I've read (and loved) a few of Tracy Chevalier's books, and this was the first one I've read (or listened to) that is set outside Europe. The story is told from the heroine's point of view, which is similar to other Chevalier books. A lot of the action of the story is presented through letters, which have the effect of advancing the story line rapidly, but which (for me) distanced me from the story. As a result, I never developed as much empathy as I wanted to for the heroine.
Ms. Chevalier's choice of setting, in southwestern Ohio, near the town of Wilberforce, was somewhat odd from my point of view. Since the college was founded for African American students by the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was located in a racially mixed community, I found it odd that there was only one continuing black character in the story. It seemed to me that Ms. Chevalier missed the opportunity to take advantage of the setting she selected. Also, having read a lot about the underground railroad and the period in which the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, I found it unlikely that so many runaway slaves were seen during daylight, even in Ohio. The story is similar to The Runaway Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini, down to its emphasis on quilts. Overall, I was somewhat disappointed by the book.
This entry into what is becoming its own genre, "Alternate Austen", is charming and sees Mr. Darcy make a profound difference in the entire Bennett family. The narrator is rather annoying, and appears to "ham it up" to an more than is necessary. The story itself is well done and ties up all the loose ends it creates. It calls itself a farce, but the characters' behavior seemed no more unlikely than it might have been in Austen's orIginal setting. The characters possessed the same foibles and eccentricities they had in the original, and with few exceptions, the conventions of early 19th Century British society as revealed to us by Austen, Bronte, and others are maintained. I do have a couple of quibbles with the plot which made the book less satisfying for me, however. ***Spoiler Alert*** I didn't like the fact that the quite nasty Caroline Bingley ended up with the dashing Colonel Fitzwilliam, and that the blameless Charlotte Lucas virtually disappeared from the story after not marrying Mr. Collins. Also, the prolonged courtship of Darcy and Elizabeth seemed unnecessary after all the time they spent together (or spent obsessed with one another) while he was incapacitated. Also, while including the somewhat prolonged courtship and maintaining the trip to Derbyshire with the Gardiners, no delicious details of the courtship were included, and I missed them.****End Spoiler Alert***. All in all, a good, fun take on the P&P saga, but not as satisfying as it might have been, in my humble opinion.
This story provides a touching glimpse into love, loss and responsibility. Matt King is the scion of old Hawaii money, it it appears that he has it all: a lovely wife, two daughters, a career, and the decision making power over a prime piece of Kauai'i real estate. But then he doesn't have it all: The wife has a disastrous accident, the daughters are troubled, and the responsibility of the decision seems to be coming at a difficult time for him personally. The narrator's tone is perfect, and captures the sense of the main character's emotional muddle. I had seen the movie, and started to skip the book, but while the movie is very faithful to the book, the book itself seems to suspend time while the family is living through its trauma.
I thought I knew Oz, from years of loving the various versions of the movie, the plays, and reading Wicked. Not! L. Frank Baum's story is more complex, less scary, and more thought- provoking than the movie, and I plan to read more of the series as a result. Someone said to me "This was the 'Harry Potter' series of its era", and I can see how! Ann Hathaway's narration was terrific!
This is a fascinating journalistic account of how the deadly, and usually rare BRCA gene occurs among populations who don't know they have Jewish ancestry. The story is told unflinchingly, with numerous digressions into history, science, and religious belief that add dimension and context. It is also (unwittingly) a pretty chilling indictment of the poor quality of our science education in K-12, and the consequences that can have on insular or marginalized populations. Although the author attributes the failure of the young woman to seek any conventional treatment for her disease to stubbornness and religious conviction, the major underpinning is a lack of adequate science education. The narrator gets mixed reviews from me. While her voice was wonderful, her many mispronunciations of Spanish and Indian words and names was distracting. Overall, the book was well worth the credit!
Seton's portrayal of Katherine Swynford is of a strong and resourceful woman who made choices about her own life rather than waiting for someone else to make choices for her. The historical context is well done, and Seton's characters really come alive.
I began reading this thinking, "Oh-oh, I've made a mistake. Another book about war and bloodshed, totally aimed for the male reader" Not that guys shouldn't read, you understand. It's just that the books I like and those my husband and brother enjoy are usually quite different. Wrong! This book does concentrate on male characters, and lays most of its foundation at West Point in the early 19th Century. And there is a fair bit of war and preparation for it. But the characterization is done so well, and the interplay between historical events and both fictional and historical figures was so skillfully done, it was hard to put down. The performance was only OK, maybe because his attempt at Southern female narration was annoying, at least to me. Why would women be the only ones with Southern drawls, when at least half the characters were from the South? This one point aside, however, the book is magnificent, and well worth the credit.
This book is masterfully done, expertly researched, and wonderfully read. The best analysis of the inner workings of Lincoln's presidency and character I have ever read, and I fancy myself a history buff. Lots of paeans to Lincoln have been written, as his was probably the most important presidency in the relatively brief history of the US. What makes this book special is that Goodwin puts Lincoln into context so thoroughly that it becomes easier to understand why he might have acted as he did, and what the consequences of his actions were, not only on events, but on those who came into contact with him. In a time of " me first" politics and politicians (and what times aren't?), Lincoln never let his ego override his objectives. A wonderful character study!
This installment of the Amelia Peabody Emerson adventure/mystery series is funny, moves well, and is completely entertaining, thanks to Barbara Rosenblatt's wonderful narration. My only regrets are **Spoiler Alert ** the absence of Ramses from most of the adventure and the apparent demise of the "Master Criminal". These books are like candy, hard to put down!
This is more like a novella than a full- length book. I picked it up on sale, as much because Davina Porter was the performer as anything else, and I love her narration. The story was charming, if somewhat predictable, and I loved the characters. A quick read!
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