Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse," by Jennifer Worth

"Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse," by Jennifer Worth


The sequel to Jennifer Worth's New York Times bestselling memoir and the basis for the PBS series Call the Midwife
When twenty-two-year-old Jennifer Worth, from a comfortable middle-class upbringing, went to work as a midwife in the direst section of postwar London, she not only delivered hundreds of babies and touched many lives, she also became the neighborhood's most vivid chronicler. Woven into the ongoing tales of her life in the East End are the true stories of the people Worth met who grew up in the dreaded workhouse, a Dickensian institution that limped on into the middle of the twentieth century.
Orphaned brother and sister Peggy and Frank lived in the workhouse until Frank got free and returned to rescue his sister. Bubbly Jane's spirit was broken by the cruelty of the workhouse master until she found kindness and romance years later at Nonnatus House. Mr. Collett, a Boer War veteran, lost his family in the two world wars and died in the workhouse.
Though these are stories of unimaginable hardship, what shines through each is the resilience of the human spirit and the strength, courage, and humor of people determined to build a future for themselves against the odds. This is an enduring work of literary nonfiction, at once a warmhearted coming-of-age story and a startling look at people's lives in the poorest section of postwar London.


If you enjoyed the television series "Call the Midwife," you will love this book.  It's more graphic in detail and at times it makes your skin crawl but it's well worth the read.

If you saw the series you will remember the story about Peggy and Frank.  So I knew what was going to happen, but despite knowing I still cried, it was such a sad but lovely story that you couldn't help but tear up.

It once again brought it home to me that I had a very easy childhood and have nothing to complain about.  It also brought home that despire all the hardships and povety that thses people lived in, their sense of community and belonging mattered more to them than anything else.  So that when they tore down the tenements it was the end of a way of life for them that they never got back.

Stars our of 5 : 5 makes you appreciate what you have got and it makes you think this book.  There is a third in the series, so I'll have to see if my library will get that one in next.  They did get the book "The Life and Times of Call the Midwife," by Heidi Thomas, which is the offical companion to the Seasons One and Two, so I will read that one next.

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Moonlight Masquerade," By Ruth Axtell

"Moonlight Masquerade," By Ruth Axtell


Sometimes it is hard to tell if you are the cat or the mouse.

Lady Céline Wexham seems the model British subject. French by birth but enjoying life in 1813 as a widowed English countess, she is in the unique position of being able to help those in need-or to spy for the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte.

When Rees Phillips of the British Foreign Office is sent to pose as the countess’s butler and discover where her true loyalties lie, he is confident he will uncover the truth. But the longer he is in her fashionable townhouse in London’s West End, the more his staunch loyalty to the Crown begins to waver as he falls under Lady Wexham’s spell.

Will he find the proof he needs? And if she is a spy after all, what then will he do?

This book reminded me of a box of chocolates.  Some you love, some you like and others you hate.  That's how it was with this book.  The beginning of the book was okay, a bit drawn out, but okay.  I had to read about a third of it to get hooked.  Once I got hooked around the time of the trip to Hartwell, it got really interesting and I had to know what happened next.  The last four chapters were a disappointment.  This book is part of a series so I am not sure if Rees and Celine will feature at all in the next book, but their story hasn't finished to my mind.

Stars out of 5 : 3 I neither loved nor hated this book.  If you enjoy a bit of mystery, romance and enjoy the 1800's then this is a book for you.  It was just lacking something for me.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Monday, March 4, 2013

"Unrivaled," by Siri Mitchell

"Unrivaled," by Siri Mitchell
 

Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration. After tasting Europe's best confections, she's sure she'll come up with a recipe that will save her father's struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes. But she soon discovers that their biggest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his prize recipe, has now hired a promotions manager--a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy’s skin.

Charlie Clarke's new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime. He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he's never known. The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall. She's making his work life miserable...and making herself impossible for him to forget.

This is a great book, with super leading characters in Lucy and Charlie.  I like how each chapter was told from either Lucy's or Charlie's point of view.   I got caught up in the story right away and it is an easy story to read that doesn't require too much concentration.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 Another good book by this author to settle down with for a few hours.



"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".

"Scent of Lilacs," by Ann H. Gabhart

"Scent of Lilacs," by Ann H. Gabhart


After the summer of 1964, life for Jocie Brooke will never be the same.

Life-changing events rarely happen in quiet Hollyhill, Kentucky, and when they do, they are few and far between. But for young Jocie Brooke and her family, they happen all at once during the humid summer of 1964. Though on the surface things are just fine, it seems like everyone in Jocie’s life has something they’re not saying, something they’re hiding from her-and from themselves. As Jocie digs into her family’s past, she stirs up a whirlwind of discoveries. Will she find the answers everyone so desperately needs? Or will her questions lead to truths better left hidden?

Combining unforgettable characters, true-to-life struggles, and the perfect dose of humor and nostalgia, this riveting story from bestselling author Ann Gabhart explores the very essence of new life and love.

The more I read Ann Gabhart's books the more I like her as an author.  This book was really good, as the way she wrote it, it was a story inside a story, inside a story.  There were many layers to it and some out comes you could predict, other's came as a surprise.

It took me a few chapters to get to the stage where I HAD to know what was going to happen next and the lead character Jocie was an absolute delight in getting to know.  

This is the first in a series of three books and were first published back in 2007 (I think that's the date) So I am looking forward to reading more about Jocie's life.

Stars out of 5 : 5 great book and the more you get into the story the more hooked you will be.

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

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

"The Icecutter's Daughter," Tracie Peterson

"The Icecutter's Daughter," Tracie Peterson

"As the lone female in a houseful of men, Merrill Krause dedicates her life to caring for her family and their business, as her dying mother asked. Besides, it suits her; she's never felt like she fits what most people expect in a girl--she'd rather work with her father’s horses and assist with the ice harvest. And though she’s been mostly content up to this point, a part of her wonders if there will ever be anyone who will notice her amid the bevy of brothers determined to protect her from any possible suitors.

When Rurik Jorgenson arrives in their small Minnesota town to join his uncle's carpentry business, he soon crosses paths with Merrill. But unlike other men, who are often frightened away by her older brothers, Rurik isn't intimidated by them or by Merrill's strength and lack of femininity. The attraction between them begins to build...until Rurik's former fiance shows up with wild claims that bring serious consequences to Rurik.

Can Rurik and Merrill learn to trust God--and each other--when scandal threatens their newfound love?"

I am a big fan of Tracie Peterson.  She writes the type of books I thoroughly enjoy; a bit of mystery, some history and a sprinkling of romance.

Rurik and Merrill were great lead characters and the lead up to their romance is well written.  The "scandal" in the story was well written and I loved Rurik's determination and his belief in that God would be clear in what he should or shouldn't do.  Merrill's equally strong faith was also inspiring.

Stars out of 5 : 5 another great book and one that had me hooked from the beginning.  Not a hard read and a book where you will need to know what is going to happen next.  The next book in the series "The Quarryman's Bride," will be released in June of 2013, so will be looking forward to that one as well.

"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".


"Swept Away," by Mary Connealy

"Swept Away," by Mary Connealy

"When a cowboy focused on revenge encounters a woman determined to distract him, there's going to be trouble in Texas!

Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn't terribly upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they've ever done is work her to the bone. Alive but disoriented, she's rescued by Luke Stone...so unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.

Luke is on a mission to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men currently on the property won't let it go without a fight. Luke plans to meet up with friends who will help him take back the land, and since he can't just leave Ruthy in the middle of nowhere, she’s going to have to go with him.
But the more time Luke spends around the hardworking young woman, the more he finds himself thinking of things besides revenge. Will Ruthy convince him to give up his destructive path and be swept away by love?"


I really enjoy the books Mary writes and this one is no exception.  You get hooked into the story right away.  Luke and Ruthy are made for one another and you want them both to succeed in their goals.  The other characters that are also introduced will make for a great series and her next book "Fired Up," which will be released in September of 2013 and which there is an excerpt in this book, makes you want to read what happens next.

Stars out of 5 : 5  I loved this book, the characters are all relate able.  It's an easy read and it leaves you wanting more.


"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".