I really, really liked this book. It is beautifully written. I listened to it as an audiobook from the library but I'm going to get a copy of the bookI really, really liked this book. It is beautifully written. I listened to it as an audiobook from the library but I'm going to get a copy of the book so I can reread it. It one of those comfortable books about women's friendships. It quietly teaches about surviving and thriving in a time when it was often difficult for women to do either.
Dallas' novel takes its title from a facetious sign on Hennie Comfort's fence, carved when she was "so happy that she had prayers for sale, since there was nothing to ask for." Hennie is an 86-year-old twice-widowed woman living in a small mining town called Middle Swan, Colorado, during the Great Depression. She had moved there to marry her second husband, sight unseen,after her first husband had not returned to her in Tennessee after the Civil War.
The book is the story of a developing frindship between Hennie and a 17 year old young wife, Nit Spindle, newly moved to Middle Swan. Their developing friendship provides the framework of the book as over the course of a summer and autumn, Hennie tells her life story to her new young neighbor, and introduces her to the women in the quilting circle. Hennie's life story is pieced together through these stories like the pieced quilts that also figure prominently throughout the book. She has had a very hard life, but she has also had true love, and a good life.
The book celebrates strong women, friendship, and, yes, romance, with many twists throughout the story. It is a beautifully written book. Read it....more
I picked it up because there's been a lot of hype for this book. It's sort of a cross between a supernatural mystery and a historical novel, with the I picked it up because there's been a lot of hype for this book. It's sort of a cross between a supernatural mystery and a historical novel, with the story line weaving between a modern day doctoral candidate researching an old book she found a reference to in her grandmother's decrepit old house which her mother asked her to ready for sale and a historical story based in the Salem Witch trials and told in flashbacks to the 18th and 17th centuries. In both lines the twin themes are women's roles in history and witches, and the tangled relationships between mothers and daughters. This is the writer's first novel. The history is well-researched, but not ponderous. It's a lighter than expected read. Some parts are somewhat cliche`d and the villain is heavily foreshadowed and obvious, but it's not bad for a first book.
Really like this series. This is the third book. Start with the first as the characters grow over the course of the books.
Set in the late 12th CenturReally like this series. This is the third book. Start with the first as the characters grow over the course of the books.
Set in the late 12th Century, during the reign of Henry II. The female protagonist is a qualified doctor from the School of Medicine in Salerno, Italy - well more of a pathologist or forensic investigator. King Henry calls Adelia his Mistress of Death and uses here to investigate particularly sticky crimes.Since women are not respected in 12th C England she originally traveled with her loyal Arabian attendant and protector, Mansur, a devout Muslim, whose willingness to play the role of doctor allows Adelia to act as his translator yet practice the profession she loves. The other standard main characters in Adelia's orbit are Gyltha, Adelia’s companion and Mansur’s partner, a devoted nurse to Adelia’s daughter, and a sometimes reluctant participant in investigations; and Rowley Picot, one-time lover of Adelia (Adelia didn't want to give up her independence to marry him)and father of her child who King Henry made the Bishop of St. Albans.
The books are a good mix of history, crime, suspense, and a bit of romance, with good snappy dialogue and an intelligent (& somewhat testy) heroine & other characters you really do grow to like and care about.
I listened to this one as an audio book but read the other two. ...more
Not as good as I'd been led to expect, but Andre Braugher's narration helped make it a fun story to listen to. It helps if you approach it as you woulNot as good as I'd been led to expect, but Andre Braugher's narration helped make it a fun story to listen to. It helps if you approach it as you would a SFF novel & just accdept its world, rather than as the historical action-adventure story that it is since it's set in a rather obscure patch of history and assumes you know as much about the history of the Khazarian empire as the author does. ...more