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THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD: A Novel ~Kate Brandes

Monday, May 8th, 2017

THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD is a mix of environmental issues and how small town land owners are coping with their reduced circumstances in Pennsylvania.  The tale is wrapped around two brothers who love the same woman and were abandoned by their mother.  I was hopeful about the story and about the premise.  The descriptions were good and one could feel the trauma that the town was experiencing clearly.

The gas company, ironically called Green Energy (What a fraud – like clean coal! Good choice by the author to point out another deception) and they are purchasing lease agreements to drill for gas, pay the landowners and also do fracking within each field.  With the loss of coal production in the area, the town’s people are desperate for income and futures, many sign up for lease agreements right away.  Then occurs an accident and bad weather.

One brother is trying to save his family orchard and his wife is adopting organic measures for her section of the trees.  They want their water to remain clean.  One brother is trying to sell the gas leases.  The boys’ mother, now an environmental lawyer is called upon to help folks understand and provide a solution and reconnect with her sons.  THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD is a warm, sweet story with a bundle of deceptions.  Maybe a good Midwest story but not a very promising educational story for those who have been working on the environment and Greening our world – too wishy, washy.

Several reviewers related the story to Barbara Kingslover’s PRODICAL SUMMER; I can only feel a slight connection.  Whereas SUMMER really did dig deeply into the community feelings and frustrations, it truly added the ballast of how to help minds change and move towards reconciliation of old beliefs, economic frustrations, and the work that needs doing to protect an environmental future that “wins” for everyone – especially the earth.   Then again maybe many readers will enjoy this story because of the “love” story and the infertility issues of the main couple?   Would the story be a helpful teacher towards the environmental issues? I just do not know.

A TLC Book Tours review book.  Definitely in the Women’s Fiction category, a good read – THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD

About the Author:

An environmental scientist with 20 years of experience, Kate Brandes is also a watercolor painter and a writer of women’s fiction with an environmental bent. Her short stories have been published in The Binnacle, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Grey Sparrow Journal. Kate is a member of the Arts Community of Easton (ACE), the Lehigh Art Alliance, Artsbridge, the Pennwriters, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Kate lives in a small town along the Delaware River with her husband, David, and their two sons. When she’s not working, she’s outside on the river or chasing wild flowers.

Kate Brandes Facebook
Kate Brandes Web
Kate Brandes Twitter

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Flight Behavior
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Integrity

A HOUSE FOR HAPPY MOTHERS: A Novel ~Amulya Malladi

Monday, June 20th, 2016

“Amulya Mulladi is the author of six novels, including The Mango Season and the Sound of Language. Her books have been translated into several languages, including Dutch, German, Spanish, Danish, Romanian, Serbian, and Tamil.  She has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in journalism and works as a marketing executive for a global medtech company.  She lives in Copenhagen with her husband and two children.  She loves to connect with readers on her Facebook page  and on her website at www.maulyamalladi.com.

“In trendy Silicon Valley, Priya has everything she needs—a loving husband, a career, and a home—but the one thing she wants most is the child she’s unable to have. In a Southern Indian village, Asha doesn’t have much—raising two children in a tiny hut, she and her husband can barely keep a tin roof over their heads—but she wants a better education for her gifted son. Pressured by her family, Asha reluctantly checks into the Happy Mothers House: a baby farm where she can rent her only asset—her womb—to a childless couple overseas. To the dismay of friends and family, Priya places her faith in a woman she’s never met to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Together, the two women discover the best and the worst that India’s rising surrogacy industry has to offer, bridging continents and cultures to bring a new life into the world—and renewed hope to each other.”

I enjoyed reading this book very much and I learned a great deal about another culture and the trials of poverty  – more about what women need to do to support their children and to survive.  It came to me from TLC Book Tours   and I received a copy of it free from Amazon Prime First books.  I believe this book would expand other reader’s horizons and open eyes and hearts to troubling realities.

Mulladi deeply explores the feelings of these two women and includes the hormonal issues and how the society manipulates and individuals control others by their perceptions.  There are many writing devises explored to deeply touch each woman’s feelings and life.  How can there be true support miles apart and distanced by cultural experiences?  Lots to take in here and much to discover.  Who is actually making the money?  Oh yes! Once again we must follow the money and the real care.

Women are exploited in so many situations and here another one is exposed.  Is it a gift or is it abuse?  How do husbands support and love?  Is their relationship possible to be a friendship?  Must that remain separate?  How do the other members of the family interact and feel?  How do the social activists get involved and protect.

A great deal of depth in this story and many ideas to consider.  The author through the two women allows the reader into the idea and then the emotional fluctuations produce the outcome most hoped for and endured.  An informative and well – written story well worth considering and enjoying.

Related:
The Bounce
Scent of Butterflies
Trail of Broken Wings
The Last Conception

THE MAPMAKER’S CHILDREN: A Novel ~Sarah McCoy

Monday, May 11th, 2015

“Engaging and emotionally charged…Eden’s realization that ‘what fable and history could agree upon was that everyone was searching for their ever-after, what ever that may be’ neatly sums up the novel’s heart – it’s about the family and the life we create, not always the ones we imagine for ourselves.”  (Kirkus reviews)

THE MAPEMAKER’S CHILDREN is a wonderful, gentle read and I enjoyed it cover to cover.  I thought it very clever to use the life of an historic figure within her context, along side a contemporary character who has some of the same life questions to contend with and lives in the same locale as the historic focus.    Sarah Brown the daughter of abolitionist John Brown (Harper’s Ferry) is the historic character of the story.  She is tracked through the family history and a series of letters written to a prominent family, which sheltered the Brown’s during the trial and execution.  An eleven- year -old Sarah witnessed the death of nearly all of the males in her family during this time period and turned it into her strength and future.  With her ability to paint and draw she created Underground Rail Road maps on cloth and other media for those who could not read to be enabled in their journey northward and success – freedom.

Because of severe Dysentery as a child Sarah was not able to conceive a children and yet it is her children who are part of the title of the story.

Eden is our contemporary character and she and her husband have just moved into New Charleston, West Virginia into an historic home with an interesting doll’s head discovered in the root cellar of the old kitchen.  Eden is weaning off of fertility drugs and is in a hostile rather belligerent frame of mind.  She is the kind of uber selfish “ME” girl of the “me” generation and made me glad when her early chapters moved back to Sarah’s story which I found delightful and very interesting.    By the 4th chapter of Eden’s story, I skimmed until the thought crossed my mind that most of my readers would not be offended by her selfish banter and blaming rhetoric.   Maybe they would even think like my kiddo’s friends who were always telling each other  – “If you do that to me – I’m going to kill you”. People just say those things. I certainly find the blaming behavior everywhere.   I liked Eden at the end of the novel as she did learn some kindness once she started earning some money with her new work and her definition of family expanded.

I believe Sarah McCoy could win the most gracious, Southern Ladies Thank You Note Contest. The novel has that sweet sheen of honey drip known in the south as just good ol’ fashioned manners of speaking clearly and smoothing it all over.  It just felt perfect to curl up in the spring sunshine on my deck and explore this historic story.  I liked this gracious story and particularly learning more about Sarah Brown in our contemporary times of racial unrest.   I was happy the book contained several of her drawing and paintings and her own writing conveyed the story of the times personally.    What a lovely way to learn history and about one’s own values and views.
TLC Book Tours   sent me a hardcopy of this delightful book for review – The MAPMAKER’S CHILDREN.

“Rich, closely observed storytelling full of warmth and heart.”  Charles Frazier, National Book Award winning author of Cold Mountain.

About Sarah McCoy:

“SARAH McCOY is the  New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award Best Historical Fiction nominee; the novella “The Branch of Hazel” in Grand Central; The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico; and The Mapmaker’s Children (Crown, May 5, 2015).

Her work has been featured in Real Simple, The Millions, Your Health Monthly, Huffington Post and other publications. She has taught English writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She calls Virginia home but presently lives with her husband, an Army physician, and their dog, Gilly, in El Paso, Texas. Sarah enjoys connecting with her readers on Twitter at @SarahMMcCoy, on her Facebook Fan Page or via her website, www.sarahmccoy.com.” ( from TLC page)

Related:
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THE UNFINISHED CHILD: A Novel ~Theresa Shea

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

“Her mother’s words came back to her.  It’s a woman’s lot in life to bear the shame. But why should it be?  Why didn’t men carry the burden of their own bad behaviors?”


THE UNFINISHED CHILD is a very sensitive read about the moral and technical dimensions of sharing life with a child with Down’s Syndrome.  This is a fictional story so it can tell a bigger story and fill us in on the thought processes, the feelings, the hopes and dreams and the historic experiences.  This book is also a story about mothers and how they parent, what they tell their daughters about being a mother, and what they withhold; the secrets behind the scenes to the conversational outcomes.  This is a well-researched story about hope with sensitivity to the rose petal delicacy of each individual’s patterns of emotion.

Elizabeth and Marie are best friends.  Marie is a fulltime mom to two delightful daughters and discovers she is pregnant at age thirty nine; this pregnancy feels very different from the previous two.  Elizabeth owns a florist shop and has been attempting to have a baby for 17 years with no positive results; she was adopted as an infant but will not consider adoption as an option for herself.  Marriages are put to the test and friendship becomes difficult as these women sort out what they will be and do next in their lives.

There is a third mother highlighted in THE UNFINISHED CHILD – Margaret.  Margaret was raped as a young girl on her family farm by the doctor’s son and learns about classism and shame.  After she is married her first born daughter is born with Down’s syndrome and is institutionalized under doctor’s recommendations within a few days of birth.  Shame, classism, and medical – technical issues enter into the story line, in the 1940s, this is just the way life happened.  There were few studies, people did not know what to do, and they expected the infant to be sickly, mentally retarded, and survival rates low.  Margaret and her daughter inspire a newly minted doctor to learn more and provide hope.   Children with Down’s were referred to as UNFINISHED CHILDREN.

Raw complex feelings are explored in these three women, the reader uncovers the complexities of feelings and actions surrounded by the pressures and expectations put upon the role of being a mother and developing a family spirit.  It is honest and searching and THE UNFINISHED CHILD will definitely touch your heart.

What a dynamic book group discussion starter, there are so many avenues to explore, including self-exploration of feelings.  How do these ideas and concepts fit into community and society?  What is it that we tell our children – our daughters?

“Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted…but to weigh and consider.”  Francis Bacon.

Theresa Shea on Facebook.  Shea was born in Maryland and now resides in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with her husband and three children “Having come to motherhood relatively late, Shea has always been particularly sensitive to the technological and moral issues surrounding women’s choices regarding childbirth.”

Related:
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Coincidence 
The Moon Sisters

tlc logo TLC Online Book Tours shared a copy of this book for me to review.  The depth and width of this story encouraged me to let you know about – THE UNFINISHED CHILD.

Would you purchase a book that was a story about Down’s syndrome and infertility?  Do you find it helpful to read about life dilemmas and the resolutions?

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