In my mailbox today – Legends Of The Rif

Legends of The Rif author sent me his latest Redhand Adventure novel along with a poster and letter.  Many thanks Joe O’Neill, looking forward to reading it.

Kasbah

Prudence – by David Treuer

Prudence

Prudence by David Treuer Published by Riverhead Books (part of the Penguin Group)

Release date February 2015

The Novel. 

August 1942, Frankie Washburn is returning to his parents summer home (“the resort” as his mother Emma sees it) in Minnesota, to spend two weeks with his family and say his farewells to his boyhood.  Frankie is heading off to join the Airforce as war unfolds in Europe, to become a man.  A Man, the one thing no one has ever seen him as, especially his father Johnathan. Upon his arrival however tragedy strikes in the worst possible way, and the lives of Frankie, his parents, the old caretaker Felix, and Billy are changed forever.   Billy, who has been Frankie’s friend and more.

No life in this novel however is more changed than that of the title character Prudence. A young native woman, who has her own story to share in this mesmerizing tale of how even the smallest of decisions impacts so many lives.

The search for a runaway German soldier ends in a violent act that reverberates through all their lives for years to come.

The Review!

Treuer captivates his readers in this intricate tale, which begins in the early years of World War Two. Titled Prudence, which means among other things good judgement, it draws the reader in when lack of good judgement sets off a series of events which impacts all of the main characters in ways that will change all of their lives forever.

Treuer’s style of writing in this piece brings the inciting incident to the page early, and then allows the characters in turn to share their thoughts and memories, and how one moment in time changes you forever.  Through this the story unfolds brilliantly and with a depth that leaves a reader emotionally involved on so many levels.  Also stunning in this piece is the ability of the author to change his writing by character, so that as the words are read the voice of each individual is so clearly heard in the readers mind.

Treuer, an Ojibwe Indian from Northern Minnesota who’s father was a holocaust survivor from Austria, clearly draws on his life and background for elements in this particular tale.  His descriptions of Northern Minnesota make you feel as though you are truly present, and the tale of Gephardt feels almost a tribute to the struggle the Jewish people faced during the war. Writers who write from where they know, have that innate ability to draw you into their fictional world with a realism that comes with first hand experiences of similar memories and feelings.  Its a captivating read for this reason and many others.

The story unfolds superbly, whether its leaving the reader feeling despair for the characters, or chuckling at some of the very smartly written humor (which was unexpected and thoroughly enjoyed) which made this piece a complete five out of five reading experience.

Can only say…Brilliant!

The Author!

David Treuer, is an Ojibwe Indian from northern Minnesota, his father was an Austrian Jewish holocaust survivor and mother was a tribal court judge. He attended Princeton, and in 1992 published his first novel Little. He also teaches Literature at USC.

David’s works include:

The Translation of Dr. Apelles (named Best Book Of The Year by Washington Post 2006) 

Little

The Hiawatha

To learn more about David visit his website. http://www.davidtreuer.com/

David-Treuer

Jumping Off Points!

Anthony Beevor’s books The Second World War and D-Day: Battle For Normandy. 

or perhaps David’s novel The Translation of Dr. Apelles.

Enjoy your reading as yours books take you to the edge!

After The War Is Over: A Novel – By Jennifer Robson

After the war

Loved this  one, and not sure how to describe it. Its a historical fiction, which I love, and also a romance in some measure which are usually not my cup of tea. However in this mix it works brilliantly. Robson, has done her homework, both of the time period and the people. Charlotte Brown, the main character is extremely well written and draws you into her story quickly. A young woman who is struggling to find her place in this changing post WWI world, torn between her belief in a life of service and the life she doesn’t feel she deserves.

Robson seems a stickler for detail, and it shows. Even small points like dates being accurate to the day of the week (Yes I checked Dec 27 1919 did indeed fall on a Saturday), and the inclusion of real life Historical figures such as Eleanor Rathbone give a solid base of realism to this wonderful journey back in forth through Charlotte’s story.

Thoroughly enjoyed the story, and found the author’s writing style, gave me enough detail to enjoy each chapter but left plenty of space for me to visualize these wonderfully written figures and locations.

If Hollywood still made stories such as these into movies, this one would be a beautiful choice.

Definitely recommend this one. Its good through to the end.

PS. This is a sequel to her earlier book “Somewhere in France” however reads perfectly well as a stand-alone…Yup I was down to 20 pages left when I discovered its part of a series, so no need to read the other…But I will!

The Author!

Jennifer Robson is the author of two novels – Somewhere In France, and After The War Is Over.  She studied at Oxford and holds a doctorate in British economic and social history, both of which shine in this novel.  She is the daughter of historian Stuart Robson, who also read and provided feedback on this novel.  Robson resides in Toronto Canada.

Jennifer Robson

Jumping Off Points!

* Eleanor Rathbone who figures in this novel is an actual historical figure, who’s presence in this novel adds to its believability and accuracy as a piece of historical fiction.  Johanna Alberti has written a non fiction piece called Women of Ideas – Eleanor Rathbone, if you are interested in reading more.

Eleanor Rathbone

The Shipping News – by Annie Proulx (author of Brokeback Mountain)

Shipping NewsThe Shipping News, written by Annie Proulx, tells a story of the rebirth of Quoyle, a man suffering after the tragic loss of his wife Petal. Quoyle takes his family; two small daughters and aging Aunt, back to Newfoundland and the family home. The Green house on Quoyle’s point, dragged their by the Quoyle family across the ice, in what sounds like a previous attempt by the family to start over. A move that left the house not quite true.

In many ways the house represents the family’s fresh start, not quite right, and always at risk of toppling over into the sea. Quoyle, struggles with many things on this journey, being father to two little girls, and his developing relationship with Wavey Prowse.

The knots in the story tell their own tale and overall the author winds the reader on a magical discovery of Newfoundland and what it offers.

For me a few of the plot elements felt unresolved, and at least once I felt the story got a bit far fetched, but on many levels it resonated with me, and like all good novels, I was unable to put it down and took away a lesson or two.

Recommend picking it up

The Author!

Annie Proulx Annie Proulx, born August 22, 1935 Norwich CT. Has a Master Arts Degree from Sir George Williams University.  She is credited with nine novels and short story collections including The Shipping News, That Old Ace In The Hole and Close Range – which formed the basis of the film adaptation of Brokeback Mountain. In 2012 she received the United States Artist Fellow Award. In 1994 she received the Pulitzer for The Shipping News.

Blood Wine by John Moss – Nice Neat Package We Can All Take Home

Blood Wine

So this book came to me by way of a Goodreads.com giveaway.  The story is part of a series written by author John Moss (YAY! for Canadian authors) about homicide detectives David Morgan and Miranda Quin.  The story opens with Miranda Quin waking in her bed to find her lover Philip Carter shot to death by her gun, the bed blood soaked with Philip’s entrails and  cryptic writing on her bathroom walls.  As the novel unfolds the two are left trying to solve the crime, where the body count continues to go up and their only really strong lead is the blonde woman “Elke” who shows up at Miranda’s door with a severed hand in her purse.  The plot unfolds in Toronto, New Jersey and even across the pond in England, and builds towards a climax in the heart of Canada’s “world class” city.

This novel had a lot of potential to be a great read.  The mafia, homicide detectives, Al Qaeda, mysterious blonde bombshell with a severed hand…it should be a page turner…and in some places it was.  For me, it only missed on the ending, and I say that because too much of the mystery was explained before the end of the book.  Miranda’s lover, Elke (the bombshell), and the story behind the wine operation all explained away way before the end of the novel.  Which left me reading a final chapter or two where the interest level was already down because I knew too much.  Other than, that small point, this was an excellent read, and hats off to John Moss for selling me on Canadian style mysteries.

The characters are strong and interesting and I like the relationship between the two main characters.  A few loose ends tossed in would encourage me to read another or go back and read the others prior to this one.  I am happy as well to find a Canadian author who can  turn out a decent murder mystery set primarily in Canada, and tie it in to Canada’s place in the world scene.

The Author

John Moss was born in 1940 in Galt Ont, and now resides in Peterborough with his wife Beverly Haun. In 2005 he was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences of The Royal Society of Canada. He has three children.  Author of over 16 works, he has lead quite a career, and still finds time for canoeing, cross country skiing and scuba.  If you are interested to know more about John and his Quin Morgan Mysteries, check out his site

http://www.johnmoss.ca/index.html

John Moss

The novel is published by Dundurn in Toronto

Others in the Quin Morgan series:

Still Waters

Grave Doubts

Reluctant Dead

The Dead Scholar