17. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa

I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits, 302 pages, read by Lisa, on 04/15/2015

Sweeping from the Central European countryside just before World War II to Paris to contemporary Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I Am Forbiddenbrings to life four generations of one Satmar family.

Opening in 1939 Transylvania, five-year-old Josef witnesses the murder of his family by the Romanian Iron Guard and is rescued by a Gentile maid to be raised as her own son. Five years later, Josef rescues a young girl, Mila, after her parents are killed while running to meet the Rebbe they hoped would save them. Josef helps Mila reach Zalman Stern, a leader in the Satmar community, in whose home Mila is raised as a sister to Zalman’s daughter, Atara. As the two girls mature, Mila’s faith intensifies, while her beloved sister Atara discovers a world of books and learning that she cannot ignore. With the rise of communism in central Europe, the family moves to Paris, to the Marais, where Zalman tries to raise his children apart from the city in which they live.

When the two  girls come of age, Mila marries within the faith, while Atara continues to question fundamentalist doctrine. The different choices the two sisters makes force them apart until a dangerous secret threatens to banish them from the only community they’ve ever known.

A beautifully crafted, emotionally gripping story of what happens when unwavering love, unyielding law, and centuries of tradition collide, I Am Forbidden announces the arrival of an extraordinarily gifted new voice and opens a startling window on a world long closed to most of us, until now.

from Goodreads.com.

13. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Sarah

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson, 338 pages, read by Sarah, on 04/12/2015

  Single Kitty and her best friend, Frieda, own a small book shop during the 1960’s.  One night after painting her bedroom, Kitty falls asleep and dreams of a wonderful family complete with loving husband and a housekeeper.  She wakes up feeling a loss for what might have been.  These dreams continue and become so real, that Kitty doesn’t want to wake up alone anymore.  This book is very good, but I figured out the plot twist early on.  This book will engage your mind and compel you to keep reading!

13. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Courtney, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier, 320 pages, read by Courtney, on 03/18/2015

1932, Sydney: the Australian government has outlawed guns, so gangsters have perfected the art of killing with razors. The most dangerous part of town, Razorhurst, is home to two rival gangs known for their ruthlessness.
Kelpie has been living on the streets for years. How many, she’s not sure. She doesn’t even know how old she is nor does she know her parents. She was raised by Old Ma until Old Ma died. Then Kelpie was raised by Old Ma’s ghost. Now, Kelpie knows enough not to trust every ghost she meets, but heads into the boarding house looking for the apples a local ghost had promised were there. Instead of apples, Kelpie finds a young woman standing over her sliced-up boyfriend. That young woman is Dymphna Campbell, Razorhurst’s top prostitute, also known as the “Angel of Death” since none of her boyfriends seem to survive. She works for the infamous Gloriana Nelson, one of the two crime bosses that have given their Sydney neighborhood its name. Dymphna and Kelpie could not possibly be any more different, but they have one major characteristic in common: they can both see and hear ghosts. Dymphna has been successful in hiding her ability; even ghosts don’t realize she can see them. Kelpie believes she’s the only one who sees them, but she’s at least learned not to speak to them in the company of other living folks. The dead man that Kelpie and Dymphna meet over is Glory’s top standover man and Dymphna’s boyfriend. And his ghost will not shut up. Kelpie wants no more to do with these people, but Dymphna has actually been hoping to meet Kelpie for a long time. Dymphna intends to take Kelpie under her wing and help to navigate life with their unique shared ability. Kelpie helps to get Dymphna away from authorities as they arrive to investigate the dead body. The girls then embark on a tense, day-long mission to elude Mr. Davidson and the authorities while not making anything worse for Glory. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll both have lives left to salvage at the end of the day.
I loved, loved, loved this book. Not only did I get to read about an era of history that I knew literally nothing about, but the story itself was great. It’s hard not to be a little wary of historical fiction that uses a supernatural element, but in this case, the ghost aspect was fascinating. The writing was fantastic; its use of period slang genuinely emphasized the sense of place. Kelpie and Dymphna are both amazing and complex characters. Even the secondary characters are fleshed out (without slowing down the plot any). The pacing is swift, especially since the entire book’s action takes place within a 24-hour time span. It never sacrifices its integrity for the sake of brevity, however. Instead, it is refreshingly concise. One gets the sense that there’s not a single wasted word. This may not be a book for everyone, but for those looking for an experience both educational and entertaining, Razorhurst will be a rare treat.

11. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Jane

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, 343 pages, read by Jane, on 03/01/2015

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

–from Goodreads.com.

10. April 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry, 351 pages, read by Leslie, on 03/14/2015

18885674 There’s a murderer on the loose—but that doesn’t stop the girls of St. Etheldreda’s from attempting to hide the death of their headmistress in this rollicking farce.

The girls attending the boarding school, Prickwillow Place, suddenly find their dreary lives fraught with murder, suspicion, and romance, as they try to determine who murdered their headmistress and her brother.  All throughout the book, the girls are identified by descriptions added to their names, so we don’t forget their shortcomings, which also turn into strengths.  Each twist and turn have the girls on edge and wondering which will come first, solving the murders, being murdered themselves, or having to return to the homes they dread.  Great read for girls.

08. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Madeline, Mystery

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, 297 pages, read by Madeline, on 03/15/2015

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins this debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart.

–from Goodreads.com.

06. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, 374 pages, read by Angie, on 04/05/2015

When a man turns up dead in the cucumbers Flavia De Luce is on the case. Flavia is the youngest daughter of the de Luce family of Buckshaw. She is fascinated with poisons and determined to find out all she can about the dead man. Her quest leads her to her father’s boyhood and a mysterious suicide at his school. It also has her delving into the world of rare stamps and the study of philately. Flavia and her trusty bike Gertrude travel around the area collecting clues and putting the story together.

This was a wonderfully quirky British mystery and a delight to listen to. I loved plucky Flavia and her eccentric family. Even though she is only eleven, she is smarter than many of those around her. I particularly enjoyed how the book unfolded; the mystery was not at all obvious and the reader learned what was going on as Flavia did. I can’t wait for her next adventure.

06. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tracy

Driving the King by Ravi Howard, 336 pages, read by Tracy, on 03/20/2015

A daring and brilliant new novel that explores race and class in 1950s America, witnessed through the experiences of Nat King Cole and his driver, Nat Weary

“Howard is a talent to watch.” —Washington Post Book World

The war is over, the soldiers are returning, and Nat King Cole is back in his hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, for a rare performance. His childhood friend, Nat Weary, plans to propose to his sweetheart, and the singer will honor their moment with a special song. But while the world has changed, segregated Jim Crow Montgomery remains the same. When a white man attacks Cole with a pipe, Weary leaps from the audience to defend him—an act that will lead to a 10-year prison sentence.

But the singer will not forget his friend and the sacrifice he made. Six months before Weary is released, he receives a remarkable offer: will he be Nat King Cole’s driver and bodyguard in L.A.. It is the promise of a new life removed from the terror, violence, and degradation of Jim Crow Alabama.

Weary discovers that, while Los Angeles is far different from the deep South, it a place of discrimination, mistrust, and intolerance where a black man—even one as talented and popular as Nat King Cole—is not wholly welcome.

An indelible portrait of prejudice and promise, friendship and loyalty, Driving the King is a daring look at race and class in pre-Civil Rights America, played out in the lives of two remarkable men.

–From Goodreads.com.

06. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Tracy

Noah Charney by Jojo Moyes, 369 pages, read by Tracy, on 03/10/2015

What happened to the girl you left behind?

In 1916, French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened…

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most – whatever the cost.

–From Goodreads.com.

01. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Noelle

The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton, 318 pages, read by Noelle, on 03/19/2015

A timeless American classic rediscovered–an unforgettable saga of a heartland family

On a farm in western Missouri during the first half of the twentieth century, Matthew and Callie Soames create a life for themselves and raise four headstrong daughters. Jessica will break their hearts. Leonie will fall in love with the wrong man. Mary Jo will escape to New York. And wild child Mathy’s fate will be the family’s greatest tragedy. Over the decades they will love, deceive, comfort, forgive–and, ultimately, they will come to cherish all the more fiercely the bonds of love that hold the family together.

01. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery

Beth's Story, 1914 by Adele Whitby, 148 pages, read by Angie, on 03/31/2015

Beth can’t wait for her 12th birthday. On that day she will finally get the famed “Elizabeth” necklace that has been passed down to every Elizabeth in her family for generations. She is also excited because her French cousins, the Troufants, are coming for her party. Her excitement changes when they arrive however. Her cousin Gabby is a snot with very little time for Beth. Beth has also had to deal with her lady’s maid leaving unexpectedly. She promoted Shannon, one of the housemaids, even though there were other maids with more experience. Then Gabby’s necklace goes missing and Shannon is accused of stealing it. Beth is determined to find out what really happened before Shannon is dismissed.

So little girls and fans of Downtown Abbey might enjoy this book, but it was a bit too simple for me and it seemed very historically inaccurate. First the mystery of the stolen necklace. I had it figured out immediately and actually couldn’t believe it took Beth as long as it did to figure out. Then there is a mystery that keeps being alluded too. Great-grandma Cicely keeps confusing the twins who started the family (Elizabeth and Katherine). It seems obvious that the two probably switched places before Elizabeth married and Katherine went to America. As for the historical inaccuracies, they made me cringe. First you have the butler basically ordering Beth around. Even I know that wouldn’t not have been done in 1914. She is the heir to the house and will one day be her boss so there is no way he would have gotten away with treating her the way he does in the book. The other things are quibbles like Shannon dressing up her uniform and the other maids sabotaging her. Plus you have the behavior of Gabby’s maid Helena, who was just horrible. I knew we were in for an interesting ride when she started giving orders to the housekeeper in front of the family. Stuff like that was just not done. I made it hard to take the book seriously and to continue reading. I think Whitby should have done a bit more research before she started writing this book. I am positive there are lots of books out there that talk about how servants behaved at the beginning of the 20th century.

31. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction

The Watcher by Joan Hiatt Harlow, 304 pages, read by Angie, on 03/29/2015

Wendy has been kidnapped from America by her mother Adrie and taken to Nazi Germany in 1942. Wendy has to quickly become acclimated to life in Germany and with Adrie. Adrie is not only German but a Nazi spy as well. She is devoted to the Fuhrer and firmly believes the Nazi propaganda. Wendy is not so sure and her experiences don’t bring her any closer to Adrie’s beliefs. Wendy rescues a German Shepherd puppy from being killed for not being a mean enough police dog. She also volunteers at a Lebansborn house where children are taken to become the future of the Aryan state. At the Lebansborn, Wendy meets Johanna who is being reeducated for not giving up her religious beliefs. Wendy also becomes friends with a blind boy named Barrett whose grandfather Opa knew Wendy’s father. When Wendy decides she has to leave Germany, Opa is the one to get her out.

This was a different take than most WWII historical fiction books for kids in that it shows the German side of the war. Wendy has a tough time acclimating because she is not used to the restrictions on thought and speech that the Nazis required of the people. Part of me wishes Wendy had been Germany and come to the realization that she couldn’t live with what the Nazis were doing. I think that would have been even more powerful. As it was this was a really good book about life inside Nazi Germany.

30. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tammy

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, 301 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/26/2015

Newly widowed, Henry Lee is returning to visit the neighborhood where he grew up when he comes across a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel. The hotel sits on the corner between what was once Chinatown on one side and Japantown on the other side. It has been boarded up since the fifties but is now being restored. The new owners make an incredible discovery. In the basement they find the belongings of Japanese families who were rounded up and sent to Internment camps during World War II. After Pearl Harbor all those of Japanese decent even second generation American’s are suspected of being spies for the enemy. Families tried to save possessions with value and personal meaning with friends or in storage of businesses owned by those sympathetic to them.

Seeing the new owners of the hotel open a Japanese parasol takes Henry back in time to the 1940s when his world was a jumble of confusion. His father who experienced war with the Japanese in his homeland of China as a boy is obsessed with the war and making sure Henry grows up to be an American. Henry’s parents send him to the exclusive Rainier Elementary where he is the only non-white student. At best the kids ignore home at worst he is harassed and beaten up. Until one day while working in the cafeteria he meets another scholarship student, Keiko Okabe. She is a young Japanese American who doesn’t even understand Japanese when her parents speak it. Through this troubled time Henry and Keiko form a lasting friendship.

Now it is forty years later and Henry is certain the parasol belonged to Keiko. He begins a search for her families belongings in the packed dusty basement of the hotel while dealing with the lose of his wife six months ago and reconnecting with his son.

23. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fiction, Historical Fiction · Tags:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, 531 pages, read by Angie, on 03/21/2015

My mom recommended this book to me and I am so glad I finally read it. It is a powerful story, told beautifully. It is a story of love and loss and survival and death. It is the story of two children coming of age during WWII. Marie-Laure is a beloved daughter of a Paris museum locksmith. She has grown up surrounded by the museum and all its treasures. When she goes blind her father builds a replica of their neighborhood so she can find her way around. He also spoils her with little puzzles and treasures. Warner is an orphan living in a children’s home in a mining town in Germany. He is mechanically brilliant, building a radio from scratch and repairing things in the town. He fears being sent to work in the mines and dying like his father. He is protective of his younger sister Jutta, but doesn’t really know how to help them. When he is given the opportunity to attend a Nazi technical school he jumps at the chance. School is a lot more brutal than he thought it would be, but he finds a way to survive.

Marie-Laure and Warner’s stories are told alternatively through their childhood and the present day at the end of the war. They both end up in Saint-Malo on the French coast. Marie-Laure and her father have fled Paris ahead of the Nazi occupation and taken up residence with her great uncle Etienne. Her uncle was traumatized by WWI and doesn’t leave the house; he suffers bouts of PTSD that leave him hiding in his room for days. Marie-Laure’s father again builds a model of the neighborhood so she can find her way about, but then he disappears. Warner has become part of a radio unit that hunts down insurgents. Their quest has led them to Saint-Malo. Little does he know that the radio broadcasts giving out information to the French resistance is the same one he listened to as a child on his homemade radio. Etienne has again taken to the airwaves after being convinced by his housekeeper to join the fight. Warner is intrigued by the blind girl he sees coming out of the house and finds himself protective of her and Etienne. Their stories intersect during the last days in Saint-Malo as it is being bombed by the Allies.

Interspersed with all of this is the story of the Sea of Flames, a singular blue diamond with a heart of fire. It has traveled the world before ending up in the Paris museum. It is said to be cursed, offering immortality to its bearer but death to all those you love. Marie-Laure’s father was entrusted with its safe keeping when he fled Paris. A Nazi officer has been pursuing it across France as he also evaluates other jewels confiscated by the Nazis. He is dying and is determined to get the jewel in the hopes of saving his life. His search leads him right to the door of Marie-Laure.

I loved this book and really had a hard time putting it down. It is beautifully written and Marie-Laure and Warner came alive on the page. I couldn’t wait to see how their stories would finally intersect. This book really brought out the lives of ordinary people in the war. Even though Marie-Laure and Warner are extraordinary in their own ways, there stories are ones shared by others during that time. They are doing what they can to survive and remain themselves. I thought the ending was perfect. It wasn’t a happy ending, yet it was in many ways. This book is definitely worthy of all the praise that has been heaped upon it.

19. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction

The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher by Jessica Lawson, 224 pages, read by Angie, on 03/15/2015

Becky Thatcher has just moved to St. Petersburg, MO. The family is grieving the death of her brother Jon. Mrs. Thatcher has withdrawn almost completely from her family and Judge Thatcher has thrown himself into work. Becky is determined to honor her promise to Jon and have as many adventures as possible. She becomes friends with Amy Lawrence and Sid Sawyer almost immediately. She also makes an enemy of Tom Sawyer when he tattles on her and gets her in trouble. Becky takes part in a bet the boys have about who can steal something from the Widow Douglas who everyone believes is a witch. Trouble starts when Widow Douglas is accused of grave robbing. Becky and Amy know it was actually the notorious Pritchard Brothers who did the grave robbing and Becky decides she has to find a way to clear Widow Douglas’s name.

This was an interesting alternative preview to Mark Twain’s books. Lawson takes a lot of aspects of the the Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn stories and gives them a backstory. Sam Clemens himself is staying at the Widow Douglas’ house while his steamboat is being repaired. He collects the stories around him for his future books. I liked the fact that a lot of the adventures Tom Sawyer ends up having in Twain’s books are imagined as the adventures of Becky Thatcher. In this book, Tom Sawyer is a tattle tale and brown noser who has no friends whereas Becky is the adventurer who brings down the Pritchard Brothers. It was a nice twist.

18. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction

The Zoo at the Edge of the World by Eric Kahn Gale, 240 pages, read by Angie, on 03/14/2015

Marlin is a stutterer and has a lot of problems communicating with people. He has no problems talking to the animals in his father’s zoo however. Marlin’s dad is the famous adventurer Ronan Rackham and he created The Zoo at the Edge of the World in the Amazon jungle. The Zoo attracts wealthy tourists from Europe who come to see the amazing jungle animals and wild circus. Ronan’s latest capture is a jaguar the locals believe is a man-eater. Marlin is drawn to the jaguar and one evening while he is talking to it the jaguar talks back. Suddenly, Marlin can hear all the animals talking and they can understand him as well. This comes in handy when he has to save the zoo from his tyrannical, bullying brother, his crazy father and the scheming duke who is trying to encroach on the jungle.

I was intrigued by the premise of a zoo in the jungle during Victorian times. It is an interesting and plausible idea as the world was expanding for people during that time. Adventurers were discovering parts of the world never before seen by Europeans. I also liked the idea of a Marlin learning to deal with his communication problems and the fact that he is bullied by his brother. Talking animals I can do without, mainly because I thought it took away from the reality of the rest of the story.

18. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa

Seven Stories Up by Seven Stories Up, 240 pages, read by Lisa, on 03/16/2015

In this companion to Bigger than a Bread Box, a leap back in time and an unlikely friendship changes the future of one family forever.

Annie has never even met her grandmother before.  In fact, she’s never had much family to speak of.  So when she and her mother pull into the drive of her grandmother’s home in Baltimore, Annie can hardly contain her excitement!

But when she actually meets her grandma, the bitter old woman doesn’t seem like someone Annie could ever love, or miss.  Until one magical, stormy night changes everything.

It’s impossible that Annie could have jumped back in time. . . right? But here she is in 1937— the year her grandmother was just her age!

Molly is an invalid. She lives by herself, on the top floor of a hotel.  She seems a little lonely, but friendly and fun, nothing like the horrible old woman Annie just met.

Annie entices Molly down from her room, and together the two girls roam. They sneak around the grand hotel, and explore the brick streets of old Baltimore. Carnivals and taxis, midnight raids on the kitchen.  The two grow closer.

But as Molly becomes bolder, and ventures further from the safety of her room, Annie begins to wonder how she’ll ever get back home. Maybe she’s changed the past a little too much.

From Goodreads.com.

12. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa, Mystery

Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng, 297 pages, read by Lisa, on 03/11/2015

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins this debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart.

From Goodreads.com.

05. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

Circle of Stones by Catherine Fisher, 298 pages, read by Angie, on 03/04/2015

Bladud is a Druid king forced out into the wilderness because of an illness. After wondering in the wilderness he finds a healing spring that cures his illness. He builds a temple to the goddess Sulis in appreciation for her healing. He erects a circle of stones and his people return to him.

Zac is apprenticed to architect Jonathan Forrest who is going to build the King’s Circus in Bath. Forrest is obsessed with druids and designs the Circus to mimic ancient druid structures. Zac is down on his luck after his father gambled away their fortune. He resents his lack of means and being the assistant to a mad man like Forrest. He has to decide if he is loyal to his master or to his idea of who he should be.

Sulis has just moved to Bath and into one of the houses on the Circus. There was a tragedy in her past that has put her in witness protection for the last ten years. Bath offers a fresh start with new foster parents in a new city and a new name. However, she believes she is being stalked by the man from her past. She has to come to terms with the truth of her past in order to create a new future.

These three stories all revolve around the same place but are very different. I thought some of the stories worked better than others. I loved Sulis’s tale and thought the reveal about the tragedy in her past was really well done. I like how her story tied in the story of the Circus and the other two characters. I wasn’t that interested in Zac’s story mainly because I really didn’t like him as a character. I wanted more information about Forrest and less whining from Zac. Bladud’s story was the briefest with the least amount of details. The three characters each had their own style of chapters with different fonts and styles of writing. I was also occasionally thrown by the probably historically accurate spelling, punctuation and writing of the Zac chapters. I thought this was an interesting, different type of novel and quite enjoyed the uniqueness of it even if I didn’t enjoy every part as much as the whole.

03. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Madeline

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, 384 pages, read by Madeline, on 02/10/2015

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

From Goodreads.com.