Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Touching Stars by Emile Richards

Well I had to read it didn't I. It's the next in Emilie Richards Shenandoah  Series. This was a really large book - 520 pages. Again it was slow getting into, I thought it would take me longer than the three weeks allowed by our library but I just reached a point, as I do in most books, that I was so hooked I sat down and finished it in 2 days. I've had a lot of other reading to do because I'm doing two studies at the moment so I guess that's what slowed me down too.

This story is about Gayle. If you've read the series you will remember that she runs a bed and breakfast Inn on the Shenandoah River. She is a single parent with 3 boys plus another boy a lot of the time who she took in to give him a break from an abusive situation.

Her husband is a charasmatic television reporter who goes to all of the worlds most newsworthy spots to bring people the news. He has come back from Ahganistan after a harrowing experience, almost died, to recover and he chooses the Inn to recover at. This does pose a bit of a problem for Gayle - they've been divorced for 12 years - but she also sees it as an opportunity for her sons to spend a summer really getting to know their father the person, not their father who they see on TV.

The family dynamics for all 5 people in this family are interesting. There's a son who hates his father, a son who doesn't really care, and a son who falls over himself trying to get acceptance.

The book ends in a good space. Things that have gone on too long have been resolved. Eric (Gayle's husband) reunites in a positive way with his children.

Now I can't wait to read the next one! I have a request in at my local library for it. It's called Sister's Choice and will again be about Isaac and Kendra Taylor (who we met in the last book Lovers Knot) and Kendra's desire who have a child even though she is unable to in the normal way.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mary Queen of Scots

I've decided to include the books I've listened to from Librivox Librivox is a site made up of volunteers whose mission is to record all books not in the public domain and distribute them without charge. I listen to the books on an iPod but it looks like they are trying to extend the library so they can be listened to in different formats, such as CDs.

I'm loving Jacob Abbots books. I did some reading for his book on Elizabeth I. His books are so easy to understand and I'm gaining a whole lot about history from them. Mary Queen of Scots was first published in 1876.

I thought I knew about her. She was Catholic and Elizabeth chopped off her head.. what else is there to know? Lots. I didn't know she grew up in France, I didn't know about her marriges, or about her being charged with abetting several crimes.

The names of castles and their location are given, unfortunately when you're listening you can't see the diagrams. He quite often says "which is still standing today" but being written in 1876 who knows if we can still see them in 2010? Maybe outlines though. 

Right now I'm listening to the next in the series Charles I. The beginning of that volume speaks about Mary's son James who took over the throne after Elizabeth. He was James VI of Scotland and James I of England. That gets soooo confusing. But listening to the books I seem to retain it. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010


This book started out slowly for me. I guess I like the action to begin almost right away. Then part way through the book two skeletons are found wrapped in a quilt in a cave in the Shenandoah Blue Ridge mountains. Well I couldn't put the book down after that. I had to find out who these bodies were and how they got there!

Isaac Taylor was adopted at birth. His life has not been a good one. It has left  him with a workaholic attitude which helps him block out what he doesn't want to face or think about. He is left a quilt and a cabin by his birth grandmother who he'd never heard of. He will have nothing to do with these things but his wife, Kendra, a reporter, has the curiosity of a reporter wants to know more. After a shooting accident she moves to the cabin in Toms Brook to recover, alone, without her husband.

When it comes right down to it this story is about marriage, communication, family. It's also a story that shows how events in our lives, even negative ones, can help us see ourselves in a different light and help us see positives we didn't know were there. Emilie Richards does a great job, as usual, of tying present day to past through the use of bits of old letters, a quilt (of course), and a search for the answer to who the bodies are. The quilt is a Lover's Knot quilt but it is poorly quilted, on first inspection, and although it is made in a signature quilt style the signatures are all written and embroidered in the same hand. It is obvious that this quilt holds clues to something. Kendra goes in search of the message that has been left her husband by a grandmother he never knew.

As with the past two books in this series some of my favorite characters from the other books appear here and there throughout the story giving it continuity and building on what we knew of the characters and how their lives are progressing and changing.

I've already put in a request at the library for Emilie's next book, Touching Stars. I expect to be knee deep in it within a few days.

I still highly recommend this series and this author.