Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Wilder Rose Susan Wittig Albert

A Wilder RoseA Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book through Net-Galley in exchange for a fair review.

I read all of the Little House books as a kid and loved them, but as I grew older I wondered how it was that Laura came to be a published author, especially once I learned that Rose had become a well know author. However, I knew nothing about the Little House books history until I read this book.

I enjoyed and was frustrated by this book all at the same time and towards the end found myself skimming through all of Rose's various financial problems and details regarding the stories she wrote while living at Rocky Ridge. I found Rose to be very unlikable and was frustrated by her constant self-serving generosity and her semi-bizarre friendships and relationships.

The most enjoyable part of the story was her relationship with her mother and how the Little House books came to be. Unfortunately, this was the least fleshed out part of the book and left me wanting more. I felt like we never really got to know Laura and Almanzo in this book, they were just characters that stopped by occasionally and we never learned the true motivation behind any of their relationships or the books, and maybe that is totally an unknown. But certainly in a book written as a novel we could have had a bit more of the story, even if it was just the authors idea of what took place.

This book did not ruin my feelings about the Little House of the Prairie series, I think I assumed all along that they were edited and that others had a hand in there process and to have it be Rose I think is a perfect fit. It also fit Rose's personality of being exceptionally generous to do this for her mother and not want the depth of her involvement known.

Overall, this book was interesting and I liked to insight into the stock market and its eventual crash as well as the glimpse of life prior to and during the depression. I knew very little about Rose Wilder Lane and plan on reading some of her works in the future, particularly, Hurricane.

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

ARC Review The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly

The Tilted World: A NovelThe Tilted World: A Novel by Tom Franklin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book through first-reads in exchange for a fair review.
Sadly, I am not familiar with the flood of 1927. Very sad when you consider I have a masters degree in American History - I cannot recall ever discussing one of the largest natural disasters even in American history and one that had a profound impact on the migration of African-Americans to northern cities. My lack of knowledge of this pivotal event made me very interested in in this novel and I was not disappointed.

Dixie Clay is the wife of a bootlegger, lonely, mourning the loss of her only child and doing what it takes to keep her husband happy. Jessie, her husband is a charming, violent, philanderer who is suspected of killing two federal revenue agents. Ted Ingersoll, a revenue agent, and his partner Ham Johnson are sent by Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover to investigate the disappearance of the two agents while posing as engineers monitoring the levee in Hobnob, Mississippi. On their way to Hobnob the two agents come across a burglary gone wrong, in which a baby is orphaned. Ingersoll, an orphan himself, is charged with taking the baby to a local orphanage but instead he finds Dixie Clay and she cannot resist the chance to be a mother again. The levees at Hobnob are about to burst and word comes from Hoover that saboteurs have stolen dynamite and plan to blow the levees in an attempt to save New Orleans. As the levees breach there banks secrets are revealed and everybody's lives are on the brink of great change.

This is a beautifully written book that has all the components of great fiction, action, mystery, romance, moral dilemmas, rich characters and a great plot. Written by a husband and wife team, a fiction writer and poet, respectively, this novel flows beautifully and contains descriptions that make you feel as though you are there witnessing the stills, flood and relationship development between characters.

This is a novel that is hard to put down and once you finish leaves you wanting more. I recommend that anyone with an interest in natural disasters, prohibition, and 1920s history check this novel out, well really everyone should check this novel out - its a great entertaining read.

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