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BOOK CLUB BEAT with Sherry Hemingway Young Moms Design a Book Club to Fit their Unpredictable Lives Book Club Members: (Sitting l-r) Catherine Steffen, Lindsay Millea, Laura Mankovsky, Trista Zukowski; (Standing l-r) Michelle Paulson, Jacki Gargiulo, Laura Brown, Sarah Peirce and Renee Ridgeway. Members of Las Madres & Friends Book Club in Gilroy are busy, busy women. They read, they raise children and they raise money for children’s cancer – pretty much all at the same time. Six years ago they started as a “super casual” mother’s social group doing play dates. Gradually they morphed into a book club uniquely organized to accommodate nursing, pregnant, and occasionally overwhelmed mothers of small children who want to read and get out of the house. When the little girl of one of their members developed terminal cancer, the group also took on fundraising for Unravel, the non-profit organization created in her memory to fight pediatric cancer. At times, they’ve been willing to “throw out the book discussion” when Unravel had an urgent need that required their immediate attention. No book talk for the sake of their charity was fine. Like all good mothers, they know their priorities. Family-friendly Las Madres & Friends Book Club in Gilroy makes it easy for moms to keep up their reading while raising children. THE BOOK F The Nightingale Author Kristin Hannah ollowing in the footsteps of last year’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr, now comes “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. The two books, both set during the Nazi invasion and occupation of France during WWII, have distinctly different perspectives of those years. “Light” was about hiding from the Germans, “The Nightingale” is about resisting them. “The Nightingale” is about two French sisters who, in very different ways, struggle to survive and show the courage to save the ones they love. The book opens in Oregon in 1995, when an elderly and terminally ill woman receives an invitation. She is asked to come to Paris for a reunion of WWII “passeurs,” those who helped people during the war. The invitation means she must make the decision whether or not to come to terms with her long-hidden past. The story flashes back in time to France in 1940, when Germany is making its move on France. Reckless and rebellious Isabelle, age 18, has once again flunked out of finishing school. Swept into the chaos of the invasion of Paris by the Germans, Isabelle instinctively knows she can and will fight. Meanwhile, in a bucolic village in the Loire Valley, her elder sister, Vianne, believes the disruption will be brief and her newly-drafted husband will return soon. Soon, Germans occupy their village and their officers choose the local homes in which they will live. One of those homes belongs to Vianne and her daughter. Vianne copes with a smile for the sake of her house, food and the safety of her family. In Paris, Isabelle stumbles across a downed British pilot in hiding, and through him finds her mission. She will smuggle him into Spain. The sisters have chosen different directions and Vianne comes to believe her sister Isabelle will be their doom. Book clubs sometimes question whether everything about World War II has already been written, and then a book comes along to remind us there are infinite stories about good and evil. This one looks hard at the fine line between life and death, and forces the unanswerable question: What would you do to survive? What would you do to save your loved ones? The lady in Oregon must revisit those questions and decide whether or not to get on an airplane and face them. Yes, there is yet another book about WWII that you really must read. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MAY/JUNE 2016 SHERRY HEMINGWAY spent her childhood after lights out with a book and flashlight under the covers. With degrees from Kent State University and Harvard University, her life- long career was in journal- ism and public relations. Her hobbies are travel in (very) remote countries, volunteering, and two book clubs. 67