Cover Image: The Prison Child

The Prison Child

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Member Reviews

This book surprised me. I was intrigued by Annie's back story, and then by her and Fisher's love story, and then brought in again when it came to light that Annie had experienced an additional heartbreaking loss. I found the writing to be a bit simple at times however, it was overshadowed by the interesting story of love and loss being told. The way the plot came together at the end resolving all of the storylines left me satisfied as a reader.  I will definitely be checking out the other books in this series.
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This is a very intimate story. Annie ...or at least that is what people call her, struggles to find out why there just feels like something is not quite right. All through her life she has had a feeling this is not who she birth certificate, she looks totally different from her sister and what were those snippets of conversation overheard between her parents. Getting the truth from an ailing mother is going to be tricky and traumatic. But how can you live life to the fullest when your life is clouded by lies.
Is Annie physically and emotionally strong enough for the stress this probing is uncovering?
I read alot of historical fiction...maybe too much! And dual timeline stories are common in this genre. But, wow! Shari J Ryan has really delivered on "The Prison Child". This is the first book I have read written by Shari and I became totally immersed. Not only fascinated by the secrets revelled in the WW2 era, but also engrossed in the "present day" story....any mother would sympathise and cry for the heartache.  Literal heartbreak on many levels....inter generational even.
Born in hell but now able to acknowledge the helpers along the way..."Hate brought me happiness, Being lost, made me found, Losing, helped me gain strength......."
Did the you also notice the recurrence of the butterflies throughout? Beautiful.
"The Other Blue Sky" is a previous title this books was published under.
Many thanks to Shari J Ryan, Netgalley and Bookouture for my copy.
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The Prison Child by Shari J Ryan is a truly poignant book. 

We all know how inexplicably horrendous the Holocaust was, but we don't often think about how people put their lives back together after, or whether they were ever able to after all the loss and torture they miraculously survived. This book makes you think about that, and realise just how much peoples lives were forever altered in more ways than you could ever imagine.

This is a deeply touching read that is written wonderfully. I love that Shari J Ryan has written different books from the point of view of the different characters. This is the second one I have read and I will be reading the others. This book is from the viewpoint of Annie, who as a baby was born into a dark Nazi world.  Her story was revealed brilliantly. It was heart breaking but also encaptured the bravery, strength and determination of those people who suffered so much. I very much deserves the 5 stars I have given it.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for a copy of this book in return for an open and honest review.
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3.5. This is the sequel/companion novel to The Girl With the Diary. In it, we follow Annie, another member of the Baylin family, as she comes to terms with her past. Told in flashbacks, this is a very emotional and moving novel, and one that I really enjoyed. The second half in particular is really strong. The author says you can read this book without having read The Girl With the Diary, but I felt I benefited from reading that one first and there are spoilers in The Prison Child. Overall another enjoyable read from this author and recommended if you enjoy war historical fiction.
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This is a good second book in the Last Words series. Annie overhears a conversation between her parents that sets her on a life- long journey to discover the truth of her birth and who she really is. This second installment gives us the POV of Annie, born in a concentration cape, doomed from birth but miraculously surviving through the love and care of a young jewish woman and rescue by a Nazi guard. 
I found this book as good as the first one. Yes, it is the same story of Amelia and Charlie, but it is different also. The different POVs are what makes these books so special. I would recommend all in the series. They are all touching, beautiful stories of life and love, good triumphing over evil.  They are well written and researched and hold your interest to the end. 
Thank you to Bookouture and to Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return.
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Shari J. Ryan has quickly become one of my favorite historical fiction authors.  Her stories break your heart and then put you back together again.  This story is another dual timeline story starting in Czechoslovakia in 1942.

This is a definite must read.  Now whenever I see Shari J. Ryan has written another book has become a must for me.

Thank you to #netgalley and #bookouture for allowing me to read the eARC of this story.  All opinions expressed above are my own.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for giving me a free book in exchange for an honest review. 

I loved the first book in this series, The Girl with the Diary. The story utterly captured my attention. As with most people, second books scare me in case they don’t match up to the first. However, Ryan ensured this book wouldn’t disappoint me! By looking at the aftermath of displaced persons, Ryan allowed for this book to hit an emotional impact. Very few Holocaust fiction books analyse the life displaced persons, especially children, had after the war. 

Through the eyes of the past and present search for answers, the reader is taken on an emotional journey which bridges the many gaps in the first book. There wasn’t a time where I was bored or wanting to put the book down while reading. Ryan kept my attention throughout as I experienced every single emotion possible through her words. 

If you haven’t picked up a Shari J Ryan book yet, you are missing out on a talented historical fiction author who pours her all into the characters.
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This book. I didn’t think Last Words needed anything else. I loved it. It’s one of my favorite books. After reading The Other Blue Sky - it was something I didn’t know I needed until I read it. The author clearly needed this story too! It gives you all the feels. You’ll love it won’t be able to put it down.
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The prison child by Shari J. Ryan. 
How will we get by the guards? It seems impossible. Yet we will be dead by the end of the week if we don’t—my precious girl and I have nothing to lose by trying.
Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, 1943: In Theresienstadt concentration camp, a brown-eyed baby girl is born in darkness, surrounded by barbed wire. The innocent new-born has no hope of surviving—unless, by some kind of miracle, she is able to escape…
A good read. I did enjoy this one.  I liked the cover.  4*.
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Czechoslovakia, 1943:  In the Theresienstadt concentration camp a baby girl is born.  But how will this baby girl ever survive?  More than twelve years later in New York, Annie overhears her parents whispering, and Annie finds out that she doesn’t belong to them and they must keep the secret hidden or they risk loosing her.  Annie’s life immediately becomes a shambles.  She discovers nothing in her life is real, it’s all been a lie.  When she gets older she decides she must find her birth parents and she must go to great lengths to discover the truth.  But as she pieces together her past she wonders if her birth parents are even alive or did they parish like so many others.  This series is absolutely breathtaking.  The emotions are so well written on the pages, that it pulls you into the story when you least expect it.  I was heartbroken and felt such sympathy for Annie.  I felt like this story was gut wrenching and is sure to stick with me for ages.  Don’t pass this one up, it’s an absolute must read.

Thank you Shari J. Ryan for such a wonderful, emotional and inspirational story of holding on to a ray of hope.  I absolutely loved it and I highly recommend this book.
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As this book is a re-release and is available with books one and three, The Girl with the Diary and The Soldier's Letters, readers should be familiar with Annie. Another familiarity readers might remember is that a child was born in the Theresienstadt concentration camp and she was named Lucie. It is made clear early on in this book that Annie, Emma's aunt and Amelia's sister from the first book is the same little girl that was born under horrendous conditions during World War II.

We had Amelia's story. We will have Charlie's story, but what is Annie's story? Well, her life started under devastating conditions that was truly miraculous. Her story began again as Annie recounts her childhood with specific experiences that helped her to truly form her identity. When she was a teen, she heard something she was not supposed to by her parents. This led Annie to many questions, questions she kept to herself but spent a lifetime searching for answers.

While Annie's life has been filled with hope, with joy and with fulfillment, it was also filled with devastation, even lies. Why lies? Well, these lies were surrounded by love, and that is what makes this second book in the Lost Words series such an inspiration. I loved Annie's search for answers and how it ultimately led her to find much more than she ever would have imagined.

Please also enjoy the YouTube video review -
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A beautifully written tale of an infant being born in nazi occupied Czechoslovak’s concentration camp to a Jewish mother who will not survive to see the end of the war and how a plan is developed by kindly nazi soldier to smuggle the new born out of the camp and a safe life.

Living in New York, Annie has always felt different from her family and after overhearing hushed conversations between her mother and father she becomes concerned that her genetic background is not all that she has been led to believe.  When her birth certificate is confirmed as not matching official records she decides to delve in her birth history and make sense of who she really is and find out why her parents are being so vague with details of her birth.

The one thing that I took from this book is that family is not always blood or genetic make up, a stranger can become family and have just as much good intentions and love for you as any family member.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the advance read copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Book #2 in Shari J. Ryan's trilogy, Last Words. Anna searches for her identity, never thinking her life began in Theresienstadt concentration camp, born to a woman imprisoned for her religious beliefs. The weaving of the stories is well done, and I greatly enjoyed this 2nd book involving these characters in a struggle for their lives.
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I liked the first book in the series quite a bit, but it was quite cheesy at times and I thought the dialogue was a little clunky. This one though, I absolutely loved it! I read it in less than a day!
We follow Annie, who is Emma’s aunt, as she tries to fill in all the gaps in her past. We learned in the first book that her mother, Amelia, never shared details of her survival story and Annie grew up only knowing bits and pieces of how she came to be and the truth about her family. She uncovers them all in this book in the most heartbreaking, yet spectacular way. 
The things I loved the most about this book? 
 Annie and Fisher! What a sweet romance! Together through thick and thin and always showing the utmost respect and adoration for each other. 
 The symbolism with the butterfly was also so sweet. 
 Dual timelines in a historical fiction are probably my favorite thing. 
 The EMOTIONS in this book were so raw and real. This was probably the strongest part of the novel. Really top notch. 

CW: anti-semitism, loss of child, grief, racism, death 

Thank you to NetGalley for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Amazing mix of facts and story...w/a wonderful message

I read Last Words and then this one, & highly recommend them both, as great stories with powerful meaning :)
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"I believe those we lost will return in our lifetime in one form or another to let us know they are okay, and hopefully they are getting another chance to experience what they should have. When you see a new life, and feel a connection, consider the deeper meaning."

I can't think of a better quote from this powerful & riveting story of family secrets, deep hurt and trauma. We have to be willing to find the joy in our circumstances, it's there if we look hard enough. Life can be so unfair at times,  cruel even, but we can rise above all that. We can come out on the other side! 

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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The Prison Child is book 2 in the series and is no less heartbreaking than The Girl with the Diary.  The story is told from when Annie is a teenager and during the present day.  We discover her struggles of dealing with who she really is after she found out, inadvertently that she didn't 'belong' to her parents.  "Butterflies often appear when missing loved ones are near".  I read this in one sitting and I was captivated from beginning to end.
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Sweet little Annie was twelve years old when she began doubting her identity. She and her family were living in New York and had been since she was only a baby, but the discovery of fragmented information, which she overheard as her mother was unwilling to share anything about their past, caused her heartache and the knowledge that she didn’t fit in. She was twenty when she finally went back to Prague, telling her sister Clara, but not her mother or father as she was sure they would forbid her to go.

Annie had been communicating with Fisher in Prague, who was a support person for missing children from the war years. Their letter writing had been going on for almost two years and finally Annie would get to meet him. She would go to Theresienstadt concentration camp where she’d been born and where she’d escaped with her life when she was around one year old. Annie would also try to find out what her birth name was, and who her birth parents were…

Annie’s beloved mother, Amelia, had suffered a stroke. Now in her nineties, Annie and Clara were terrified they’d lose her, but Annie also realized she needed the answers she’d shelved all those years ago. When she and Fisher decided to head back to Prague, she wasn’t sure what to expect. But she wondered – would she find her birth father?

The Prison Child (previously published as The Other Blue Sky) is the 2nd in Last Words series by Shari J. Ryan and it’s an excellent follow on from The Girl with the Diary. I thoroughly enjoyed Annie’s story and am looking forward to The Soldier's Letters, #3 in the series, and Charlie’s story. I must say, the butterfly on the cover has great significance. Highly recommended.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
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Wow…wow…wow!  This amazing read made me so thankful to be living the life I have, I did not realize that this is the second book in a series but I am definitely planning on reading the first just as soon as I read the third, The Soldier’s Letters.  I fell in love with these characters, most especially Fisher.  Annie’s life has been and continued to be full of questions about her past.  Her sleuthing brought her a few snippets of information, but led her to Fisher.  My heart was in my throat throughout much of this book.  I felt deeply for Annie and her family, especially Sky.  It is the true sign of a gifted author when you are enveloped in the lives of the characters they bring to life on the pages of a book.
Annie’s journal entry at the end had the most moving profound sentiments I have read in many years.
My extreme gratitude for introducing me to these very special people Shari Ryan.  Many thanks to you, Bookouture, and NetGalley for affording me the amazing opportunity to read an arc of this incredible story, to be published May 24th.  I am a huge fan of your talent Shari J. Ryan!  Don’t miss out on this gem of a book.
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Not what I had hoped for🙁

2.5🌟 stars
I loved the preceding book, The Girl with the Diary, but this story, though connected, just fell far short of my expectations.  Way too much philosophizing and I did not like Annie, the main character.  

Annie gave me so many problems.  She's secretive as a child, refusing to go to her parents with her anxiety and problems.  Luckily, through a totally unrealistic trip to Prague, she meets a great guy.  But it seems that's not enough to give her peace and she continues to inwardly bemoan what she does not know or have rather than focusing on all the love and gifts she's been given.  She's like an adopted child desperate to find her biological family but dialled up ten times in intensity. 
 She was only an infant when rescued from the concentration camp so really can't remember that life but she pushes and pushes against the hardship of being a child that survived.  When she finally confronts the very person who can fill in the blanks of her birth family she barely asks any questions?  And the inward dialogue and philosophical discussions with Fisher just did not resonate with me.  But Fisher I liked.  Despite his background, he was such a positive person and loving influence.  He who truly had lost everything and everyone in the war and looked ahead to better times (and copious helpings of meatloaf!) without complaint.

Annie's trip to Prague as a young woman did not compute with any kind of realism.  Czechoslovakia was part of the Communist bloc, behind the Iron Curtain, and she just shows up.  There is no way she would not have gone through passport controls both entering and before she left.  And the whole story of how Fisher ended up in the States is passed over.  That bothered me as well.

The most touching part of the book had nothing to do with the Holocaust and everything to do with the happy life she was living as a young mother with her beautiful boy Sky.  

Despite my lackluster reaction to this story, I intend to continue this saga with the third book, The Soldier's Letters, because I want to learn more about Charlie, the man who risked his life and freedom by saving Annie from the camp.

Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for sharing a complimentary advance copy of the book;  this is my voluntary and honest opinion.
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