Into the Whirlwind {book review}


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Here’s an extra group of book reviews.  I’ve been reading more since school started, and have found some fantastic authors.  These are just my thoughts on the books.  To read the synopsis in Goodreads simply click on the book title.  I love reading authors who are available on social media.  What have you been reading lately?

Into the WhirlwindInto the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Library copy. My first read of this author. Looking forward to it, seeing her great reviews.

I have mixed feelings about this book. This may come off as a less than stellar review, which is why I am compensating by giving it a three star rating, rather than two.

The book confused me. It could be that I don’t care for this author’s style, or it may just be this book. I will read more of hers, not judge her style by just one book. There is a ton of history of the Chicago fire in the book. The author does an admirable job of working it into the book.

The plot starts in the middle of the fire and continues through the rebuilding. But somewhere in the middle it gets sidetracked, more than once. In my opinion this story could have easily been made into a series which follows the various story lines.

While I can see that the many characters each have an integral part in the story, it felt like there were too many characters. I found myself asking “Who?” more than once. The main (three) characters were not true to their character, none of them. Their characters seemed to change with the story, making the story unrealistic. I know it’s fiction, but I prefer characterizations that are real!

While the story appeared to be going in one direction, the outcome was obvious. It is a romance, without the trappings. It is squeaky clean. The faith element was ‘tacked on’ by the narrator. There was no evidence that the characters themselves had a personal relationship with God. It could easily have been written into the story.

My favorite character was Sophie, who was the one true character in the book. The rest just did what was needed to get the story from Point A to Point B. I would very much enjoy meeting Sophie. The others were not real enough. Frank was too.

I highly recommend this book especially for the younger set, and for those who like a bit of romance with their history. It is a good clean story, with a lot of diverse characters, and a narrator who believes in God’s sovereignty.

View all my reviews

Miss Clare RemembersMiss Clare Remembers by Miss Read
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Library copy. May have read it before. Absolutely love reading about Dolly Clare’s childhood, after hearing about her as a teacher at Fairacre School!

This is an all-around great read! One of Miss Read’s better (so far) ones. I truly enjoyed it and took my time reading it. Miss Clare remembers her entire life in this volume, wonderfully spun around the ‘war to end all wars’ and its sequel. It didn’t focus on the wars but it gave a sense of what life was like for that generation, which had not previously been acquainted with war so close to home.

There is much to be gleaned from Miss Clare’s perspective on life, particularly in relation to those relationships and events which do not go as planned. Family, community, life in the country, being content with what you have and where you are, relationships of family members, friends, teachers, and students.

I suppose the younger reader might think it a bit unrealistic, so much of our world has changed since. It really was like this, not even a century ago. To me it brings out the best in life, without focusing on material things, but on the things that matter the most.

I highly recommend this book to readers of any age. It would be a good book to read aloud as a family. There’d be plenty of opportunity for discussion. I found it to be quite a reflective read.

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Shadows of the Past (Logan Point #1)Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy. This is the author’s debut novel.

For the most part I enjoyed this Christian mystery. I knew that there will be a sequel, which sometimes means the book doesn’t have a concise ending. This did. I find no fault with the story, the characters, or the writing. The story moves along at a good clip, with plenty of conversation and action. Patricia’s description of the scene, particularly with certain smells, is commendable.

As to point of view … my oft complaint, with seasoned authors too, is the almighty narrator. Particularly in a mystery, I would prefer to stick with one or two points of view, rather than being made privy to too many. It gave the story away a bit, though not completely.

The author did a fabulous job of weaving all threads of the story together, with no loose ends. The only thing I didn’t like was the romance. I can do without it, tactfully done or not. It seemed a bit ‘put on’ in places. The faith element was beautifully done, in character, which has the greatest effect. Loved that part.

I highly recommend this book as a well-written clean Christian romance/mystery.

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The Scent of Lilacs (The Heart of Hollyhill #1)The Scent of Lilacs by Ann H. Gabhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Library copy.

There were two things of which I am unsure. One is the title. I know where it came from, but I’m not sure I like it. Not a big deal. The other, which also is inconsequential, is that the story took place in the summer of 1964. Maybe because I remember that year it seemed timeless to me, which is fine.

I loved this book, all the way through. There are multiple points of view, but it is so well written that I didn’t mind. Mostly it was the girl, Jocie, and her father. It’s about relationships with people and with God, about telling the truth, and prayer. It is laced with humor, mostly from the young girl. It is loaded with emotion, skimps on the romantic, and centered on those things which really matter, in my heart at any rate. There is almost an element of coming-of-age to it as well, but not quite.

Get your tissues out and enjoy this great read! It’s a hard one to put down.

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Walks The Fire (Prairie Winds, #1)Walks The Fire by Stephanie Grace Whitson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Library copy. Took a few pages to get into it, now it is hard to put down! Wagon train from Illinois to Oregon in the 1800s. I’m liking the way the author wrote this book so far… This book is a fabulous read! I love the way the author blends history, character, faith, and a few other things (no spoilers). Taking my time reading it, to absorb it. There is nothing predictable about the story.

And there was nothing predictable to the very last page. This is one excellent book! I took my time reading it, in order to absorb it. There are so many pieces to this book.

I love the verses at the beginning of each chapter. I love that there are multiple characters, but not all, with deep faith in God. I love the strength of character so many showed in very diverse ways. Such a blending of differences, beautifully ‘stitched’ together.

The author put so much information, historical, Biblical, botanical, geographical, racial, and also about her beloved quilting, right into the story and the characters. This book is so good I don’t know what the point of view was. I was so busy being in the story, I didn’t have time to notice.

This is a love story, but not a romance. It is a story of sacrifice and hardship and faith and prayer. It doesn’t preach. It is real without being earthy or raw.

I highly recommend this book. I can’t wait to read the sequel, Soaring Eagle.

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6 thoughts on “Into the Whirlwind {book review}

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