Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Our Favorite Reads in May--One Historical Fiction, One Christian Fiction

As usual we read so many good books in May that it was difficult to choose only one that we liked best but choose we must so this is what we chose:

Historical Fiction

Gerard's is The White Cascade--The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest Avalanche by Gary Krist This is the second captivating book I've read by this author and both are fantastic reads! This non-fiction book is about two trains that were stuck in a huge snowstorm and were eventually hit by an avalanche! The writing is what makes this book so good. You hear from the people on the trains, the people trying to help, and the one person in charge of the railroad at the time. I got the sense I was right there! I hope Gary Krist writes another book; I'll be sure to read it too!

See my review of the other book I read by Gary Krist: City of Scoundrels about Chicago.

Karen's Favorite:
Christian Fiction

Since I already shared the link to our review of Outlaw Platoon which we both liked very much, I will choose Words by Ginny L. Yttrup.  This is an inspirational quick read that is about choices, redemption, hope, healing.  Kaylee, a little girl is abandoned by her mother and left with her boyfriend to be neglected, abused and raped.  They live in a little cabin in the woods and the girl stops talking.  She finds words comforting and reads the dictionary over and over to help her focus on something else while hoping that maybe her "mother will come back today."  When Sierra, a woman whose child died just a few days after birth due to Sierra's drug addiction, visits the cemetery on the 12th anniversary of her child's death, spots Kaylee in the hollowed giant redwood tree and thinks she saw a ghost.  Sierra is lonely so takes in a stray dog she names Van Gogh.  The dog helps comfort Kaylee when they meet and is a wonderful addition to the story.

Sierra finally is able to accept God's forgiveness and move on with her life as she starts thinking about Kaylee and becomes her friend.  Kaylee looks forward to seeing the nice lady in the woods again at her special spot inside the tree.  Kaylee doesn't talk, but can communicate by writing and has an unusually big vocabulary for a girl her age.  Through Sierra, Kaylee discovers Jesus is the most important word and learns the truth that He really does love her and is able to set her free from the screams in her head and help her to speak again.

I liked this Christian fiction book very much in spite of the "fairy tale" ending.  I couldn't help but pull for Kaylee and Sierra to get together and thought the Children's Services worker did a good job.  Sierra was searching for God's purpose for her life and it was very realistic how because of her past with drugs, she was able to sympathize with Kaylee's mom and was torn between helping her get better or not because she was afraid of losing Kaylee.  The abuse Kaylee endured is done in good taste, leaving details to the reader's imagination.  There is so much humor and love in this book that prevents it from becoming depressing.  The dog, Van, was a great addition to this book, showing how pets can by wonderful companions and give unconditional love.  The information about the giant redwood trees was interesting too and provided symbolism throughout the book.  This book even inspired me to read my little dictionary, a page a day!  This is a great read that I highly recommend and am so glad I read!
(Karen's review)

Gerard's review of Words:
This book is told by two people:  Kaylee, a 10-yr.-old girl who is abused physically, sexually, emotionally and neglected at her cabin in the woods, then abandoned by her mother who is a meth addict and Sierra, a young woman who mourns the death of her baby and finds Kaylee who she wants to help. I liked this book very much.  It's a good story and I got into it right from the start.  I highly recommend you read it too!  It's a feel good book and you will feel happy at the end.

Close Runners up for both of us were:  Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick.  If you like to read, check out our book blog at Grab a Book from Our Stack.  Click on our May Archives to see all 26 books we read in May.

(We are donating 50 cents for each legitimate comment we receive on all our blogs during June and July to The Wounded Warrior Project which helps wounded warriors and their families returning from current conflicts.)

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Rebecca said...

The Krist book looks good. I am going to look for it when I finish my current stack. The other books looks too heart-rending, even though it has a happy ending.

Mountain Woman said...

Both books sound good. I'm reading a fiction book about Marie Antoinette at the moment and I do love both historical fiction and non fiction stories. Thanks for sharing.

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