoah by passing as Christians and working in Nazi Germany is an often forgotten part of the historical record.” ―Kai Bird, Executive Director, Leon Levy Center for Biography at CUNY Graduate Center, and co-author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

“As occurs with The Diary of Anne Frank, this book merges the dire circumstances of the Holocaust with the tenuousness of being a teenager. But Claiming My Place expands the view provided in the diary for one critical reason. Anne Frank’s story is told within an isolated cocoon. In Barbara’s story, however, the Holocaust is in full view as her experiences unfold.” ―David H. Lindquist, Ph.D., IPFW College of Education and Public Policy / Regional Museum Educator, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

“This frightening true story of a young Jewish girl’s flight from the deadly grip of the Nazis celebrates the surprising ingenuity and raw courage found only in the depths of the human spirit. Risking what few others dared, Barbara Reichmann, née Gucia Gomolinska, speaks with wisdom and uncommon self-awareness through her detailed, colorful, and evocative recollections from earliest childhood. In the final portion of this book, her daughter, Helen West, continues Barbara’s journey in an insightful and loving overview of Barbara’s life from the family’s arrival in New Orleans in 1951 until her death in 2007. This is a great read with the suspenseful, inspiring and uplifting appeal of a novel, about a character who will capture the reader’s heart.” ―Allan Holzman, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning director and editor (Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Holocaust, Old Man River, The Native Americans)

“Thanks to the detailed memories and the conversational tone, this book provides an engaging and informative reading experience with as much appeal as a fiction title. Recommended for most YA nonfiction collections.” ―Magdalena Teske, West Chicago Public Library District School Library Journal

“This book was truly a celebration of the human spirit. What a gift she has for putting you in the story. Her way with words, plus her weaving of the actual events recounted to her by the unbelievably courageous Basia and her daughter Helen, was nothing short of magical. The included photographs and epilogue served to fully round out this amazing tale. I never wanted this book to end!” ―Rabbi Lynn Brody Slome

About the Author

After graduating from Berkeley and earning a Master’s Degree in English Literature from UCLA, Planaria Price began her career teaching English to adult immigrants in Los Angeles. She has written several textbooks for University of Michigan Press and has lectured at over 75 conferences. In addition to her passion for teaching and writing, Planaria has worked with her husband to save and restore over 30 Victorian and Craftsman homes in her historic Los Angeles neighborhood. Claiming My Place is her first book for young adults.

For more information, please visit Planaria’s website at www.planariaprice.com.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, October 15
Spellbound By History

Tuesday, October 16
100 Pages a Day
Clarissa Reads it All

Wednesday, October 17
Bibliophile Reviews

Thursday, October 18
A Chick Who Reads
To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, October 19
Locks, Hooks and Books

Saturday, October 20
CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, October 22
The Book Mind

Tuesday, October 23
Books and Glamour
History From a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, October 24
Maiden of the Pages

Thursday, October 25
Book Nerd
Bri’s Book Nook

Friday, October 26
Puddletown Reviews

Saturday, October 27
Donna’s Book Blog

Monday, October 29
Dressed to Read
What is That Book About

Tuesday, October 30
The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, October 31
Just One More Chapter

Thursday, November 1
So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, November 2
Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a signed hardcover copy of Claiming My Place by Planaria Price! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 2nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Claiming My Place

The Once and Future Queen: Guinevere in Arthurian Legend
by Nicole Evelina

Publication Date: November 21, 2017
Lawson Gartner Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 281 Pages

Genre: History & Criticism/Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology

 

 

Guinevere’s journey from literary sinner to feminist icon took over one thousand years…and it’s not over yet.

Literature tells us painfully little about Guinevere, mostly focusing on her sin and betrayal of Arthur and Camelot. As a result, she is often seen as a one-dimensional character. But there is more to her story. By examining popular works of more than 20 authors over the last one thousand years, The Once and Future Queen shows how Guinevere reflects attitudes toward women during the time in which her story was written, changing to suit the expectations of her audience. Beginning in Celtic times and continuing through the present day, this book synthesizes academic criticism and popular opinion into a highly readable, approachable work that fills a gap in Arthurian material available to the general public.

Nicole Evelina has spent more than 15 years studying Arthurian legend. She is also a feminist known for her fictional portrayals of strong historical and legendary women, including Guinevere. Now, she combines these two passions to examine the effect of changing times and attitudes on the character of Guinevere in a must-read book for Arthurian enthusiasts of every knowledge level.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo

About the Author

Nicole Evelina is a multi-award-winning historical fiction, romantic comedy and non-fiction writer, whose four novels have collectively won over 20 awards, including two Book of the Year designations (Daughter of Destiny by Chanticleer Reviews and Camelot’s Queen by Author’s Circle). Her most recent book, THE ONCE AND FUTURE QUEEN, traces the evolution of the character of Guinevere in Arthurian legend from her Celtic roots to the present day, showing how the character changed along with the period’s views of women. Nicole is currently working on MISTRESS OF LEGEND (2018), the final book in her Guinevere’s Tale trilogy.

As an armchair historian, Nicole researches her books extensively, consulting with biographers, historical societies and traveling to locations when possible. For example, she traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for The Historical Novel Society, as well as a member of the Historical Fiction Writers of America, International Arthurian Society – North American Branch, Romantic Novelists Association, Novelists, Inc., the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Alliance of Independent Authors, the Independent Book Publishers Association and the Midwest Publisher’s Association.

For more information, please visit Nicole Evelina’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads. Sign up for Nicole’s newsletter to receive news and updates.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, January 31
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, February 1
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, February 2
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, February 6
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, February 7
Excerpt at What Cathy Read Next

Thursday, February 8
Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, February 9
Interview at Donna’s Book Blog

Monday, February 12
Review at Bookworms Anonymous
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Tuesday, February 13
Feature at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, February 14
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, February 15
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Friday, February 16
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Monday, February 19
Review at Clarissa Reads it All

Thursday, February 22
Feature at A Holland Reads

Monday, February 26
Review at Cup of Sensibility
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, February 27
Review at Curling Up by the Fire

Wednesday, February 28
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two paperback copies of The Once and Future Queen! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Once and Future Queen

A Civil Life in an Uncivil Time
by Paula Tarnapol Whitacre

Publication Date: September 1, 2017
Potomac Books
Hardcover & eBook; 320 Pages

Genre: Non-Fiction/Biography

 

 

In the fall of 1862 Julia Wilbur left her family’s farm near Rochester, New York, and boarded a train to Washington DC. As an ardent abolitionist, the forty-seven-year-old Wilbur left a sad but stable life, headed toward the chaos of the Civil War, and spent most of the next several years in Alexandria devising ways to aid recently escaped slaves and hospitalized Union soldiers. A Civil Life in an Uncivil Time shapes Wilbur’s diaries and other primary sources into a historical narrative sending the reader back 150 years to understand a woman who was alternately brave, self-pitying, foresighted, petty—and all too human.

Paula Tarnapol Whitacre describes Wilbur’s experiences against the backdrop of Alexandria, Virginia, a southern town held by the Union from 1861 to 1865; of Washington DC, where Wilbur became active in the women’s suffrage movement and lived until her death in 1895; and of Rochester, New York, a hotbed of social reform and home to Wilbur’s acquaintances Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony.

In this second chapter of her life, Wilbur persisted in two things: improving conditions for African Americans who had escaped from slavery and creating a meaningful life for herself. A Civil Life in an Uncivil Time is the captivating story of a woman who remade herself at midlife during a period of massive social upheaval and change.

Available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Praise

“Paula Whitacre shines a light on a remarkable character, abolitionist Julia Wilbur, who . . . heroically confronted misogyny, racism, and fear in an effort to aid enslaved African Americans making the transition to freedom. Here this important and timely story is empathetically brought to life. I urge everyone to pick up a copy and delve deeper into a chapter of Civil War history that has been overlooked for far too long.”—Lisa Wolfinger, co-creator and executive producer of the PBS series Mercy Street

“By illuminating Julia Wilbur’s struggles to end slavery, join the emancipated in the fight against bigotry, and live a life of purpose, Paula Whitacre offers a rich biography and beautifully written history.”—Chandra Manning, author of Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War

“Paula Whitacre’s biography captures the extraordinary life and times of this seemingly ordinary American woman.”—Carol Faulkner, author of Lucretia Mott’s Heresy

“Paula Whitacre’s scholarship expands our knowledge of the African American experience before, during, and after the Civil War. A fascinating look at Wilbur and Civil War Alexandria, Virginia.”—Audrey P. Davis, director of the Alexandria Black History Museum and historical advisor to the PBS series Mercy Street

“Paula Whitacre has created a compelling portrait of a nineteenth-century abolitionist working on the front line of change. Julia Wilbur joins the ranks of tough-minded women who stood firm at the point where idealism meets reality.”—Pamela D. Toler, author of Heroines of Mercy Street

“In resurrecting Julia Wilbur’s life, Paula Whitacre vividly conveys the struggles, both mundane and momentous, that reshaped families and nations in the Civil War era.”—Nancy Hewitt, author of Radical Friends: The Activist Worlds of Amy Kirby Post, 1802–1889

“In Paula Whitacre’s talented hands, Julia Wilbur’s life bursts from the page. She appears as an adoring aunt, an ardent activist, Harriet Jacobs’s ally, a committed teacher, and, most of all, an eyewitness to the ending of slavery and the beginning of freedom.”—Jim Downs, author of Sick from Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction

About the Author

Paula Tarnapol Whitacre is a professional writer and editor for organizations including the National Institutes of Health and the National Academy of Sciences. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she is a former Foreign Service officer and staff writer for the Washington Post. She participates in excavations, conducts archival research, and gives presentations on topics related to Alexandria, Virginia, where she lives with her family.

For more information, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Sign up for Paula’s newsletter for news and updates.