Saturday, January 10, 2009

Two great books

Red Moon at Sharpsburg by Rosemary Wells

Historical fiction told from the eyes of India Moody, a young southern girl living in Virginia during the Civil War. This novel was one which I enjoyed the way it was written more that what was written. The language is beautiful, at times even poetic, and worth the read just for that fact. There is an awful abundance of graphic war details, definitely not balanced out by happier times, but there are also a few incredible tender moments. In the end I was left with the feeling that India would indeed accomplish all of her heart's desires.

The story ends a bit abruptly, I would have appreciated a small epilogue, or even at least one more chapter. However, I realize that was the general writing style of the entire book and overall it really worked for me. This story really has kept me thinking long after the reading has finished. Wells does a great job of exploring many sides of difficult situations specifically, and the morality of war generally. It would be an excellent book for a book group discussion.

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

What a fairy tale retelling should be! This is a dark retelling of the classic fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin set in the 1700's during the industrial revolution. I loved nearly all of this book, especially Charlotte's comments about her honeymoon and her thoughts after having her first baby. Priceless. While the story followed the plot of the original tale loosely, it was so much more than that. There was an incredible amount of detail, clever plot, and an incredibly sweet love story.

There is a small moment in the book when it veered too far from the believable (what mother could even entertain the idea of giving away her newborn baby to save her business?!), but I forgave Bunce, since she had to stick somewhat to the original outline of Rumpelstiltskin and she has not had any children of her own.

Loved this near the end of the novel:

I backed away. "You cast a spell on me?"

He followed, drawing me back in. "Shh. No. I put my arms around you,
like this, and promised to protect you. I swore no harm would come to you. I've seen you do it too—to everyone you love. You have amazing strength, you know, when you put your mind to it."

"No," I said. "No, no, no... ." But as I whispered that one word, I knew he spoke the truth. I had felt it, all these months. That sense of peace, that overwhelming security—the strong wall that pushed all my troubles back a few paces. It was real. And it was at work on me, now. I held his arms tightly and let myself draw in just a bit of that Randall calm."


  1. No need to find new books to read when you're Rachel's little sister and there's not a chance you'll ever keep up with her book reading. :)

    Page 124 in Jesus the Christ... I'm getting closer. (Although I decided I might make an exception for the drive to Utah).

  2. Rachel, how long did it take me to find your blog? I didn't even know you had one until a few days ago! I love your writing, and I'm excited to know you better. Thank you for all you do for my girls. Wow, how do you fit all that reading in? I'm amazed at you.