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Showing posts from January, 2013

One Glorious Ambition

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One Glorious Ambition: The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix Jane Kirkpatrick Multnomah
I knew nothing of Dorothea Dix besides her name; whatever she had done in history was something I don’t remember ever learning about. Yes, her name seemed familiar. But other than that, I had nothing.

One Glorious Ambition introduced me to an interesting woman with a mission: to reform the national care of the mentally ill. Until her work, mental patients were basically kept in prison cells- a bad thing both ways, as they not only were neglected of the care they needed, but they drove the other prisoners insane themselves.

One thing that really interested me about this book was Dorothea’s desire to “keep her femininity.” Even though her life was certainly far from the norm of most 19th century women, she was no rabid feminist, and even though I don’t agree with all of her actions, I do admire many things about her.

Dorothea’s life was very difficult, and sometimes it was depressing. One Glorious Ambi…

The Fairest Beauty

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The Fairest Beauty Melanie Dickerson Zondervan
A daring rescue. A difficult choice. Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother's jealousy, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be Sophie's one chance at freedom---but can she trust another person to keep her safe? Gabe defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the girl's inner and outer beauty has enchanted him. Though romance is impossible---she is his brother's future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else---he promises himself he will see the mission through, no matter what. When the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help---but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Now both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them--…

Forsaken Dreams

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Forsaken Dreams MaryLu Tyndall Barbour
Embark on a seafaring adventure in a brand-new series from bestselling author MaryLu Tyndall. After witnessing the death and destruction caused by the Civil War, Colonel Blake Wallace is eager to leave his once precious Southern homeland for the pristine shores of Brazil and the prospect of a new utopian community. Widow Eliza Crawford seeks passage on Wallace’s ship harboring a dirty secret—and a blossoming hope for a fresh start. But will dangers from the sea and from man keep them from the peace and love they long for?
Oh, where do I begin? I’ve read four other books by MaryLu Tyndall, but this one- this one was certainly the best out of all of those of hers I’ve read. I’ve always loved larger-than-normal casts of characters, where intersecting stories combine into one great plot. My own writing tends towards this direction, but I haven’t read a lot of novels like this. I think that’s why I liked this book so much.
Though I liked the main character…

Scarlet

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Scarlet A.C. Gaughen Bloomsbury
I thought this book sounded really interesting. I’m a Robin Hood fan anyway, but I don’t come across many retellings about him and his gang that I feel comfortable reading, so I was pleased to find this one in the YA section of the library. Basically, in this version Will Scarlet is actually a girl, Robin Hood's secretive informant. I thought it sounded intriguing. 
I was really, really, disappointed. I only got through about three chapters before stopping because of the swearing. I understand that bad guys and outlaws usually swear, so if anyone out there tells me that it’s to be expected of this novel and, indeed, would be inaccurate without it, I say: then leave out the word. “Sir Gisbourne swore.” There. It’s “accurate” and we don’t have to read the word. That, my friends, is a perfect compromise. Also, from just the little bit I read, I didn't really like Scarlet. 
Now, I admit I *was* curious to how everything turned out, so I looked in the bac…

Isle of Shadows

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Isle of Shadows Tracy L. Higley Thomas Nelson
Revised and updated from the original, Christy-award finalistShadow of Colossus. Enslaved in a World of Money and Power, Tessa Dares to be Free. Raised as courtesan to wealthy and powerful men, Tessa of Delos serves at the whim of her current patron, the politician Glaucus. After ten years with him, Tessa has abandoned all desire for freedom or love, choosing instead to lock her heart away. But when Glaucus meets a violent death in his own home, Tessa grasps at a fragile hope. Only she knows of his death. If she can keep it a secret long enough, she can escape. Tessa throws herself on the mercy of the Greek god Helios, but finds instead unlikely allies in Nikos, a Greek slave, and Simeon, Glaucus’s Jewish head servant. As Simeon introduces her to a God unlike any she has ever known and Nikos begins to stir feelings she had thought long dead, Tessa fights to keep her heart protected. As an assassination plot comes to light, Tessa must battle for he…

The Unquiet Bones

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The Unquiet Bones Mel Starr Monarch
I’m not overly familiar with historical periods before the 1700s. I admit it. So reading a mystery set in fourteenth century England was bound to be educational. I think that might have been the problem with this book; it was a little too educational. I am really squeamish. As the protagonist is a surgeon, a few of his surgeries were described and I kind of…skipped over them a little. Ironically, from a forensic perspective such things don’t bother me, but make it medical and my stomach flip-flops. I did enjoy the book; it some ways it really felt like I was reading the memoirs of a real person. That was also the book’s downfall: the writing style wasn’t spectacular. There were rather a lot of simple sentences that actually detracted from the writing style. Though the overall story was interesting, it did drag a few times getting to the conclusion. I also got the second book in the series from the library, and I wouldn't be averse to reading any more…

With Every Letter

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With Every Letter Sarah Sundin Revell
I don’t read a lot of books that take place past the early 1900s, so for me to read a book with a setting any time later than that, it has to be really spectacular. Having read Sarah Sundin’s previous series, I knew that she has a great writing style and, if possible, even better characters. The only thing I don’t really care for about her books it that they are a little romancy for my taste. However, since I knew that With Every Letter is a romance where the characters get to know each other through letters, I figured there couldn’t be too much mushiness involved! J I did really enjoy this book. Although A Distant Melody is probably my favorite of Mrs. Sundin’s books, With Every Letter is a close second. The romance was sweet (although in the second half I was ready to shake Mellie by the shoulders and shriek “TELL HIM!! TELL HIM WHO YOU ARE!!!”) Both characters deal with realistic problems that aren’t a lot of times addressed in novels- that is one t…

The Tutor's Daughter

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The Tutor’s Daughter Julie Klassen Bethany House Publishers
Julie Klassen remains one of my absolute favorite authors, and I sort of have a tradition of getting each of her new books as a Christmas present. This year was no exception, and I was delighted to receive The Tutor’s Daughter this year!

There were several things I really liked about this book. First of all, there were a lot more Christian elements in this novel than there are in most of the author’s books. The characters talked about God a lot more, though it certainly was never preachy. I also really liked the hero of this book, much more than I was ever expecting to! In fact, out of all of this author’s heroes, he was definitely one of my very favorites. I really loved the bit at the end when he gets the letter from his mother.

The only bad thing I have to say about this novel was that even though I really liked the characters, the book itself didn’t quite capture my attention like The Apothecary’s Daughter, The Silent Governes…