Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chocolate Never Faileth by Annette Lyon

Annette Lyon has outdone herself this time. From the moment her book, Chocolate Never Faileth, arrived in my mailbox, I have spent hours perusing the book and going over the recipes in great detail, including all the lead paragraphs introducing each recipe. Chocolate Never Faileth opens with important notes on non-chocolate ingredients as well as vital information on chocolate, itself. For goodness sakes, don't skip these two sections as they will be well worth your time.

Afterward, Annette dives right into Chocolate Cakes, one of the most daunting experiences (for me). Making a great homemade chocolate cake is something I've never achieved in my half-century of baking experiments. But, Annette makes it sound so easy; she actually starts this section with Devil's Food Cake and moves on from there to Chocolate Oatmeal Cake, then Cockeyed Cake, which is merely dumping all the ingredients into the baking pan and mixing it well with a fork before baking it (I'm sure I can make this one as it seems so simple a child could easily do it. Just wait until you reach Annette's Hot Fudge Cake (ooh, sounds so yummy!). She doesn't skip out on cheesecake, either, which is a true classic. The 3-Minute Microwave Chocolate Cake, which would be a great holiday gift to give with cute Christmas Mugs (microwave safe, of course), with the dry ingredients already stirred inside, and a little bow with a label that instructs on the wet ingredients to add and the baking/microwave directions.

Don't get me started on the Cookie section in Chocolate Never Faileth, with 14 cookie recipes ranging from delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies to Chocolate Coconut Macaroons, and a dozen more in between. The Brownies, Bars & Other Single-Serving Bliss recipes follows the Cookie Section, and covers Chocoholic Lemon Squares, Gooey Turtle Brownies, and several more heavenly bar recipes that sound so simple to throw together, I know even I can make them.

Annette's directions are clear and precise and the side notes are laugh-out-loud funny, such as on page 73, where it says, "Inside some of us is a thin person struggling to get out, but she can usually be sedated with a few pieces of chocolate cake." So true in my case.

The section on Mousses, Pies, Puddings & Stuff in Bowls is yet another chocolate treasure to lick your way through, and assures the reader: "Countless numbers of people have eaten chocolate for breakfast and gone on to lead normal lives." This section contains recipes like Luscious Chocolate Tart, White Chocolate Filling and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Annette offers Classic Chocolate Mousse in this section and it is positively as yummy as her Easy Chocolate Pudding, which is pretty much foolproof. Chocolate Cherry Cordial Ice Cream is one recipe I plan on trying this summer when we have one of our family get togethers because I've now learned the recipes within the pages of Chocolate Never Faileth are completely trustworthy. And, Annette's pie recipes, of which there are several that tempt me almost too much, including French Silk Pie, are too yummy to even attempt to explain.

Under the heading Snacks & Gifts, Annette gives us a large variety of fudges, including Orange Fudge, and "Symphonic" Peanut Butter Fudge, and of course, the best Perfect Chocolate Milk.

Annette's section on Molded Suckers & Mints will surprise you with the ingenuity and eye-appealing recipes found there, including Cherry Cordial Popcorn, Gourmet Gorp, and Hot Cocoa Mix.

An entire section is devoted to chocolate delights in the form of Pastries, and another for Icings, Toppings & Dips. Annette even includes a section she calls Fancy (But Easy) Bliss, which includes among its many recipes Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries, Chocolate Pizza, and even Chocolate-Dipped Boxes.

The last section, which entirely surprised me, is called Non-Edible Chocolate Bliss, which gives a number of body products such as Body Scrubs, Play Dough, Lip Gloss . . . you get the picture.

Along with the recipes within the pages of Chocolate Never Faileth, Annette Lyon has included many photos of the recipes already prepared, and they are very stylishly done. Sometimes the photo alone tempts me to try the recipe. If all this is not enough, Annette reminds the baker, "While there is chocolate, there is life." I couldn't agree more.

Great work, Annette. Will there be a sequel?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Books by Laurie Alice Eakes

I've been reading Laurie Alice Eakes' novels lately. She writes for Heartsong, and her novels have become rare treasures to my bulging collection.

The first novel of Laurie's that I read was titled, Better Than Gold and tells the story of Lily Reese, who can't wait to escape Browning City, Iowa, for the big city. She can't see the loving family of townspeople around her for the stars in her eyes for something larger and grander. It takes a humble Ben Purcell to teach her to recognize that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. Included within the pages are the rumors of a long-lost cache of gold somewhere in the building where Ben Purcell resides. The readers will soon find themselves face to face with danger and intrigue . . . which melds beautifully into the romance budding between Ben and Lily. Better Than Gold is set back in the 1870's and each scene is reminiscent of that time frame, for Laurie has done her research well. It is such a delightful story, and one I will always recommend.

Next, I read Laurie's novel, The Glassblower, which I didn't believe (at first) could come close to capturing my attention as eagerly as did Better Than Gold, however, I was pleasantly surprised. From the very first page to the very last, I was engrossed and could scarcely put it down. The story is about Meg Jordan, daughter of the wealthy owner of Jordan Glassworks. Meg dreams of becoming a teacher for the poor, local children in Salem County, New Jersey, and not the wife of Joseph Pyle, whom her father seems set on her marrying. Set in the early 1800's, The Glassblower, also known as Colin Grassick, arrives at Jordan Glassworks from Scotland, where he has mastered the art of blowing glass into intricate and beautiful pieces, and he quickly becomes the lead glassblower for Meg's father. When Meg and Colin first meet, it is apparent that he captures her heart as quickly as she captures his. But Colin will never qualify as suitor to Meg because her father has a much wealthier man, Joseph Pyle, in mind for her. But, Meg's heart is quickly stolen by Colin and she begins to see Joseph Pyle in a much more sinister light than she could have imagined. Mystery, intrigue and an enduring romance are all key elements of The Glassblower and it is another of Laurie's novels I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.

Enter The Heiress, which takes place a few decades later than The Glassblower and I am just now beginning this third novel by Laurie Alice Eakes. With Laurie's two earlier novels under my belt, I'm looking forward to reading The Heiress, with just as much enthusiasm as I did the first two. Somehow, I know I won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

True Miracles with Genealogy, by Anne Bradshaw

Within moments of the book, True Miracles with Genealogy, arriving at my doorstep, I was lying on my bed reading it. Being an avid family history nut, I found the stories Anne Bradshaw compiled both compelling and inspirational. Of course, two of my own stories are found within the pages, which gave me an extra advantage in wanting to read the others. To my delight, I found all of the other stories drawing me in (although I was quite disappointed when each story ended, as I wanted to read more and more from each author).

My only regret is that the volume wasn't a thousand stories long, as I am sure there are many, many more delightful experiences out there just waiting to be told by others.

Anne has a real knack for gathering and compiling stories that touch the heart and enlighten the mind, and True Miracles with Genealogy is no exception. I hope Anne compiles another one just like it, only hundreds of pages longer. I could read such inspirational stories all day long!

Great work, Anne! Thanks for sharing this remarkable little book with the rest of us.

Monday, July 26, 2010

IMPRINTS by Rachel Ann Nunes

I loved the cover for Rachel Ann Nunes new book, Imprints, and quickly found myself unwilling to put it aside for very long. It is a fascinating read and a great novel.

Quoting from the back cover: A young woman is missing. In desperation, her parents turn to Autumn Rain for help. Autumn reads imprints -- emotions mysteriously left behind on certain treasured objects. But will this ability enrich her life or destroy it?

The first two paragraphs caught my attention and the rest of the story kept it. I felt myself drawn to Autumn Rain, a remarkably kind woman with an ability to see the past through objects she touches. Autumn's adventures begin to unravel when she follows her instincts and joins a group she believes has brainwashed two women and is, perhaps, holding them captive against their will. Of course, she hopes to free the women, but how can she fight against the evil Dar and his mob?

Earlier, Jake entered her life. Jake is an uncommonly caring man whose devotion to Autumn is apparent from the very beginning. But, there's also Ethan, for whom Autumn feels a strange and exciting attachment. Will either man be "the one" to make her fall in love, or are both just toying with her emotions?

The chapter endings scream at the reader to "hurry and turn the page," as though the book has imprinted on us and we are lured into the story and absorbed by it. Even with the surprise twist at the ending, Imprints holds the reader to the page much like the spider lures the fly, until we have no choice but to be startled just when everything seems safe and sane again.

Imprints is one book you won't want to start late at night because you won't want to put it down until the very last word. Even then, you'll want to go back for a second read because the story has so many twists and turns that leave the reader breathless.

Two thumbs up for Imprints! Rachel is to be applauded for this truly captivating story.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hanging by The Thread by Donald B. Anderson

Hanging by The Thread is the kind of novel you want to start early in the day because it will suck you in and keep your interest until you've turned the very last page. It begins with a presidential assassination and leads you through a series of bombings and potential bombings by a secret organization (calling itself The Thread) hiding amongst numerous government agencies. When an innocent young man finds a lost document that outlines The Thread's plans to blow up the state capitol building, he turns to his uncle, an FBI agent, to help him overthrow the plot and restore peace to the USA.

Donald B. Anderson's fast-paced novel is both intriguing and interesting. With numerous twists and turns, the reader is left guessing how the story will ever turn out when lives are in danger and the government is truly hanging by a thread. At the conclusion of the novel are a series of lectures on economics by one of the characters in the novel, giving a rich background into just how gullible we've really become and how easy it would be for such a group as The Thread to infiltrate our ranks.

Hanging by The Thread is one novel I heartily recommend to my readers.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chesapeake Weddings by Cecelia Dowdy

Chesapeake Weddings contains three novellas under one cover. Written by Cecelia Dowdy, there are three stories within the pages:

1. John's Quest, the endearing tale of Monica Crawford, who becomes the guardian of her sister's blind son, Scotty, when the mother abandons him unexpectedly. The heartaches and concerns Monica feels for the child are tender and empathic, and are only enhanced when John French arrives on the scene to tutor Scotty, who is woefully behind in academics due to his biological mother's neglect. Monica can't quite decide whether or not to trust John French, but as they learn to know one another, her fears are put aside and she allows herself to fall in love. Does he learn to love her back? Well, I'm not going to spoil the story for you here. But, do read it.

2. Milk Money begins when Emily Cooper meets Franklin Reese. She is elbow-deep in the birthing process of one of her favorite cows. Not recognizing Frank as the accountant sent to audit the farm's books, she puts him straight to work helping her with the complicated birth. What ensues is a down-home romance that will kindle warm hope in any reader's heart. Complicated sub-plots regarding Emily's step-mother and two step-sisters only adds drama to the measure, so it's sure to be a story you won't soon forget.

3. Bittersweet Memories are all that Karen Brown has left. Karen, a character first introduced in John's Quest, returns home to live with her mother because her fiancee has disappeared, along with his "other" girl friend and a small fortune stolen from the church's treasury. She arrives at her mom's heart-broken and distrustful of men in general. Instead of her mother, Karen finds Keith Baxter, her mother's next-door-neighbor, working on the kitchen plumbing. Karen is a little snappy with him, but soon apologizes and a friendship ensues. But, can the friendship ever become romantic when Keith has sworn off marriage and is still unhappy with his brother? And, Karen doesn't know how to trust another man in her life, especially one whom her mother has apparently told "everything", leaving Karen with very little to share with him in the way of conversation. This story has its own twists and turns, but the reader will be surprised and pleased at the outcome.

All three novellas are Christian-oriented and, while not being preachy, they present a way of living that coincides with Bible-centered study. Cecelia Dowdy has woven into her characters their flaws and failings, then allows them to lift themselves out of the rubble and begin anew along a Christ-like path. At the conclusion of Chesapeake Weddings, the reader is asked to choose a favorite between the three novellas, and mine is Bittersweet Memories, though it was difficult to decide. I like the obstacles both main characters overcame in the story and I liked the family dynamics, as well.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer in Paris, by Michele Ashman Bell

Having sailed many a summer aboard the Shoosey-Q, I was particularly interested in reading Summer in Paris . . . Paris, Idaho, that is. . . a charming town just north of Bear Lake, which sits on the Utah/Idaho border and is claimed by both states. Michele Ashman Bell captured the town delightfully in her story about Kenzie Williams, who is sent to Paris to live with an aunt, uncle and two cousins while her parents go through some financial and marital difficulties.

At the opening, Kenzie is portrayed as a "spoiled rich girl" from New York City, whose summer in Paris, Idaho, teaches her about a whole new world previously unknown to her. For instance, she had no idea how shallow her friendships were back in the city, where she was accustomed to chauffeurs and unlimited credit cards. While spending the summer in Paris, Idaho, Kenzie discovers that true friends are treasured people who actually care about her.

In Paris, Kenzie learns the value of work as she tends her aunt's garden and does odd chores around the house. Amazingly, Kenzie is surprised that soiled laundry doesn't automatically appear cleaned and restocked in her dresser drawer every day, like it did back home.

But, there's also a mystery within the pages of Summer in Paris, and romance. Being the kind of reader who likes to guess who the criminal is, I found myself entirely surprised at the outcome, and thoroughly satisfied with the conclusion. And, being a hopeless romantic, I couldn't help hoping for a certain someone to come through for Kenzie.

Mystery and romance aside, I was also pleased with Kenzie's determination to fulfill her dreams . . . dreams that started in New York and are realized in Paris.

If you enjoy laughter, fun, friendships, love and intrigue, Summer in Paris is the book to read this summer.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

LATEX Allergy Awareness

Snowball commented on my not posting in a while. To be truthful, I've been a little irate. I received a comment to my last posting, "STOP! Don't EAT that LATEX!" and it upset me for a while. Dr. E. Yip wrote to criticize my stand on latex use in the food service industry. I pondered Dr. Yip's criticisms quite seriously (as I always do). Then, I googled Dr. E. Yip and found that I needn't have bothered. Here is a general idea of the criticisms and my responses:

1. Dr. Yip stated: "[latex allergy] Prevalence in the general population is only about 1% and less, although it is somewhat higher among the healthcare workers . . . "

Miller's response: As of April 7, 2010, the US population is estimated at over 309 million people. According to Dr. Yip's statement, over 3 million people in the USA have latex allergy. I don't call this a small percentage, even at "only about 1%." In the healthcare profession, the percentage is much higher (more than double that amount would be much higher). Washington State gives the prevalence of latex allergy in the health care profession as high as 8%. The states that make up our country give varying ranges of prevalence, from 3% to 10% among healthcare workers. I do not know if there has ever been a study showing how many food service workers have developed latex allergy due to latex glove exposure, but I am reasonably certain it would be nearly equivalent to that of healthcare workers. At any rate, three million people in the USA with latex allergy is three million too many.

2. Dr. Yip stated: "Latex allergy is due to repeated exposure to an older generation of latex gloves with high levels of residual proteins, particularly in the late 1980s and 1990s in particular the healthcare setting. Today's low-protein gloves have drastically reduced the glove's protein content, and many hospital studies have in fact shown the use of such improved gloves has markedly reduced the incidences of allergy in work places . . . "

Miller's response: Latex allergy is due to repeated exposure to latex, regardless of whether the latex is found in gloves, or on food or in the air. As stated in my earlier blog, I did not get latex allergy from my work in the health care industry, nor from wearing latex gloves with high levels of residual proteins. I was never a doctor nor a registered nurse. My exposure is unexplained by Dr. Yip's statement. To markedly reduce the incidence of latex allergy in the work place would be to slash it in half . . . great job, now only half as many are developing latex allergy. The point is, latex allergy is STILL developing in people who are exposed to latex on a daily basis. But, look at this from another point of view: If you were allergic to peanuts and Dr. Yip stated that "today's low-protein peanut butter has drastically reduced the peanut butter's protein content," would you would go ahead and eat peanut butter . . . or let your child eat peanut butter, if your child were allergic to peanuts? Of course not.

Oh, yes! I forgot to mention that Dr. Yip is associated with MREPC, which stands for the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council. Dr. Yip has a vested interest in promoting that everyone is safe eating food prepared with low-protein latex gloves.

3. Dr. Yip stated: "As for food service gloves, there is insufficient scientific and clinical evidence to show that handling food with latex gloves could elicit allergy reactions in consumers through food ingestion -- a conclusion of the public meeting held to examine this issue by a panel of experts of the U.S. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition of the FDA in August 2003. It was also commented that the ban of latex gloves in food handling in the three states, Rhode Island, Arizona and Oregon, was not science-based.
According to the FDA, although self-reported cases of food-mediated latex allergies received earlier from consumers, they were not clinically verified through medical records and it is possible that some of the reactions described could havebeen due to consumption of foods that cross react to latex protein (e.g., kiwi, bananas, buckwheat, stone fruits, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet pepper, chestnuts, spinach, etc.)."

Miller's response: I don't need sufficient "scientific or clinical evidence to show that handling food with latex gloves could elicit allergy reactions in consumers through food ingestion." Fifteen trips to the ER for anaphylaxis told me that fact all on its own. Whether or not the ban of latex gloves in food handling in the three states was not science based is of no importance to someone with latex allergy. Just knowing I could dine in any restaurant in those states and be safe from latex exposure is of great comfort to someone like me.

But it was kind of Dr. Yip to point out some of the many foods that cross react to latex protein. Latex allergy does make your diet selection quite slim . . . and stone fruits can include apples, oranges, pears, limes, lemons, grapefruit, papaya, mango, cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, prunes, dates, etc. Other foods she neglected to mention that are cross reactive to latex include lettuce, kale, strawberries, nuts and grapes. Dr. Yip might want to try eliminating all those foods from her diet in an effort to avoid anaphylaxis before she starts citing "food-mediated latex allergies." If a person is not allergic to latex, the question of "food-mediated latex allergies" no longer becomes an issue.

4. Dr. Yip states: "The main purpose of wearing gloves in food handling is to protect consumers from infectious organisms or other contaminants on wounded or inadequately washed hands of food handlers. Latex gloves have been consistently demonstrated by many studies to provide the best barrier protection against transmission of bacteria and viruses. On the other hand, the commonly used alternative food service gloves such as the plastic polyethylene (plastic) and vinyl (PVC) gloves have markedly less barrier capability than latex gloves . . . "

Miller's response: While I agree that "wearing gloves in food handling is to protect consumers from infectious organisms or other contaminants," I do not agree that latex is the best solution. There are a wide variety of choices for glove use besides plastic, vinyl or latex. Nitrile seems to be the glove of choice in the healthcare industry and would work equally well with food. NIOSH does not recommend food service workers wear latex at all.

My responses given, I need to remind my readers that Miller's Musings was not designed to debate with the MREPC. It was designed to express my own opinions and musings, and to write a few noteworthy book reviews. I am not a scientist and I have NO interest in the MREPC, nor in its attempts, through Dr. E. Yip, to sway me from my point of view. I would be happy if the MREPC would concentrate its efforts on promoting rubber tires.

I simply state that I believe latex proteins can transfer to foods we eat when latex is worn in food preparation. I would not want anyone else to EVER develop latex allergy because it is a very difficult allergy to live with. It is my hope that people will stop eating latex-laden foods so that they will not have to suffer with latex allergy as I have. Therefore, I voice my own opinion, and pray that someone out there will read this and take the proper precautions to prevent their own development of latex allergy.

Sherry Ann Miller

Thursday, March 4, 2010

STOP! Don't EAT that LATEX!

For years I have fought the battle of latex allergy. The medical professionals say up to 10% of the US population who wear latex on a regular basis may develop this devastating affliction.

What astounds me most is how naive many of the food service establishments still are when it comes to latex allergy. Hospitals nationwide have switched to a safer form of glove use to protect themselves and patients, and it is now rare to find a hospital using latex on a daily basis. But, the food service industry still acts much like an ostrich with its head in the proverbial sand (if they don't see the widespread reach of latex allergy, they won't be affected. Hmmpf!).

Yet, I didn't get latex allergy because I worked in the health-care industry. I was never an RN or a doctor, nor did I ever wear latex gloves on my hands on a regular basis (which is how most people believe latex allergy develops).

For some people, the exposure comes from partaking of latex on a regular basis, which is what happens whenever you eat at a restaurant, cafe or bistro where the workers wear latex gloves on their hands. I've had latex allergy for over 20 years. I don't need a scientific researcher to tell me that when latex touches my food, particles of latex can transfer onto the food. It's called cross-contamination. The anaphylaxis I've had eight times told me that much. Now, I avoid latex like a plague.

My plea to you is this: STOP! Don't EAT that LATEX! Don't risk developing latex allergy yourself because you are ingesting latex every time you eat in a food service establishment where the workers wear latex gloves when they prepare the food. Up to 10% of you (that's 1 in every 10 people) may develop latex allergy because of it!

STOP! Ask the restaurant, cafe, diner, bistro (etc.) where you plan to eat whether or not they wear latex gloves when they prepare their food. If the answer is yes, tell them why you won't eat there, then DON'T eat there! If enough of us adopt a latex-free attitude, fewer of us will develop latex allergy. And, soon more food service establishments will switch from latex to latex-FREE! In my opinion, going latex-free is every bit as important as going green, perhaps moreso because it just may save your life.

In the USA, there are states that regulate latex use in the food service industry. Many states recommend a safer alternative, some states have initiated a Latex Awareness Program, but Oregon has adopted the strictest ban against latex use in the food service industry to date. I have traveled the USA extensively and have found many states are woefully unaware of their potential for causing latex allergy events. Washington State, where I live, unfortunately has made little effort to protect employees or consumers from latex exposure (nor have several other states). Even NIOSH recommends a safer alternative in the food service industry than latex.

Unfortunately, many do not heed the warnings.

However, some do. I walked into a grocery store in Maine a few years back and asked if the meat department wore latex gloves when handling their meat. I was told, "Are you kidding? Latex kills people." Bravo!

Many food chains provide latex-free gloves for their employees, some of these include Applebees, Dennys, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, McDonald's, Burger King, etc. Also, many food manufacturing firms (perhaps 70%) wear a safer alternative than latex. So, the word is spreading . . . but not fast enough.

Now, it's up to the consumer. When people refuse to eat where latex gloves are used, restaurateurs will soon get the message and switch to something safer. I hope they do so before many are sued. There have been employees who developed latex allergy because an uninformed employer provided latex gloves on a regular basis. Some of these lawsuits have granted extraordinarily high compensation to the employees who sued.

Remember, as many as one in every ten people may develop latex allergy if exposed to latex on a regular basis. Please, please don't be one of them. It's simple, really. Just don't eat that latex!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Pizza Gang/Facing the Witch by Maureen Hume

Joe, Ben and Katie debut in Maureen Hume's children's novel, The Pizza Gang/Facing the Witch, and are a delightful trio attempting to solve the mystery of a long, lost hat and a love letter that went astray more than fifty years ago. Finding the sender is the first mystery, but the intended recipient is even more tricky. A delightful tale for ages eight to twelve, The Pizza Gang, first in a series of stories for pre-teens, contains all the concerns and humor inherent to the age, and Maureen Hume does an excellent job of bringing the children together. I will highly recommend this engaging tale to my pre-teen grandchildren and others of their age group.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Country House Courtship by Linore Rose Burkard

A truly enjoyable read, The Country House Courtship, third in Linore Rose Burkard's "Inspirational Romances for the Jane Austen Soul" shines through all the twists and turns in the road for Ariana Mornay's sister, Beatrice Forsythe, who considers setting her cap toward Mr. Tristan Barton, a deceitful and despicable scoundrel, unless she is allowed to go to London to find a suitable gentleman of good breeding and fortune.

However, five years earlier, Beatrice had promised Peter O'Brian she would marry him, but she was young then, too young to know what she was really promising. And Peter, who had disgraced himself in the second book in the series, The House in Grosvenor Square, has changed from the selfish, improper man he used to be, and is now a gentle, kind, understanding clergyman with a Christ-like love for mankind, living on a very meager salary. Peter's financial stability (including his ability to marry and raise a family) now depends almost entirely upon Ariana's husband, Phillip Mornay's, generosity. Phillip is not known for his ability to forgive, and Peter's behavior in book two prevents Phillip from trusting Peter completely.

When Ariana becomes gravely ill with a contagious fever, Beatrice sees Tristan Barton in his true light, and wonders in amazement at Peter O'Brian's compassion and empathy. But, will Barton allow a mere clergyman to marry the woman he already has designs upon? What follows is a romance worthy of its billing, a tuly inspirational romance for the Jane Austen soul.

Well done, Linore! I may have to read this once twice!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The House in Grosvenor Square by Linore Rose Burkard

Ariana's romance continues in Linore Rose Burkard's book, House in Grosvenor Square, but this time the elements of mystery and kidnapping are included. Billed as "Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul," it missed the mark as a true romance novel, as Ariana is already engaged at the opening and happily married at the close, it does make room for lots of mystery and intrigue in between. One has to wonder, however, how many times one woman should be the victim of attempted and actual kidnapping in one novel, and this issue is stretched a little too far. The story did capture my attention and held me there through to the end. While I liked the story, I was very much annoyed at the head-hopping within the book, although Jane Austen did quite a bit of this herself. Abrupt point of view (POV) changes were quite irritating at times, and in one paragraph I counted four POV changes, which made the story a little difficult to follow. While Jane Austen may have been able to pull this off in the Regency era, for our modern writing it would have been better had the POV changes been confined to scene changes. That said, I felt the story a likeable one; I have and do recommend it to others. And, I will continue to read Linore Rose Burkard as I believe she has real talent in crafting Regency era novels.