The Trackers by Charles Frazier – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Cold Mountain and Varina, a stunning new novel that paints a vivid portrait of life in the Great Depression

Hurtling past the downtrodden communities of Depression-era America, painter Val Welch travels westward to the rural town of Dawes, Wyoming. Through a stroke of luck, he’s landed a New Deal assignment to create a mural representing the region for their new Post Office.

The Trackers by Charles FrazierA wealthy art lover named John Long and his wife Eve have agreed to host Val at their sprawling ranch. Rumors and intrigue surround the couple: Eve left behind an itinerant life riding the rails and singing in a western swing band. Long holds shady political aspirations, but was once a WWI sniper—and his right hand is a mysterious elder cowboy, a vestige of the violent old west. Val quickly finds himself entranced by their lives.

One day, Eve flees home with a valuable painting in tow, and Long recruits Val to hit the road with a mission of tracking her down. Journeying from ramshackle Hoovervilles to San Francisco nightclubs to the swamps of Florida, Val’s search for Eve narrows, and he soon turns up secrets that could spark formidable changes for all of them.

In The Trackers, singular American writer Charles Frazier conjures up the lives of everyday people during an extraordinary period of history that bears uncanny resemblance to our own. With the keen perceptions of humanity and transcendent storytelling that have made him beloved for decades, Frazier has created a powerful and timeless new classic.

His Review:

Being the oldest child and beautiful is not always a blessing. Eve is forced out of the house in her teens when her family has too many mouths to feed and no money during the depression. The early nineteen-thirties were a very difficult time for everyone in America.

The Trackers by Charles FrazierEve got her degree in survival in the camps of the depression population and rode the rails from place to place to find work. She picked fruit in all areas of the United States until she met Mr. Long. They were soon married but she still sang in local honky-tonks and was admired by many. With her marriage, Eve was no longer struggling and moving with the seasons and the railroads.

Valentine Montgomery Welsh is hired to paint a mural in the local post office. He is introduced to the Longs and offered free rent in one of their ranch-hand cottages. Everything is going well and the mural is nearly finished when the straw boss of the ranch corners Val and asks him where Eve is. Thus follows the major adventure of the book.

Val covers all four corners of the state looking for Eve to bring her home to Mr. Long. The country is fairly lawless during the thirties and tracking a runaway is fraught with danger. Some people are happy to help Val in his search, while others would just as soon dispatch him. One of these characters is Faro who is very big and very mean. He and Val attain a truce while they scour the country looking for the missing Mrs. Eve Long.

CE WilliamsThis story is entertaining and irresistible! I was engaged both by the plot and also the ruthlessly depicted characters. Enjoy! 5 stars – CE Williams 

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. Currently on pre-order.

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Book Details:

Genre: US Historical Fiction, Historical Literary Fiction, Small Town & Rural Fiction
Publisher: Ecco
ASIN: B0B6JSJQLH
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: April 11, 2023
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Trackers [Amazon]

 

Charles Frazier - authorThe Author: Charles Frazier grew up in the mountains of North Carolina and is the award-winning author of bestselling novels COLD MOUNTAIN, THIRTEEN MOONS, NIGHTWOODS, and VARINA. His latest novel, THE TRACKERS, will be released April 11, 2023 from Ecco and is available for preorder now.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams

Rosepoint Recommended-5 Stars

The Sandcastle Hurricane by Carolyn Brown – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Blurb:

Family, wounded hearts, and a Texas bed-and-breakfast are in need of repair in New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown’s inviting novel about down-home comfort and second chances.

The Sandcastle Hurricane by Carolyn BrownCousins Tabby and Ellie Mae are due for a change. Running their aunt’s beachfront bed-and-breakfast in Sandcastle, Texas, is just the thing to shake things up…though their lives spin out of control in more ways than one when a hurricane barrels into the coastline. It’s a miracle it didn’t carry them off to Kansas. Not so lucky are the assisted-living center and a small eclectic group of local folks who take shelter with the cousins.

Two estranged sisters, rowdy as a circus, need a referee for a battle that goes back decades. And a pair of veterans, best friends for years, hash out bittersweet old times. There’s also handyman Alex LaSalle and his business partner, Ricky, experts at repairing the hurricane’s damage—and at making Tabby’s and Ellie Mae’s hearts beat a little faster.

As unpredictable, crowded, and stormy as it gets, the Sandcastle B and B is still the perfect harbor for healing past wounds, finding romance, and making up for lost time. Add in Tabby’s homemade pecan pie, and the Texas shore feels like a little slice of paradise.

My Review:

Ah, a novel of damaged souls bound together in the face of nature’s forceful notice that there are worse things out there. Time to count the blessings and coincidentally this is the perfect time of year to do that.

The Sandcastle Hurricane by Carolyn BrownCousins Tabby and Ellie May have had their full share of tragedy and the timing is right for their Aunt Charlotte to sign over her beachfront B&B to her nieces and split for drier pastures. Heaven knows they have ideas on what to do with the property which will require some updating but the relocation for both of them to the south is a great time for them to band together, start over, and do it.

Unfortunately, they barely unpack their bags before they are notified of an impending hurricane and dear ole auntie calls to tell them he’s sending Alex to them with four assisted living persons who could not be evacuated—no place to go.

Well, at least Alex and his partner Ricky can provide some eye candy as well as a built-in repair crew after the hurricane.

Hurricane Delilah is taking her old sweet time decimating the formerly peaceful village and it appears their elderly guests will be forced to stay until everyone is bosom buddies. The two old sisters are like a couple vipers while the two old veterans swap war stories. The cousins manage to make it work without B&B experience or electricity and discover the group is a family in itself.

Nothing like a feel good Hallmark type novel to set a reader up for the upcoming holiday season. Not as syrupy sweet as Hallmark, as there might be some objectionable language and implied sexual activity, but it is a lesson in coming together for the common good. There are themes of kindness, loss, grief, and recovery. Fresh starts are a good thing, families are a good thing, pets are a good thing, and so are romances but these are just too convenient to be very realistic.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Small Town & Rural Fiction, Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Women’s Romance Fiction
Publisher: Montlake
ISBN: ‎ 1542038383
ASIN: B09S37L4Q7
Print Length: 315 pages
Publication Date: November 8, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Carolyn Brown - authorThe Author: Carolyn Brown is a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publisher’s Weekly and #1 Amazon and #1 Washington Post bestselling author. She is the author of more than 100 novels and several novellas. She’s a recipient of the Bookseller’s Best Award, Montlake Romance’s prestigious Montlake Diamond Award, and also a three-time recipient of the National Reader’s Choice Award. Brown has been published for more than 20 years, and her books have been translated 21 foreign languages.

When she’s not writing, she likes to plot new stories in her backyard with her tom cat, Boots Randolph Terminator Outlaw, who protects the yard from all kinds of wicked varmints like crickets, locusts, and spiders.

Visit her at http://www.carolynbrownbooks.com.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Beartown Series—Beartown Book 1 and The Winners Book 3 by Fredrik Backman – #audiobook – #BookReview – #TBT

Beartown Series Books 1 and 3

I had the opportunity to download the ebook of The Winners on NetGalley after I discovered Beartown, the audiobook at my local library on the advice of Lynne of Fictionophile who thought I’d appreciate the former better having read the first in the series. Of course, The Winners at 684 pages would have been a daunting read for me, so I turned it over to the CE who burns through books like he does sweets. I really thought the CE would love it. We all came away with wildly different views of the series.

Beartown

Editors' pick Best Literature & Fiction

Book Blurb:

2018 Audie Award Finalist for Fiction

The number-one New York Times best-selling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream – and the price required to make it come true. 

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semifinals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. 

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semifinal match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made, and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. 

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world. 

My Review:

My first experience with a Backman novel and perhaps this might not have been the best choice. Genre is clearly noted as being sports fiction and this is definitely outside of my normal reading choices. As others have noted, however, it is a great deal more—my problem was in having the patience sufficient to get through the heavily weighted ice hockey game descriptions; game strategy, players, coaches, parents, rivalry, and ethics.

Of course, I loved that it is located in a tiny community in a deeply forested area of Sweden where one of the names of the major characters is Andersson since my grandmother was 100% Swedish and we still have distant relatives located there about six miles from the North Sea (if I’ve remembered it correctly. In the US, the family dropped the extra “S” that denoted the family name as Anders sons).

Beartown by Fredrik BackmanIt is the crushing isolation and the economic loss killing the little town that seems to force the only claim to fame it possesses—a junior ice hockey team extremely good at winning. Some of these kids are so good they are recruited to professional hockey. Too much weight on the shoulders of teenagers, however, builds the tension that eventually threatens to bury the last of their hopes.

It isn’t until two-thirds (or more) into the narrative that something tragic occurs that drives the plot slightly off the sports rail, much of it spent in chanting, “Beartown, Beartown, Beartown!”

The boys are a mix of low to well-to-do with the well-to-do kid one of the stars of the team and the nastiest of the group. The boy who wins my heart is the smallest (and fastest), Amat.

An emotional look at parenting, teenage angst, friendships, disloyalty, deadly rivalries, and the need to be accepted. I could understand the decisions made while at the same time railed at the loss it reflected.

I downloaded the audiobook from my local library that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Sports Fiction, Small Town & Rural Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Narrator: Marin Ireland
ASIN: B06XHMLMT4
Print Length: 13 hrs 11 mins
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Source: Local Library
Title Link: Beartown [Amazon]

↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔ ↔ ↔↔ ↔  

The Winners: A Novel

#1 New Release in Sports Fiction

Book Blurb:

A breathtaking new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anxious People and A Man Called OveThe Winners returns to the close-knit, resilient community of Beartown for a story about first loves, second chances, and last goodbyes.

Over the course of two weeks, everything in Beartown will change.

Maya Andersson and Benji Ovich, two young people who left in search of a life far from the forest town, come home and joyfully reunite with their closest childhood friends. There is a new sense of optimism and purpose in the town, embodied in the impressive new ice rink that has been built down by the lake.

Two years have passed since the events that no one wants to think about. Everyone has tried to move on, but there’s something about this place that prevents it. The destruction caused by a ferocious late-summer storm reignites the old rivalry between Beartown and the neighboring town of Hed, a rivalry which has always been fought through their ice hockey teams.

Maya’s parents, Peter and Kira, are caught up in an investigation of the hockey club’s murky finances, and Amat—once the star of the Beartown team—has lost his way after an injury and a failed attempt to get drafted into the NHL. Simmering tensions between the two towns turn into acts of intimidation and then violence. All the while, a fourteen-year-old boy grows increasingly alienated from this hockey-obsessed community and is determined to take revenge on the people he holds responsible for his beloved sister’s death. He has a pistol and a plan that will leave Beartown with a loss that is almost more that it can stand.

As it beautifully captures all the complexities of daily life and explores questions of friendship, loyalty, loss, and identity, this emotion-packed novel asks us to reconsider what it means to win, what it means to lose, and what it means to forgive.

His Review:

Beartown and Hed have had a rivalry as long as anyone could remember. There are two hockey teams and the competition is manic. There have been players good enough to advance to the NHL but that is not the deciding advantage in the area. Even a losing season is overlooked as long as the losers beat the neighboring town’s hockey team.

The Winners by Fredrik BackmanRemoteness in a seemingly endless forest captures the young people in a never-ending rivalry as well. Dates between the towns’ young people almost require a secret encounter rather than a public display. The town fathers are hyper in their protection of the team and the efforts to recruit the best players from each town.

The seclusion fosters paranoia between the towns as well. Closely guarded practices and team meetings engender the best in spy craft. Knowing the other teams’ strengths and game plans insures that the other team will be on top at the end of the season.

The schism that exists creates a continuous rivalry that permeates the fabric of the community and the end result is competition that can at times turn deadly. This author has spun a fantastical story which drove me to stop reading early because of the hate engendered between the young people in the towns.

I found the narrative disturbing in so many ways and felt a deep sadness for the inhabitants of both of the cities. It was so difficult to read the hate engendered between the young people of the two towns, I failed to complete the entire novel.  Crushing theme of isolation failure, humanity.  3 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

Rosepoint Publishing: Three Stars three stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Sports Fiction, Small Town & Rural Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
ASIN: B09R2J1DXF
Print Length: 684 pages
Publication Date: September 27, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: The Winners [Amazon-US]
Amazon-UK
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Fredrik Backman - authorThe Author: Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, and two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime, as well as one work of nonfiction, Things My Son Needs to Know About the World. His books are published in more than forty countries. His next novel, Anxious People, will be published in September 2020. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter @BackmanLand or on Instagram @Backmansk.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams

The CE and I

#ThrowbackThursday

 

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan – #Audiobook Review – #TuesdayBookBlog

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

A Reading Ireland Month bookSt Patty's Day Hat

“Heavy is the head that wears a crown.” 

Book Blurb:

It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man, faces into his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery that forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church. 

Already an international bestseller, Small Things Like These is a deeply affecting story of hope, quiet heroism, and empathy from one of our most critically lauded and iconic writers.

My Review:

Released just in time for Christmas last year, this beautiful tome should have been described as a novella—as you can see–even the audiobook is very short.

Small Things Like These by Claire KeeganIt is, upfront, an unapologetic tale of the Magdalene Laundries and the Catholic Church nuns who administer the enterprise, now having been exposed as a shameful part of Irish history.

Bill Furlong was the child of an unwed mother who was under the employ of a well-to-do widow. The child and his mother were allowed to stay and he grew up under the roof of the kind widow. Bill eventually marries and has five daughters of his own. He has become a successful entrepreneur providing coal to homes in his village for heating. One of his customers is the large monastery where delivering coal just before Christmas he discovers by accident a young girl who begs him to help her escape the nunnery. He cannot at that moment but is haunted by what he saw.

Oh, my… This emotional and poignant little narrative seems to be deeply character-driven while it craftily lays out a powerful indictment on one hand and the generous magnitude of a man with five daughters of his own on the other. The story carefully paints the beauty of the time of year, the level of humanity exhibited by the townspeople in the spirit of the season, and juxtaposed the horrific conditions of the girls in the nunnery. It’s a heart-wrenching vision that tears at the emotions.

It’s a story that has you wondering where it’s going while it quietly lays out the backstory sufficient to give you the moral code engrained in Furlong. So perhaps the conclusion doesn’t come as a big surprise as much as the abrupt end to the tale. I guess you don’t really need a picture—you can fill the rest in—and each reader will do so in their own way.

A sweet little piece that has you reeled in only to realize after it ended how special it is.

Book Details:

Genre: Holiday Fiction, Small Town & Rural Fiction, British and Irish Literary Fiction
Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
ASIN: B09N42GCTT
Listening Length: 1 hr 57 mins
Narrator: Aidan Kelly
Publication Date: December 17, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Small Things Like These [Amazon]

 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

 

Claire Keegan - authorThe Author: CLAIRE KEEGAN was raised on a farm in Ireland. Her stories have won numerous awards and are translated into more than twenty languages. Antarctica won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and was chosen as a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. Walk the Blue Fields won the Edge Hill Prize for the finest collection of stories published in the British Isles. Foster, after winning the Davy Byrnes Award—then the world’s richest prize for a story—was recently selected by The Times UK as one of the top 50 novels to be published in the 21st century. Her stories have been published in the New YorkerThe Paris ReviewGranta, and Best American Stories. Keegan is now holding the Briena Staunton Fellowship at Pembroke College, Cambridge. [Amazon]

[Goodreads: Claire Keegan was born in Wexford in 1968. A member of Aosdána, she lives in Co. Wexford. Photo attribute]

© V Williams V Williams

Reading Ireland Month 2021

The Art of the Decoy (A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery) by Trish Esden – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

“Open by chance or appointment.”

Book Blurb:

After her mother is sent to prison for art forgery, Edie Brown returns to Northern Vermont to rebuild her family’s fine art and antiques business. She’s certain she can do it now that her mother is gone. After all, butting heads with her mom over bad business practices was what drove Edie away three years ago, including a screwup that landed Edie on probation for selling stolen property.

The Art of the Decoy by Trish EsdenWhen Edie scores a job appraising a waterfowl decoy collection at a hoarder’s farmhouse, she’s determined to take advantage of the situation to rebuild the business’s tarnished reputation and dwindling coffers. In lieu of payment, Edie intends to cherry-pick an exceptional decoy carved by the client’s renowned Quebecoise folk artist ancestors. Only the tables turn when the collection vanishes.

Accused of the theft, Edie’s terrified that the fallout will destroy the business and land her in prison next to her mom. Desperate, she digs into the underbelly of the local antiques and art world. When Edie uncovers a possible link between the decoy theft and a deadly robbery at a Quebec museum, she longs to ask her ex-probation officer, and ex-lover, for help. But she suspects his recent interest in rekindling their romance may hide a darker motive.

With the help of her eccentric uncle Tuck and Kala, their enigmatic new employee, Edie must risk all she holds dear to expose the thieves and recover the decoys before the FBI’s Art Crime Team or the ruthless thieves themselves catch up with her.

My Review:

Protagonist Edie Brown has grown up in the family’s fine art and antiques business. Unfortunately, her mother landed in the slammer for art forgery, implicating Edie in the process for which Edie paid with probation for selling said property.

Now she is back in Northern Vermont to take over the business with a little help from uncle Tuck. In the meantime, Tuck has hired an employee, Kala, a computer whiz and otherwise smart dynamo—perfect addition to the faltering business.  When she is approached with a waterfowl decoy that may be the tip of an iceberg, Edie sees a huge possibility in scoring a collection from a hoarder’s farmhouse with hopes of securing lucrative auctioning rights.

“For me, researching folk art was like setting a beagle free in a park full of squirrels.”

The Art of the Decoy by Trish EsdenBut Edie may get a taste of the business that she had failed to perceive when her mother got into trouble. The art and antiquing community holds those who would turn a multi-million dollar find into underworld funds without interest in the beauty or history of the exquisite folk art carving.

Edie definitely gets in over her head as she fails to ignore warnings, including one from an ex-lover (who she’d love to make a current lover). While I had a few problems getting into Edie’s head, I appreciated several other main characters including Kala and Shane. There is more than one antagonist, a murder off page, the craft of antiquing, and descriptions of the area and proximity to Canada.

For a debut novel and the first in the series, the author appears to have set up quite the storyline as well as several remarkable characters. Definitely a good start and an interesting introduction to the world of buying, trading, pricing and selling of antiques. The well-plotted narrative, however, tends to sag a bit and do a repeat of motives, slowing the pace. It might have kept a heightened interest by fewer repeats and a bit more fleshing of Edie. Also, going forward, I’ll be interested to see where the relationship with Shane goes, as well as additional background into Kala’s character.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts. Currently on pre-order.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Small Town & Rural Fiction, Traditional Detective Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
ASIN: B098PXZNDF
Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):
Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Trish Esden - authorThe Author: Trish Esden loves museums, gardens, wilderness, dogs and birds, in various order depending on the day. She lives in Northern Vermont where she deals antiques with her husband, a profession she’s been involved with since her teens. Don’t ask what her favorite type of antique is. She loves hunting down old bottles and rusty barn junk as much as she enjoys fine art and furnishings. Trish is the author of the Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery series.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Sockeye by Michael F Tevlin – A #BookReview #readingirelandmonth20

A Review by associate CE.

March!

Book Blurb:

Sockeye by Michael F TevlinJoe Wallace returns to this remote Oregon valley from self-imposed exile to bury the father who abandoned him a decade ago. Sad, alone and drinking, Joe has nearly given up on life and love.

Things change when Joe meets Ana, whose Nez Perce ancestors once called this valley home. Joe joins Ana’s cause to restore a lost sockeye salmon run to the lake where he grew up. As their relationship deepens, their peril grows. Somebody wants them gone – or dead.

The escalating threats rekindle a fire Joe thought was dead or buried in him. When his jealous brother tries to develop the family’s land, Joe must make a stand.

In the end, Joe discovers a life worth living, with a woman he was meant to love, in the place he was meant to live. And he realizes the redemption possible in a deep connection to the land.

His Review:

Do sons need to atone for the failings of their fathers? This author explores this issue in this sad and revealing story set in one of Oregon’s most beautiful settings. Joe Wallace left under the pressure of an alcoholic father and a murdered fiancée. He thought Alaska and a life of fishing could keep him insulated from the loneliness and heartbreak of lost love.

Sockeye by Michael F TevlinBut life does not offer solitude as forgiveness for forgotten memories. Joe comes back for the funeral of his father only to confront the devils of his past. Do-gooders are attempting to restore the salmon runs in outback Oregon. They see the controlled waterways and dams as a total rape of the natural environment.

Of course, there is sibling rivalry between Joe and his older brother. The family homestead of 160 acres is a prime opportunity for developers to change this ranch forever. His older brother has been counting the value of the land for years. All that is needed is to have Joe and his sister McKenzie agree to sell the property to developers. Neither of them wants to sell the property and lose their childhood home and memories.

A young Nez Perce Indian lady is part of a consortium to blow up the dam and revert the land and river to its’ natural flow. Most of the small town is against the plan because the dam provides life-giving water to the ranches and farms in this semi-arid region. No matter which way they turn, the Wallace family is going to make enemies.

Alcoholism is a cruel taskmaster. No matter where you go it will always seek you out. Old man Wallace had places where bottles were hidden all around the ranch property. Like father like son, Joe knew all of the secret hiding places and followed in his fathers’ shadow. He felt he would never be able to live up to the example set by his dad and the bottle was a convenient crutch.

The young lady, Ana, falls in love with Joe. The old adage that two people influenced by alcohol will always seek each other holds true in the story. Disaster is always a bottle away. These well-developed characters fight through this problem and it almost destroys them. A son is born to them and Ana struggles to keep Joe centered on his new family.

CE WilliamsThis narrative is well developed and engaging. Anyone coming from a broken home destroyed by alcohol will recognize much of this storyline. I found the story compelling. 4/5 stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Native American Literature, Family Life Fiction, Small Town and Rural Fiction
Publisher: Black Rose Writing

  • ISBN-10:1684334659
  • ISBN-13:978-1684334650
  • ASIN: B084Q83GS5

Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: March 12, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Sockeye (Amazon link)

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Michael F Tevlin - authorThe Author: Michael F. Tevlin was born not far from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York, and grew up on Staten Island. He is the second of five children. His father was a New York cop, and both his parents were the children of Irish immigrants. He has a bachelor’s from the State University of New York at Oneonta and a master’s in journalism from the University of Oregon. He and his wife, Diane, moved to Oregon when they were 25 and put down roots. He worked briefly as a reporter before moving on to a corporate and freelance writing career. His first novel, “Sockeye,” will be published by Black Rose Writing in March 2020. He plays guitar and sings, loves the outdoors, surfs occasionally when visiting his older son in California and fly-fishes whenever he can with his younger son. He and Diane have two grandkids and live in Portland.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Christmas on the Home Front (Land Girls #3) by Roland Moore – a #BookReview #historicalfiction

Another that my associate reviewer and I enjoyed, particularly as we binged on the Netflix series.

The Land Girls - Netflix

Book Blurb:

It’s the last Christmas of the war but will things ever be the same again?

Christmas 1944

Despite the food rationing and the bitterly cold weather, the land girls of Pasture Farm, Connie Carter, Joyce Fisher and Esther Reeves, are determined to celebrate this Christmas in style.  The fighting might still be raging, but they all hope this could be the last Christmas of this dreaded war.

But as the day approaches, word spreads in sleepy Helmstead that two German Airmen are on the run.  With everyone on high alert, the mood is tense and the women take no chances.  Until the German airmen find them…

Trapped at Pasture Farm with the enemy, the women are determined to find a way to freedom and overpower the airmen.  But it means risking everything…including their lives.

My Review

In checking out this book as my next possible read, I discovered that the storyline was actually a successful BBC series, The Land Girls. We were able to view on Netflix and were hooked. The novel doesn’t disappoint, and happily, though the series and author were new to me, #3 read just fine as a standalone. And, BONUS, it was fun to put a face (that of the actors in the series) to the characters in the book, Joyce, Connie, Esther, Iris, and Finch.

The Land Girls by Roland MooreWhile the main character is Joyce Fisher, there are a number of well-developed support characters that comprise the Woman’s Land Army stationed at Pasture Farm. It doesn’t take long before you get to know each, their strengths and weaknesses, and the particular position they hold at the farm. The Land Girls have been created to supplement the loss of farm support and help provide food supplies. They have learned to manage with shortages and been creative in continuing the work necessary to aid in the war effort.

This entry to the series has the reader looking at Christmas 1944 and the witness of a German plane shot down not far from the farm. Too close, in fact. Joyce and Esther have been left at the farm during the Christmas countdown, the others scattered, and find themselves face-to-face with two desperate German airmen. The tension ramps up quickly as the men try to connect with sympathizers to collect and get them back home.

The farm is near Lady Hoxley’s Estate, where she is housing an American Army unit and an interim hospital in a branch of her mansion. I believe the farm is on her land, with perhaps Finch providing management, but not completely clear if he doesn’t own the farm. Still, Lady Hoxley keeps tab on the girls and lends support where she can.

The story jumps timelines, backtracking to an appropriately revealing scene with that point of view and then skips back, perhaps with a different character and replaying the scene to bring the two back to the same point in time. It can be just a bit confusing at first but serves to provide a full picture.

I was given this digital download by the publisher through NetGalley and was totally thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review. I thoroughly enjoyed the book (as well as the TV series) and heartily recommend to all who enjoy historical fiction. Whether it’s fiction or not, there is still so much to be learned from the “greatest generation.”

His Review

Christmas on the Home Front by Roland MooreThe scene is World War II and Britain is in its’ darkest hours. Everyone in the country pitches in for the war effort. City girls retreat to the farms to replace young men and boys sent off to war and assist in planting and harvesting.

Mr. Moore develops the characters as delightful, energetic and hard-working farm hands. Add to that the always present small-town gossips and busy-bodies and you have a very entertaining mix. Enemy aviators downed in the English countryside add danger and flavor to this tale.

Collaborators during WW II were present in France as the French underground. English helping the Germans were quite unusual and unexpected. Add foreign troops assisting the British from many different countries and you have a complete montage of love, heartbreak, intrigue and despair wrapped up in a daily struggle.

The young women are very naïve and vulnerable. Mix in lonesome foreign troops and escaping foreign airmen and you have a very volatile mix. Moore continually weaves humanity into his story. One almost had sympathy for the downed enemy airmen. However, their duty to escape and get back to their units made them less than sympathetic characters. Associate Reviewer - C E Williams

These books have been made into a TV series and I enjoyed them. But reading the book gives one a much broader appreciation for the trials suffered by all those involved in the WWII conflict. Set aside time, you will not want to put the book down. 5/5 CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: 20th Century Historical Romance, Small Town & Rural Fiction, War Fiction, TV Movie & Game Tie-In Fiction, Family Saga
Publisher: One More Chapter

  • ISBN-10:0008204454
  • ISBN-13:978-0008204457

ASIN: B07S47KQNV
Print Length: 273 pages
Publication Date: November 14, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Christmas on the Home Front
+Add to Goodreads 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4.5-stars

The Author: Roland Moore is an award-winning series creator and scriptwriter working in a wide range of genres for film and television in the UK, America, and China.

He created the BBC1 returning period drama series, LAND GIRLS and he was recently the Head Writer on HUMANS for Endemol Shine China and Croton Media. HUMANS is the first sci-fi drama for Chinese television. Roland storylined the series (based on the AMC/C4 series), wrote six episodes and managed a team of UK writers through various drafts.

His children’s feature film 2:HRS recently received its theatrical premiere in the UK. He has also been commissioned to write a wartime spy drama for Jack Huston and his dystopian police series, THE LAST COP, has been optioned by Black Box Media.

He has written extensively for Big Finish writing original audio dramas for their DOCTOR WHO and SURVIVORS ranges. Other credits include SUMMER CAN WAIT (feature), RASTAMOUSE, SMACK THE PONY, DOCTORS, MAN STROKE WOMAN and PETER RABBIT. Find Roland Moore at the following links:

Twitter: @RolandMooreTV
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/landgirlstvbook
http://www.rolandmoore.tv

©2019 V Williams V Williams

The Land Girls photo attribute: Netflix

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