Posts Tagged ‘graceful’

Dear John

April 18, 2012

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Title: Dear John

Genre: Romance, historical fiction

Publication Date: 2006

Number of pages: Audio book – 8 CDs

Geographical Setting: North Carolina, Iraq

Time Period: From late 1990s to 2007

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: John Tyree, a rebel turned responsible army soldier, meets the girl of his dreams on a short furlough from active duty. While courting each other, John and Savannah Lynn Curtis quickly realize that they may have found the greatest love of their lives. However, their long-distance relationship puts major strains on them – more than either could have imagined. John must ultimately choose between serving his country in the aftermath of 9/11 and settling down peacefully with his newfound love. Passionate and bittersweet, this novel will have readers questioning both their personal definitions of love, and what it means to truly love another.

Subject Headings: Love – Meanings, True love, Military life, 9/11, Habitat for Humanity, Cancer, Sacrifices, Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Horses, North Carolina, Iraq

Appeal: Compelling, engrossing, densely written, detailed (characters), familiar (characters), intriguing secondary (characters), introspective (characters), layered, resolved ending, thought-provoking, bittersweet, contemporary, details of army life, heartwarming, nostalgic, romantic, timeless, conversational, graceful, thoughtful

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Bittersweet, thought-provoking, romantic

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1). Horses Never Lie About Love: A True Story by Jana Harris – This story tells of a physically and emotionally scarred horse, True Colors, who is terrified of humans, but that eventually learns to live peacefully and love both humans and a new foal in her life. Readers may be interested in this testimony to the power and meanings of love in the life of a majestic and passionate creature.

2). Surviving Iraq: Soldiers’ Stories by Elise Forbes Tripp – A collection of candid tales from 30 soldiers who have served in Iraq in recent years. Honest and bittersweet, these stories tell memories from the lips of those who have served – uncensored and in full.

3). The House That Love Built: The Story of Millard and Linda Fuller, Founders of Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center for Housing by Bettie B. Youngs – The story of the founders of Habitat for Humanity, the world’s largest nonprofit homebuilding organization. This text will resonate with readers who are inspired by this organization and its mission to end homelessness and substandard housing through God’s love and the love of his people.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1). A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans – This is the tale of a young woman who has become disgusted and nearly given up on finding romance in her life. While on vacation in Europe, Laura Foster meets the owner of a castle estate and unknowingly embarks on a new, and perhaps forever, romance.

2). In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden by Kathleen Cambor – This historical fiction work tells the tale of the collapse of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania dam in 1889. Though this event actually occurred, this story is fiction. Through this book, the author tells the stories of several different characters who live during this time, and who have vastly differing points of view. A bittersweet tale of love and destruction.

3). Look Back All the Green Valley by Fred Chappell – A nostalgic look at historical life in North Carolina with a man who is struggling with the deaths of his parents, and ultimately moving on in life. Jess Kirkman is amazed when he finds secret treasures among his father’s personal items that invite him to learn so much more about the man that had raised him.

Name: Melissa

Casanova: The Venetian Years

April 18, 2012

Title: Casanova: The Venetian Years

Author: Giacomo Casanova (Author), Benedict Cumberbatch (Reader)

Genre: Nonfiction, Audiobook

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: N/A

Geographical Setting: Italy

Time Period: 1725-1798

Plot Summary: The story of Giacomo Casanova, scholar, adventurer, traveler, soilder and political ally, yet he is more often known for his womanizing  ways, which has made the name “Casanova”  synonymous for a charismatic womanizer. The audiobook version is read by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch whose calm and snarky voice really adds to the humor of the story, as well as being very deep and charismatic, which adds to the more racy scenes. His reading of the story only adds more dimension to the tale, rather than taking anything away.

Subject Headings:

Adventure and Adventures – Biography
Courts and Courtiers – Biography
Casanova, Giacomo, 1725-1798.
Europe – History – Biography

Appeal: engrossing, leisurely-paced, atmospheric, chatty, passionate, smart, graceful, historical details, intimate, political, cinematic, sexually explicit, romp, emotionally charged, playful,

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe the Book: Sexually explicit, passionate, cinematic

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Dangerous Liaisons – Pierre-Ambrois-Francois Choderlos de Laclos

Aristocrats and ex-lovers Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont embark on a sophisticated game of seduction and manipulation to bring fun to their lives. They challenge each other to seduce others until their lives begin to spin out of control.

The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists – Neil Strauss

Author Neil Strauss goes undercover into a secret world where he is taught the art of being a pick up artist. This book covers the two year span in which Strauss trained to be a pick up artist, as well as his highs and lows as one and helpful tips on how to seduce the opposite sex.

Introducing NLP: Psychological Skills for Understanding and Influencing People – Joseph O’Connor

For those who might not be interested in Casanova’s romantic skill but rather his ability to manipulate and coerce people into doing his bidding. An interesting read for anyone who wishes to figure out how to use their understanding of other people in order to get ahead in life and business.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

One Last Look – Susanna Moore

Moving to an English settlement in Calcutta, India in the 1830s, Ladies Eleanor & Harriet expect to hate their time there but instead find a new life full of seduction and exotic cultures and men.

Goddess of the Hunt – Tessa Dar

A steamy historical romance in which our main character, Lucy Waltham attempts to seduce her brother’s best friend while trying to get a different man to marry her. She must choose which man is better suited to her adventurous spirit and passionate hidden life.

Terrorist – John Updike

A seduction of another kind. Eighteen-year-old Ahmad, the son of an Irish-American mother and Egyptian father, finds himself rejecting the capitalist and obsessive society around him. He becomes drawn to the teachings of Islam and along the way finds himself pulled into a terrorist plot.

Name: Courtney Rose

Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender

April 11, 2012

Author: Nick Krieger

Title: Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender

Genre: Memoir, GLBTQ

Publication Date: May 2011

Number of Pages: 202

Geographical Setting: San Francisco, California

Time Period: Present

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: In this insightful memoir, Nick tells the story of how he discovered his gender identity did not align with his biological sex and the transition he went through. Nina feels like an out-of-place lesbian but as she learns about gender fluidity and the transgender subculture, she realizes she identifies as a man. The book explores what being transgender means in relation to dating, friendship, and family.  The memoir is humorous, extremely honest, and heartwarming as issues of love and acceptance are explored from a trans man’s perspective.

Subject Headings: Transsexuals — San Francisco, California — Biography, Sexual minorities — San Francisco, California — Biography, Identity (Psychology), Sex role, Transgender persons, Female-to-male transsexuals

Appeal: easy, introspective, quirky, character-centered, complex, steamy, thought-provoking, insightful, contemporary, details of transitioning, humorous, graceful, unpretentious

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: character-centered, insightful, and thought-provoking

Relevant Nonfiction Works and Authors:

The first man-made man: the story of two sexes ,one love affair, and a twentieth-century medical revolution, by Pagan Kennedy.

Readers interested in more stories about being female-to-male transgender might enjoy the story of Laura Dillon. The book explores the medical ramifications of transitioning in the middle of the 19th century as well as the social journey. It is denser but explores the details of physically transitioning in more depth.

Valencia, by Michelle Tea

Readers who enjoyed the detail of being a part of an LGBT subculture in San Francisco may also enjoy Tea’s memoir about the lesbian culture there. Tea’s writing is also straightforward and honest, and definitely maintains a humorous tone throughout just like Kieger.

She’s not the man I married: my life with a transgender husband, by Helen Boyd.

A portion of Nick’s book describes his first romantic relationship while transitioning. Boyd’s book is told from the perspective of the wife of a transgender person. This is actually the second memoir Boyd has written on the subject, and it offers a more humorous look at her life with her male-to-female partner, as well as insights to how her sexuality has changed as a result.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

I am J, by Cris Beam

Beam’s book is a popular exploration of one teenager’s realization they were born in the wrong body. J is biologically a girl but feels intrinsically like a boy. The coming-of-age tale explores methods of transitioning J undergoes as well as his first romantic interest. The book is also character-driven and studies interpersonal dynamics between characters.

Written on the Body, by Jeannette Winterson

A complex book about a narrator given neither a name nor gender, and their consuming love affair with a married woman. Readers who are interested in reading more fluid interpretations of gender might want to read this classic story.

Jumpstart the world, by Catherine Ryan Hyde

A teenager falls in love with her next-door-neighbor only to realize he is actually a trans man, leading her on an emotional journey of acceptance. People who are interested in learning more from the perspective of family and friends of trans men might like this engaging novel and the poignant journey it creates.

The Shack

April 11, 2012

Author: Wm. Paul Young

Title: The Shack         

Genre: Inspirational fiction

Publication Date: 2007

Number of pages: 252

Geographical Setting: Oregon

Time Period: Present day

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Wm. Paul Young’s The Shack is a novel that takes readers on a journey from heartache and despair through metamorphosis into acceptance and joy. Mackenzie Allen Phillips, a family man who makes his home in the state of Oregon, has a faith in God that is nearly obliterated beyond recognition because of a great and unexpected tragedy in his immediate family. However, by going into and through his worst fears, both figuratively and literally, he is able to finally find peace and an infinitely more satisfying and wonderful life than he had ever dreamed possible. His faith in God thus becomes a living, growing relationship between the Savior and the saved.

Subject Headings: God, Christianity – The Trinity, Serial murderers, Faith, Family relationships, Friendship, Oregon

Appeal: compelling, engrossing, detailed (characters), introspective (characters), well-developed characters, familiar (characters), inspirational, issue-oriented, resolved ending, thought-provoking, tragic, bittersweet, detailed setting, mystical, philosophical, suspenseful, graceful, metaphorical, thoughtful

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: inspirational, thought-provoking, bittersweet

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1.) Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch – MacCulloch takes a long and detailed look at Christianity from its beginnings to modern times. Includes influences that helped it to develop as well as discusses differences among today’s Christian sects or denomination.

2.) Founding Faith: the Birth of Religious Freedom in America by Steven Waldman – This text explores the beginnings of faith from the founding fathers on into early America. Waldman debunks popular myths as well as largely discussing what America is most famous for regarding religion – freedom of belief and faith.

3.) Lasso the Wind: Away to the New West by Timothy Egan – Egan takes us on a journey into the rich history of the pacific northwestern United States and carries us on into today’s struggles, adventures and possibilities for the future of the area and its inhabitants. This text is at once moving and depressing, but always realistic.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

.) For One More Day by Mitch Albom – Charles Benetto, a grief-stricken alcoholic, comes to terms with himself and the loss of his mother in this moving, inspirational novel. The author takes us on a journey back into time to truly repair Benetto’s relationship with his deceased mother.

.) Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed stranger: New and Selected Stories by Lee Smith – A collection of bittersweet short stories with a distinctly southern feel, these tales are ones of love, forgiveness, adaptation, and redemption. Smith includes both new tales and old favorites here also.

.) Where No Storms Come by John F. Deane – This Christian love story is at once a poet’s delight and a thought-provoking romance. It tells the tale of two individuals who each pursue a life in religious vocations – lives filled with brutal awakenings and other eye-opening spiritual revelations.

Name: Melissa

Homer’s Odyssey

March 28, 2012

Author: Gwen Cooper

Title: Homer’s Odyssey

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir

Publication Date: 2009

Number of pages: 299

Geographical Setting: Miami, FL; Manhattan, NY

Time Period: 1990s – 2000s

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Gwen Cooper, a writer currently residing in New York, tells the story of one special cat named Homer and how he changed (and continues to change) her life in endless manners. Homer had a raging eye infection at just two weeks of age that nearly took his life, but one committed veterinarian saw the true potential in him and therefore, performed a surgery to remove his eyes and thus, save his life. Gwen adopted Homer when so many refused and he has been there for her (and countless others) in so many unspoken and spoken (or “meowed”) ways. Cooper once stated in her memoir that she is his eyes, and he is her heart (283). Homer taught her about love, loss, commitment, responsibility and generosity, and Gwen clearly and beautifully writes of all of this in her book. For example, Homer saved her from a burglar; taught her how to love unconditionally; and provided her with hours and weeks and years of humor, entertainment, and inspiration. This is a true masterpiece of a memoir about one woman and her “blind wonder cat.”

Subject Headings: Cats – Nonfiction; Blind cats; Miami, FL; Manhattan, NY; Memoirs; Writers; Families; Love relationships; Friendships; Marriage; 9/11/01; Terrorists

Appeal: compelling, engrossing, detailed (characters), intriguing secondary (characters), well-developed (characters), gentle, inspirational, resolved ending, thought-provoking, heartwarming, graceful, nostalgic

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: engrossing, inspirational, thought-provoking

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1.) 9/11: The World Speaks by Tribute WTC Visitor Center – This book is a collection of stories, comments, photos and drawings left at the WTC Visitor Center in New York from persons from across the globe. Readers who would like to learn more about international personal accounts regarding the events of 9/11 would very much appreciate this text.

2.) Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat by David Dosa – This book details the life of a cat named Oscar who has a gift of being able to point out who is on their way to the next world (a.k.a. – Heaven). Dosa’s text is as much about cats and their remarkable abilities, and listening and showing compassionate care for others.

3.) Soul Mates: Honoring the Mystery of Love and Relationship by Thomas Moore – Moore has here created a text which discusses relationships between partners, spouses, friends and others and draws upon history, philosophy and spirituality. Readers may enjoy reading his suggestions for honoring all of the relationships in our lives, whether with humans or animals.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

3.) May the Road Rise Up to Meet You: A Novel by Peter Troy – Troy’s novel tells the story of four individuals (many whom are immigrants) during the nineteenth century in America. This is an engrossing novel that, in the end, brings together the lives of all four persons as well as two love relationships.

1.) Those Christmas Angels by Debbie Macomber – This novel focuses on Macomber’s familiar, recurring angels named Shirley, Goodness and Mercy who are, in fact, matchmaking angels. They are working together in this novel to help two individuals to find love during the holiday season. This book will hit home for readers who enjoy heartwarming tales.

2.) Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho – Coelho’s novel is about a young woman who, after a failed suicide attempt, ends up in an asylum. Once there, Veronika eventually finds that life is so much more than what she had previously thought and that every moment here is truly precious. An inspirational read.

Name: Melissa

An Education

June 16, 2010

Author: Lynn Barber

Title: An Education

Genre: Nonfiction

Publication Date:  2009

Number of Pages:  192

Geographical Setting: London, England; Oxford, England,

Time Period: 1940 – present

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: This novel is a charming, funny, and candid memoir from award winning English journalist Lynn Barber, known for her role in the start-up of Penthouse Magazine and as a scathing interviewer with the nickname Demon Barber.  Originally written as short piece for literary magazine Granta, after garnering much interest, including movie producers, Barber expanded the story to encompass her childhood up to the death of her husband.  The memoir is roughly divided into 6 sections: an introduction about the history of the novel including its prior incarnation and the movie, her childhood and background, her May-December relationship, her experiences at college and meeting her husband, her work as a writer and journalist, and the death of her husband.  Barber gives an incredibly detailed and anecdotal sketch of her life which is touching, funny, and incredibly sad.  As stated in the first section of the memoir, the movie, of the same name, is based on the second chapter and was adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby.

Subject Headings:  Biography; Memoir; Coming of age; Family, Relationships, Journalism, Pornography, Feminism, Gender Roles, Parent-Child Relationship, Marriage, May-December Relationship, Death,

Appeal:  easy, leisurely-paced, stately, contemplative, humorous, introspective, unaffected, engaging, charming, details of journalism, direct, informative,

3 terms that best describe this book: graceful, witty, candid

Similar Authors and Works:


Talking Back: to Presidents, Dictators, and Assorted Scoundrels by Andrea Mitchell – A candid and revealing memoir from Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affair Correspondent for NBC over the entirety of her career as a journalist, with special interest paid to the role of her gender and personal relationships.

History of Men’s Magazines: 1960’s at the Newsstand vol. 3 by Dian Hanson – An annotated and illustrated history of men’s magazines in America and the rest of the world during the 1960s, including the start-up of Penthouse Magazine in England.

Younger Women Older Men by Beliza Ann Furman – A practical and straightforward book, written by a female, about the relationship dynamics between older men and younger women, including dealing with power and control issues.


Shopgirl by Steve Martin – The story of a lonely shopgirl at Neiman Marcus in LA and her romantic relationship with a man twice her age.  A humorous and introspective novel written with delicacy and charm.

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin – The fictional story based on historically accurate facts about Alice Liddel, the child who inspired Alice In Wonderland.  The novel is Alice reflecting on her life including Lewis Carroll’s seemingly inappropriate obsession with 10 year old Alice.  An engaging novel, rich in detail and frame.

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy – The fictional and yet semi-autobiographical story of a young American woman and recent college graduate who moves to Paris in pursuit of excitement and adventure in the late 1950s.  A very funny, charming, and clever novel containing a tremendous amount of historic and geographic frame.

Name:  Summer


May 19, 2010

Author:  Neil Gaiman

Title:  Coraline

Genre:  Fantasy/Horror/Juvenile Fiction

Publication Date:  2002

Number of Pages:  162 (or 3:37:15)

Geographical setting:  England, outside of London

Time Period:  Present

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary:  Bored and feeling neglected by her parents, Coraline Jones spends her days exploring her new neighborhood, apartment building, quirky neighbors, and odd black cat.  Her new apartment has a doorway which opens onto a brick wall.  However, when Coraline opens the door it leads to an alternate universe, similar to her world, yet different and seemingly better.  In this “other” world her “other mother” and “other father” are attentive, she has better toys, the cat speaks, and even the food is better.  Coraline grows suspicious and begins to see this “other” world is not her own.  When she returns to her world, her parents have been taken by the “other mother” and Coraline must rescue her real family, along with the souls of the children the “other mother” has taken.

Subject Headings:  Fantasy Fiction; Horror Fiction; Juvenile Fiction; Alternate Universe; Courage; Present day England; Children; Kidnapping; Good vs. Evil; Identity; Family; Parental roles;

Appeal:  detailed, vivid, quirky, strong secondary characters, eccentric, layered, eerie, engaging, witty, thoughtful, amusing, graceful,

3 terms that best describe this book:  character-oriented, creepy, engaging,

Similar Authors & Works:


Leszli Kalli – Kidnapped, A Diary: A diary style account of an 18 year old girl’s kidnapping by the National Liberation Army and her 373 days of captivity.  Relatively well treated, her diary details her relationship with her fellow hostages and her kidnappers.

David Sedaris – Me Talk Pretty One Day: A vivid, engaging, and character oriented set of short stories.  The essays deal with the subjects of family, behavior, and individual identity in relation to others and your environment.

Sigmund Freud – Das Unheimliche (The Uncanny): An essay which explores the concept of things being familiar and yet foreign.  Ideas regarding things not being what they seem and the issues of identity and essence are examined.


Stephen King – The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon: A psychological horror/fantasy story about a poised young girl lost by herself in the woods.  The book has an eerie and foreboding tone and is told with vivid detail.

Phillip Pullman – His Dark Materials: A children’s series with philosophical and religious themes.  They are fantasy/adventure books about a young girl trying to save her friend from evil, including her mother.  An imaginative and engaging series, these books are layered with meaning.

Ramsey Campbell – Silent Children: In the horror genre, a man kidnaps a boy and his sister from their divorced parents and hides them in their own home.  He intends to kill them to “save” them from their parent’s anger.

Name:  Summer

The Brief History of the Dead

May 28, 2009

Author: Kevin Brockmeier

Title: The Brief History of the Dead

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: 2006

Pages: 252

Geographical Setting: Antarctica and The City (an afterlife inhabited by the dead whose memory is still alive on earth)

Time Period: An indeterminate, near future

Plot Summary: The City is an afterlife populated by the dead whose memory lives on in the world. The inhabitants of The City will remain there as long as someone who know them while alive continues to live on earth. On earth, though, a devastating epidemic has wiped out the population. Laura Byrd, a scientist stranded on an Antarctic research expedition, may be the last person alive. As the population of The City dwindles, the remaining residents begin to discover that Laura is the one thing they all have in common. With failing equipment, disappearing colleagues, and harsh conditions, Laura struggles to survive. Alternating between the perspectives of Laura and various inhabitants of The City, the story draws its characters through their memories.

Subject Headings: afterlife, apocalypse, death, memory, female scientists, Antarctica

Appeal: leisurely-paced, deliberate, structured, introspective (characters), well-drawn secondary characters, quirky, mystical, connective, episodic, flashbacks, tragic yet hopeful, stark, timeless, details of Antarctic expedition, bleak, contemplative, accessible, casual, graceful

Three terms that best describe this book: Contemplative, connective, reminiscent

Relevant Fiction Authors/Works: The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett—a combination of the extraordinary with the every-day, a concentration on memory, and colorful characters. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold—vivid afterlife, character-driven, and full of grace and wonder. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger—fantastic elements, well-drawn characters, reminiscence, various perspectives/times, purposefully driven.

Relevant Non-fiction Authors/Works: Will the Circle Be Unbroken?: Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith by Studs Terkel—a collection of interviews with doctors, death-row parolees, survivors, AIDS workers, and others who have confronted the idea of death, their beliefs and expectations, their personal histories. Life After Death: The Burden of Proof by Deepak Chopra—combining spirituality with science, Chopra explores the concept of life after death, and death’s important place in the journey of a soul. Skating to Antarctica by Jenny Diski—a combination travelogue and memoir, this book tells the tale of a woman who moves to Antarctica to escape a painful relationship with her parents.

Name: Elizabeth Ludemann

The Meeting Place by Janette Oke and T. Davis Bunn

March 11, 2009

Author: Janette Oke and T. Davis Bunn
Title: The Meeting Place
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 1999
Number of Pages: 281
Geographical Setting: Canada
Time Period: 1753

Plot Summary: Two women, one English (Catherine) and one French (Louise), meet in a meadow accidently. They become friends secretly (because there are tensions between the English and the French in Canada at this time), and discover the Bible together. When Louise’s baby gets sick, Catherine takes her baby to Halifax to see a doctor. While Catherine is gone, the French are driven out of Canada because they won’t sign a loyalty oath to the English. Louise has Catherine’s baby and has to bring her baby with her. Catherine has to raise Louise’s baby. Part of a series.

Subject Headings: Friendship—Fiction, Canada—Fiction, Christian—Fiction, Canada History to 1763 (New France)—Fiction, Acadia—History, Collaborative novels

Appeal: Compelling, deliberate, engrossing, detailed, faithful, series, sympathetic, vivid, well-developed, well-drawn, character-centered, complex, domestic, episodic, family-centered, folksy, inspirational, open-ended, plot-centered, thought-provoking, tragic, historical details, rural, small-town, earnest, thoughtful, graceful, natural, passionate

Similar Fiction Authors and Works: Vancouver by David Cruise and Alison Griffiths, detailed, epic, historical details, spiritual, complex; Journey to Bliss by Ruth Glover (book 3 of the Saskatchewan Saga), historical details, character-centered, domestic, family-centered, inspirational; Claire by Moonlight by Lynne Kositsky, historical details, action, complex, thought-provoking, inspirational.

Relevant Non-Fiction Authors and Works: Champlain’s Dream by David Hackett Fisher, a biography a Samuel De Champlain, founder of what is modern-day Quebec (and was known as Acadia in his time, the place where The Meeting Place is set).

The Friendship of Women: The Hidden Tradition of the Bibile by Joan Chittister, takes a look at women’s friendships in the Bibile and draws on inspiring moments from women’s lives.

The Fall of New France: How the French lost a North American empire 1754-1763 by Ronald J Dale, details the struggle between France and Great Britain for the land in the Ohio Valley and Nova Scotia. Lots of illustrations such as paintings, sketches, and color photos of important sites and artifacts.


The Widow’s Tale

February 25, 2009

Author: Frazer, Margaret
Title: The Widow’s Tale
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 2005
Number of Pages: 266 p.
Geographical Setting: Rural England
Time Period: 15th century
Dame Frevisse medieval mysteries

Plot Summary: Set in rural England in the mid 1400’s, The Widow’s Tale is an engrossing domestic mystery rich with period details and careful characterization. When her devoted husband dies, Cristiana Helyngton finds herself overrun by his scheming siblings in a calculated plot to seize control of his land and property—and daughters’ inheritances. Kidnapped, declared insane, and shut away in a distant convent, Cristiana’s only thoughts are of escape, finding her children, and seeking justice against her villainous in-laws. Fortunately for Cristiana, St. Frideswide’s nunnery, the convent where she’s been stashed is home to Dame Frevisse, a nun with keen powers of observation and a knack for eliciting answers. When more information about the widow arises and she is ordered home, Frevisse and her superior return with Cristiana and find themselves in the midst of the struggle among her family and friends, as well as their own. Full of well researched and accessible details of life in medieval England—both in manors and convents—as well as a fascinating exploration of the politics of the time, The Widow’s Tale is a moderately paced but engaging mystery as well as a character-driven, historical family drama. Its narration shifts unobtrusively between Cristiana and Frevisse’s points of view, and there is very little “onscreen” violence.

Subject Headings: Frevisse, Sister; Women detectives — England; Nun-detectives — England; Land tenure; Catholics; Widows; Nuns; Nobility — England; Family relationships — England; Family secrets; Inheritance and succession — England; Mother and daughter; Malicious accusation; Separated friends, relatives, etc; Greed in men; Brothers and sisters; Rescues
Fifteenth century; The Forties (15th century); Great Britain — History — Lancaster and York, 1399-1485; Great Britain — History — Henry VI, 1422-1461; England — History — 15th century; England — Social life and customs — Medieval period, 1066-1485; Oxfordshire, England — Social life and customs; Letters; Historical mystery stories, American; Medieval mystery stories; Historical fiction, American; Mystery stories, American

Appeal: accurate, character-centered, complex, contemplative, deliberate, detailed, detailed setting, details of 15th century Catholicism, details of 15th century convent life, details of 15th century England, details of 15th century English manor life, details of 15th century English politics, details of Hundred Years’ War, domestic, engaging, event-oriented, evocative, faithful characterizations, gentle, graceful, historical details, insightful, intimate, intriguing, investigative, linear, measured, mild violence, multiple points of view, plot-centered, political, resolved ending, rural, series characters, steady, strong secondary characters, sympathetic characters, thoughtful, vivid, well-developed characters, well-drawn characters

Similar Fiction Authors and Works:

· Fortune Like the Moon, Alys Clare (Medieval mystery set in England and involving a nun detective)

· A Morbid Taste for Bones, Ellis Peters (First in a Medieval mystery series set in England, involving a monk detective)

· Chaucer and the House of Fame, Philippa Morgan (Murder mystery involving Geoffrey Chaucer as investigating a murder while on a diplomatic mission from England to France during the Hundred Years’ War)

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

· The Reign of Henry VI, Ralph A. Griffiths (biography of King Henry VI of England [and France], details of his court, politics of the time, and the ongoing war with France—all background details crucial to The Widow’s Tale)

Name: Cynthia