Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A to Z Challenge

Friend Laurie challenged me to accept a challenge and I've accepted.  Could this be sort of like a duel where she slaps me across the face with a white glove?  Or does the slap bring me to my senses?  I may think that by mid month because for the month of April I am accepting the A to Z challenge of blogging every day except Sundays and each day will feature a letter of the alphabet...in order.  The suggestion was to shape the blog posts around a theme but since I signed up so late I am not going to theme my posts.  Unless it turns out that way, but I don't think so.  It's more important for me to come to a day and take what's there.

There are over 1,000 people doing this so there are lots of choices on which other blogs to read if you care to wander around the site.

So, while the posts may not look much different (rules say they don't have to but they are to follow the alphabet - think Sue Grafton's novels) there will be a lot more of them! And I'll try harder to be eloquent(!!)

Monday, March 28, 2016

News of the World

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

     Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd is an aging itinerant reader of the news of the world.  He travels throughout northern Texas stopping in small towns  and reads from newspapers, giving his listeners a look at a world they wouldn’t dream of.   At one of his stops he is asked to take a young girl, recently rescued from the Kiowa by the U.S. Army, back to her relatives near San Antonio, a journey of nearly 400 miles. For his trouble he is given $50 in silver coin.
     Johanna was six years old when she was taken and she is just ten now and terrified to be taken from the only life she really remembers. She has forgotten her first life, her language, her culture, her family.  Of course she tries to escape.
     Through rough country and small towns, rougher people and unsettled Indian territory,  the two travel and slowly open up to each other.  Johanna doesn’t know what is destined to happen to her at the journey’s end and she begins to trust the Captain, calling him Grandfather in her Kiowa language. 
     The journey is hard and the author shows us this but doesn’t dwell on it like it’s the only thing in the story.  It’s the relationship building between the Captain and Johanna that’s important, a young growing thing they both begin to treasure.
     When they reach Johanna’s relatives the Captain has to make some hard decisions.  Does he leave Johanna, an innocent child torn from two worlds or does he not?  Clearly, at 72 years of age this isn’t easy.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Sister of Mine

Sister of Mine by Sabra Waldfogel

       We don’t always think of Jews as being slave holders in the South but if a planter had cotton they couldn’t do it without slaves.  As the only Jewish planter and thus slave owner in Georgia, Mordecai  Mannheim had a lot to protect.  Among these things, his daughter Adelaide.
      For her birthday as a child, Adelaide was given Rachel, a slave.  The two grew up together, Adelaide taught Rachel to read and write, they became friends and confidants.  But Rachel must always be conscious of her place.  When a grown Adelaide is paired with one of the few Jewish suitors in the state, it is because of Rachel’s treatment by him that Adelaide breaks off the engagement and this breaking of the engagement  is a scandal and a mark on Adelaide’s life for years.
      When Mordecai discovers Henry Kaltenbach, a dry goods merchant, he brings him home and sets him down in front of Adelaide.  Both Adelaide and Henry know what is meant by this introduction and they comply and marry. 
      Henry wants to make his fortune as a cotton planter and enlists the aide of Adelaide's father. But Henry also grapples constantly with the fact the Jews were held slave in Egypt and here he is, a slave owner himself, for the only purpose of making his fortune.  He is a kind, fair, gentle man and this torments him.
      When the Civil War comes to the family, there are real choices to be made, family secrets revealed, life decisions to be made.  And when deep inside the war a company of Union soldiers happens on the Georgia plantation to find a Union flag flying from the roof, the story all comes together.
      There are thousands of books about the Civil War and finding something different can be difficult but this author did bring things I didn’t think of and wrapped her story around them.  It was a refreshing take.