Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ah, Jane Austen + Daddy Long Legs

Back in September we went on vacation to Maine, which included a very long drive up and a long drive back.  Along the way, I read an ebook titled Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay.  One would assume that this book is going to be another modern retelling of Emma (in which Mr. Knightley is a character.  Not so.  This story is the retelling of Daddy Long Legs with a conspicuous name borrowed from Austen's novel from long ago.

Last year, I bought a copy of the classic, Daddy Long Legs.  I remembered enjoying it, so I wanted to see if I would share it with my girls.  After reading it, I shelved the book and actually donated it back to the library book sale.  I didn't like the moral tone of the book.  Sad to say, it's been a while so I can't remember what my specific concerns were, but I had enough concerns to realize that my girls wouldn't enjoy reading it and I wasn't going to force it upon them.

I do like the premise of Daddy Long Legs, though, and it is a fun tale of rescuing a lost girl and giving her hope and a future via the contributions of an anonymous donor.

Ms. Reay follows this formula in a modern setting of Chicago.  I liked the characters for the most part, and followed the story easily.  But, I was disappointed in the ending.  I find that often authors just suddenly wrap things up and they're done.  I wanted more.  I wanted more development to the ending.  That was my source of disappointment in this story.  Other than that, it was fine.  The heroine is not always likeable and had a lot of rough edges to her, but when you can get past these and sympathize, your heart can follow the story.

Please note that I received a complimentary ecopy of this book for review from Thomas Nelson.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Another Regency Period Novel...

This week I read a fun novel called The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen.  I've read a
few other novels by Ms. Klassen, so I was looking forward to this one.

The story follows Abigail Foster, who unfortunately, is to blame for the loss of her family's fortune.  Her family must find a new, much more affordable home.  An offer comes in the form of Pembrooke Park, where they will be able to live for a very reasonable rent.  Abigail and her foster accept on behalf of their family and so begins the adventure.  Pembrooke Park has several secrets it's hiding.

The characters of the story are fun to get to know.  There were a couple that annoyed me (as any good antagonist should).  But, I particularly enjoyed the main character of Abigail and her relationships to the other characters.

The plot moves along at a steady pace and you do get to know the characters as Ms. Klassen tells the story.  I do enjoy Ms. Klassen's writing more than others and I enjoyed the added mystery in this book.

There is one thing I do want to mention, though.  This is one area where I find many readers disagree with me, but it's something that I notice as I read, nonetheless.  It is how the physical attraction (and its development) between the characters who become romantically involved is described and detailed in the story.  At times, I didn't feel comfortable with how Ms. Klassen described these attractions.  I didn't feel she crossed the line in the sand, but she got close to it, in my opinion.  Thankfully, these scenes and descriptions were typically short and I could move on past them in the story pretty quickly.  Even so, I wasn't keen on their presence.  I can't remember feeling this way about previous books that I've read by Ms. Klassen, but it's been a while since I've read one.

All in all, I did enjoy the book.  I am glad I had the chance to read it and simply enjoy a good story!

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sometimes the internet is helpful...

My 6th grade daughter is tackling subtracting negative numbers, which can be a tricky thing to explain ;)  I found a great page with explanations though, so I thought I'd share it in case it might be helpful to anyone...