The Book Drop Review – September 2020
The Book Drop is a monthly book subscription box service created by Amanda Zirn Hudson, manager and book buyer of Bethany Beach Books, an independent book store in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Their mission is to help bring the independent bookstore to readers all over the world. If you are interested in seeing what kinds of books they send, you can browse their shop, where they list previously featured books.
This is a review of the “Books for Tea” subscription category, which includes historical/contemporary/literary fiction books.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
Check out all of our reviews of Book Subscription Boxes for more options, too!
About this Box
The Subscription Box: The Book Drop
The Cost: $16.99/month + $3.99 shipping
The Product: Subscribers receive one paperback book each month. The book you get depends on which subscription option you choose, and you can switch between plans anytime (or skip) before your plan charges for the month. Currently, they offer nine different plan options:
- Books for Tea: Includes historical/contemporary/literary fiction books
- Books for Bubbly: Includes books about romance, chick-lit, friendships, and heartbreak
- Books for Coffee: Includes thrillers, mysteries, murder, and psychological books
- Mix of Tea + Coffee: Alternates between the Books for Tea and Books for Coffee selections month-to-month
- Mix of Bubbly + Tea: Alternates between the Books for Bubbly and Books for Tea selections month-to-month
- Mix of Coffee + Bubbly: Alternates between the Books for Coffee and Books for Bubbly selections month-to-month
- Books for Young Adults: Includes books about fantasy, teen life, love, and drama ($11/month)
- Books for Middle Grade: Includes books about adventure, friendship, fantasy, and coming-of-age ($8/month)
- The Book Droplet: Includes hardcover children’s picture books ($17.99/month)
Ships to: The U.S. for $3.99, Canada for $19.99, international for $26.99
The Book Drop “Books for Tea” September 2020 Review
Every Book Drop includes a note talking about why they loved this book and chose to include it.
This book is different than any other World War II fiction I’ve read. Based on a true story, it begins in 2015 when an old woman in New York named Elise finds letters written by her mother, plunging her into the depths of long-forgotten memories from World War II. Then the story flashes back to her mother, around the time Elise was born. The story follows the progression of Elise’s experience throughout 1933-1947, which takes her to many different places, meeting many different people along the way. I thought every character had so much personality and was so well-developed, and I grew attached to all of them. The story covered places and events during that time that I didn’t know about, including a refugee ship called Saint Louis who left Hamburg for Cuba, only to be turned away. The boat then went to Miami, seeking help from the U.S. for the refugees, and was turned away once again. After again being turned away by Canada, the ship had to return to Europe. Another thing I learned about was about the French city of Oradour-Sur-Glane, where the SS ordered and directed the massacre of over 600 people and leveled the city as part of the destruction the SS ordered as they sensed their impending loss.
At the end of the book, there’s a short interview with the author, in which he says he was compelled to write about these things because there are many events from WWII that tend to be glossed over. No one talks about how the rest of the world turned away refugees and sent them back to their deaths in Europe, or how it was France’s own soldiers (under orders by the SS) who destroyed their own city. I thought this was an original and unique way to tell a story from this time period. I also enjoyed the author’s writing style, and that he wrote in the third person, shifting perspectives to connect the reader with every character. There were mysteries and surprises and secrets revealed throughout the book that kept the pages turning. And the chapters are short, which offered me a sense of momentum and made it easy to finish a section, set it down, and come back to it a little later without being lost. As a mom of three littles, I appreciated this aspect quite a bit.
Book Summary from Amazon:
Seven decades of secrets unravel with the arrival of a box of letters from the distant past, taking readers on a harrowing journey from Nazi-occupied Berlin, to the South of France, to modern-day New York City.
Berlin, 1939. The dreams that Amanda Sternberg and her husband, Julius, had for their daughters are shattered when the Nazis descend on Berlin, burning down their beloved family bookshop and sending Julius to a concentration camp. Desperate to save her children, Amanda flees toward the South of France. Along the way, a refugee ship headed for Cuba offers another chance at escape and there, at the dock, Amanda is forced to make an impossible choice that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Once in Haute-Vienne, her brief respite is interrupted by the arrival of Nazi forces, and Amanda finds herself in a labor camp where she must once again make a heroic sacrifice.
New York, 2015. Eighty-year-old Elise Duval receives a call from a woman bearing messages from a time and country that she forced herself to forget. A French Catholic who arrived in New York after World War II, Elise is shocked to discover that the letters were from her mother, written in German during the war. Her mother’s words unlock a floodgate of memories, a lifetime of loss un-grieved, and a chance—at last—for closure.
Based on true events and “breathtakingly threaded together from start to finish with the sound of a beating heart” (The New York Times Book Review), The Daughter’s Tale is an unforgettable family saga of love, survival, and redemption.
Also in my Book Drop was a note from the author that was specifically written to Book Drop subscribers receiving his book this month. It came across very sweet and expressed gratitude that his book was featured. It also offers some insight into what started the idea for this book.
In my box, there was also a bookmark featuring art by Mkensea Art. It features art from her “Floral Waves” series: women on surfboards of different shapes and colors. I love this bookmark! I think it’s beautiful.
Verdict: This was my first experience with The Book Drop, and I’m happy! Overall, I thought this was an original and beautiful historical fiction story. It stands out amongst the handful of WWII fiction I’ve read, namely because of the unique locations and events it explores, and also because it’s written in a way that makes me remember each character more clearly and individually than I feel like I have with others. I’m looking forward to more deliveries from this subscription because I see a few books that they’ve previously sent out that that have been on my to-be-read list! Also, I really love how they have their genre categories set up and labeled by what drink to enjoy while reading to maximize the vibe of the books. Has anyone else read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this book if you sign up today? No, but it may be available as an add-on next month!
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of the Book Drop subscription?