Sunday, September 29, 2013

Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life

Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life

By Marta McDowell

Published by Timber Press, September 18th 2013


This is a truly glorious book which will delight anyone who loves gardening, art or the immortal Beatrix Potter stories.

Divided into three sections covering Beatrix Potter's life, the gardens she loved and created and how to visit them, this is a veritable treasure trove of historical facts, extracts and illustrations from her letters, diaries and published works as well as photographs both contemporaneous and modern, covering all aspects of her life, interests and works - all seamlessly woven into a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable book which gave my daughters and I several happy hours of perusing.

A pleasure to read, this is definitely a book to treasure and revisit as well as being a valuable guidebook when visiting her Lake District home; many of the famous stories contain scenes and plants which can still be recognised by the observant visitor and still appreciated because of  her determination to protect this area of enormous beauty by leaving 4,000 acres of her land to the nation in the care of the National Trust.


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Dear God, He's Home!


Dear God, He's Home!

A Woman's Guide To Her Stay-At-Home Man

By Janet Thompson

Published by New Hope Publishers, March 2013


This is the sort of book which when you are first married, you cannot ever envision you might need: spending time together is a delight and eagerly looked forward to! How ever could it be otherwise, when you love each other so much?

One of the unspoken secrets of marriage is that after a lengthy period of time, you each get used to your own individual routine, quirks, ways of doing things, and you tend to fall into accepted patterns of domestic tasks.  This is particularly true if you have a situation where mum stays at home with the children and husband works outside the home, or if one spouse has to work away for extended periods, such as during overseas deployment in the armed services.

If the work or domestic situation changes for one reason or another and one spouse is then at home for an extended period of time, it can be very hard for both  to adapt to the new situation. I know I found it very difficult to adapt when my husband was made redundant last year and was home all the time, instead of working away for part of each week. I had a set routine of jobs to do and set times to do them, and it was all thrown into chaos. I don't know which was more stressful, having someone constantly trying to "take over" my tasks and show me ways of doing them better, or when he decided he needed a "rest period" of several months to recover from work and sat around at home watching movies  and playing video games when I was running round like a headless chicken doing all the household chores on my own. It was a stressful period of adaptation and I felt guilty for feeling a bit resentful that I seemed to be the one who was doing almost everything related to the house and childcare..... when was I going to get *my* rest period, I wondered?

This is the book I wish had been available then, filled with anecdotes about how the author coped when her husband was at home, extracts from her journal and prayer journal, Bible quotes and anecdotes from other women about their experiences. References to other useful and informative books and websites are given, as well as some essential appendices covering warning signs of depression, biblical steps to dealing with marital conflict and information about the stages of grief.   Although only a short book, a lot is crammed in and it made me laugh and cry at various points. Well worth a read if you are facing a significant change in circumstances.
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Friday, September 27, 2013

Young Chicken Farmers


Young Chicken Farmers

Tips For Kids Raising Backyard Chickens

By Vickie Black

Published by Beaver's Pond Press, 2012

Although there are many, many informative and interesting books for adults about keeping hens, this is the first one I have seen specifically aimed at children aged 3 to 8 and I absolutely loved reading every page.

This is a great book for children to read alone or for adults to read along with younger children; it is fully illustrated in colour with photographs on every page to illustrate the points being made. It is a really attractive book and the information is explanatory and clear. It covers all the basics from preparing a suitable home to receive your chicks, watching them grow up, how to care for them in order to keep them healthy and happy and how to handle them without scaring them.

Sheer magic, and a great way to introduce children to the incredibly fun and rewarding world of keeping hens!
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Fix-It And Forget-It 5-Ingredient One-Dish Dinners

Fix-It And Forget-It 5- Ingredient One-Dish Dinners

By Phyllis Pellman Good

Published by Good Books/Open Road, 2007 and 2013


Yet another title from this eminently reliable and practical series of crock-pot cookbooks, this one looks at ways of making slow-cooking even simpler by using fewer ingredients and therefore being quicker to prepare.

It does involve often using items such as ready-made bottled sauces or tins of soup, so Caveat Emptor!

What's in this book? From a whole herby roast chicken, curried chicken, mac 'n cheese, pot roast, meat loaf, cranberry pork roast, saucy ribs to lasagne - loads of family favourites  - but the majority do include meat so this is not for the vegetarian or vegan cook.



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The Ultimate Jewish Cookbook!

The Artisan Jewish Deli  at Home

By Nick Zukin & Michael Zusman

Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing,

September 3rd, 2013


There are Jewish delicatessens throughout America and Europe, filled with enticing aromas and the promise of delicious food. This is a book giving a history of the traditional and modern Jewish deli, their owners and their patrons, as well as being a lavishly illustrated cookbook.

From knish to kreplach, kugel to kasha and kishke, detouring via latkes, tzimmes, Chinese broccoli, and so much more, this is a glorious culinary adventure encompassing the delights of Jewish delicatessen food drawn from cuisines across the world as well as traditional Jewish food.  I was delighted to find no fewer than  four very different Borscht recipes, many salad and dressing recipes as well as a whole chapter of breakfast ideas such as chocolate babka French toast, blintzes and fruit compotes, both sweet and sour cream cheese schmears as well as the traditional bagels, - this book just about has everything a cook could need to produce a truly delicious meal.

Whether you want to make absolutely everything yourself from scratch , including relishes, pickles and sauces or prefer to buy in some ready-made ingredients to save time, this book shows you how to make your own delicious Jewish deli food in your own home.  I may even take the plunge and have a go at making my own pastrami and some sourdough bagels….


Mouth-watering to read and much too fascinating to put down, this is another “must-have” book to add to my cookbook collection!
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Simply Delicious Amish Cooking

Simply Delicious Amish Cooking

Recipes and stories from the Amish of Sarasota, Florida

By Sherry Gore

Published by Zondervan, May 2013

I was sent a digital copy of this book to review, and I loved it so much that I bought a hard copy of the book for my cookbook collection! 

This is no simple cookbook. It has succinct yet thorough explanations of Plain doctrine, traditions and lifestyle, both  Mennonite and Amish, and the book is interspersed with nice black and white illustrations of Amish life in the Pinecraft community of Sarasota, Florida. There are extracts from the newspapers giving historical tidbits and contemporary information about the community's history and inhabitants, and blocks of lovely colour photos of the finished recipes.

I really like the clever and immensely practical design; the book is spiral bound so it will lie flat when in use, but has a wrap around cover so that when on a shelf, it has a printed spine. The recipes themselves are comprehensive, covering everything from bread rolls to desserts and drinks, with occasional jaw-dropping surprises such as recipes calling for alligator meat! 

The Gingerbread Waffles sound amazing and are definitely on my "To Cook" list, along with Grilled Lime Fish Fillets, Chocolate Covered Caramels with Sea Salt, Hummingbird Cake and many, many others, though I don't think I will be cooking alligator any time soon - not many alligators in the UK :-)




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The Secret Keeper

The Secret Keeper

By Beverley Lewis

Published by Bethany House, September 3rd, 2013


Jenny Burns has been fascinated by the Amish way of life since she was a young girl and she even struck up a friendship with an Amish girl named Marnie, with whom she has maintained a frequent correspondence.

When Jenny decided she definitely wanted to become Amish, it was to Marnie's community that she went, but she left on poor terms with her family - who have never understood her fascination or her desire to live a Plain life - and that was a decision which was to come back and haunt her.

Boarding with Rebecca and Samuel Lapp, she seems to settle quickly and joyously into Amish and community life although some tasks she finds very difficult to learn. Rebecca and Samuel's own daughter has left the community with her husband in favour of attending a Mennonite church instead and have been placed under the severest shunning by the strict Bishop Beiler, a shunning which is accepted by Samuel and apparently by Rebecca too....

Jenny discovers a secret which tests her loyalty to the Ordnung severely, and just as she is trying so hard to integrate into Amish life, several of the young folk in the community are testing their wings and secretly attending the Bible study hosted by Rebecca and Samuel's shunned daughter and son-in-law, threatening to leave the community and Amish life altogether.

Is the community of  Hickory Hollow going to be ripped apart as people are trying so hard to discern Gd's Will for their lives?

Some parts of the book irritated me a little, especially Jenny's occasional emotional and spiritual immaturity, but it is certainly a highly interesting and very readable depiction of the difficult task of becoming Amish.
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Woodbine Willie

Woodbine Willie

An Unsung Hero of World War One

By Bob Holman

Published by Lion Books, March 2013


This long overdue biography of the remarkable Anglican priest, Fr Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, makes for remarkable reading indeed. 

When the First World War broke out, Fr Geoffrey was quick to volunteer his services and was sent to the Western Front where he soon captured the hearts of his fellow soldiers. He was quite simply, one of them, and earned the nickname of Woodbine Willie for his work in distributing bibles, encouragement, spiritual advice and cigarettes wherever needed.  His courage was inspirational and legendary - he earned the Military Cross for his bravery under enemy fire as he attempted to get essential medical supplies and to rescue those injured, British and German alike.

After the war, he felt strongly that he was needed to minister amongst the poor and to campaign on their behalf to improve their life, becoming heavily involved in the Industrial Christian Fellowship and preaching and writing on a truly remarkable and punishing scale until his tragically early death. His books were extremely popular and bear witness to his faith and commitment to God and those whom he felt called to serve.

This is a truly fascinating book, painstakingly researched and pieced together to give an account of this wonderful priest whose life truly was an inspiration to so many and I am glad that his memory will live on as a result of this book. 



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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Paris To The Pyrenees

Paris to the Pyrenees:

A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James

By David Downie

Published by Pegasus Books, April 2013


David Downie's journey is something of a misnomer; he is not religious in any conventional or even unconventional sense, and sets out on his journey as much for health reasons as anything else.  He does learn a lot about himself, the pilgrim route and some of the people he encounters, however.

So what can I say about this journey? He makes a brief stop at Paris then he starts walking in earnest at Vezelay before following the ancient pilgrim trail  and Roman roads across France down towards the Pyrenees, where he and his wife Alison finally call a halt, deciding the leave the Spanish leg of the path to St James at Santiago de Compostela for another time.

He has an uneasy relationship with religion and with pilgrims and his attitude is mostly that of a respectful cynic. The book is well-written and it reads well, yet I have to say that it just did not "grab" me and I found it rather sad to read the description of the deterioration of Christian religious belief in France.


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An Unholy Communion


An Unholy Communion by Donna Fletcher Crow

The Monastery Murders series

Published by Lion, March 2013

Felicity is an Anglican Ordinand, an ex-pat American engaged to a priest who teaches at a theological college. When she attends the early sunrise celebration of the Ascension at the Community of the Transfiguration, she is shocked beyond measure when a body lands at her feet in an exact replay of the very dream which had woken her that morning.

What could have driven Hwyl Pendry, a priest from St David’s parish in Whitchurch, West Wales, to plunge to his death from the Pusey tower? And what is the significance of the paper depicting a mysterious symbol which was in his hand as he fell? Does it have a connection to his work as a Deliverance Minister in his diocese?

When her fiance has to step in to lead an ecumenical pilgrimage for young people across Wales, Felicity goes with him, but the pilgrimage is dogged with problems, accidents and strange events from the very beginning and the mysterious symbol seems to be cropping up over and over again. Are dark forces at work or is it merely someone of ill will who is intent on making their lives difficult, and why? Fr Antony’s knowledge and experience of deliverance ministry is a perfect counterpoint to Felicity’s background in history and archaeology and they both need to use all their expertise and ingenuity to escape with their lives….

This is a clever religious thriller with an unusual flavour indeed. I was delighted to see so much of my beloved native Welsh history and religious information woven into the story as we follow the pilgrims on their journey, taking in places I know well and love. Prayers and religious services described reverently and the pilgrims’ arrival at the shrine of Our Lady of Penrhys and then onwards to St David’s in Pembrokeshire, taking in the Welsh chapel revival en route made for an absorbing and enjoyable read.

The story itself is atmospheric and depicts the wholly unpredictable and changeable Welsh weather vividly as well as some of the places where the veil between the worlds is very thin indeed, giving me goosebumps several times.

Any book which contains a definition of paraments in the glossary at the front of the book is going to be a winner in my estimation :-)



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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Peregrine Harker & The Black Death

Peregrine Harker & The Black Death

By Luke Hollands

Published by Sparkling Books Ltd, June 2013

This is an ideal book for readers aged "tweens" and up; it is filled with mystery, action, adventure, thrills, spills and dire peril - and not too long either, clocking in at 149 pages in the epub format.

Written in the style of a "penny dreadful" and incorporating a satisfying amount of historical detail about the early twentieth century Europe in the process, we meet the brave young detective Peregrine Harker who investigates some mysterious deaths and quickly finds that learning too much about The Brotherhood of the Black Death carries risks and his own life is now in mortal peril........

This book races along at breakneck speed, carrying the reader gasping and breathless to the highly satisfying conclusion. A fun children's book, sure to be popular with the majority of youngsters.
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Monday, September 16, 2013

One Doctor

One Doctor

Close Calls, Cold Cases And The Mysteries Of Medicine

By Brendan Reilly, M.D.

Published by Atria Books, September 3rd, 2013



The thought processes and decisions made by doctors when evaluating, diagnosing and treating their patients have always fascinated me and I was thoroughly intrigued by the title of this book.

It did not disappoint me. Dr Brendan Reilly is one of a rare breed of doctors who is able to admit that yes, he has made mistakes, some serious, yes they did sometimes have major consequences and that yes, he has learned from them. He takes us inside his thoughts as he goes about his busy ward rounds, making considered decisions and split-second decisions alike, showing the reader why he makes both, what it is really like to be working long stretches without sleep, how one copes, how one stays on top of the frenetic and frantic workload and how he personally deals with the sadness and tragedy that affects patients and families when life-threatening diagnoses affect them.

His thoughts on the way that technology has permeated the entire health care system are very well worth reading. New equipment is adopted and wholeheartedly embraced often without due consideration or research, which  means that it is very easy for doctors to become over-reliant on diagnostic testing regardless of the fallibility in producing both  false positives and false negatives; mammograms are a case in point where up to 25% of breast cancers are not diagnosed by routine yearly mammograms. Just how far can or should medicine go with regards to screening and treating people? Could there - or should there -  be a cut-off point?

Some of his patients have affected the way he works for many, many years after their lives and deaths and he is not afraid to discuss the importance of families being aware of their loved ones' wishes regarding end of life care and catastrophic medical emergency care. None of us likes to think that we might be stricken with a severe accident or illness at a young age, but to ignore the possibility will not make it go away. His own decisions regarding the medical care of his ailing elderly parents are made with his personal knowledge and experiences as a doctor balanced with his own thoughts, feelings and needs as their son.

This is one of the most absorbing books I have read this year and I simply could not put it down.  Well worth the time spent reading it and I will certainly be purchasing a hard copy to keep on my bookcase.


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A Surprise For Lily

 A Surprise For Lily

By Mary Ann Kinsinger & Suzanne Woods Fisher

Published by Revell, September 1st, 2013


This is the fourth book in the series documenting the life of Lily Lapp and her Amish family. We meet Lily being excited about starting back to school, but then her life is turned upside down by the sudden death of her paternal grandfather and the events surrounding his funeral.

Her new teacher, Teacher Judith, is neither a good disciplinarian nor a good English teacher and eventually Lily's Mamm is co-opted by the school board to teach the English lessons at their schoolhouse, much to Lily's chagrin and dismay. Her worries about how well her Mamm will cope prove quite unnecessary and Rachel Lapp shows herself more than capable of the task of controlling the rambunctious boys with humour.

Lily and her younger brothers continue to have many adventures and escapades, including acquiring a new dog and a new buggy horse and Lily learns many lessons about life and what is important, especially when her beloved cousin moves away to a new home and her friend Beth's family home burns down.......

Lily's innocence is sweet and touching, and the surprise she gets at the end made me laugh out loud. These books celebrate the  innocence of childhood and Lily's well-founded trust in her beloved parents to care for their family and to always do what is right. A satisfying read!



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Atchison Blue


Atchison Blue:

A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home, and a Living Faith

By Judith Valente

Published by  Sorin Books/Ave Maria Press, September 9th, 2013


Judith Valente first visited the Mount St Scholastica monastery in Atchison, Kansas as a tutor who was supposed to be teaching a retreat to help other  busy professionals to live a more contemplative life.  It did not work out quite as she intended; she found that in her increasingly frantic life, she was actually missing the point of a spiritual life and that she too needed to be entering into periods of stillness with God.

Captivated by this revelatory experience and what she had learned from her interactions with the Sisters during her visit, she found herself drawn back at regular intervals to recharge her spiritual batteries and to learn more from and about the Sisters, sharing in their daily life, their sorrows, their joys, feasts and fasts. She discovers how they view the whole gamut of life, caring for the infirm, death and dying, and in so doing, learns to overcome her own deep-rooted fears of growing older.

Judith Valente has produced a great book, thoughtful, thought-provoking and showing how desperately important the life of those who devote themselves to God is to the rest of the world, whether the world perceives it that way or not. This will have a well-deserved place on my shelf right next to Kathleen Norris' "The Cloister Walk".

My only caveat is that I did find myself wondering just how her stepchildren may feel about featuring so prominently in the book; their relationship with Valente is not always peaceful and harmonious and she does comment quite frankly on how they made her feel on occasions......


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Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Rules Of Acting

The Rules Of Acting

By Michael Simkins

Published by Ebury Press, July 2013


I loved Michael Simkins' "Fatty Batter" which dealt with his lifelong obsession with the game of cricket, but this deals with his other life passion, acting.  I fully expected to enjoy this book, but I was not prepared to have my mind well and truly boggled!

There are very few books which have made me giggle, snigger or laugh hysterically on almost every page, but this is one of them. Covering the whole gamut of acting experiences, from auditions (how to prepare and dress for them) to wrap parties, this covers just about everything you could ever want to know about acting and actors, including some things perhaps one would prefer not to know. I shall just mutter darkly "Gloucester Old Spot pigs" and move quickly on :-)

For any aspiring actor, this should be compulsory reading; for those of us who have ever wondered how actors learn their lines, deal with stage fright or sex scenes, get into and survive drama school, find an agent and meet seriously famous people, every type of acting from panto to fringe, radio rep to audio books and how they survive the dreaded "resting" periods when no work offers itself - this book deals with it all........and more.

Buy it!



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Why I Started A Small School

 Why I Started A Small School

A nurturing, human scale approach to education and parenting

By Rosalyn Spencer

Published by Matador, March 2013



This is a slim yet important book which documents the story of one family's move away from the state education system in Britain in favour of setting up a small school which aimed to cater for the actual needs of the children it served, not merely serving the needs of the educational system and the staff.

Rosalyn Spencer was horrified when her son started to struggle at school, especially with reading; her instinct and her own background in education and childcare convinced her that her son was dyslexic but this was pooh-poohed by the school and the education system, causing her son to fall further and further behind.  Taking her courage in both hands and with the full support of her family and friends as well as the Human Scale Education group, she set  up her own small school and watched the children attending it thrive and succeed in life.

An enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading the second book in due course.
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Monday, September 09, 2013

Twice Loved

Twice Loved

By Wanda E. Brunstetter

Published by Barbour Books, September 1st, 2013

This is a sweet, touching and very memorable Christmas novella by Wanda Brunstetter, set in America in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.  Bev Winter is a widow - with a young daughter, Amy - and she is working and struggling to make ends meet at a job where she is being inappropriately pursued by her boss.

Her prayers are answered when she finds a satisfying new job at a secondhand toy store named Twice Loved, owned by Dan Fisher, a man who is mourning the loss of his beloved young wife and is himself currently being pursued by an attractive woman who does not share his strongly held Christian beliefs.

In time, Bev learns both to gracefully accept help when it is offered and to ask for help when needed and she and Amy, together with Dan, learn to open their hearts to joy, laughter and love once more.

The design of this book is a feast for the eyes, with decorative borders and curlicues framing each page of text; authentic recipes and a Christmas craft at the end make this a highly attractive volume and a lovely gift idea.


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A Big Year For Lily

 A Big Year For Lily

By Mary Ann Kinsinger & Suzanne Woods Fisher

Published by Revell, July 2013


This series just keeps on getting better and better! This is the third book about Lily Lapp and her family as they continue to settle into their new community.

Lily celebrates her tenth birthday during this book and acquires "young lady" dresses and a new seat at church as a result, but there are some nasty events too.

Poor Lily still has to contend with Aaron Yoder, all round troublemaker and her bete-noir; what is worse is that her dear cousin and best friend seems to have developed a hopeless crush on Aaron which puts a strain on their friendship.

What is worse, someone at school is maliciously causing serious trouble for Lily and trying to frame her as a liar and a thief - will anyone believe that Lily is innocent?  Help comes from an unlikely source to reveal the truth and the identity of the mischief-maker, and events are settled in an appropriate and satisfying Amish fashion, though I must admit to feeling highly indignant on Lily's behalf and cherishing a secret  hope that when the perpetrator grows up, gets married and raises a family,  that the offspring will cause sleepless nights and heartache comparable to what poor Lily and her parents endured.........


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Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Antiques Magpie

 The Antiques Magpie:

A Fascinating Compendium of Absorbing History, Stories, Facts and Anecdotes from the World of Antiques

By Marc Allum

Published by Icon Books, September 5th, 2013


Along with probably most of the population of Britain, a programme called "The Antiques Roadshow" permeates the background of my life. It has been running for a staggering 36 seasons and has unearthed hidden treasures which people have had in their homes, some suspecting their items may be of some value, others totally unaware that the china bowl they used for their dog's food was actually incredibly rare and of enormous value. I always wondered how on earth one became an antiques expert but never found out the answer; this did not deter me from watching the show and wondering how to tell if things were of value. 

Now, Marc Allum, one of the show's resident experts and an ex-auctioneer himself, has written an informative and very funny guide to collecting antiques which covers the basics such as bidding for items at auctions and an A-Z directory of knowledge about art styles, famous artists, types of Greek urns, radioactive watch dials, famous people's body parts, ecclesiastical relics, poisonous pigments, different types of plastics and metals, art forgeries and their forgers, collecting cereal packet toys, the language of flowers, famous underwear and so much more. 

I read the book straight through from cover to cover and entertained my family by reading huge chunks of it out loud, but it can also be used as a browsing book as each entry is only a few pages long at most. A delight of a book!



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Thursday, September 05, 2013

Love Still Stands

Love Still Stands

By Kelly Irvin

Published by Harvest House Publishers, September 1st, 2013


Before I picked this book up, I was wondering if I was starting to get ever so slightly Amished-out. I have read a lot of Amish themed books in a comparatively short space of time, and there are only so many plot /character variations, aren't there?

Or so I thought, and I am delighted to admit I was  WRONG!

Bethel Graber is recovering from a serious accident, has to use crutches and needs to have extensive physical therapy in order to make a full recovery. Will needing to wear jogging pants and trainers for these sessions be acceptable to the community and the new Bishop - who just happens to be related to her?

And what will happen when she finds herself growing close to those non-Amish  she meets at the therapy sessions, because they at least do truly understand how she feels about her physical limitations and problems? Bethel soon has both Amish and non-Amish admirers and will undoubtedly have to make some hard decisions about where her priorities and heart truly lie....... but this is just one of her concerns.

The Amish are humans with the same emotions and thoughts, struggles and tribulations as the rest of us, and in this story, Kelly Irvin paints a poignant and crystal-clear portrait of a new Amish community struggling to find their feet socially and physically in a new location where the populace is suspicious of them to say the very least. Acts of hostility are perpetrated against them by adults and youngsters alike, and they have to face these by following their pacifist beliefs and their trust in God's protection.

Bethel's sister Leah is struggling to cope with the care of her many young children and when Leah finds she is pregnant again, she feels she simply cannot cope and really does not want to be pregnant again - an admission which causes general concern and amazement, and great hurt to her husband Luke, who has been elected the community's new Bishop. Leah goes back to her parents and then steadfastly refuses to return to her husband and their new home. Can Bethel manage to get Leah the professional help and support she so desperately needs in order to come to terms with her new life and be reunited with her husband?

All too often the Amish are painted as chocolate-box perfect people, immune to the problems which plague the modern family and it is extremely refreshing to see them being honestly portrayed as  real people with very similar problems, worries and stresses to those of many other modern families across the world.
 They are very likable characters with whom it is easy to feel a real connection and sympathy and I thoroughly enjoyed this book which had a believable and satisfying ending with ample possibilities for a sequel.


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Horace And Me


Horace And Me:

Life Lessons From An Ancient Poet

By Harry Eyres

Published by Bloomsbury, July 2013.



 Horace, the quintessentially Roman poet who wrote so beautifully about life and was quoted so extensively until relatively recent times, may nowadays be unknown to almost everyone who has not studied Roman literature. What on earth might Horace, writing over two thousand years ago, have to say which is of any use or importance to us now?

Born the son of a freed slave, Horace rose to fame for his writings and had friendships which gave him political influence at the highest level, yet he was always very  open about his humble background and was anxious to avoid compromising his values and principles. Despite one of his most famous lines "Dulce et decorum est prop patria mori"  being savaged by Wilfred Owens' famous war poem, Horace is still surprisingly relevant to the modern world.

Harry Eyres has freshly translated Horace's works in what he self-deprecatingly calls a version rather than a word for word translation, and then provided an insightful and very thoughtful  running commentary combining autobiographical anecdotes, extensive discussion and references to ancient and modern authors based around a variety of thematic chapters covering all the important topics of life:  freedom (emotional, social and political), wine, entertainment, religion and morality, friendship, love , family and much more.

 This is an immensely clever and  eminently accessible book which I can heartily recommend!


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