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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Books As Gifts. Delightful!

 
 Happy Holidays, let's read!

December in our family means lots of celebrating. Three birthdays, an anniversary, New Years Eve, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and close friends who celebrate Chanukah. Those are just the gift giving occasions. As a writer, reviewer, and former owner of an indie bookstore, little wonder that books as gifts fill my mind. First a repeat of my Christmas story, then some suggestions. Enjoy and leave your suggestions either below or on my facebook page. Please share, tweet, etc. the blog if you wish.

 I first published this in December 2014. I am updating with new thoughts and books for 2015.

When I was growing up, there were always books for Christmas. My parents taught me the value of reading very early in my life. From my first memories, I can recall being read to by one or the other of them. Books were always around the house, and Dad was a prolific reader.
 
When I entered first grade, no pre-k or kindergarten then, I quickly became an avid reader for myself. By fourth grade I had read every book in our elementary school library, mostly biographies of American heroes.  Thank goodness that after fourth grade the local library was on the bus route and even within walking distance when necessary.
 
But it was at Christmas that I received the seeds of a family tradition and added to my list of books read. I discovered early on that my Mom listened closely to my ramblings about books I wanted to read. She would then rush out and buy them for Christmas. They would quickly be hidden away, or so my folks thought.
 
I discovered the hiding places and would sneak the books out and read them. After putting them back I would casually say something to the fact that "Oh, Joanne's mother bought her such and such, and such and such, etc, and she let me read them." A little later I would mention other books I wanted to read, the list was as endless as it is now, and Mom would dispose of the read books and put more in their place. Some Christmases this pattern could be repeated 2,3 or even 4 times.
 
I was well into high school when it stopped and I never learned if she had a 'deal' with the local bookstore, or if those books went under someone else's tree through the church or work gift collections. I always felt that I had outsmarted my parents.
 
Years later, my Mother casually let it slip that she and Dad knew exactly what I was doing, and they helped perpetuate the myth. Perhaps that would explain why they started buying and hiding the books immediately after Thanksgiving.
 
They also helped start a family tradition, for everyone in my family knows they will have a book or books under the Christmas tree. When our daughter married, we were told that it wasn't necessary to buy our new son-in-law a book because, well, you know... He received a book and has for the past 23 Christmases, and some birthdays! No complaints.

The same story with our daughter-in-law. "Not that much of a reader," she said. Now, 14 years later, she feels free to give me lists of titles she wants to read. She now has some favorite authors that I know will always be well received.

This year, I actually ask for suggestions. From my daughter-in-law came the following:

A Girl Like You (Maria Geraci)
The Boyfriend of the Month Club (Maria Geraci)
Loveable, Liveable Home (Sherry Petersik)
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Marie Kondo)
(Where is the new Nicholas Sparks? Unusual for it not to be there. Perhaps she has read it and forgot to mention it to me.)








My daughter sent the following: "I would really like a copy of Sheryl Sandberg's book, Lean In." A later she added The Rocksburg Railroad Murders which I found on line for several thousand dollars. Santa is still laughing.
(Where is the new John Grisham. Unusual for it not to be there. Perhaps she has read it and forgot to mention it to me.)

  
From a second grade granddaughter came Judy Moody "Mood Martian" (Megan McDonald) and
Judy Moody "Goes to College" (Megan McDonald)
 








One 12 year old granddaughter really wants Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I'm not sure I'm ready to give her that book just yet even though I hear it is a wonderful book. "But my cousin has already read it and said it's great," she explained to me.









From a second 12 year old granddaughter, the reader in the family, came this mind boggling list. The list went on for 28 titles!
She seems to really want a book or two by Cassandra Clare. I have a lot of  'checking out the books'  to do before Christmas.

·        Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs, The Heir by Kiera Cass
·        Death Cure by James Dashner, The Kill Order by James Dashner
·        We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach.  City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare, City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare,  City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
·        Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell...

    Oh those men! Our grandson, sons, and son-in-law are leaving the selections in my hands. Thanks, fellas! Here are a couple of items I'm considering for them.  

        



        
This book, based upon an actual cattle drive,     
has won many awards.  
  

 






 
In that vein, here are some books that would make great Christmas, birthday, anniversary and Hanukkah gifts. Some I have reviewed on this site, some I have not. Most of these are not from the best seller list, but great reads just the same. Let's also help other writers develop a fan base.

 
I am hoping for this one for Christmas or my birthday!!!
Love Burt!

Happy Holidays to all.
 
In celebration of his
100th birthday this month.


 
Very interesting and full of new information.

 
 
 
     








                                       

The Lost Wife: This is an absolute jewel of a book for WWII historical fiction fans!! Beautifully written, history driven, with a wonderful love story. I see book clubs having insightful discussions about the book.


Incommunicado: December 8th, the day after the day that will live in infamy, is the day that begins this story of a young girl coming to terms with a war within the war - the day a town turns on its leading citizen. The most bullied girl in town, her genius-brother, a weak-kneed priest and a dopy bloodhound join forces to right a wrong in a time when if you looked like the enemy, you were the enemy.


      "Aside from bootleggers, moonshine runners, crooked cops, human trafficking and copperhead snakes, it's a heartwarming family story."

 
 
 Go to Gortner's home page and select any of his books.
 
 
 
Can't miss with Susan!
This is one of my favorites.
 
Another Gortner.
American historical fiction.
WWII American historical fiction.
See my review in yesterday's BlogSpot.
 
Beautifully written. WWII France.   
                 
The wonderful history of
the 10th Mountain
Division, U.S. Army WWII


ANY book by Mary Balogh!
Check out her series,
but only if you have lots of tea or
wine, chocolate, and time!
  


MORE GREAT BOOKS!     

Get Jeff's complete
Civil War battle
series.
It is either a 'must have' or a
'what is she thinking'?
 
      
Lovely, lovely book.
     
Because someone in our
family was once a
Bunco Babe.
Can't go wrong with Bracewell if you
 are a historical fiction fan of the era she is writing about.
From the Old and New Testaments.
Elegantly presented.
 
A fun, beautiful retelling of "I Know
An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly."
Illustrated with the world's best
known artworks refashioned.
 
 
    

 
 
                                       
 

  Beautifully written Scottish history.
                             The author lives in the Scottish borders.  
 
                                              

                                        Award winning with a strong female protagonist.


 
 Finally, allow me to include my latest. WWII, historical fiction featuring the 10th Mountain Ski Troops of the U.S. Army. Others can be found at Amazon, Julia Faye Smith. Thanks, and
happy holidays.

Twilight of Memory
 
 
 
 
 

  
 
 

 











Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tears of grief, magical spring water, and hope. Can they blend? Read Weeping Women Springs for the answer.


Weeping Women Springs

Blurb from the book: "Tears of grief dilute magical Spring waters…


Hope Springs has a secret–the waters mysteriously uplift the spirits of whoever drinks them. When the town’s young men depart to fight in WWII, tragedy strikes. Grief dilutes the waters unique effects, and hiding the village away from the world may provide shelter from the pain—but at what cost? Preoccupied with honoring their loved ones’ memories, five shattered women struggle to gather strength to overcome their loss, and find hope again."
 
Readers of this novel by Tamara Eaton will get to know the setting as Weeping Women Springs, but it was not always such. For years the happy but secretive place was Hope Springs, a community of hope and happiness, and a special spring.

12/08/2015: On this, the day after we commemorate the 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, we remember the destruction and loss of life that day brought to the lovely island paradise, but do we also stop to think of the destruction and grief the day spread across America? Weeping Women Springs brings that grief and destruction vividly to life.

This is a novel built around dealing with grief, forging a new, exceptional life, and finally facing fears and moving on with life. It is a gentle WWII novel. The battle scenes do not intrude, but the grief brought about by those battles intrudes and influences.

Webster defines 'weeping springs' as a spring that discharges water slowly. In this novel, I see the spring as a symbol of life and healing. For the women of Weeping Spring life moves slowly after the war starts and healing trickles in ever so slowly.

The book is beautifully written, easy to read, and moves along quickly. As the five women around whom the novel is built forge a new life, a new community, and a new way of dealing with grief, some may consider the book alternative history. I see the alternative, but only in the way the women deal with the real life horrors of history, not in WWII history itself.

I highly recommend this book for readers who like history in small doses, women who are vulnerable but strong, and who like to think of how things might have been. I was given my copy by the author, but I would have read and enjoyed the book, and written this review even if purchased. You won't be disappointed.



Learn more about the author at the following sites:
Website: http://tamaraeatonnovels.weebly.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Happy Veterans' Day to The 10th Mountain Division and all Veterans Everywhere

The real life heroes of my historical fiction. Thank you 10th Mountain men and ALL veterans. Happy Veterans' Day.


Regarding the end of fighting after WWII:
From the History Channel: "On August 14, 1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II. Since then, both August 14 and August 15 have been known as 'Victory over Japan Day,' or simply 'V-J Day'. " August 15th is recognized as VJ day along with August 14 because most of the world did not hear of the surrender until the 15th. The formal surrender would not come until early September.

Officials in the United States heard of the surrender on the 14 and from Washington President Harry Truman went on the radio airwaves to announce the news and proclaim,  “This is the day we have been waiting for since Pearl Harbor. This is the day when Fascism finally dies, as we always knew it would.”

Jubilant Americans declared August 14 “Victory over Japan Day,” or “V-J Day.” (May 8, 1945–when the Allies accepted Nazi Germany’s official surrender–had previously been dubbed “Victory in Europe Day,” or “V-E Day.”)"
 
 


Image from the Library of Congress.
 
As most of the world celebrated, the main characters in my historical fiction, TWILIGHT OF MEMORY, remembering what the war had cost them, reflected quietly. For Henry, the loss came just months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. His Japanese-American fiancĂ©, along with her entire community disappeared from their western Colorado home. Even by the end of the war, a hard fought war which had almost cost Henry his life as a member of the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division, Henry had no knowledge of her whereabouts.
 
With the help of an English Nurse, Daisy, Henry had eventually learned to move forward. Daisy in turn, allowed Henry to help her heal from the loss of  her entire family in the London Blitz. Healing together in Italy, they learned to look beyond war. 
 
Now, in August of 1945, as the war finally ends, they do not join the wild celebrations around them, but sit together and quietly look from the past to the future. After moments of shared silence and personal reflection they turn to each other. 
 
Almost in a whisper Henry said, "I'm glad it's finally over and laid to rest. Now, my darling, no more heartache. We can go home in peace."
"Home," Daisy repeated as she kissed Henry passionately.
 "Home," she repeated more softly as she allowed the lovely, peaceful images Henry had verbally painted of his valley in western Colorado to fill her with hope.
 But what waited for them at home?
 
 
 
Available as paperback and Kindle at

Friday, October 9, 2015

LIES TOLD IN SILENCE, M.K. Tod's WWI novel now available for a fraction... Get it

WWI, France, and the cruelest of lies: M.K. Tod's "Lies Told In Silence" has all that and more.

Because this novel is now available on BookBud for .99 through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I am re-posting my 2014 review. WWI fans, take note.


The young soldier on the cover is the author's Grandfather who served in WWI and WWII. Lovely cover . 


Robert Louis Stevenson wrote that "The cruelest lies are often told in silence." This thought forms the premise of M.K. Tod's WWI novel of war, love, and betrayal of the cruelest kind. 


It is May 1914, and based upon inside knowledge that his war department position gives him, 16 year old Helene Noisette’s father believes war is imminent. He is convinced that Paris will be Germany's next target. Long before most of his friends are fleeing Paris, he sends his wife, daughter, mother and younger son to safety. 


In an irony of fate, within four months, this safe haven, a small village in northern France, is much closer to the war zone that is Paris, and the displaced family finds themselves in a sleepy rural village less than 20 miles from military buildups and battles. For some reason, Father Noisette stands by his decision and is adamant: Paris is unsafe. The family cannot return. 


 Thus for long, empty years, Helene, her mother, Grandmother and younger brother live within hearing, and often seeing, distance of the war. Their near isolation, however, brings these three generations of women together to cope, to love, and to learn about each other in ways that Paris would not have provided.


The isolation also provides young Helene with the opportunity to meet Canadian soldiers who are fighting valiantly for the Allies and France. Love blooms, grows, and promises a bright future. Battles with the enemy and with father promise something else entirely. The lovers are parted. The waiting begins. Will their love find a way and lead them back to each other or will the war and untold lies tear them apart forever. 


The characters are believable and the setting is clearly depicted.  the story, based upon historical facts of WWI and the author's vivid imagination, is told in clear, concise language. This is an easy read. I would recommend this book to readers of American and WWI historical fiction.  I bought my Kindle edition through Amazon.



Monday, September 21, 2015

Revisiting, for Leah, author Susan Vreeland's Lisette's List and her visit to Roussillion, the setting for much of that wonderful book.

Susan Vreeland's Lisette's List, has been available for a good while now. If you have not read it, what are you waiting for? It  is a work of historical fiction about art, war, and love.  It is a work of historical fiction that I fell in love with and is in itself a work of art.

Vreeland revisited the lovely French settings of the book with a group of readers and admirers. Regrettable, I was not part of that group, but have enjoyed the photos of the trip shared by Mimi Placencia. Check out two of her photos below. But, first, hope you will read my review.

                                                                   Review by JF Smith

When visiting art galleries, there has always been one gallery that I could speed through. That gallery would be housing Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, and Marc Chagall. I simply did not understand most of their paintings. While I still do not understand all, Lisette's story helped me see things in the paintings that I had not, seen before. In fact, I became so enthralled when Lisette would learn of the meaning of or the reasons for the paintings, that I would come to the computer and research that painting. Often I would simple have the painting on screen as I was reading about it. Wow! Most books do not do that for me. Two of the eight paintings discussed in the story are not actual, but this in no way detracts from the novel. Additionally, the book is so well researched that Ms. Vreeland uses passages from known writings or discussions by the artists themselves.

The blending of the horrors of WWII in France and the life and times of these artists, and of  the other characters in the book, make an evocative read. Lisette is a Parisian embodying all the glamour and free spirit of that word just before WWII. She is enamored with the art scene in Paris and wants to work in a gallery. She has just received the opportunity she so desires when change occurs.

Suddenly, this young Parisian must move with her husband, Andre, to Provence in the south of France to care for his dying grandfather. Grandfather Pascal introduces Lisette to more art and art history than she could ever have learned in the galleries of Paris. She learns that in his early years Pascal was a color pigment salesman representing his beloved village which mined the materials needed by artists. Through his work he became friends with the artists of the day.

His humble cottage in Roussillon, Provence, France, was sparsely decorated but did feature a wall of paintings given to him by those friends from the art world in Paris. He leaves these to Lisette and her husband Andre. He also leaves them his memories, both written and oral. These works of art and the artists who painted them are lifelines that help Lisette get through life after the war takes Andre's life and Lisette must live along and learn to survive as a provencial woman.Through necessity she becomes a fighter, facing shortages, sufferings, and starvation.

My only small complaint would be that, too many times, we had to read through Lisette's mixing of various items to achieve color pigments that she wanted to duplicate. Since colors and pigmentation were essential to the story, I understand these inclusions. They did not detract from the overall story.

Beautifully written with vivid and colorful descriptions, thoughtful insights, and life in Provence, what more could a reader ask?  I highly recommend  Lisette's List. I think book clubs could have stimulating discussions about the book. This is my first Susan Veerland book. It will not be my last. I received an advance reader's copy of the book from NetGalley.


The ocher of Roussillon, France was in itself almost a character in the book. Here you can see the glorious color.

Author Susan Vreeland stands on a balcony overlooking a scene in Roussilon. The ocher is just visible above the left hand rooftop.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bookmuse: Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye by Marius Gabr...

Sharing a post from Bookmuse...Enjoy.
Bookmuse: Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye by Marius Gabr...: Reviewer : Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit & Crimson Shore ( www.gillianhamer.com ) What we thought : This w...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

We Never Asked for Wings....

WE NEVER ASKED FOR WINGS , now available in many forms and at many outlets, is receiving some high praise...well deserved praised if you want your novels to be relevant to today's ills. There are so many things to like about it.  At the same time, it is difficult for me to love it unconditionally. There are so many things that didn't quite resonate with me.

It is well written. The imagery is lovely, and the grandfather/grandson passion for each other and for feather wax art very enlightening and well done.

The story, no the stories, making up the plot  are ones we should all care about. That's my first concern with this book. It tries to cover too many current social issues. There's illegal immigration, poverty, disparity in educational settings, children raising children, teenage pregnancy, and the ever present angst of a mother totally out of touch with what to do when her children are finally left in her care. None of these problems received the emphasis that I feel they should. The author was simply trying to cover too much.

Secondly, I really didn't care about the characters. Again, I think the complexity of the plot is the reason for this. The characters and their problems were spread too thinly. There was no in-depth character to study and get to know. I didn't particularly like Letty or Luna, the six year old child. Alex at 15 was the only one I really cared about.

Finally, I felt that the ending was inconclusive, rushed, or just superficial.

The book blurb says, "For fourteen years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, fifteen, and Luna, just six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life."

The above description makes Letty sound caring, in touch with her children's needs, and totally unselfish. She was none of these. She had some large problems to solve when her parent's returned to Mexico, and her solutions were often misguided...getting drunk with her young son, using a friend's address to get her son into a better school, teaching her children to perpetuate the lie. When she was able to provide a solution, it seemed to come very easily, provided always by others.

 I think this will be a great book club book for I can see so many varying opinions about every character and every plot twist. I would love to hear some of those discussions.

The author is also the author of  THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS which I enjoyed very much. I don't want to prevent anyone from reading this book, but it simply was not right for me. I received it through Netgalley and I'm glad I read it because I like to read books that are getting great buzz from the public. This time, I just disagreed.



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

PUSH NOT THE RIVER by James Conroyd Martin

From the book's blurb: "A panoramic and epic novel in the grand romantic style, PUSH NOT THE RIVER is the rich story of Poland in the late 1700s--a time of heartache and turmoil as the country's once peaceful people are being torn apart by neighboring countries and divided loyalties. It is then, at the young and vulnerable age of seventeen, when Lady Anna Maria Berezowska loses both of her parents and must leave the only home she has ever known.

With Empress Catherine's Russian armies streaming in to take their spoils, Anna is quickly thrust into a world of love and hate, loyalty and deceit, patriotism and treason, life and death."


PUSH NOT THE RIVER has me wondering...do I like it or don't I? Yes, I do, somewhat. For the first 85% of the book, I liked it. There were moments of disbelief when certain characters managed to get themselves into and out of situations rather easily, but I could live with that for they needed to continue moving forward for the story to progress.

I knew that the book had been compared in a quote from the cover to Gone with the Wind, and Dr. Zhivago, but for most of the book I felt that the comparison had to do with the history and the situations. The book is well researched and I enjoyed the history presented.

Then came the last 15% of the book and I felt as if the author had Gone with the Wind open in front of him and was copying almost word for word the scenes. Or perhaps, he had recently rewatched the movies.

Yes, he made some changes, but the scene where Anna in Push Not The River and Melanie in Gone With The Wind shoots an enemy soldier from the stairway was just very, very similar. Then came the scene in Push Not The River where Anna is escaping the burning Parga in a carriage. She must cross the river trying to ride and then drive her carriage through the crazed throng. She takes the reins and manages to get across the river, looking back constantly, just as the bridge collapses. Much, much too similar to Scarlet's escape from the burning Atlanta.

As for the Dr. Zhivago comparison: how about a sleigh ride through the snow as a means of escaping from the encroaching enemy army and stopping to watch the smoke rise from the area she has just left.

Since authors cannot copyright scenes, the author had every right to use them, but he should have been absolutely sure they were so much more his scenes than Mitchell's or Pasternak's. I'm not saying the book should not  have been modeled after those much beloved classics, but to  have the scenes so amazingly similar is to invite speculation. Then again, perhaps the scenes were just so well-written that they instantly brought to my mind the scenes from the earlier two classics.

Now, I must confess, that when the book ended, I wanted to know what happened to the main characters. Since this is book one in a trilogy, the author very astutely ended this first book at a momentous point. One that was on the verge of resolving several situations. We see Anna reach a safety of sorts, but what about the other characters. Yes, I wanted to know. So, I read the first couple of chapters of book two and had my questions answered.

This was not a bad book, and if the last few scenes had not been so in my mind from other authors' works, I'm sure I would recommend the book without qualms. However, the last few scenes are there and did diminish my pleasure in the book.

Still, I recommend this book to those, like myself, who enjoy European historical fiction. Some historical fiction novels stay with me because of the characters, some because of the history, and some, when I'm lucky, because of a combination of the two. Push Not The River will stay with me because of the history and the geography I discovered. In that respect, this book is well written.

If you are of Polish descent, I think the history portrayed, and I am assuming it is accurate, will make this book and perhaps the next two, a keeper for you. 

In fact Jan Lorys, direct of the Polish Museum of America states, "Martin's novel transports the reader two hundred years into Poland's glorious past, a world of castles and manor houses. One woman's life provides a metaphor for a country which--with the Third of May Constitution--was the first to attempt democratic reform in modern Europe. While the attempt failed, Push Not the River sings of a people's pride and indomitable hope."

I know that the book is available on Amazon and probably at other major outlets. At the moment, it is only .99 on Amazon Kindle.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Paula McLain's CIRCLING THE SUN is a worthy successor to her The Paris Wife.

Paula McLain's latest novel, Circling the Sun, published in July 2015, is a must read for readers who like a well-written novel with beautifully described scenery, clashes of cultures, desires and lifestyles, and a strong female protagonist. I was drawn into the novel by the expertly crafted writing and the beautifully effective use of descriptive language. I devoured the book because of the storyline, the lives turned upside down and sideways, the friendships, both strong and superficial, and yes, by the descriptions of what I visualized as an almost corrupt, indolent lifestyle.

Based upon the life of Beryl Clutterbuck Purves Markham, the first woman to fly solo East to West across the Atlantic ocean, the book is more about training and raising horses than it is about flying. It is more about the unfettered childhood and young adult years of this English girl raised in Kenya than it is about her adult adventures as a pilot. It is more about disappointment and disillusionment that it is about soaring happiness and successes. But, through it all it is most about a spirit that doesn't give up, that won't be beaten, and that forever dreams.

This is a historical novel, but not as one usually thinks of historical novels. The time period is not one from centuries past with ladies' maids ready to dress the heroine in London's finest. It is about a time period that some of us know from earlier pieces of literature, specifically Isak Dineesn's  Out of Africa. The people, the landscape, the problems, and the society of that epic are central to this work.  In fact, Beryl's and Karen Blixen's lives are tied together. They become wary friends as they both strive to hold the love of the same man.

Part I begins with Beryl and her father being abandoned by her mother and brother because her mother could not face life in Kenya. Beryl was four years old. She grew up on a plot of land that her father intended to turn into his dream. During her childhood, she was not schooled, wore no shoes, had no proper training, and in the eyes of society ran wild. Her friends were the nearby natives. She loved them and their ways. She spent as much time as possible with them and they welcomed her. As she matured, Father and daughter worked together to build a farm, a riding stable, and to establish her father as a well-respected member of the "horsey" set of English ex-pats living in Africa. Still, she was living her unfettered life.

All of that, of course, did change. Beryl had to grow up, to find her place in the world and to conform to the white, English society that she was rightfully a part of, even in far off Kenya. She tried, she really did, but the only things that made her happy were her days spent with the horses, with her native friends, and finally with her love.  The outside world brought confusion, confinement, and changes in her free spirited character.

Beryl's life and accomplishments are beautifully portrayed by Ms. McLain. Beryl was a beauty and a tomboy. She had a strong sense of self, but was lost in society. The trials and tribulations she endured
were often enlarged by Beryl's own desire to be none other than herself. This desire to be true to oneself is described by Beryl while talking with Karen. Beryl says "We're all of us afraid of many things, but if you make yourself smaller or let your fear confine you, then you really aren't your own person at all--are you? The real question is whether or not you will risk what it takes to be happy."

Beryl took those risks and tried at the same time to be true to herself. Was she ever truly happy? I don't know. I've tried to find out. I've since read more about Beryl through other works about her. I guess my next step is to read her memoir, West with the Night,  published in the 1942. But even that will not give me the full picture for she lived another 40+ years after it's publication.

I highly recommend this book. I can see many in-depth discussions by book clubs after reading it. I received this book as a pre-publication uncorrected proof. There was no readers' guide for book clubs. Perhaps the final copy had that added feature. By the way, her record setting flight is only part of the book as the prologue and the author's note.

Available wherever books are sold and online.