I have really enjoyed this series. Part of it is the narrator, John Keating. His knowledge of the accents in both Northern Ireland and in the south are a true delight. Having spent a fair amount of time in the North, and knowing the places where the book is set is part of the fun.
But, one doesn't need to have visited there to have many a chuckle over these books. The characters are great; Taylor has a love for both the area and the people. This was my least favorite of the series, but it was still a very good read. I learned a lot about how medicine was practiced in the 1930's. Also, Dr. O'Reilly's personality really takes shape in this book.
If you are looking for deeply meaningful books, this series is not for you. But if you want a rolicking good time, with characters who will remain with you, then give this a try.
Freedom's Stand was a book I read in just over a day. The subject of Afghanistan and the plight of women and children has long been a passion.
The Christian element also interested me, as I know there are some who have accepted the message of Christ. Yet, I did not want a preachy book. Maudlin and sentimental Christian writing leaves me gagging. There was no fear with this book.
Jamil, a health worker who had dreamed of being a doctor became a Christian, but tried to be careful in the way he spread his beliefs so as not to hurt others. He had been a suicide bomber whose mission did not succeed. Add his American friend Amy, also a Christian and a passionate but slightly naïve young woman to the mix and things get more interesting. She wants to bring education and gainful employment to the women of Afghanistan. Her efforts are continually thwarted by the way things work in a society which looks at women as property. Amy grows considerably during the story.
An American contracted to provide security to various people meets Amy and becomes embroiled in her world. All three characters grow and the book comes to an intense and sad and happy conclusion. I don't want to give any spoilers, but some of the ending is really sad, yet also fits the story.
I really enjoyed this book a lot, though I was taking a chance in my mind. I would suggest you read it if you have an interest in the middle east and its complex nature.
The narrator did quite a good job with the book and I would definitely listen to another book done by her.
This is one of Shute's very best. He is an overlooked writer, whose characters are usually unforgettable.
Jean is an ordinary girl, who goes to work in Malay as a secretary before WWII. She is a girl of simple wants, who doesn't stand out as extremely noble or heroic. Yet when she and a number of other women and children are captured by the Japanese during the war, she shines. In her quiet way, she takes charge and becomes a person she would never has expected.
The Japanese guard who ends up guarding the dwindling group as they wander through the jungles is really sort of lovable in a way, and is a great touch.
When the women meet a group of Australian prisoners, the really interesting part begins. But the war ends, and Jean goes out to Australia to say thank you to her Ausie soldier,'s family, as she thinks he died trying to help her and the other women and children. Finding him alive brings the story to a new level.
The story is told by Jean's solicitor (lawyer) who follows her story closely, and becomes like part of her family. It is told with attention to detail, but with little aggrandizement of the main characters.
I love Shute's characters, because they are ordinary people who must rise to challenges they never thought to face. He writes with a gentle humor and a great understanding of people.
Robin Bailey was a bit tough some times as the narrator. He did a lot of breathing, but the story is so wonderful that I got past it. He actually turned out to be not too bad. I'd really give him about a 3.7, but couldn't do that in the ratings. This is a book I've read twice and will likely read again. There is romance, but like all of Shute, it is understated.
One learns a lot about Australia in the late 1940's, and it is fascinating. Shute was an Englishman who grew disgusted with his country's socialism post war, and moved his family to Australia in the early 1950's. His love for his adopted country is obvious.
The selection of prayers are varied; some from Scripture and some from Crhristian prayer books.
There is no character; well, God, I guess!
Michael York reads with gentleness and warmth. You can't get that from a book. Also, the music is so peaceful; it makes the prayerful state easier.
You could not make a film.
My husband was also impressed, and asked me to put it on his device.
I've only listened to the audio, but Orla Casidy was wonderful!
I liked Maisie's search to find what she really wanted out of life, but found myself getting mad at her decisions sometimes.
She is always exceptional.
I Don't Know Where I'm Going.
I have loved this series. Winspear has made the period of the first World War through the early 1930's come alive. Her characters are wonderful. I don't always understand Maisie, but that's okay. I hope there is another book, because I don't want the series to end with this book and it's nonresolution of things. I think it was the most thought provoking of the books, but frustrating for me.
I'd listen again because I loved the story and the narrator did it way more than justice.
I loved Becky, but her husband Mike was a true prince of a guy.
The end. It was truly not what I expected, yet made complete sense.
I was not expecting the scene which caused Becky so much grief. The book began as so funny, but turned more serious.
I've often wondered how a marriage withstands and thrives in spite of a close platonic friendship/love. Having had a few of those relationships, I found this book wonderful. The balancing act Becky lives, and her unshakable love for husband and children, and her steadfast clinging to the faith which she holds so firm are refreshing. I suppose many would find this book silly. It is, if you are accustomed to gritty novels where deceit and cheating are the norm. But, if you are a fan of Austen, and other writers where character is important, you'll enjoy this book. The narrator seemed to have fun reading it, which made it come alive.
Our pastor spoke about this book in one of his sermons, and suggested we read it, so we did. My husband and I listened to it separately, and he found it more interesting than I. I did enjoy it, but wish he had written more.
It was instructive that Alexander was pretty much a skeptic, and that his life truly changed after his experience. Of most importance to us was his incredible recovery from an illness which should have been fatal. The fact that brain function was so minimal for such a long time, 7 days, and the memories Alexander had from that week are incredible! His appeal is to the skeptic and the person needed scientific proof. For me, that is not necessary, and so I guess I wanted more details about his time and what he learned.
There is a realization Alexander has which is near the end of the book which is really awesome. If you want a book full of Scripture and specific discussions about how to better one's life here on earth, or a list of Christian only terms, it is not there. The author deepened his Christian faith as a result of his amazing week, but I think the desire was to reach many who are not of a particular belief. We are buying a copy for an agnostic brother for Christmas.
This is worth the read, and the author does an excellent job. I would have given this a 4.4 if possible.
Call the Midwife was a truly gripping book for me. I am interested in birth and so reading about how births were conducted 60 years ago was so fascinating.
Yet, Jennifer Worth's story went far beyond that of the stories of the births she attended. It was the story of her maturing as a nurse and midwife, and of her strongly held notions about what was right and acceptable being challenged. She began her midwifery training at an Anglican convent in the dockland area of London's East End with not much more than disdain for people who were strongly motivated by love of God and called to service because of it. She grew to understand the women who mentored her, and to respect the ones whom she wrote off as just nasty or odd in the beginning. Seeing her dawning understanding of faith was lovely.
She also learned so much from the families of the poor and down trodden of an area so different from what she knew before.
Some of the stories she tells in this book are hilariously funny, and others are completely heartbreaking and painful to read. Worth certainly was a gifted storyteller, reminiscent of James Herriott. I hope the other books she wrote will be released on Audible soon.
Nicola Barber is a competent narrator, and not one who will put me off a book, so I was okay at first. But, I was very surprised; she seemed to really enjoy doing this book, and the characters came alive through her excellent narration. I was very pleased!
I don't think guys should be put of by a book about birthing babies, just as Herriott's books are more about the people than the animals. Give it a go.
I have read all of the Irish Country series, and have enjoyed each one. No, they are not great literature, but each one makes you feel like you are right there in this little Northern Ireland town in the 1960's.
As I have spent several weeks right in that area, and know how beautiful and delightful a place it is, I feel like I've gone back for a visit each time I read another installment. Taylor makes the characters believable and it is also interesting to see where medicine was at that time, compared to now. Sometimes I wish there were still more doctors who used common sense and could know their patients as the two doctors in these books did.
John Keating is a fave of mine. I gave these 4 stars, but would really give them more of a 4.3 or so. I needed a chill out book last week, and this was perfect. Keating brings the characters to life, and that makes this and all the series more fun than just reading them conventionally.
I have neveer been good at praying the rosary. This version keeps me focused, and my mind doesn't wander. Martin is very British, and that may bug some people. But, for me, his very matter of fact and rather commanding voice work. I use this most days.
If you are looking for reflections with the rosary, then this is not for you. But I stop the player at the beginning of each decade and pray for what I am led to pray. The prayers at the end of each rosary are a slightly different translation, which I am growing to like.
I wouldn't say this was an outstanding book, but it was very sweet. The author obviously knows something of a NICU, which made it more interesting. The mistaken identity used was interesting.
The book was not very expensive, and it was a much needed light read during a very stressful time. Not all reading can be totally intense or even engrossing. This will fill a nice rainy afternoon. The narrator was very good.
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