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

Sunday, March 31, 2019

March Books

The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel -- I'm glad my library is getting more of her books. This was about an American woman who married a French man and went to Paris to live with him. Unfortunately Hitler was already causing trouble in Europe and soon their lives changed  - a lot. When Ruby finds out Marcel is aiding the Resistance, she wants to help. A pretty good story!

Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano - a book I put on hold from the online new books list, and enjoyed on this sunny morning. It's book 1 in the American Heiresses series and features Isadora who is being pursued by an atrocious duke. In order to hide, Isadora's friend comes up with a plan to have Izzie apply for a position as a housekeeper in "the wilds" of Pennsylvania. No worries...except that Isadora has no idea how to use a washing machine, bake biscuits, or even how to properly boil water! A cute, easy read.

Dream When You're Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg -- a cute story about an Irish family in Chicago during World War II. The three daughters - Kitty, Louise, and Tish -  regularly write service members which provide an interesting look at life overseas and life at home in one of America's larger cities. I found this at the Little Free Library in Southport a few days ago.

The Serpent and the Pearl by Kate Quinn -- I read one of her books last year that the library had, but they didn't have much else. I got this two-book series for Christmas and decided to start this Novel of the Borgias a couple days ago. Prepare to go back in time to Rome around 1492. Giulia Farnese is married to a guy who leaves her on their wedding night because Guilia is really promised to Rodrigo Borgia as his latest mistress. An interesting tale for sure. It's told through the eyes of Giulia and two fictional characters whom I enjoyed: Carmelina the cook and the dwarf Leonello who was hired by Rodrigo's son as a personal bodyguard for his father's mistress and his sister. A good book.

Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin -- this is the sequel to a book I read awhile back: I somehow missed this on the new books online catalog, but my mom mentioned enjoying it so I checked it out after she returned it to the local library. This continued the story of wealthy Chicagoan Anneke who found her grandmother - Geesje - in book one. Anneke's mom died in a shipwreck, and Anna was adopted by the Nicholson family when she was 3. This book follows Anna (or Anneke) during her engagement to William, and Geesje back in Holland, Michigan, as she welcomes a young Dutch immigrant into her house.

The Quilter's Legacy by Jennifer Chiaverini -- another book in the Elm Creek Quilts series; it alternates between Sylvia's modern-day quest to locate a few of her mother's old quilts which were sold by her late sister, and the story of Sylvia's mom, Eleanor Lockwood who died when Sylvia was a child. 

Thou Shalt Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money by Rabbi Daniel Lapin -- I admit I skimmed this book; it's one a friend of Andrew's from church gave him to read. Andrew thought I'd enjoy the aspects of Judaism which frequent the pages so I read (or skimmed) this book with that in mind. That part was pretty interesting since I actually enjoy learning about what different religions and cultures teach.

The Master Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini -- another Elm Creek Quilt novel; this time it focused on all the modern ladies of Waterford, Pennsylvania, whom we were introduced to in earlier books. I kind of feel like I know Diane, Bonnie, Sylvia, Sarah, Judy, Summer and the rest at this point.

The Sugar Camp Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini -- another Elm Creek Quilt novel; this story went back in time to share about Dorothea Granger, age 19, as she worked to change things in her little community. First the quilt with authors' signatures so they can raise funds for a library, and later to helping runaway slaves. A good story!

The Lion and the Rose by Kate Quinn -- the last of the Borgia Chronicles; it continues the story of Pope Alexander VI and the interesting cast of characters surrounding him. Two of the main characters in this story are fictional, but the author does a good job of describing life in those times through her stories.

American Duchess: A novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt by Karen Harper -- decent book; I admire her work in helping others, but I'm over super-rich people with multiple residences.

The Gift by Wanda E. Brunstetter -- this book 2 in the Prairie State Friends series continues more of what happened in book 1 except it focused more on Leah, the young lady who practices reflexology, in order to help her Amish friends and neighbors heal.

Never Tell by Lisa Gardner -- the latest D.D. Warren book; this one the team is tracking down leads after a high school math teacher's husband is killed. She's arrested for murdering him although she says she only shot his laptop 12 times. Something about protecting the legacy of her husband for the sake of their unborn child. Another good one!

The Christmas Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini -- another Elm Creek Quilt novel; in this book I learned more of the story of Sylvia's upbringing especially focused around Christmas traditions and helping others during the Great Depression; this book talked more about Sylvia's mother as her health declined and about Sylvia's marriage and meeting of her brother's childhood friend, Andrew. 

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright -- I saw this on the News Book online thing, and put it on hold. It was different. Thea went back to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, looking for information about her mother, and Thea's own story since she was left at an orphanage. As a photographer of families - many of which used her services when a family member died in order to have final photos with the deceased - Thea makes her inquiries. In present day, there is Heidi, whom I never warmed to as a book character. I guess that's why I didn't love - or even really like this book very much. Still, I read on as I wanted to find out the answer to the little mysteries.

The Restoration by Wanda E. Brunstetter -- since I read the other 2 books in this Prairie State Friends series, I figured I should see how it ends. It was a good book to read while at the park with Sophie. It focused on many of the same characters, but moreso on Priscilla who is desperately wanting her long-time boyfriend to propose marriage already!

Circle of Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini -- another Elm Creek Quilt novel; as the Elm Creek quilters' retreat has 2 staff members leaving, the staff holds interviews. This book tells parts of stories of a few of the applicants and their experiences with quilting.  

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly -- I've had this one my to-get list for a while and finally did. An interesting story told from the perspectives of a Nazi female doctor, one of the Polish "rabbits," and the lady in New York who worked for the French consulate, Caroline Ferriday.  Two of the three ladies are real historical figures whom the author researched and the third is a fictionalized version of real people in the camps.  A good story!

The Quilter's Homecoming by Jennifer Chiaverini -- another Elm Creek Quilt novel; In this book we are told more of the story of Sylvia Compson's older cousin Elizabeth who marries Henry Nelson and leaves the family in Pennsylvania to live on a cattle ranch in California. It was good reading their story about life on the West Coast! 

The New Year's Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini -- another Elm Creek Quilt novel; Sylvia and Andrew married at Christmas, now they travel to Connecticut to break the news to Andrew's daughter Amy who wasn't happy about her father's engagement. Along the way, Sylvia finishes up a quilt that she plans to give Amy for the New Year. This was probably my least favorite book in this series, but it was all right.  I read it alternatively while reading this next one . . .

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton --  I really enjoyed this author, but this was probably my least favorite of her books. Still, it was good, just not my favorite. It takes place - mostly - at Birchwood Manor which draws interesting characters. The story is about those characters who've visited over the years - from the 1860s, when Edward Radcliffe invited his artist friends and younger sisters to stay there, to 2017 when Elodie is seeking answers to her mother's final days. Telling more of the story is the ghost who lives there, Birdie Bell, the Clockmaker's Daughter.

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts  -- I really enjoyed this story about Maud Gage Baum, the wife of the author of The Wizard of Oz.  It was such an interesting way to learn about her home life, her married life, her activist mom, and the shaping of the movie and book. I also really liked the last paragraph of the author's acknowledgements section where she honors the memories of many of the main characters.  Good read!

The Winding Ways Quilt by by Jennifer Chiaverini -- another Elm Creek Quilt novel; after all these novels, you would think readers knew everything about the main characters, but then another book comes along which treats you to more backstory.  This was pretty good and an easy read. I finished it on our way home from the beach today.