A Washington native, Julie grew up on the Olympic Peninsula. She received an Associate of Arts degree from North Seattle Community College and her Professional Writer credentials from Washington State University. Julie worked as a Library Assistant in a rural district while raising her two children then became the proprietor of her own shop in Old Town Poulsbo. She now enjoys living on Bainbridge Island and working as a bookseller at Eagle Harbor Book Company.
"It's like a combination of all the best places I've lived, and the skills I've developed came together at one time."
When not trying to figure out what to read next, Julie enjoys beachcombing, walks on Bainbridge, gardening, kayaking, drawing and watercolor, helping out PAWS, visiting her grandson in Alaska, sailing and snorkeling in warmer climates while trying to keep up with her partner, Greg.
Based on a true story, Hannah’s exciting and moving novel portrays the effects on the people of France by the Nazi invasion and occupation during World War II. The story focuses on two sisters: Viann, who resides in what was once the family estate in a small village, and rebellious Isabelle, who risks everything to play a part in defeating the enemy. While at odds in their relationship, they find common ground in their desire to survive and to help others. I’d recommend this to readers with an interest in the amazing courage of millions of forgotten people who faced tragic circumstances and deprivation, but still did so much to help free their country. ~ Julie
These are the recollections of an intrepid widow who took her five young children cruising every summer in a 25’ boat, exploring British Columbia’s Inside Passage. Blanchet’s reverence for nature is evident as she and her children discover abandoned native villages, explore tide pools, climb headlands or huddle in their boat, waiting for storms to abate. An accomplished navigator with a respect for the vicissitudes of nature, she saw these waters as pristine as they must have been when Vancouver discovered them long ago. The author just touches on the heartbreaking loss of her husband, enough for us to understand her courage to live her life the way she chooses, raising her children close to nature all year long, celebrating life every day.
If you are a Jane Austen fan or relish the next episode of Downton Abbey, you will love this story of the below-stairs version of Pride and Prejudice. While we catch glimpses of the Bennet girls’ romantic lives, the main character, Sarah the housemaid, lives in a world of drudgery, yearning to have an independent life and adventures of her own. At the same time, we learn about the unromantic colonial wars of the period and the disturbing truth about how upper-class families acquired their fortunes. This is a great romp through the messy lives of our favorite heroines and their servants, giving new dimensions to Austen’s classic. I thoroughly enjoyed Jo Baker’s writing and her imaginative rendition of the period. ~ Julie
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Pieced together from journals, letters, military records, and pictures, Zuckoff’s book places us squarely in wartime New Guinea, 1945. A sight-seeing “joy ride” into the most remote area of the island was supposed to have been a treat for twenty-four American enlisted men and WACs. Their destination was a recently discovered lush valley in the interior that was almost inaccessible by plane, impossible to land in, and populated by legendary giant cannibals. The crash survivors were stranded in the most isolated and dangerous jungle on earth. Zuckoff’s research and richly descriptive prose make for an incredible tale of survival, courage, and good old American ingenuity. ~ Julie
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In this novel of Berlin toward the end of World War II, Sigrid Schroeder lives an oppressed life as a hausfrau, working for the war effort while her husband fights on the Eastern Front. As the men fight, the women of Berlin subsist in fear and mistrust, navigating the scarcities, harsh regulations, and scrutiny of the government. Sigrid inadvertently becomes involved in a dangerous underground movement saving undesirables from deportation and concentration camps, and finds herself caught between what she believes in and how she must survive. Gillham has given us a flawed protagonist who possesses sensuality, cynicism, and resolve. His writing is by turns lyrical and raw, and there is never a pause in this page turner. ~ Julie
Gregson’s third novel delivers the same gritty narrative that highlights her previous works, East of the Sun and Band of Angels. Beautiful Saba Tarcan, daughter of a Turkish merchant marine and an English mother, is a talented singer who performs before the troops in North Africa during World War II. She meets and falls in love with a handsome RAF pilot, and her high profile connections and multi-lingual abilities lead to her recruitment by the British Secret Service. Gregson’s novels—great adventures from the opulent past, wondrous journeys of women from history—are well-researched, with gutsy protagonists. One can almost sense the flavors of the exotic marketplace or the smell of the desert in the evening as she describes them.
When Josie loses her dental practice in a lawsuit and her husband finds another woman, she journeys to Alaska with her two young children in a rickety RV, hoping to experience some resolution and adventure in the juncture between her old life and whatever’s next. Josie’s disdain for contemporary society is insightful, her humor down to earth, and the situations this trio find themselves in are memorably hilarious. This is not a “poor me” woman, but someone who knows she must come to terms with her past, provide for her children and find a place they can call home. I wish I had been along for the ride.
With curiosity and fascination for the natural world, Jahren—a former English major who found her true calling in science—overcomes the cultural bias against women in that field as she takes us on a journey through her life: excavating, applying for grants, setting up a lab, and the exultation of her first discovery. A respected scientist and professor, she illustrates experiences with passages from literature, while always her eccentric lab partner and friend, Bill, is there to goad her on. Through tenacity and dry wit, she not only conveys wondrous descriptions of, say, a seed, but poetically takes you on its journey as it grows.
Russell’s novel takes us on the journey of 40ish Ohio school teacher Agnes Shanklin into the turbulent Middle East. She finds herself at the site of the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference, where she encounters “Lawrence of Arabia”, the Winston Churchills, and Gertrude Lawrence, the “Desert Queen.” She is drawn into this circle of people who have converged to map out the modern Middle East. The outspoken Miss Shanklin provides an American sounding board in these debates. Russell’s prose is effortless, and the complicated subject of providing for all factions well-researched. Pages reek of the marketplace, riots, heat and dust, camels, and airless train journeys. The book gave me greater understanding of the Middle East as well as an enjoyable read.