Sunday, June 19, 2011

34. Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear

My sister recommended this series to me so I jumped at a chance to mooch this book.  It's about the third in the series; and, after reading it, I would recoemmend starting at the first.  I know there is some bakground I am missing that would have added to my enjoyment of this book.  It takes place in London shortly after World War One.  Maisie Dobbs was a nurse in the war and then trained to do investigations.  she has left her mentor and started business on her own.  A young woman from a wealthy upperclass family hires her to find out the truth about the death of her artist brother.  He fell from the scaffolding while preparing for an exhibition of his work.  Georgina is sure it was not an accident.  Maisie is such an interesting character, very insightful but also questioning of her own motives.  The author also touches on the plight of the veterans in the city as well as the inequality between the haves and the have-nots.   I enjoyed both the mystery and the background.
Rating:  4.5

33. The Seven Sisters by Margaret Drabble

This was one hard book to get into.  It begins with Candida Wilton's journal as she tells about her recent divorce and move into a small flat in a less-desirable past of London.  She takes a class on Virgil and meets some women there that she develops kind-of friendships with plus she maintains contact with a really annoying woman from her old home in Suffolk and an old college friend who has fallen on hard times.  Candida si the most colorless character and I didn't care for her at all.  But she gets a small win-fall and decides to visit the places described by Virgil and invites the three women she met in her class along with the old friend and the annoying old neighbor.  The seventh woman to join their group is the tour guide.  During the trip, Candida becomes much more interesting,  When the trip is over, the book takes a reallay odd turn.  I need to quit reading books about older women who are alone and don't know what to do with themselves.  And it was depressing but there is hope at the end. 
Rating:  3.5

32. The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker

Leeann Buth tells this story about her life with her older sister, Mary Beth.  Mary Beth works to support them both while practicing a unique talent of song reading.  She helps people overcome their problems by analyzing the songs they hear in their minds.  A tragedy develops and Mary Beth is blamed.  She goes into a tailspin and it affects all those around her.  Kind of a depressing book that I found just so-so.

Rating:  3

29. - 31. Uglies -- Pretties -- Specials -- by Scott Westerfield

Tally is about to turn sixteen which is when all everyone turns pretty.  In this futuristic series,  the government has decided that wars, strife, petty misunderstandings, jealousy etc. can all be avoided if everyone is pretty.  In the first book, Tally meets Shay who isn't sure she wants to be pretty and runs away, leaving Tally with instructions on how to find her in the unpopulated wilderness.  In Pretties, Tally becomes pretty but knows something is missing and can't remember what.  The last book takes Tally beyond pretty into becoming a Special, part of a police force who are not only pretty but possess unique physical characteristics, almost super natural.  I found these books to be great reads, lots of adventure, a moral of accepting yourself for who you are that is not slammed over your head, and some great characters.  Definitely a young adult book that I would recommend to anyone.
Rating:  4

28. The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini

When Sarah moves to a new town with her husband, she is at loose ends and having trouble finding a job.  The reclusive owner of Elm Creek Manaor offers her a temporary job preparing the estate for sale.  Sarah agrees when she learns Sylvia is a master quilter and is willing to share her secrets as part of Saraah's compensation.  During the lessons, Sarah learns more about Sylvia's life and develops respect and admiration for the older woman.  I like this quote from the back of the book:  "Just as the darker sections of a quilt can enhance the brighter ones, the mistakes of the past can strengthen understanding  and lead the way to new beginnings." 

As a beginning quilter myself, I was interested to read this book, but thought the story a bit simplistic.  It was also very heartwarming.  I just wish I could pick up quilting as fast as Sarah seemed to. 

Rating:  3.5