27 August 2010

Historical/Bibliotherapy Review



Courting Morrow Little

By Laura Frantz, Revell, 2010


This is Ms. Frantz's second book, her debut being the spectacular "The Frontiersman's Daughter". Laura did an interview about CML on this blog in early June. Laura says maybe this books needs to be called the hospital book, because so many of us have read it during very difficult times, sometimes toting it to the hospital.


The best review out there is Michelle Sutton's posted at:


I am going to admit that I read this book during one of the most difficult times in my life. My mother had just returned to Michigan and was to begin chemotherapy, after having a horrendous surgery (whipple) in early winter. She died within 19 days of returning home. So, unfortunately, I will always associate this lovely book with that time. However, a bibliotherapy factor in this book was helpful to me:

SPOILER ALERT There were several deaths, one being very significant but was hinted at early on and throughout so that it was expected. And Laura was kind enough to warn me about the deaths since I had just finished another book where the bibliotherapy factor was grief/mourning issues (wonderful book by fellow Virginian Gina Holmes, reviewed here last week). The main loss was handled very well and in a meaningful and realistic manner.


My own WIP is frontier colonial set in Virginia and Kentucky but my characters are patriots whereas CML presents a lesser-explored side of the American Revolution – those people who were more sympathetic to the British and to those native Americans who chose to side with them. It takes one talented writer to make this 18th century story world patriot feel sympathetic to the characters' plights in CML, but Laura Frantz accomplished that!


This had an extremely satisfying ending – probably the best I have read over the past year since The Frontiersman's Daughter came out. All the loose ends were tied up in a way that made sense. Ms. Frantz kept this story moving through the middle all the way to the end. There was no sagging middle here yet she did give breaks from the action, also.


I expect this book will be nominated for awards as The Frontiersman's Daughter was, also. Congrats Laura!



Leave a comment on this blog or on any of my blogs since I posted the interview with Laura and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of both Courting Morrow Long and also Rita Gerlach's Surrender the Wind, which I will be reviewing in September. A late happy birthday to Rita (yesterday was her birthday)!!








14 August 2010

Under General Washington’s Canopy

Little did I know that right here in Yorktown, Virginia, one can stand right under General George Washington's dining canopy (albeit under glass)! My husband and I did that this afternoon at the National Parks Yorktown Battlefield museum. They also have a sleeping canopy that was his and had been kept the step-grandson George and Martha Washington helped raise (George Washington Parke Custis) after his father died from camp fever contracted during the Yorktown siege.

We have lived here over a decade and I could not believe that I did not know about this! We have been to the Battlefield a number of times, but only twice inside and then briefly. They have a museum that showcases the Washington canopies and also a replica of the interior of a French ship, which was also really cool. The Fifes and Drums of Yorktown entertain here and the annual celebration of the Victory at Yorktown is celebrated at the Battlefield in October. We were treated to a guided tour by a very entertaining park ranger and learned a number of things that surprised us. For the first time in British history, Cornwallis and his army were forced to depart without the honors of war (apparently they had to normally play a song chosen by the victors and also got to carry their flag as they marched out). Cornwallis had visited this humiliation on Charleston previously and then took hostage 5000 soldiers who were treated as civilians and imprisoned on boats (only 400 or so survived this to the end of the war). Benjamin Lincoln, taken hostage and exchanged, had pledged to not take up arms against the British again. He was with Washington at the surrender and it was he who was given Cornwallis' sword after Washington indicated that he did not wish to accept it. Given all the various and sundry things that happened to bring the victory about, it seems only providential that the Americans were victorious at Yorktown.

I wonder how many other people who live in Yorktown don't know about the treasures we have at the Battlefield?

13 August 2010

Contemporary Book Review – Bibliotherapy (Cancer)

Crossing Oceans

By Gina Holmes

Published 2010 by Tyndale


This book is going to be a classic not only for use in bibliotherapy with cancer patients' families but because of the literary quality of Ms. Holmes' writing. The book is written in first person, which is extremely effective. Jenny is a young woman with terminal cancer who must come home to North Carolina and begin the transition for her daughter to a life after she is gone. Jenny has more than a few significant issues to resolve. For those who scoff at the idea of someone not knowing he had a child, I actually had a psychotherapy case like this where the father had never met his young daughter and I had the privilege of helping them start the process of getting to know each other. You will be laughing out loud at the very funny Jenny even as you are sad to know she is dying and will be getting much worse very soon. My own mother had cancer when I was twelve, but survived. She contracted cancer again last year and passed away, rather suddenly as we were told she was to begin chemotherapy, and died in June. I am so glad I read this book prior to my mom getting so very ill so fast at the end. Although I thought I had dealt with what cancer means, I really had not because my mother recovered the first time. Ms. Holmes takes you through the nitty gritty of end stage cancer for which I am grateful. This is an excellent bibliotherapy book for those dealing with cancer in their family, particularly terminal cancer. There is one group I would caution against reading this until they are stable – persons who are diagnosed with major depression. While this is an excellent read, well written, and witty, it is dealing with a very serious subject and SPOILER ALERT while it may not surprise most readers, there is no miraculous cure at the end and thus is not going to give a feel good ending and could trigger further depressed mood. For most other clients, this would be a good read to help process grief.

05 August 2010

Book Review - Suspense

Protector's Honor by Kit Wilkinson, Love Inspired Suspense, Steeple Hill, 2009.


I met Kit when she got our local Tidewater writers group started up. She is the ACFW Mid-Atlantic Coordinator and is based in Richmond. There is a lot more to Kit than meets the eye just like the female protagonist in her story.

Kit got both her main characters "just right". Rory is a wonderful balance of military and police know-how combined with an appropriate amount of tenderness. Tabitha, an attorney, is blessedly consistent throughout the story although she does have her story and spiritual arcs going on. Don't you just hate it when you read a book through and the heroine seems to flip-flop and change around so much that you just don't "get" her? That will not happen with this book. Protector's Honor has a great story line with lots of twists and turns without being mind-boggling. I stopped most reading suspense and mystery books a while back because I could not stand the convoluted plots. Most of us are so busy managing our lives and our families that we don't want to have to totally concentrate on a book just to understand what the heck is happening. A mother of school-age kids could read this book during kiddy wait time. I finished mine off at Tae Kwan Do last week. The Love Inspired Book line has stories that fit into even a medium sized purse, which is nice for an on-the-go read.


Bibliotherapy factor SPOILER ALERT:

Tabitha was traumatized by a very close family friend. Why I love this as a bibliotherapy factor: Many times it is not a stranger who sexually assaults but someone who is well known to the survivor. There are nuances that Kit skillfully weaves (forgive my cliché, but it is appropriate here!) into the characterization and plot. We have a professional woman, in law, who has to get on with her life after this. Kit Wilkinson did a wonderful job of showing a character doing that without trivializing or patronizing those who have survived such an ordeal. Kudos Kit!

04 August 2010

ACFW Conference

I will be a first-timer at the mid-September conference for the American Christian Fiction Writers. I am so excited!! ACFW has been offering an online course to all the newbies, which has been interesting. This conference is highly recommended for anyone serious about seeking publication in Christian fiction. This year the event is being held in Indianapolis at the Hyatt, downtown. The Early Bird session is being done by James Scott Bell, who has also been the darling of Writers Digest online courses. His book, Plot and Structure (Write Great Fiction series), is a "must read" for fiction writers.

It is not too late to register! Check it out at:

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