“I felt like the refuse of the rich and famous. If this is what it was going to be like working full-time in a church, I didn’t want anything to do with it.”
An engaging funny, and at the same time sad opening to a series about a young man becoming a Baptist minister. (The denomination is only mentioned once or twice, but it’s obvious from internal evidence.) Moody captures many internal dynamics which are true of all bureaucratic organizations, especially those with undue power an influence vested in those who have their own Continue reading →
“There certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them.”
Austen at her best. Gone is the self-assured heroine of earlier novels who sweeps all before her; enter the humble waif who must learn the ways of the world and society on the fly. Fanny’s internal dialogue sets Mansfield Park apart from Austen’s earlier works. It’s still Austen, but it grips the soul of the reader.
“Her consciousness of misery was therefore increased by the idea of its being a wicked thing for her not to be happy. Fanny’s relief, and her consciousness of it, were quite equal to her cousins’; but a more tender nature suggested that her feelings were ungrateful, and she really grieved because she could not grieve. Her cousins, on seeing her red eyes, set her down as a hypocrite.”
Bravo. A romance tucked inside an adventure stuffed into history festooned with whimsy and culture. Fully-realized characters burst off the pages as surely as they rupture the walls of Moscow’s historic Metropol Hotel.
“… and generally clamor about the world’s oldest problems with its newest nomenclature.”
Catches the spirit of each age. His grasp of the history and culture of Moscow in the span from after World War One into the 1950s betrays a respect one who looks for from a native. Pop culture references–music, politics, fashion, movies–appropriate to each decade.
“Adversity presents itself in many forms. If a man does not master his circumstances, his circumstances will master him.”
Comparable to Tolstoy; patronymics, diminutives and other naming varieties included. The scope of this work demands Continue reading →
A fun, seasonal story. The blurb claims Baldacci is “one of America’s most critically acclaimed storytellers.” Never heard of him. It is a good story–mixing (rail)road trip, mystery, romance, humor and advocacy (for increased Amtrak funding). Has a good heart.
A fun read listen. Perfect tale for whiling away the miles on a road trip of my own.
Concern: Current revelations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood are reflected in one character. What goes on is Hollywood, like Las Vegas, is an open secret which our society has winked and Continue reading →
“There’s many a young man has got his hearts wish, only to curse the day he wished for it.”
Upon my fourth reading, I raise my rating one star because this story compares so well with other historical fiction. In addition to the murder mystery, this tale brings to the reader an understanding of a historical setting which borders on the mythic, an introduction to a medieval craft (in this case, making charcoal), reflections on life then and now, a love story, and the fun of a tale well told.
“He’s innocent enough, God knows, to believe that other men are as honest as he.”
Readers seeking a story grounded closer to fact than the average epic fantasy, which usually loses itself in horses that run forever, swords that never dull, clerics who call down lightning bolts and enough nihilism for a lifetime, Edith Pargeter’s series on the life and times of this former Crusader and now monastic should be welcome. That’s why I’m on my fourth reading of this series.
“Despair is a deadly sin, but worse it is mortal folly.”
Totally awesome. The best science fiction I’ve read this year. Called a science fiction thriller and a romance, it goes beyond many genre expectations. Explores how choices relate to identity. We are who we chose to be.
“I have total control, but only to the extent that I have control over myself.”
Well-conceived, well-developed, well-written.
“I’m not allowed to think I’m crazy. I’m only allowed to solve this problem.”
A freshman historical novel. Moody focuses on the exploits of American Army Air Force B-17 bomber crews in World War II. Done partly to commend the experiences of her father and his wartime comrades. And does it well. But she doesn’t just dump the reader into the story at Pearl Harbor. She fashions a touching tale of how a boy in Chicago and a girl in Utrecht (Netherlands) become pen pals. How his brother is at Pearl Harbor. And how the Dutch Resistance battled the Nazi invaders.
“War was necessary … but that sure didn’t make it palatable.”
Historical fiction is a demanding genre, especially when set in an era as recent as World War II. Moody’s aviation and resistance threads ring true and much of her cultural context is sound, but Continue reading →
Outstanding. A World War Two era mystery and romance framed by a contemporary tale of discovering and reacting to the old manuscript. Well-conceived, well-researched and well-written. Good contrast between the peace and plenty in modern America with the fear and struggle of America in the 1940s.
I can’t say enough about how the manuscript transports the reader into that time and place. I’m old enough to know it “feels” right. The military, political, cultural and religious elements are appropriate for that era. (It speaks to the role of women in that day; minority issues are not addressed.)
The Discovery will inevitably be compared to The Notebook and similar tales; it’s at least as good. Hope to see the movie some day (after it’s made 😉 ).
Excellent read. (This review is my first five star rating this year.)