Sixteen-year-old Sadie Rose can’t speak and doesn’t know her last name, but she is beginning to remember snippets from her early life with her motherSixteen-year-old Sadie Rose can’t speak and doesn’t know her last name, but she is beginning to remember snippets from her early life with her mother in a Minnesota brothel. Alone after her mother dies, Sadie is taken in by the wealthy Senator Worthington and his docile wife, who are currently summering in northern Minnesota near the Canadian border. Sadie spends her days practicing piano and helping Hans and Aasta, the Worthingtons’ servants. Two events happen during the summer of 1920 to turn Sadie’s world upside down: she discovers some risqué photos of her mother hidden in the gardening shed, and she meets Victor Guttenberg, an environmental activist who directly opposes Mr. Worthington’s industrialist cronies. These momentous events help Sadie to gradually regain her speaking voice and long for a voice of her own amid the political upheaval of the day. The suspense in the novel comes from Sadie’s quest to remember what happened the night her mother died. Will she regain her voice and remember what happened before it’s too late?
Frozen provides a nice change of pace from other YA books about the 1920s that are centered stereotypically on booze and flapperdom. I enjoyed learning about the clashing worlds of the industrialists and environmentalists in the Great Lakes region, which was something I knew little about. There were also some brief nods to Prohibition and women’s suffrage, but I never felt like the time period fully gelled. Some of the characters, like Owen and Trinity, lacked development, and the events at the end of the book (especially the mental illness subplot) felt slightly rushed. All in all, there were lots of interesting issues touched upon, some more expansively than others.
This was an interesting book, with a very unique premise. I did have a hard time getting into the book; it started out a little slowly, but once I reached the midpoint, I had a hard time putting it down. I would recommend this book to younger teens, especially those who enjoy historical fiction with an uncommon setting.
eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley ...more
Miss Buncle’s Book is the charming tale of an unassuming spinster in a quaint English village in the 1930s. Unfortunately, Miss Buncle’s financial accMiss Buncle’s Book is the charming tale of an unassuming spinster in a quaint English village in the 1930s. Unfortunately, Miss Buncle’s financial accounts are not faring very well in the depressed economy, so she is forced to become a working woman. The two options she contemplates for employment are raising chickens or writing a book. She knows she wants to write a book, but she insists that she has no imagination. Her solution is to create a thinly-disguised story about her fellow villagers. Although there are no mentions of chocolate pie in her book, the townspeople are still furious at reading the painful truth about themselves in “John Smith’s” book Disturber of the Peace. Together, the townspeople set out to discover the author’s identity and horsewhip him out of town. Then, something unexpected happens. Life imitates art as the townspeople’s actions start mirroring those in Miss Buncle’s book. And maybe Miss Buncle discovers that she isn’t such a wallflower after all. . .
This book was so entertaining and a joy to read. Fans of Wodehouse will love the subtly humorous tone. Reading Miss Buncle’s Book was a refreshing change of pace from books that are dark and devious; this book is full of light and positivity. Highly recommended!
There was plenty to enjoy in this re-issue of an earlier novel by Susanna Kearsley. The Scottish setting and dialect, along with the spooky archaeologThere was plenty to enjoy in this re-issue of an earlier novel by Susanna Kearsley. The Scottish setting and dialect, along with the spooky archaeological dig, were enough to keep me reading. However, unlike the other books by Kearsley that I've read (which were all fantastic), The Shadowy Horses was a bit lackluster for me. Some of the characters (I'm looking at you Adrian) were supremely irritating, and the numerous mentions of Verity's breakfast aversion grew old quickly. The book was enjoyable reading, but it just lacked the wow factor of The Rose Garden and The Winter Sea. I would recommend this book to readers who are interested in Roman history, archaeology, and romantic stories set in Scotland.
Free copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review...more
"Why, I often wonder, is it difficult to push myself to do the things that bring happiness? So often, I know what resolutions would make me happier, b"Why, I often wonder, is it difficult to push myself to do the things that bring happiness? So often, I know what resolutions would make me happier, but still I have to prod myself to do them. Every day, I struggle to give a kiss, to get enough sleep, to stop checking my email, to give gold stars. Every day, I remind myself to accept myself, and expect more from myself."
from Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin
I really enjoyed reading Gretchen Rubin's follow-up to The Happiness Project (which I somehow missed when it came out). I read Happier at Home from beginning to end in just a few reading sessions; from start to finish, I was completely engaged with her writing. The book is an interesting blend of memoir and "moral essay." Full of quotes on the nature of happiness taken from philosophers both ancient and modern, it also provides the reader with numerous concrete, easily-implemented strategies for improving one's own "practice of life." If you are already acquainted with Rubin's Happiness Project book and blog, some of the concepts may already be familiar. However, this was my first encounter with Rubin's ideas, and I drank them all in greedily.
The book is organized thematically; after an introduction on the basic themes of her newest happiness project, Rubin provides a detailed account of her tackling each new theme every month. The project begins in September at the start of the school year, and the focus for the month is on making peace with our material possessions. I loved that Rubin doesn't tell us that we must get rid of everything we own! How many times have I read that and felt terrible guilt? Throughout the book, the writer reminds us that happiness is never one-size-fits-all and above all we must be ourselves. I loved that! Over the course of the year, she also focuses on the following areas: Marriage, Parenthood, Interior Design (self), Time, Body, Family, Neighborhood, and Now ("Remember Now").
One of my favorite quotes from the book is, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Rubin applies this quote to her decision to create "good-enough" photo albums and move on with her life. Until recently, I had six years' worth of pictures sitting in boxes, impatiently waiting for divine scrapbooking inspiration to overwhelm me. I am plodding away with my own humble three-ring binder "scrapbooks" and feel a huge sense of relief.
I highly recommend this book! It was tremendously inspiring and full of useful information that I look forward to putting in practice. *Free eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley*