Good morning bookies! Weatherman’s Spring begins today, the unofficial meteorological beginning of the season of newness and rebirth. Thank God. The paper today said our average high temperature for February was 37.5 degrees, about 8 degrees below normal. I didn’t know it had been that warm.

*** For you mystery lovers out there, the new issue of iloveamysterynewsletter has been posted, better known as ILAM. Quite simply, this is the best mystery review site on the web, because yours truly reviews there. I will tell you in advance that I had quibbles with two reviews in this issue, the new Robert Crais and James Hall books. Neither reviewer seems to have read these authors before, whereas I’ve written every scrap they’ve published and, in the case of Hall, a lot of stuff he hasn’t published. They appear to be clueless about the backlists and that flaws their reviews. Sorry to those authors for my negative review of their reviews, but the reviewer has to review as he or she sees fit.

***Today, we look at a couple of new books about World War II as it affected women. In the first, Why Did I Have to be a Girl?, Gabriele Kopp becomes the very first woman ever to write under how own name about being raped when the Red Army poured into Germany during World War II. No one knows exactly how many women were raped and/or murdered by the Red Army, but the low side estimates are in the 2 million range. The Western Allies, aka England and America, took the view that Germany more or less had it coming, since it attacked the USSR without provocation. Of course, that ignores the fact that the USSR attacked Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Rumania without provocation, but who’s keeping track, right? And as for what a 15 year old girl could have done to ‘deserve’ such treatment…well, that’s not a question the Allies were worried about at the time. Anyway, Kopp survived and went on to have a fine career and has bravely told her story.

*** Our second book about women in World War II is a novel based on history, the history of British women working on farms to feed the country during the war. Known as the British Land Girls a number of their survivors aren’t happy with this book, as it makes them out to be nymphomaniacs, or so they say. Not having read it I can’t comment, and not being overly familiar with the British Land Girls. However, not much has been written about the contribution of women to the war efforts only all sides, so this book fills in a gap, regardless of any flaws. And let’s face it, it’s a novel intended to sell and titillate. Sounds like it did that.

Once a Land Girl by Angela Huth