Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley {book review}


Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley {book review}  #1 in the Logan Point series.

Summary:  Psychology professor and criminal profiler Taylor Martin prides herself on being able to solve any crime, except the one she wants most desperately to solve–the disappearance of her father twenty years ago.

When she finally has a lead on his whereabouts, Taylor returns home to Logan Point, Mississippi, to investigate. But as she is stalking the truth about the past, someone is stalking her.

Nick Sinclair pens mystery novels for a living, but the biggest mystery to him is how he can ever get over the death of his wife–a tragedy he believes he could have prevented.

With his estranged brother the only family he has left, Nick sets out to find him. But when he crosses paths with Taylor, all he seems to find is trouble.

My Reaction:

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.

My Goodreads review:  Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley
My rating: 4 stars

 

About the Author:  

Honoring God through my writing is top priority for this Mississippi Writer.

 I am a Romantic Suspense writer living in the Deep South. My short-stories have been published in Woman’s World, and I am releasing my fourth book this summer. Gone Without a Trace is book three in the Logan Point Series which is set in Memphis and the surrounding area. Click here to find out more about the Logan Point Series.

Book one in the Logan Point Series, Shadows from the Past, has won several awards…the 2008 Maggie (Inspirational Category)…1st Place in the 2012 Touched By Love and Daphne du Maurier contests…finaled in the 2012 Genesis…bronzed in the Frasier.

I’ve also done the unthinkable–written a straight romance–who would’ve thought it’d be such fun? You can read more about it here.

I’m also an abstinence/healthy relationship speaker and have spoken to many students…and adults. I would love to have the opportunity to speak to your group. If you are would like to invite me to speak, feel free to contact me here.

When I’m not writing or speaking, I throw mud on a wheel and try to make something beautiful.

To learn more about Patricia and her books check out her website and her Goodreads page. Or connect with Patricia on her Twitter account, her Facebook page.

For my reviews of Patricia Bradley’s Logan Point books see 2015 Fiction Author Index.

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Miss Clare Remembers by Miss Read {book review}


Miss Clare Remembers by Miss Read {book review} is #4 in the Fairacre series.

 

Summary:  

With humour and charm ‘Miss Read’ brings to life the countryside of the past.

Born into a home where food and clothing were hard-earned, where oil and candles were luxuries, Miss Clare–retired village schoolmistress and devoted countrywoman–looks back on a richly rewarding life.

 

My Reaction:  

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.

My Goodreads review:  Miss Clare Remembers by Miss Read
My rating:  5 stars

About the Author:  Dora Jessie Saint MBE née Shafe (born 17 April 1913), best known by the pen name Miss Read, was an English novelist, by profession a schoolmistress. Her pseudonym was derived from her mother’s maiden name. She began writing for several journals after World War II and worked as a scriptwriter for the BBC.

She wrote a series of novels from 1955 to 1996. Her work centred on two fictional English villages, Fairacre and Thrush Green. The principal character in the Fairacre books, “Miss Read”, is an unmarried schoolteacher in a small village school, an acerbic and yet compassionate observer of village life. Miss Read’s novels are wry regional social comedies, laced with gentle humour and subtle social commentary. Miss Read is also a keen observer of nature and the changing seasons. In 1940 she married her now late husband, Douglas, a former headmaster. The couple have a daughter, Jill.

Her most direct influence is from Jane Austen, although her work also bears similarities to the social comedies of manners written in the 1920s and 1930s, and in particular the work of Barbara Pym. Miss Read’s work has influenced a number of writers in her own turn, including the American writer Jan Karon. The musician Enya has a track on her Watermark album named after the book Miss Clare Remembers, and one on her Shepherd Moons album named after No Holly for Miss Quinn.

In 1996 she retired. In 1998 she was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for her services to literature. She lived in Berkshire until her death in 2012, days before her 99th birthday.

For my reviews of her other books see 2015 Fiction Author Index.

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Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden {book review}


Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden {book review}

Summary:  After her father’s death, Mollie Knox takes over his watchmaking company and uses her head for business to solidify the good name of the 57th Illinois Watch Company. Her future looks bright until the night her beloved city is destroyed in the legendary Great Chicago Fire. With her world crumbling around her, Molly must do whatever it takes to save her company in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek is an influential attorney with powerful ties to the political, mercantile, and ethnic roots of Chicago. His only weakness is Mollie Knox, a woman who has always been just beyond his reach.

However, all bets are off after the fire destroys Chicago, and Mollie is in desperate need of assistance. Just as Zack finally begins to pursue the woman he loves, competition arises in the form of a hero from her past who can provide the help she needs to rise from the ashes.

While Mollie struggles to rebuild, the two men battle for her heart. One has always loved her, but the other has the power to save her. In the race to rebuild the city, can she survive with her business and her heart intact?

My Reaction:  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.

My Goodreads Review:  Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden
My rating: 3 stars

About the Author:

Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novels have won the coveted RITA and Christy Awards. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction.

Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.

To read more about Elizabeth Camden and her books check out her website  and her Goodreads page.  She has nine fiction books currently published.

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