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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review: A Painted House by John Grisham

I have actually read this book before but didn't review it. It's just as good the second time round and a deviation from Grisham's usual legal mystery/thrillers. Frankly, I feel it's his best work. The first person narrative and southern setting reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird though the plot is quite different.

At the heart of the story is an Arkansas farming family, the Chandlers. The story is told through the eyes of 7 year old Luke Caldwell.  The cotton is ready for picking and migrant workers (Mexicans and Hill People) have arrived to pick it.

There's plenty of conflict from Hank, the mean bully from the Spruill family whose cruel actions leave one young man dead after a street brawl, and Cowboy, a Mexican with a ruthless streak. Then there's the fight against the elements every farmer faces to try to make a living off unforgiving land. Luke witnesses not one but two murders and is bound to secrecy in fear for his life.

There is slight nudity at one part, a few issues with language but not too much, and a couple of scenes with violence. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Book Review: Sail Upon the Land by Josa Young

The prologue of this book starts in India with the rape of Damson a sheltered young woman. From there it takes us back to the 1930's and traces forward through four generations of English women ending with Damson.  The superb writing and the sensitive treatment of real life circumstances such as depression, being born with physical challenges, pregnancies out of wedlock and even inheriting property and title with no funds for upkeep all make this story intriguing. I think Ms. Young has done a superb job and I look forward to reading more stories by her. I give this woman’s fiction five out of five stars.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Review: Storm Clouds Rolling in by Ginny Dye

The first book in a series.  Carrie Cromwell has grown up on a Virginia plantation so she is used to the comfort of a privileged life and she’s an independent thinker. Slaves have always been a part of her lifestyle, but the older she gets the more she questions whether slavery is right or wrong. The story gives us both sides of the slavery issue including the rationalization many southerners made (using the Bible as their foundation) that helped them remain morally okay with it. Carrie also has dreams of being a doctor and as the tension mounts between North and South and the time draws near for beginning of the civil war, she must make some difficult decisions regarding what she believes and the young man she is drawn to who is from a similar wealthy circumstances. The author gives interesting historical background that helps the reader understand Virgina’s position during the civil war the moral struggle many people faced. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: By Eastern Windows by Gretta Curran Browne

A unique historical romance that focuses on a male main character, Lachlan Macquarie. The book begins in Scotland with Macquarie as a young soldier, then moves to India where he rises through the ranks of the English military. He meets the love of his life, lovely  Jane Jarvis who has been raised in India but the happy marriage is short-lived. When tragedy strikes, Browne makes us feel Macquarie’s agony in the loss of wife and the horrific ordeal he faces following her death in China. Toward the end of the book he is given a second chance at love with Elizabeth, a young Scottish woman who has loved Lachlan since the first day she met him.  Browne writes with great sensitivity and a gift for making the readers experience life through her main character’s eyes to the fullest sense. Though I have never been to India, it felt like I was there. This is the first in a series and I hope to read more. I give it five out of five stars.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Book Review: Susanna and the Spy by Anna Elliot

Susanna Ward’s grandfather cut her father off from his inheritance years ago because he disapproved of his marriage. When  her father dies, she is forced to see work as a governess. Ok. This is not the newest plot in the world, but it’s a mystery and therein lies the different. Her grandfather meets with a mysterious death which a stranger indicates might have been the result of murder.  She resolves to impose on her relatives residing in her grandfather’s estate and ask to stay with them, determined to learn if the stranger’s accusations are true.  Before she is welcomed into the household, she stays overnight in the local inn during which time a  wounded man, running for the authorities seeks refuge in her room. Could he be the famous Captain Clark rumored to be the leader of a local smuggling ring?  This book is heavier on the mystery than the romance. I had a little trouble believing a young lady would keep getting up and having adventures in the middle of the night, but despite that it was a wholesome and fun fantasy read.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars.