When finishing the last page I was not sure of my thoughts on this book. I wanted so to enfold myself into the storyline but something just did not je...moreWhen finishing the last page I was not sure of my thoughts on this book. I wanted so to enfold myself into the storyline but something just did not jell right for me. There are stories that need to be told as there are many incidents which are left out of our school history books and the author touches on many of these issues. The injustice directed towards the Black American soldiers returning from WWII, how German prisoners of war received better treatment than Black American soldiers, and how many whites in the South were against grossly violent treatment of blacks but often refused to go against those who conducted these practices. There is also the storyline that connects the past with the present as one of the main characters Regina Robichard is driven and haunted by the crime against her father. Just as I was settling in with one of the story threads it switched to another thread. The strength in this novel is that it has informed many of how complex the racial situation was in 1946 Mississippi and it was not as black and white as often thought. This ambitious novel deals with revelations, survival, and loss where the magical elements distract from the heart of the story. (less)
• This was a story about identity, gender, and of privilege. The story focuses on the two women and their relationship which...moreI would rate this book 3+
• This was a story about identity, gender, and of privilege. The story focuses on the two women and their relationship which each other – it was very much a manipulative and master/slave relationship. The white woman was also a victim within her culture and to me manipulated the black girl into who she wanted her to be – which was to “be human and white”. There are implications that being human and white are the same. • I thought the author did a good job on using silence/not being able to talk to show the helplessness and how not important you are without a voice, and when you are silent – the other side will speak for you. (less)
• It was a slow start for me but once I settled into the novel I really enjoyed. • It helped to remind myself that this book...moreThis was a 3.5 read for me.
• It was a slow start for me but once I settled into the novel I really enjoyed. • It helped to remind myself that this book was written in the early 1960s before the feminist movement and knowing how the outcome of the Civil Rights Movement. So can see how this southern author was pushing the envelope on how she presents the issues of race. • This is a character driven novel and the characters were well-developed and moved the storyline along. • The author does a good job of maintaining the tension that the readers know will explode beyond the pleasantries that are presented as a front but just does not know when and by whom. • This book had all the trademarks of southern literature; sense of tradition and the ties that bind and pull on the characters, the past is strongly present, family and community are important, the sense of the physical setting and imagery, the interactions between the races and the different regions • There are a couple of unexpected twists that the reader do not see coming as some of the characters break the expected rules on race, gender, and class. • I found the part explaining the depression era on the region and the “drifters” children abandoned by their parents that wander together looking for food. (less)
This was a 3.5 read for me. A light entertaining read with a dollop of intrigue, romance and madcap adventure set in the changing times of the 1920s. I...moreThis was a 3.5 read for me. A light entertaining read with a dollop of intrigue, romance and madcap adventure set in the changing times of the 1920s. I had read the prequel, Whisper of Jasmine, and was fascinated by the attraction between Evangeline and the rakish Gabriel Starke and how their marriage would fare. I was so glad to learn at the beginning that the “widow” Evangeline was now a famous aviatrix, enjoying great adventures with her eccentric Aunt Dove (everyone needs an Aunt Dove to let them explore being all that they can be). As it turns, Gabriel is alive and kicking In Damascus, and to apologize for all that he has put her through by passing on to her a “priceless relic.” Thus the chaotic adventure begins brimming with danger, betrayals, and drama. The witty banter and antics between Evangeline and Gabriel reminded me of the Nick and Nora Charles movies and at times some of proposed actions by Gabriel had a James Bond feel. But most intriguing for me was the interweaving of the history and politics of the time in budding nation of Syria and often this had me overlooking some of the muddling that slowed down the pace and plot of the story. This is my first Deanna Raybourn read and I look forward to reading more about this loosely connected group of friends. Overall fans of Downton Abbey and the 1920s will relish this tale set in a British colonial outpost as the WWI gives rise to nationalism and women earn rights. (less)
As other readers have mentioned I was drawn into this book after reading the first chapter but also felt that at times the story dragged a little. But...moreAs other readers have mentioned I was drawn into this book after reading the first chapter but also felt that at times the story dragged a little. But, I am glad that I read this story. It was interesting to read this story as it is told from the pov of the photo-journalists who were each there for their own personal reasons and all were not good for the war effort or the people of Vietnam. I thought the author did a good job of having Vietnam itself be a character in the story. (less)
I will have more thoughts on this book shortly. But two thoughts came to mind immediately after reading - this was a fascinating compelling read on the...moreI will have more thoughts on this book shortly. But two thoughts came to mind immediately after reading - this was a fascinating compelling read on the genocide of the Herero people and the book blurb does not so this book justice as I would have easily overlooked this book it it was not a book club pick,(less)
This was an audio book for me. it was 14 hours long. Very detailed and delves into the post Civil War time with a diverse groups of characters, ex-sla...moreThis was an audio book for me. it was 14 hours long. Very detailed and delves into the post Civil War time with a diverse groups of characters, ex-slaves, former slave owners, Nativer Americans, etc. (less)
There is nothing I enjoy better than traveling to an exotic place and time through a well-crafted historical storyline. I enjoy observing a new place...moreThere is nothing I enjoy better than traveling to an exotic place and time through a well-crafted historical storyline. I enjoy observing a new place and time through the eyes of the characters as they go about their daily lives. This is exactly what I got when reading, Daughter of Two Nations by Katrina Covington Whitmore. My interest was piqued from the beginning when meeting Lady Kiah, princess of the ruling family of the kingdom of Kush, an intelligent compassionate yet innocent young lady, as she is traveling from her home to Palmyra, Syria. Kiah is taking the reverse route for the same reason as her mother, Tiri, took 22 years ago when she left her home in Palmyra to travel to Kush. As this is the third century and women are expected to be a negotiating tool between nations, Kiah has been contracted to marry the heir of the most powerful family in Palmyra, the eastern jewel of the Roman Empire. In deference to her age, Kiah will first live with her aunt, Aziza, and her cousin, Zenobia, so she can become accustomed to the customs of her new home.
The author took me on a wonderful journey through the third century. The sights, sounds, and smells came alive through the characters. While Kiah is a privileged teenager of royal birth, she experiences some of the same trials and tribulations as teenagers of today; jealousy among friends, distinguishing who is friend or foe, learning to navigate the adult world, and experiencing the first pangs of love. I enjoyed the diversity of the characters and while the story will be enjoyed by all female teenage readers, those of color will appreciate seeing the characters that look like them. Quick reading, but well paced -- the story builds to an unexpected conclusion. As this is the first book in the Bride of the Desert trilogy, I will be anxiously waiting for the next book to see how the conclusion plays out.
I recommend this book to readers of historical fiction, especially teenager and young adult readers. This would be a wonderful book choice for Mother-Daughter book clubs (less)
Will & Dena: Love and Life in World War II by Bob Rogers tells a story that until recently was mostly only whispered about, or at least was not kn...moreWill & Dena: Love and Life in World War II by Bob Rogers tells a story that until recently was mostly only whispered about, or at least was not known outside of a limited community of people. It is a coming-of-age story that begins in the North Carolina Central Piedmont region in the spring of 1943. The United States is in the midst of a World War fighting to free countries from tyranny, but in this small corner of western North Carolina, freedom is not available to everyone. The reader is introduced to Will Wallace, who wants nothing more than to work with his father as a lumberjack, play baseball on one of the local “colored” teams, and plans his life with the Lena Horne look-a-like Dena Miller. But, just as curveballs are pitches designed to disrupt the batter’s timing, Will will be thrown some curveballs that will disrupt his life in ways he never imagined.
While drafting the review, I thought about how timely this book is in light of some recent current events and how these events relate to the story of Will & Dena. There are several states that are looking to change the way African-American history is presented, and bullying is a growing concern in our schools. As we watch Will mature into a man, it will be several bullying incidents that will change the path of his life, and this story is rich in the history of the contributions of the African-Americans soldiers in WW II and the battles that were fought not only against the foreign enemy but another enemy – Jim Crow. And while, in recent years, we have learned more about the role of African-American soldiers in Europe, I enjoyed reading about the 366th Infantry Regiment involvement in Italy, and hope more of these stories will come to light.
I enjoyed this storyline and really appreciated how Will’s father out negotiated the white power brokers because they thought he would not understand the value of what he was getting. Despite being a sports enthusiast, the detailed inning by inning plays at the beginning of the book slowed the story down, but the story quickly picked back up. I also wish the book had a better title as I feel male readers, and some female readers, will hesitate to pick up the book because of the title.
This would be a wonderful book for young black males to read and discuss as there are lessons in growing up that they can relate to. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy reading stories about the WWII era and learning about more about the complex history of the United States. (less)