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Archive for July, 2011

These Is My WordsThese Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The voice of the main character, Sarah, captures you from the first page and is consistent throughout. Strong, feisty, funny and displaying a native intelligence that shines despite her lack of schooling, she narrates a tale that is at times, grim and harrowing, yet at other times, charming to the point that you can’t help but chuckle. And the romance, while easily predictable, becomes more and more real and deep long after vows have been spoken. Indeed, it is a rare pleasure to read a book with such a love and understanding between man and wife.

Having read “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” I wasn’t too pleased at first to see the book told in a format not too different from letters, for I found that other novel took me a good 100 pages before I really began to be sucked into the story. Nancy Turner succeeds magnificently in this Journal format, however, to the point that you almost begin to ignore the dates for each entry. The story flows and the pace never falters.

Some have compared this to “To Kill A Mockingbird,” and I wouldn’t disagree. Where that novel brought the injustices of the South to life through a unique voice and set of characters, this one illuminates the wild Arizona Territories in the decades prior to statehood and the kind of women who pioneered that land.

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When there is loss in life, and hopes and dreams are shaken to the point that I feel rootless, unanchored, I go back to my most primal form of writing (once, that is, when I can write again). Poetry. I haven’t written poetry for its own sake in a long time. Yes, I’ve composed poems for my latest manuscript, since two of the characters are writers and one is particularly a poet. But I haven’t sensed the need to bottle anguish in verse in a very long time. I’m afraid if I don’t do so now, I may never find my way back to my stories.

“Four Days After”

I rise to heaviness,

A heart once thriving and alive
Now folding in upon itself,
Doubled over by the guilt of all the
What ifs,
Sagging with longing for
All that might have been.

Love is a tenuous, fragile thread
Between two different souls,
If left alone, the two may weave
A pattern for living as one.
Given time and care, the thread is
Doubled, tripled, and more until
It holds enough to bind in covenant…

But life intrudes,

Both past and present
Vie to shake that thread,

And others intervene,

In their well-meaning ways,
Half-blind, they push upon that thread
Only to help snip it short.

And now two hearts are folded in upon themselves,
Apart…separate.

And I rise to heaviness.

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Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2)Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this as much as the first in the series. While Anne is now older and not nearly so humorous a character (after all, as a schoolma’am she must act in a somewhat reserved fashion)–except for a hilarious predicament she gets herself into involving a china platter and a less than stable roof–the author has introduced some new characters–chiefly the little boy, Davy–to fill the bill. Montgomery certainly has an understanding of little boys and not necessarily the stereotyped version. I loved how life-like the characters of both Davy and Paul were and yet they had almost nothing in common. The romance in the story came somewhat unexpectedly and in unforeseen places, but the ending was perfect and only left me wanting to read the next in the series.

One more note: This is a story that will appeal to anyone, but is a particular must-read for those about to begin teaching for the first time. Several passages contain words of comfort and/or wisdom for first-time teachers looking with a good deal of trepidation at having to face (alone) a classroom of strange little people for the first time.

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