Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Gathering Storm Book Review

"A Gathering Storm" Book Review

by Rachel Hore

Rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Historical Romance
A Gathering Storm by Rachel HoreOn her way to a brief holiday in Cornwall, Lucy Cardwell finds herself making a quick break from her new boyfriend. Lucy's participation in this holiday is halted as they are passing through an area which contains her father's childhood home,Carlyon Manor. The draw to visit Carlyon Manor is so strong that Lucy abruptly decides to stay in the nearby village rather than going on with her scheduled holiday plans. The recent loss of her troubled father, Tom, has her questioning some of his papers she found. He had been researching an uncle she never knew he'd had. While there, Lucy meets an old woman named Beatrice who tells her a story so intriguing she cannot stop listening. Beatrice tells of her childhood in the 1930s with the children of Carlyon Manor. Angelina Wincanton, Lucy's grandmother, was one of those children. During Beatrice's fifteenth year, she rescues Rafe Ashton from the sea. The weeks and months pass with Beatrice, Rafe, and the Wincanton children growing up togther. Then the war rages and all are affected, yet in different ways. Beatrice's story covers years of strife, courage and betrayal. During WWII their lives and friendships are strained. While some give their all for freedom and loved ones, others remain selfish and unyielding. Lucy finds the answers to what her father had been searching for, and also something of herself, while she listens to this story full of secrets and a past mingled with terror.

Rachel Hore's writing style is excellent. She weaves her stories in such a way that keeps you wanting to read on. My only beef with this is the sexual scenes and their descriptions. It just isn't necessary. Merely the impression of what is about to happen is enough. One doesn't need to be told, play-by-play, what they are doing. Sorry, Rachel, it just does not have to be a part of a good read. We all know it happens, we don't need to be told 'how.' Aside from this issue, A Gathering Storm is worth your time.
Recommendations: If you enjoy A Gathering Storm, try Rachel Hore's The Memory Garden.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"The Splendour Falls" Book Review

The Splendour Falls
by Susanna Kearsley

Rating: 4 star out of 5
Genre: Historical Romance

Prompted by her cousin, Harry, Emily Braden travels to Chinon, France for a holiday. Since Harry is easily distracted with his exploring expeditions, Emily is not overly concerned that her unreliable cousin is not there to meet her when she arrives. She then settles into the Hotel de France where she meets several tourists of varying ages and cultures. Emily forms a few friendships with them while exploring the village of Chinon.
The Splendour FallsSusanna Kearsley weaves two pasts--World War II and the thirteenth century--with the present. Queen Isabelle, wife of King John of England, hides something of value--as well as Isabelle during WWII--in Chinon. Each treasure could be located among the remainder of the medieval chateau or in the labyrinth of ancient tunnels underneath the streets of Chinon. Secrets, lies and relationships are on the verge of being revealed--not all are what they seem.
My only disappointment with this novel is the brief time spent in thirteenth century Chinon. I wish Ms. Kearsley had gone back more often than she did because she handles this method so well. The Winter Sea (or Sophia's Secret) was written with equal time in the past and the present. This is my favorite Susanna Kearsley book with The Rose Garden being a very close second. She is a marvelous writer and I look forward to each and every book she produces.
The Splendour Falls is an excellent read--I had trouble putting it down. It's something I have grown to expect, and look forward to, with a Susanna Kearsley novel.

If you like Susanna Kearsley, check out my favorite novels of hers - The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Attention All Planners

     Attention all planners! Do you plan yourself into a hole sometimes? I know I do. When things don't go according to plan--I get agitated--mostly with myself. I map out each minute of my morning routine knowing that if I press the snooze button one time too many my plan goes up in smoke. Yet I do it regularly. That's just the tip of my iceberg-schedule.

     We are so careful to plan everything, forgetting that we need to consult God--even in the small things. After all, He's in control.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34