Alec came to a bed-and-breakfast in North Wales to fulfill his ex-wife's final wish. She wanted her ashes scattered at the top of Cadair Idris, a mounAlec came to a bed-and-breakfast in North Wales to fulfill his ex-wife's final wish. She wanted her ashes scattered at the top of Cadair Idris, a mountain near Dolgellau. Fionna managed the B&B while her ailing husband ran their family farm with lambs in the pasture. Alec and Fionna were both surprised at their instant connection, but obligations stood in their way. Both Alec and Fionna had been through recent painful experiences, and have nurturing, caring personalities. Love and passion war with duty and fidelity.
I loved the sense of place in this novel, especially as Alec helps a farmhand with the lambing, and gets caught in dangerous weather climbing Cadair Idris. The author is also a ghostwriter of non-fiction books under the name William Nothdurft, and I found that some of the most engaging parts of the book were about lambing, the mountains, medical emergencies, and cooking. The romantic elements were not quite as successful, and had a Nicholas Sparks feel to them. So this was a book that I liked, but did not love....more
It's February 1862, and President Lincoln's nine-year-old son Willie has died. He is interred in Oak Hill Cemetery, but his spirit is still in the "baIt's February 1862, and President Lincoln's nine-year-old son Willie has died. He is interred in Oak Hill Cemetery, but his spirit is still in the "bardo", a transitional state between life and whatever comes next in Tibetan Buddhist beliefs. The cemetery is full of spirits that talk about their lives, and also about President Lincoln's visits to the cemetery.
The President comes alone on horseback in the middle of the night to see Willie again. He opens the coffin and tenderly holds his son in grief and love. He thinks of other parents that are grieving soldiers that died in the bloody battles of the Civil War. He also is disturbed about the terrible problems of slavery. Lincoln is weighted down with sorrow about the war and the loss of Willie. Short chapters of interesting historical snippets from factual sources are also inserted into the book among the fictional chapters.
As a reader, I felt like I was sitting in the cemetery with a chorus of voices surrounding me. They are mostly unhappy spirits from various economic classes, some white and some black slaves. The voices had a 19th Century sensibility with dialogue that ranged from serious, concerned, and generous to comic, bawdy, and absurd. The book is unusual, creative, and thought provoking. Although I read the book in print, I imagine that listening to an audio book would be a wonderful way to experience the voices in the bardo. 4.5 stars...more
Mary Stewart has combined mystery, suspense, and romance in this novel set in Greece. Nicola, a secretary at the British Embassy at Athens, is meetingMary Stewart has combined mystery, suspense, and romance in this novel set in Greece. Nicola, a secretary at the British Embassy at Athens, is meeting her cousin for a holiday in a small village in Crete. As she is exploring the beautiful countryside on her way, she comes upon a man and his injured friend. The men were exploring the trails and ruins, and had unintentionally witnessed a murder. They are now in hiding from the violent man and his friends, and don't want Nicola to get involved in the situation. But she could not just ignore someone who needs help.
Wonderful descriptions of the mountains, the rocky coast, and the ruins of Crete were woven into the suspenseful story as Nicola tries to discover the identity of the murderer. Nicola and her cousin are likable, interesting characters. Written in the 1960s, the book has a retro feeling about it with Nicola hiking up the rocky mountainside in a dress, and using her petticoat as a bandage for the wounded man. It's a charming book that was later made into a film. 3.5 stars....more