Lana’s War: A Novel Book Review

Challenging times force us to make a choice. We can either sit back and do nothing. Or we can fight against injustice.

Anita Abriel’s new book, Lana’s War, was published back in January. In Paris in 1943, Lana Antanova is happy, despite the suffering imposed on the city by the German invaders. Married and newly pregnant, she hurries to tell her husband the news of their upcoming bundle of joy. Her joy is quickly snuffed out when she is made a widow by a German officer. Her grief is compounded by a miscarriage.

A few months later, Lana joins the resistance. The daughter of a Russian noblewoman, she is the perfect person to penetrate the ranks of German officers who are making themselves comfortable on the French coast. Among them is the man who killed her husband. She is paired up with Guy Pascal, a wealthy Swiss industrialist who is also in the resistance. Pretending to be his mistress, they work together to save as many Jewish lives as possible. When Lana becomes emotionally attached to a young Jewish girl, she is determined to protect not just her own life, but also those lives of the people around her.

This book is fantastic. The narrative crackled with tension. It read almost like a spy thriller instead of a historical novel. I love that Lana is not simply the damsel in distress. She is a smart cookie and a badass who does what is right, in spite of the danger.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.


Why Does it Take the Murder of Sarah Everard to Make the Streets Safe for Women?

Change sometimes does not come on a whim. It comes from a traumatic event that forces the rose colored glasses off our faces.

Back on March 3rd, Sarah Everard was an ordinary woman. While walking home after a friend’s party, she disappeared. Her body was found a week later. She has since become an icon for the fear that women face worldwide when walking home alone at night.

Akin to the response following the murder of George Floyd last year, the hashtags #ReclaimTheseStreets and #TextMeWhenYouGetHome have flooded social media.

Why is the onus always be on women for our safety? Why must we feel the need to carry mace, our keys on our hand, or another form of protection just to make sure we are not assaulted or killed? The answer is that men still are told, both consciously and unconsciously that any woman walking by herself after dark is there for the taking.

There is only one solution. Author and former Secret Service agent Evy Poumpouras stated the following:

“… And I think it’s teaching young men and boys that this is not how we behave,” she continued. “Teaching women to stand up, speak up and fight.”

Only after this is done will this scourge be a thing of the past.

RIP Sarah Everard.

Audrey (2020) Review

When dealing with childhood trauma as an adult, there are generally two paths to take. The first is that of possible mental illness, addiction, and life long emotional scars that never heal. The second is that of forgiveness, being open, and putting the past behind you.

I watched the new Netflix documentary, Audrey (2020) last night. It is an intimate vision of Audrey Hepburn, one of the most iconic performers from Old Hollywood. Using archival footage, interviews, and clips from her work, the film opens the door to an image of the icon that goes beyond the glitz and glamour. The movie documents her difficult childhood during World War II, her turn as one of the most famous performers in the world, and then her later years, highlighting the charity work she did in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

I loved this movie. It goes beyond the typical Hollywood documentary. I felt like I was introduced to the real woman, not the actress whose profile was specifically created by the studio system. As a fan, it made appreciate her more, both as a performer and a human being.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Audrey is available for streaming on Netflix.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Review

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog regularly, knows that I don’t normally nerd out about comic books and their on screen adaptations.

The new DisneyPlus series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered last night. It starts just after Avengers: Endgame. The Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and the Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) are dealing with the after effects of the war against Thanos and the blip that caused half of the population on Earth to disappear. Both Sam and Bucky are trying to balance their personal lives and their superhero selves when a new enemy appears. To save the world again, they have to work together. Which is a challenge within itself.

There comes a point in which a brand has to realize that not every IP needs multiple spinoffs. After the massive success of Endgame and WandaVision, the next logical step is to greenlight other offshoots with other characters from within the same universe. The problem is not every one of them is worthy of it’s predecessor. The problem with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is that while it is entertaining, it is not as good as WandaVision.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.

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