Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber #BookReview #BlogTour

An uplifting tale of finding unexpected love in the Alaskan wilderness from bestselling author, Debbie Macomber.

Before beginning her new job as sous chef at one of Seattle's finest restaurants, Josie Stewart takes on a six-month position cooking at a lodge in an Alaskan lake town. It's only temporary--or so she thinks, as she becomes a valued part of the local community, falling in love with the people who call the Klutina Lake home.

But one man, in particular, stands out among the rest of Josie's new friends: an intriguing swordsmith whose very existence forces her to question whether her heart wants to return to Washington at all.

I'm delighted to be hosting the blog tour for Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber today. Many thanks to the author and Rachel Kennedy from Arrow for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

I don't tend to read much romantic fiction but as Christmas approaches, there is something about the season that means I'm drawn to books…

America Über Alles by Jack Fernley #BookReview #BlogTour


What if America was based not on the Declaration of Independence, but the values of Mein Kampf?

 Germany, April 1945. As the Russians close in on Berlin, a lone plane flies into the city. On board are General Robert Ritter von Greim and the Nazi flying ace, Hanna Reitsch, summoned by Hitler to his bunker. There, the Führer reveals Germany’s secret weapon – a weapon he believes will win the war for the Nazis and change the course of history for ever.

America, December 1776. George Washington and his army are close to collapse, the War of Independence is almost lost. The British army scent victory, aided by the arrival of extraordinary German mercenaries. However, when the Germans offer the Americans secret intelligence to allow a surprise attack on their supposed allies, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems. Who are these Germans and what are they fighting for?

Fast-paced, thrilling and thought-provoking, America Über Alles imagines a world in which the American War of Independence becomes a struggle for democratic values against fascist ideology; perfect for fans of SSGB and The Man in the High Castle.

It's my pleasure to be hosting the final stop on the blog tour for America Über Alles by Jack Fernley today, many thanks to the author, publishers and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my copy of the novel.
There are many alternate history novels based around the Second World War but where most imagine a future based on Germany and the Axis nations having won, America Über Alles takes a different path and looks at what might have happen if the Nazis were able to rewrite history. At the start of the book Germany are still in a perilous state in 1945 with Russia closing in on Berlin and Hitler almost a broken man. He summons General Robert Ritter von Greim and ace pilot, Hanna Reitsch to his bunker and informs them they must proceed to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute where von Greim is to take command of the finest SS division in a secret mission that will change the course of history and ensure the Nazis are triumphant. It is not immediately obvious to von Greim and Reitsch just what is expected of them but as the storyline switches to America in 1776, it soon becomes clear that the Germans' new weapon wasn't a new type of bomb but something with the potential to be even more even more devastating. Though exactly how they managed it is never fully explained, von Greim (now using the alias von Steuben), Reitsch and the elite Stormtroopers have travelled back in time with the aim of winning the War of Independence for the Americans and in doing so to gain the hearts and minds of its citizens in order to create a National Socialist nation over 150 years before the Nazi Party rose to power in Germany.
It's a terrifying prospect but as the story progresses it becomes only too believable. The Germans are able to utilise their knowledge of historical events to manipulate the war until they are seen as the all conquering heroes. The author's superb research is obvious and his use of real life leading figures from the war - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Thomas Paine, to name just a few gives the book a sense of authenticity, particularly alongside the references to battles that actually took place - even if the Stormtroopers are hailed as the difference in the Continental Army's change in fortunes. I must admit to feeling a certain detachment until some way through the book; though it was fascinating  to see just how easily the Germans, led by von Steuben achieved their objectives, I hadn't developed any strong feelings about any of the protagonists. This is very much a plot driven novel and and as such I was finding it a thought-provoking but not especially emotive read. However, as the Nazis come closer to realising their aims, there are so many striking parallels to Hitler's rise to power I was soon chilled to the bone by their swift progression to merciless authoritarians who took violent action against those they perceived to oppose them, and was grateful to be able to root for the small group of characters who were able to recognise the danger posed by their supposed allies.
Jack Fernley's book is a particularly disturbing read given the current political situation in the USA and the 'othering' rhetoric used by Trump in his speeches against immigrants. It's sadly only too apparent once again that fear is an easy emotion to stir in a populace. There is one particular scene in the novel where a character makes a speech that could have been made by Trump and it's a frightening reminder of Michael Rosen's warning that fascism arrives as your friend, offering pride and hope and the promise to clean the neighbourhood. With the rise of the far right and the prevalence of fake news in the USA and across Europe, America Über Alles isn't exactly enjoyable but it is a clever, provocative novel and if readers feel a sense of foreboding then it should hopefully serve as a reminder than we must always oppose oppression whether it arrives in the guise of conquering war heroes or perma-tanned reality television stars. The conclusion of the book is such that I could easily imagine a sequel being written and if that is the case then I look forward to reading it but in the meantime I recommend America Über Alles to anybody who enjoys intelligent, challenging fiction.

America Über Alles is published by Unbound and can be purchased here. Don't forget to check out some of the previous stops on the blog tour, details are below.


About the Author
Jack Fernley is the pen name of Wayne Garvie, a leading British television executive. Over his career he has been involved with programmes as varied as Strictly Come Dancing, Top of the Pops, Top Gear, and The Crown, and has worked as Head of Entertainment at the BBC. He is currently Chief Creative Officer for Sony and lives in London.
@thejackfernley  @garvie1

Comments