Monday, February 25, 2013

One Glorious Ambition - A Book Review

One Glorious Ambition by Jane Kirkpatrick is a historical fiction novel about Dorothea Dix and her crusade to help others, specifically the mentally ill.

Dorothea was born to an abusive father and to a mother who suffered from a mental illness.  As a young girl, Dorothea longs to take care of her younger brothers, but when she is fourteen she is sent away to live with relatives in order to be raised properly.  Everyone thinks she should find a husband, but Dorothea has no desire to live the life that others think she should.  She has a yearning to fulfill her God-given calling and soon she discovers that she has a gift for teaching.  Eventually she is reunited with her brothers and after a visit to a prison that houses the mentally ill, Dorothea finds were her heart and her true calling lies.  She begins a journey that takes her across the nation, where she meets many people in high authority.  She constantly seeks to help those who "are the least of these".

I love reading Historical Fiction and really had high hopes for this book.  I was greatly disappointed.  The book is divided into two parts.  The first part was just okay and I found the second part very dull and it was a chore just to get through.  In my opinion, Dorothea Dix's life is not exiting enough to be this large of a novel.  It would of been much better if the story was shortened.

***This book was provided to by Waterbrook/Multnomah in exchange for my review.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen - A Book Review

If you love Regency romances mixed with a little mystery you will love The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen.  This is a well written book about Emma Smallwood, who accompanies her widowed father to the Weston manor to tutor the two youngest son's.  Emma and her father have known the family for years.  The two oldest Weston boys, Phillip and Henry, attended Emma's father's boarding school when they were young.   Emma does not have pleasant memories of Henry as he always teased and bullied her, Phillip on the other hand has remained a good friend.  She also meets Lizzie who appears to be a ward of the Weston's, but clearly has some secrets of her own.

Upon arriving at the manor, mysterious things begin to happen.  Emma hears someone playing the piano in the middle of the night only to find that the room is empty.  Then someone begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving spine shivering evidence.  It seems that everyone there is hiding something and the lady of the house makes it no secret that she does not want Emma and her father there.

I absolutely loved this novel!  I could hardly put it down.  It was filled with suspense and mystery.  Add a little romance and I was enthralled.  Every time I thought I had figured out who was doing the bizzare things at the manor, something would happen to blow my theory.  It kept me guessing till the very end!  I loved the character of Emma and I can't wait to read more of Julie Klassen's writings!  I highly recommend this book!

Here's a book trailer that will give you a sample of what a great story this is.

****This book was provided to my by the publisher in exchange for my review.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Threads of Grace by Kelly Long - A Book Review

Threads of Grace - A Patch of Heaven - A Novel by Kelly Long

When Grace Beiler was eighteen years old she was married off to an older Amish man in order to save her family's farm.   After enduring years of abuse her husband dies and Grace finds herself a widow and a single mother to her young son who has Autism.  She decides to leave the past behind her and she moves to Pine Creek Pennsylvania for a more quiet life.

Seth Wyse is instantly drawn to Grace and not only cares deeply for Grace, but also for her Son Abel.  Grace wants nothing to do with Seth and is determined to protect herself and her son from another man.  Everything soon changes when Tobias, Grace's brother-in-law tracks her down and reveals Grace's late husband's will.  Seth instantly offers to marry Grace and supplies her with a way of escape from Tobias and another loveless and probable abusive marriage.  Even though Seth has rescued her, Grace is not ready to trust him.  As time goes by Grace's heart softens and love and hope begin to come into her heart for the first time.

My personal thoughts of this novel are a little mixed.  It is the 3'rd book in a series.  I have read many books from the middle of series before and most of the time I find that the Authors write in such a way that it doesn't matter.  You don't feel like you are missing anything and if done creatively enough it will give you the desire to read the previous books.  This was not the case for me with this novel.  There were several times that certain things or characters were mentioned that left me in the dark and not in an intriguing way, but more of an irritating way that I did not no what was going on.  So if you do read this book I would definitely recommend starting from the beginning of the series.

The story line concerning Tobias started out very exciting for me, I kept waiting for something to happen.  I expected some great mystery or suspense to come into play.  It was all set up for and intriguing story line, and with trying not to give too much away, I'll just say I was very disappointed.  There was such great potential to go somewhere exciting with this plot and it was such a let down as it all seemed to just drop.

I also felt like many of the things were not true to the Amish culture.  I know it is just a fiction book, but some of it was so unbelievable that you just kwno would never happen in an Amish community.

On a more positive note, I did find this book easy to read and in the beginning I was very intrigued by it, but as I already said, the deeper I got the more I was let down.  I have read other novels by Kelly Long and have been pleased with her writing, so I will definitely read more of her work, but this book just did not work for me.

***This book was provided to me by the publisher through the booksneeze program in exchange for my review.