The opening chapter vividly reveals that 48-year-old Usha feels trapped by the loss of her husband, Raja, who controlled much of her life, as well asThe opening chapter vividly reveals that 48-year-old Usha feels trapped by the loss of her husband, Raja, who controlled much of her life, as well as by her own insecurities and loneliness. The cultural gap she still feels, having been transplanted from India to Phoenix after her marriage three years earlier, only adds to her problems. But Usha takes action, signing up on an online dating site, searching for a new romance and a new sense of self at the same time.
The characters are finely drawn. The reader aches with Usha as she works to live life on her own terms and finds that her upbringing and old habits are formidable obstacles. Raja, her controlling husband, looms large, even after his death, continuing to rule her thoughts throughout much of the novel. Usha’s daughter, Veena, serves as a go-between, urging her mother to find new romance while yet monitoring Usha’s actions in a caring yet intrusive way.
Usha’s emotional roller coaster is compelling. We care that she will succeed, and the object of her romance is clear from the first. Yet her actions and words are sometimes repetitive, and the middle of the book was a bit slow. I wanted her to just get on with her life, one way or the other. However, the end was crafted nicely, and overall it was a satisfying read....more
I got this book on a free promotion, so I didn't have high expectations, especially since I'm a great fan of good time travel fiction. However, I wasI got this book on a free promotion, so I didn't have high expectations, especially since I'm a great fan of good time travel fiction. However, I was immediately drawn in by the novel and purchased the second in the series before finishing the first.
Ms. Walker has done a masterful job of creating a mechanism for time travel that is both believable and interesting. Moreover, she's covered all the "issues" I thought of as the story progresses and surprised me with others I hadn't considered. I especially liked the disruption of the romantic elements which I thought were handled well.
The characters are believable, the settings engaging -- very enjoyable. If you're a fan of time travel fiction, set aside some hours in your timeline to read a novel I think you'll enjoy....more
What a delightful story: friendship, forgiveness, fantasy—together in one great adventure. The Stone of Mercy presents characters and situations thatWhat a delightful story: friendship, forgiveness, fantasy—together in one great adventure. The Stone of Mercy presents characters and situations that resonate with readers, all the while extolling the characters’ better principles and condemning the evil characters’ bad deeds. Despite their fears, future queen Carling and her steadfast friend, Higson, escorted by two noble centaurs, follow her quest to find the four stones that will give her the virtues required to be a great and honorable ruler of Crystonia. It is a treacherous journey, beset with Cyclops, fauns, and more. Young readers will enjoy this book and clamor for the rest of the series to come....more
This book was enjoyable on so many levels. Certainly, the author's humorous look at teaching (or trying to teach) students on American Indian reservatThis book was enjoyable on so many levels. Certainly, the author's humorous look at teaching (or trying to teach) students on American Indian reservations in two different parts of the country made reading a lot of fun. At the same time, the story is poignant, as the author struggles to impart instruction while bucking a system that makes it impossible for her to succeed. I think all readers will relate to her desire to make a difference in a world that often just doesn't seem to care. I enjoyed learning more about the customs and details of different American Indian tribes, too—things I never knew that I found very interesting. I would recommend this book especially to teachers, but anyone would enjoy the story. ...more
(Spoiler Alert - Story summary included in this review)
In a story of oppression, heartache, sisterhood, and hope that is based on truth, The Drum Made(Spoiler Alert - Story summary included in this review)
In a story of oppression, heartache, sisterhood, and hope that is based on truth, The Drum Made from the Skin of My Sisters centers on the lives of three women.
At the age of eleven, Saadia from Afghanistan bore a stillborn male child, and for this she was to be stoned. Similarly, Leila from Iran was only 13 when her daughter was born. Enraged the child was not male, her husband doused her and the child with gasoline and set the baby on fire. Unable to save her child, Leila fled to the desert.
Both girls were picked up by American forces who transported them to the USA. They end up in the care of Julienne, a recently widowed French expatriate living in Maine. Planning only on caring for them until they could be taken to other homes, Julienne finds herself making a family and adopts both girls.
The story is occasionally difficult to stomach, as the details of the girls' abuse are quite clear. However, the poignancy of the affection between Julienne and her "daughters," as well as the children's blossoming love for each other, keeps the book from becoming too dark. As the story progresses, the young girls become strong young women, proud to be Americans where they are free to say and do as they wish.
I learned a great deal while reading this novel, and I would recommend it to anyone who would like to know more about the life of women in the Middle East while reading a heartwarming story. ...more