Spring is finally here, welcome but long in coming.
This has been a great month for reading.
Linking up my May reviews at Modern Mrs Darcy this month.
On to the books!
Saving My Assassin by Virginia Prodan
” ‘I should be dead. Buried in an unmarked grave in Romania. Obviously, I am not. God had other plans.’
At just under five feet tall, Virginia Prodan was no match for the towering 6′ 10″ gun-wielding assassin the Romanian government sent to her office to take her life. It was not the first time her life had been threatened–nor would it be the last.
As a young attorney under Nicolae Ceausescu’s brutal communist regime, Virginia had spent her entire life searching for the truth. When she finally found it in the pages of the most forbidden book in all of Romania, Virginia accepted the divine call to defend fellow followers of Christ against unjust persecution in an otherwise ungodly land.
For this act of treason, she was kidnapped, beaten, tortured, placed under house arrest, and came within seconds of being executed under the orders of Ceausescu himself. How Virginia not only managed to elude her enemies time and again, but how she also helped expose the appalling secret that would ultimately lead to the demise of Ceausescu’s evil empire is one of the most extraordinary stories ever told.
A must-read for all generations, Saving My Assassin is the unforgettable account of one woman’s search for truth, her defiance in the face of evil, and a surprise encounter that proves without a shadow of a doubt that nothing is impossible with God.” — from Amazon
I read I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
“Rosetta doesn’t want her new husband, Jeremiah, to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they’ll be able to afford their own farm someday. When Jeremiah leaves, Rosetta decides her true place is by his side, no matter what that means, and follows him into war.
Rich with historical details and inspired by the many women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is a courageous adventure, a woman’s search for meaning and individuality, and a poignant story of enduring love.
I liked learning about a piece of little known history during the Civil War. It’s hard to even imagine life in those circumstances.”– from Amazon
I wasn’t expecting the story to go the way it did, so I’m feeling a little ambivalent about the whole book.
I can’t say I loved it wholesale. It was well written and it’s always good to imagine a life that’s totally different from your own.
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
“A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.was good, just like everyone said it was.”– from Amazon
It was much shorter than I expected.
Again, it’s good to imagine what someone else’s life is like.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Hurston
“One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.”– from Amazon
It’s kind of a Huck Finn story, except for adults, not for kids.
There’s a lot of vernacular.
It was published in 1937.
That’s before World War II.
I’m still not sure what I think about it. It’s definitely not one of my favorites. As far as showing a slice of culture, I think it’s a better story than The Great Gatsby.
The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall
“The finale you’ve all been waiting for: The Penderwicks at Last is the final, flawless installment in the modern classic series from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Jeanne Birdsall!
It’s summertime, and eleven-year-old Lydia is dancing at the bus stop, waiting for big sister Batty to get home from college.
This is a very important dance and a very important wait because the two youngest sisters are about to arrive home to find out that the Penderwicks will all be returning to Arundel this summer, the place where it all began. And better still is the occasion: a good old-fashioned, homemade-by-Penderwicks wedding.”– from Amazon
I just love the Penderwicks. I love seeing happy, healthy kids who pursue their interests. The Penderwick kids are characters that you love to love.
Jeanne Birdsall is a master at capturing all the best parts of growing up.
This book comes full circle, with lots of fun throwback references.
Timeless. Wholesome. Satisfying.
“A little book with a big heart!
From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove,My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.
With all the same charm of his bestselling full-length novels, here Fredrik Backman once again reveals his unrivaled understanding of human nature and deep compassion for people in difficult circumstances. This is a tiny gem with a message you’ll treasure for a lifetime.”– from GoodReads
It’s called a novella, but it was even shorter than I expected.
It’s a beautiful, literary expression of the aging mind.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
“Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published on 25 April 1719. The first edition credited the work’s protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, leading many readers to believe he was a real person and the book a travelogue of true incidents. Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is presented as an autobiography of the title character (whose birth name is Robinson Kreutznaer)—a castaway who spends twenty-eight years on a remote tropical desert island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers, before ultimately being rescued. The story has since been thought to be based on the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived for four years on a Pacific island called “Más a Tierra”, now part of Chile, which was renamed Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966, but various literary sources have also been suggested.”– from Amazon
I was impressed by the spiritual themes explored in this book that you don’t see in modern literature. That is our culture’s loss.
Full disclosure: I only read the last half of the book, but I read it out loud to my 18 year old, who’s graduating from high school next month. It marks the end of an era.
Our first grandbaby is due in October, so I’m looking forward to starting a new era: reading aloud to my grandkids.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?