There is little I love more than having a thick book to read over a long period of time. Some of my siblings are scared of big books, but I love picking one up and starting into it. A hot cup of tea and a thick book is the perfect recipe. Our Mutual Friend was a just such a big book, and it was by far my favorite Dickens.
There are so many plots and subplots in Mutual Friend (as in all of Dicken’s works) that it would take too long to go over them all. But here are some of my thoughts.
One set of characters I loved was John Rokesmith and Bella Wilfer. Bella was betrothed to marry John Harmon, the one condition for him to inherit his father’s estate. At the opening of the book, Harmon is found drowned in the river. So the estate passes to the Boffins – an elderly couple who worked for Harmon’s father. They take Bella in and there she spends time with Rokesmith – who is serving as the Boffin’s secretary.
Rokesmith tries to court Bella, who runs him off because of his low status. She herself is poor, and was excited about marrying into wealth. Now she finds that taken from her, and refuses to treat Rokesmith with respect. As time passes, the money begins to affect Mr. Boffin and he becomes a miser with the wealth he inherited. When he begins to abuse Rokesmith, Bella realizes what money can do to a person and flees their house, after defending Rokesmith.
A little while later you realize that Mr. Boffin had faked being a miser so that Bella would realize how trivial money really is in life. Mr. Boffin is such a good, kind older man who loved Bella enough to run her off and keep her away from the lure of money.
~Warnings~ Really there is nothing to warn people about. If you are brave enough to read Our Mutual Friend, you can handle the “thematic elements”. There are a few dead bodies, 2 murders (not graphic), and the job of one character is to scour the river for bodies.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
- And God Came In by Lyle Dorsett. A wonderful biography of the extraordinary Joy Davidman Lewis. As an atheist who found Christ, and the mother of two boys, Joy began a correspondence with one of the most intelligent men ever. Finally journeying to England to meet him, Joy fell in love with C. S. Lewis. Following her divorce, loneliness, diagnosis of cancer, marriage, remission, and peaceful death, this book was eye opening into the lives of Lewis, his wife, and their sons.
- The Vow by Kim and Krickett Carpenter. I don’t know what made me pick this up. I had read that it was a true story and a wonderful telling of God’s faithfulness, but the cover almost ran me off. It made it look like a paperback romance. It was not, let me assure you. 🙂 Kim and Krickett were your normal newlywed couple. Until they were in a horrible car wreck late one night. They lived, but Krickett’s memory was damaged. She didn’t remember Kim or anything about their life together. Kim could have walked away, but he didn’t. He helped his wife fall in love all over again. They now live as proof that God does work miracles.
- Michael Vey Series by Richard Evans. Yes, I know that I may be to old to be reading Michael Vey, but it’s fun to read a relaxing fun series every now and then. Michael Vey is just that. He’s a typical teenager with Tourette’s syndrome. Until he discovers that he has electrical powers, and he’s not the only one.
- WWII the Rest of the Story by Richard J. Maybury. I loved this book. And yes, I am somewhat of a conspiracy theorist. 🙂 You need to read this book, and the others in the series. Great additions to any homeschool bookshelf.
- Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. Thought provoking, challenging, inspiring. Each and every chapter is something that every adult and young adult should read and reread through their lifetime. A call to stand up and serve our God. Read this the year you turn 15 and every year after that.
- A Mother Just Like You by Vickie Farris. I am not a mother yet, but I still found this book a wonderful, inspiring read. As mother of 10 and wife to Michael Farris, Vickie has applicable real life encouragement for every mother of a large, homeschooling family.
- Leave it to PSmith by P. G. Wodehouse. I usually read silently, but this book was so funny that I couldn’t stop laughing aloud as I read it. Every character was important, and each so unique in their own way. And all of them tied together with PSmith (the “p” is silent, as in “pshrimp”.)
- Three Men in a Boat by Jerome Jerome. I had heard of this book for years, but it always sounded old and stuffy to me. But I finally picked it up and read it in 2 days. It was easy to read, funny, wonderfully written, and intriguing. A simple journal of a boat trip becomes a commentary on human life. And what’s like to own a dog.
- Rora by James Byron Huggins. France, Italy, and the Roman Catholic Church have teamed up, as the Inquisition, to destroy religious freedom. And the faith and lives of the protestant town of Rora. A tiny hamlet high in the mountains. One man can keep their hope alive, but he will do it at the risk of his life and the lives of his family. It’s a true story with real people, and it ends with victory – at the cost of his family. God demands full obedience to Him, are we prepared to do whatever that means?
- Echoes from the Edge series by Bryan Davis. Normal sci-fi fiction meets classical violinist meets some of Frank Peretti. Three dimensions of earth, a violin that can open the doors, and a camera that can see things that aren’t there. I loved this series! I have read it twice and there are still things I don’t get.
- Cloak of the Light by Chuck Black. AWESOME book. Read my review here.
- Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. No year would be complete with out a Dickens novel. This took me 2 months because of school work, but I finally finished it and I loved it. Possibly my favorite Dickens ever, competing with Tale of Two Cities. I will write a full review later.
And there is my booklist of 2013. I hope to post my reading goals for 2014 very soon. With more reviews coming.
I thought this book had an interesting story, but overall, it was a slow read. The characters were rather flat, and the plot line didn’t move very quickly. Personally, I found it hard to “get into” .
Christina Willems takes care of the poor and lost people of her small town. Her little Kansas farm has become a home of love and strength for the weaker ones. But the fire one night leaves havoc in it’s path. And many homeless family members. Christina begins to place her charges in homes around town.
One of the hardest to place is Tommy, a young boy who is blind. Due to his blindness he is a liability and needs a lot of care and babysitting. Or so Christina thinks. She convinces Levi Johnson, the mill owner no one ever sees, to take in Tommy.
Many challenges come out of this, not the least of which is, Levi will not give Tommy special care. He knows what the blind boy is capable of and refuses to “baby” him. Christina is furious… but, is Tommy doing better now?
It was a good book, nothing inappropriate, but very slow. I’ll give it 3 out 5 stars.
Rating: 3 out 5
Wow. That is probably the best word to use when I first think of this book. I really liked Chuck Black’s Kingdom Series and his Knights Series, but this book goes above and beyond what we’ve come to expect from Mr. Black’s work. This book kept me reading… I couldn’t put it down.
Book 1 in Wars of the Realm introduces us to Drew Carter. Drew’s world is anything but perfect, but he starts playing football in highschool and making friends. After a tragic accident takes the life of a friend, Drew gives up on life. Until Ben Phillips challenges his best friend to get a grip and move on.
Drew throws himself into earning a double major in finance and math. He takes on his life… but he’s still lacking something. He bumps into the young speech champion Sydney from highschool. She explains to him that she can’t date an unbeliever, and leaves Drew wondering at her convictions. A few days later an accident in the Physics lab leaves Drew blind. As his sight returns – there is something different.
Drew can see warriors of darkness. Everywhere. And no one else in the world can see them. Or the warriors of light.
And Ben disappears. The only person who can explain Drew’s ability and he’s gone. After an attempt on his life, Drew decides to protect his mom by leaving. After Drew is seen at a school shooting, he has the FBI on his heels, and heads for the woods.
Find Ben. Protect Sydney, who has a gift of her own. Drew’s life seems so clear, if he could let God help him.
Rating: 5+ out of 5 stars
Dee Henderson has done it again. Delivered a fast paced, heart pounding, suspenseful book – full of intrigue and a little romance, wrapped around the Gospel message. What a book.
Bryce Bishop walks out of work one night and meets a woman, who tells him he needs answer the call. Just as his phone rings. Reassured by a friend that this stranger has a story to tell and is backed by the FBI, Bishop walks into the storefront and enters a story with no return.
Charlotte Graham is hiding from her identity. People recognize her as the victim of the most famous Chicago kidnapping. She was gone for four years, and she’s never talked about them. The ghosts of those years still surround her – haunting her days and nights. She is struggling with her faith and wants to tell someone. And she has the strangest business proposal ever.
Charlotte and Bishop are first just business partners, and then friends. As Bishop comforts Charlotte and begins to offer her the prayer and faith she longs for, the story only gets harder. There was a baby that died… four years ago. And Charlotte might know the kidnappers.
This book kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t stop reading it. I would put it down and go do something else, but then I would be back in my room reading. I loved every minute of it. Ms. Henderson is such a great author. Her plot twists and turns, but you never get lost. Suspenseful and deep, Unspoken will hold you spellbound.
5 out of 5 stars
Julia Foster loves her parents, and helping them in their life’s calling. Together they serve and care for young girls in India who are suffering under the caste system. When her father falls seriously ill, the Foster family moves home to England. Assuming responsibility for the financial situation, Julia takes a job as a governess. She arrives at Highland Hall and finds two wealthy, but needy children, two sad and angry girls, and the withdrawn master, Sir William Ramsey.
Julia begins to make the mansion into a home in her quiet and gentle way. She wins the hearts of the motherless children and reaches out to the older girls. While William busies himself with saving the mansion from financial ruin, he moves farther and farther away from his own children.
The themes in this book were parent/child relationships and employer/employee relationships. The loving, caring relationship that Julia and her parents show and the sad, misunderstood one that William and his children have are both at odds for each other. As Julia unknowingly serves as an example, William’s heart begins to change. And when William fights the love his sister has for their gardener, he finds himself shocked when he learns he is falling in love with his children’s governess.
This was a sweet, wonderful story and I loved it. A great relaxing read for night. 🙂
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This book was not what I expected. I was hoping for more history, mixed in with more quaint letter writing. I was rather disappointed, to tell the whole truth, but it was still cute.
Sorting through the unsold belongings after the Alexander estate sale, Adam Colby is shocked to find a photo album filled with postcards and overflowing with a love story. Reeling from a recent divorce, Adam is struck with the apparent love that Gabe and Pearl had for each other… even after 60 years.
Adam begins to hunt down clues and begins to understand what love is and what it means to be a couple devoted to each other. For better or worse. And while a dying Pearl waits for one last post card from Gabe – forgetting he’s been gone for years – Adam traces the story and finds a love that will never die.
I expected a more Christian theme to this book, and was rather disappointed. And I was expecting a little more resolution to Adam’s life. But, overall, I’ll give it 4 stars.
Rating: 4 out 5 stars