Well here is another book that I truly thought I would not like. War stories are my least favorite stories to begin with; and, after all, there just cWell here is another book that I truly thought I would not like. War stories are my least favorite stories to begin with; and, after all, there just can't be that many interesting stories to be written about the War Between the States.
But the very first sentence grabs and the book hasn't let go of me yet.
"In the summer of 1866 I went down South to find and kill a man."
Now tell me, after that one opening sentence how could you NOT want to finish this book?
Set in mountains of North Carolina, the events are based on some true events and some of the characters were real people. Jacob, a Union soldier, is commissioned by the NC governor to go back to the town of his birth to search for whomever is killing men of the South who signed on with the Union army....more
When I cracked open this book I did not expect to like it at all. The story follows 4 generations of the Mandible family. The 97-year-old patriarch hoWhen I cracked open this book I did not expect to like it at all. The story follows 4 generations of the Mandible family. The 97-year-old patriarch holds all the family fortune that was first created by his father (or grandfather, I forget which). The younger generations wonder why he keeps living and living and living. Even if they will not admit it, most of them are anxious to receive that inheritance. Then the American economy begins to collapse under the reign of the first hispanic president as the value of the dollar plummets and China begins to call in America's debt. Citizens making up the top 1% fall right alongside the ordinary citizen. This book will make you think of how you would survive if a catastrophe worse than a natural disaster were to befall America. It also will make you wonder just whom you might really be able to trust in such a scenario....more
Not an engaging as I anticipated. This tale follows the life of Mammy's journey from child to Tara Plantation where she cares for Scarlett O'Hara. AsNot an engaging as I anticipated. This tale follows the life of Mammy's journey from child to Tara Plantation where she cares for Scarlett O'Hara. As a toddler, Ruth is saved by a white woman during a violent storm on their island. Finally making their way to Savannah, Ruth reaches an age where she is old enough to take care of the children of other women, which she does for the remainder of her life; thus earning the name of Mammy. The story ends up outlining the lives of other people surrounding her life as well.
I can't say that I enjoyed the book but once started intended to finish. I guess I was expecting something as sweeping and engrossing as Gone With the Wind but that it is not. Scarlett enters the story only at the very end which was also disappointing for me....more
Took a while to get into this book. Writing style is disjointed - too many boring explanations of lab and research details for me. Yet is was interestTook a while to get into this book. Writing style is disjointed - too many boring explanations of lab and research details for me. Yet is was interesting to read about one of the lab assistant's relationship with Elihu Hoopes, the man with no memory....more
Vinegar Girl - a reeling of The Taming of the Shrew
Kate Battista is in a holding pattern in life. She has dropped out of college and is living back hoVinegar Girl - a reeling of The Taming of the Shrew
Kate Battista is in a holding pattern in life. She has dropped out of college and is living back home running the household for her eccentric professor father and her spoiled younger sister, Bunny. Kate's daytime job is assistant to a preschool teacher. The children adore her but the parents are less than happy with her methods and thoughtless phrases of speech. No one seems to truly appreciate Kate and life is passing her by as she lives for everyone else, never for herself.
Until one day her father comes up with an outrageous plan. His lab assistant's visa is about to expire and the only way he can remain in the states (and continue work in the lab) is to marry an American. As usual Dr. Battista is depending on Kate to assist him, but this time he has gone too far and Kate is furious.
This is a touching story set again in Anne Tyler's Baltimore. The characters are totally realistic, which means they are maddening AND lovable. I enjoyed every page of this book, but the Epilogue was the most heart-touching....more
Entertaining. Emily Emerson has been alone for most of her life. Her father walks out on the family when she is just a young girl. Her mother dies youEntertaining. Emily Emerson has been alone for most of her life. Her father walks out on the family when she is just a young girl. Her mother dies young and Emily's grandmother finishing raising Emily. The grandmother always carries an air of sadness around her because the father of her own child also abandoned the family. To make matters even worse, Emily loses her job. But on that fateful day, an unsolicited painting arrives on her doorstep. The woman in the painting is unmistakably her grandmother but there is no identifying information in the package - except for a handwritten note that say "He never stopped loving her."
This send Emily on a search for her roots that covers two continents and three generations. An interesting read. Somewhat predictable. This is not a story that grabs and doesn't let go but it is good bedtime reading....more
SPOILER ALERT: I received this book from Hachette as part of a goodreads giveway in exchange for an honest review. This will be my first and last honesSPOILER ALERT: I received this book from Hachette as part of a goodreads giveway in exchange for an honest review. This will be my first and last honest review and I do not intend to enter any more giveaways unless I am 100% confident of the context of the book.
What drew me to this book was a statement "Forced to abandon his wife and child, Harry signs up for the emigration to the newly colonized Canadian prairies." I was immediately intrigued to find out what could possibly make a man of privilege leave his wife and child for certain hardship. And then was devastated and disappointed to find out the reason why.
Harry Cane (based on a real human being) was born into English privilege and class in the late 1800s. Harry is extremely shy and lives his early life within the confines of his social status; attends the proper schools, marries within a highly respected neighboring family, and has a child. As the eldest son, he inherits everything when his father dies. It all begins to fall apart when his brother-in-law discovers Harry in an illicit love affair and demands that he leave the country to avoid bringing complete shame and ruin on his sister's family name. So Harry abandons his wife and daughter for the Canadian prairies where no one will ever find him and begins the hard life of homesteading.
There were sections in the book that became a bit laborious and there were a few characters that made your stomach churn when you saw their name come up on the page again.
This was one of the saddest stories I have ever read. I did not want to finish it but forced myself because I had agreed to write a review if I was a winner. The reason I did not want to finish it is because the illicit affair was a homosexual affair. Had this fact been revealed in the description on goodreads, I would not have entered to win. Thank goodness the book was not extremely graphic.
Harry's life was an interesting story. Even though I found portions of it hard to read, following his hard, sad life was a story I will not be able to forget for a while....more
This is the first time I have read a Michelle Hoover book and I look forward to reading more of her work.
The Hess family has immigrated to America andThis is the first time I have read a Michelle Hoover book and I look forward to reading more of her work.
The Hess family has immigrated to America and claimed farm land in Iowa after World War II. However, their German name causes neighbors to mistrust them so they keep as much distance as possible from neighbors. Which is not hard to do as all the farms have several hundred acres. One night, the youngest two daughters vanish in the middle of the night. Not knowing if they were abducted or runaways, the family searches for them with very little help from the townspeople. All the while, the remaining family not only struggles with the loss of the two girls, they must also work to survive and maintain the farm in a harsh country with fewer helping hands.
Brother, Lee, even goes to Chicago in attempts to find the girls. Each section of the book is told in the voice of the father and each of the children. The story is a haunting piece that weaves a decades-long mystery. This is a moving story of the powerful hold of family for some, while others go to extremes to find a life of their own.
I liked the ending of this book. All of the mysteries were resolved. Not necessarily as I had guessed or even hoped for, but still resolved. As the story concluded and I discovered what happens with the characters, I found myself moved with sadness for the people but also satisfied with the resolutions. The epilogue is very moving as it expresses in a haunting yet beautiful way the "pull" of family; even those family that we never get to meet....more
Another good historical fiction. A page-turner for sure. In this selection we learn a few things about Harry Houdini, but we learn more about Mrs. HouAnother good historical fiction. A page-turner for sure. In this selection we learn a few things about Harry Houdini, but we learn more about Mrs. Houdini (Bess). Harry was her first and only love. Marrying Harry at a young age, Bess' entire life revolves around him; it is even ten years after his death before she can exorcise Harry from her daily thoughts and actions and finally find the freedom to develop a true life of her own.
Harry was possessed with knowing and proving there is something that exists beyond this life. He promises Bess that if he dies first he will speak to her from the grave through a coded message known only to the two of them. The message she ultimately receives from Harry was one she would never have imagined.
This book also portrays the life of fame and fortune in the 1920s and delves a bit into how the concept of spiritualism and the afterlife had captured the belief systems of so many people in American and across the globe.