Sunday, August 28, 2011

Promises to Keep - Book Review

The narrator of this story is nine year-old Roz who has recently moved to town from Minnesota to escape an abusive husband/father. One afternoon, the family finds their home's previous owner, Mrs. Tillie Monroe sitting on the front porch. She still views the house as hers regardless of the fact her sons sold the house and there is a new family living there. Over time, Roz's mom allows Tillie to move in as a housekeeper/nanny and she rightly becomes part of the family and somewhat of a mentor to Roz. Without the adults in her life knowing, Roz is sought out by her father and begins secretly meeting with him. About the same time, Roz makes a friend, Mara, who has secrets of her own about her father. As the story continues, Tillie becomes ingrained in the family and Roz's secret about her father becomes deeper and deeper. The story comes to a dramatic conclusion that I don't want to spoil. If you want the full story, read the book. :-)

This book gets off to a somewhat slow start but at a certain point, I had to keep reading and at one point, I stayed up WAY past my bedtime to finish it. Tatlock wove an interesting tale using a nine-year old protagonist but it really worked for the book. There were multiple themes running throughout the book including race, family, lies vs. truth, fear, and friendship. Tillie's wisdom provided the spiritual influence for the book - there was a presence but it wasn't overdone. This book provided a solid, interesting storyline with a great ending. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Bethany House Publishers gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Courting Miss Amsel - Book Review

Edythe Amsel ahs moved to Walnut Hill, Nebraska to teach in a one-room schoolhouse. She's headstrong and not at all what the townspeople expected when they hired her. Her teaching methods are called into question quite often by the parents of her students. One of those wondering about her methods is Joel Townsend, a local farmer raising his two nephews who just happen to be in Miss Amsel's class. Joel pretty quickly finds himself attracted to Miss Amsel. Unfortunately for him, Miss Amsel's not interested in dating. As the school year progresses, Miss Amsel finds herself wanting to take her students (especially the girls) to hear Susan B. Anthony speak on women's suffrage. The outcry from the town is predictably harsh. Will the townspeople run her out of town? I won't give you any more details so I don't spoil the book. :-)

This is a new author for me but I'm glad I found her work. While the book is a historical romance, it never falls into the sappy, sickenly sweet territory other historical romances can. I also like the fact that the main character isn't portrayed as a weakling in need of a man to save her. Sure, she has her flaws but I found myself wanting her to be successful both as the schoolteacher and in love.

I think the author did a good job crafting an enjoyable story. Once I got into the book, I found myself wanting to keep reading. The story kept moving and kept me interested. This is definitely a book I'm going to share with other people. I'm also happy that I found a new author! Gotta love that book and a fun, new author for me.

Bethany House provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.