Toney, Alabama | Member Since 2009
This book has been compared to "The Help" by other readers/listeners. There IS NO comparison. It is a well written story and I liked it just fine. There is no discrimination, no abuse of blacks, and I found that refreshing. Abigail grew up playing with and loving the children that her grandfather had with Margaret, a black woman that he lived with after his wife died. Not only did she love the three children, she loved Margaret. The story of Margaret is one of grace and kindness, and the selfless choices that she made for her three children out of love are the best parts of the book. William Howland, Abigail's grandfather, was a simple and good man, wealthy beyond anything that Abigail could have imagined. Overall, the book is low key. The narration is reflective, not passionate. And when it is all said and done, there's no revelation or tying up of loose ends at the conclusion of the book. The ending of a book is a big deal to me, and this one just didn't quite END, it just stopped.
I'm not ordinarily a big Sherlock Holmes fan, I'm not addicted to the movies . . . but something about this book attracted me from the beginning . . . excellent writing, great sleuthing, and the relationship that develops between the "retired" Holmes and Mary is amazing . . . not sappy, not fake, not at all what you would expect. That's what makes this series so spectacular . . . what a team they make!
I started listening to this one and couldn't stop. I like Heather Gudenkauf's writing, her depth of perception, and her intuition. She has a way of picking out the wounded in this world and rooting for them, despite the horrible things that have been done to them, and shows us that light that is hidden deep within them. She shows us the selfish, all-wrapped-up-in-themselves people, too, and what they do to those around them. I am never disappointed with the outcome of her stories. If you are a thinker and want to see below the surface, you will love These Things Hidden.
This is the last in the Civil War trilogy by Lynn Austin, and it will stay with me for a long, long time. What Lynn Austin has accomplished in this series is nothing short of amazing. She has stripped away all the prejudices of black and white, north and south, and left us with only people, real, suffering people. The good, the bad and the ugly. The color of their skin is irrelevant, then and now. God's hand was in the Civil War. It was HE who set the captives free, for it is HE who sets up rulers and takes down rulers. But hatred itself is a worse master than a physical captor, and Lynn Austin captures this fact throughout her writing. If you want to really learn about the Civil War and it's effects on people, there is no better series than the Refiner's Fire series.
Just finished Fire by Night, the second in the Refiner's Fire trilogy by Lynn Austin. The first one, Candle in the Darkness, was so good, I didn't think this one could match it, but it does. This time the family is on the Union side, although few family members are actually enlisted as soldiers in the war. Class differences existed in the north, which is evidenced by the wealthy being able to "buy" their way out of serving in the Union army. I admire the way that Lynn Austin is able to cut through Christian hypocrisy and show the truth of our Savior's grace and love. The Civil War, on both sides, was very evil, and this series, is the best I have read/heard in divulging the human failures of the war. Slavery is and was absolutely wrong. And it is by divine providence that the north won the war and slavery was abolished. That said, the price that our nation paid was a grievous one, and many horrors were perpetrated by the blue and the gray.
Excellent Listen by Andrew Peterson . . . Narrated by Dick Hill . . . couldn't be better . . . two ex-marines who own their own security company are called back into action . . . double crossed by people they thought they knew . . . and chasing the worst of the worst criminals. Who can they REALLY trust?
Okay, another one for the Marines!!! Retired or not, Nathan McBride and partner, Harvey still rock! Didn't realize this was the second in the series, now I have to go back and listen to the first one. My husband and I listened to this on the road to our son's house. He's a retired Army guy. We both enjoyed the military ops terms, wouldn't be the same without it. Dick Hill nailed it with the narration. Ending was perfect.
I loved this story of the heirs to the last sultan of Singapore and the palace Kampong Glam, which I knew nothing about until I listened to The Moonlight Palace. Impressionable Agnes, the 17 year old the last heir to the estate, is both naive and brave. Her telling of life in the palace and of both sets of grandparents (upstairs and downstairs) is touching, funny, and the substance of the woman she will become. Historical fiction at its best
I can only marvel at Chester Nez' amazing memoir of growing up on the "checkerboard" as a young Navajo boy, his simple, but happy life with his family, the Navajo customs, his peaceful existence. Then he went off to boarding school, where he developed a tough outer skin and learned English, an education that, unbeknownst at the time, would later serve him well. My husband and I listened to Code Talker on a long trip to visit our kids, who live out of state. He's a retired Army Sergeant Major and we both LOVE the military and all who have served our great nation. This book especially touched us. Chester gave up all that he knew as home to serve a country that basically had displaced and taken over the Navajo nation in the past. There's none of that in this book, not a hint of bitterness. The Navajo approach to life is a simple one of love and beauty. Chester's service as a code talker in WWII caused him to break with many of his Navajo customs, such as touching dead bodies. He dealt with what we would call PTSD today, after his return following the war. The thing that I appreciated most about Code Talker is that it is the ENTIRE story of Chester Nez. It is his childhood, his service in the war and his post war experiences all the way until old age. And a marvelous story it is.
I gained an education on many levels while listening to this incredible book, one of the most descriptive accounts of life in concentration camps that I have ever read/heard. First of all, I did not know about Romania's involvement in WWII and that it joined with the Axis countries in the war (Germany, Japan, Italy). The persecution of the Jewish people began long before the war as young Seren and her siblings were routinely called "dirty jews" by their school mates, and it was ignored and accepted by her parents, who felt blissfully safe in Romania . . . even as the years, months and days grew near to the German invasion. I also first learned about the Hungarian invasion of Romania (near the border in Transylvania) from listening to The Seamstress. I was stunned to learn that part of Romania was split off from the rest and actually was reclaimed by Hungary, as Seren had to flee from Bucharest to her home near Transylvania, only to find it was surrounded by border guards. She got in. That was Seren. DETERMINED. She took the skills she had learned as a seamstress in Bucharest with her to Budapest, Hungary, where her blue eyes and light colored hair did not automatically mark her as a Jew. I never knew that Hungary was an Axis nation either until I listened to this book. Following Seren's journey from Romania to Hungary and then to Auschwitz in Germany, I was totally engrossed in her story. In telling it to her daughter-in-law, her biggest regret was the waste of all those years . . . not anger or bitterness . . . but what she could have done with her life if she'd had those years back. Oh, but what she DID for her sister, her future family, herself and for all humanity in surviving and LIVING through one of the darkest times in history.
The second in the Maisie Dobbs series is just as good as the first (apart from the change in narrator, which is definitely a downgrade). Following the Great War, Maisie continues her work as a sleuth with her assistant Billy, an injured war veteran by her side. The story centers around Mr. Waite, owner of several grocery stores who hired Maisie to find his grown daughter. She has again ran away from home. And the search turns into a tale of three murders . . . with his daughter, Charlotte soon to be the fourth. What is so amazing about the Maisie Dobbs series is that interwoven into the mysteries are wonderful tales of wartime families learning to deal with all manner of pain and adjustments to life following WWI. They are multi-layered, emotional stories that give real meaning to the period of time about which they are written, and true satisfaction at the conclusion of each book. Looking forward to number three in the series!
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