If you have read Beyond the Heather Hills as the 4th and final book in this series (you should read them in order, but it’s not required) you will be able to fully appreciate the evolution of Martha from a young girl of about 6 or 7 in the first bookIf you have read Beyond the Heather Hills as the 4th and final book in this series (you should read them in order, but it’s not required) you will be able to fully appreciate the evolution of Martha from a young girl of about 6 or 7 in the first book to a young adult at the age of 10. In this book she is still at that age where she wants to play, but is becoming more aware of the adult world around her and how she fits in it. She definitely encounters situations that are more significant than when she was a child – there is birth, and illness, death, and family growing up and moving away. There is also the difference between life in the city and life in the rural community that she had grown up in. So much for Martha changes in this book and it was beautifully done, as always, by Melissa Wiley.
This is a series that young readers can certainly grow with and the events that Martha encounters throughout are perfectly appropriate for what young readers may encounter in the world. I love the way in which tough issues are presented, such as illness and death; it is handled directly, without a lot of frills or extra in-depth information, but in a way that younger audiences can understand. So many elements of the Scottish culture are included in this series, but it never feels over-explained. I have read other historical fiction aimed at younger audiences that seem to go into extraneous depth about cultural elements which results in the narrative feeling to slow and heavy; that is not the case here. Wiley presents enough information for the audience to understand and wraps in seamlessly into the narrative and it never feels out of place. It was something that I immediately noticed in this book after having read another young adult novel recently that handled it much different.
I just adore this series and can’t wait to find time to start the 2nd series, The Charlotte Years, also written by Wiley.
This review was previously posted at The Maiden's Court blog....more
You certainly can see why Nick is nicknamed the Duke of Ice in this book! All of the male characters in the Untouchables series have had the qualities of their names, but Nick certainly fully inhabited his! Due to this in part, I found it a lot hardeYou certainly can see why Nick is nicknamed the Duke of Ice in this book! All of the male characters in the Untouchables series have had the qualities of their names, but Nick certainly fully inhabited his! Due to this in part, I found it a lot harder to get into this relationship than I have in other Untouchables books. I really didn’t like him that much throughout much of the book, and even later on, I liked him, but didn’t love him. While that might normally be something that would bring down my enjoyment of a romance novel, in this case it felt right specifically because he is supposed to be stand-offish. Violet on the other had I did like. Both of them suffered bad things in their past, but she chooses to move beyond that and be happy, which is my personal perspective on life. This is a story of second chances, resolving misunderstandings, and moving beyond what you think fate has dealt you. In some ways, it’s even about third or fourth chances. Can they change enough to be able to be together? Are these stumbling blocks too big to overcome?
I enjoyed reading about the house party that is held throughout the first half of the novel. I don’t think that I have read many books that have a large group of people staying for multiple weeks at a country estate, so it was fun to see the types of things that they would have done to occupy themselves.
This book also heavily introduced the two main love interests that will be in the next book in this series, The Duke of Ruin. Typically they are just passing characters, but events in this novel will have a significant impact in the next book based on the book description. I really enjoyed these characters (possibly more than Nick and Violet) and look forward to meeting them again and seeing where life takes them.
The romance factor here was hot enough. As this is a story of second chances, we are treated to romance flashbacks as well as on the current timeline. It was interesting to see how they have changed based on life’s circumstances, but are still the same in many of the ways that matter.
This review was previously posted at The Maiden's Court blog and a copy of the book was received from the tour....more
I am not someone who is a huge military history buff, so the tragedy of the U.S.S. Indianapolis was not something that had ever been on my radar before. And unlike apparently every reviewer on Goodreads, I have never seen the movie Jaws and thereforeI am not someone who is a huge military history buff, so the tragedy of the U.S.S. Indianapolis was not something that had ever been on my radar before. And unlike apparently every reviewer on Goodreads, I have never seen the movie Jaws and therefore not heard the story of the Indianapolis in that film. So for me, a passing mention about it in the Pearl Harbor book I had read some months back piqued my interest to look into it a bit further and then I stumbled across In Harm’s Way. I am always drawn to stories of people in incredible situations because their bravery and ability to stare death in the face and survive absolutely inspire me and at the same time you often see some of society at its worst. These things keep me riveted time and again.
While this is a solid work of non-fiction it reads so quickly and will not for one moment lose your attention. Stanton interviewed survivors extensively and that is clear in how he brings life into the accounts of the different men in this book. While there are 3 main men whose circumstances are followed throughout the ordeal, we encounter many other men during their stories and are witnesses to how wildly different people handle traumatic events. Stanton seats you right there with the survivors, whether it is clinging to a raft while sharks circle or struggling to stave of dehydration and the draw to drink the salt water. There are LOTS of details, but they never feel overwhelming.
One thing that was clear to me while reading this book and so incredibly striking was just how many lives could have been spared horrible death at sea if a small handful of people had done their jobs to note if the U.S.S. Indianapolis had arrived in the port as expected or passed on the SOS message they had received from the ship. Instead, no one knew where they were or where they were even expected to be for DAYS until a pilot just happened to pass over their location. Then to put the whole thing on the Captain, the only one to have EVER been court martialed for their ship sinking during wartime was just unforgivable. These men survived a trying ordeal and their service let them down. This is a story that will stick with me for quite some time to come and I am very glad to have had the chance to read it.
There is good reason why this audiobook one a 2017 Audie Award for best history/biography audiobook. Mark Boyett competently handled the gravity of the situation as well as the human drama of it. He has an excellent cadence to his narration that gives the listener a perfect understanding of when a new thought is being brought forward, or just a pause in the moment. Boyett seems to typically narrate sci-fi/fantasy novels which probably helps him bring some of the figures from In Harm’s Way to life and pull at the heart-strings during the most dramatic of moments.
This review was previously posted at The Maiden's Court blog....more