"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Sunday, December 31, 2017

December Books

The Proving by Beverly Lewis -- I hadn't read any Amish-themed books lately so when I saw this on the New Books shelves, I got it.  I read these books very fast and this was no exception.  Five years earlier, Mandy left her Amish community after a rift with her twin sister.  Now she's back in town because her mother left her the family-run B&B.  She only has to make it profitable for a year before she can sell it and buy her own florist.

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier -- a novel about Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, English ladies from different classes who formed a friendship over fossils.  This was a pretty interesting read, and I enjoyed learning more about these ladies and their work.

Two Days After the Wedding by Joan Medlicott -- more adventures in Covington with Hannah, Amelia, and Grace

Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis -- When Daphne du Maurier escaped London for a holiday to Cornwall, she never expected to happen upon a teenager standing over a dead body; yep, another English murder mystery find at the local library.  I'll look for others by this author as I enjoyed this story pretty well!

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton --  I'll admit that this book took me awhile to get into, but once it hit around page 188, I got MUCH more interested in this story as told from the perspectives of Laurel and her mother Dorothy, and also the two women Dolly and Vivien who were friends (of sorts) during the war.  And then there is sweet Jimmy.  Whatever became of him? 

An Unexpected Family by Joan Medlicott -- this novella mainly deals with a young woman and her small child who show up at Hannah, Grace, and Amelia's house claiming to be a relative of Amelia's late husband, Thomas.  Miriam and Sadie are on the run from Miriam's abusive ex-husband. 

An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson -- a small book that was on display at the library due, I expect, to its Christmas theme; an easy read. A story about a widow who took her college-aged son to Ireland to talk to him about his father

The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff -- When Helena's mother is hospitalized, Helena and her twin sister Ruth take charge of their younger siblings. It's a tough time in Poland, but it gets more interesting - and dangerous - when Helena discovers a wounded soldier in the forest not too far from their cabin.  Sam turns out to be an American Jew hoping to get in touch with the resistance, but how can he do anything with his hurt leg?

The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins -- a look at Irish Travellers or Pavees through the life of nearly-twelve-year-old William Christopher Hurley or Christy.  A rather good book as I didn't know anything about this culture or that it existed. 

Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing by Victoria Sweet -- my mom read this book and recommended it so I put it on hold and soon received a copy from the library; I enjoyed reading this doctor's account of Slow Medicine vs. Fast Medicine, and, for that matter, Medicine vs. Healthcare.  I especially enjoyed tales of former patients and diseases she dealt with during her work in California. 

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier -- stories about Isabelle back during the time of John Calvin, and Ella Turner or Tournier as she becomes when she goes to live in France for her husband's work.  Ella starts researching her family,and finds a connection with Isabelle - and uncovers a secret connected to a nightmare she keeps having.

Peril at Somner House by Joanna Challis  -- When Daphne du Maurier agreed to spend a few days with her sister at her sister's friend's house, she didn't expect to be trapped on the island for the winter.  Well, at least there are other interesting guests around and a fascinating tower on the grounds.  Still, the Lord of the place winds up dead and most everyone is suspect. 

Promises of Change by Joan Medlicott -- nearly the end of this series; it's interesting to see how the ladies have changed since coming to Covington all those years before.  Figured I might as well see how this series ends . . .

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty -- When Louise Brooks' parents plan to send her to New York City for several weeks, they look to hire a local lady to accompany their daughter.  Cora signs up for the role and seeks to learn more about her own history.  No one - except her husband Alan - knows that she came to Kansas on an orphan train.  Pretty interesting story. 

Bound by Sally Gunning -- When Alice was brought to America with her family at the age of 7, she looked forward to life with her mom, dad, and brothers in Philadelphia where her father told the family they were headed.  Unfortunately, she lost most of her family on the ship, and they landed in Boston where her father sold her into service in order to pay his debts.  This book was quite interesting though maybe a bit too drawn out.  But mostly I enjoyed it, and the fact that I was not born into such a time. 

The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase -- I saw this in the new books section, and decided to give this author a try.  I enjoyed this story of the four Wilde sisters - Flora, Pam, Margot, and Dot - and the memorable summer of 1959 when they stayed a few months with their aunt and uncle.  The story also follows Jessie and her family's move to Applecote Manor, and how the two families' lives connect.

Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier -- I rather enjoyed this story told from a variety of voices and which centers around a cemetery in 1901 England.  Maude Coleman and Lavinia Waterhouse meet there and later are neighbors and best friends. 

The Villa of Death by Joanna Challis -- another and final (for my library anyway) Daphne du Maurier mystery.  I rather like these books for some light reading. 

The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain -- a story told with the alternating voices of Erin, the thirtysomething pharmacist who is living separately from her husband as she deals with her grief; Travis, the young 20s fellow who recently lost his mother in a house fire; and Robin, engaged to the future mayor of Beaufort. 

The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan -- Life in a small village on the coast of France as the people survived an occupying army and near-starving conditions.  Emmanuelle does her best to keep people alive, all without thinking the Allies will ever rescue them.  This book takes place a few days before the D-Day invasion.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Books

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith -- I'd seen this book recently at the library and wrote it down to get eventually. Then I read a Kate Morton book last month, and a character in the book had been reading this book before she died!  Weird!  So, I went ahead and got it at the end of October, and finished it in two days.  I enjoyed the story of Francie Nolan and her life in Brooklyn about 100 years ago. 

The Spirit of Covington by Joan Medlicott -- more adventures with the elderly Hannah, Grace, and Amelia in Madison County, North Carolina.  This time they have to deal with a fire consuming their house.  More than that, too.

Murder Most Persuasive by Tracy Kiely -- another murder mystery with our favorite heroine, Elizabeth. This time when her uncle's house is sold, a dead body is found buried under the pool.  Yay.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton -- This is the second book I've read from this Australian author, and I enjoyed this!  It does flit back and forth between women's lives to the early 1900s, to 1975, and to modern times (2005).  It has ties to England and Australia. A tale of Nell who arrived in Australia as a little girl, alone. And Cassandra, the granddaughter who lived with Nell.   What happened to Nell's family? What is her real name, and who are her parents? Why did they put her on a ship and have her sail so far away?  And how does the Authoress play into it all? Good story!

The Diplomat's Wife by Pam Jenoff -- Marta - whom we met as part of the Jewish resistance in a previous book - wakes up in a Nazi prison and later is freed by an American whom she later meets again in Paris. Later Marta is sent back into eastern Europe with hopes that she can persuade her former resistance partner to introduce her to someone who has a cipher needed for breaking codes.  Pretty good story.

At Home in Covington by Joan Medlicott -- more happenings with Hannah, Grace, and Amelia; this time the ladies take a trip to the US Virgin Island among other things

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave -- There were some interesting aspects in this book -- people of London hiding out in bomb shelters, many of them still dying; a young teacher who instructed children not suited for or rejected by those in the countryside who kept some of London's children -- but overall, I was happy to finish this book.

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton -- a group of ladies met at a park on a Wednesday morning, and every Wednesday for the next several weeks.  They became friends who later branched out into writing (and critiquing said writing) and supporting each other through miscarriages and affairs and racism. 

A Covington Christmas by Joan Medlicott -- whereas the previous books in this series covered more months, this book focused on the weddings taking place in Covington on Christmas Eve. Of course Hannah, Amelia, and Grace were asked to help pull it off!

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton -- this is a long book, but like her other ones, a somewhat layered story that kept my attention. My niece is visiting so I read this throughout several days.  A story about Milderhurst Castle and the three old women -- Persephone (Percy), Seraphina (Saffy), and Juniper Blythe -- who live there.  Edie finds out more about her mom through visits to and delving into the mysteries surrounding the castle and the people who have lived there.

Murder Most Austen by Tracy Kiely -- another murder mystery with our favorite non-detective who is pretty good at finding out information, Elizabeth Parker.  This time Elizabeth and her Aunt Winnie are in England at an Jane Austen festival when the murder takes place. 

Almost Home by Pam Jenoff -- Jordan Weiss returns to England years after leaving this place she loved so much because of her boyfriend's drowning.  She goes back because her friend Sarah is fighting ALS, and she'll do anything for Sarah.  While in London, Jordan is contacted by a former friend about Jared's alleged drowning.  The book also follows Jordan as she does her work as a diplomat.

Walkin' on the Happy Side of Misery  by J.R. "Model-T" Tate -- we met Mr. Tate while in Abingdon, Virginia, in early October!  He and his friend were in the area for a yearly Appalachian Trail conference.   The conference is not always held in Abingdon, but happened to be this year, and we met the two at breakfast.  J.R. and his friend Noel DeCavalcante amused us with tales of their AT thru-hikes.  We asked if either of them had written about their trips, and were told of this book which I received for our anniversary. 

Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen -- I noticed our library had all of her books except this one. Apparently, she was given permission to try out another publisher and this is from the second one.  It's not the same quality as the original one, in my opinion, but it was still fairly interesting to learn about the Regency-era world. In this book Hannah Rogers leaves her home as a companion for Lady Marianna Mayfield.  On the way to their new residence, a carriage accident takes place and there is a big switch up in Hannah's role.

Another Woman's Son by Anna Adams --  a book I picked up at a free little library about a year ago and read now because it was the Thanksgiving holiday and I'd read all my library books. Thankfully it was a short, easy read because it wasn't very interesting

A Hidden Affair by Pam Jenoff -- the sequel to the above book about Jordan Weiss after she leaves State to search for a friend somewhere in Europe

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman -- a look inside a young teen's life in the "foreign country" that is 1290 England by reading her journal entries. Corpus bones, this Newberry Honor Book was a free little library find that I read mostly when Sophie was in town in middle November.  But I just finished it last night.

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor -- "a novel of London's Flower Sellers"  -- I enjoyed this look at the flower sellers who lived in an orphanage and village to make flowers; a rather good book about Tilly going to be a house mother at one of the homes for flower girls

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October Books

A Taste for Nightshade by Martine Bailey -- an intriguing tale about Mary Jebb who swindles her way through life, and her meeting up with Grace Moore who is married to Michael Croxon whom Mary met years prior when she cheated Michael's brother. Whew. I wasn't sure for whom to feel sympathy, and was kept guessing a bit about who would turn out to be the "good" guys and gals in the end.  I liked it!

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler -- Somehow Courtney Stone dreams and wakes up as Jane Mansfield, a contemporary of Jane Austen.  Courtney has Jane's body, face, and abilities to dance and embroider, but still has the 21st century mindset of a "typical" American woman from Los Angeles.  It made for a rather interesting tale, I suppose. Enough to keep me reading anyway!

Between Friends by Kristy Kiernan -- Cora and Ali and Letty are linked in a rather unusual way.  Cora and Ali are lifelong friends, yet Ali, who wants nothing more than to have children is unable to do so.  Bad eggs.   Cora, who never desired to be a mother, volunteers to donate her eggs so Ali and her husband Benny can have a child through IVF.  A pretty good story though the last bit of the book made me shed a few tears.

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler  -- In the first book Courtney wakes up in Jane's world (see above), while in this story Jane wakes up nearly 200 years later in the world of 2009.  Can you imagine having to learn what electricity is, how these carriages (cars) move, and you wear those tiny pieces of fabric to swim - in mixed company?   I admit, this book bored me after awhile.

Angel Sister by Ann H. Gabhart -- a story during the Depression era; a family of three girls who take in a little girl left on the doorstep of a neighborhood church

Murder at Longbourn by Tracy Kiely -- Elizabeth joins her Aunt Winnie to bring in the New Year with a How to Host a Murder party. Unfortunately, a real murder takes place, and Elizabeth sets out to prove her Aunt Winnie was not involved.  A cute book; I liked it.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton -- When she turns 14, Grace is sent by her mother to the House at Riverton as a servant girl. Her mom had served there prior to Grace's arrival, and Grace interacts with the servants, of course, and later more so with the household. She becomes especially devoted to Hannah. This story is told from 90+ year old Grace's perspective, looking back over her life, and how events unfolded.  Good book! 

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain -- I'm glad I discovered this author's books a few weeks ago because I mostly enjoy them.  In this book Riley travels to New Bern, NC, to go through her dad's stuff and put her childhood house up for sale after his sudden death (a heart attack at Food Lion.)  Riley discovers a photo of her much-older sister whom she was told killed herself when she was a teenager.  Another good book!

From the Heart of Covington by Joan Medlicott -- another book in the series with the ladies living in Madison County, NC. These books always make me want to live in the mountains!   Apparently there are several other books so I'll probably continue reading them to see how things turn out in their families' lives and in the community.

Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta -- first in the Price of Privilege trilogy.  After Julia Elliston's mom dies in an apparent suicide, she gets notes from her mysterious guardian about his plans for her. In the meantime, she's allowed to visit lifelong friends, and they all end up at the home of a Mr. Chance Macy who has his own plans for Julia.  A very secretive book at times.

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain -- a great story about Tess DeMello who grew up among loving friends in Little Italy in Baltimore.  After a life-changing event during a brief visit to Washington, D.C., Tess ends up in Hickory, North Carolina, where much of this story takes place as she lives among the wealthy Kraft family.  Tess, who earned an RN, ends up working at a makeshift hospital set up by the people of Hickory to take care of those who contracted polio.

Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller -- curious about those Little House books from another perspective? Well, this one is not told from the Native American point of view, but it is told from the perspective of Mary and Laura's mother, Caroline, as the family prepares to leave their family in Wisconsin to start a new life in Indian Territory.

Murder on the Bride's Side by Tracy Kiely -- more adventures with Elizabeth Parker. This time as she takes part in her friend Bridget's wedding. Unfortunately, a hated relative-in-law winds up murdered and the detecting is on for whoever did this!

Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta -- second in the Price of Privilege trilogy; I figured I might as well see what happens next.  This book was better since I got through a lot of the secretive stuff in book one. Well, this one had plenty of secrets, but at least SOME THINGS WERE FOUND OUT!  And that made it better.  Julia takes her place as the daughter of Lord Pierson, and, whew, is it ever tough to enter London society after growing up poor!

Price of Privilege by Jessica Dotta -- the conclusion of the Price of Privilege trilogy; I came to like this series pretty well after the somewhat secretive and confusing first book. I'm glad I read it, and glad it's over so I can move onto something else.  Whew...I need something where women aren't treated like property!

Catching Genius by Kristy Kiernan -- I read another book by this author which I liked so I found this one as well.  A good book about sisters, Connie and Estella, who come together after many years of separation in order to close down their mom's beach house and deal with issues between them.

Summerlost by Ally Condie -- Bridget mentioned this on her blog so I checked it out from the library.  A sweet, touching book about Cedar a year after her dad and brother were killed in an automobile accident.  Cedar makes a new friend and works at a Shakespearean theatre - only selling concessions, but still.  

Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff -- after reading a prequel last month concerning some characters in this book, I wanted to reread this book since it had been many years since my first reading.  I read much of it yesterday (10/30), and didn't sleep well because I was thinking of Jews and Nazis and Polish people during this time in history.  

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September Books

Joy School by Elizabeth Berg -- this book continues the story of Katie Nash whom I read about last month; Katie moves to Missouri with her military dad, and she meets new people. This book is about that. I am enjoying these Katie stories.

True to Form by Elizabeth Berg  -- same as above except it's the third book, and continues Katie's life in Missouri as a 13 year old

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain -- a great book alternating between the voices of Ivy and Jane (and Brenna twice); Jane goes into social work, but has too much heart.  She gets too involved with her clients especially the Hart girls, Ivy and Mary Ella.  This novel dealt with eugenics and sterilizations of the "feebleminded" and "morons" in North Carolina, which ramped up its program after the war with Hitler (ahem!). 

Snobbery With Violence by Marion Chesney -- I read another book in this series (out of order) last month, and found it cute so I decided to read another. It features the same main characters, Lady Rose Summer who doesn't want to settle for just any ol' husband, and Captain Harry Cathcart.  An Edwardian Murder Mystery

The Ambassador's Daughter by Pam Jenoff -- this book says it's the prequel to two other books she's written. I've read one of them, but it's been 8 years ago so I might have to reread it!  This book was about Margot and her father - German Jews living in Paris and later Versailles after World War I.  The world was figuring out the treaty and how to deal with Germany.  Margot meets interesting people: Krysia, the Polish musician, who runs with a secretive crowd.  She also finds work with a handsome soldier, Georg. 

The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love by Joan Medlicott -- Three senior ladies living in a boardinghouse in Pennsylvania visit an old, run-down farmhouse in Madison County, North Carolina, that one of the ladies - Amelia - inherited upon her cousin's death.  Grace and Hannah join Amelia in sizing up the place, and ultimately decide to fix it up and move there!  My mom found this book at the local library, and it seems it's a series of sorts.  I may find others to read. While we can't find Covington in Madison County, we do recognize many of the other towns and cities mentioned in that area of WNC.

Benjamin Franklin's Bastard by Sally Cabot -- a fictitious account of Benjamin Franklin, his common-law wife Deborah, and Benjamin's son who lived with them since infancy

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis -- a junior fiction book I found at the free little library; Starts off in Flint, Michigan, but later in the book the Watson family visits their grandmother in Alabama

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan -- When Nina's library branch is closed, and she doesn't get a new job within the library system, she contemplates opening a book shop - in a big van.  Does she really have to move to another country (to Scotland from England) to do so?

At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier -- a book about the Black Swamp in Ohio, of growing up there with warring parents, of apple trees, and finally leaving home going westward until he gets to the end of the country.  The story of James and Sadie, and later their son Robert as he deals with the past.  A different tale, pretty good.

Hasty Death by Marion Chesney -- I finally looked up the order of these Edwardian Murder Mysteries, and saw books 2 and 4 (which may be the final one) in the local library; so this continues the story of Private Detective Harry Cathcart, Lady Rose Summer, Daisy, Beckett, and the other characters I've grown to enjoy in the previous 2 books I've read.

Our Lady of Pain by Marion Chesney -- book 4; see above

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain -- Even though I figured out what was going to happen, this book still made me cry.  Two storylines here: Molly and her husband trying to adopt a child, and Molly thinking back to her life in the mountains of North Carolina where she lived with a therapist father with MS.  A touching story. 

Burnt Mountain by Anne Rivers Siddons -- I've read a couple other books by this author which I liked fairly well. This one was puzzling. I hardly ever read reviews of books I've read, but did so just now, and find I'm not alone in my thoughts on this one.  It's about Thayer who grows up outside of Atlanta. She has a difficult relationship with her mother (of course), but loves her father and grandmother.  She goes off to camp each summer, and later becomes a counselor.  She met Nick Abrams. And later she marries an Irish fellow named Aengus.  Boy, is he strange. 

A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith -- In 1929, Congress passed legislation that allowed mothers and widows of men killed while serving overseas, and who were buried there, to travel on these pilgrimages to visit their graves.  This is what brought together five women from the northeast US, and this book follows them on their trip.  The story of Cora, Minnie, Katie, Wilhelmina, and Mrs. Olsen among others who traveled with them or met them there. 

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell -- Samantha Whipple goes to school at Oxford, lives in a tower, and tries to follow clues her deceased father left her about the supposed Brontë family legacy.  A rather odd book. I didn't care overly-much for the main character's snarkiness all.the.time.   I guess she'd be hilarious to some people. I didn't find it quite so cute. 

The Gardens of Covington by Joan Medlicott -- second book in a series mentioned above; this continues the story of Hannah, Amelia, and Grace, along with the interesting people within their new community in Madison County, NC.  I have close relatives in that particular county though it appears Covington is fictitious.  Still, it's neat to see Asheville, Weaverville, Mars Hill, Marshall, and Hot Springs mentioned.  I enjoyed reading more about their lives and the happenings there.

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff -- While working at a train station, Noa sees a train car full of infants. Realizing these infants are being left for dead, she takes one and escapes to the woods.  She's found nearly frozen to death in the woods by Peter, a clown from a circus that still travels through Nazi-occupied lands.  This is the story of Noa and Astrid, both aerialists.  Good story.

Cherished Mercy by Tracie Peterson -- book 3 in Heart of the Frontier series that was about sisters Grace, Hope, and Mercy who traveled west. I wanted to see what happened with Mercy, of course. 

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash -- another story that takes place in Madison County, NC.  This is about a family and a church, a weird church lead by an evil man. When a young boy winds up dead, the secrets of this church are exposed.  A rather disturbing book, really. 

The Lies We Told by Diane Chamberlain -- when a hurricane brings disaster to the North Carolina coast, Drs. Ward, sisters Rebecca and Maya; and Dr. Pollard, Maya's husband, Adam, are sent to help.  When Maya is ordered onto a chopper which crashes, Rebecca and Adam presume she's dead.  Maya is living on a piece of land, made an island by the flooding. She has no way to get off the island for a couple of weeks. In that time, she becomes involved in the island life while Rebecca and Adam deal with the drama around them.  Riveting story.

A Drunkard's Path by Clare O'Donohue -- book two in the Someday Quilts Mystery series; Nell and her quilting friends try to solve the mystery involving the death of two young women.  This is a good book to read while at the park or children's museum with Sophie; which is mainly where I read it. 

Real Friends by Shannon Hale -- Bridget gave this a raving review so I put it on hold at my library. It just became available the other day, and I picked it up, read it all at the park (took about an hour or less), and returned it the same day since I see others have a "hold" on it.  It's definitely the most colorful autobiography/memoir I've read. It's the story of Shannon in elementary school, dealing with her best friend and later The Group.  It's told in a comic book style which is why I could read 220 pages in about an hour.  

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August Books

Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson -- second book in the Heart of the Frontier series; a book about Grace, Hope, and Faith, sisters who traveled west.   In this book Hope deals with the trial of the Indians who attacked the mission.  Since I saw this on the new books shelf, I figured I'd read it since I read book one earlier this year 

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini -- I must be on a historical novel kick lately.  This book is about the formerly enslaved woman Elizabeth Keckley who paid for her emancipation - and her son's - by her lovely work as a seamstress.  Later she made dresses for several prominent women among them Mrs. Abraham Lincoln!

An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey -- I saw this book while looking for a Jo Baker book in the library. It's the story of an under cook named Biddy Leigh. Biddy being short for Obedience...her dad liked odd names.  The book begins with the master's new bride arriving, and later the mistress selects Biddy to accompany her to various cities in England, France, and Italy.  There Biddy finds out why she was chosen, and it becomes much more interesting during that part of the book so I won't spoil it.  At first I wasn't sure if I liked this book as it took some time for me to get interested, but it turned out pretty good so I'm glad I stuck with it. 

Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot -- first in the Texas Dreams series; Sarah and her little sister Thea leave Philadelphia to make a new home in Texas. There they live in a town made of German and French settlers.  Pretty good story.

Scattered Petals by Amanda Cabot -- second in the Texas Dreams series; Sarah's fiancé's former inlaws travel from Boston to take part in Clay's wedding, but a stagecoach robbery upends those plans.  Patience settles in Ladreville, Texas, and faces challenges connected to this trip from the East to Texas.

Tomorrow's Garden by Amanda Cabot -- final book in the Texas Dreams series; Harriet and her five siblings travel to Ladreville in order for Harriet to become the new school teacher.  This book also continues the story of Texas Ranger Lawrence Wood who was introduced in book 2 of this series. 

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash -- Easter and Ruby are taken from foster care by their father, and they begin a road trip where the girls and their father are hiding from Pruitt who was hired to track them down.  A pretty good book.

A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer -- I found this "1997 Newberry Honor Book" at a free little library, and enjoyed reading the story of Nhamo, a young lady from an unknown village in Mozambique, as she makes her way by boat to Zimbabwe in order to escape a bad marriage.  This was a fascinating tale of adventure and at times I felt I was with her on the island as she watched the baboons or prepared her next meal. 

I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison -- a story about Jane's family and the pupils who stayed at her house as told through a journal by her best friend and cousin, Jenny Cooper ; cute story

Miss Match by Erynn Mangum -- My mom read this so I decided to read it before returning it to the library. It's a Lauren Holbrook novel, and Lauren is a pretty silly girl.  But the story was rather lighthearted and an easy read so I finished it. 

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle -- I read another book by this author which I liked so I decided to get this one. It's YA unlike the other.  It starts off with Miranda in a present day community play and soon she is forced by Stephen to go back to Shakespeare's time where Stephen is from.  Miranda, now taking the role of Stephen's sister Olivia, is playing the biggest role of her life - and she's trying to save Shakespeare from becoming a Jesuit so the world can have his literary works!

The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen by Lindsay Ashford -- A novel written as if Jane's former friend Miss Anne Sharp were recalling her life experiences with Jane and the Austen family.  A very interesting way to learn more about this intriguing author and her family.

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier -- I really liked this book! It was a good way to learn more about the Underground Railroad and Ohio. I like the character of Belle a lot.  I am going to look for more books from this author.

The Lover's Knot by Clare O'Donohue -- A Someday Quilts Mystery -- I was looking for a small book to carry around easily while out with the kids and later at the beach.  Not the most exciting or interesting book I've ever read, but good enough.  After her fiancé asks to postpone their wedding, Nell visits her grandmother and gets involved with the quilt club and the people in Archers Rest.  Eventually, she tries to solve a murder!

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr -- I was reading this book more in the car to and from the beach as it was too big to read on the beach or out by the pool.  I was amazed that I was reading two books that had (minor) characters named Susanne. What are the odds?   I'd seen this book mentioned many times, and finally reserved a copy at the library and read it.  A pretty good story switching from a blind French girl to a terribly smart, small German boy - and how eventually their paths crossed near the end of World War II. 

Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg -- a preteen talks about life with her military dad, about moving, losing her mother, dealing with friends

Sick of Shadows by Marion Chesney -- this "Edwardian Murder Mystery" introduced me to Lady Rose Summer and a rather funny cast of characters. This was a light, amusing read.

Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier -- a lovely novel about Griet, maid to the Johannes Vermeer family; this made me look up some of his fascinating paintings; I enjoyed this story

The House Girl by Tara Conklin -- a novel involving a modern-day reparations case, and a lawyer, Lina Sparrow, unraveling the story of an enslaved girl, Josephine, who may have been the true artist behind paintings attributed to Lu Anne Bell,  Josephine's mistress. A good read, and an NPR story if you are interested.


Twenty years ago, Princess Diana died - wow! 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July Books

Dear John by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- After an accident claims their parents' lives, Marin struggles to care for her mentally-challenged brother, John.

Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell -- a tale from the Puritan era; the story of Susannah Phillips with a bit of Small Hope's (that's the name her awful father gave her) thoughts and actions interwoven.  This book disturbed me for some reason, but I really appreciated the message of God's grace instead of our having to work for salvation and measure up to some outrageous religious ideal in order to merit God's favor. 

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond -- While in Nicaragua for work (in coffee), Ellie Enderlin crosses paths with the man accused of murdering her sister twenty years prior.  Though the evidence was flimsy, Peter McConnell was accused by a man on a mission to publish his first book. Which was a great success!  After speaking to Peter, Ellie questions her assumption of his guilt.

The Pursuit of Mary Bennett: a Pride & Prejudice Novel by Pamela Mingle -- A rather fun read focusing on Mary, but quite a bit still about her four sisters - Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, and Kitty.   More from Goodreads. 

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell -- When her twin brother leaves his Quaker faith to join the rebel cause (fighting for the colonials against Britain) and gets thrown into jail, Hannah has to decide whether or not she'll defy her religion's orders and ignore her brother or find someway to bring relief to him.  Jeremiah is looking for a way to pass messages to a prisoner inside the jail.  Will this Quaker girl do it for him?

A Walk for Sunshine by Jeff Alt -- "a 2,160-mile expedition for charity on the Appalachian Trail" ; we bought this book at the visitor's center at Clingman's Dome about a month ago since we enjoy reading accounts of people walking the AT.

The Jewel of Gresham Green by Lawana Blackwell --  a fun follow-up book of the Gresham gang about 8 or so years after the last in the earlier series; Of course it introduces new characters such as Jewel and her four-year-old daughter, Becky, and the squire's nephew, Donald, who is just waiting for his uncle to die so he can inherit the family fortune! 

A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot -- book one in the Cimarron Creek Trilogy; Lydia travels from Syracuse, New York, to join her friend Edgar whom she'd promised to marry. But he's no where to be found, and she discovers some secrets about Edgar and this new town in Texas.  A good if predictable story with a hint of mystery to it. 

The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us by Bruce Feiler -- I saw this book on the new books shelf at the local library. I have enjoyed Feiler's book over the years, and this one was good though it wasn't my favorite.  The author speaks of "why Adam and Eve still matter," how they "invented love," creation, being parents, and so forth.  

White Chocolate Moments by Lori Wick -- When Arcie's parents die in a car crash when she was 11 years old, she went to live with her grandfather, Sam.  This book skips through much of her years with him until she is a young adult having issues with rejection and competition especially as it relates to her older cousin Quinn and Aunt Tiffany.  A rather mediocre book, but an easy read for a drive to the mountains. 

Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray by Dorothy Love -- a fictional biography about the wife of Robert E. Lee and an enslaved woman, Selina Norris Gray.  Such an interesting book!  I was constantly googling people mentioned in order to see pictures and read more about their histories. 

Passing Strangers by Angela Hunt -- three people from various walks of life book train tickets to take the Southern Tour, and end up becoming friends.  Andie is on a forced vacation, and is determined to keep her famous past in the past.  Matthew is recently-widowed (well, one year ago), and taking his young children on the trip - with hopes that his mother in Savannah will agree to keep the children until he can figure out how to balance his demanding career as a D.C. lawyer with fatherhood, and Janette is escaping home life in Arkansas. 

Monticello: A Daughter and Her Father by Sally Cabot Gunning -- a novel about Martha Jefferson Randolph, daughter of Thomas Jefferson; I enjoyed this, and again I was googling people and places!

Hot Tropics & Cold Feet by Diann Hunt -- a rather silly, light book that was an easy read for me while we were at the beach this weekend.  Maggie and her Latte Club friends - Lily, Jill, and Louise - leave their families in Indiana for two weeks in Florida.  Not bad; friendly characters. 

Emma Brown: A novel from the unfinished manuscript by Charlotte Brontë by Clare Boylan -- This is the story about Matilda who was dropped off for school by a gentleman who never came back to pay her fees or answer regarding Christmas vacation.  Is Matilda an heiress as the Wilcox sisters were lead to believe upon accepting her into their school?  This is also the story about Isabel Chalfont and her friend Mr. Ellin. A rather nice story overall.

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall -- after running away with her husband's slaves to escape her increasingly-abusive husband, Iris is declared legally insane and shipped to a remote Florida island where Dr. Cowell works at an insane asylum.  Iris meets an assortment of people, and this book is rather different, but pretty good. 

The Queen of Subtleties: A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Suzannah Dunn -- Chapters told from the perspective of Anne Boleyn as she writes a letter to her daughter prior to Anne's death; every other chapter tells the story of Mrs. Lucy Cornwallis, King Henry's confectioner.  An interesting way to learn more about this story. I was googling people again while reading this. 

Longbourn by Jo Baker -- ever wondered about some of the servants mentioned in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice? The author used these characters to create a story about what goes on below-stairs.  A fairly good book, but I had trouble following some aspects of the story so it wasn't a favorite.

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell -- I'd read most other books that our libraries have from this author so I read this one as well. It's about Lucy and Charlie, and their fathers' respective candy factories - and the competition between the two.   This was an easy read, but became a bit tiresome about midway through because it just wasn't that interesting. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Books

First Dawn by Judith Miller -- the first in the Freedom's Path series; this book starts with a group of "coloreds" from Kentucky heading towards Nicodemus, Kansas, which hopes to be the first black settlement in the west.   Unfortunately, Nicodemus isn't the small town they were promised, but just a prairie with no shelter.  What will the people do to survive in this unfamiliar territory?

The Homeplace by Gilbert Morris -- book one in the Singing River series; Life was going along pretty well when tragedy struck the Freeman household not once, but twice.  Lanie, the oldest of five, seeks to keep the family together and not lose the family home.  This book was just ok. Maybe even OK minus. 

A Life Intercepted by Charles Martin -- I think some people would not enjoy all the football this book contains, but I really enjoyed the story, and didn't mind all the football talk.  Such a decent book, too!

A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell -- Three young Italian immigrants work together in a dress shop in Boston.  The stories of Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana.  A nice book; I'd read more from this author. 

The Letters by Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger -- A separated couple writes letters to each other as each deals with the loss of their son.  Sam goes to Alaska to see where the plane crashed while Hadley paints from an island in Maine.

Izzy, Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voigt -- I found this paperback at a free little library, and read the story of Izzy who went out with a high school senior and her life was forever changed. He drove drunk and she lost half her leg.  This book deals with her time in the hospital, dealing with her doctors and therapists, her family members, friends and so forth. 

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen -- book one in Tales from Ivy Hill, her first ever series!  I discovered her books a few months ago, and they are so good!  I had this book on hold for weeks, and finally had a chance to read it.  Reminds me quite a bit of the Gresham Chronicles which I loved. This is the story of a widow, Jane, who was left her husband's coaching inn.  Her mother in law, Thora, and brother in law, Patrick, are there to help run it although it's not turning a profit and in danger of being foreclosed upon!  I enjoyed the characters, humor, the story.  Great book! 

Morning Sky by Judith Miller -- more in the Freedom's Path series: this book has Nicodemus and Hill City a few years down the road and bigger and more prosperous.  Jarena's Aunt Lilly visits from New Orleans, and adds quite a bit of excitement to the family's lives.  Truth heads to New York to assist Macia Boyle back home after Macia's extended illness at school.  

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck -- A great book about three very different German women who meet up after World War II:  Marianne, Benita, and Ania and their children.  I'd heard this book mentioned on NPR, and had it on reserve at the library.  

In the Company of Secrets by Judith Miller -- book one in Postcards from Pullman series; This book begins with Olivia and Lady Charlotte fleeing their home in England for Illinois, each escaping and hoping to begin new lives.  Due to the circumstances of Charlotte's departure, they weave a story of Charlotte's widowhood and so forth.  A pretty good story.

Bears In the Streets: Three Journeys Across a Changing Russia by Lisa Dickey -- The author describes her times in several Russian cities during trips in 1995, 2005, and 2015.  She does her best to meet up with people she met in that initial trip. I so enjoy books like this, and it did not disappoint!  I especially enjoyed the political talk - their (mostly) love for Putin, Russians who spoke up about the US.  Not that it was flattering or pleasant (not at all), but it was interesting to me. 

Whispers Along the Rail by Judith Miller -- book two in Postcards from Pullman series; this continues the stories of Olivia and Charlotte and their acquaintances whom we met in the first book. Olivia is pressured to ride the rails to spy for the Pullman company whereas Charlotte is found in Chicago living in a house for women who have fallen upon hard times

The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice -- a good story about Julia and Roberto who meet when Julia travels to Malibu to house sit for her uncle.  Roberto oversees the lemon orchard, and the two quickly realize they have a tragedy in common: both lost daughters five years ago.  A good look at Mexican immigrants coming across the border.

The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck -- Haley and Cole; Cora and Birch and how an old run-down wedding shop ties the generations together

A Table By the Window by Lawana Blackwell -- This book begins with Carley teaching in a rich-kid prep school in California, but soon Carley travels to Mississippi where she cleans out her grandmother's house and prepares to put it on the market.  After going back to California, she realizes she wants the chance to start a new life in a small town -- of course she has to adjust to Southernisms, bless her heart.   I enjoyed this book so much! 

An Uncertain Dream by Judith Miller -- book three in Postcards from Pullman series; This was probably my least favorite book in this trilogy.  I just started getting bored with the subject of unions, and capitalists, but I wanted to finish the story of Olivia and Charlotte, and the strike and boycott of Pullman train cars. 

Daylight Comes by Judith Miller -- the final book in the Freedom's Path series; this follows-up on the families in Nicodemus and Hill City, Kansas

She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell -- a fun read, not sure why since it's basically about a young lady who is making her debut into society in order to marry the heir, but it was told in an interesting way so I liked this story about Clara Carter and her best friend Lizzie Barnes as they competed for the affections of Franklin De Vries.

Schadenfreude, A Love Story by Rebecca Schuman -- "Me, the Germans and 20 years of attempted transformations, unfortunate miscommunications, and humiliating situations that only they have words for" ; eh, just not my style  (TMI at points)

The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller -- Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace -- I saw this book listed on the library website in their new books so I put it on hold.  Nothing spectacular, but decent enough for a few hours of light reading about Lavinia and the Earl of Hawkesbury. 

Beyond All Measure by Dorothy Love -- a Hickory Ridge Romance; Ada leaves Boston after the death of her father and takes a position as a lady's companion in Tennessee not too long after the War Between the States. This book tells about her time there with Lillian, Wyatt, and other folks in the community. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sophie's 1st Haircut

Sophie got her first haircut today.  I think maybe she had 2 inches off. I am curious if it will curl up more once it's washed.  She looks to have survived her first cut MUCH better than her brother Zach did. Granted, he was younger when he had his first haircut, but he struggled with haircuts for a while. He never cared for things buzzing around his head.  Sophie probably only had to deal with scissors. 

Zach happy it's not his turn for a haircut

Telling the lady about her trip to Disney

These are pictures my brother posted on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Books

The Geometry of Sisters by Luanne Rice -- a new author for me; a story about a widow traveling from Ohio to Rhode Island to begin a new job, and have a new start after her husband drowned and her oldest child ran away. The story of Maura, Travis, Carrie, and Beck.  And people they meet in Rhode Island - J.D., Pell, Lucy and so forth.  Good book

The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson -- another new author for me; An English woman studying art in Paris takes a job as a companion for a man and his young sister.  But things aren't quite as first told, and Maud finds herself accused of theft, opium addiction, and is nearly drowned! 

Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist -- Texas Ranger Lucious Landrum goes undercover as a telephone troubleman in order to bring down Frank Comer's train-robbing gang.  He meets and works with a rural switchboard operator, Georgie Gail, and this book is about their time in a small Texas town.

No Place for a Lady by Gill Paul -- I got this book at a little free library while at the beach recently. Two English sisters end up in Crimea when their country sends troops to help the Turks during the Crimean War.  Lucy heads there as an officer's wife, while Dorothea is a nurse.

Minding Molly by Leslie Gould  -- book three in the Courtships of Lancaster County series; This one finds us going on a camping trip with the ever-organized Molly

Becoming Bea by Leslie Gould -- the final book it Courtships series; this one about Molly's younger sister Bea who helps as a mother's helper to a lady with triplets (whew!)

The Courtship of the Vicar's Daughter by Lawana Blackwell -- this is book two in The Gresham Chronicles. I read the first one early last month, but waited until the kids' visit was over to start book 2.  It took a bit longer as well because someone else had this book checked out of the library.  That someone else being my mom since I recommended the series to her.  Anyway, I finally got it from her when I returned my dad's truck on Saturday, and, oh, it was a good book indeed.  Just something about it, I really enjoyed. It's about so much more than the title, too. So many fun, interesting, colorful characters there in Gresham!

 A Framework for Understanding Poverty - by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D.  -- a few weeks ago, I was discussing Hillbilly Elegy with a teacher friend from Ohio who had lived a few years in the North Carolina mountains.  She mentioned this book by Dr. Payne, and I told her I would put it on my Amazon Wishlist.  I received it for my birthday, and read through it in a few days.  The author compiled her research into this book after being asked several times to present her knowledge on the subject of "the mindsets of poverty, middle class, and wealth."  I found much of it interesting especially dealing with the matriarchal power in households of poverty, and the different forms and roles of language (formal, casual register, frozen, and so forth) and story.  The chapter on Discipline and the parent/child/adult voices.  I told my friend that the book made me sad, though. I found it interesting later when I read the conclusion and it mentioned grieving. 

The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark by Lawana Blackwell -- book three in The Gresham Chronicles; I enjoyed this series and the cast of characters! 

The Amish Blacksmith by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner -- book two in The Men of Lancaster County series; I read book one awhile back, and had to wait and wait for book two to be available.  This is the story of Jake, the few-months-older uncle of Tyler (the main character in book 1).  Jake returned from blacksmithing and farrier school, and is completing an internship with his friend, Amos.  I enjoyed learning more about horses while reading this book. Made me consider FIL's horse, Flash, a bit as I can see her from my backyard while reading.  

The Amish Clockmaker by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner -- book three in The Men of Lancaster County series -- a good book about Matthew Zook's search for the man who lived in his room as a boy.  Clayton Raber left town in shame decades earlier after being accused of murdering his wife.  Matthew needs to find Clayton about a property dispute, but who knows where this excommunicated Amish man lives - or if he's even still alive!  I enjoyed learning about Clayton and Miriam's story - the middle part of this book.

The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen  -- I read this years ago, but it was worth a re-read.  A great book about Lilly and her season in London and then her return to her small village to help her dad's apothecary shop.

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth -- a novel about Anna, a thirty-eight year old who has early-onset Alzheimer's.  Anna is put into a residential treatment center where she meets Luke who also has some form of early dementia.  A good story!

The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy -- After a pastor is forced to leave his church, his family runs a bakery. One foggy morning, the baker's wife, Audrey, hits a scooter and is soon blamed for the disappearance of a police detective's wife.  Kind of a weird story, but it did teach some good lessons about involving yourself in others' lives and reaching out with compassion.

Mothers & Daughters by Rae Meadows -- the stories of Violet, Iris, and Sam, three generations with glimpses of Violet's life in New York City with a mom addicted to opium, Iris' plan to take her own life on her seventy-second birthday, and Samantha juggling motherhood and her memories of her mom and grandmother

Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson -- first book in the Heart of the Frontier series; a book about Grace, Hope, and Faith, sisters who traveled west to the Whitman Mission; an ok book

Legacy of Love by Joanna Trollope writing as Caroline Harvey -- this is what the cover says anyway.  I got this book in Wrightsville Beach at one of those little free libraries.  I am out of library books presently so I'm reading a few books I keep on hand for when I run out of library books.  This one is about three generations (or more) of women: Charlotte and Emily who follow Charlotte's soldier husband on an adventure in Afghanistan;  Alexandra, Charlotte's granddaughter, who finally leaves her rural home in Scotland for her Great-aunt's home where Emily tries to make Alexandra into a proper lady; and Cara, Charlotte's namesake and Alexandra's daughter, as she deals with staying home to care for the family and farm instead of being able to go on an adventure when England fights Hitler. 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi  --   a friend sent this to me for my birthday; She had read it, and thought I'd enjoy it too. I read most of it last evening. Paul was a young neurosurgeon completing his training when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at age 35. You read this book knowing he died while writing it, but are still amazed at the way he processes things, how he sees now what it's like to be on the other side: the patient with a scary illness.  What an amazing man, and a great book that he left for us to ponder. 

The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton -- Fiona, a librarian in New York, answers a newspaper ad about traveling with a bookmobile to semi-nomadic peoples in Kenya.  This novel gives perspectives from a local teacher, his wife, the American, and several others. Some are in favor of these books while others denounce them as intruding on the old ways. 

The Pleasure Was Mine by Tommy Hays -- just like the book above, I got this one recently at a free little library. I realized soon that I'd read this one before, but it had been long enough that I enjoyed it again. This is the account of Prate Marshbanks, a 70-something, who had to put his wife into a nursing home after she lost her memory.  Prate visits Irene with their grandson Jackson who is staying with Prate for a few weeks while the boy's dad paints. 

Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring by Bassem Youssef -- I remember seeing articles about this Egyptian comedian/satirist a few years ago; he's the "Jon Stewart of Egypt" apparently.  A friend sent this book for my birthday, and I enjoyed reading about the revolution and coup in Egypt's more recent years.  He confirmed things I had heard about the Muslim Brotherhood and the military rulers. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sophie and Zach at Disney!

Zach and Sophie are at Disney World in Florida right now with their grandparents.  I enjoyed these pictures their Nana shared on Facebook.

They were really more thrilled than Sophie appears here.   Linda said they hardly ate anything at brunch because they were looking around for Mickey and Minnie.  Also, she said Sophie kept on giggling.  Awwww.

I love her watching Goofy here.

And hugging Mickey.


Linda said Zach wore these Mickey hands about all day.  Good thing the weather is a cool 97 degrees, eh? 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

April Books

The Widow of Larkspur Inn by Lawana Blackwell -- The first book in the Gresham Chronicles; a nice tale of Julia Hollis and her children who leave London after the death of their husband/father who left them in debt.  Julia opens an inn in the country - a place for lodgers to stay and rest in a peaceful place.  The story describes life there with the villagers and the lodgers.  

Elementary, My Dear Watkins by Mindy Starns Clark -- another book about Jo Tulip and her friend Danny.  In this book Jo's life is in danger, and they have to find out why.  Also, Danny is in Paris for a photo shoot as he follows his dreams.

The Amish Nanny by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould -- book two in The Women of Lancaster County series; This one follows the story of Ada who found out her parentage is not as she grew up thinking.  In this story, Ada gets the chance to travel to Switzerland to see places important to her Amish/Anabaptist faith.

The Amish Bride by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould  -- book three follows the story of Ella as she leaves Lancaster County to learn baking in Indiana; also she tries to help her grandmother solve a mystery in a book their ancestor left 

The Amish Seamstress by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould  -- the final book in this series, this one is about Izzy, the young Amish caretaker and seamstress, and about Zed, Ella's film-making brother; a pretty good series over all

Bryson City Secrets by Walt Larimore, M.D. -- a follow-up book to an earlier book I read about this young doctor living in a small town in western NC; he reveals why his family left this charming mountain town

Adoring Addie by Leslie Gould -- book two in The Courtships of Lancaster County series; This follows Cate's cousin Addie's story - the only girl in a houseful of brothers.  Pretty good, but I liked Cate's story much more.

The Amish Groom by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner -- part of The Men of Lancaster County series. I figured since I read the Women series, I'd give this a try.  Tyler's mother was raised Amish, but left her faith community to marry a career military man. When she died suddenly, Tyler, age 6,  went to live with his Amish grandparents while his dad went overseas.  In this book Tyler, now 23, feels a restlessness. He's not sure if he should join the Amish church or join the "Englisch" world where he started life and where his father, stepmother, and brother live.

A Daughter's Inheritance by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller -- book one in The Broadmoor Legacy; three cousins, this book focused on Fanny, who was orphaned when her mother died in childbirth and her father took his life.  I wasn't sure if I'd like this book, but enjoyed it better than I thought.  When Fanny was named in her grandfather's will, her greedy Uncle Jonas does his best to make her inheritance his own.  

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay  -- a great way to learn more about the rounding up of mostly women and children in July 1942; this story follows the stories of Sarah, the ten year old Jewish girl, who was taken by the French police, and Julia, a journalist in 2002 trying to find out more about this terrible moment in history

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kids by Bill Bryson -- a memoir about his life in Des Moines, Iowa 

An Unexpected Love by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller -- book two in The Broadmoor Legacy; this book focused more on Sophie although the other cousins were mentioned; good story

A Surrendered Heart by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller -- book three in The Broadmoor Legacy;  this book focused more on Amanda as she had to make a choice about saving the family fortune and so forth

The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis -- an Amish lady goes to Cape May, New Jersey, for eight weeks one summer as a nanny for an English family.  Will she go back to her Old Order Amish ways or follow the freedom of the non-Amish world?

Friday, March 31, 2017

March Books

Deception on Sable Hill by Shelley Gray  -- this is a follow-up book from the book I read last month; It takes place during the Chicago World's Fair, and features Eloisa Carstairs and her friendship with the Irish police officer Sean Ryan, as Detective Ryan seeks to find out who has been preying upon high-society women. 

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance -- I saw this book listed online and put it on hold with my library.  After several weeks - months even - it was my turn to read it.  And it was an interesting read about Appalachia.  I could relate to some of it regarding people I know.  It made me sad in many ways, but grateful, too, that people like J.D. were offered hope through positive role models.  It challenged me to be a good role model for others because that's more important than I might have thought. 

The Promise of Palm Grove by Shelley Shepard Gray -- I read this book one in the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series, and hoped it would get better, but it never really did.  Just a very predictable, rather silly and boring account of Leona and her friends traveling from cold, snowy Ohio to a warm winter destination.  Leona leaves behind a fiancé who doesn't take her thoughts into account, and she meets caring, thoughtful Zack.  End of story.

Bringing Jesus To The Desert by Bradley Nassif -- another colorful, informative book in this series; This one focused on Middle Eastern saints like Anthony of Egypt, Moses the Ethiopian, Makarios of Egypt, Pachomius, Melania, John the Little, and Simeon the Stylite.  The author is from a Lebanese family (though he grew up in Wichita, Kansas), and he gives examples from his own family. I'm also glad he included a few family pictures in this small book. 

A Texan's Promise by Shelley Gray -- Book 1 of The Heart of a Hero Series; eh, it was better than the last book I read of hers, but nothing special.  Since I had it here, I went ahead and read it before returning it to the library. 

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen -- another delightful book, and this one was a bit of a mystery.  Abigail moves to the Pembrooke manor after a solicitor contacts her nearly bankrupt father about a distant relative wanting his family to move there.  I enjoyed reading much of this while enjoying a lovely day or two outside.

Among the Fair Magnolias -- four short (~80 pages) stories from Tamera Alexander (the best of these four), Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, and Elizabeth Musser -- not my favorite stories by far

Bryson City Seasons: More Tales of a Doctor's Practice in the Smoky Mountains by Walt Larimore, M.D. -- My mom read this book years ago. I remember her telling me about these doctor stories from WNC, and I found this book the other day while browsing.  I enjoyed this because Bryson City is a charming place and it was so interesting reading about it back in the 1980s. Also, doctor tales are interesting to me. 

The Road to Somewhere: Travels with a Young Boy Through the Old World by James Dodson -- apparently this guy is famous in the golf-writing world, and he does look a bit familiar, but I got this book at a book exchange (I think), and finally got around to reading about the summer he and his 10 year old son, Jack traveled to various European destinations. I enjoyed the account especially to places I've been (Ghent, Paris) and places I'd love to go (all the rest of them!) At the time of this writing James lives in Maine, but I looked him up now and see that he and his wife live in North Carolina presently.  I wonder what happened to Jack (who'd be about 27 now..wow.).

Softly & Tenderly by Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck -- This is book two in a series that I never started so some of Jade's story was reviewed in its pages.  It was fair, and a quick read. 

In the Shadow of Denali by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse -- first in the Heart of Alaska series;  Allan Brennan travels to Curry, Alaska, to get information on why his father died six years ago on a mountain-climbing trip. He meets the guide who took his father up Denali.

Courting Cate by Leslie Gould -- first in the Courtships of Lancaster County series; a very cute book about Cate and her sister Betsey, and the stranger in town who is suddenly interested in Cate (whom no one else wants to court).  Is Pete being bribed to court her? 

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen -- Emma travels with her father to the estate of two former students so her father - a tutor - can privately teach the troublesome twins.  Another good book with some mystery to it. 

The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders -- This is a Laetitia Rodd Mystery which my mom passed along to me after she finished reading this library book. The lady reminded me of the Murder She Wrote lady - or I kept picturing her anyway - during this story.  A pretty good story.

Courting Trouble by Deeanne Gist - this is actually a book that comes before the other book I read about Texas spinster Essie Spreckelmeyer.  Now I know the story of how book two came to be.  She's a pretty funny, likeable character!

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas -- I saw this book on my library's website and put it on hold. It's a new book in a new Lady of Sherlock series.  Charlotte Holmes' deliberate fall from grace means she has to support herself.  She becomes the female Sherlock, and solves mysteries.  Pretty interesting book!

Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist -- sometime after the American Civil War, women were brought to the PNW as brides for men. However, some of those "brides" didn't know they were going over to marry. They had contracts to be domestic helpers, nannies and so forth. This book explores one such situation in a rather humorous way.  Anna believes she is going to be a cook for a lumberjack, Joe, and his crew.  But Joe needs a wife in order to keep the 640 acres of land he's been working the last decade.

Lydia's Charm by Wanda E. Brunstetter -- an Amish book about a young widow and her son, Josh, who move to Charm, Ohio, to live with Lydia's mom and ailing grandfather

A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell -- When an aging London actress tries to come back to the stage, she falls apart and her estranged daughter checks her out of the hospital where she's recovering, and they live for a time in a small English village.  Thus is the setting for Charlotte and Rosalind's tale in this book.  I rather liked it!

The Amish Midwife by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould -- Part of The Women of Lancaster County series; this book is about Lexie, a nurse-midwife, who travels from her home in Oregon to Pennsylvania to get answers about her adoption. She works with a Mennonite midwife who delivers babies for Amish women, among others. 

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen -- Unlike most of her books, this one seemed to equally focus on a male character, dancing and fencing master Alec Valcourt, recently of London, but now in a small village after something scandalous happens in his family.  In this village, he meets Julia Midwinter who seeks to leave this boring, small place where her mother keeps a way-too-watchful eye. 

Hidden Affections by Delia Parr --  Harrison and Annabelle were forced to marry after their stage coach was robbed and they were handcuffed together. Yeah, a likely scenario, but whatever.  As Harrison seeks an annulment, they have to put on appearances of being a young couple in love. 

How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler -- After recovering from a bad accident, Deena moves from Atlanta to Bryson City, North Carolina, where her grandpa left her his cabin - if she promises to teach a cooking class to children in a community center for six months. 

The Trouble With Tulip by Mindy Starns Clark -- Jo Tulip writes a newspaper column offering household tips. In this book, she and her best friend Danny are caught up in solving a mystery about their elderly neighbor's sudden death. Was it just an accident or was Edna Pratt murdered?

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth --  Three generations of midwives, Floss, Grace, and Neva tell parts of their stories and reveal secrets. 

All the News Unfit to Print by Eric Burns -- I found this at a book exchange or perhaps I bought it at the 25 cent sale, but I've had it way longer than Donald Trump has been President.  Yet, I felt it was something he would like to read because it talks about journalists and stories that have been made up or omitted or sensationalized or changed from centuries ago to not so long ago (copyright is 2009).   Some rather interesting stories. It had me googling certain people since I often like putting names and faces together. 

Fatal Judgment by Irene Hannon -- book 1 in the Guardians of Justice series; U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor is assigned to protect a federal judge, Liz Michaels.

Blind Dates Can Be Murder by Mindy Starns Clark -- book two in the series about Jo Tulip; another mysterious death leads Jo and Danny on another adventure: this one involving some tough mafia-type guys and missing, stained money.

Monday, February 27, 2017

February Books

Revealed by Tamera Alexander -- I read book 1 in this series so I needed to read the final two.  This one had a few characters from book one, and told the stories of Annabelle Grayson and her brother in law Matthew Taylor as Matthew took her to her husband's land in Idaho. 

Remembered by Tamera Alexander -- This book was about a lady from France who came to the Colorado Territory in search of her father who had left Paris decades before.  Véronique hires former trail-man-turned-mining-camp-supplier Jack Brennan to take her into the mountains to search for the father she thinks abandoned her.

Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof - book one in The Cadence of Grace series.  I picked this up when I was hurriedly choosing books one day at the library.  Pretty good, simple tale of two young people, Gideon and Lonnie, forced to marry, and their struggle in the early days and weeks. 

The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen -- The story of Mariah Aubrey, a young lady banished to her aunt's house far from home, and the people she meets while living near a poorhouse.  Another good story by this author.

Lilies in Moonlight by Allison Pittman -- a rather cute (quirky? silly?) book about Lilly, a "fun-loving flapper" who ends up at the home of a young man, Cullen, injured and scarred by war and his mother, Betty Ruth. 

Though My Heart is Torn by Joanna Bischof -- book two in the above-mentioned series; This book follows Gideon and Lonnie as the couple is tricked into returning home so Gideon can face some pretty serious charges that will affect them and others in big ways.

My Hope Is Found by Joanne Bischof -- book three; continued story of Gideon and Lonnie with the characters added in book two - Cassie and the reverend, Toby.  An enjoyable series.

Strange Stones: Dispatches from East and West by Peter Hessler -- I've enjoyed Peter's tales the last few years.  This one had a few familiar stories from past books, but several new things. I really enjoyed the bit about the Japanese organized crime ("All Due Respect" chapter), and the story of his friend from Missouri and later Japan, Jake Adelstein. What a character!   I love the stories from when he and his wife move to the US for a short while. They chose Colorado and he told a super-interesting tale about "Dr. Don" the druggist in Nucla.  Neat guy!   I found his words on page 325 sad because he said small-town Americans were not curious about his story!  So different from me, the ever-curious one!   I really enjoy Peter's books. I hope he writes a new one sometime about his life in Egypt because last I heard, he and his family moved to Cairo.

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen -- I have read a few of her books now, and I love them.  Love them!  I am not sure why, but there is something about her stories. I could picture myself there in that house with the children and the comings and goings of the earl and his son.  Great story about Olivia, Edward, Audrey, and Andrew.  Really enjoyed this one!

Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher  -- "An Amish Beginnings" novel ; I read a few of her books last year, and discovered a new book which I'd not read. Only it was second in this series and I hadn't even read this one soo... I read about this Amish community's journey across the ocean from a small village in Germany to Fort Philadelphia.  Most times I read Amish books in the context of them on their farms, working in quilt shops or what not. But this book was almost entirely about the trip over the Atlantic after a delay in the English Channel.  It's the story of Anna, one of the lone Amish people aboard who knows English, and, therefore, works as a translator between her people and the ship's crew.

A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander -- I enjoyed getting to know about Belmont Mansion and the fascinating character Adelicia Acklen, although the author admits she took liberties in fleshing out the real woman. Still.   This book is mainly about Claire, a young lady from Paris who had lived in New Orleans where her father ran an art gallery - forging art, that is.  When Claire flees to Nashville, she ends up working for Mrs. Acklen.   Also in this book I was introduced to a real life person, Henrietta Caroline LaVert nn Cara Netta. 

Beguiled by Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand -- I've read a few of Deeanne Gist's book in recent months, and this one was quite different.  She teamed up with a suspense writer to create a bit of a different book. It takes place in Charleston and the heroine - or maybe she's the Robin Hood thieving from wealthy clients - is a dogwalker, Rylee.  Pretty easy read. I think I prefer Ms. Gist's old-timey books, however.

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander -- a great follow-up story to the earlier Belmont Mansion book although it focused on Adelicia Acklen Cheatham's niece Eleanor who comes to Nashville in order to put her father in an insane asylum.  Eleanor doesn't like to make hair art or potpourri sacks, but gets involved in something rather common for someone in her station:  she dares to cook for widows and children in the community!  In the book she meets Austrian Marcus Gregory who is in America in order for things to die down back home, and also to live like a common person for a while.  An enjoyable story!

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden -- The story of one of the few female librarians in the Library of Congress, Anna O'Brien notices an error in the historical record of the sinking of a ship that took her father's life.  She seeks to correct this mistake only to find people in high places keeping track of her and silencing her.  She enlists the help of her life-long friend Neville, and the highly-emotional congressman from Maine, Luke Callahan.  Not my favorite Elizabeth Camden book, but fine for an easy read while sitting out enjoying these beautiful February days (feels like spring!)

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen  -- another good tale from this author; Margaret flees her household when she overhears her stepfather plotting with his nephew over a way to acquire Margaret's inheritance.  Somehow Margaret ends up working as a servant in the house of people she knows - yikes!  Can she stay hidden long enough to turn 25 so she can inherit?

Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley -- more of a suspense/mystery book starring Taylor, a victim profiler instructor near Seattle who travels home to Logan Point, Mississippi, to help resolve family disputes involving land, and also to figure out who is stalking her!  Why did these odd gifts and photos start showing up when she wondered whatever happened to her father? 

A Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley -- book two in the Logan Point series; this one follows the acting sheriff, Ben, and the new doctor in town, Leigh, who used to live in Logan Point.  They work to find out who is setting fires, shooting at people, and shipping guns to Mexico.

The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan -- The stories of Mary, the town recluse who lives in the marble mansion overlooking the town, and her only friend Father O'Brien plus the newcomers.  My mom recommended this book.  I like how the author wrote that she thought "it would be interesting and challenging to build a story around a character who is misunderstood or different in some way, and to show that even someone who is seemingly far removed from his or her community may in fact be more special and integral than anyone could imagine."  (pg. 376)

In Siberia by Colin Thubron -- another travel adventure with the author; interesting tales!

The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher -- book two of the "Amish Beginnings Novel" series; this one continues the story of the group of Amish who landed in Fort Philadelphia.  They travel to settle the land. 

Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray -- Rosalind leaves her farming family in Wisconsin to travel to Chicago during the World Fair time in order to work at the house where her sister worked before she disappeared. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

January Books

We were in Savannah and Tybee Island, Georgia, from the end of January until today so I'm a bit late posting this!  Wow, February already!  Christmas will be here before we know it. :)
Trauma Junkie: Memoirs of an Emergency Flight Nurse by Janice Hudson -- I have read a few books in the last couple of years by doctors or EMS workers. This one was similar, but different because of the flight aspect.  It was a fairly easy read in that you could read it quickly, but the material wasn't always easy especially when children die. Still, it was a good book which my mom had read last year and passed along to me when I saw her on New Year's Eve.

Angela Merkel: Europe's Most Influential Leader by Matthew Qvortrup -- I certainly learned a lot about German politics!  And some personal things about Mrs. Merkel's upbringing and life.  This was in the new books section at the library and I figured I needed to read a biography instead of more fiction. Right?

Naked and Marooned: One Man. One Island. by Ed Stafford -- I read his book about walking the Amazon so I decided to read this one where he was left on an island for sixty days.  Pretty interesting read if you enjoy this sort of thing. 

Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- When an Old Order Mennonite man arrives in their hometown with news about a favorite aunt's death and her inheritance, Marie and Beth have to decide whether or not to go back to Marie's former hometown in Sommerfeld where she left twenty years prior.  Because Aunt Lisbeth's business and home can be Beth's, but only if she agrees to run the café for three months before selling it.

Beginnings by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- This book continues the story of Marie and Beth with more of the focus on Beth's new stained-glass window business in Sommerfeld. 

Blessings by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- This is the last book in the Sommerfeld trilogy.  While Beth plays an influential role in this book, the main character is the café owner's daughter Trina who wishes to pursue a career as a veterinarian because she feels God put that desire and love for animals in her.  The only problem is her Old Order Mennonite district has never approved of higher education.  No one has done schooling above grade nine.  Also, her boyfriend Graham is wanting to marry.

Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China by Peter Hessler -- I've read a couple of his earlier books, and added this one to my Amazon Wishlist.  I always enjoy his tales about people he meets in China.  I like that he told about the Chinese language and characters in this book.  Lots of interesting stuff!

Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen -- A great novel about Charlotte and her time in a lying-in manor, her experiences in a foundling hospital and as a wet nurse in England. I enjoyed this book, and will look for others from this author.

To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander -- I read a few books from this author last year, and enjoyed them.  This one takes place at Belle Meade, a plantation in Nashville, Tennessee, not long after the Civil War.  It's about horse racing, and confronting stereotypes, and an arranged marriage in order to save the family farm.  The story of Maggie, the Southern horsewoman, and Cullen, the Irishman trying to make a new life in a prejudiced South. 

Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist -- a bit more lighthearted than the other books of hers that I've read, this one takes place in the oil cities of Texas back when bloomer-wearing women on bikes was gaining popularity (or not.)  Tony Bryant comes to town after he is disinherited by his father.  He wants to work for another oil company and comes to find out Judge Spreckelmeyer's daughter, Essie, runs things.

To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander -- another Belle Meade Plantation novel; This one focuses on Olivia Aberdeen a young widow who comes to the plantation as a personal assistant to the lady of the house.  She meets Ridley Cooper a South Carolinian who fought with the Federal Army...though she and no one else on the plantation - save one - knows this until much later.

The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen -- The story of two brothers Wesley, the artistic brother who travels to Italy on a whim, and Stephen, the duty-bound younger brother,  and Sophie, the painter's daughter, who somehow comes between them. 

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell  -- a biography about the French teenager who came to the US to help fight in the Revolutionary War.  I only chose this book because of the author!   Soon after reading this, Andrew and I were in Savannah and saw Lafayette Square in the historic district. 

The Sister Circle by Vonette Bright and Nancy Moser -- I was at the library the other day picking up a Zoom pass for the Durham Museum, and grabbed a few books. This was one of them.  A recently widowed lady realizes her husband left her with little insurance money so she decides to take in boarders.  These ladies and their friends form a friendship - or a sisterhood of sorts.  In this book you meet Evelyn the lady taking in tenants, and Mae, Tessa, Audra and her little girl, Summer. Also, friend Piper and Gillie. 

Rekindled by Tamera Alexander -- I've enjoyed her other books so I figured I'd read the Fountain Creek Chronicles; this is about Kathryn Jennings whose husband leaves one Christmas morning saying he'd be back at the end of the week. Only he doesn't come back.  And folks speculate on whether or not he survived the feet of snow that blew through that day.  What happened to Larson?  As Kathryn goes on with her life, she meets a kind ranch hand Gabe and later the disfigured Jacob who works at the big-time ranch owner's place.  A good tale.

No Place for a Lady by Maggie Brendan -- a book I picked up while gathering several books; I like to try new authors, but this one wasn't that good. It was OK, but a bit too silly and predictable.  Still, I may read more in the Heart of the West series since it was an easy read. We'll see.  This was about Crystal Clark, the Southern belle from Georgia, who visits her Aunt Kate in the Rocky Mountains.  She does her best to fit it.