Death at Glamis Castle had a promising idea and plot, but the execution of said plot just didn't seem quite right. I think the book could have been mu...moreDeath at Glamis Castle had a promising idea and plot, but the execution of said plot just didn't seem quite right. I think the book could have been much better had a lot of the extra description, and "give-away" scenes been cut out. Also, several aspects about the characters were slightly annoying.
While I enjoyed reading this book for the simple enjoyment of reading a victorian mystery novel, I'm not terribly anxious to read more in the series or by this author.(less)
Regina Strahm is an innocent nineteen-year-old girl in tumultuous times. The teachings of the Anabaptists are spreading throughout Switzerland, but th...moreRegina Strahm is an innocent nineteen-year-old girl in tumultuous times. The teachings of the Anabaptists are spreading throughout Switzerland, but the state church is firm in it's attempts to suppress it's spread. Regina doesn't know what to think, and she is kept miserable by seeing Anabaptist prisoners being marched away, by the increasing silence and confusion of her father, and the weekly struggle the pastor has with choosing a passage to read to the church. She doesn't know what to think, but as time goes on her heart begins to yearn for the peace and assurance that the Anabaptists seem to have. It is after she witnesses the public execution of Felix Manz that she truly desires this new way of life for herself. Events then move quickly when she becomes re-baptized (her first baptism having been as an infant), is accused of associating with the Anabaptists, and is placed under arrest herself. Sweet Regina remains firm in her new-found faith, despite the many friends who beg her to remain true to the state church.
Not Regina started out slowly, as the writing is far from spectacular and the complete innocence of Regina was somewhat hard to believe. Her speech and manner seemed to be that of a much younger girl. Later on, however, as the tale went on and I became more drawn into the story it didn't bother me as much.
It was easy to sympathize with her confusion though. I am not a strong thinker myself, and I could easily place myself in that situation and understand that I would have been no more decided than she started out, probably less so. Fear kept her silent for so long, and that too is understandable from a human perspective, but she finally took the step of faith and proclaimed her new allegiance even if it meant imprisonment or death. The peace that she had so long searched for finally came.
It is not a brilliant book, yet it is interesting look at what it meant to truly follow Christ in 1500's and the turmoil that came of it. (less)
Millard Gingrich is a young lad whose life is not that put together. He completely respects his mother, yearns to be close to his father, and knows he...moreMillard Gingrich is a young lad whose life is not that put together. He completely respects his mother, yearns to be close to his father, and knows he needs to be right with God, but in the last two areas he is held back by his father's stand-offish manner. In a moment of weakness and in a small way, despair, he enlists with the military at the start of World War II, only to discover that this very thing is the last thing his mother wished for him. With no way to back out, Millard just sincerely hopes that he will never actually see any action.
When he is sent to the front lines, Millard is forced to see how ugly and pointless war really is. His agonized days are spent carrying out orders, but trying to desperately make sense of it all. One night when he is knocked unconscious from a blast he finally decides to release his life to the Lord. In doing so, he is utterly convicted of the sin of killing any of mankind, and realizes he can no longer fulfill the obligations of his job and wants to go home. Perceiving his difficulty he goes to the camp priest and shares his conviction only to be told that he should sleep it off.
The rest of this true story shares Millard's journey as he waits to travel home to his loved ones in the States, and how he finally found peace, forgiveness, and love for every man, including the Germans and Japanese that he had fought against. It is a testimony of non-resistance, and how God does amazing things for and through those who are obedient to Him.
This book receives four stars, not for great writing, but for a great message that is powerful and convicting. For another fabulous read by the same author, check out For One Moment: A Biographical Story.(less)
The Soldier's Cross tells the story of young Fiona, a girl who has seemingly lost everything, and sets out on what begins as a quest to reclaim her br...moreThe Soldier's Cross tells the story of young Fiona, a girl who has seemingly lost everything, and sets out on what begins as a quest to reclaim her brother's cross and chain, and what ends up being a decade long journey that changes her life in every possible aspect.
When I first started reading the Soldier's Cross I admit to being afraid that I wasn't going to like it, despite having wanted to read it. Fiona seemed to be thoughtless, immature, and at times even vexing. Throughout the book I was following her journey and cringing at every foolish and wrong decision, although feeling compassion for this character who was searching for more than just a bauble. In the end, when she finally finds what she was looking for, and sets out to correct the wrongs she has committed in the past, she finally becomes a character that one can admire.
Title: North and South Author: Elizabeth Gaskell Pages: 547
Miss Margaret Hale has had a pretty decent life. Not a terribly exciting one, by any means, b...moreTitle: North and South Author: Elizabeth Gaskell Pages: 547
Miss Margaret Hale has had a pretty decent life. Not a terribly exciting one, by any means, but it was mostly filled with happiness. However, when she returns home from a stay with her Aunt and Cousin, she is shocked to learn that her father, a parson in a small village, has had a change of beliefs and must leave the church. Deciding that it would be too painful to say in a place of so many memories and good times, Mr. Hale decides to move to an industrial town in the north. One of their first acquaintances in Milton, is a Mr. Thornton. Their relationship is quite rocky, and takes many ups and downs. The story continues to follow Margret as she copes with tragedy, apprehension, and misunderstandings. In the end, the tragedy is not quite so painful, the apprehension is alleviated, and the misunderstandings are all cleared up.
I really enjoyed North and South, though at times it seemed slow. It did keep me reading. I did not enjoy it as much as Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters. I don't agree with many of the things that Margaret did, but as I think about it, I am pretty sure I would have done the same or similar.
It is strange that I can't think of too much to say on this, beyond what I already said. The book was good, but not a favorite.(less)
Title: The Good Earth Author: Pearl S. Buck Pages: 385
The Good Earth follows the life of Wang Lung, a Chinese farmer about 1890-1930. He starts out as a...moreTitle: The Good Earth Author: Pearl S. Buck Pages: 385
The Good Earth follows the life of Wang Lung, a Chinese farmer about 1890-1930. He starts out as a poor man's son, who is going to the great House of Hwang to pick up his bride. The story follows the rise and and fall of their fortunes. Once, their circumstances become so bad that they have to go to the city and beg for money to buy food. However, they do return to their land, which is Wang Lung's anchor through the years. He always feels safe and sure of himself, as long as he has his land. In the last half of the novel, Wang Lung's fortunes improve so much, that he is able to build a new house, buy servants, and concubines, and finally he moves into the great House of Hwang where he had shivered in his shoes waiting for his wife-to-be. In the very end, near Wang Lung's own death, he discovers that his children have no regard for his beloved land, and that it will be sold when he dies. It breaks his heart.
I was intrigued by this tale straight from the beginning. It kept me reading, although there were no exciting fights, or cliff-hangers. I always wanted to find out what happened next.
I did not appriciate Wang Lung's morals. He, and everyone around him, did things to cater to those around them. They wouldn't do such and such, because of what people would think. He justified his taking a concubine, because other men of his social standing did.
However, my aunt did point out that The Good Earth is a wonderful portrayal of peasant life in China at that time. I did completely agree with with my aunt on that.
There were some parts that I wondered if I should read them or not. The got a tiny bit more detailed than I was interested in.
One thing that I did like, was that whenever Wang Lung was troubled, he would go out to work his land. Physical labor on the earth always helped him calm down, see things more clearly, or work through problems. In our own lives, when we are troubled, there are things that we do to forget for a time, or to calm down. When hard thoughts come, physical work is always a good remedy.
Overall, The Good Earth was good, but not one I would want to read again and again. I would not dissuade you from reading it, but I would not encourage you to read it either. I think there are much better books! Copyright 2009 Defective Compositions(less)
I have always like reading Scottish history, and Bonnie Prince Charlie is no exception!
I started this book, not really remembering what happens, but k...moreI have always like reading Scottish history, and Bonnie Prince Charlie is no exception!
I started this book, not really remembering what happens, but knowing that Prince Charles never succeeds in his quest to regain the throne, but it was so sad to see all of the mistakes that were made that led to the suppression of the Scottish rebellion! It seemed like every time Charlie turned around he made another mistake.
Part of the reason for his mistakes was because of the people that he trusted. I thought that that was a really good reminder to be careful of whom you trust, and to definitely trust in God.(less)
Mary, Bloody Mary is about young Mary Tudor, and the trials she faces as she grows up. The things that happen to her give an interesting insight as to...moreMary, Bloody Mary is about young Mary Tudor, and the trials she faces as she grows up. The things that happen to her give an interesting insight as to why she did things when she became queen. I really enjoyed this book, especially since I love to read about the lives of the Tudors.(less)
When I picked up this book again, after having not read it for quite some time, it was like wrapping myself in a favorite, but little used, blanket. A...moreWhen I picked up this book again, after having not read it for quite some time, it was like wrapping myself in a favorite, but little used, blanket. As I read through the prologue, where Christy revisits the small community that affected her life so much, I almost began to cry. It was so comforting to be reading this lovely story once again.
Christy Huddleston, a young and impressionable nineteen-year-old, makes the decision to become a teacher in a rural mountain area. Little does she know that trials, triumphs, sorrows and joys await her. She comes feeling like she has so much she can do for these people, who still live in squalid cabins with no plumbing; illiterate families, ancient feuds and are held in the bondage of superstition. Yet through the events that take place, Christy realizes how much it is that she needs to learn.
Christy is full of laughter, funny children, appreciation for beauty and good things, the desire to better the world, and learning in unexpected ways. There is even a lovely surprise at the end. I highly recommend this book. (less)