I didn't like this quite as well as the earlier books in this series. As nurse Bess Crawford and Sergeant-Major Simon Brandon search a fairly small po...moreI didn't like this quite as well as the earlier books in this series. As nurse Bess Crawford and Sergeant-Major Simon Brandon search a fairly small portion of the English countryside for a wounded soldier who disappeared while in Bess's care, the story tends to drag a bit. The ending was rather complex and didn't exactly play fair with the reader. And the relationship between Bess and Simon continues to perplex. As this book begins, the Great War is beginning to draw to a close. It will be interesting to see what Charles Todd do with Bess after the Armistice -- will the series continue? Despite my disappointment with this entry, I do hope so. Worth reading for fans of the series.(less)
This review also applies to the other books in the trilogy. Fay Weldon apparently was one of the writers for the first season of Downton Abbey. The Lov...moreThis review also applies to the other books in the trilogy. Fay Weldon apparently was one of the writers for the first season of Downton Abbey. The Love and Inheritance Trilogy is set a bit earlier; in the first book, the Boer War is going on and Queen Victoria is still living. The second book centers on Edward VII's Coronation, and the last is set in 1905. It's also a bit edgier than Downton Abbey. The Dilberne family, an Earl, his up-from-the-demimonde wife, and their two modern offspring, are basically good-hearted, but have all the prejudices of their class and a few neuroses of their own. I found the series quite enjoyable and Katherine Kellgran did a magnificent job of reading it. Definitely recommended -- if you like Downton Abbey and enjoyed The American Heiress, you'll like this trilogy.(less)
I checked this out as part of my challenge to read all the Newbery Medalists and Honor Books (I'm working backwards in time). I may force myself to co...moreI checked this out as part of my challenge to read all the Newbery Medalists and Honor Books (I'm working backwards in time). I may force myself to come back to it at some time, but so far it's one of the two books in this category that I couldn't force myself to continue reading. Oddly enough, the other was Kate DiCamillo's The Tale of Despereaux. Both are animal stories, but I disliked them intensely for opposite reasons. The Tale of Despereaux was just too, too twee for me. And The Underneath was too gritty. Although I'm sure there will be a reasonably happy ending, the dreadfulness of the one (so far, anyway) human character, the mistreatment the dog undergoes, and the jeopardy of the kittens and their mother made it a book I just couldn't go on with.(less)
Sequel to Thirteenth Child. Across the Great Barrier continues the story of Eff and her twin brother Lan -- she the "unlucky" thirteenth child, and he...moreSequel to Thirteenth Child. Across the Great Barrier continues the story of Eff and her twin brother Lan -- she the "unlucky" thirteenth child, and he the powerfully magical seventh son of a seventh son, in a parallel universe where the U.S. is "Columbia," the "War of Secession" took place nearly 30 years earlier than in our world, and the "Mammoth River" (the Mississippi) marks the Great Barrier, on the other side of which both prehistoric animals and magical animals roam.
In this second book of the trilogy, Eff has finished Upper School and is faced with decisions about her future. She is coming to terms with her own magical abilities, but has no interest in university studies, so she talks her part-time work at the local college's menagerie into a full-time position. A chance to explore the area beyond the Great Barrier (where settlements under a sort of Homestead Act are progressing)is exactly what she hoped for despite battles with sabercats and other dangers. Back in Mill City, a telegram from Lan's Eastern university heralds trouble. Both Lan and Eff will face many dangers and learn more about themselves in this engrossing novel.
I listened to this as an audiobook and the narrator Amanda Ronconi does a wonderful job with the many voices needed to tell the story. Highly recommended.(less)
Imagine a world where America is "Columbia," the Mississippi is the "Mammoth River," and Franklin and Jefferson cast a Great Barrier spell dividing th...moreImagine a world where America is "Columbia," the Mississippi is the "Mammoth River," and Franklin and Jefferson cast a Great Barrier spell dividing the West from the East, because mammoths, sabercats, and many frightening magical animals roam along with the bison. And imagine that not only Founding Fathers, but nearly everyone (except a few cranky Rationalists) uses magic for nearly everything from household chores to roadbuilding to protection while traveling. This is the world of Thirteenth Child. Eff's father is a professor of magic. She and her brother Lan are twins, and Eff came first -- so she is an "unlucky" Thirteenth Child, while her brother is the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son and expected from infancy to become a powerful magician. Even some of Eff's own relatives shun her for her supposed evil. Fortunately, her parents have more sense; and when a job at Northern Plains Riverbank College in Mill City (oddly for a longtime Minneapolitan, Mill City seems to parallel St. Paul) opens up,they take the chance for a fresh start for themselves and their younger children. As Eff and Lan grow up, they have many adventures and Eff begins to realize that her birth order need not determine her destiny. Highly recommended.(less)
I got this on Kindle for no more than 99 cents. I gave up on it fairly rapidly because the author seemed to think that the voyage of the Titanic was f...moreI got this on Kindle for no more than 99 cents. I gave up on it fairly rapidly because the author seemed to think that the voyage of the Titanic was from New York to Southampton rather than the other way around. Not recommended.(less)
Back in the sixties, my mother and grandmother read a lot of Victoria Holt's books (my grandmother called the genre "woman in front of the house" book...moreBack in the sixties, my mother and grandmother read a lot of Victoria Holt's books (my grandmother called the genre "woman in front of the house" books, because the book jacket so often featured just that) -- we now call it romantic suspense. There's a formula; some authors do it well and some badly. Victoria Holt did it well. The heroine is a young middle-class British woman, raised by an aunt, who has been sent to a Swiss finishing school so that she can take over the aunt's school for young ladies. When she returns home, she finds that the school must be sold, so she takes a position in a similar school which is under the patronage of a slightly mysterious nobleman. Any experienced reader can see most of what's coming, but Holt comes up with a new twist for the villain of the piece. It was a quite entertaining way to spend an afternoon or two (I've been quite slow in getting things updated here.)(less)
This was the first Dick Francis book I've listened to, rather than reading in book format. The narrator was excellent in conveying the protagonist (Ge...moreThis was the first Dick Francis book I've listened to, rather than reading in book format. The narrator was excellent in conveying the protagonist (Gene Hawkins, whose regular job seems to be background checking for an international businessman), a man who seems to have serious depression that is only held at bay by action. Forced to take a vacation, he becomes nearly suicidal. Then Hawkins is invited on a boating outing with his boss's family and some friends. It transpires that the friend has lost an expensive stud horse and this is not the first such disappearance. Hawkins takes the case, which takes him (and his boss's daughter who's about 19) to America. All kinds of adventures, both horse-related and romantic, ensue. Classic Dick Francis and certainly recommended.(less)
Some minor but annoying eye trouble means I'm mostly confined to audiobooks right now. I've read one of Krueger's books in paper format and listened t...moreSome minor but annoying eye trouble means I'm mostly confined to audiobooks right now. I've read one of Krueger's books in paper format and listened to two. Either way, he's excellent and I don't know why I waited so long to read his books. In Purgatory Ridge, a convoluted tale with multiple villains (some more villainous than others) climaxes with protagonist Cork O'Connor and some of his loved ones pitted against both man and nature near and in Lake Superior. Not to be missed. The reader is excellent as well.(less)
Jacqueline Winspear's got her groove back with this one. I started it with some trepidation as I didn't care much for the previous book, Elegy for Edd...moreJacqueline Winspear's got her groove back with this one. I started it with some trepidation as I didn't care much for the previous book, Elegy for Eddie. Although Maisie is still engaging in a lot of inner dialogue about her wishes and motivations, she does seem to be moving forward, and the plot was as twisty and turny as anyone could wish. As in all the Maisie Dobbs books, the aftereffects of World War I are still being felt, and not only the coming war (still several years in the future) but the end of British colonialism are being foreshadowed. Recommended.(less)
Had I been on the awards committee, I might well have voted for this book rather than for the actual medalist, A Single Shard. I certainly enjoyed rea...moreHad I been on the awards committee, I might well have voted for this book rather than for the actual medalist, A Single Shard. I certainly enjoyed reading it. Could it be that the heroine's Dickensian name (Primrose Squarp) took a few points off? And then, the Newbery Medals are for American books -- and although presumably Polly Horvath is a citizen or permanent resident of the US, she set her book in British Columbia. And the book is SO DARN CANADIAN -- which is a big part of its charm. Oh, it starts out like any other "problem book" for kids, with Primrose's parents lost at sea and her fate in the hands of the town council. But almost immediately funny things start happening, and Primrose never loses hope, and you realize this is not going to be another problem story. The setting, a fishing village in BC, is filled with characters who would be right at home in Cicely, Alaska. The only villain in the piece is, of course, a British aristocrat. All's well that ends well, and it's a fun way to spend a few hours. Kids can even try some of the recipes that end each chapter. Highly recommended.(less)
Everyone's looking for Shiloh, a country singer with some Anishinabe roots who's been taking some time for reflection in the Boundary Waters of northe...moreEveryone's looking for Shiloh, a country singer with some Anishinabe roots who's been taking some time for reflection in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota. The only man who knows where she is has disappeared. Her estranged father wants to hire ex-sheriff Cork O'Connor to look for her. Two other powerful men claiming to be Shiloh's biological father have also come to Iron Lake; one is mob-connected, the other has men he says are FBI agents. Shiloh's mother, a childhood friend of O'Connor's, was murdered many years ago and some people hope -- or fear -- that therapy has helped Shiloh recall that event and that she can identify her mother's killer.
Cork ends up on a wilderness expedition with Shiloh's official father, Anishinabe Stormy and his ten-year-old son Louis, and two of the supposed FBI men. Meanwhile, Cork's wife Jo, (it's complicated) is back in Iron Lake trying to investigate the conflicting tales told by a mobster and the FBI man who have both come to town in search of Shiloh.
Just when you think you have it figured out, Krueger gets you lost in the woods again. The setting is described with love, and the characters are nuanced and anything but stereotypes. Cork O'Connor is a strong protagonist. I look forward to reading or listening to the rest of this excellent series. Highly recommended.(less)