Book Reviews

by Anna Godbersen
This is a great series of stories.  I found the first one on Montanalibrary2go and told Kris about it.  She listened to them all and really liked them so I went and finished listening to them too.  Now, I have my life back, but what exciting stories.  I love the beautiful dresses on the covers and am very familiar with the word 'decolletage' which was used multiple times in the description of the gowns fabrics and cut of the stylish clothes worn by the fashionable people of New York.  The women in this book are strong willed but are bound by propriety, protocol, etiquette and upper class society rules.  This book is written in much of the same feel as a real classic but modern in ways.  Love scenes in this book are evident but not embarrassingly descriptive.  The first book was a little reminiscent of Titanic the movie in that the young woman was being forced to marry to save the family from financial ruin.  Escaping an unwanted fate arranged by her mother, word in the society papers proclaims her unfortunate drowning after being thrown from a carriage into the Hudson River only days before her wedding.  The story branches out into the lives four very different women who find themselves crossing paths in the high society of New York aristocracy.  There is a very little use of some sacred names but no harsh swearing is evident in this book. I give this series 5 stars.

Flavia de Luce series
Kris also directed my attention to this series of fabulous books to listen to on Montanalibrary2go.  Appropriate for listeners and readers of all ages.  You'll be amazed and enchanted with the intelligence, quick wit and ingenuity of this 11 year old chemistry fanatic.  A mind mature at times beyond her years yet innocently gullible she remains at times a child and seen not heard able to absorb details to piece together crimes.  The inner workings of her mind are delightful and entertaining.  I'd give this series 5 stars.

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
This book is about a girl named Elizabeth Ann.  Her parents die when she is a baby and the family members have to take care of her.  While there are several relations that would be happy to bring her up two Aunts jump on the opportunity before any of the others can.  The Aunts would rather die than to see the child go to relatives that live on a farm in Vermont.  The Aunts take good care of Elizabeth Ann, too good of care.  So much so that she is not able to do things for herself.  The Aunts have control of everything she does, how she spends her time, walking her to school and back everyday, dressing and undressing etc.  The Aunt who is most compassionate shields her from dangers but in the process teaches her to fear dogs.  Doting on Elizabeth Ann so much that the Doctor is called in for no reason many times.  One of the Aunts is taken sick and so Elizabeth Ann won't get sick too, the Aunts are forced to let the other family members take her in.  She ends up in the home of the relatives the Aunts worked so hard to keep her away from.  But there she discovers that she can do many things on her own, even solving her own problems and thinking for herself. This book reminds me of Anne of Green Gables and The Little House books.  Great for young girls and parents to read too.  The Author was an educational reformer and social activist and in the book introduce the Montessori method (is an approach to educating children based on the research and experiences of Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori (1870–1952). The Method arose in the process of her experimental observation of young children given freedom in an environment, leading her to believe by 1907 that she had discovered "the child's true normal nature.") you may have heard of it. Ask me about my favorite part of the book. Sharon S.

The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
This was a book recommended to me from someone who was actually working as a nanny.  The book takes place in the early 1960's in Jackson, Mississippi.  A very interesting time during our country's history.  Southern ladies still had maids to take care of their houses and children.  A nonconforming young woman of the community with ambitions to be a writer takes on the dangerous job of writing a collection of stories from the maids who serve some of the ladies in her town.  Some of whom are her close friends and family.  There is a part of the book that was offensive to me.  So beware!
I didn't read this book but listened to it while I took care of my house and seemed quite productive when the maids describe the work they undertook.  It reminded me of 'Driving Miss Daisy", "Fried Green Tomatoes" style, probably more the later because of the nasty part.  I understand there will be a movie made. I have to say I liked this book. (3 1/2 Stars because of the bad part).
Sharon S.

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