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Michelle Barker Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Beggar King (2013)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The House of One Thousand Eyes (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
My Long List of Impossible Things (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Children's Books

A Year of Borrowed Men (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Michelle Barker
Michelle Barker is a fiction author and winner of a few prestigious writing awards. Born and bred in Vancouver, Barker studied at UBC before taking a short course at the University of Jerusalem. After school, the talented author worked as a research assistant before relocating to Hawaii, where she raised four children. She enjoys traveling, and a year in France, summer in Montreal and years exploring the Quebec townships are among the highlights in her life. Currently, Barker lives in Vancouver and teaches a creative class at UBC. She enjoys writing both novels and poetry, spending time with family, and passing on her knowledge to the next generation.

The House of One Thousand Eyes
The House of One Thousand Eyes tells Lena’s story and her experiences growing up in East Germany during the communist era. It is in 1984, and seventeen-year-old Lena works as a cleaner in the Stasi Headquarters. Life hasn’t been easy for anyone, but Lena’s experiences have been more devastating. First, Lena loses both her parents in what is termed as a factory explosion. Thereafter, Lena is taken to a psychiatric hospital where everyone hopes she will recover from her trauma. Later, the young girl is sent to live with a stern aunt who also happens to be an ardent member of the Communist party. Life with her aunt is nothing but dull, but there is beloved uncle Erich, who always manages to brighten Lena’s days.

Lena is just settling into her new home when another devastating event takes place. Uncle Erich disappears one night, and his books, birth records, and belongings disappear with him. Lena is determined to find her uncle, or at least uncover what happened to him. With the government spies literally on every corner, it is going to be hard to gather any information. It doesn’t help that Lena cannot discuss her attempts to find her uncle with anyone. Despite the odds against her, Lena sets on a journey to find the truth. Is it possible that her uncle and parents faced the same fate? Did their deaths and disappearance have anything to do with their anti-communist stand?

This is a story of courage, defiance, and determination. Lena is unafraid, and while she is aware of the consequences that come with her actions, she is not ready to give up on her beloved uncle. Through Lena, her aunt, and friends, we see how life was during the communist era. The autocratic despots left destruction in their wake, and it is sad that so many families were affected by it all. This story is unusual in terms of setting, ending, and everything in between. However, it is also engaging and will hold your attention all the way to the end. Curious to find out what happens to Lena? Read this book to the end.

The House of a Thousand Eyes is an intriguing story that transports you back to the communist era. There are many young people in the story, and it is refreshing reading about their views on events as they unfold around them. The author has done an excellent job of exposing the rigidness and oppression that characterized the Communist regime. From lack of food, among other necessities, to forbidden travel, the characters endured it all, and much more. If you are in the mood for a well-researched, atmospheric story of the communist era, this book is a perfect choice.

A Year of Borrowed Men
A Year of Borrowed Men exposes the fate of French prisoners during the Second World War and the women and children who were left home during the war. With most of the men out in the war, Germany’s farms were struggling with limited labor. For example, in Gerda’s family, the women and five small children couldn’t manage to take care of their large farm, 150 chickens, cows, pigs, and horses. This is until the government decided to send its prisoners of war to the farms. The farm owners were supposed to leave the workers to sleep in cold structures next to the animals without worrying about what they ate and their living conditions. As long as the farm work was done, the owners were satisfied. However, not all farm owners were willing to be this inhumane.

One cold day, Gerda’s mother invites the men working on their farm to their warm house for a meal. The next thing she sees is her neighbor, who had been friendly for many years before joining the nazis with the police in tow. After a trip to the police station, Gerda’s mum is warned never to be kind to the French prisoners again. However, she doesn’t follow this rule. Her and other kind neighbors treat their workers with kindness, ensure they have enough to eat and provide comfortable living quarters. For families like the Schlottke’s who did not see any harm in showing a little kindness, the farmworkers became more like family.

This is a fictionized story based on Barker’s mom’s experiences. Towards the end of the war, French Prisoners were treated inhumanely by their owners, but there are those who dared to be different. Their little acts of kindness will move you to tears, and it is beautiful that awesome friendships blossomed in such stressful times. Farms were important during the way, and it shows in the efforts the owners make to ensure there is enough food for those left at home. Get to read the stories of prickly Fermaine, Gentle Gabriel, and cheerful Albert and their lives from a young girl’s perspective.

A Year of Borrowed Men is a heart-warming story of friendship, good food, a surprise Christmas tree, and a beloved doll. It is the story of men and women who forgot about their differences and showed each other love and kindness. Despite the brutal regime, there are those who maintained their respect for humanity. When the war ended in 1945, Fermaine, Albert, and Gabriel left for their homeland, and the Russians came and took away the farm animals. 7-year-old Gerda narrates this story, and it is impressive how she retains her innocence throughout.

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