Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Raspberry Jam  -  1920
Carolyn Wells
211 pages
genre  -  Mystery
my rating  -  3 out of 5 stars

My ideal book has an even balance of dialogue and description.  If the balance HAD to tip one way or the other, I guess I would prefer it to go towards the dialogue side.  That is how I would define Raspberry Jam - lots of talking.

List of characters:
Eunice Embury - orphan, raised by her aunt
Abby Ames - Eunice's aunt
Sanford Embury - Eunice's husband
Alvord Hendricks - Eunice's friend and admirer
Mason Elliot - Eunice's friend and admirer
Fleming Stone - a private detective
Terence McGuire, aka Fibsy - Stone's assistant, a boy

Raspberry Jam is a classic mystery story of the 'locked room' style.  According to Wikipedia: "The locked room mystery is a sub-genre of detective fiction in which a crime—almost always murder—is committed under apparently impossible circumstances. The crime in question typically involves a crime scene that no intruder could have entered or left, e.g., a locked room."

It was a very quick read.  For as short as the book is, I thought that the characters were well defined.  I agree with another review that I saw on Amazon: "I was pleasantly surprised to see the main woman in the story wasn't the sweet little damsel who did no wrong. She has a temper and is spoiled. (There were times I got impatient with her.) This adds a great little dimension to the story."  by kindlefan  May 12. 2013

Wells wrote 61 books with Fleming Stone as the detective called in to solve the mystery.  The first in the series is The Clue (1909). Raspberry Jam is the 11th book written. I didn't find out until after I had read the book that Raspberry Jam was part of a series. It certainly didn't feel like I was reading a book from a series.

About the Author  -

Carolyn Wells was born on the 18th of June, 1862  in Rahway, New Jersey.  She was the daughter of William and Anna Wells. After finishing school she worked as a librarian for the Rahway Library Association.

Wells married Hadwin Houghton, the heir of the Houghton-Mifflin publishing empire.

Carolyn Wells wrote a total of more than 170 books. During the first ten years of her career, she concentrated on poetry, humor, and children's books. According to her autobiography, The Rest of My Life (1937), around 1910 she heard one of Anna Katherine Green's mystery novels being read aloud and was immediately captivated by the unravelling of the puzzle. From that point onward, she devoted herself to the mystery genre.

Wells died in 1942.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Zoe  -  1890
Evelyn Whitaker
184 pages?
genre  -  General Fiction, short story
my rating  -  3 out of 5 stars

"Hath this child been already baptized, or no?"

"No, she ain't, leastwise we don't know as how she've been or no, so we thought as we'd best have her done."

At the beginning of the story, Mr. and Mrs. Gray and their teenaged son have brought a baby to a nearby church to be christened. But it's not their own child; Mr. Gray found the little girl at their cottage gate.

Amazon says their ebook has 184 pages.  It was much shorter than that.  There is a paperback version available on Amazon.  It's product page says the book has 52 pages.  That sounds more like it.

There are eight chapters. There is a transcriber's note before the contents page. It reads: "The source book had varying page headers. They have been collected at the start of each chapter as an introductory paragraph..." These page readers remind me of what you read in the Bible at the beginning of each chapter. For example, here is the heading for Chapter 1 "The Christening - An Outlandish Name - The Organist's Mistake - Farmwork - Tom and Bill - The Baby - Baby and All".

The story kept my interest, although there was not a lot of conversation for easy reading.

About the Author  -

Evelyn Whitaker was born in 1844, the seventh child of Edward Whitaker and his wife Emily Ann Woolbert. Whitaker attended the Ladies College in Bedford Square, which later developed into Bedford College, part of the University of London.

All Whitaker's works were published anonymously from 1879-1915 and her identity was not revealed until 1903.  Many of these editions were beautifully bound and illustrated. Whitaker's writing style was praised as "a study in English for its conciseness, simplicity, and elegance" and Tip Cat was adopted as a textbook for German students studying English.Whitaker's stories were described as "charming, pure, and wholesome," full of "humor and pathos."

For more than a decade after Evelyn Whitaker's death, her two most popular titles, Miss Toosey's Mission and Laddie, continued to be reissued as gift books.

Whitaker died in Hammersmith, London at the age of 84.  She never married.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Maid of Maiden Lane  -  1900
Amelia E. Barr
203 pages
genre  -  Historical, Romance
my rating  -  3 out of 5 stars

According to www.thefreedictionary.com, verbose means:  using or containing an excessive number of words; wordy. While I was on the website I also looked up grandiose, which means: characterized by feigned or affected grandeur; pompous. 

Both excellent words I would use to describe the writing in The Maid of Maiden Lane. Perhaps the author was trying to replicate a much earlier time in American history and the speech used during that time.

Here is part of the opening paragraph:  "Never, in all its history, was the proud and opulent city of New York more glad and gay than in the bright spring days of Seventeen-Hundred-and Nighty-One (1791). It had put out of sight every trace of British rule and occupancy, all its homes had been restored and re-furnished, and its sacred places re-consecrated and adorned."

Soon we are introduced to a young lady, Miss Cornelia Moran.  "She might have stepped out of the folded leaves of a rosebud, so lovely was her face, framed in its dark curls...She was small, but exquisitely formed, and she walked with fearlessness and distinction.  Yet there was around her an angelic gravity..."

Cornelia is the Juliet in the story.  I will leave you to decide who fits the role as Romeo.

What saves this book from a 2-star rating is all the awesome one-liners.  Here are a few:

"...men had better be without liberty, and without God..."
"New York is not perfect, but we love her."
"The Dutch, as a race, have every desirable quality. The English are natural despots."
"Truth is wholesome, if not agreeable..."
"The man who calls a woman an angel has never had any sisters..."

And my favorite?  "Death, is like the setting of the sun. The sun never sets; life never ceases. Certain phenomena occur which deceive us, because human vision is so feeble - we thinks the sun sets, and it never ceases shining..."

About the author  -

Amelia Edith Huddleston was born on March 29, 1831 in Ulverston, Lancashire, England.

In 1850 she married William Barr, and four years later they migrated to the United States and settled in Galveston, Texas where her husband and three of their six children died of yellow fever in 1867.

With her three remaining daughters, Mrs. Barr moved to Ridgewood, New Jersey in 1868. She went there to tutor the three sons of a prominent citizen. Barr did not like Ridgewood and did not remain there for very long. She left shortly after selling a story to a magazine.

In 1869, she moved to New York City where she began to write for religious periodicals and to publish a series of semi-historical tales and novels.

By 1891, when she achieved greater success, she and her daughters moved to Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York. 

She had sunstroke in July 1918 and never fully recovered. She died on March 10, 1919 in Richmond Hill, Queens, New York. She was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, New York.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Major Barbara  -  1905
George Bernard Shaw
96 pages
genre   -  play
my rating  -  4 out of 5 stars

At the beginning of the play, Lady Undershaft has asked her adult son, Stephen, to join her in the library to consult with him on an important issue.  Should she ask her estranged husband for more funds for him and his two younger sisters who are engaged to penniless (comparatively) men? 

You see, Mr. Undershaft has an unusual profession: he deals in warfare.  Stephen complains to his mother: "I have hardly ever opened a newspaper in my life without seeing our name in it.  The Undershaft torpedo! The Undershaft quick firers! The Undershaft ten inch! the Undershaft disappearing rampart gun! the Undershaft submarine! and now the Undershaft aerial battleship!"

This play is a wonderful selection for a book club to read and discuss.  There is so much going on.  You could debate about so many things: Barbara and the Salvation Army, inheritances, values, the power of money, and the qualities needed to be a politician.  Which brings me to my favorite quote in the book:  "He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything.  That points clearly to a political career."

About the Author  -

George Bernard Shaw was born in Synge Street, Dublin, on 26 July 1856 to George Carr Shaw, an unsuccessful grain merchant and sometime civil servant, and Lucinda Elizabeth Gurly Shaw, a professional singer.

Shaw briefly attended the Wesley College, Dublin, a grammar school operated by the Methodist Church in Ireland, before moving to a private school near Dalkey and then transferring to Dublin's Central Model School. He ended his formal education at the Dublin English Scientific and Commercial Day School.

Influenced by his reading, he became a dedicated socialist and a charter member of the Fabian Society, a middle class organization established in 1884 to promote the gradual spread of socialism by peaceful means.

In the course of his political activities he met Charlotte Payne-Townshend, an Irish heiress and fellow Fabian; they married in 1898. The marriage was never consummated, at Charlotte's insistence, though he had a number of affairs with married women.

Shaw's plays were first performed in the 1890s. By the end of the decade he was an established playwright. He wrote sixty-three plays and his output as novelist, critic, pamphleteer, essayist and private correspondent was prodigious.

Shaw died at the age of 94, of renal failure precipitated by injuries incurred by falling while pruning a tree. His ashes, mixed with those of his wife, were scattered along footpaths and around the statue of Saint Joan in their garden.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Miss Million's Maid  -  1915
Berta Ruck  (Mrs. Oliver Onions)
407 pages
genre  -  Romance
my rating  -  4 out of 5 stars

"My story begins with an incident that is bound to happen some time in any household that boasts - or perhaps deplores - a high-spirited girl of twenty-three in it."  Horror of horrors, Beatrice talks to the young man living next door!

An impoverished high-society elderly aunt, her 23-year-old niece Beatrice Lovelace and their maid Nellie live at No. 45 Laburnum Grove, Putney, S.W., London. The aunt refuses to allow Beatrice any association with the neighbors. "They are not our kind...And although we may have come down in the world, we are still Lovelaces, as we were in the old days when your dear grandfather had Lovelace Court. Even if we do seem to have dropped out of our world, we need not associate with any other.  Better no society than the wrong society."

The poor girl is pretty much a recluse.

Everything changes when the maid inherits a lot of money from an American uncle. Beatrice becomes the maid, and Nellie tries to find her way in Society.

What you think might happen definitely does not. What you think will become a turning point in the story is only a side plot.  This wonderful twisty tale kept me on my toes, always wondering what is important.

About the author  -

Amy Roberta Ruck was born on 2 August 1878 in Punjab, India, one of eight children by Eleanor D'Arcy and Colonel Arthur Ashley Ruck, a British army officer. The family moved to Wales where Ruck went to school in Bangor. She then studied at Lambeth School of Art, the Slade School of Fine Art (from 1901) and at the Académie Colarossi in Paris (1904-5).

In 1903 Ruck began a career as an illustrator for magazines such as The Idler and The Jabberwock. From 1905 she began to contribute short stories and serials to magazines such as Home Chat. One such serial was published as a full-length novel, His Official Fiancée (London, 1914), and its success marked the beginning of Ruck's career as a popular romantic novelist.

On 1909, she married the also novelist (George) Oliver Onions, and they had two sons. 

Widowed since 1961, she died in Aberdyfi, Wales on 11 August 1978, only nine days after her 100th birthday.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Winning of Barbara Worth  -  1911
Harold Bell Wright
329 pages
genre  - General Fiction, possibly Literary Fiction
my rating  - 4 out of 5 stars

Three men and a boy are headed from the port city of San Felipe, California to Rubio City, a frontier town along the Colorado River, where "there is only a rude trail - two hundred and more hard and lonely miles of it - the only mark of man in all that desolate waste and itself marked every mile by the graves of men and the bleached bones of their cattle." 

I really like how one of those men describe the desert where Rubio City is located.  "A thousan' square miles av ut wouldn't feed a jack-rabbit.  "Tis the blisterin', sizzlin' wilderness av sand an' cactus, fit for nothin' but thim side-winders, horn'-toads, heely-monsters an' all their poisonous relations..."

Along their way to Rubio City the travelers find a horse on its last legs.  They follow its tracks to a wagon with no one nearby. They see more tracks, but these tracks are made by small feet, possibly a woman.  They follow those until they find a dead woman, with a four-year-old girl at her side.  The girl says her name is 'Barba'.

This is a fantastic book.  Every once in a while, the author would insert wonderful poetical segments.  My favorite is when the author describes the monsoon season of this area:

"...the spirit of the Desert issued its silent challenge.  It was not the majestic challenge of the mountains with their unsealed heights of peak and dome and impassable barriers of rugged crag and sheer cliff.  It was not the glad challenge of the untamed wilderness with its myriad formed life of tree and plant and glen and stream.  It was not the noble challenge of the wide-sweeping, pathless plains; nor the wild challenge of the restless, storm-driven sea.  It was the silent, sinister, menacing threat of a desolation that had conquered by cruel waiting and that lay in wait still to conquer."

Amazon reports that its ebook edition is 329 pages.  Most printed books are over 500 pages.  Also, more than 15 movies were made or claimed to be made from Wright's stories, including Gary Cooper's first major movie, The Winning of Barbara Worth.

About the author  -

Harold Bell Wright was born on May 4, 1872 in Rome, New York to William and Alma Watson Wright.   When Wright was eleven years old his mother died and his father abandoned the children. For the remainder of his childhood Wright lived with various relatives or strangers, mostly in Ohio.

In his late teens he found regular employment painting both works of art and houses. After two years of what Wright called "pre-preparation" education at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio, Wright became a minister for the Christian Church.

In 1902, while pastoring the Christian Church in Kansas, he wrote a melodramatic story, entitled That Printer of Udell's.  It was Wright's second novel, The Shepherd of the Hills, published in 1907 and set in Branson, Missouri, that established him as a best-selling author. 

Harold Bell Wright married Frances Long and had three children from this marriage.

Although mostly forgotten or ignored after the middle of the 20th century, he is said to have been the first American writer to sell a million copies of a novel and the first to make $1 million from writing fiction.

After struggling most of his life with lung disease, Wright died of bronchial pneumonia on May 24, 1944 in La Jolla, California.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Barty Crusoe and His Man Saturday  -  1908
Frances Hodgson Burnett
248 pages
genre  -  Children's Literature, picture book
my rating  - 3 out of 5 stars

The first line in the book is: "I hope you remember that I told you that the story of Barty and the Good Wolf was the kind of story which could go on and on, and that when it stopped it could begin again."  A very big hint that this story is not the first in a series. 

I did some checking, and Burnett published a book called The Good Wolf a year before Barty Crusoe and His Man Saturday was released.  While I enjoyed reading Barty Crusoe and His Man Saturday, I would strongly suggest you read The Good Wolf first.  There were a few parts in the book where I was puzzled.  I'm sure those would be cleared up with information from The Good Wolf.

One rainy day Barty is up in the attic and he finds a book. "It was a rather fat book, and it had been read so much that it was falling to pieces. On the first page there was a picture of a very queer looking man. He was dressed in clothes made of goat skin; he carried a gun on one shoulder and a parrot on the other, and his name was printed under the picture and it was—Robinson Crusoe."

Barty reads the book and decides that he wants his own adventure on a deserted island.  He calls for the Good Wolf, who arranges the trip.  They have a wonderful time.

The book never mentions Barty's age, but in the illustrations, it looks like he is about 5 or 6-years-old.  Speaking of illustrations, be sure to find a copy of this book with all the pictures and drawings, especially if you are going to read this to a child.  They are wonderful.  Gutenberg.org has a pdf version with all the illustrations and drawings.

About the author  -

I have previously reviewed a book by this author.  Please see my post on June 14, 2013 for the biography about Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Hills of Refuge  -  1918
Will N. Harben
440 pages
genre  -  General Fiction (with some romance)
my rating  -  4 out of 5 stars

My favorite thing to do when I read a book is to look for 'words of wisdom'. By 'words of wisdom' I mean thoughts or ideas that express a truth.  This book is loaded with them. Here's a few:

1. "Was there really such a thing as a new birth in which, under stress of some rare spiritual experience, a man was completely changed?  It might really be so..."

2. "'Oh, it doesn't make any difference what you once were...It is what you are now that counts.'"

3. "It is a great thing to trample an old weakness underfoot and rise up on it."

4. "It isn't one's body that feels the greatest pain, it is the mind, the soul, the memory.  The pain comes from the futility of hoping."

The Hills of Refuge is about two brothers, William and Charles, and their struggles to overcome weakness.  The story is also about love, redemption, and learning to taking responsibility. 

One of the interesting facets about this story is that it felt like it was written as a serial.  There were several denouements towards the last 20% of the book.  I would read what seemed like the end, but then I would realize I still had a ways to go.  And then I would read another conclusion, but still had 10% left on my Kindle.  The true ending was very well written. 

I will definitely look for other books by this author.

About the author  - 

William Nathaniel Harben was born on July 5, 1858, to Myra Richardson and Nathaniel Parks Harben, in the small town of Dalton, Georgia. Harben was a bright, fun-loving youth who showed an interest in writing at an early age.

At the age of thirty, he decided to take his chances on writing as a profession. After several successful short stories, he made his first mark on the literary scene in 1889 with a melodramatic but extremely popular novel entitled White Marie.

He married the South Carolina socialite Maybelle Chandler in 1896. They had three children.

Almost Persuaded (1890), a religious novel, was so well received that Queen Victoria of England requested an autographed copy.

Harben wrote until his death in New York City on August 7, 1919, and was buried in his beloved Dalton, Georgia.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Her Season in Bath  A Story of Bygone Days  -  1889
Emma Marshall
204 pages
genre  -  Historical Fiction
my rating  -  2 out of 5 stars

"It was the height of the Bath season in 1779, and there was scarcely any part of the city which did not feel the effect of the great tide of amusement and pleasure..."  Young Griselda Mainwaring, an orphan and ward of her aunt, was not amused nor pleased with the pressure of accepting the suit of Sir Maxwell Danby.  He was repugnant!  How could she get away from him?

The author tried so hard for this one book to be so many things.  It seemed like it was intended to be an educational historical fiction, part romance (with gothic tendencies) and an inspirational story, to boot!  Included in all this, the author wrote in an awkward style meant to be the common speech of the late 1700's.  In my opinion, it just didn't work.

All that being said, the story did keep my attention throughout the whole.  The plot was well defined, if somewhat predicable. And I learned something in the process.  Evidently, Emma Marshall was well-known for taking a real person and inserting them into her fictional tale.

In Her Season in Bath, the Hanoverian-born British astronomer, William Herschel and his sister Caroline, are neighbors to the young heroine.  Herschel built his own reflecting telescopes. He "began to look at the planets and the stars" in May 1773 and on 1 March 1774 began an astronomical journal by noting his observations of Saturn's rings. 

In March 1781, Herschel noticed an object appearing as a nonstellar disk. It must be a planet beyond the orbit of Saturn. He called the new planet the 'Georgian star' after King George III.  The name did not stick. In France, where reference to the British king was to be avoided if possible, the planet was known as 'Herschel' until the name 'Uranus' was adopted.

About the author  -

Emma Martin was born in 1830, in Norfolk, England and was the youngest daughter of Simon Martin and Hannah Ransome.  Miss Martin has depicted her early childhood in one of her first stories, The Dawn of Life. She was educated at a private school until the age of sixteen.

When as a girl she read Longfellow's Evangeline, she was so much impressed with it that she wrote to the poet, and thus began a correspondence that lasted until her death.

In 1854, she married Hugh Graham Marshall, a banker. They had three sons and four daughters.

Her first story, Happy Days at Fernbank, was published in 1861. Between that date and her death she wrote over two hundred stories.

Marshall died at home on 4 May, 1899, from pneumonia.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Ups and Downs in the Life of a Distressed Gentleman - 1836
William L. Stone
230 pages
genre  -  Memoir
rating  -  2 out of 5 stars

Have you ever read a book where at the beginning you didn't know if it was going to be worthwhile to spend the time on it?  Such was the case when I started The Ups and Downs... 

The introduction is all about an ostrich, the importance of biographies, and an old Emperor from China.  Chapter 1 is about circles.  It's not until Chapter 2 that we meet the subject of the story. 

But somehow I was kept interested through long paragraphs, musings, digressions, and some great one-liners.  It is the one-liners that keeps this book from a one star rating.  Examples:

"...biography is history..."
"...somewhat questionable members of the piscatory family..."  (eels)
"Every patriotic Gothamite should rejoice at each successive indication of an improvement in architectural taste amongst us."

And the best for last:  "The reader has probably heard the story of the Yankee candidate for the mastership of one our common schools, who, on being asked by the inspectors whether he knew any thing of mathematics, answered that he didn't know Matthew, although he had seen a good deal of one Tom Mattocks, in Rhode Island; but he'd never hearn (sic) of his having any brother."

At the end of the book, the author assures us that "...every essential incident that I have recorded, actually occurred..."  I don't know if that's true, and if a Daniel Wheelwright really existed, but I'm glad I read the book.  I'm also glad it wasn't very long.

About the author  - 

William Leete Stone (20 April 1792  – 15 August 1844) was a journalist and historical writer mostly on topics relating to the American Revolutionary War.  His father, William, was a soldier of the Revolution and a descendant of Gov. William Leete.

At the age of seventeen, he became a printer in the office of the Cooperstown Federalist, and in 1813 he was editor of the Herkimer American. Subsequently he edited the Northern Whig, the Daily Advertiser, and the Hartford Mirror. He took a turn at editing a literary magazine called The Knights of the Round Table. He also edited The Lounger, a literary periodical which was noted for its pleasantry and wit. In 1821 he became editor of the New York Commercial Advertiser, which place he held for the rest of his life.

Brown University gave him the Master of Arts degree in 1825. Stone always advocated the abolition of slavery by congressional action.  He was the first superintendent of public schools in New York City.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Enchanted Barn - 1918
Grace Livingston Hill
107 pages ?
genre  - Romance, Inspirational Fiction
my rating  -  4 out of 5 stars

Over the years my mother has told me about her favorite books by Grace Livingston Hill.  I figured it was about time that I read one for myself.  I chose to read The Enchanted Barn.

Shirley Hollister, a young stenographer, is very worried.  Father has been dead for several years now and Mother is deathly ill. It is up to her and her younger brother, George, to support the family. 

Plus, they have received a notice that their apartment complex is being torn down and they have a couple of weeks to move out.  And it's coming up summertime.  It will be too hot for Mother to continue living in the city.  A new home needs to be found soon.

Taking advantage of an unexpected afternoon off, Shirley takes a trolley car going out-of-town.  She sees "...a wide, old-fashioned barn of stone, with ample grassy stone-coped entrance rising like a stately carpeted stairway from the barn-yard."  This would be a wonderful place to spend the summer.  Now if only the owner will rent the barn to them for no more than $12 a month!

Usually I don't enjoy reading inspiration stories as blatant as The Enchanted Barn, but somehow the author as able to pull it off.  Perhaps it was because I didn't feel as if I was being preached at, but that was just the way the characters believed.

Also, I don't think Amazon's estimate of the page count for this book is correct.  It seemed much longer than that.   Other editions of this book show that it has between 295 to 366 pages.

About the author  -

Grace Livingston Hill was born April 16, 1865  in Wellsville, New York to Presbyterian minister Charles Montgomery Livingston and his wife, Marcia Macdonald Livingston - both of them being writers.

Hill's first novel was written to make enough money for a vacation to Chautauqua in New York while the family was living in Florida. Lack of funds was a frequent motivator, particularly after the death of her first husband left her with two small children and no income other than that from her writing.

After the death of Hill's father, her mother came to live with her. This prompted Hill to write more frequently.

The last Grace Livingston Hill book, Mary Arden, was finished by her daughter Ruth Livingston Hill and published in 1947.

Hill died Jan. 1, 1947.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Plain Tales From the Hills  -  1888
Rudyard Kipling
256 pages
genre  -  short stories
my rating  -  2 out of 5 stars

This is my first experience reading anything of Kipling's works.  I did not enjoy Plain Tales from the Hills as much as I thought I would.  I should probably read later publications just to see how much his writing improved over the years.

Near the end of Kipling's years at college, his parents obtained a job for him as the assistant editor of a small newspaper in Lahore, Punjab, (now in Pakistan) called the Civil & Military Gazette.  It was in this newspaper that Kipling published thirty-nine stories between November 1886 and June 1887. Kipling included most of these stories in Plain Tales from the Hills, which was published a month after his 22nd birthday.

Some of the stories are quite short; others are longer.  Some of the stories are humorous; others are very sad.  Some of the stories have a moral; others seem to have no point at all.  Truly a grab bag of tales.  Only a few a the stories would I ever read again.

About the author  - 

Rudyard Kipling was born on 30 December 1865 in Bombay, India, to Alice MacDonald and John Lockwood Kipling.  John Lockwood and Alice had met in 1863 and courted at Rudyard Lake in Rudyard, Staffordshire, England. They married, and moved to India in 1865. They had been so moved by the beauty of the Rudyard Lake area that they named their first child, a boy, after it.

On 18 January 1892, Carrie Balestier and Rudyard Kipling were married in London, in the "thick of an influenza epidemic, when the undertakers had run out of black horses and the dead had to be content with brown ones."  The author, Henry James, gave the bride away.

Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, used many themes from The Jungle Book in setting up his junior movement, the Wolf Cubs. 

Kipling kept writing until the early 1930s, but at a slower pace than before. On the night of 12 January 1936, Kipling suffered a haemorrhage in his small intestine. He underwent surgery, but died less than a week later on 18 January 1936 at the age of 70.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Over Paradise Ridge  A Romance  -  1915
Maria Thompson Daviess
102 pages
genre  -  Romance
my rating  -  4 out of 5 stars

I had to read the opening lines of this book several times.  It just didn't make sense.

"Nobody knows what starts the sap along the twigs of a very young, tender, and green woman's nature.  In my case it was Samuel Foster Crittenden..."

I'm extremely grateful I persevered.  It's a wonderful book, written in an unusual style.  Somehow poetic, with plenty of wisdom. 

Young Betty Hayes has two very good friends who desperately need her help - Sam and Peter.  Betty has known Sam her whole life and now he is trying to start a farm from scratch with hardly any money.  Betty has known Peter for three years now and he is trying to write the next great American play.  She is constantly being torn between the two young men.

There are some fascinating supporting characters:  Sam's younger brother referred to as the Byrd, Peter's anxious father, Betty's crocheting mother just to name a few. 

One of my favorite lines in the book is the description of New York City.  "New York in the daytime is like a huge football game in which a million or two players all fall on the ball of life at the same time and kick and squirm and fight over it; but a night it is a dragon with billions of flaming eyes that only blink out when it is time to crawl away from the rising sun and get in a hole until the dark comes again."

I will certainly look for other works by this author. 

About the author  -

Maria Thompson Daviess was born in Harrodsburg, Kentucky on Nov. 25, 1872. After her father died when she was eight, her family relocated to Nashville, Tennessee. She studied one year at Wellesley College, and then went to Paris to study art.

Returning to Nashville, she continued to paint and also took up writing. Her first novel, Miss Selina Lue and the Soap-box Babies was published in 1909. The Melting of Molly, published in 1912, was one of the top best-selling books for the year.

In 1921, she moved to New York City, where she died on September 3, 1924. She did not marry and had no children.