Reviews by Carol T. (Ankeny, IA)

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Today We Go Home: A Novel
by Kelli Estes
Oh, my (9/9/2019)
I read far too many books in search of one as satisfying as this one. I wish I'd written it; imagine the fun in the research.
The Secrets of Mary Bowser
by Lois Leveen
The Civil War as I'd never seen it (8/24/2019)
It's hard to believe The Secrets of Mary Bowser is Lois Leveen's debut novel. Or that it is a novel at all. Mary and all the other characters - and the period - are so real.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel
by Kim Michele Richardson
Very satisfying (8/17/2019)
This would have been 5 stars except the first quarter of the book seems way too constrained by the author's need to let us know she did the research necessary. Once she worked her way through her research and actually developed the characters, the story took off. Highly recommended.
Time After Time
by Lisa Grunwald
More than a romance (8/13/2019)
Nora and Joe's unusual romance in Grunwald's Time After Time is just the frame for the mesmerizing plot and the other two main characters: place and time. Too bad we "have" to give every book a label. The "romance" almost pushed me away. This book is so much more than a romance.
What Rose Forgot
by Nevada Barr
Unexpected (8/4/2019)
This really IS your mother's book. Give it to her! A real break from the standard mystery or thriller.
America for Beginners
by Leah Franqui
Warm, witty, wise (8/1/2019)
America for Beginners is warm, witty, and wise. Leah Franqui is an author to watch.
Women Rowing North: Navigating Life's Currents and Flourishing As We Age
by Mary Pipher
Uneven (7/14/2019)
Started out well, but about the middle the Pipher seemed to be struggling to find enough to write about.
The Stone Circle: Ruth Galloway Mysteries
by Elly Griffiths
Intriguing (7/13/2019)
One of the best in the series. I didn't see the answer coming.
A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II
by Sonia Purnell
Mesmerizing (7/11/2019)
Almost reads like a novel.
The Right Sort of Man
by Allison Montclair
The right sort of book (6/25/2019)
Everything the early reviews claimed. Question is, can Montclair write quickly? We need more!
The Widows of Malabar Hill: A Mystery of 1920s Bombay
by Sujata Massey
Average read (6/23/2019)
This came so highly rated, but I was disappointed. If you're interested in Bombay in the 20s, you might like it.
The Spies of Shilling Lane
by Jennifer Ryan
What a hoot! (6/17/2019)
Loved it! Cannot recommend it highly enough! (And can't wait for Jennifer Ryan's next foray.)
Resistance Women
by Jennifer Chiaverini
Disappointing (6/15/2019)
I had high hopes for Resistance Women, but it was not to be. Three of the characters are real women, one is fictional. Only the fictional has any depth to her; the real ones are forced, probably to accommodate their actual lives and any diaries. While we all know the plot line for WWII and what happened in Germany, we could have a little basic tension. With so many WWII-based novels available, I'd rather spend my time on one or two that truly sing.
How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States
by Daniel Immerwahr
Well worth reading - but allow time (6/15/2019)
Long and involved. Be ready to find out things about the US that you didn't know.
Wunderland
by Jennifer Cody Epstein
Pulled me in and held me (6/10/2019)
Wunderland is one of the best WWII-based novels I've read in so many ways: historical accuracy, believable characters, great pacing. I'm oh so tempted to just turn it over and start again.
Becoming
by Michelle Obama
Pleasantly surprised (6/4/2019)
By the time my name came up to get this from the library, I was more than a little burned out on political autobiographies, so started this half-heartedly. Boy was I wrong. This really is a page turner. I expected Obama to write well (yes, I know she had a ghost writer to help her) and she does. Her voice is so good that I had the feeling she was talking directly to me. I nearly cried with her at the tragedies of friends' deaths, her father's death, the Newtown shooting, and even the 2016 election results.
Courting Mr. Lincoln
by Louis Bayard
Disappointing (6/4/2019)
Perhaps knowing a lot about the Lincolns is a disadvantage. This fictionalized account is pallid and flat. There are better, more interesting actual biographies. I doubt that I'll read anything else by this author.
Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen
by Mary Norris
And ode to language lovers (4/10/2019)
I've always loved Mary Norris' writing. She makes all things understandable. Nearly a 5 star, but I wasn't as enamored of all the travels as I was of the language sections.
The American Agent: A Maisie Dobbs Novel
by Jacqueline Winspear
Best of the series (4/10/2019)
I admit, some of Winspear's early Maisie Dobbs entries were too "preachy" and not enough action. But at 15, she definitely has this one right.
A Deadly Divide: A Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak Mystery
by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Could happen anywhere (4/4/2019)
Timely. This mosque massacre really could have come from today's news. I just hope when the Nazis attack my town my officials handle it as well.
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Book Jacket
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
by Kim Michele Richardson

A story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere.

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