Saturday, November 12, 2011

Review: Lilies in Moonlight by Allison Pittman

My rating: 4.5 stars!
It's the 1920's, and Lily Margolis is what people call "that kind of girl." With her bobbed hair and forward ways, she fits the term "flapper" to a tee. Translation for us in the 21st century: She's a major flirt and party crasher. ;) 

It's Lily's forward and modern ways that land her in the Burnside's flowerbed with a hangover and a sprained ankle. Cullen Burnside disapproves and wants nothing to do with Lily, but his dementia-afflicted mother, Betty Ruth, takes an immediate liking to the modern girl and wants Lily to stay on until her ankle heals. Cullen goes along with the idea since Lily is an amusing distraction for the confused Betty Ruth, temporary though it may be. Cullen is all too aware, and painfully so, of how temporary and fragile Betty Ruth's mind and memories are.

Lilies in Moonlight is really a unique and surprising story. Initially I had trouble getting pulled in as Lily's flirtatious attitude didn't amuse me at all; however after several chapters the plot really got going and I suddenly found myself quite hooked!

At times it reminded me ever so slightly of Beauty and the Beast... Cullen's scarred face and the way people look (or don't look) at him is heart-breaking, you just can't help but feel sorry for him. Then there's his mother: she can't see his scars through her clouded mind, doesn't even realize he went to war. Though Cullen is 30 years old and is running his late fathers giant corporation, his mother still sees him as a young boy, late to school or perhaps with homework that needs finishing.

Lily doesn't let the scars affect the way she sees Cullen, but she's just a temporary guest, soon to be gone; it's what the circumstances demand. If Cullen didn't want her to leave, it wouldn't matter, and even if Lily herself didn't want to leave, it still wouldn't matter. It's not up to either one of them...

This is really a gorgeous and complex story; there's so much more to it than what I've written, but I don't want to give too much away. I highly recommend Lilies in Moonlight, I very much enjoyed it and was sorry to see it end. This one is a keeper! It's the first book by Allison Pittman that I've read, and now I'm definitely interested in finding out what other books she has available.
So, bottom line: Lilies in Moonlight, check it out, you won't be sorry! 

My rating: 4.5 stars! 
(I received this book courtesy of Waterbrook Multonomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, a positive review was not required.) 

If you're interested in the book, here is an excerpt from chapter one:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review: The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund

My rating: 4 stars!
Priscilla has felt the call to mission work for years, and the pull was only strengthened when she learned of her infertility. Determined to never marry because of her disgraceful state, she applies to the Missions Board to fulfill her missions call with work overseas in India.

She learns of the board's rejection to her application just as Eli Ernest comes into town seeking support for his start-up mission in Oregon territory, ministering to the Nez Perce tribe. But the board has denied Eli’s application as well. The reason for both denials: Unmarried missionaries are no longer being sent out.

Both yearning to fulfill God’s call to the mission field, Eli and Priscilla enter into a marriage of convenience and in name only. The mission board readily accepts them, and they set off on the treacherous 7 month journey to Oregon territory to start up the mission. It’s an unheard of trip for a lady, and if they succeed Priscilla will become the first white woman to ever cross the continental divide.

Covered Wagons were used for part of the journey.

The Doctor’s Lady is an entertaining and thoughtful look at traveling across the country in the early 19th century. It’s much more than just the average historical fiction, it really pulled me in and brought the experience to life.

Upon reaching the end of the book and reading the author’s note, I was surprised to learn that this book was actually inspired by the lives of real-life Narcissa and Marcus Whitman. Some of the basic outline for the story is taken from Narcissa’s personal diaries; learning this brought the story to life even more for me. The things these people endured to fulfill God’s call are truly inspiring.

I very much recommend The Doctor’s Lady, especially to fans of historical fiction. It’s a wonderful glimpse into the life and hardship that people endured, and a great example of never giving up your dreams or calling, no matter what the circumstances may be.

My rating: 4 stars
(I received this book courtesy of Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, a positive review was not required.)