L's TBR Treasure Quest
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This is a fictionalized account of Patsy (Martha) Jefferson Randolph's life, which also gives the reader many glimpses into her devoted relationship with her father. I wanted to emphasize the word fictionalized, because in a Note From the Authors there is a detailed explanation about why they chose to write the story as they did, including the need to take some creative license concerning specific situations. Even with a bevy of historical documentation and primary sources, some details were left open to interpretation, especially regarding events that the family probably tried to keep secret. In those instances, incriminating documents may have been destroyed, as is alluded to in the book. I would not recommend reading the Note From the Authors before beginning the book though, as it gives away too many details.
Overall the dramatized and romantic aspects of the story didn't bother me too much. In fact, it may have been a depressing story lacking in cohesiveness without some of the additions. In most cases, I felt the authors made decisions based on the spirit of existing historical documents. The political and social discussions kept me interested and wondering what was going to happen next. I felt transported to a different time period but then also was occasionally reminded of how some things haven't changed very much in the political realm. Perhaps different technology and tactics are used but the game playing still exists today.
This isn't quite on par with Gone With the Wind as very few can match Margaret Mitchell's eloquent writing style, but I would highly recommend America's First Daughter to readers with an interest in American political history, or southern family sagas.
For More Information: (noting there may be spoilers)
I don't read a lot of historical fiction books revolving around American politics but this was a really interesting and well researched story. On Amazon, I found there is a subgenre called Biographical Historical Fiction, so I seem to enjoy books from that category. Circling the Sun is another example of a well researched book that I enjoyed reading, as did local bookclub members.
Circling the Sun sounds interesting and one for the wishlist, thanks! I didn't read Karen Blixen's biography but loved the movie, Out of Africa. It would be good to hear another side of that story.
The local book group I belong to went on a non-fiction reading binge after enjoying Circling the Sun. We really liked West With the Night by Beryl Markham but unfortunately didn't care for Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen. The movie version of Out of Africa is quite different than the book.
I hope you enjoy Circling the Sun, whenever you have an opportunity to read it.
This is primarily a historical fiction work, discussing how the Catholic Church aided and hid many Jewish citizens in Italy during WWII. Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco are the fictional characters that allow Amy Harmon to tell this story, although there are a few characters based on real people. I must also mention the element of romance, because that is the common thread that ties the whole book together.
I had difficulty rating this one and wavered between 3 and 4 stars. In all fairness, the historical fiction novel I read prior to this earned a 5 star rating, and this novel couldn't measure up to that. Plus, there are a lot of other WWII novels out there, so it is difficult not to make comparisons.
From Sand and Ash kept me engrossed but the latter half of the book was less interesting than the first. I was actually absorbed in the historical elements more than anything else, especially the setting and religious details. Unfortunately, as the book progressed, the author included some plot twists that seemed coincidental and sappy (think, The Notebook). Also, some of the language in the book sounded Americanized and too modern for an Italian setting during 1943. For example, We’ve taken Rome, but if things continue as they have for the last nine months, it’s going to continue to be a slog, and we sure as hell won’t be getting out of Italy until Germany surrenders, or we do. Maybe it is just me, but somehow that doesn't sound authentic. Well, it didn't make me feel transported to a different place and time anyway.
On a positive note, even given the gravity of the subject matter, I got through this book fairly quickly. From Sand and Ash would make a good movie and probably would be popular with the twenty-something age group. I appreciated the Author's Note at the end, and am glad to see more historical fiction writers adding additional information to their books. As a reader, it is good to know which aspects of a story are true and which are entirely fictional. Finally, I wanted to mention that a friend had mentioned they enjoyed the audio version of this book. Perhaps listening to it would help make the language seem more appropriate to the setting and time period.
Although the majority of story was compelling enough to keep me interested, after a promising start the plot headed off in a weird direction and I didn't care for the last third of the book. I also felt the author took the easy way out with one of the characters, while trying to provide some resolution to the story. 3 stars.
Only one Root read during May, so onto June ....... hopefully I will have more free time to read then. :-)
>11 This-n-That: Great review, that book is on my TBR pile!
Thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement! Much appreciated!
It's okay - some months are like that!
Hope you're enjoying the new job!
I couldn't possibly catch up on the threads here (explanation on my own thread), though I wish I could!
I hear that you feel like you have a little more time again at some point after having a kid... here's to hoping ;)
Hope the new job is going well!!
My apologies for not seeing these posts sooner and responding. After June, my reading levels tanked along with my participation in online forums. Depending on the environment, new jobs can be good learning experiences in many ways but also very stressful. I am just starting to get back to my usual level of reading and also my enjoyment of the process.
Thanks to everyone for your kind posts and thoughtfulness.