Monday, March 28, 2011

Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle by Ann B. Ross

Another sign that spring is on its way is a new Miss Julia book! I was a lucky recipient of an advance readers’ copy for review of Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle by Ann B. Ross, and once again enjoy my visit with Miss Julia and her patchwork family thoroughly! Miss Julia has promised her husband Sam that she will not get involved in any way in mysteries or murder any more. This is very challenging for the very curious Miss Julia, who despite her best intentions, just asks one or two questions, and she’s off. This time it’s the death of Richard Stroud in a shed in her nephew’s* teacher’s yard. Richard Stroud is a former nemesis of Miss Julia, having taken quite a bit of her money in an investment scheme. Due to an argument with Sam, Miss Julia does do a little investigating, getting caught, yet not totally found out, twice(!). Miss Julia also has the opportunity to assist in the birth of twins during a snowstorm, and learns how to take care of babies, as they start their lives under Miss Julia’s roof. Miss Julia is a little shocked by the whole birthing and nursing processes, as she was a well-protected Southern lady her whole life and she never had children. She can be a trifle old fashioned in many ways, but her good heart usually wins the day. Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle is highly recommended for those who enjoy books with a Southern atmosphere and their mysteries light. Happy Reading! Patti *Miss Julia has a very convoluted family life.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Hello All,

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake has been on my to-be-read list for quite some time, but only after it had been sent to me by Penguin for review for the paperback release did I finally get around to reading it. I had definitely been missing something.

The impression I had from reviews last year was that the postmistress was withholding mail from residents of a small Cape village during World War II. This is only a slight bit of the story. The postmistress, Iris James is a fully fleshed out character who has reasons for her handling of the U. S. Mail.

There are two other amazing strong women in this novel, Emma Fitch and Frankie Bard. Emma is a new bride whose husband, Will, six months or so into their marriage, decides that he needs to go serve in London during the Blitz, before the United States has begun any commitment in the war in Europe. Frankie Bard is a woman reporter, based in London, and living with the horrors of the Blitz daily. Frankie and Will's paths cross in London, one night in a shelter. Frankie is then given the opportunity of a lifetime; go to Berlin, and travel with people and families to get their stories of what they've seen and why they are leaving. Most are Jews, and they all have interesting stories to tell.

All of these women come together just before the war in the small village of Franklin, Massachusetts, and their stories come together as well.

The Postmistress is an excellent book, one of the most descriptive books I've read in quite some time. I learned a lot while reading this, and was lost in the story at the same time. I can't recommend The Postmistress enough.

Happy Reading!

Deep Down True by Juliette Fay

Hello All,

Deep Down True by Juliette Fay is a(nother?) story of a divorced woman emerging with her children from the divorce a stronger person and stronger family.

As I have been making some big changes in my own life, I have enjoyed reading about other women making changes in their lives. In Deep Down True, Dana Stellgarten seems to be hit with a lot, more than your average divorcee. She has an ex-husband who is living with his former mistress, a sixth grade daughter discovering the daily social changes in middle school, a seven year old son who wants to be tougher when he plays football, and her Goth sixteen year old niece comes to stay with her. Additionally, Dana has two men vying for her attention through this book, and stumbles into the perfect type of job for herself. This is not all the tragedy and/or drama that occurs in this book--heck, I don't want to give away everything!

Overall, I liked this book, and wanted to like it more, but there was just a little too much packed into one book for me. It also closed a little too much for me; with everyone in the places that they are, the transitions wouldn't just stop. I would have liked to see a more open-ended finale, knowing that it's all not going to be easy from here on, but there was a slight break in the action.

I would love to read others' opinions of this book--comment below, or direct me to other reviews.

Happy Reading!

This book was sent to me for review by Penguin Group; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.