I must concede that I am a young adult book reviewer. But interestingly, my forays into reviews of adult literature have wandered smack into some formI must concede that I am a young adult book reviewer. But interestingly, my forays into reviews of adult literature have wandered smack into some form of historical fiction. Now, here I am, strolling into the realm of Regency romance novels. For my usual YA readers, you do not need to puzzle about the conventions of a Regency romance novel. Just think Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice but written now. There you go; you are ready for The Suspect’s Daughter by Donna Hatch.
And one more confession: I have not read any other books in the “Rogue Hearts” series with its interrelated characters. That will be corrected. The Suspect’s Daughter is the fourth in the series. Now, on to the review…
Jocelyn Fairley (The Suspect’s Daughter) critiques her father’s London home in her last minute walk-through ensuring all is ready for the ball that will catapult her father into the office of Prime Minister of England. As she inspects, a light in the study alarms her and she cat-paws into the room only to have her mouth clamped by a large hand, “an unyielding force push[es] her back against the wall,” and another hand at her throat….coarse coat and voice, contrasting hint of mint and bergamot, a threat, and jump from a window. Jocelyn is left alone in the study with nothing taken, not even her pearl necklace at her throat. Showing her pluck, she walks to the window to lock it, tidies herself, and marches to the drawing room to host her father’s ball, determined that this is his season to govern and to wed again. Jocelyn’s prospects are nil. In fact the man who attacked her with his big hands, broad chest and low voice is the closest she had been to man in a year.
Grant Amesbury landed outside the Fairley house, disgusted. Despite how he feels about women, he has never threatened any woman. Tonight he sunk to a new low. His mission is foiled. Nonetheless, that night he would find himself back in the same home with a vastly different mission.
And so, the game begins between Grant Amesbury, Napoleonic Wars veteran and aristocrat, and Jocelyn Fairley, the privileged and guileless daughter. In true Regency form, conversations between protagonists entertain the reader. Practices of “the ton” (The higher classes of England) juxtapose the depravity of street life. The manners of the times clash with true feelings.
Grant is the gallant but bitter war hero who is plagued by “vent du boulet” (PTSS) and scars from a personal treason. Despite his heritage, he chooses to live alone in London assisting a local magistrate, and tries to save a young local prostitute from the profession. He vents incessantly over the betrayal of women, he never smiles, he rejects his family, and he is ferociously loyal to his friend and his cause. And yes, he needs to be tempted to dance.
Jocelyn is a capable young woman, runs a peer’s household in two locations, cares for tenants, improves people’s situations without permission or blessing, shows bravery and nerve, and berates herself for not having an amazing waif-like figure like most women of the time.
Well, this is a Regency romance so there is no doubt about the building action of this plot. The joy in reading is the delicate dance to arrive at the climax of this relationship story. Luckily, there are still questions to answer at the conclusion of the novel to be tickled in another novel.
I enjoy the immersion into the society of London, and the allusions to practices of the peers. I appreciate that the chalking of ball floors, seasons, squabs, runners, wastrel, chit, light-skirts, whist, faro, vingt-et-un, loo, and other lingo of the day lightly skip as stones on a pond rather than sink in the detail of definitions on-page. Also, Regency romances prove that love off-page can be as powerful as on-page.
On the suggestions side, I grew tired of Grant’s endless venting about women. There were three prepositional typos that a spellcheck would not catch, but the story was not compromised. In chapter seven Fairley was once written as Fairly.
The runners of Bow Street intrigue me. I did a little research discovering that the runners of London preceded the peelers of London. Sir Robert Peel’s peelers started around 1829, just a few years after this novel. If you want to travel forward in time and enjoy an quirky fantasy novel with peelers, the reader might want to follow up The Suspect’s Daughter with Dodger by Sir Terry Pratchett.
I was requested to post an honest review based on my reading of the ebook....more
Michael Morphurgo doesn’t fool around. His stories aim for the heart and hit every time. In Half a Man Michael recounts his slow growing relationshipMichael Morphurgo doesn’t fool around. His stories aim for the heart and hit every time. In Half a Man Michael recounts his slow growing relationship with his grandfather who was terribly disfigured and scarred while in the merchant navy during World War II. When Michael was little, his mother invited her father to family dinners and for holidays, after many years of being separated from him after her mother left. She told Michael to never look at grandfather’s face! But he did. As Michael grew older he spent summers on the Isles of Scilly off Cornwall with his grandfather. As their easy relationship grew from reading in silence to fishing, his grandfather finally shared the attack on his ship, the hospitalization, the healing, and the separation of the family. Michael said that he was closer to his grandfather than anyone in his life. After his death, Michael read a note left by his grandfather, “Thanks for looking at me like you did.” If Michael had not, his grandfather’s story would have died with him. No one else was told. Ever. Makes you want to buy a ticket to go talk with your grandparents, doesn’t it? Buy it. Give it. Cry over it....more
The Fatal Flame by Lyndsay Faye Putnam, 2015 Robert A. Long High School Graduate and Hall of Fame Member
Review by Joan Enders
I must shrug on a mourningThe Fatal Flame by Lyndsay Faye Putnam, 2015 Robert A. Long High School Graduate and Hall of Fame Member
Review by Joan Enders
I must shrug on a mourning dress and pin on a brooch to commemorate Timothy Wilde, whose demise I grieve, or should I say, the demise of the Timothy Wilde mysteries.
The third book of the Timothy Wilde mysteries has drawn its last extraordinary breath, having shared the stories of the New York City coppers starring Tim and Val Wilde, with Mercy Underhill, Elene Boehm, Silkie Marsh and Bird Daly.
First, let me summarize the first two novels. In the first novel, The Gods of Gotham, the fledgling police force, powered by George Washington Matsell the police magistrate, served as night patrols throughout the city and waterfront. The police chief was a real New York presence. In 1859 Matsell published Vocabulum, or, The rogue's lexicon: compiled from the most authentic sources. In various scenes throughout the trilogy he made notes of the “flash” language of the streets that Tim, Val and other characters spoke throughout the books. (Each novel has a handy glossary of flash terms).
Tim, he and his older brother orphaned by a barn fire, was a talented bartender who had scrapped together savings with his sights on a future with lovely Mercy Underhill. Ironically the gigantic fire of 1845 changed his wealth, face and profession. His brother Val, a brilliant but well-rounded addict to anything, snagged Tim a job as a new policeman for the Five Point area, Ward 6, of New York, pretty much the armpit of the 1840s city.
Seven for the Secret, the second novel of the trilogy, peeked under the vermin-infested and opportunistic rocks of New York of the 1840s, this time exposing a hugely successful slave “recovery” scam carried out by blackbirders (slave hunters) who captured free blacks and ship them off to a period, or lifetime, of slavery. Tim’s powers of deduction were noticed in the department. His experience sharpened him without hardening him, quite a delicate character development maneuver by Lindsay. Even though he did not know how to title this copper job, Tim was excellent at “deciphering unsolved mayhem”.
With the May 2015 release of The Fatal Flame Tim and his colorful partner, Jakob Piest, are on the trail of Ronan McGlynn who is turning an amazing profit sweet-talking lovely Irish maidens right off the ships into “manufacturing” jobs that are hellish introductions into prostitution. His description of their natural affinity for the profession leaves even readers feeling sullied. However, McGlynn was not the brain behind the operations. Tim wanted the mastermind.
Faye’s power of description is superlative for all her characters. For instance I would recognize Piest anywhere. Lynday’s description of him as “honest as the frayed cuffs on his frock coat” and “resembles your friendlier breed of barnacle and talks like a knight-errant” set the stage for entertaining images each time he appeared. Add to that his physical description: “Mr. Piest’s bulging blue eyes and absent chin admittedly resemble a carp’s.” Throw in his heroism and the reader has a well-inked character to love. It makes a reader want to luxuriate in Lyndsay’s prose, rereading full pages and chapters for her soothing salve of delicate word choice.
I found that flash language had an allure or its own. The brothers, mabs (prostitutes), and new hawks (newsboys) use the language as it was intended, to conceal: “She was his peculiar…though she savvies now he was naught but a rabbit-sucker.“ Flash wording staccato in a jarring rhythm. “…”I’m as prime on the muscle as any professional milling cove.”
New York City 1848 was the site of horrid employment conditions for women seamstresses. The lucky ones were employed in legitimate shops. But conditions and wages were unregulated and minimal. Malcontent male tailors’ were threatened by their competition. Even worse was “outsourcing” to huddles of women who sewed in extreme conditions with little light or little food, living desperate lives of emotional and mental instability.
Tim Wilde’s unrequited love, Mercy Underhill, returned from England. When the first fire blazed on Pell Street at an establishment “saturated with tenants,” Tim found traumatized Dunla Duffy watching the conflagration. Tim asked Mercy, true to her name, to care for Dunla.
Arsonist fires continued to be set. Tim’s investigations led him to questioning Sally Woods, whose intelligence and glibness memorized him. With all the evidence pointing toward her, she was eventually jailed at the Tomb. Seemingly unrelated events and people continued to bounce around Tim’s head and escaped into his doodles, sketching a memorable personality into a warp and woof of the crime’s resolution.
So intruging was Tim Wilde’s story that I found myself searching the Internet for Tammany Hall, The Fifty-first Street Catholic orphanage, copper stars, the great fires of New York City, blackbirding, Five Points and its Old Brewery. Hats off to Lyndsay for piquing interest in New York City history. A doff for her thorough research into the Copper Stars first years. A curtsey for the authentic voices. Brava to the finely executed characterizations of Tim, Val, Jim, Mercy, Dunly, Mrs. Grimshaw, Symmes, Piest, Elene, Sally and all.
May the “gentle chain saws” of editing ever be in Ms Faye’s favor. Her fans, current and to come, will twitch for her new ventures. Is there a hope of resurrection or reincarnation of Detective Timothy Wilde? Perhaps not, but I can luxuriate in the re-reading. And readers, please read prologues and epilogues, just sayin’.
Joan Enders has reviewed new books for 29 years, was the recent librarian of Robert A. Long High School, and now is a trainer for Follett School Solutions and director of the Family History Center in Longview.
[For reading to augment your reading Faye’s trilogy, readers might consider the nonfiction title CITY OF WOMEN Sex and Class in New York, 1789-1860 by Christine Stansell]....more
WF&C is a brief book, only 128 pages with its index, but I was intrigued by the premise of listening and responding as an empathetic exercise to bWF&C is a brief book, only 128 pages with its index, but I was intrigued by the premise of listening and responding as an empathetic exercise to be used in our lives to improve relationships. Truthfully, it is a pretty "duh!" conclusion. But consider conversations that one may have had when people only refrain from talking in order to begin their story as soon as the speaker pauses. How much listening and empathy is shown in those all too frequent "dialogues?"
The payoff is two-fold. Once you commit to being an empathetic listener, it is really quite easy to do. The second, you have created a friend who appreciates being understood. Communication today is overpowered by memos, texts, tweets, emails and posts. The chances for an empathetic response is limited to only emoticons! Even then, the ever essential body language that is 85% of the message is missing.
I enjoyed the multitude of examples. I appreciated the relaxed pace of the writing. I loved the brevity of the book. I adopted the techniques. What more could the author do to effect a reader?
Joan Enders Reviewer Certificated Librarian and Follett Trainer...more
Hiaassen fans, enjoy this new romp through Florida with Malley, who runs away with a disreputable older DJ to avoid being shipped off to boarding schoHiaassen fans, enjoy this new romp through Florida with Malley, who runs away with a disreputable older DJ to avoid being shipped off to boarding school. Yep, rational thinking pill needed! Her cousin Richard knows that running off with a guy she met on the Internet spells trouble and gallops off to rescue her. He is aided with a vagrant, Skink, whose apparent claim to fame is burying himself as a decoy turtle nest to capture turtle egg poachers. (You can tell his nest hill. It is the one with the breathing straw). Richard made the acquaintance with Skink inadvertently pulling out the straw. Skink, incidentally, is a former governor of Florida and has amazingly straight and white teeth for a tramp. Before Richard knows it, Skink has joined and commandeered the rescue effort, and elevating the quest to hysterical proportions. Another laugh out loud reading encounter with a zany Hiaasen character while presenting the serious contemporary issue of internet stalking and runaways.
See other reviews at.... bookbevy.wordpress.com...more
From the top, I have to say that coupling a concept book of distances with a common repartee between parents and children or spouses or siblings is clFrom the top, I have to say that coupling a concept book of distances with a common repartee between parents and children or spouses or siblings is clever. Particularly strong is showing items the size of the measurement. Describing a mile with the multiples of the easily measurable units was a good move. Children will love the telling of this book due to the incremental repetition throughout. The storyteller can involve the audience with large gestures and the natural invitation to join in on the refrain. I noticed that the illustrated arm reach with the correct answer is always outstretched far beyond the measurement. Having stars in an infinity formation in the final illustration was brilliant. (Yes, the pun was intended). That said, the cover could entice readers better, perhaps with two characters showing an inch and infinity, with the title smaller. I was a bit concerned about the children floating in space without protection. Could clear space helmets be added? My primary concern with the book is that the illustrations are flat and that the book itself could be larger to accommodate art better. A math teacher could use this as an introduction to a distances or infinity lesson. For now, the success of the story will lay in the hands of the storyteller. Brava on the first book, Ms Strum!
I received a request for review from Cadence Group.
This picture book story is delicious. It is the perfect melding of words and illustration to create a wonderment of a breathtaking behemoth of nature.This picture book story is delicious. It is the perfect melding of words and illustration to create a wonderment of a breathtaking behemoth of nature. The storyteller can have children hunt for the whales in the hills and clouds. But we cannot overlook the advice that is you really want to see a whale you must be alert, focused and patient. I would use it as a parable with high school students to keep them on the track of their research projects, keeping their eyes on the goal or thesis of their work. I am sure other educators would find lessons there also. Buy it. Reviewer: Joan Enders, Librarian, Robert A. Long High School http://bookbevy.wordpress.com ...more
Jonas Dolan’s point guard skills have been noticed, and if he gets his grades up to a B average, the perfect college back east will award him a scholaJonas Dolan’s point guard skills have been noticed, and if he gets his grades up to a B average, the perfect college back east will award him a scholarship. The entire family is euphoric until his dad loses his job, but they will make do somehow. Then his restaurateur uncle offers his dad a job in Seattle to help turn around a failing restaurant. Though agonizing for the entire family, feeding mouths wins out, with Jonas’s coach saying he will recommend Jonas to his new coach. To say the coach was “old school” was an understatement. But Jonas bonds with the team, and particularly an unassuming and talented forward named Levi. An older player befriends the summer gamers, invites them over for a pizza feed and girls by the pool. Levi leaves, and so does Jonas. Though talented, Levi processes school assignments slowly, and the new assistant coach, the older player from the summer party, is the new assistant coach! His offer to help Levi with homework is gratefully accepted by Jonas, as he not only has to figure out how to become important to the team, but must keep up his grades in a new school. Levi is ecstatic! With the coach’s help in 5 of his six classes, and Jonas’s help in the health class they attend together, he is feeling much more confident. Then the accident involving the head coach. Then Levi’s overnight hike with the assistant coach. Then Levi clicks off. No one can figure out what is happening to him, until Jonas finally demands an answer. Shocked by the revelation, Jonas knows he must save his friend and future victims. At least his dad loves his new job, and the team has become so excellent under the assistant coach that they go to state and win! But this is not a happily ever after story. Humiliation breeds death. Exposing a crime ruins Jonas’s future at his dream university. But the reader understands that there is always a door to an alternative destination, and Jonas takes it. This is an excellent book that could be used in a personal choices class for reading and discussing. It is sure to blossom out some latent emotions to be faced. One of Deuker’s best!...more