Like most historical fiction books, I find the first chapter or two hard to get into. This isn't really a reflection of the book. You just have to put...moreLike most historical fiction books, I find the first chapter or two hard to get into. This isn't really a reflection of the book. You just have to put your mind into another time and way of life to better understand the book, and that can take a bit. Once I had adjusted, I fell absolutely in love with Lily Young. She was completely selfless and caring. She had the gumption to stand up to horrifying men when even the manly lumberjacks around her did not. She put herself into danger time and time again, with only the intention of helping out those less fortunate than herself.
I loved that the relationship with Connell took time to develop. She didn't just swoon and fall into his arms the first time she met him. Like in real life, you meet someone, you find them attractive, you get to know them, and sometimes that can lead to love. Both Lily and Connell are human, flawed characters so that made them very relateable. There was a slight message of purity and how it is better to wait for the right person that swept under the entire book, but it wasn't at all heavy-handed. Knowing the type of person Lily was, it made sense that her virginity would be something that she would hold precious. As an orphan who had absolutely nothing, she knew that her own body and mind were the only thing that she could truly call her own.
The side characters were also well-fleshed out. I particularly like Oren, Lily's adopted father. I don't even know how many times he threatened to kill someone for looking in Lily's general direction, but it was hilarious. I would love a prequel, starring Connell and his brother Tierney. I would love to see how exactly their relationship became what it was in this book.
This book isn't all romance and love and happy go lucky. There are some serious issues here. The lumber business was a huge boom in the late 1800's. The business did drive up the number of brothels and saloons. Women really were bought and sold into "white slavery" as prostitutes. While reading this book, you will get a bit of a history lesson. What I learned from this, is that even in the most destitute of times, there are good people who will always do the right thing.
So all in all, I really liked this book. On goodreads, I gave it four stars. I would recommend it for people who like romance, Christian fiction or historical fiction. I wouldn't say that the book is Christian fiction, but it is definitely safe for those of you who prefer that. (less)
The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin is a really hard book to define. I found myself struggling while trying to tell my husband what it was about. But I...moreThe Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin is a really hard book to define. I found myself struggling while trying to tell my husband what it was about. But I guess I have to try in order to write this review. The Darkening Dream is about a young Jewish girl named Sarah, who is growing up in Salem MA during the turn of the century. Some strange things start to happen after a young boy is found murdered and Sarah experiences a series of strange dreams and visions. When a young man moves to Salem from Greece, Sarah starts to learn about her past and question what her future holds. Oh, and there are vampires, Egyptian gods, angels, demons, witches, and pretty much every other paranormal entity you can think of.
I honestly can't tell you what genre this book is. It is definitely paranormal, and there is just the right amount of romance, and it would definitely appeal to YA. Yet I don't think it should be strictly defined as a YA or paranormal romance. It is way too much more to be defined by any of those genres.
Andy definitely did his research with this book. He managed to get almost every major and minor religion in there without it being overkill. There were Egyptian deities, Judaism, Christianity, Greek gods. All of it done in a way that wasn't over the top, but somehow managed to mesh together and actually make sense with the story.
I love books that are set in Salem MA since that is where I was born. Most books set there are either set during the witch trials in the 1690's or are contemporary. I loved that this book was set just after the turn of the century in 1913. It was the perfect time period to use to show the blending of the old world and the new. It was really interesting to read about some of the places that I've been that are very old now, but were brand-new during this setting.
I was absolutely shocked by the ending of the book. I am usually really good at predicting the end of books and I honestly did not see this one coming. I got a little worried because I was nearing the end of the book and I didn't feel like things were going to get resolved. Then BOOM it all got resolved in a crazy way that I never would have guessed. It'll shock you. Seriously. There had better be a sequel, that's all I'm saying.
I highly suggest this book if you like paranormal books, horror, or just are looking for something new and different.(less)