Monday, December 29, 2014

The Patmos Deception

The title of this book got my attention because Patmos is where the Apostle John received his revelation from God.  Thinking that a story could be written involving a deception surrounding Patmos is intriguing.  The book does not disappoint.  While no blockbuster, it is well written and the characters have plenty of depth to hold you to the story.  Without giving away the plot (I hope!) I will say the aspect of stolen Greek art and treasures is an alluring subject which makes for a meaty narrative. The descriptions of the scenery on the Greek Isles is well done and pleasant reading.
 Carey Mathers is led to Athens with the offer of a job at the prestigious Athens Institute for Antiquities. A lifelong desire to visit Greece, especially Patmos, fuels her acceptance of the offer.  Nick Hennessy is a journalist longing for a big story to propel him to the journalistic forefront.  Dimitri Rubinos is a Greek whose life and living are on the Greek Isles.  The economic crisis in Greece threatens his livelihood and the intersection of these three people is well blended.
The author makes use of the recent crash of the Greek economic system weaving it into the personal story of the characters and the plot, making the story timely.  I was a little disappointed with the ending;  it felt a little drab compared to the wild ride the characters take up to that point.  It is almost solved too easily.  This novel has everything needed for a "good read" and is well written but not completely absorbing.  But then, it doesn't have to be.  A good book can be just that and be worthy of the reader's interest.  I recommend The Patmos Deception for that reason.  It's a good book.  Davis Bunn is an award winning novelist because he writes good books well and we want to read them.  You can add this to your list.  I give The Patmos Deception four stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.

Friday, December 19, 2014

the christmas train

David Baldacci writes a mildly humorous (makes you smile or slightly chuckle, which is a good thing) story of a journalist, Tom Langdon,  riding the train from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles during the Christmas season.  The reason he is on the train, as opposed to taking a flight on an airplane, is a hilariously familiar scenario that many, if not most of us can easily relate to.  I'll say, if you have flown in the past ten years then you will get it!
The reason he is traveling during Christmas is to spend the holidays with his girlfriend (part-time) in L.A.  The trip is mostly taken on the Southwest Chief; just the name makes me want to hop a train and have an adventure out west!  During this journey he meets a cast of odd and funny people also riding the Chief.  They bring their own set of quirks and eccentricities that only add to the fun and misadventure-or maybe I should say they add fun to the mis-adventure!
Tom is a burned out journalist who has spent some years traveling the world to cover war, famine, political unrest, natural disaster and the like.  He laid that down to write what the author calls "drearily light" articles on gardening, home decorating, etc.  This did give him some peace and quiet but no challenge there.  He is challenged however by his dying father, to write the story he is living on the train, so to speak. It has some history I will leave for you to discover, which adds to the charm of this novel.   He is taking the trip and writing about his journey cross-country on a train at Christmas time.  This is just the book you need to read if you want some relaxing calm and quietude with an upbeat feeling.  It will put you in the Christmas mood.
The Christmas Train was published in 2002 and I pulled it off the shelf of my personal collection to read again.  Glad I did!  I give the christmas train five stars!
I hope you and yours have the merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Years!  See you soon.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

David and Bathsheba

Roberta Kells Dorr wrote this timeless story of two of God's people, one a king and one a commoner, as the passionate emotional ride that it surely was.  She takes us on the intense life voyage of King David and Bathsheba, who shared a love born out of mutual attraction but fulfilled in sin.  I love to read fiction taken from the Bible and fleshed out with what may have been the circumstances surrounding a story.  I like to read about the culture of the time when the story was taking place.  What I love most is that these stories are history, written down in God's word.  I appreciate that she wrote this book in several distinct parts, detailing the events from each of the main characters perspective.  She begins the book with Bathsheba's grandfather Ahithophel, who raised her.  Knowing the history of the characters coming together and how they arrived at the same place at the same time is engaging.  Add to that the knowledge that this is God's story and His will is always accomplished makes the book come alive as you see Him work in both their lives. Most moving for me was the point when David realized his wrongdoing to others were sins were against God and he needed His forgiveness.  In joy with the realization that God did not intend for him to carry his guilt forever and had made a way for David to be forgiven and his sins atoned, he prayed what we know as Psalm 51,
Purge me with hyssop, Lord, that I may be clean;
Wash me that I may be whiter than snow.
Rescue me from blood-guiltiness, O God.
Create in me a clean heart
And renew a right spirit within me.

This book is a well written retelling of a powerful time in our history as Christians.  It is engaging and easy to read, yet has the depth that holds the readers attention.  I give David and Bathsheba five stars!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, River North, a division of Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.
Read more about the author at Roberta Kells Dorr or Moody Publishers.

Friday, November 28, 2014

21 Things the Devil Cannot Do

No, I will not list the 21 things!  Ha!  Duane Vander Klok has written a demonic expose' on Satan that arms us, as Christians, to banish his strongholds on us forever.  He points out that we frequently react "in fear and panic" when we should be using the authority of Jesus Christ to make him flee. 
The author enumerates the long list of tools we already have in our box and gives us the biblical insight to put those to use.  Written in an easy to read, almost conversational manner, Duane takes us through such topics as Sizing Up the Enemy, where he presents the basics of the Devil's limitations.  He reminds us (or informs us) that Satan cannot read our mind, cannot predict the future and is not "omni-anything!"  The victory is already ours through the blood of Christ and we need to live like it is.  He discusses spiritual laws the Devil cannot break, things the Devil cannot do to believers, and signs of "Demon Trouble."  He further discusses how to expose the enemy's weaknesses.  He includes a chapter on uncovering the enemy's tactics. 
This is a thorough and concise discussion of defeating Satan's hold on our life.  The examples and illustrations are well written and recognizable.  Yes, there most definitely is a list of 21 things and it is worth reading and considering.   This book is a useful resource with enough scripture to illustrate each point.  I would have liked even more scripture reference which I feel would have aided me in my own study and reading.  As in many books of this nature, the author is drawing us a picture of "things" we may already know from the Bible but do not always take to heart for use in our Christian walk.  I appreciated the reminder of the power I already have to defeat the Devil's influence in my life and any stronghold he may have over me.  This is recommended reading in my opinion.  I give 21 Things the Devil Cannot Do four stars.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher, Chosen, in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.
Learn more about this author at his site Duane Vander Klok

21 Things the Devil Cannot Do by Duane Vander Klok

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Every Valley

Advent with the Scriptures of Handel's Messiah is the subtitle of this book.  It is a compilation of the scriptures that Handel's Messiah are taken from.  This devotional was written to be used during the advent season with each of forty writings taking us through the thirty or so days prior to Christmas.  If you have ever heard the Hallelujah Chorus then you have heard the most listened to part of the Messiah.  There is much more to the composition than the chorus, including the story of Christ through His birth, life, death and resurrection.  The devotionals are made up of a section of scripture with a brief reflection on that portion and the hope it holds for us as Christians.  Much of the Messiah was taken from Isaiah, but also scriptures from Zechariah, Psalms, Corinthians, Luke, Hebrews and Revelation.  Each section also lists the movement at which each scripture reference can be heard in the music.  It is recommended that you may enjoy listening to each movement before reading that corresponding scripture and devotional. Every Valley really is a study in what Handel was trying to accomplish when he wrote the Messiah.   The separation into parts makes it easy to pick up each day where you left off the day before.  Part 1 is Christ's Birth and It's Foretelling; Part 2 is Christ's Passion and Resurrection; Part 3 is Christ's Eternal Reign.  I have never heard the entire Messiah performed and this book makes me think I would like to hear it all.  I appreciated the quote given by Albert Blackwell in the forward of the book, in which Handel, after being congratulated on Messiah as "noble entertainment" for his listeners, replied  "I should be sorry if I only entertained them, I wish to make them better."  The Messiah is God's word for us, given in love, set to music.  This is a book that will encourage you to reflect on God's gift to us at this Christmas season.  This devotional was compiled by Jessica Miller Kelly with multiple contributors.
I was given a complimentary e-book review copy by the publisher, Westminster John Knox Press, in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.
Every Valley

Friday, November 7, 2014

America - Turning a Nation to God

In this compelling call from Dr. Tony Evans, he challenges Christians to live out the word from God spoken to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7-10 saying, "...if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 
This is exactly what we need and Dr. Evans book gives much to work with toward Christians uniting to ask that forgiveness and receiving healing for our land.  He does an excellent job of pointing out that the church has lost it's saltiness and no longer has the influence in America that it once had.  We have given up trying in many instances.  He also includes specific resources for churches to utilize in becoming united for the cause of serving a suffering world and regaining our influence.  He tells of spending an afternoon with Billy Graham and during their talk "...Dr. Graham leaned toward me in his chair and voiced his frustrations on how churches would come together for the sake of evangelism but then go back to their own disconnected corners after his event had ended.  If these churches were kingdom minded, he postulated, their collective impact in the community would have been ongoing." pp.139.  Pointing out that Christians are best and most effective when united, not when sitting in their own corners.
There is much to read in this book about uniting across church boundaries to be effective once again in our country.  I especially appreciated the background and history he gave of how the Israelites ended up where they were when God gave that word to Solomon and how that is relevant to us today.
This book is easy to read and I commend Dr. Evans for tackling a huge and important topic and laying it out in simple terms.  We tend to think if the answer is not complex, then it can't be the right answer.  But, is that not exactly what we are called to?  Childlike faith with heartfelt prayer is what we are called to.
This is a very good read and I highly recommend it.  In fact, I give America five stars!
Look for it's release from Moody in January 2015.
I was given a complementary e-book copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.
Read more at the link I have included below.

America Turning a Nation to God

America: Turning a Nation to God   -     By: Tony Evans

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Sea Captain's Wife

Beth Powning has written in novel form the life of a sea captain's wife.  There were those who sailed with their husbands and those who stayed behind, waiting for his return.   This book gives the narrative as taken from extensive historical research but written with such heart that I felt the story in my bones!  Azuba Galloway is the heroine in this tale.  She sails with her husband Nathanial on his merchant ship, the Traveller.  Bringing along their young daughter Carrie, on a life changing journey, they set sail from Whelan's Cove, New Brunswick.  A typical voyage for a ship such as this one would be 2 years.  That is enough time to see life, death and birth!  Azuba longs for the sea and the freedom it brings.  Nathaniel longs to keep her safe from the savagery and violence of life on the high seas.  She convinces him to take her and Carrie along, as many captains take their wives and children.  Ms. Powning writes these characters with passion and humanity. The intensity of emotions is almost exhausting! You will not soon forget the lives of these seafarers and families.  I could barely put it down for the compelling writing that brings these characters right off the page.  Set in the 1860s, during the sunset of the Age of Sail we read of the passing of a way of life that was the lifeblood for many a sailor and captain.  This is a masterpiece of stellar fiction.  I give The Sea Captain's Wife five stars!  Read more about this fascinating life and more of Beth Powning's works at the links I have included below.
Beth Powning
Maritime History of the United States


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This is the story of a small island in England that was occupied by the Germans during WWII.  The Literary Society started quite by accident but filled a need in a bleak time.  I liked the characters well enough and the variety of personalities that were each a part of the book gave it needed depth.  However, not quite enough depth for my taste.  Without giving away the plot let me just say the story is told in a series of letters written back and forth.  The letters come to be written because one of the main personalities in the story has been tasked with writing a series of articles about life on the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation.  The book moves along fairly well as varied people are drawn into the letter writing via word of mouth or references to the young lady writing the articles; people who lived through that time want to write her with their experiences.  It does have a good amount of situations that made me chuckle.  It has a well written romantic development.  The letters are written just the way we would have a conversation and are easy to read; in other words, the way we used to write letters to one another.  Despite all this, I just couldn't get into the story, for lack of a better way to put it.  In fact I did not finish this book, which was disappointing to me but I stayed with it halfway through, wanting to give it a good run!  So, knowing that I was not engaged in it I committed the unpardonable literary sin;  I skipped to the back and read the ending.  This did not give me satisfaction.  The end is merely the last letters written by the main characters to and from one another.  Since I gave it up many pages before that, the importance of the ending was mostly lost on me because of developments in the last half of the book, which I did not read!  This book was published in 2009 and I have read rave reviews for it.  So, don't take my word for it.  What I write here is only what I think.  Get it and read it if you want.  Many reader reviews gave it 4 to 4 1/2 stars.  I give The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society 3 stars.
See you soon!
Book cover

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant

How do I begin? The story itself is a bookfull! Let me start by saying this is the book of Ezra personified for the contemporary reader.  Lynn Austin has written Book 2 of the Restoration Chronicles with an eye to the human story behind the story.  God's story, as recorded in the two books I mentioned has so many lessons for us about His covenant relationship, his mercy, obedience to God's law, but it also documents the history of the return of all the of Jews from exile and captivity in Babylon.  Keepers of the Covenant relates the return of that remnant that did not go back the first time.  It is filled with God's people trying to do the right thing.  The author writes believable characters that speak to the reader in their human flaws and foibles.  It reads easily and moves smoothly from chapter to chapter.  I had a difficult time reading the story of Reuben, a Jewish boy who's father is killed in the battle on the 13th of Adar.  The story begins with Haman convincing King Xerxes to have all Jews annihilated.  A second decree allows the Jews to defend themselves.  None the less, Reuben's father is killed in that battle.  The ensuing anger on Reuben's part was hard to read but very convincing.  He turns to a life of thievery and drinking.  Ms. Austin writes this book as it may have been (probably was) lived.  She does a good job of writing so we can relate to it.  My only criticism would be that the author sometimes writes the dialogue and situations in a modern frame of mind and language making it a little confusing.
It stands out as an example of God's mercy and grace.She draws a clear picture of how we can sometimes drift into the way of the world without noticing it, just as some of the Jews did after living in Babylon for several generations.  Living in the world as a Christian is a hard thing to do and not be drawn in.  The main character, Ezra, says the following to his wife about that when talking about the earlier battle; "...believe there was a genuine spiritual renewal going on.  It was easy to rise up in faith and heroism when we faced a clear-cut enemy.  It's much harder to resist the enemy of gradualism and assimilation, much harder to maintain a passion for God when we're bogged down in the daily routine of life."  Amen!  Ain't it the truth?!  This reminded me that faithful people since the beginning of time have faced the same struggles we face today.  While not a blockbusting, all consuming read, I enjoyed this enough to think I would like to go back and read Book 1 of the Restoration Chronicles.  I give Keepers of the Covenant four stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House, the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.

Cover Art

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Unbroken is the true story of Louis Zamperini's survival at sea after he was shot down in World War II in the Pacific.  You may be familiar with the author's other story, Seabiscuit, written about a horse that came from an unremarkable background to win the Kentucky Derby and become a national legend.  Laura Hillenbrand is the name of the lady who wrote both of these stories.  I did not read Seabiscuit.  I saw the movie and was moved to tears.  Absolutely excellent.  Unbroken, not so much.  It is a horrific story of a WWII catastrophe, and true for sure.  The book includes pictures. (who had a camera for this?) And yes, my heart goes out to our survivors and grieves for our lost.  I live in a family with military history, all four branches of the service including my husband, son, brothers, and others. This account is not lost on me.  I get it.  It is a story extravagant in its scope and pretty well written.  It covers Zamparini's life from childhood to his 81st birthday when he is one of the carriers of the Olympic Torch, in Japan no less in 1998.  This book was published in 2010.  I read it about two years ago.  A friend had recommended it right after it came out.  I did not get around to reading it until my son gave me a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas in 2012.  I remember, and you may as well, when this came out it had mediocre reviews from some who thought that the minute detail was too detailed for someone his age to remember so many years later and be able to recall especially with the emotional and mental trauma that had occurred. Thus, it was said the story was too good to be true.  And it goes on a long time.  I think it is true but I think she should have stuck to the WWII disaster that was his life during that time.  That was the story.  This is a biography.  The bibliography alone takes up 65 pages. She did her research.  And she interviewed Louis about 75 times.  She spent seven years writing this book.  This was obviously a labor of love for Ms. Hillenbrand.  I give the narrative and the writing five stars.  I give the finished product  3.5 stars.  It is worth the time it will take to read it, but you may find yourself wondering is this embellished for the sake of story telling?  Or, does he just have a fantastic memory and she is a fantastic writer with the raw material before her?  I really don't know.
This quote is at the front of the book  "What stays with you latest and deepest?  of curious panics, Of  hard-fought engagements or sieges tremendous what deepest remains?"    ---  Walt Whitman, "The Wound-Dresser"

Thanks for being here.  See you soon!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Agents of the Apocalypse

Rarely do I read anything unfolding the book of Revelation that helps me understand what it is all about.  This book however, does just that. It is subtitled A Riveting Look at the Key Players of the End Times which describes it well.  Dr. David Jeremiah has laid out the major themes in Revelation that we all know of but may not understand well.  This book is arranged so that each chapter begins with a story for the prophecy that makes the subject matter more real.  The author then follows that story with a section he calls “The Scripture Behind the Story” in which he brings to light the real-world application of each end-times prophecy.  All of the key players are here, from The Exile to The Two Witnesses to The Dragon, The Victor , The Judge, and more.  This is a chilling call to awareness and accountability.  The thought comes to mind that this is Revelation for Dummies-and I say that with all due respect.  This book gives the reader no reason to think that they cannot understand what is happening in the Revelation as given to John the Apostle on the Isle of Patmos;  which also calls us to let no excuse keep us from fulfilling the Great Commission, as we are commanded to do.  Agents of the Apocalypse is a call to be ready for the end times.  I give this book five stars!
Visit Dr. Jeremiah at his website David Jeremiah.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.

Product Details

Monday, September 22, 2014

Escape Under the Kenyan Moon

Carol Myrick has truly been tested and refined.  God has a way of doing that when you seek Him out for total dependence on His strength.  She was a typical mid-western young woman at a large University during the time the story she relates to us took place.  She tells of meeting a man she fell in love with, and continued to love for many years, even through the nightmare of domestic abuse.  This is her life simply and beautifully written much as she would tell you if you were sitting down to have coffee with her.  The beginning of what would eventually be her Escape Under a Kenyan Moon was really in 1976, when she met her future husband.  Carol writes with a clarity and completeness that can only come from personal experience.  She met and fell in love with Otieno Habembe while they were students at O.S.U.  Otieno came from Sigulu Island, a small primitive island in Lake Victoria in East Africa.  He was given a UN scholarship to come to America to study and obtain a degree, which he did in Food Science and Nutrition.  She married him causing a rift between her and her family.  They moved to Africa and he accepted a job at Kenya Canners, a company owned by DelMonte.  All was well for a time and then his growing dissatisfaction eventually evolved into physical abuse of Carol.  She continued to love him and hope that he would not release his temper on her.  She realized, through the candid and loving declarations from close friends, that she must leave or she would lose her life.  She began to pray and God began to work.  Through a series of truly miraculous events, her friends, an American couple who were missionaries, helped her obtain all necessary paperwork to leave the country in an unbeliveable 48 hours, and this was no easy task!  Only with God's divine intervention was she able to take her children and board a plane to come back home.  Her flight from Africa came in March of 1982.  This is a heart-wrenching account of heartbreak and hope, of despair and miracles.  Escape Under the Kenyan Moon is easy to read and written with everything necessary to complete the story for the reader, making it a truly good book.  I wholly recommend you pick this up and read it.  I give Escape Under the Kenyan Moon five stars!
Visit Carol at her website Carol Myrick
Escape Under The Kenyan Moon

Monday, September 15, 2014

Kill Alex Cross

James Patterson is a New York Times bestselling author.  I can see why.  This was my first experience with one of his novels.  Kill Alex Cross has the things that make a good political thriller.  It opens up with kidnapping, then leads into a terror plot.  Along the way we get to see the family drama of the main character, Alex Cross.  There are two separate story lines that are not interrelated but that does not hurt the plot line as a whole.  This book was easy to read but deep enough to be interesting.  Just what I like in a good read.  The copy I read was a loaner from a friend who reads pretty much all of James Patterson.  I will be reading more of his work.  I enjoyed seeing how the character of Alex was all cop but his human foibles were evident too.  That made him a likable person.  The drama is set in Washington D.C. which is a prime location for a political  thriller and just added to the excitement.  I enjoyed this book and I give Kill Alex Cross five stars!  If you have not read it, you should.  I highly recommend!

Kill Alex Cross

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Keys to Successful Living by Derek Prince

If I could re-name this book I would call it, Getting Back to Basics.  Derek Prince has shown us how to study the Word deeply, and yet simply.  In this age of getting more and better, he takes us to the Scripture in a way that encourages the reader to simply take it the way it is written. The keys he speaks of are taken from the book of Hebrews.  For example, Key number 3, "Let Us Hold Fast Our Confession",  is taken from Hebrews 4:14 which says, "Since then we have a great High Priest which has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  Stand by your confession and do not be distracted by the many choices in the world.  Or, Key number 1, "Let Us Fear,"  from Hebrews 4:1, Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains, any one of you should seem to have come short of it.  The author relates it this way, "This is the attitude of reverent respect for God and His requirements.  Let me be clear: This is not slavish fear-God has not given us a spirit of slavish fear.  Instead, this is an attitude of reverence and respect for God, the opposite of self-confidence and presumptuousness..."
This is a well written book, with good information.  It is simple and timely in this age of choices and distractions we find ourselves in;  even within the church.  We have "boatloads" of books that interpret the Word for us, tell us what it means, tell us how to live it out every day, tell us how to apply it, tell us how to get motivated and "on fire for the Lord,"  tell us what the writer meant when he said such and such a verse, help us with context, describe the culture in the world when a certain book of the Bible was written, who it was written for.  Honestly, need I go on?  Everything we need is already there.  It is not rocket science, our Heavenly Father made sure of that.  God has preserved his Word through the generations so that even today, we may read it and understand.  We sometimes over-analyze in our zeal to obtain the most accurate meaning from a verse, from God's Word as a whole.  I recommend you get this book, clear your mind and just read it.  It is a much needed and refreshing read.  I give Keys To Successful Living five stars!

I was given a copy of this book from the publisher, Chosen, free of charge, in return for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.
Keys to Successful Living: 12 Ways to Discover God's Best for Your Life  -     By: Derek Prince

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate

Jen Gibbs is a successful editor at Vida House publishing in New York.  She has just taken this job and is looking forward to continued success.  A manuscript mysteriously appears on her desk that she tries not to read, but cannot keep herself from looking at it.  It is twenty years old and she is certain that it comes from the “slush mountain”, a huge pile of unsolicited manuscripts that are destined never to be published.  As she begins to read, she becomes aware that it is from the Appalachian Mountains that she was raised in and called home until she went to college.  As she is drawn into the story, only eight chapters are in the manila envelope with no author’s name, she feels compelled to find the author and read the rest of the book and possibly get it published.  She makes a convincing plea to her boss, the intrepid George Vida.  Off she goes to the mountains, perilously close to her hometown where her family still lives.  She is in pursuit of just a few minutes of time with the man whom she believes to be the author of the novel.  The ensuing happenings that take place during her stay are the meat of the story.  The Story Keeper is filled with the connection between her past and the history of the characters in the manuscript.  Jen is pulled into the story of Sarra, a mixed-race Melungeon girl and Rand Champlain, the preacher who takes her safety to heart, which is also the heart of the story.  It was difficult for me to get into this book at the start.  It is an interweaving of the old manuscript and Jen’s modern day story.  The Blue Ridge dialect was difficult for me to read and understand.  I felt myself losing interest since I was not getting the full meaning from the parts with the dialect in them.  The hook came for me several chapters in when the story became personal for Jen.  As I read on, the dialect became easier and the writing more compelling so that, by the end of the book I was thoroughly involved and ended the story with a lump in my throat.  An excellent story, well told was my reward for staying with it.  Lisa Wingate has also given us a profound glimpse into the lives of the Appalachian people.  I give The Story Keeper four stars!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher Tyndale, in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.

Upcoming cover

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Secret Life of Bees

Novels set in the south in times past are one of my favorite types of novels to read.  The Secret Life of Bees is just that.  Lily Owens is a motherless child.  She has foggy memories of the late afternoon her mother was killed.  Who she is and what her life is about is shaped by viewing that tragic end to her mother's life.  She is left with a father who is steeped in bitterness and cannot let go of the past.  Lily's story takes place in South Carolina in 1964.  Racial tension abounds with integration having been recently legislated, but not accepted in Sylvan, North Carolina; as in most of the South.  Lily's father has a black female employee whom he has handed over Lily's daily care to.  She insults the most racist man in Sylvan and is thrown in jail.  Lily decides that she and Rosaleen must escape.  She plots Rosaleen's escape from the hospital after being beaten by the man she insulted.  They run to Tiburon, S.C.  There is where Lily finds her mother's history and is taken in by an eccentric family of female beekeepers.  She lives and works with them and they employ Rosaleen as well.  Sue Monk Kidd is the author of this tale and she spins it well.  It seems just like the type of thing that could have happened and she writes is with a grace and beauty that make this book a good read.  The author does a good job of describing the interaction between characters as well as their surroundings.  Describing Lily's thought she writes "Sunset is the saddest light there is.  We rode a long time in the glow of it, everything silent except for the crickets and the frogs who were revving up for twilight.  I stared through the windshield as the burned lights took over the sky."   I can imagine being in that scene.  This book is a good escape but still has an absorbing story line.  If you haven't read it, pick it up and do so.  I recently took this on vacation to read and it was an excellent choice.  Five stars for The Secret Life of Bees.  FYI, this has been made into a movie also, so you can read and then watch, or vice versa, whichever you like.

Stay tuned for my next review on the newest release from Lisa Wingate, The Story Keeper.  See you soon!