Monday, February 27, 2012

A Biography in Miniature...

"The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb" by Melanie Benjamin was a recent pick of my book club.  I will confess to not realizing that Mrs. Tom Thumb was a real person so I was quite surprised when I started the book and discovered that it was a fictional account of the life of the real Lavinia Warren a.k.a Mrs. Tom Thumb.

Lavinia was born a normal size baby but stopped growing as a toddler.  She developed normally other than height so became a perfectly proportional woman who was only two feet tall.  After excelling at school she becomes a teacher but yearns to see the world.  When she is offered the opportunity of performing as part of a riverboat show she leaps at the chance.

The riverboat captain turned out to be less than scrupulous and after she escapes his clutches she places herself in the notice of the famous P. T. Barnum.  She joins his American Museum and soon travels the world as part of his exhibition.

The story was fascinating and entertaining.  It is interesting to get the perspective of someone whose viewpoint is only two feet above the ground.  Benjamin filled the novel with historical references and rich detail.  It offers a glimpse of what the world was like in the mid nineteenth century.  Definitely and interesting read.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Redemption at Sea

The novel "In Search of a Soul", by Dannie C. Hill is a beautiful story about the redemptive powers of love.  The prose is poetic, rich with detail and paints a vivid portrait of life at sea.

Douglas is an ex Navy Seal dealing with blocked memories from a violent death he was responsible for in the middle-east.  He spends his days sailing around the world in search of an escape from his past.

He finds a young girl adrift at sea and rescues her.  As he slowly nurses her back to health both he and the girl let their natural defenses down and begin to share their stories.  She helps him deal with the hidden memories and get past them. When she is suddenly taken from him he is forced to fight his demons and take action to get her back.

This is a compelling story that will touch your heart.  For this non-sailor, some of the sailing lingo was a bit hard to understand, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the novel.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Thriller with a Twist

                             Black Antler by Mark De Binder is a thriller with a supernatural twist.  It is the sequel to Serial Terror which I have not read.  Starting with the sequel was not a problem as there was enough information provided to determine the relationships and prior events.

Chase Benton has established a team of talented people to track down and eliminate serial killers.  Among the team members are psychics and shamans who take the story to another plane.
This time the team is up against a serial killer who is targeting one of the oldest families in New England.  They quickly discover that it is the result of a curse placed on the family over 200 years ago and that the killer is not of this world.  Black Antler is a spirit and a shape shifter.
Together they combine their skills to track Black Antler down and fight him on multiple levels so that they can break the curse and send him back to the spirit underworld.
I enjoyed this novel and it's unique spin on the serial killer theme.  Some of the relationship development amongst the team members seemed a bit superfluous and didn't really add to the story.  Overall it's worth the read.