While not technically one of the Mitford Series of books (it doesn't take place in Mitford) it follows directly after the events of Light from HeavenWhile not technically one of the Mitford Series of books (it doesn't take place in Mitford) it follows directly after the events of Light from Heaven and it is still about the life of Fr. Tim Kavanaugh. In this book, Fr. Tim has received a cryptic two-word letter, postmarked from his boyhood home town of Holly Springs, Mississippi. The letter says "Come home" and nothing more. Feeling led by the Holy Spirit, Fr. Tim decides to drive down and investigate. His wife, Cynthia, has a broken ankle and cannot come, so he brings is loyal dog, Barnabas. While at Holly Springs he meets some new people (all very friendly) and manages to also contact some of the people he knew when he lived there. Naturally, his memories go back to his days growing up, and we get many flashbacks of his early life. While some of these are familiar from the other books, they are fleshed out more in this one, and there are many more flashbacks, filling us in on his childhood. Through the people he meets up with, including the author of the mysterious letter, we find out some jaw-dropping family history. I was absolutely stunned by a couple of the revelations. But they are not far-fetched, at all, even if they are somewhat shocking.
One of the things I have loved about these books is Fr. Tim's problematic relationship with his father. I like how he struggles with forgiveness, and is still longing to be loved by his father. We learn more about his father, coming to some understanding of why he was so cold to Tim. And one of the revelations I did not see coming! Fr. Tim will be processing what he now knows for quite some time - as will I!
The pacing of the book is excellent, with the flashbacks interspersed with the current action. The new characters are all quite believable, and as charming and idiosyncratic as those back in Mitford. Some of the revelations are pretty painful, however, so be warned. But, as with the other Mitford books, the overall tone of the book is one of love and hope. ...more
I'm marking this down one star, for two items, which I will get to in a moment. First of all, let me say that I really love the Mitford series, as a wI'm marking this down one star, for two items, which I will get to in a moment. First of all, let me say that I really love the Mitford series, as a whole. It is comfort reading of the best kind: likable characters, problems that are usually solved satisfactorily, and an overall feeling of goodwill, which pervades the whole series. I love the relationship between Cynthia and Father Tim, and I really enjoy how faith is simply a part of these people's lives. These are characters you will enjoy spending time with.
This book is perhaps one of the darker of the series, however (dark being a relative term, of course), with Father Tim falling into depression because of a tragic occurrence. Karon does a good job depicting what life is like for someone suffering from depression (I speak from experience), but there is one thing she did that is part of why I knocked off a star: she had Father Tim stop taking his anti-depressants because he wanted to tackle it himself. This is VERY risky behavior, for someone suffering from depression! She did, at least, have him inform his doctor of his intentions, and the doctor made him promise to check back in. But still, most people can't just "shake" depression on their own, and to depict this beloved character as being able to sends a very dangerous message. Believe me, I prayed and tried to "get over it" myself, but without the medication I don't think I could have beaten my depression. The other thing that bothered me about the depression was that the doctor didn't also prescribe counseling or therapy of some sort. Anti-depressants alone are not the answer. People need coping skills and other help to crawl out of that black hole. This is another risky portrayal. But, as I said, she did do a good job of depicting how it feels to be depressed. So, for the part of the book where Fr. Tim is dealing with his depression, it's a little hard to read - at least it was for me. Fortunately, of course, he does manage to come out of it. This is Mitford, after all! ;-)
The other thing that irked me about this book was the implication that the disaster that befalls the 'bad guy' in the series (who is a woman) was God's judgment on this woman for her mocking and denying Him. This is unconscionable! God does not 'smite' those who don't believe, He loves them! The parables of the prodigal son and the lost sheep are prime examples of how God feels about those who do not know Him or turn away from Him.
So, those two issues aside, this is still a great series, and I would certainly recommend them to anyone who is looking for a nice, cozy read!...more
This is the fourth book in the Robin Kane mystery series, though the second I've read. Much like a Nancy Drew mystery, though Robin is a few years youThis is the fourth book in the Robin Kane mystery series, though the second I've read. Much like a Nancy Drew mystery, though Robin is a few years younger. However she is just as plucky as Nancy and had the usual gang of family and friends to help her. Like many Nancy Drew books, this one has an 'exotic' setting: the old Spanish neighborhood of LA. It's not very racist, especially given the era (early 60's). The mystery should be interesting enough for young readers. There is a bit of violence, with young Robin even getting involved with subduing a bad guy, but otherwise it's pretty tame. ...more
Nancy Drew, Jr. :) A bit younger than Nancy, Robin is 13, but just as plucky. Probably not quite as good as the Nancy Drew books, but a good intro to tNancy Drew, Jr. :) A bit younger than Nancy, Robin is 13, but just as plucky. Probably not quite as good as the Nancy Drew books, but a good intro to the genre, for the slightly younger set. There are some moments of danger, but no harm befalls our heroine or her friends. One of the characters is beaten and left for dead, though this action takes place off-screen. Typical racism/classism for the era, but not as bad as I've seen in other books. All in all, a good read for the junior sleuth-type. ...more
I somehow missed this book as a child. And perhaps I would have enjoyed it more, then. As an adult, this reads like a poor imitation of the Five LittlI somehow missed this book as a child. And perhaps I would have enjoyed it more, then. As an adult, this reads like a poor imitation of the Five Little Peppers books. It's a mildly amusing tale a of a widow (Mrs. Wiggs) and her children who live in a shanty town called the Cabbage Patch. They struggle to make ends meet but Mrs. Wiggs always has a sunny disposition. I enjoyed the Peppers books more. ...more
This is a good mystery for readers not quite up to Nancy Drew. It's follows the exploits of young Meg, as she tries to find some stolen diamonds. TherThis is a good mystery for readers not quite up to Nancy Drew. It's follows the exploits of young Meg, as she tries to find some stolen diamonds. There is a bit of violence from the thieves, when one of the children is slapped, and a thief wrestles with the constable. But other than that, there should be nothing upsetting for young readers. The mystery is pretty obvious to an adult, but children will probably enjoy figuring it out along with the plucky heroine. ...more
Oh dear. This was such a disappointment. I was hoping to read something that was rich with characters of depth, but instead I got a book full of caricOh dear. This was such a disappointment. I was hoping to read something that was rich with characters of depth, but instead I got a book full of caricatures. This book tries to be a modern Pride and Prejudice but the romance never blossoms, and the little spats that are meant to show us how these two characters are really meant for each other but can't see it, just make the main character seem sour. I also think this book has delusions of being something like The Alchemist (which I hated, by the way) - a philosophical treatise disguised as a novel - but it falls flat there, too. It wasn't quite as pretentious as The Alchemist, though, so I gave it two stars instead of one. But, this is not a very good novel. The villagers never seemed real, and Miss Prim's relationships with the people were wooden. Every interaction, every character was there to Make A Point - and it was obvious. I don't mind books with a moral or a purpose, but it should be inherent in the reading of the book, not broadcast on every page: "I'm making an important point here! Pay attention!" And the grand "awakening" that the title promises? It takes place off-screen, so to speak. We never see it happen!! One day she's leaving her employer, and the next she is in Italy, "fully awakened" and longing to go back to him. Leaving out the actual transformation really cheats the reader out of any sort of reward. I kept reading the book, because I wanted to see the "awakening" - and I guess I should have followed my instincts and stopped reading it. Life is too short to read bad fiction. And this is pretty bad. It tries to be a paean to classical learning, and "living the simple" life, but it just falls flat in all endeavors. Perhaps it would have been more enjoyable in its original language, as one always fears something is "lost in translation" as it were. But even were it not a translation, leaving out the "awakening" is still a rip-off of the reader. Don't waste your time on this book....more
Like Gaiman's other recent release of Hansel and Gretel, this book is aimed at younger readers. It's not quite for the youngest, such as Chu's Day, buLike Gaiman's other recent release of Hansel and Gretel, this book is aimed at younger readers. It's not quite for the youngest, such as Chu's Day, but it's definitely for the younger set. It's an absolutely delightful adventure tale, with wondrously whimsical illustrations by Skottie Young. This is Gaiman at his most playful - he is definitely channeling his inner child!
The set up for the story is a mother going on a trip, leaving the dad to care for the two children (a boy and a girl). She reminds him that they need milk, but he forgets until it's time for breakfast cereal, and they have no milk. So the father runs down to the corner grocery store to get it. When he comes back, he tells the children of his many adventures while returning with the milk. These adventures involve pirates, a hot-air balloon piloting T-Rex, time travel, and aliens. The illustrations by Young are spot-on, and are well-integrated into the story, with the words flowing around them. I also especially liked the interjections by the kids, who seem disinclined to believe their dad.
Oh, the title comes from the story - during the retelling, after something horrendous has happened to the dad, he'll say something like, "There I was dangling from the balloon with one hand. Fortunately, the milk was in my pocket," or something similar. I can see kids really enjoying this little bit of repetition - Gaiman mixes the phraseology to keep it interesting.
I think I would have LOVED this book as a child! It's so inventive and fun. Even as an adult, I really enjoyed the tale. Gaiman never ceases to amaze me, with his inventiveness. A fun read for children of all ages, as they say. ...more
This collects the first 5 issues of the brand new superhero from Marvel, Kamala Khan, a 16 year old Palistani-American from Jersey, who is endowed witThis collects the first 5 issues of the brand new superhero from Marvel, Kamala Khan, a 16 year old Palistani-American from Jersey, who is endowed with shape-shifting powers. This story arc covers her learning to deal with her new powers, while she also tries to stay out of trouble at home. Her struggles to fit in are ones that all of us can identify with. G. Willow Wilson is a great story-teller and the artwork by Adrian Aphona is full of little sight gags for those with an eagle-eye. Suffice it to say, this is one of my favorite comics of all time, and this book would be a great introduction for the curious. Highly recommend it!...more