Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Midwife's Tale

Martha is happy with her life and work - living with her brother's family and carrying on the family tradition of welcoming the babies of Trinity into the world.
As town midwife she leads a content life secure in her place and assured of her position in town. However, when her daughter runs away and a new doctor takes up practice while she's away, Martha finds her entire existence suddenly shaken as she tries to find her footing in a shifting world.

Midwifery and doula's are of particular interest to me (especially as we hit month 9 of this pregnancy) so this book by Delia Parr seemed like the perfect way to beat some pregnancy insomnia. 

Having grown up in a smaller community I appreciate Parr's ability to stay true to life in a small town. Trinity was a highly believable setting to the cast of characters introduced, to small town relationship quirks, the power of public sentiment, and the ability of the gossip mill to turn life upside down. Trinity's ebb and flow help set the pace for the story's plot and added depth for me personally.

With a town like Trinity it wasn't hard to appreciate the characters within that setting. I know I am biased but certain characters like Martha, the sisters at the confectionery, Thomas and Eleanor, and Samuel (and boy although for different reasons) felt more relatable  as I had met people in my own small town who were brought to mind as I read the characters. Honestly, I'm not sure if these personal connections allowed me to add depth where it may not have been explicitly written or if that depth was always there in the pages but either way, I know my own experiences added to my enjoyment of The Midwife's Tale.

With so much enjoyment of the pacing, setting, and characters, I thought we were in for a clear win on this book, however, I do wonder at the ending to a degree. In all fairness, The Midwife's Tale is clearly noted as book 1 in a new series (I actually got to start a series on book 1 for a change someone write this down!) so perhaps storylines, and I won't say which ones for spoilers sake, that felt rushed and incomplete may, in fact, be slotted in for a book 2 or book 3. A highly plausible scenario given the way the last few chapters were set up.
If the book and it's characters were truly left in the situations they are in, I think some readers would have a difficult time fully enjoying the potential this tale has to offer. I reserve the right for final judgement until book 2's eventual release.

In the meantime I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and my thanks for some pleasant pregnancy insomnia filled nights.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion, the views expressed here are my own. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Crimson Path of Honor

The Crimson Path of Honor by M.B. Tosi follows the story of Luci Towers, a young, privileged Luci Towers who is on a mission to avoid a loveless arranged marriage that would leave her trapped in society. To escape her fate, Luci packs her bags and heads west to teach on the new frontier . . . only to be promptly captured as the lone survivor of her wagon train by a Native raiding party.
Now faced with a new people, new culture, and new life Luci- renamed Morning Star, must find a way to adapt to a foreign land while trying to understand the confusion of her new chief Golden Eagle.

I wanted to like this book. I've racked my brain thinking about this since I finished Tosi's book a few weeks ago and the premise was solid. I love historical pieces. I love strong female characters and the way that Luci/Morning Star wrestles with her faith and her heart in the midst of trying circumstances was refreshing in the honesty it portrayed rather than the clean cut version that can be so evident in Christian literature.

However, the cons sadly outweighed the pros for me in this novel. While the book opened with a preface regarding history and sensitivity certain facts were omitted to make the novel work with Luci initial overwhelming (Scalping for example was adopted from white settlers). There were also instances throughout the book where frustration and language differences were either ignored or poorly represented leaving the village looking less intelligent and more "savage" so to speak than the educated Luci. These passages just didn't seem to sit right, even after rereading them.

Finally, despite the honesty of Luci's struggle, the ending fell into a very neat pattern that left it feeling a little too formula driven for me. The last chapters were quite predictable and felt more rushed and cheapened given the pacing and wrestling of the rest of the novel - more like an afterthought than a well structured conclusion.

Overall, I give this book 2 stars out of 5.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”