Saturday, September 26, 2015

"A Noble Masquerade," by Kristi Ann Hunter

"A Noble Masquerade," by Kristi Ann Hunter
Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother's old school friend, the Duke of Marshington. Since she's never actually met the man she has no intention of ever sending the letters and is mortified when her brother's mysterious new valet, Marlow, mistakenly mails one of the letters to the unsuspecting duke.

Shockingly, this breach of etiquette results in a reply from the duke that soon leads to a lively correspondence. Insecurity about her previous lack of suitors soon becomes confusion as Miranda finds herself equally intrigued by Marlow, a man she has come to depend upon but whose behavior grows more suspicious by the day. As the secret goings-on at her family's estate come to light, one thing is certain: Miranda's heart is far from all that's at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It was fast paced, with many twists and turns along the way.  It doesn't take a genius to figure out who is who and what is what; but the path you follow to figure it all out is a fun one.

I enjoy that period of time and all the time you are wanting Miranda to find true love, as she is not you normal high bred lady of the times.  "Marlow's" character is perfect as well and he makes the book fun as well.  This is the first book (there is an e-book) in the Hawthorne House series.  I am looking forward to reading the others, as there are still plenty of tales to tell with the other members of the family.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  My kind of book with plenty happening and a great love story mixed in.  Well worth the read; a good book to read in a couple of afternoons.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"The Photograph," by Beverly Lewis

"The Photograph," by Beverly Lewis

He studied the picture more closely, finding it curious that the young woman looked so boldly into the camera while wearing a white prayer Kapp shaped like a heart--the characteristic head covering for the Lancaster County Old Order Amish. 
Why would a devout girl have her picture taken?

When her sister Lily disappears only months after their widowed mother's passing, Eva Esch fears she has been wooed away from the People. Yet Lily's disappearance isn't Eva's only concern: She and her sisters must relocate once their older brother takes over the family farmhouse. Then Jed Stutzman, an Amish buggy maker from Ohio, shows up in Eden Valley with a photo of a Plain young woman. Eva feels powerfully drawn to the charming stranger--but the woman in the forbidden photograph is no stranger at all. . . .

If you are a Beverly Lewis fan, you will love this book.  It's in her typical style and an easy read.  You won't be shocked at the ending, and it is a book that invites you into the lives of the Amish.  I thought it was interesting that Eva has her own candy store at home.  She was a lovely leading character.

This book is not part of a series, but could easily be turned into a series.

Stars out of 5 : 4 I am all "Amished-out" at the moment, having just come back from vacation in Lancaster county.  However it was nice to read about places that I had heard of and even visited.  It's another solid book by Beverly and well worth the read.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Monday, September 21, 2015

"Olive Kitteridge," by Elizabeth Stout

"Olive Kitteridge," by Elizabeth Stout
At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

This is our October selection for our book club.  I had neither heard nor read this book before and I found it very interesting.  It basically 13 short stories in which Olive has some sort of role in; sometimes a large role, sometimes just a "walk-on" part.

It's a very complex book with many layers.  Sort of reminds me of an onion.  I enjoyed Olive, and loved her total honesty of a situation.   You could actually relate to some or all of these stories.  The only negative thing all these stories never actually had an ending.  I was told in the HBO series of this book, the stories did have an ending?

Stars out of 5 : 4  I would love to see the TV series now, as I still have questions.  It was well worth the read though and I would definitely recommend you reading the book.

The Memory Weaver," by Jane Kirkpatrick

The Memory Weaver," by Jane Kirkpatrick
Eliza Spalding Warren was just a child when she was taken hostage by the Cayuse Indians during a massacre in 1847. Now a mother of two, Eliza faces a new kind of dislocation; her impulsive husband wants to make a new start in another territory, which will mean leaving her beloved home and her mother's grave--and returning to the land of her captivity.

Haunted by memories and hounded by struggle, Eliza longs to know how her mother dealt with the trauma of their ordeal. As she searches the pages of her mother's diary, Eliza is stunned to find that her own recollections tell only part of the story.

Based on true events, The Memory Weaver is New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick's latest literary journey into the past, where threads of western landscapes, family, and faith weave a tapestry of hope inside every pioneering woman's heart. Get swept up in this emotional story of the memories that entangle us and the healing that awaits us when we bravely unravel the threads of the past.

I am a fan of Jane Kirkpatrick's work and was so looking forward to reading this book.  I found it a bit slow going though.  Going back and forward between Eliza and her mother's diaries was not helpful.  I will say though by the last quarter of the book the pace picked up and I had to know what happened next.

The story itself of Eliza is very interesting and I find that time period fascinating.  I also found the author's notes and acknowledgments to be extremely helpful in explaining things; so they are a must read.  It was also interesting when Jane pointed out in those notes, that Eliza probably suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  You don't think that people back in those days would suffer from it would you?  That made me reflect on what and why Eliza did the things she did.

Stars out of 5 : 4  Despite the fact the story was slow going I loved the subject matter.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite booksel
ler from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"The Tinderbox," by Beverly Lewis

"The Tinderbox," by Beverly Lewis With her parents' twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller find...