In the Bookcase

2.18.2017

Book Review: Emmeline

Emmeline by Sarah Holman (5 star review)


Emmeline

written by Sarah Holman

214 pages // published in 2017 // Christian historical fiction




BOOK DESCRIPTION

What if Jane Austen’s Emma lived in America in the year 1930?

The talk of stock market crashes and depression isn’t going to keep Emmeline Wellington down. Born to wealth and privilege, Emmeline wants nothing more than to help her new friend, Catarina, find a husband. Emmeline sets her sights on one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, but nothing seems to go right. Even her friend and neighbor Fredrick Knight seems to question her at every turn.

Will she help Catarina find the man of her dreams? Why is her father acting so strangely? Will the downturn affect her life, despite her best efforts?




My Review


5 Star Rating


"Emmeline" is a great historical twist on a Jane Austen classic, and is well-written. It certainly kept my interest piquéd from the first page to the last!

I'm actually not even an Austen reader (yet!), but this book is certainly nudging me to start reading some of her books. (Like, right now.) Similar to how fairy tale retellings are all the craze right now, this series is something new. It's a retelling of classic literature, set in a different time period than the original, and with some of the elements switched around -- but the skeleton of the story is the same. I'm in love with this novel idea. What avid reader wouldn't be?!

The time period sets Emmeline's story in America during the first year of the Great Depression (as opposed to Regency England in the original plot). American business is declining overall, workers are being laid off, and most families' budgets are already tightening fast. As Emmeline's neighbor and dear friend Fredrick Knight says, "I can't make any promises. These are uncertain times."

Let's talk about the main character. Emmeline is a young, well-meaning woman -- with designs to matchmake her friends together, like it's the most thrilling puzzle she's ever tried to accomplish. She encourages ideas for other people that are not always wise -- and especially in the case of how she "helps" Catarina, a German girl, to blend in with society better. In this particular and somewhat unusual friendship, it was like watching "My Fair Lady" unfold on the sidelines while reading the book. (i.e., kinda loved it!) But personally, I couldn't connect with Emmaline's character well, because she has a much different personality that I, but still I found her antics fun to watch! Even if she is kind, generous, and well-meaning, her ideas sometimes lead herself and others astray. There's a VERY touching moment as she comes to realize some of this. We can all learn from our mistakes if we allow the grace of God to shine His light on our life, even in the midst of romantic blunders and youthful perils.

I would consider this a "clean" read, with good Christian influences in it. You're not going to find any objectionable content! I fully respect how the book tactfully covered issues such as modesty in the late 1920s / early 1930s, and opinions of what some Christians thought of other moral issues in America, like dancing or going to see movies.

This novel has a professional polish to it! It's also well-researched and there are many historical details in there, which really help the story sparkle.

Visit The Vintage Jane Austen book series online!
vintagejaneausten.com

The Vintage Jane Austen book series


Keep in mind, this is the first in a series of Jane Austen retellings by various authors. I, for one, look forward to seeing which one comes out next!





Available on Amazon in e-book format.

Add to Goodreads






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2.16.2017

An upcoming guide on writing well...

I'm so excited that one of my favorite authors, Rachelle Rea Cobb, is venturing out with a new book -- this time on WRITING. You may remember her books from me gushing about them often enough here on my blog. (Click to see my reviews of The Sound of Diamonds, The Sound of Silver, The Sound of Emeralds)

In addition to providing us with this gorgeous piece of vintage typewriter eye candy, Rachelle promises to deliver on the goods. The goods on how to... WRITE WELL.


Write Well by Rachelle Rea Cobb

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Writing isn’t all heart and art. It’s structure and syntax, too.

Looking for a short guide that will help you understand the structure of writing so you can get back to the art?

Hi there, I'm Rachelle Rea Cobb. and I have history with words. I've ever been known as a grammar geek with a knack for storytelling. I help others polish their pages until their words shine—and then they can sign their own publishing contracts. I work with authors (traditional and self-published), ESL writers, students, and bloggers. Entrusting your words to an editor can be excruciating, but I always treat them with the utmost care, never squashing your voice. Instead, my job is to unleash it from typos, fluff, and repetitiveness, etc.

And now I'd like to share my expertise with you in Write Well, a short ebook designed to walk you through what you need to know so you can get back to the real work: actual writing!






WRITE WELL releases on March 4th. Pre-order now!


2.11.2017

A new kind of Jane Austen to enjoy + $10 gift card giveaway!

Do you love reading classic literature? Are you a Jane Austen fan? I have a special kind of book to share about today...

It's the first in a brand series, The Vintage Jane Austen. Christian author Sarah Holman has penned this first volume, Emmeline, which is based on Jane Austen's novel, Emma. I've been given a sneak peek of this new book, Emmeline, and can tell you, fellow readers, it's a REALLY good one! The story transports you not to England in the Georgian era, but to America after the stock market crash of 1929 when the Great Depression is in it's infancy. It's a whole new story... and a truly engrossing way to enjoy Jane Austen all over again.

Now, isn't this one of the loveliest book covers you've ever seen?



Emmeline by Sarah Holman


BOOK DESCRIPTION

What if Jane Austen’s Emma lived in America in the year 1930?

The talk of stock market crashes and depression isn’t going to keep Emmeline Wellington down. Born to wealth and privilege, Emmeline wants nothing more than to help her new friend, Catarina, find a husband. Emmeline sets her sights on one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, but nothing seems to go right. Even her friend and neighbor Fredrick Knight seems to question her at every turn.

Will she help Catarina find the man of her dreams? Why is her father acting so strangely? Will the downturn affect her life, despite her best efforts?


Now, for the aforementioned giveaway!!

If you'll just stop by author Sarah Holman's blog, she has the details about a $10 Amazon gift card giveaway. If you pre-order the book (at it's current discounted price), and then let Sarah know, your name is in the drawing.




Stay tuned for my review on this book next week!


2.10.2017

Hmm! How reading affects your kids...

This is some pretty COOL info on reading, the effects it has on a child's life as they grow, and MORE! Comes with 5 easy infographic charts to look at. :)




Kids & Family Reading Report

article by Scholastic

"In fall 2016, Scholastic, in conjunction with YouGov, conducted its biannual survey to explore family attitudes and behaviors around reading books for fun. The key findings of this research, based on a nationally representative sample of 2,718 parents and children..."

— Continue reading at scholastic.com


Kids & Family Reading Report


2.07.2017

Book Review: National Velvet

National Velvet by Enid Bagnold (2 star review)


National Velvet

written by Enid Bagnold

320 pages // published in 1935 // children's literary fiction


BOOK DESCRIPTION

The timeless story of spirited Velvet Brown and her beloved horse has thrilled generations of readers. And now the republication of this classic story in a fresh, up-to-date package will charm confirmed fans while captivating new ones. Fourteen-year-old Velvet is determined to turn her untamed horse into a champion and personally ride him to victory in the world's greatest steeplechase, the Grand National.



My Review...

2 Star Rating

'National Velvet' is not what I thought it would be. In fact, it was one of the more disheartening books I've read in a while. My issue is with the style and content of the story -- because the overall plot is just dandy! (i.e., girl trains horse to become a race champion? Awesome.)

Let's start at the beginning, shall we? My problems with it started on page 1. And yet, I thought that it must get better. It's a children's classic, right? So it has to be good. Or not, depending on who you are.

So, page 1. My first hurdle to get over was the writing style. It's different than almost any other book I've read, thus, it was hard to just "fall into" the story seamlessly. Believe me, I've read a LOT of books, and classic literature is a personal forté of mine. I'll all for the vintage and antique hardbound gems. But this one threw me for a loop. Perhaps it's the dryness of the words. There's no wit, no humor, or no glory in it. (Except for the last page or two at the end -- which really was fantastic and was the best text found in the whole volume! In my humble opinion, of course.)

Another big issue I have with the book is that there was quite a sprinkling of foul language in it. Perhaps the author didn't quite mean it that way, and of course, the book was written when times were a little different. But I was still surprised. In fact, I had both an abridged version and unabridged version of the book. I scoured page after page to pinpoint exactly what they had changed in the abridged version, and come to find out, it looks like the only text that had to be changed was the foul language I kept finding in the original unabridged copy. But even in the one abridged for children, not all incidents were trimmed out. For what the publisher tried to do though, I was grateful!

Now, I've got to admit something that is extremely rare and, even in this case, a bit hard for me to digest. I have found a situation where the movie is astoundingly better than the book. Who knew?! It's an unwritten rule among us bookworms that the book is always better. But, I finally found the loophole to that saying, and 'National Velvet' is the one. In fact, I would go so far to say that the movie (you know, the one with young Elizabeth Taylor starring alongside Mickey Rooney) is in fact beautiful and enchanting. It has characters that come alive, and a plot that inspires you. THAT is the story I wanted to read!

At what age should children read it? Well, I wouldn't personally recommend it for young readers. Of course, it certainly fluctuates with each individual child, but I best recommend it for ages 14 and up. Even then, if the kid can't connect with the writing style or story, well... it's not the most engrossing book.

So, I've made my case. Truly, I wanted to enjoy this book, but I guess it's just not the one for me. Maybe the next reader will have better luck with it.

National Velvet is available on Amazon in paperback, and audiobook format.



This is book #1 for me in the Back to the Classics 2017 challenge.
[CATEGORY: Classic About an Animal]




P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.