Archive for March, 2014

A Review: The Winter Sea

3392089In Susanna Kearsley’s The Winter Sea you get two books in one. The main character, Carrie McClelland is writing a novel about the past. The novel jumps back and forth between present and past. In the past we have among other things the love story of Sophia Paterson and John Moray. In the present we have Carrie, her genealogy research, her novel, and her slightly-less-interesting romance.

I found myself drawn more to the characters from the past. They were more real and interesting to me. I really liked the hero – he was dashing and romantic. There was plot point to the novel about the past that I found a little unbelievable – it was the same point that Carrie’s friend and agent, Jane found to be unbelievable and something that a mother would never do. I found that part of the story to be particularly sad (as did Jane). The storyline in the present seemed to be just a frame for the storyline from the past. I liked the present day hero well enough, and I liked the town’s people and their quirks. The present day heroine was okay, but she wasn’t that interesting – all she did was write and remember things from the past (she had her ancestor’s memories). If the story was to feature both present and past, I would have liked to see the present a little better developed. I felt there was no depth to the heroine, and there was nothing exciting about the romance. They just started seeing one another, and they ended up together. The romance from the past featured tension, danger, love, separation, tragedy, surprise and joy.

I understand that in Kearsley’s novel The Firebird she continues on with some of the storyline. She features Sophia and John’s daughter as another set of present day characters explore the past. I will definitely read that one. I hope both the present and past characters are equally developed (and interesting).

A Review: To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis

foreverIn To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by Andra Watkins #ToLiveForeverbook, things are not always as they seem.  Nine-year old Emmaline Cagney has been caught in a divorce and custody battle between her parents.  She adores her Daddy, but she ends up with her Mother instead.  Her Mother is not a nice person.  Her Mother is cold and unfeeling and is determined to sell her daughter to the highest bidder.  Her Mother made my skin crawl. The story gets interesting when Emmaline runs for her life and runs away.

I confess that I did not know a lot about Meriwether Lewis other than that he was half of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  I never knew there was controversy surrounding his death and no one knew if it was murder or suicide. I assumed he’d died of old age (sorry – I’m a Northerner). In Andra Watkins’ book, Meriwether Lewis becomes Emmaline’s friend.  Merry has been caught somewhere between life and death, and he must save someone to be set free. Together Em and Merry go on the run through several states.  Who can they trust?  Evil seems to be everywhere.  The bad guy in the story is evil and creepy, and nothing seems to stop him.

Andra is one of my online friends (I follow her blog daily).  She asked me to read her book and give an honest review. If I picked this book up in a bookstore, I’m not sure if I would have read it or not.  I found myself caught up in the story.  I liked Merry’s character a lot.  About 2/3 of the way through the book I read someone else’s online review that gave the ending away.  I wish I hadn’t read that spoiler, but I kept on until the end.  Andra did a good job of building a suspenseful story, and she made me care what happened to the characters.  I’m not sure why I didn’t connect as well to Em’s character.  I got annoyed with her at times.  I understand Andra is working on a follow-up story that takes place two years later.  I will definitely read that one, too.  Maybe with some maturity to her character, I will like Em better.  I do recommend this book to others.  Give it a try!

Also check out Andra’s blog (http://andrawatkins.com/).  She’s walking the 444 mile Natchez Trace (15 miles per day) – following the route that Merry and Em took in the book.  Go, Andra! #ToLiveForeverbook