Thursday, August 29, 2013

A HOUSE DIVIDED by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella

This is book two in "The Russians" series and as the back of the book says, it is "a powerful novel about love, intrigue, war and faith".  "Michael Phillips and Judith Pella have undertaken this very difficult but rewarding task of presenting a slice of Russian history through fictional characters and details with historic settings and events."  ". . . an authentic Russian novel, representing the complexities of this multi-layered society at the time of the tsars."  This story takes place from 1878-1880 and continues with the story of Prince Sergei and his family and the  much loved servant girl Anna Burenin who you will come to know and love from book one.  Prince Sergei has just fought in the Balkan war and is a little disillusioned by what he has seen.  Anna's brother, Paul, is struggling with his place in the world and finds himself joining the revolutionary group that wants to overthrow the tsar's control over the empire.  It is a difficult time in Russia and especially for a a prince who has fallen in love with a lowly peasant girl named Anna.

This is not my usual style of reading, but I must say the author does a good job of pulling you in and keeping you interested in what will happen next all the way through these stories.  I feel I am also learning about the Russian culture at this time in history.    It is a series I highly recommend you read in order because one book picks up where the previous one leaves off and the first two books flow together very well.    I think these books would make a great mini-series!  This is not a quick read, but it is well worth  the time spent reading about the people of Russia.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

THE CROWN AND THE CRUCIBLE by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella

This is the beginning of a series of stories that will teach you as well as entertain you.  It will give you a history lesson of the beginning of the country of Russia and how the people lived and struggled and loved.  There are two distinct "classes" in Russia at this time, during the 1800's,  the pre-revolutionary era.  You will find yourself getting to know and understand both "classes" and to understand just how different the people lived then.

Anna Yevnovna Burenin is a peasant girl who is fortunate(?) to be taken from her family and the tiny village of Katyk and find work in a prince's palace in St. Petersburg.  Life will not be easy for Anna as she adjusts to the harsh demands of life in the home of the Fedorcenko family.  When Princess Katrina Fedorcenko decides to make Anna her personal maid life gets slightly easier for her.  Then there is Prince Sergei who is thoughtful and caring and not at all like the rest of his family.  He actually sees Anna as a person, who you can talk to and share your thoughts with.  You will also meet Anna's brother Paul, who is caught up on the whole revolution idea.  The Balkan War is beginning in this story also and you will see the needless death and slaughter taking place.  There is a lot of things going on and you will understand a lot of Russian culture as you read.  I felt for the people of Russia as they struggle to just exist and for others who have so much and are so privileged and care so little for those "beneath" them.  This is a long series and this book kind of sets the stage for what will be happening throughout the rest of this series.  It was a good beginning and I look forward to reading the next story.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

THE GUARDIAN FALLS by Florence B. Smith

This author has been a dear friend of mine for many years.  I have read several of her books and I think she hit a home-run with this one.  It tells the story of two Indian families and shows a different side of the Indians than those who fought and killed the white man.  Tamaka and Running Brook are two Apache friends who learn to follow the way of peace and try to stop the vicious hatred, the killings and destruction of some of their people.  But as in all races there are evil men who are arrogant and full of hate and you will encounter them in this story sadly.  This book was written as it says on the back of the book, "full of authenticity, Indian culture, Indian lore, real places and people".  The "secret valley" these folks find and begin to build into a community sounds like a place I would have liked to have visited.

You will watch Tamaka and his friend Running Brook grow up, get married and have children.  They will face many obstacles, but their friendship stands strong and so does their heritage.  There will be happy marriages, sad family hatred and best of all a coming to know and depend on the God that Parson Isaac will share with these precious Indians in Secret Valley.  This story will take you back in time and let you walk among the Apache tribe of Secret Valley.  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 10, 2013


This was a story about an airline stewardess, a pilot and a lot of fly time, which was very appropriate as I was reading it on my flight home from Florida.  The book dated itself a little by talking about serving meals on the plane and stuff but I thoroughly enjoyed myself as I read this romantic, fun-filled story about staying true to your ideals when looking for that special someone to share your life with.

 I thought the "book description" from Amazon did such a good job of giving you an idea of what the book was truly about that here it is: "After logging thousands of hours in the air, flight attendant Robbie Mallory is quite adept at resisting the charms of men who are only interested in casual flirtation. So when Captain Tyler "blue-eyes" Lang showers her with his attentions, Robbie is sure he regards her merely as his latest conquest and she tries to ignore him. With a good head on her shoulders and a secret dream of forever love, Robbie does not intend to lose her heart to the Romeo of the friendly skies. But when she and Ty are scheduled on the same flight to Bermuda, even her well-built defenses can't keep her heart safe. Despite her happiness, Robbie can't shake nagging suspicions about Ty. Had she made a mistake in falling in love with him?"

If you like to fly and get away for a few hours, then pick up "Love Takes Flight" and enjoy a romantic get-away!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN by Grace Livingston Hill

The author, Grace Livingston Hill, "creates thrilling stories of inspiring, wholesome people whose hearts cope triumphantly with the problems of life and love." (Quote taken from the back cover of this story.)  Very well said and an excellent description of this author's writing style.  In this story you see how a young wife tries to save her marriage when she accidentally see her husband taking a stroll in a carriage through the park with another woman.  In today's society it would just mean a nasty divorce.  But this woman, Miriam Winthrop, sets out to change and try to better herself and save her marriage.  When her husband starts to see what a fool he has been, will it be too late for the both of them.  A tragic tale of how easily we can let a good marriage slip away when we don't give attention to and cherish what we have.