Toney, Alabama | Member Since 2009
This is book number four in the Cork O'Connor series, and so far they have all been excellent. My husband and I have listened to all four together, so they are definitely for both men and women. The twists and turns in this one are REALLY unpredictable . . . we were guessing until the very end . . . The story begins with the murder of a beautiful young high school girl . . . You will find yourself wanting to learn more and more about her and her family . . . and you will grab all that is close to you and treasure it, fear for it, and wonder, "what, who is out there that would hurt a kid?" Some of the reviewers are critical of this book, saying it is overly "religious" . . . I did not find that to be true at all. In fact, since the beginning of the series, ex-sheriff, Cork O'Connor has been pretty much open and honest about his "crisis of faith" since leaving the Catholic church, where he grew up, went to school, and even served as an altar boy. If readers were paying attention, this theme of "examining the heart" has been there all along. The story line has included the church, priests, and a very faithful and grounded sister-in-law, Rose, who lives in the house with Cork and Jo and helps to raise their three kids. The moral compass which has been Cork's guide from day one has been from God . . . a God that is plenty big enough to allow Cork to question His existence . . . I love the inclusion of the spiritual stories of the Indians, who know God on a very personal level . . . so whatever you call God . . . even when you deny His existence, He always brings you around . . . This book in no way "preaches" to anyone. It leaves readers to their own conclusions. It isn't "goody goody" or even full of theology. So if anyone is offended, maybe they should check to see who that voice is that is speaking to them . . . These books are mysteries/thrillers which include all areas of the lives of their characters. To exclude this one area would just be dicing up the story. Can't wait for book five!!!
First of all, this book is out of my usual genre, but it is chillingly, amazingly one of the best audio books I have listened to. While I listened, I thought, wow, she has captured, without bias, the essence of life in the current times . . . single women sleeping with married men, without shame, lesbian relationships . . . JUST DESCRIBED them . . . no judgement, no hate, no opinion whatsoever. Night clubs, college days, magazines, all the things in the BEFORE time . . . and then everything changed. Then the US government was overthrown, and the state of Gilead began. What is so engaging and refreshing about this book is the author's ability to suss out tiny bits of truth, which you have to really listen to catch. Before the take over of the government, Bibles were freely available, in every hotel room night stand. Afterward, they are locked up, only for the Commanders to read, and then only on special occasions. Scripture is taken completely out of context. Hymns of mercy and grace are banned in Gilead. The handmaid wistfully remembers churches and the freedom to sing in the BEFORE time. She spends a lot of time examining her own life before and after. The relationships formed by the handmaids is touching and encouraging to me. That mercy and love survives in times of persecution, in fact thrives during it, is the evidence of a God who never forsakes those who are suffering. There are strong parallels between the Jews in World War II and this fictional Gilead, as well as between the extreme treatment of women in the Muslim faith. Evil is evil. Period. There is nothing Christian about Gilead, let's make that clear. People have been doing evil in the name of God for centuries. What they did and are still doing is making themselves into mini gods . . . and yes, this could happen, even here in the USA.
While some reviewers seem to think this last in the trilogy of the story of the Solomon family falls short of the first two, I disagree. I found it very interesting, covering two more generations of the Solomons. All stories, particularly those containing the history of a nation, cannot be swash buckling, jungle hopping, tales. Solomon's Song does have quite a bit, including the Australia's involvement in WWI in Gallopi and France. I loved that this book focused on the relationships between Hawk and his brother's daughter, and her two children. The honesty with which Hawk mentored and parented the two grandchildren of his brother, Tommo, is the meat of the story to me. When he told them that doing what was right and good had never landed him much happiness in this world, but that he recommended it anyway, well, that sealed the deal.
I'm a mom of five, grandmother of six, and great grandmother of one. This short, straight-forward audio book is one that I would recommend to all parents and grandparents, or anyone who is trying to deal with difficult people, who fly off the handle at the spur of the moment. After raising five kids, one of whom is autistic and cannot speak, I am well acquainted with temper tantrums. My own intuition told me some of what Brenda Trott talks about in this book, and by the grace of God, I have learned some valuable skills in dealing with some mighty TERRIBLE tantrums. I didn't do as well as I would have liked as a very young mother, the first one is always a learning experience. Our third child was a handful, a strong willed little fella, who would throw himself into the floor when he got really mad and frustrated. Yet this mama always saw deep into his little heart and KNEW he was of great value, and somehow disciplined him without breaking his young spirit. However, this audio book would have sure come in handy back then. That same young boy is now an almost 30 year old man, most successful (and still head strong) and a force to be reckoned with. He is a soldier in the U.S. Army, career grade, having deployed into the war zone and about to do it again. He is a wonderful husband, father, son and defender of our freedom. He is loyal. He loves God. And if he thinks he is right, oh, my, he will STILL let you know. And now that little fella, has a little fella who IS JUST LIKE HIM. Oh, my, God DOES have a sense of humor. But my son's wife, certainly DOESN'T think it's very funny . . . at all. I have two grandchildren who are exactly like my tantrum-throwing son, both smart as tacks, and both very frustrated and FRUSTRATING. This audio book has already been of help to the father of one of those grandsons, and hopefully will be of help to the parents of the other tantrum-throwing grandson.
This second book from Jamie Ford, who also wrote "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet", is set in Seattle, as his first book is. It is a beautiful, yet sad story that takes place beginning in the early 1920's. I love historical fiction. It never ceases to amaze me that in a nation (America) where we have prided ourselves on freedom, that there was really little "freedom" for some folks . . . even those born on American soil. Less than a century ago, our government turned it's back and turned a blind eye to the welfare of children just because they happened to be (in this case) Chinese. And the abuse of the Chinese men of their own wives and children and their expectation that a woman should accept this abuse without complaint, just turns my stomach. Yet, rarely we saw a man, a husband and father of true character . . . one that inspires his family, long after his death. And a woman, who is allowed to dream and grow, while remaining Chinese. What women of that era were forced to do for love, well, it just blows my mind . . . and women from a foreign culture were bound by an iron clad tradition . . . their marriages were arranged by their parents. More than anything, this is a human story of a very young Chinese girl, who lost both parents, endured horrible abuse by her step-father, and then bore the shame that he caused. Still she fought for her child, gave up every shred of humility, and ultimately did what she had to do in order to protect him from the horror that she had to endure as a child.
I really liked the story which includes several families in the small town of Cedar Cove. I appreciated the struggles of the young military couple who had lost their baby girl who was born prematurely. I found myself getting angry at the wife for not "sticking it out", since I am a 22 year veteran "army wife" myself. I cheered for the judge who caused the young couple's divorce to be delayed . . . and happily listened to the progress or lack of progress over the months that followed. This book, like some other reviewers have noted, is not made of HEAVY stuff . . . but sometimes I like that, normal people, normal problems, compassion and healing, and just settling in for a good listen. This book fits the bill nicely.
This audio book is absolutely incredible. The story which goes inside the lives of Hasidic Jewish families brings an onslaught of emotions. I didn't know that the holocaust reached into Romania, until I listened to this book. Then to learn that Hasidic Jews believe and teach that the atrocities that the Jewish people suffered during World War II by the evil Third Reich are somehow a punishment that they deserve . . . oh, my, it is so sad. Yet there is an order, an extreme love of family and tradition in these people that one cannot fail to see and appreciate. Josef's story is haunting and beautiful. And all through the book, I prayed that he would return to the brave Gentile maiden who rescued him and became his second mother, and who revealed to him the only mercy he had ever known in his life, the grace and love of Jesus Christ. This isn't a religious book. It's so much more. It's a book that makes one question things. It is sad, victorious, triumphant, and yet, you will end up, like we all do, knowing that we, human beings, alone, we are not enough. And we CAN NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH. My heart broke every time that the Hasidic Jews chanted, Come my Messiah, come. They danced and sang. They punished themselves. They tried to keep a pure bloodline. Yet, all the while missing the gift that God send to them. Rejecting joy. Rejecting mercy. Josef's dreams of Jesus were haunting. This tale is beautifully written and the narration is just right.
The story begins in the great depression with 23 year old Jacob going to veterinary school, following in his father's footsteps. It goes back and forth between Jacob as an old man and Jacob at 23 . . . the narration is excellent. I connected with the story on many levels, most of all falling in love with the 93 year old Jacob, who is left in a nursing home, with a perfectly good mind, to pass the days, lonely and reliving the past, and being treated like a piece of the furniture. Bittersweet, unusual, an audio book not to be missed.
I have to say that I do not normally buy purely historical audio books. I got this one on the daily deal at a discount. I much prefer historical FICTION, because I feel like I gain a better perspective on a human level, and I am more vested in the story, as well as the outcome. But I have always been interested in the great potato famine and the Irish people, so I got this one based on many of the recommendations. I feel sure that the historical data is well researched, and it is grueling to listen to. But in my opinion, it lacks HEART. It does, however, explain how something so horrendous can happen. The political times in England then are not far removed from many of the crooked, self-serving politicians of today. And red tape surely wasn't an invention of modern times, was it? The response of the "church" to the potato famine is especially gut wrenching, amounting to human beings proclaiming themselves to be God. I was able to understand the Irish immigration to America better than before, and the Irish Catholic roots here, both socially and politically. However, overall, the book was difficult to "get through". It was hard to keep my place. The scenes, terribly depressing, repeated themselves over and over, and I couldn't keep track of what year it was in Ireland . . . what had already happened and what was happening next.
The more I read Bryce Courtenay's books, the more I learn, and the more I LIKE learning . . . From England to Austrailia to New Zealand . . . I'm not so good at a strict dose of history . . . but OMG, this is so NOT THAT. This second book about the two twins, one black and one white, born to whore in the port that whalers frequented, and then claimed by an unlikely pair, Ikey Solomon and Mary Abacus, is a remarkable tale of the love between two brothers. And so much more . . . I can't wait to listen to the last book in the trilogy . . . a few more day until my next credit!!!
As the mom of a severely autistic child, who is now grown, I enjoyed the book . . . Our daughter is at the opposite end of the spectrum, NOT high functioning as Christopher, the boy in this book is . . . but nonetheless, many things ring true . . . hating to be touched, the horrendous screaming, the extreme need for order . . . It is an existence that is painful for the individual and all of those who love them. I would recommend this book for anyone who teaches, knows or loves a child affected by autism.
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