Category: historical



Brambleman

Brambleman by Jonathan Grant

 

Kathleen Talton was getting old, already suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Her husband, Thurwoood Talton, a retired Georgia State University history professor, died while trying to get his manuscript Flight from Forsyth published. He was hit in the head by a beer bottle throwing youth while marching for for civil rights in Forsyth County. Thurwood died a week later, and Kathleen believed it was caused by the youth who threw the bottle. Kathleen waited many years then decided she needed to have her husband’s work completed and published. So she did something she hasn’t done in years, she prayed. Not for forgiveness, not for happiness and not many of the things most people pray for. She asked for justice, companionship, vengeance, completion and closure. It was a most interesting prayer!

 

Charlie Sherman, father of 14 year old Ben and daughter Rebecca (Beck), has been a stay at home dad for a long time. He had opted to stay at home so he could write his book. Prior tho staying home he had been a freelance writer and an editor. His wife Susan, supported his decision because she made more money at her job then he did, and that mattered a lot to her. The problem was, nothing Charlie wrote got published and Susan was sick of him. After a bitter dispute with his wife, his daughter had called the cops because she was afraid. Charlie got his butt kicked out of the house and concluded that Susan had wanted him gone for a long time.

 

Walking in the rain, extremely upset, Charlie has a George Bailey moment. (George Bailey is a character from classic film It’s a Wonderful Life, my all time favorite movie) and gets ready to jump from an overpass. A strange, seemingly random accident below him on the road has him realizing that if he takes his life, he won’t see anymore weird stuff. Deciding to think things through a little more, he heads off for some peace, guiet and coffee. Instead he finds Trouble, though who and what he is Charlie’s not sure of. And boy does Trouble SMELL!

 

When Trouble tells Charlie he has a job for him to do he finds himself agreeing to go and meet Kathleen. She hires him to finish up and publish her husband’s manuscript and he can stay at her house in the basement well he does so. Charlie is a little leery but finally agrees and signs a contract. He figures things can’t get much weirder, boy is he wrong!

 

Things aren’t just weird anymore, they’re Old Testament weird! People were dying; Kathleen’s daughter got boils after upsetting her mom, as did a pharmacist; burning buildings and, the kicker for Charlie, the contract he originally signed to complete Kathleen’s husband book, the ink had turned to blood and if Charlie tried to get out of it, he paid with his life.

 

You’d think with all this going on, Charlie would have enough to deal with but no. His wife Susan and the rest of her crazy relatives were all somehow tied in to Charlie’s mess with the manuscript. Charlie has to think fast and move faster before something else bad happens. There is way, way more in store for Charlie, his wife Susan, her nutty family, Kathleen and Trouble. What does Trouble really want?And the biggest problem of all is Charlie knows that good and evil are somehow involved in all this, but what side is Charlie actually working for and how will he find out? Will Charlie survive? Will anyone survive?

 

I found myself reading faster and faster as the story twisted and turned more and more. I really enjoyed the pace and the story in a story aspect that came out of the manuscript that Charlie had to edit. Some of the characters are just that, characters! Good, bad, hicks and politicians, men and women and children all had interesting thoughts and actions. My only real complaint was the length of the novel. While it held my attention all the way through, there were times I thought things could have been said just as well with several less words or pages. All in all though a good albeit long read.

 

Please note that some people might be offended due to certain events, certain groups including the Klu Klux Klan and certain demeaning and racist remarks depicted in the novel but they are used to show what had actually happened in Forsyth County throughout the 20th century.

 

I received this eBook through LibraryThing and was asked for my honest review.


Perfect Strangers

Perfect Strangers by Rebecca Sinclair

 

 

In 1603, Gabrielle Carelton was a lady in Queen Elizabeth’s court for 6 years.  Black of hair, green of eye, heavy of weight, Gabrielle sees herself as a plain looking, plump woman. While she will devoted to her queen and her country, she is not afraid of speaking her mind when occasions warrant it. After the Queen compares her to a stuffed goose, she suffers even more from insecurities about herself.

 
When Queen Elizabeth calls a meeting with Gabrielle to take place in the early morning, Gabby is worried, very worried. Queen Elizabeth is not an early riser so Gabby knows that it can’t be good news. When Queen Elizabeth tells Gabby that she is to wed a Scotsman, she is shocked, when she discovers the Scotsman is Colin Douglas of the Douglas clan, she is horrified! Queen Elizabeth will not take no for an answer and Gabby, who has always been loyal to the Queen, knows that she will have to accept what she has been ordered to do.

 
The Maxwell clan and the Douglas clan have been enemies for decades. Gabrielle with her small drop of Maxwell blood is perfect for the Queen’s plan. Not only will it hopefully settle some of the strife on the borderlands by uniting the 2 clans, but it also rids the Queen of Gabby, who rumor has it, has been friendly with Robert Devereaux whom the Queen looks on as her special suitor. The only way Gabby can get out of this is if she goes against the Queen and that she will not do.

 
On the border, Colin Douglas’ twin Connor, known far and wide as The Black Douglas, devises a plan that will get him payback against his twin, and help to settle some of the unrest on the border. His plan includes kidnapping and then marrying Gabby, begetting a son, and having her die due to the harsh and uncompromising weather on the border (he believes that all Englishwomen are frail, helpless beings).

 
When a feverish and sick Gabby first lays eyes on Connor, she is instantly attracted. Little does she know, but Connor also sees something in her, something he wasn’t expecting. Gabby is slowly getting better and getting to know Connor. Things heat up when a kidnapping is carried out in Connor’s castle. Will he go after the kidnappers? What will happen to Gabby when she finally meets Colin? And if the rumor is true and the Queen is dead, is Gabby still obligated to marry?

 
Great scenes, good descriptions, and fun characters all make for an entertaining read. I enjoyed the historical facts that were incorporated into the story. A great historical romance novel.


Sophomore Campaign: A Mickey Tussler Novel (Mickey Tussler, #2)

Sophomore Campaign: A Mickey Tussler Novel (Mickey Tussler #2) by Frank Nappi

 

A word of warning to readers, this story takes place in 1949 and the author has used certain language, themes and events that may be offensive to some readers. He does state this at the start of his book.

 
After the loss of the Milwaukee Brewers to Chip Mcnally’s Rangers baseball team, Arthur Murphy‘s job as team manager is in jeopardy. He is given the task of getting star pitcher Mickey Tussler back to the pitching mound or he loses his job. After a stay in jail due to his choking of Lefty Rogers, a fellow pitcher with some issues of his own, 18-year-old mildly autistic Mickey Tussler has said that he will not play anymore and his mom Molly backs him completely. Murph‘s whole life has been about baseball and he will do everything he can to get Mickey playing again.

 
Murph has not told Mickey or his mother, Molly, about the ultimatum. He’s worried and while he has talked to them both about Mickey playing again, neither says yes. At the Harvest Fair, Mickey sees the milk bottle throw and wants to play. The crowd gathers as every shot he makes brings the bottles crashing down. First one then another of the crowd recognize Mickey. The crowd starts to chant, Mickey starts to remember how it felt to throw the baseball. When he is finished he tells his mother and Murph he wants to play again. Murph is safe!

 
The team starts coming back for their spring training. Pee Wee, Mickey’s best friend, is back and they pick their friendship up immediately. Danvers,Clem Finster, Ruby Winkler and the rest of the team are happy to be back, glad that Mickey’s back but when Boxcar, team captain and best catcher around, shows up they know somethings wrong. He is a shadow of his former self, tires easily and has lost several pounds. He insists nothings wrong, but they know better.

 
Murph makes a new deal with Dennison, the team owner. Murph wants to get a new backcatcher and knows exactly who he wants. He’s a phenom, works a few towns over and is available but there is one major problem. The owner points out the problem and refuses to allow Murph to hire him. Murph again puts his job on the line offering to quit if Lester Sledge is not all that Murph says he is.

 
The team had a hard enough time last season with Mickey’s oddities. Some of the players are still uncomfortable with him, but they know how valuable to the team he is. When Lester Sledge arrives the team is in shock! Learning to deal with Mickey was bad enough, Lester is a whole other kettle of fish. While they can see that he can play ball, they can also see the color of his skin, and it isn’t white.

 
As if the problems in their own team aren’t bad enough, the Rangers owner McNally and former Brewer pitcher now with the Rangers team, Lefty are hatching a plot to make sure that the Brewers team, specifically Mickey and Murph, don’t make it any where close to the finals. Murph adding Lester Sledge to the roster only adds to their hatred and desire to annihilate the team.

 

 

The baseball scenes are terrific, they make you feel you are right there in the dugout, out on the field or up to bat with the players. Some of true events have been moved around, time wise, but as its a fiction story, it works well. The characters are quite a mix of personalities, with some continuing on from the first novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, and some great new ones. The story is a nice even pace that keeps you turning pages. This novel can be read alone or as the second in the Mickey Tussler series.

 
This was a great character study of people and events in 1949 America, a great baseball story and good example of what can happen if you allow jealousy and hatred to overshadow your life.


Montana Wildfire

Montana Wildfire by Rebecca Sinclair

 

 

 

Amanda Lennox, blond, green eyed and intelligent, at least she thought she was intelligent until she lied to get this job of bringing Roger Thornton Bannister III home. The little monster was making the already rough trip through the western countryside unbearable. Amanda has always prided herself on her even temper but now, struck in the river, with the spoiled Roger splashing her and demanding lunch, Amanda is ready to blow. Even Roger realizes that perhaps he’s pushed her too far and goes rushing off into the forest to find someone to help Amanda.

 

 
To Amanda’s surprise and relief, Roger comes back with a man. But after just a few minutes with this man, Amanda’s wondering if maybe being trapped in the river wasn’t better than having to put up with this man.

 

 
Jacob Blackhawk Chandler is no one’s idea of a hero, including himself. A half breed Indian with a chip the size of the Rockies on his shoulder, Jake doesn’t want to get involved with Amanda and Roger but since there is no one else around to get Amanda out of the hole she’s in he steps up.

 

 
Getting out of the river requires a lot more body contact then Amanda was prepared for. She’s thankful that Jake was there to help but is uneasy with the new thoughts crowding her head. She just wants to get back on the trail and get Roger home.

 

 
Ready to leave Amanda and Roger to find their way through the country side is fine with him until Roger comes up missing. Amanda turns again to him for help and against his better judgement, Jake agrees to help find Roger.

 

 
As Amanda and Jake trek through the countryside on Roger’s trail, they find themselves drawn to each other. But what kind of life can a angry half breed offer a proper Bostonian white woman specially in a country where Indians and white people don’t mix, and being caught together can cause death?

 

 
I really enjoyed this novel. With wonderful commentary on the western countryside, the tiny towns and the relationships between people of different races this was a very readable novel. The characters are well rounded, with some flaws which helps to make them believable. The story clips along at a steady pace.


California Caress

California Caress by Rebecca Sinclair

 

 

 

Hope Benett is on a mission.  A mission to save her brother and ultimately her family home. The only person who can help her is notorious gunslinger Drake Frazier, but can she trust him?

 

 

 
Hope, a lovely red haired, brown eyed girl, loves her brother Luke. He can’t help that while his body is bigger than most grown men, his mind is that of an eight year old. The Swedes have declared their intent to take over the Benett gold claim and the only way to stop them is to take part in a no holds barred knock down fist fight. Luke is the only one big enough to take on even one of the Swedes, but he’s not smart enough to hold his own when the Swedes are known to use a knife and kill a man to get what they want. Hope’s dad sends her to find Drake Frazier, known gunfighter, drinker and fist fighter, possibly the only man in Thirsty Gulch that would agree to take on the Swedes.

 

 

 
Hope isn’t the only one with something to lose. Drake Frazier, handsome, blonde haired gunfighter, has his own agenda. Hope doesn’t know it but she’s going to help him in his plan to avenge a wrong doing done to him.

 

 

 
Can Hope and Drake help each other erase the scars of past hurts? Will they see that they are both worthy of love? Will they find love together before its too late?

 

 

 
Two of my favorite genre, romance and westerns, together in a tale spanning the gold mines of California, the city streets of Boston and the green grass of Virginia.

 

 

 

The story feels a bit forced and over thought at times, but has some beautifully written scenes.  An enjoyable read, with a strong willed, smart heroine which I like.

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