Outcast by Dianne Noble

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Outcast by Dianne Noble
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s fiction
Length: Full (308 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Rose leaves her Cornwall café to search for her daughter in the sweltering slums of Kolkata, India.

In the daily struggle for survival, she is often brought to her knees, but finds strength to overcome the poverty and disease, grows to love the Dalit community she helps.

But then there are deaths, and she fears for her own safety.

Her café at home is at risk of being torched, and finally, she has to make the terrible choice between her daughter and the Indian children.

This is a beautifully written book about mothers and daughters, about forgiveness and redemption, about loss and finding oneself. The subject matter itself isn’t pretty. It deals with the poverty and struggle that is the life of the Dalits–the untouchables–of India. But the story itself is beautiful and is one I think I will be thinking about for a long time.

The story begins with Rose discovering that the plane on which her daughter was supposed to be arriving after her gap year in India was missing. Her relief that Ellie did not actually get on the plane quickly turned to a desire to repair the damage that had been done to their relationship over the years, so she decides to go to India on a surprise visit, leaving her café in the capable hands of Hannah, who we discover has her own mother issues that are juxtaposed against the story of Rose and Ellie.

I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the two stories, and I hope Ms. Noble plans on revisiting Hannah and Willow. I would like to see how their story plays out.

Although the ending was not the one *I* would have chosen, I can quite see how it was the right decision for the characters.

Good job, Ms. Noble. I will definitely be checking to see if you have other books available.

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You’re A Dog, Jack by Joe Verola

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You’re A Dog, Jack by Joe Verola
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (258 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

You’re a Dog Jack is about a lovable womanizer named Jack and his terrifying and supernatural adventure as he fights to become the man he once was, but the new improved version.

Under the pretense of a gentleman, he offers to pet sit Stephanie’s dog Pitts and promises to protect him with his life. Of course, he didn’t actually mean it. But, lax in his responsibility, while walking Pitts, Jack and Pitts are struck by a bus and their spirits, due to circumstance and a promise, enter each other’s body.

Upon awaking, from the accident, Jack’s spirit finds himself in Stephanie’s apartment — but in Pitts’ body. While there he overhears Stephanie’s fiancé plotting a hostile takeover of her company and her demise.

Jack then set out on a mission to reverse the crossover of spirits, fulfill his promise and save Stephanie’s company and her life. Fortunately and unfortunately, the crossover of spirits becomes known to all and to Stephanie’s fiancé who realizes that Jack knows his plans and he must die before he returns to his body to expose the devious plans.

Jack is Jack. He’s a womanizer that is almost a predator, doesn’t intend to settle down any time soon, and he’s ruthless about getting what he wants. When he sees a pretty lady in the park, he’s more than ready to watch her dog a bit to get closer, even if he doesn’t like dogs. Being devious is what causes him his problems…

The premise of this story was promising. A man and a dog “trade” bodies and have to learn to adjust. Imagining a human running around on all fours and trying to lick his personal parts is humorous, right? Now think about being in the body of a dog.

When the dog runs across a busy street to get to his love on the other side, Jack follows him and saves him being hit by traffic. That works real well, until Jack steps back out to go the other side and gets hit by a bus. Jack makes it but the dog doesn’t. Jack steps out of his body and revitalizes the dog’s spirit. Unfortunately, when he tries to go back it doesn’t work.

This fantasy is a bit silly, which makes it fun to read. It’s almost written for young adults but there are too many sexual references for it to be appropriate for that age group. Jack’s father starts drinking more and his mother faints. The lady with the dog hopes that by sharing her dog with Jack he will revert and be more normal. There is a doctor that is willing to help but he’s on vacation. Before he gets back, there’s another accident. More than one actually. Jack, as a dog, has impregnated the dog’s girlfriend…

The author offers two ending and asks which is your favorite. Personally, I had a third ending in mind. Why don’t you read it and see which ending you would like. Or, maybe like me, you have another version.

Second House from the Corner by Sadeqa Johnson

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Second House from the Corner by Sadeqa Johnson
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (290 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Second House from the Corner centers on the story of Felicia Lyons, a stay-at-home mother of three drowning in the drudgeries of play dates, lost pacifiers and potty training who occasionally wonders what it would be like to escape the demands of motherhood. But when an unexpected phone call threatens to destroy her life, Felicia is forced to return to her childhood home where she must wrestle with an ex-lover and long buried secrets to save the family and home she loves despite the daily challenges.

Felicia Lyons is a character who mothers can identify with and laugh along with. You can’t help but cheer for her in Johnson’s engaging and well-written novel.

Many readers can probably relate to Felicia Lyons, a stressed out stay at home mom of three. With her husband, Preston taking on many hours at work he is not at home much to help out. Felicia is overwhelmed with motherly duties as well as keeping up with the additional activities her children are involved in in addition to all this she is also trying to get her Dame membership. With her personal mantras being mumbled throughout the day and a hope of freedom from being pulled in so many directions as a mom, Felicia may soon get her wish.

Felicia’s plate is full or so she thought. On what was a normal day, Felicia gets a call from her first love asking to see her and questioning buried secrets that Felicia didn’t think she would ever have to face again. This book started out in ‘mommy mode’ with Felicia struggling three children and longing for her husband’s support but after getting a call from Martin, a man from her past, she is soon on the hunt to find out how he got her home phone number.

This was a quick read that flowed pretty easy. The writing style is enjoyable. The plot is one that had my interest and the characters are well developed. Felicia is one frustrating character in how she handled things. The words she and her husband used during arguing seemed a bit over the top. Martin is a selfish character that knew he could have Felicia as putty in his hands.

Felicia has personal issues that she hasn’t dealt with and now it is starting to affect her marriage and home life. This was an attention grabber for me and kept me reading to see how this all would unfold and play out. Sometimes in marriage we have to take a stand to be transparent or deal with the outcome when we try to cover and hide things. When Felicia forgets to take the phone off the hook in fear that Martin would call, that’s exactly what he does call and her husband is right there to answer the phone. Did this lead to the Lyon’s house being turned upside down?

Felicia returns to her childhood home and must deal with the skeletons she thought she buried. Felicia’s running from secrets and running from hurt in her past. While staying with her Gran Felicia is finally about to stop running. I enjoyed this book. It was something new and fresh to read. It can be sort of relatable; the overwhelming mom part and maybe even the part about carrying secrets into a marriage. I would recommend this to anyone that is looking for a quick interesting read.

Rescue Me by Janet Wallace

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Rescue Me by Janet Wallace
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (180 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Rescue Me is the fictional story about the events and strange twists and turns of running a horse rescue. This 70,000 word story opens the readers eyes to the trauma horses endure and the happy/sad times of success and failure operating a horse rescue.

It’s all fun and games until someone hurts a horse. Best friends Debbie and Kate the two main characters. These two discover the true dark underbelly of the equine world. Both strong ladies fear very little or anyone. They become someone else when showing a fearless side many do not see when they find a kill buyer at a horse auction. This particular kill buyer fell onto the wrong side of the ladies. He mysteriously becomes permanently disabled in a freak situation.

Jerri, the vet is a strong woman who will be available for the rescue any time. She never is able to harden her heart when any horse must be put down.

Other rescue join in with the same fight to save horses. These gutsy women can be sweet gentle ladies and turn around to cuss like a drunken truck driver.

They assist the F.B.I. and other rescues when a horrific illegal horse slaughter house is discovered. Resulting in a mysterious fire while the two ladies watch the fire destroy the slaughter house and its surrounding buildings. As strong as these women are they have a vulnerable side when they lose a horse.
Time and time again they demonstrate the power of having a strong passion for what they believe in. Finally, Refusing to leave two stranded horse behind during a category three hurricane. They ride it out and discover the power of a happy ending.

Someone needs to speak out for all of the abused, neglected, and abandoned horses who can’t defend themselves.

I was pleasantly surprised by the humorous parts of the plot. Certain horses and humans were downright silly at times. Given the serious and often sad nature of this tale, it was nice to have these lighthearted moments. They broke the tension at exactly the right times and places.

This book would have benefited from more editing. I was distracted by the many spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors in it. There were also times when only the first half of a word appeared in the text or when the wrong word was used to describe something. This made it difficult to understand what the narrator was talking about because I had to make so many guesses about what those sentences actually meant.

The friendship between Debbie and Kate was nicely written. They had all of the old jokes and stories about each other that I’d expect to see with characters who have known each other for as long as these two have. Seeing them try so hard to save the animals under their care was fascinating. Both of them were at their best when they were working together on the hardest cases.

There were pacing issues. Sometimes the narrator sped through descriptions of how she rescued horses whose lives were in immediate danger. In other scenes she spent pages describing what happened at fundraisers and how she dealt with the politics of running of charity. Either style would have worked for the subject matter, but it felt odd to me to rush through a daring rescue only to then spend several scenes describing exactly what happened at a meeting or a fundraiser.

To be honest, some of the descriptions of animal abuse and neglect were difficult to read. Many of the horses experienced a lot of suffering before they were rescued by the main character, but these scenes were completely necessary in order to understand why Debbie was picky about who she allowed to adopt the horses once they were well enough to move onto their forever homes. Hearing about all of that mistreatment turned out to be exactly what I needed as a reader.

Rescue Me should be read by anyone who is passionate about animal rights.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny by Justin Hill

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny by Justin Hill
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

Another life-altering quest, another struggle between honor and lust for power, another generation of warriors forging alliances and enmities. The adventure, romance, and artistry of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon continues in this novelized companion to the first ever Netflix debut film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny based on the novel by Wang Dulu.

Seventeen years after the legendary fighter Mubai dies protecting the world-conquering sword The Green Destiny, four great warriors are called together to guard the formidable weapon once more. The forces surrounding the sword irrevocably altered the life of Shulien, Mubai’s lover, but seventeen years later she is still honor-bound to defend the blade from the power-hungry warlord Hades Dai. The young fighters Wei-fang and Snow Vase, switched at birth, also have heritages and inheritances that inextricably link them to both each other and the fate of the sword. And Silent Wolf, Shulien’s former fiancé, returns from presumed death to thwart Hades Dai—and rekindle an emotionally isolated Shulien’s feelings.

Jam-packed with all the hallmarks of an epic adventure—sacrifice, battles, betrayal, vengeance, redemption, and destiny—this saga also explores the deeper meaning of true heroism and virtue. As Wei-fang and Snow Vase search for identity and forge their places in the world of warriors and heroes, Shu-lien and Silent Wolf struggle to reconcile both the traditions and heartbreak of the past with a fragile hope for the future.

Seventeen years have passed since Shulien last set foot in the world at large. Much has changed since then, but even more has stayed irrevocably the same. The lust for power as it battles against honor is an eternal war about to reignite with a group of new, young warriors hungry for fame and honor.

Shulien is a holdover from the first novel and she was by far my favorite. Her way of looking at things was different than anything I’d ever encountered before. She placed herself into exile only to be dragged out into the thick of it, just like any heroine would be in a time of crisis. She handles her forced return to society well, even if she can be a touch cranky at times.

The would-be pairing of Snow Vase and Wei-Fang is an old story, one that we’re all familiar with. They’re on different sides of the battle and yet, are drawn to one another. At first, Snow Vase really got on my nerves. But as I came to understand all she was putting at risk and the mother she was trying to make proud, it all seemed to make sense. Also, once she meets Shulien and later, Wei-Fang, she becomes a more well-rounded character. Wei-Fang is a typical boy. All he wants is to be a great warrior and almost immediately gets himself into trouble because of it. They make one of the best matched couples I’ve seen lately.

Having never read or seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this novel was a new experience for me. Although not my usual reading fare, I found the characters interesting and the story full of action and adventure. I always tend to enjoy novels that visit the next generation, bring the past into the new chapter. The sword play was so well written that even someone unknowledgeable in such arts was easily able to imagine the flow of metal and bodies as the opponents fought. An intriguing and fascinating look at life in a long ago world.

Where We Fall by Rochelle B. Weinstein

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Where We Fall by Rochelle B. Weinstein
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (322 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

By all accounts, Abby Holden has it all. She’s the mother of a beautiful teenager and the wife of a beloved high school football coach. And all it took to achieve her charmed life was her greatest act of betrayal.

Coach Ryan can coax his team to victory, but he can’t seem to make his wife, Abby, happy. Her struggles with depression have marred their marriage and taken a toll on their daughter, Juliana. Although this isn’t the life he’s dreamed of, he’s determined to heal the rifts in his family.

Chasing waterfalls and documenting their beauty has led photographer Lauren Sheppard all around the world. Now it has brought her back home to the mountains of North Carolina—back to the scene of her devastating heartbreak.

For the first time in seventeen years, a trio of once-inseparable friends find themselves confronting past loves, hurts, and the rapid rush of a current that still pulls them together.…

Why is it that what we don’t have can overshadow what we do? Where We Fall is a poetic in-depth voice of a family that began because of a secret. The descriptive writing style will pull a reader into the personal mental battle of Abby Holden. The story pretty much focuses on where 38-year-old Abby falls and how she must address and confront her past to get back to living.

Abby’s depression held her and her family hostage from achieving true family happiness. The depression put a wedge between Abby and her teenage daughter Juliana and made her dedicated husband pretty much a single father. The plot is one that will hopefully catch the reader from the very beginning and with the writer’s talent for story telling as well as building the suspense it should also keep the reader entertained.

I enjoyed the story and how it was delivered. This was a story that made me think and wonder… could things have been handled differently? When all the secrets were revealed it brought about a question of what could the characters do now? The past laid heavily on Abby’s heart but was she entirely the one to blame? Her best friend and Ryan’s college girlfriend, Lauren, is the one that place the pieces in position but when events turn out not to be in Lauren’s favor she decided to keep on her personal path to travel the world chasing waterfalls.

I enjoyed the book and would recommend it but I did have one problem with the plot. I liked the story idea of the battle with mental illness but the rooted reason for Abby’s descent really didn’t seem to be a reason to make her marriage and relationship with her daughter suffer. No, she couldn’t have won the best friend award but if the love between Ryan and Lauren was so deep and connected why did Lauren chance leaving in the first place? Then she returns many years later with the same love for Ryan in her heart and disappointment and hurt for Abby. Lauren left; did she think Ryan would put his life on hold until she finished living?

Ryan was my favorite character because he is a man that is dedicated to family and the young boys on his football team. He is the one that seemed to have it together. I didn’t like Lauren because she seemed to be lost and not know what she wanted when she was younger and now that she is older she is under the assumption that she still loves Ryan, but people change. Lauren is more naive now than she was when she left after graduating college. Juliana, Abby’s daughter seemed immature or either spoiled. In her forbidden relationship with football player E.J., she was pushy to have relations with him and in regards to her mother she didn’t seem to understand that her mother needed help.

This may not be a happy read.  In fact it has a desolate flow but the ending made the book worth reading.

Personal Demons by Gregory Lamberson

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Personal Demons by Gregory Lamberson
Publisher: Medallion Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (386 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Jake Helman, an elite member of the New York Special Homicide Task Force, faces what every cop dreads—an elusive serial killer. While investigating a series of bloodletting rituals executed by an ominous perpetrator know as the Cipher, Jake refuses to submit to a drug test and resigns from the police department. Tower International, a controversial genetic engineering company, employs him as their director of security.

While battling an addiction to cocaine, Jake enters his new high-pressure position in the private sector. What he encounters behind the closed doors of this sinister operation is beyond the realm of human imagination. Too horrible to contemplate, the experimentation is pure madness, the outcome of a hell where only pain and terror reside. Nicholas Tower is not the hero flaunted on the cover of Time magazine. Beneath the polished exterior of this frontiersman on the cutting edge of science is a corporate executive surrounded by the creations of his deranged mind.

As Jake delves deeper into the hidden sphere of this frightening laboratory, his discoveries elicit more than stereotypical condemnation for unethical practices performed for the good of mankind. Sequestered in rooms veiled in secrecy is the worst crime the world will ever see—the theft of the human soul.

Jake Helman is an officer on the New York Homicide Task Force and is on the hunt for a serial killer. Even though he is deep in the middle of the investigation of unsolved murders that doesn’t stop Jake’s cocaine addiction. In fact it seems to escalate it. Where is the old Nick?

The book started off grabbing my attention but as the story starts to unfold the plot gets so murky with too much going on it makes the story lose it’s momentum.

The suspense and action is consistent through out the book but with a story that has a compelling plot of soul stealing, witch-like-zombie bodies along the downtown side walk, a mysterious pharmaceutical genetic business owner, anti-cloning, Marc Gorman with his multiple identities there was just too much being touched on in this novel. I would have liked to know more about Jake and how he ended up on drugs, or more about Marc Gorman how he got started in bleeding souls. A few topics were touched on but there wasn’t an in depth story built to have the reader relate to or come to know a main character that will have a series of stories to follow after this book.

I wouldn’t classify this as a true horror. It just wasn’t scary to me; more along the lines of an intricate paranormal plot twist within a complex and fast paced novel. This is a good story but wasn’t presented in a masterful style that built a memorial main character and the plot structure wasn’t set to keep the story going because the climax touched on so many things.

The writing is a engrossing thriller that shows the imagination and darkness of the author. This wasn’t a five star horror for me but the action and suspense are factors that kept me reading.

Screaming Down Splitsville by Kayla Bashe

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Screaming Down Splitsville by Kayla Bashe
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Contemporary, LGBTQ
Length: Short Story (41 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet, F/F
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Screaming Down Splitsville takes place in an alternate 1950s where two groups of people with magical powers fight for dominance. Flip, a young lesbian, thinks her healing powers are completely useless. After her escape from a lab, she’s been grounded to a safe base, and while everyone else is on important missions, she keeps the fridge stocked and fixes the plumbing. However, when a chance coincidence sends her on a solo rescue mission, Flip has a surprising reunion with a woman from her past.

Unable to speak after a botched cleft palate surgery, Emma-Rose grew up half-wild in the Southern backwoods- until strangers discovered her magical powers and imprisoned her in a laboratory of torture. Her one salvation was the woman in the next cell, Flip. Now Flip’s returned, and according to her, they’ll both make it to safety. But Emma’s plans have failed so many times that she has no hope left to lose.

As the two women seek to evade their pursuers, their friendship rekindles, and they are forced to confront both enemies and insecurities.

Rescue comes in many forms.

Wow, what an intense story. Everything from the torture chamber to the big chase later on made it impossible for me to stop reading. The fast pacing worked well how energetically the plot was written. I simply had to know what would happen next and if Emma-Rose would get away from her captors. This is the kind of world I deeply enjoy discovering when I crack open a new book because of how much fun it is to explore.

The romantic elements of this tale didn’t work so well for me. They didn’t show up until very late in the plot, and there wasn’t much foreshadowing going on for them before then. I absolutely loved both the characters involved in this part of the storyline, and I was excited to see what would happen to them next. With that being said, I would have liked to see much more time spent building up the romantic tension between them before anything flirtatious happened.

Ms. Bashe did some interesting things with her flashbacks that made me smile. I barely knew anything about the two main characters in the beginning, and she didn’t reveal very much about them until several scenes had flown by. It was fascinating to get to know them so well before learning anything about their previous lives. I also liked seeing how the author tied even the smallest and simplest memories to what was currently going on in the characters’ lives. This isn’t something I’ve seen done very often in this genre.

I’d recommend Screaming Down Splitsville to anyone who enjoys a little romance in their science fiction.

Happy People Read and Drink Coffee by Agnès Martin-Lugand

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Happy People Read and Drink Coffee by Agnès Martin-Lugand
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (214 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

She fled Paris to lose herself. The love she found would change everything.
Diane seems to have the perfect life. She is a wife, a mother, and the owner of Happy People Read and Drink Coffee, a cozy literary cafe in Paris. But when she suddenly loses her husband and daughter in a car accident, her life is overturned and the world as she knows it instantly disappears. Trapped and haunted by her memories, Diane closes her shop and retreats from her friends and family, unable and unwilling to move forward.

But one year later, Diane shocks her loved ones and makes the surprising decision to move to a small town on the Irish coast, finally determined to heal by rebuilding her life alone-until she meets Edward, a handsome and moody Irish photographer who lives next door. At first abrasive and unwelcoming, Edward initially resents Diane’s intrusion into his life of solitude . . . until he can no longer keep her at arm’s length. Along windy shores and cobbled streets, Diane falls into a surprising and tumultuous romance. As she works to overcome her painful memories and truly heal, Diane and Edward’s once-in-a-lifetime connection inspires her to love herself and the world around her with newfound inner strength and happiness. But will it last when Diane leaves Ireland, and Edward, for good?

At once heartbreaking and uplifting, Diane’s story is deeply felt, reminding us that love remembered is love enduring.

Diane is a woman who has it all. A happy family and a bookshop, she is living a dream in the middle of Paris. But tragedy strikes when her husband and daughter are killed in a car accident. Torn apart by grief, she withdraws from everyone and everything-except her best friend. Searching for meaning in her life now that everything she loved is gone, she decides to move to a small town on the Irish coast and what she finds there will forever shape her destiny.

Edward is a bitter man who knows loss only too well. When he and Diane meet, it is a combustible moment of fire and gasoline, leaving both of them reeling from the impact. Slowly, Diane crawls out of her grief stricken stage and she learns to feel again-even if it is rather a form of hate for her new neighbor that quickly turns into a burning hot romance. But when it comes time for Diane to leave, what will become of her new romance with the enigmatic Edward? You’ll have to read this book to find out.

This book grabbed me and didn’t let me go. In one sitting, I devoured the pages in one breathless gulp. More women’s fiction than romance, the tale showcases the evolution of a woman who is hanging on to her old life by the skin of her teeth and the courage it takes to forge ahead when you don’t know that you have anything left to live for. All of the raw human emotions are there and the book leaves you with a breathless precipice of possibilities that will appeal to fans of Meave Binchy, Jan Karon and Debbie Macomber.

I enjoyed the emotional roller coaster and the light touch of romance-not enough to classify the book as romance but it was still there. I was also excited to learn that it is being made into a movie. Think Tuscan Sun meets the Irish coast and you have the story in a nutshell-and what a good one it was.

I highly recommend Happy People Read and Drink Coffee for a nice beach read or just something to get you out of your own head for awhile.

Down the River by David Wilma

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Down the River by David Wilma
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (279 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

On the Kentucky frontier in 1810, ambitious men struggle for power over a young, gritty society based on slavery. Ruthless planter and politician David Morgan chooses his young servant Phyllis to gather information on his friends and rivals from other slaves. He also finds her a husband, the love of her life. She develops a keen sense of observation as well as knowledge that there is more to the world beyond the isolated valleys and a system that regards her as property. Despite her warnings, Morgan’s fortunes wane and she and her husband and their children are sold to Edward Osborn, Morgan’s enemy.
Osborn’s ego and the War of 1812 bring more tragedy into Phyllis’s world. Morgan and his son are murdered, and Phyllis is the only eyewitness to the crimes. Her experience as a spy and her own wits help her survive a lynch mob, but may not be enough to reunite her family.

The story is realistic and heart aching but true to the era.

This book may not be suitable for some readers. Even though the detail description of physical abuse to human was known for this time era, reading about the great length of hardship could be a bit much for some. The author has a talent for telling a story and has no problem getting in to character to tell the story. I was surprised that the male author could portray the feelings, thoughts and experience of a female slave girl. The author gives a day to day account of Phyllis Wallace Lewis, a slave girl working on the plantation of David Morgan. David Morgan is describe to be a fair slave owner, with ambition to be a politician but some how his actions shown in the book didn’t really seem fair, especially since it seemed he was the cause for the hardship brought about in Phyllis’s life.

The story is told in Phyllis’s voice. Her voice tells of her documented journey to her children. Her story was one that is truly amazing but I felt it lacked more about her personal story; a story of her family history of why she was set apart from the others. At the start of the book Phyllis’s mother was present but was later sold off the plantation, leaving Phyllis a orphan. Phyllis pretty much was kept apart from the other slave hands. For this story to have been her voice to her children I would have liked to have read more on her mother and her story. What mother wouldn’t want to tell their children where they came from and who their people are? Phyllis knowingly looked different than the others but no one spoke about her blue eyes and fair skin complexion. Later in the book a brief mention that she was white but not much more was elaborated on who she was, who was her father and she didn’t question who she was; she just accepted that she was different and it didn’t seem to bother her.

The author has a talent for writing and telling a story. I’ve read The Guardian and thoroughly enjoyed that book, but for this one I just want something more to happen. Or maybe too much was happening. The first part of the book tells of Phyllis at a young age, the plantation moving and then settling into a new land. Due to near tragic circumstances, Phyllis is assigned to the kitchen to cook, then she was partnered with Esther to sell produce around the town area and gather information for master David to help him in his political run for office. She marries and then is sold. It’s a life full of crisis after crisis and Phyllis is a strong woman the book depicts her endurance and growth in her Christian journey. Reading Phyllis’s story and seeing her growth from thinking her life would be spent under some one’s thumb and to only see that a slave has no rights except to suffer. Her interpersonal growth she soon realizes there is other forces beyond white men and weather. This is a heart warming story to tell her children about. Passing along her struggle and how she overcame to become the strong woman that her children would know and see her as.

The story is well constructed even though there are parts that kept my interest there also were parts of the book that I found to be slow as well. Phyllis’s journey didn’t so much end with a destination but brought about a memorable life of tragedy, heartbreak, love, lost and in the end forgiveness. This book wasn’t the best to me as a reader but I wouldn’t want to discourage someone from reading it. The journey of Phyllis’s life could be an inspiration to some reader that crisis may rise in life but you can’t give up, you definitely can’t stop fighting and ultimately that forgiving may sometimes bring about freedom.