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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Kashmir Shawl

The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas

Mair, her brother, Dylan, and sister, Eirlys , had lost their mother years ago, but when their father passed away, it was time to let go.  The house they had grown up in was to be sold, and all their possessions needed to be distributed.  Eirlys and Dylan had a more traditional life, married, children, but Mair’s was a bit more adventurous, even joining the circus for a bit.  Because of Mair’s single lifestyle, they decided that a delicate shawl, a photograph and a lock of hair should go to Mair, but no one knew how they came to be.

Having no one with any family knowledge she could ask, Mair decided to go to India and research what she could.

Years earlier, in the years of World War II, a woman named Nerys married a missionary man, Evan, and moved to India.  Not regretting her decision, she found what a different and difficult lifestyle it was.  She did make a few close friends and their life and adventures are what you will read about.

Mair discovers that Nerys was her grandmother and found a few people she could talk to and learn more her grandmother, about the shawl and the photograph.

The majority of the story is written through the life of Nerys, but in between the life of Mairs will have it’s part. This is not a short story, this is an in-depth and detailed novel, along the lines of Gone With the Wind.  You will read all about the characters in the story and their families and friends, relating to each one along the way.  You will read in great detail all about where they traveled.  The beautiful landscape of India, the poverty, the people, their hard work ethics and traditional family values, the difficulty in traveling with the winter snows.  The characters will show you what love, friendship and trust mean.  The story will show you one woman’s quest to find the family history of what her grandmother’s life was like.  Very easy to follow, but very detailed, although I don’t think the story would have the same effect if the details were omitted.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Worlds of Arthur: Facts & Fictions of the Dark Ages

Worlds of Arthur:  Facts & Fictions of the Dark Ages by Guy Halsall

Like many others, I am interested in the legend of King Arthur.  Naturally, when I saw the opportunity to read another book about him, I was intrigued.  Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed.

As Guy Halsall writes, there is no evidence of the existence of King Arthur, but there is nothing to prove he did not exist.  All in all, that is a valid argument.  As the author sets out to break the book down into 4 sections, or “Worlds”, he states valid points from the traditional ideas.  Great detail is written regarding the different civilizations, religions, customs, jewelry, pottery, immigration routes and other points.  Arthur, on the other hand, has a few brief mentions throughout this lengthy read.

If you are interested in the history of this general time frame, while expanding out somewhat, then this is a good read for you.  If you are looking to read about the legendary King, whether or not he existed, this is not what you are looking for.

While I did find this greatly educational, I was hoping for more.  Reading this, I felt as if I was in a lecture hall in college, not that that is a bad thing.  As I mentioned, it is very educational, and not in a boring way.  Overall the book is very well written and researched.

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Bullet for Two

A Bullet for Two by Robert Strzalko

Jeb was a simple man who grew up with a sense or morals.  He thought the best of people, went to war to defend his country and shot for food, not for sport.

When Jeb heard the screams from a young girl in distress, he went to help.  His anger over seeing her being raped by not one, not two but three men took the better of him and he shot them dead.  They were no ordinary men, they were the mayor, the sheriff and a wealthy landowner.  Knowing he was now a wanted man, he took the half breed girl and fled.

The sons of the murdered men wanted revenge.  They formed their own posse and went out to search for him.  Other bounty hunters were after him for the reward, dead or alive.

While you travel with Jeb, you will see his hurt over losing his childhood sweetheart and how important this grandfather was to his life.  Simple details make it possible for you to imagine being there with Jeb.  The characters will leave you feeling exactly how they felt, the need for revenge, the search for a man for money, the love of a young girl and the feeling of losing everything that mattered.

Quick read but worth your time.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Japanese Dancer

The Japanese Dancer by Kevin Chapman

Adult Reading Material.

Interspersed with a few Spanish words, but a glossary at the end will help any who are not familiar with the words.

How could your life start out so good and turn around so bad so quickly?  That’s what happened to Marisa.

Her first 19 years weren’t perfect, but they were good overall.  Then she married at the age of 19, being innocent and a virgin, to Jose, a policeman, whose demeanor changed once they were married.  Their first night was a disaster that never happened.  After a few days of trying, Marisa sought the help of her childhhood doctor, only to find him unavailable, so sought the help of his son, also a doctor in the same practice.  While her marriage finally consummated, she also began a relationship with her doctor.  Thus begins her downfall.

Discovering she was pregnant with the doctor’s baby, she reconciled with her husband, only to have her secret admirer, Raul, discreetly inform Jose the true story about his wife.  One of her friends, Marisol, moves to Japan and marries, inviting Marisa to Japan to attend.  Once there, Marisa is trapped in a sex slave operation and unable to return to her home.  Working in the club one night, she met Travis, a man unlike the others who wanted to help her return to her home, her baby and her life.

The working girls in the story will tear your heart apart to feel what they are going through, with no hope for escape.  The others in the story will also have your emotions tugging at you.  The story flows nicely, easy to follow Marisa’s downward spiral and the decisions she made, whether right or wrong, good or bad.  This is an adult story, some situations do have graphic details.  Sex trafficking exists today and most of us are completely unaware, and even fewer are willing to help.  While this is a gripping subject, it is worthy of your time to read.