Friday, July 29, 2011

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Pattillo

Another good read! This book is advertised as "a modern day novel of Jane Austen". Now, don't despair if you don't enjoy reading Jane Austen. It is set in current day and written in current language. And it is not one of the Jane Austen books re-written for current times. Each relates somehow to a specific Austen work. This is the third book in this series. However, you don't necessarily have to read them in order. The characters and stories are not intertwined. However, it can be more beneficial to read them in order as a certain secret society reveals certain information in each book but that's all I'm saying so I won't spoil the surprise. In each book, the main heroine (or heroines in this book) goes to England and finds herself intertwined somehow in the world of Jane Austen. Each is either in search of or in possession of a unknown and unpublished work of Jane Austen - letters, manuscript, diary. In this book, two sisters have been tasked by their mother's dying wish to go on a Jane Austen walking tour of Hampshire, England. Their mother has also left them a diary - Jane Austen's sister Cassandra's diary which has many secrets to reveal. I am an Austen fan and so these fictitious details and added historical information are quite interesting and entertaining in light of her published works and biographical information. However, I believe if you are not an Austen fan you would enjoy these books as well. They describe the rich pastoral scenery of Jane Austen's England and provide a good mix of mystery/intrigue and romance. I love reading about these fascinating places across the pond and "seeing" them through the pages. It's also rather fun to follow the clues and try to figure out the mystery before it's revealed in the book. The series in its entirety to date and in order of publication are:

Jane Austen Ruined My Life
Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart
The Dashwood Sisters Tell All

Monday, July 18, 2011

Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh

Well, this is my first book I received through the "Blogging for Books" program! As such, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. This is the third book in the series. I had previously purchased the first book when it came out as I have many of the author's other books. I didn't even finish half of that book. I just couldn't get into it. So, I was a little remiss about starting this one. However, it turned out okay - but just okay. The writing style was good with one exception - the dialect style. Whenever conversations are written in dialect, it somehow detracts from the writing and story for me. I can imagine the dialect for myself without having to read it. And I am from the deep south so I totally understand the point. I did enjoy some of the eccentricities such as the main character's odd choice of pet and I always appreciate what I consider the author's sometimes unconventional religious views. However, the story line was predictable, at times unrealistic (you only know someone a very short time and blurt out "I'm interested in you" - a little freaky for me), and a bit anticlimactic. A major theme was also that of widowdom and overcoming that loss. I think it was handled very well but I have no experience in that area and it is not an area I wish to dwell on or read about for leisure. All in all, it was an easy read that flowed well but I wouldn't give it any extreme accolades. However, I would give the first and second books another shot. Each book is about a different family member and deals with different subject material. I'll still continue to read Tamara Leigh but I would much more highly recommend "Stealing Adda" by this author.