Book Reviews September 2012

These are books I’ve read and reviewed at Amazon this past month.

The Leopard Tree by Lisa Brochu
I am forever in search of good novels for my students to read, and this one fits the bill perfectly! While it is geared towards younger readers (middle/high school), the novel reaches across age boundaries and is a simple and inspiring read for all ages. I loved the way the African children use The Wizard of Oz as their guide to bringing change to their world. The author did a wonderful job weaving Dorothy’s story with the story of three children from Africa on a quest to find help for the children of their country.

 
The Midwife of Hope River: A Novel of an American Midwife (P.S.) by Patricia Harman
The Midwife of Hope River was a delightful read. The author artfully wove heart wrenching scenes of childbirth in the heart of West Virginia with scenes from the midwife’s struggles to survive in poverty. Set during the Depression years, the tale shows the struggles of the era, the plight of the coal miners, and the racial inequality of the times. I was drawn into the lives of the characters and cried along with Patience as she tried to help these women in the worst of circumstances. I highly recommend the novel!

 

 
Midwife : Liza by Valerie Levy
I’m always looking for a book that is engaging enough to keep me reading. This novel certainly made the grade. I enjoyed reading the historical references to medieval times and the author did a very good job weaving a narrative around them. The characters were interesting and well thought out, although I would have liked to have seen more of Anton. I don’t care for stories that tie everything up in a neat bow at the end, and this story didn’t exactly do that. It did seem to end a bit abruptly, but it also would have been too unwieldy to drag it out. Overall, I will certainly recommend the book to others and I look forward to the next story in the Midwife series.
Chicago’s Headmistress by Loretta Giacoletto
I found this novel to be an excellent story with some very dynamic characters. I did feel that it read more like a first draft however. There were many places where I felt the scenes were rushed and could have used further development. The book would also benefit from some good proofreading (I read the Kindle version); there were many glaring errors and typos. Despite the sometimes underdeveloped plot lines and the spelling/grammar issues, I read the novel to the end because I very much enjoyed the story as a whole. I look forward to reading more from this author.

 
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
My husband and I listened to Howe’s book while traveling and so enjoyed it that we ended up sitting in the car in our driveway after a 9 hour drive to hear the end of the book! A wonderful tale of witches, prejudice, intrigue, love, and history all mixed into one nicely flowing narrative.

About Karen Y. Hamilton

Karen leads workshops in Creative Writing, Poetry and Journal Therapy, and Memoir Writing. She has studied genealogy and personal histories since 1987, lecturing and leading workshops on Memoir Writing and Journaling to the community since 1998. Karen holds a BA in English and has studied Literature, Business, and Education at the graduate level. She is a former college instructor of English Composition and Reading. In the past, Karen has worked as a high school & middle school teacher. She currently works as a Curriculum Specialist and is an MFA Creative Writing student at Florida Atlantic University.
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