Beverly Fisher has done a masterful job of capturing very real results of the aftermath of war, including personal pain and devastation to both indivi...more Beverly Fisher has done a masterful job of capturing very real results of the aftermath of war, including personal pain and devastation to both individuals and families; the underlying lack of reason giving rise to difficult, unanswerable questions; the growing and evolving destructiveness continuing in lives changed unalterably in war's wake. Spoken through the youthful voice of Grace, a girl growing up in rural Tennessee during and after the Civil War, Fisher tells her narrative in simple yet profoundly perceptive language. The story compels and inspires, with Grace's beautiful spirit and insight carrying the reader into a space and time rarely so well realized on paper. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Civil War, but also to those interested in the effects of any war on human spirit in any place or period of time. Perhaps the most poignant line of the entire book for me was when Grace recognizes that "the end result of it was that Daddy was not the man he was meant to be." We are all left with the recognition of how very many persons in our world today ARE so irrevocably changed to something other than the beautiful destiny intended.(less)
It took a while to get into this book; I wasn't sure I was going to like it and kept feeling like I wouldn't have selected it to read on my own. I hav...moreIt took a while to get into this book; I wasn't sure I was going to like it and kept feeling like I wouldn't have selected it to read on my own. I have to admit it's highly likely that a large part of my knee-jerk turn-off reaction was having The Rapture be a keystone focal point of the story.
That said (and accepted) it did become better as I read on. The central premise turned out to be interesting with the variety of responses to the situation rising and being explored. The development of story and characters based on such an unusual "event" became more intriguing and enjoyable as reading progressed, and I began to feel the various characters as more deeply portrayed and interesting under the given circumstances.
Finally, I was quite glad I stayed with it and read to the end; I would definitely recommend the book.(less)
I find it really difficult to try to rate some types of books versus other types: in particular mysteries which I love, can barely put down until fini...moreI find it really difficult to try to rate some types of books versus other types: in particular mysteries which I love, can barely put down until finished (read this one in one day abed recuping) - and yet they don't seem as "heavy" or important and "big literature" as some others that should obviously be 4's or 5's. I really did enjoy this book and highly recommend it to other fans of mystery stories, especially the British setting variety. I think I'd be happier giving this a 3.5 and actually did have it 4 stars initially. Then I look back and see others that I rated similarly (4's) which seem somehow deserving to stand out more...
This is the 3rd in a series I was unfamiliar with: the Haunted Ballad Series. I did like it enough to seek out the first two. It's set in modern times, and I have to admit I've enjoyed some of the other British mystery writers because of the historical settings, older times (a weakness). Also, it's different from some of the other series I've enjoyed in that it's not really about "detectives" per se or murder victims in the usual sense. The protagonist couple are a talented musician and his theatre companion, both very well-known and successful in their fields (his band tops internationally, her theatre and troupe highly respected); and yet somehow they manage to be the equivalent of ghost busters, she being a "sensitive" who apparently tends to draw them out.
It's a story with interesting characters, unusual twists, and imaginative complications. Depth of character and issues of philosophical import and study is not what you'll find. That said, it's a fun read and certainly intriguing and difficult to put down.(less)
I really loved this book. It's a story that develops beyond what I expected with a protagonist who did likewise. Because of my interest in World War I...moreI really loved this book. It's a story that develops beyond what I expected with a protagonist who did likewise. Because of my interest in World War II and the architectural aesthetic, the story's structural confines held much promise, deftly utilized by author Charles Belfoure, himself an architect. Belfoure manages to tell a story both horrific and heart-warming simultaneously, no small feat.(less)
Very Jodi Picoult... I wouldn't have known what that meant (this being my first of her books to read) until I read a second: The Pact . Now I know the...moreVery Jodi Picoult... I wouldn't have known what that meant (this being my first of her books to read) until I read a second: The Pact . Now I know the "formula," as someone else wrote on a review of The Pact : trouble, heart wrenches, family upheaval, parents twisting in the wind. Well, that's not how the other reviewer described it, but you get the picture. Enough Picoult for me. But it's well done if you like the kind of book that tears you apart. She can write for sure, and she pursues the plot in a fine fashion (I guess). Just that I don't need any more of that sort of pain in my life at the moment.(less)
Sometimes I find myself getting off to a slow start in a book, then warming up. This one seemed to go the opposite way. I absolutely loved it from the...moreSometimes I find myself getting off to a slow start in a book, then warming up. This one seemed to go the opposite way. I absolutely loved it from the beginning, couldn't read fast enough, laughed aloud several times, had tears in my eyes, etc. Much of that period was en flight to California, and maybe those original funnies just couldn't hold up to the incredible excitement of San Diego for the first time in absolutely topnotch weather, also tiring. At any rate, the "fire" of that first reading period of time dwindled to a dull glow by later in the week. I can't explain why, but it just didn't continue to seem as funny. Yes, it was sometimes somewhat funny but seemed to lose the initial freshness and ongoing hilarity.
I am not raring to go out and try another Sedaris book immediately, but feel I should and will give him another whirl later based on what wonderful reviews of his work by so many friends. And I definitely did enjoy it much of the time and enough to rate 4 stars - although diminished from what I originally called a five.(less)
I really enjoyed the first half (roughly) of this book describing TR's childhood, family upbringing, schooling at Harvard, luxurious home-life, family...moreI really enjoyed the first half (roughly) of this book describing TR's childhood, family upbringing, schooling at Harvard, luxurious home-life, family dynamics, etc. I'd expected to remain interested as it progressed into his adult life, remembering what I knew of his travels west, his exploratory and adventurous nature, his dealing with nature and the outdoors. But instead I reached a part that became very dry as he settles into the introductory stages of his political and public life, his private life seemingly disappearing in the busyness of duty and dealings. I'm probably overstating this and also perhaps didn't give it enough time; it's been some time since I even attempted to finish it. Hopefully I will give it another shot when so many good reads aren't sitting around just begging me to turn the pages!(less)