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

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.