Archive for March, 2007

Evergreen by Belva Plain

Monday, March 12th, 2007

 Reviewed by Rosalie Paul

Anna, a young Jewish girl of sixteen, leaves Poland to find a better life in America.  She lives with her cousin Ruth in New York City and works in a sweat factory sewing.  The apartment is cramped and has no place to bathe in private; so she takes a job as a maid only to have her own room and a tub. 

First she learns English at night school.  She soon falls for Paul Werner, her employer’s son on to find out he’s engaged (pre-arranged by both sets of parents).  She quits that job and marries Joseph Friedman.  In 1914 she has a baby boy named Maurice, Maury for short.  Three years later her husband asks her to go to her old employer to ask for a loan of $2,000.00 to start him off in the real estate business.  Against her better judgment, she goes to see the Werners.  No one is home except Paul.  He gladly giver her the money, then lures her upstairs for a roll in the hay.  Nine months later her daughter Iris is born.

Anna’s husband uses the money well, and becomes a huge success.  He moves his family to the affluent West Side and no luxury is spared.  He does not know Anna’s secret.  Many of their friends lost everything in the crash of ‘29, but Joseph managed to hold his own.  Maury marries a gentile (big no-no in the book).  They have one son, and then they are both killed in an auto accident.  The baby is raised by the mother’s parents.  When they both die, the boy is then twelve and goes to live with the Friedmans, his “other? grand parents.  Iris marries well and has lots of kids.  Anna keeps her secret forever.  Iris never finds out who her real father was.   

Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson

Monday, March 12th, 2007

Reviewed by Carolyn Wood

Romance woven into this story through the relationship of Rachel Hollister, traumatized recluse, and Joseph Paxton, well-known, outgoing, single guy held my attention surprisingly well.  It was enjoyable to get caught up in this whirlwind romance that begins when two ornery loners are thrown together due to circumstances beyond their control. As predictable as it sounds, they belong together.  Uncovering the way they get together is the fun part!

Catherine Anderson takes the reader back to 1889, when Rachel’s family was killed in a horrible attack on the family homestead.  Since that time, Rachel has partitioned herself off from the outside world.  The author does a fine job of making the reader feel Rachel’s angst.  Descriptive discussion made me wonder if her fear and trepidation parallels that of agoraphobics who are afraid to leave the perceived safety of familiar surroundings in today’s society.  Rachel’s only ranch hand is injured and Joseph Paxton is less than thrilled to stay on the ranch to keep an eye on things and assist around the ranch as needed.   The story evolves as a sense of trust develops between the two main characters.  I should note that the characters are traditional in so much as the heroine needs care and the hero is a protector.  However, as in any relationship things are not as cut and dry as they seem at first glance.  A subplot establishes an air of intrigue as a long standing mystery is solved thanks to Joseph’s meddling brother.

I have not read one romance novel over the past ten years and if it wasn’t for Tuesday Tea with a Twist, I still would not have read one.  Not much thought went into my selection, I just got lucky.  In fact, much thanks to the display folks at the Library for perching the book on display.  It was literally at my fingertips as I headed toward the stacks. (Who says product placement is only for retail operations?)  The book is worth the extra effort, even if you have to ask your librarian for assistance, search the online catalog or browse the book shelves of your Library.

Year of Wonders : a novel of the plague by Geraldine Brooks

Monday, March 5th, 2007

Reviewed by Rose Musumeci

This book is quite different, the language and style are unique. This Historical Romance (If it can be labeled so) takes place in 1665 in England. Everything possible occurs in this story, many plots. “Anna? is a very strong woman and is involved in most episodes.

The story deals with the “Plague.? While its fiction the author claims that some of these misfortunes occurred in a village in England. The book is very GRAPHIC and Crude, in parts. It also has another side. The story is full of suspense and intrigue. It is not a mystery. You must read this book and discover the ending. It is a very busy book.

WEIRD N.J. Vol. 2 by Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Walt Pierson visits both sides of the Delaware River.Reviewed by Walt and Kay Pierson
Where Does the Delaware River start?

This book describes many strange places and characters found in our state. The time period involved goes back three centuries and continues to the present. Many sites are still in existence and some of the characters are still alive. The authors have tried to check out most of the places described and many of the characters were interviewed. There are lots of interesting pictures in the book. Most of the action takes place in north and central Jersey but we in the south are not exempt. It would be fun to try and find some of these places, but not at night since many of them are scary.

FYI- This title was chosen for the Romance discussion during February’s meeting of Tuesday Tea with a Twist because of the long standing love affair between the reviewers and the State of New Jersey!

Touched by Angels by Debbie Macomber

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Reviewed by Joan Badie

This Romance novel incorporates three love stories into one book by weaving the angelic guidance of three angels, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy into the three different romantic tales. The angels are mischievous, yet obedient to their leader, Gabriel.

The angels yearn to go good, but are limited by the free will of man, so they use devious ways to arrange meetings, such as a car breakdown for the first heroine to meet Mr. Right. This story features a brand new school teacher, Brynn Cassidy, who elects to teach in a New York ghetto to get credits against her student loans.  She is cheerfully oblivious to the rough characters who endanger her well being.  She bends over backward to interest and achieve rapport with her students. Brynn, a lively redhead, argues with her mechanic, the brother of Emilio, a student in her class, about the value of an education.  In the background, the parish priest gently explains, Roberto, her love, kept going to school and saving to get his mother from Mexico, only to find she died before he came.  A shooting of a classmate leaves Emilio desolate.  A student’s suicide pulls the rug from Brynn and destroys her will and confidence.   Once again mysterious (angelic?) car trouble keeps her in New York while her students, their parents, and Father Grady all come to beg her to stay.  At the end, Shirley, Brynn’s angel, converses with Gabriel to learn of the happy outcome. Roberto and Brynn married, Emilio becoming a teacher, Suzy, the Chinese girl friend of the suicide, becoming a mother and going on to college to research and work in depression and mental health.

Goodness, the second angel, is introduced to Hanna Morgenstern, a lovely, conscientious Jewish daughter, only offspring of an older couple who run a deli in New York.  She is expected to marry Carl, a teacher devoid of dreams, everyday enjoyment of such things Hannah adores, e.g. a Thanksgiving parade. She meets Joshua and they both fall in love.  Family ties and forced expectations haunt Hannah and lead her into a formal engagement and wedding date with Carl.  Joshua, discouraged, turns to an old girl friend, just when Hannah gets the courage to beak the engagement.  All is lost until (by some angelic miracle) the father finds Joshua’s business card in his pocket and goes to Joshua’s office to confront him. All is bliss when Joshua hurries the father home to Hannah and officially proposes.  Gabriel relates the future. Hannah becomes an asset to Joshua in Politics, and they live happily ever after.

Mercy, the third angel, is assigned to Jenny, a very talented, but overlooked singer from Montana.  She lives in New York with her best friend, Michele, searching for that “right? part to gain her stardom, but all she finds is a singing waitress job in a restaurant.  Trey, who has loved her from afar in Montana, finally comes to New York to bring himself to propose and take her home to a family who needs her. He proposes, but is interrupted by a phone call that gives Jenny the part she was hoping for all this time.  Her shrieks of joy combined with those of her friend, Michele, cover Trey’s quiet exit from the apartment. Christmas Eve finds Trey sadly going to Jenny’s family home in Montana, sure she would now never marry him, only to find her there, bustling about helping Mom and chiding him for not awaiting her answer.  Joy knew no bounds when Trey realizes Jenny chose HIM, rather that the part which then went to her best friend.  Snow (unexpected from a clear sky, truly an angelic miracle) topped off a perfect Christmas Eve for the newly engaged couple.  Gabriel, after chiding the three for stunts such as a 360 degree turn of the Statue of Liberty, informs Mercy the happy ending.  They marry and have two girls, who sing like their Mom, and two sons like Dad.