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The Warm Hands of Ghosts

The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden

Katherine Arden’s newest historical fantasy is a moving, heart-wrenching look at what is lost during war, even beyond lives. When discharged WWI army nurse Laura Iven receives her brother, Freddie’s, belongings and a letter stating he’s gone missing, she believes something is off — in order to investigate, she returns to Europe and her role as a nurse in hopes that she’s able to learn more about his disappearance. One year in the past, we follow Freddie and a German soldier, Winter, who he owes his life to, as they struggle to escape the battlefield without dying or being captured by ally or enemy. The siblings’ stories converge with a mysterious figure, Faland, who lures the desolate and desperate to his ethereal hotel with music, drink, and the promise of forgetfulness. Arden’s focus on the importance of memory and the many kinds of love is what made this book stand out to me — despite the darkness and horror of the setting, these characters find hope and connection with one another. I was hooked until the final page!

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