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Showing posts from March, 2012

Review: The Mirror

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If you are a fan of time travel fiction, you must pick up The Mirror by Marlys Millhiser.  This novel features one of the most unique storylines I have encountered in a long time.

Readers meet Shay, a 20-year-old blonde living in Boulder, Col., on the eve of her wedding in 1978. Her parents would like to dissuade her from this decision, but she won't budge. As her grandmother enters her bedroom, she sees the young girl trying on her bridal veil and modeling it in front of an antique mirror. The family is shocked when Grandma Bran, mute for decades due to a stroke, cries out, "Corbin!" a and drops to the floor.

Shay doesn't have time to wonder: she herself also falls to the floor — only to awaken in what looks like the same room, but can't possibly be. The people are different, the furniture is different, she is different. The veil, however, is the same, and so is the mirror.

Shay has not just traveled in time, but wound up in the body of Grandma Bran on the eve …

Review: A Town Like Alice

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A Town Like Alice is a classic, well-received when it was published in 1950. Neville Shute created a one-of-a-kind novel that spanned decades and continents.

Which it did — just not as I had expected. It is a product of its time, and while parts of it transcend time, others are stuck firmly in it.

A Town Like Alice begins in the early years of the twentieth century. The elderly Scotsman Mr. Mcfadden asks his solicitor to help him execute his last will and testament to give his money and possessions to his only living relatives upon his death: first, to his married sister; then, if she pre-deceases him, his nephew upon his majority at 21 — and, if fate is unkind, his niece, whose legacy will be tended by the solicitors until she turns 35 (because young, unmarried women cannot manage that much money without protection from a solicitor or a husband).

Noel, the solicitor, thinks nothing of it again until after World War II, upon the death of the client. Noel must locate his next-of-kin — w…

Review: The Innocents

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The Great War was a huge game-changer. Modern warfare changed the landscape, literally: many of the terms in our current lexicon are thanks to the war, which we have the great misfortune of knowing now was the "first" world war.

It was unimaginable.

The Innocents goes a long way into making modern readers understand the horrors of this particular war.

Identical twins Iris and Dorthea had a difficult life. Their mother died at their birth, their father died during their childhood — so they were essentially "raised" by their (much) older brother in the opulent wealth of Eastern √©lite at the turn of the twentieth century. In his defense, he didn't really quite understand what it took to do that. Any mistakes were made out of ignorance, more so than intentional neglect.

Despite their privilege and opportunity, the women came to life when taking action during adversity. First, it was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, which was considered one of the worst…