Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Thistle and Twigg by Mary Saums

Jane Thistle is a widow who has come to Tullulah, Alabama looking for a home. She has no idea what she will find. Her new best friend Phoebe Twigg is also a widow, who has lived in Tullulah all her life. Both ladies stumble across a dead body on a walk in the woods behind Jane’s house. It seems that someone is threatening Jane’s neighbor who is a recluse. He cares more about the land than the inhabitants. Then things get worse when a firebomb goes off in Phoebe’s kitchen. Jane and Phoebe are determined to figure out what is going on and so partner together to work on it.

Mary Saums has written wonderful characters in this book. Now even though the town of Tullulah does not exist, it is a wonderful place to be and live in. There is a lot of history and you get to see it through the lives of the people in the town. It is rather remarkable how Ms. Saums can weave the story and pull you into it. It is fun to learn about other cultures and just the way she presents them on the page.

Jane and Phoebe are two wonderful women. They are at times complete opposites from each other. Jane, who is the most recent widow of the two, is working on getting out there and building a new life. She sees Cal Prewitt and accepts him while getting to know him. Phoebe, since she has lived all her life there, is unable to see how Cal could be innocent of any crimes. She just is too close to the situation to see otherwise. Cal Prewitt is quite the character. He is set in his ways but wants to preserve his land and not see it taken apart by developers.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It was full of laughter, small town life, and a good mystery to boot. I was not sure I would enjoy the book because I could not really relate to the main characters. But those ladies were very interesting and I had to find out if they could clear the name of the accused. I hope there are more to come because I would love to see what Jane and Phoebe try to solve next.
279 pages/Mary Saums/Mystery/New Author/ 5 out of 5

Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward

Nadine Morgan travels all the time as a journalist. Tragedy and regret was all she found in Cape Town. So she has decided to never go back. Yet the death of an American, John Irving, pulls at her heart and she decides to go back to South Africa. As she goes on the journey, she is overcome with memories of when the pull to adventure and intrigue left her with a broken heart. She hopes to lose herself in the case but starts to goes close to John’s mom as well as the mother of one of the killers. Yet there will be consequences. Nadine finally has to face long buried demons and come to terms with the pieces of her own past. Learning to love and forgive is something she has to do.

Ms. Ward puts new themes to the page that just come alive. Her way with words can truly touch your heart. It is very clear how passionate she became for forgiveness. I also admired the way she showed that it is not always easy to ask for it either. But when it is done that you’ll be better for it.

Nadine truly felt that the further she ran, the better it would be for her or so she thought. Her life had changed and she was not the type to just sit still. Yet I kept wondering if she could settle down if only for the right reasons. Her best friend Lily was one to tell her that she was making mistakes and to get her head on straight. Nadine just couldn’t picture any different life than the fast pace one she loved to live. It was going to take a lot to change her mind.

Forgive me is a poignant story that will leave you knowing both sides. I really liked the fact that she never picked a side that was right. She let us see the whole picture of what is still going on even today. I was swept up in the emotions and truly felt I was listening to a story of a friend. So I give it a 5 out of 5 because it makes you look at the reasoning of others. It is a book that I will not soon forget.

Amanda Eyre Ward/Fiction/South Africa/236 pages/ 5 out of 5

I would have got this online sooner but we had a power failure this past weekend so I am slowly catching up. :)