At various points throughout the book, two main characters pause and sample fudge recipes. This is a great sensory strategy that immediately draws you right into the plot of A Borrowed Dream by Amanda Cabot. How fun that Lydia, a confectioner, is married to Travis, the Sheriff of this Texas town. Lydia and her good friend, Catherine, share important updates at the Candy Shop. They’re confidants and their frequent check-in’s keep the plot moving. Amanda Cabot gives us a strong cast of characters to warm up to as well as some reprobates to spurn. The characters’ entrance into the storyline is well timed and their dialogue keeps the story moving.
I appreciate that Cabot reveals plot details in a manner that resembles peeling back the layers of something edible. Step by step, she eases you into the various plot twists. This is book two in a trilogy. I had not read book one, but I easily jumped into the story.
There’s a love story for Catherine. Yet this is not the only emotional journey she travels. She must overcome resentment and find forgiveness for one character who figures prominently in her life. Readers will appreciate that she eventually understands what her Mama had told her, “Forgiveness helps you.”
The setting is 1881 in the small town of Cimarron Creek, Texas. There is a Wild West flavor to some of the story. Our main character, Catherine, is an independent problem solver who also works as the local school teacher. Overall, I found this book satisfying to read. Some questions I had about historical details were answered in the author notes.
When I was progressing through my Library Science courses on collection development, I remember the emphasis that was put on books withauthor notes. We were encouraged to look favorably on historical fiction books, biographies, and folktales, that included this back matter. When author notes are shared, the writer’s point of view is clarified. In addition, his or her credibility ranking trends upward.
Personally, I agree wholeheartedly with the inclusion of author notes. In fact, before the story ends, I always turn to this story for a first glance at these details. At the book’s conclusion, I re-read these notes with great interest. Sometimes my only regret is that there aren’t more primary sources referenced here. I would be happy to see a photo, diary entry, or even a map.
A few summers back, I enrolled in a course taught by personnel employed by the National Archives. The course title was “Teaching with Primary Sources”. Of all the courses, I have taken over the years, I can say this was one of my favorites. I am also very aware of how computers have made so many more primary sources available to us and all of it just a few clicks away.
In Flight of Arrows, Lori Benton’s author notes, delivered exactly what I was looking for at the story’s end. Her notes expanded my knowledge of the story’s setting and characters. I was ready to delve into more books about this time in our nation’s history.
I’m sure it’s not an easy decision to include back matter. Additional pages are costly and do readers really care? If it was up to me, I would never skimp on author notes. They are as important as great covers and quality bindings.
When an author makes the geographic setting of the story come alive, I’m hooked. Jane Kirkpatrick has a unique writing talent in this area. Her book titled This Road We Traveledtransports us back in time to the days of our country’s westward expansion. This is a well researched story of pioneer life on the Oregon Trail . While it’s a work of fiction, the author has based the story on the true life of Tabitha Brown. At 66 years of age, she left Missouri for the Trail, and a future home in Oregon. Eventually in Oregon, she established an orphanage and a school. Tabitha Brown is remembered in the history scrolls as “The Mother of Oregon”. A spotlight on the plight of pioneer families highlighted social problems that are often overlooked when pioneer tales are told. This book opened my eyes to the troubles that arose when children were orphaned due to deaths on the trail, or their parents were off on missionary work, or rushing after gold. It’s a great multi-generational story with strong female characters. A very professional and excellent example of historical fiction at its best. Here is a link to learn more about Jane Kirkpatrick’s book.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park – I think it was the grandeur of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota that sparked my fascination with our great public lands. Soon after my trip out west, I sent away for my National Park Passport. I’ve collected a good number of stamps. My goal is to add a few every year. From there I started collecting the National Park Quarters. I’ve have nearly a complete set. So when I saw Karen Barnett’s book titled The Road to Paradise – A Vintage National Parks Novel... I was very excited. Now I’ve discovered the sequel is set to arrive in bookstores in June. It tops my “TBR” list.
The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green is a reading adventure that delivers memorable characters and a satisfying plot. You’ll find yourself captured by the setting and the events surrounding Colonial New Orleans. A good measure of intrigue adds a dimension to the plot that keeps readers engaged to see how these plot details resolve. I am looking forward to the release this month of Jocelyn Green’s newest book, A Refuge Assured. I anticipate a novel that exudes great word choice, inventive plot details, and detailed research. I expect to meet bold characters with purpose moving through a multi-layered plot.
This is our current Book Club selection. A majority of our members agreed that we favor historical fiction. This release from September 2017 caught my eye due to its unique setting. As I delve into the book , I find that I appreciate the research the author Ann Gabhart has put into crafting this book. The pace of each character’s appearance into the story seems so natural and easy going. The multi-layered story line is engaging.