Set in the last half of the nineteenth century (1850-1900), The Surrender Tree traces the struggle of Cuba's freedom and independence movements. Told...moreSet in the last half of the nineteenth century (1850-1900), The Surrender Tree traces the struggle of Cuba's freedom and independence movements. Told through multiple narrators (Rosa, Silvia, Jose, etc.), the poems are strong, vivid, and powerful. They capture the gritty hardships of a life lived on the run, in hiding. These freedom fighters and these nurses have a price on their head. They were especially hunted down by slavehunters.
When the slavehunter brings back runaways he captures, he receives seventeen silver pesos per cimarron, unless the runaway is dead. Four pesos is the price of an ear, shown as proof that the runaway slave died fighting, resisting capture.
The sick and injured are brought to us, to the women, for healing.
When a runaway is well again, he will either choose to go back to work in the coffee groves and sugarcane fields, or run away again secretly, silently alone.
How much is life worth? How much is freedom worth? Cuba has fought three wars for independence, and still she is not free. Her people have been rounded up in reconcentration camps, where there is always too little food and too much illness. Rosa knows how to heal sickness with medicines made from wild plants. But with a price on her head for helping the rebels, Rosa dares not go out in the open. Instead, she turns hidden caves into hospitals for those who know how to find her. Black, white, Cuban, Spanish--Rosa does her best for everyone, even Lieutenant Death, who has sworn to kill her. Yet who can heal a country so torn apart by war? In this history in verse, acclaimed poet Margarita Engle has created a lyrical yet powerful portrait of Cuba.
The wounded are sacred. We never leave them. When everyone else flees the battlefield, nurses are the ones who rush to carry the wounded to Rosa.
I am learning how to stay far too busy for worries about dying.
The Surrender Tree is well-written, powerful, and bold.(less)
"I shoulda listened to my brother. Right follows Zach like a shadow, but wrong wears me like a skin."...moreZimmer, Tracie Vaughn. 2008. The Floating Circus.
"I shoulda listened to my brother. Right follows Zach like a shadow, but wrong wears me like a skin."
Owen and Zach, two brothers, two orphans from Pittsburgh. When we first meet Owen, he is getting ready to fall into some trouble. Dared to climb a tree to see if he could touch the roof of the orphanage, his attempt is brave but extremely foolish. Now he has lost the use of his left arm. When he overhears two elderly ladies--Miss Jane and Miss Eliza--talking about how no one would want to adopt the pair of them--Owen being both a troublemaker and a somewhat crippled one at that--but how Zach could easily find a home, find a family, if he was alone, if he didn't have his brother around, Owen decides to runaway. If his brother would be better off without him, then maybe it's time that he showed just how much he loved his brother by doing what would be best for him in the long run.
Owen mostly by accident joins a circus boat, the River Palace. He's an assistant to a free black man, Solomon, he helps him take care of the animals on board. It includes a lot of CLEANING as I'm sure you can imagine. Solomon is kind and friendly. Owen and Solomon become easy friends and companions. Most of the others ignore him at least in the beginning.
I don't want to say too much. I hate reading things that spoil the plot even a little bit. But this one is good, really good. If you like historical fiction at all...you really should give this one a try. It was inspired by a real showboat, Rogers and Spalding's Floating Palace.
According to the author's website, the book will be released July 22, 2008.(less)
I absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this Regency Romance novel by Julianne Donaldson. I admit it wasn't immediate love. It took me a few chapters to sett...moreI absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this Regency Romance novel by Julianne Donaldson. I admit it wasn't immediate love. It took me a few chapters to settle into the story, get acquainted with the author's style, her use of flashbacks, and the building of the mystery, but soon it was LOVE. Blackmoore stars an independent heroine, Kate Worthington. (Don't dare call her Kitty!) Kate is sure of one thing: she will NEVER marry. It doesn't matter what her mother says, what she threatens. She will never marry. But just because she's firm and determined on this matter doesn't mean that her dreams of traveling to India with her aunt are certain. Kate isn't sure how she can break completely free from her family and follow her dreams. Her acceptance of her mother's challenge is completely impulsive. Her mother will allow her daughter freedom--the freedom to go to India--IF she receives and rejects three marriage proposals during her country visit to Blackmoore, the estate of a good friend. At first all Kate seems to hear is India. It is only later that she realizes that she must act in such a way that three men will propose to her in just a few weeks. How is she going to accomplish that?! But Kate loves a challenge, and she is clever.
The main reason I loved this romance novel is the hero, Henry. I adored him. I adored them together I should say. Every single scene with the two of them worked. Most were completely giddy-making in fact. The dialogue was wonderful! The storytelling was just what I needed. This was a purely satisfying historical romance. I can't think of a single thing I'd change!!! I think this is one I'll definitely want to reread again and again!!!(less)
I have gradually come to appreciate--dare I say even love?--Hercule Poirot. Even so, this one took three or four chapters to take to this one. At firs...moreI have gradually come to appreciate--dare I say even love?--Hercule Poirot. Even so, this one took three or four chapters to take to this one. At first I thought I couldn't even finish it, I just didn't like the flow of the first few chapters, introducing all these people (often nameless), the focus on a piece of jewelry, all this big build-up before introducing the main characters, etc. The story was oh-so-slow to start. But then at one point, everything started to click, started to move, and the novel became much better.
So what is this one about? Well, let's start with the victim, Ruth Kettering. She's in a very unhappy marriage. She's in love with someone else, her husband is in lust with someone else. (Well, to be fair, I think she's in lust with someone else too. Except I think she honestly thinks that that lust is love, while I think the husband, Derek, is more realistic and realizes it is what it is.) Her affair being somewhat mostly private and out of the public's eyes, his not so much, he's "in lust" with an exotic dancer. Ruth's father is an American millionaire, and he is pressuring her to divorce her husband and start over. When the novel really opens, he's gifting her with some very, very, very expensive and oh-so-rare jewels, rubies. These are gems with a PAST and then some. Several weeks, if not several months, go by, and the novel next opens with a train trip. Ruth is on her way to meet her lover, her husband and his mistress just happen to be on the same train, and yet supposedly no one knows this. But perhaps it isn't right to start with the victim? Since the main character, the main character besides Poirot, is a young woman who's just recently inherited money. Katherine. This is truly more her story. For she's on the train as well, and she met Ruth just hours before her death. The two took a liking to one another, and Ruth confided in her a good deal. Even told Katherine how uneasy she felt about this trip, like something horrible was going to happen to her.
It was easy to see why Katherine was so likable. It really was. This Agatha Christie novel was good. I wouldn't say that it's one of the best, best, best mystery novels ever. Christie wrote so many, so many GREAT novels, that it would be hard for this one to make the top five or top ten, but it is definitely a good novel. I liked it!!! (less)
Not sure if it's my mood or if Pat just isn't as interesting as Anne, Emily, the Story Girl, or Marigold. It is not that I expect every Montgomery her...moreNot sure if it's my mood or if Pat just isn't as interesting as Anne, Emily, the Story Girl, or Marigold. It is not that I expect every Montgomery heroine to be just like Anne. I like that Montgomery's heroines tend to be different from one another. But other than the fact that Pat eventually started liking boys, Pat doesn't really grow or change or transform. The highlights of this one: Pat meets Jingle (Hilary) a poor young boy with an unfortunate name and no mother. From the start, readers suspect that he will be the love interest if not in this one then in book two. Pat also meets a young girl named Bets. The two are good friends. I never felt a connection with Pat really, so it was hard to find a connection with Pat and her best friend. Still, I thought it sad that the only really big thing that happens in the novel (unless you count the oh-so-tense episode with the missing dog) is Bets' death. If readers find Judy interesting--her storytelling fun--then perhaps there is enough to make this one worth reading. I didn't like this one much. (less)
Party Shoes isn't quite what I expected it to be. It started out with great promise, I thought. We meet Selina, a girl living with her British cousins...moreParty Shoes isn't quite what I expected it to be. It started out with great promise, I thought. We meet Selina, a girl living with her British cousins through the war (World War II). One day she receives a present from her American godmother. The parcel contains a beautiful though inappropriate for the times dress or 'frock' and some lovely shoes. Selina knows, as does her cousins and aunt and uncle that there will never be a suitable occasion for her to wear the dress and shoes. Not with the war on, not with the economy being what it is, etc. So the cousins have a meeting. Every person has to suggest at least one idea of how Selina can wear her dress and shoes before she outgrows them. After many ideas are presented, everyone concludes that they will have a pageant on the neighbor's lawn. They set the date for September 20, 1945. And then they each begin writing their piece.
Selina does learn through the process that she is more capable than she ever thought, that she can do things, that she is good at many things, that she is great with working with people, solving problems, etc.
Over half the book is focused on the tiny details of the pageant, each scene of the pageant. We're there for what feels like three hundred rehearsals. Of course, that's not really the case. Probably more like forty. But still. As their scenes are changed, arranged, rearranged, scripted, directed, etc. I found most of the book tedious. I didn't want it to be tedious. I wanted it to be a delight. But most of the delight happened in the first hundred pages. (less)
Because of Winn Dixie is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite books. I love, love, love this one! Opal Buloni, our young heroine, has recently moved...moreBecause of Winn Dixie is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite books. I love, love, love this one! Opal Buloni, our young heroine, has recently moved with her father, a preacher, to a small town in Florida. He is the new preacher at a small church, a church held in an old convenient store building, a church with no pews but lawn chairs. The novel, I believe, is set during the summer. Opal, when the novel opens, is still adjusting. She misses her mother tremendously. Her mother's leaving is not recent, but, as Opal grows up, she is beginning to realize more and more how much she misses her mother. Her curiosity and longing has changed. She feels her father ignores her, not because he doesn't love her, not because he doesn't want her or need her, but simply because he's always busy and quiet. Opal needs friends. Find friends she will and all because of Winn Dixie, the dog she finds at the grocery store. Winn Dixie, the dog with an irresistible smile, needs Opal just as much as she needs him. And with a little love from Opal and her Dad, Winn Dixie sets out to charm EVERYONE in town, even people who don't "like" dogs.
I love, love, love the characters in this one. I love Opal. I do. I love her dad. I love that he listens to his daughter and shares with her ten things about her mother. I love Gloria Dump, Miss Franny, Otis, and Sweetie Pie. And, of course, I love Winn Dixie. I also love Opal coming up with a ten things list for Winn Dixie.
I love the writing. This is one of those novels that is just so easy to quote!!! (less)