Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Silent Songbird: A Book Review

 Hello all. I apologize for my distinct lack of posts. It's a common excuse but a lot has happened in my life including moving into my college residence and starting a new school. There are some changes coming to the blog and with those changes I wish to resume a more regular schedule. But for now, I present to you a review of The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson!

Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost.

Image result for the silent songbird cover
Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.

To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.

Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn't even a servant.

Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England's monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?

I have to admit. This isn't my favorite Melanie Dickerson book. It's good, though, and a worthy addition to her collection of fairytale retellings. If you couldn't tell by the title and description, this is a retelling of Little Mermaid. There are no mermaids involved, however, since like her other novels, this is also a historical. 

So let's talk plot. Like in The Little Mermaid, our heroine, Eva, gives up her speech. Her reasoning is far different from Ariel's, however, and she only pretends muteness. Her plan isn't totally thought out, however, because she finds herself missing her ability to speak very quickly when she falls for the handsome and kind Wesley Le Wyse. *Bats eyes*. The plot was decent and for the most part Eva's choices made sense. Who would want to marry a horrible man way older than them? There were parts of the plot I wished were expanded, but to discuss them would provide too many spoilers. Let's just say that like in the original Little Mermaid, Eva has to save Wesley at one point and I wish that Eva would have had more interaction with some of the people involved in that. Otherwise, the plot was well-rounded and I enjoyed some of the historical details Dickerson included, like scratching pray requests on the chapel walls. 

The characters were fine, though I notice that sometimes Dickerson's characters in different novels are somewhat similar. Perhaps it is just the way I read them. I like the fact that Eva feels guilty over her lies and doesn't just let it go as a character would in many novels. Since this is a Christian novel, I'm happy to see Christian morals upheld and guilt to be applied to the act of lying. I liked Wesley, of course. Dickerson always writes swoonworthy male leads and Wesley is no different. He's kind, adorably sweet, and likes Eva even when he thinks she's a poor mute. Gotta love it when I wealthier guy isn't snooty. After the amount of 'bad boys' in recent fiction, it's so nice to see some kind-hearted ones as well. 

The rest of the cast fulfilled their roles as well. The villain was perfectly villainous and nasty and the king was completely out of it for most of the novel. I had to do some research and the young king from this story had a sad end in real life, dying several years after this story after his kingdom is taken over. I love that Dickerson included a historical character as a large part of her novel and overall I enjoyed this story! You can find a copy at Amazon or wherever it is sold.

~ a rambling author

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Lost Girl of Astor Street Clue Hunt: Clue #19

Hello, lovely friends and welcome to the Lost Girl of Astor Street Clue Hunt! The fabulous Stephanie Morrill's latest book has just released and here is a bit more about it:

Lost Girl of Astor Street_cover (2)Lydia has vanished.

Lydia, who’s never broken any rules, except falling in love with the wrong boy. Lydia, who’s been Piper’s best friend since they were children. Lydia, who never even said good-bye.

Convinced the police are looking in all the wrong places, eighteen-year-old Piper Sail begins her own investigation in an attempt to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. With the reluctant help of a handsome young detective, Piper goes searching for answers in the dark underbelly of 1924 Chicago, determined to find Lydia at any cost.

When Piper discovers those answers might stem from the corruption strangling the city—and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood—she must decide how deep she’s willing to dig, how much she should reveal, and if she’s willing to risk her life of privilege for the sake of the truth.

From the glitzy homes of the elite to the mob-run streets of 1920s Chicago, Stephanie Morrill’s jazz-age mystery shows just how far a girl will go to save her friend.

Now, I know you're really here for the clue, but first, Stephanie has some awesome content to share with you, including this snazzy list,

                                                                  10 Things to Love About the 1920s.

10. Men wearing fedoras and other kinds of hats. A pretty dapper time in men's fashion.

9. The general glitz of fashionable evening wear. Beaded dresses and sparkly diadems and fringe hems.

8. The cheesy slang. The bee's knees, the cat's pajamas, the elephant's instep. It's hard to pick

7. Handkerchiefs: I was so excited to finally write a book where a guy could offer a girl his handkerchief when she was feeling distressed.

6. The Fitzgeralds. The way that F. Scott and Zelda came to embody the 1920s just fascinates me.

5. The Charleston: I'm not a dancer, but that song lifts my spirits. I would have enjoyed learning that.

4. The simplicity of women's dresses. No corsets, no complicated buttons up the back of a dress. Lots of simple lines and comfort.

3. Bobbed hair. I currently choose to wear my hair long, but I love that this decade made it acceptable for women to wear their hair short if they wanted.

2. Improved health care for women. Now that women could vote, politicians started caring a lot more about things that women cared about. Birthing centers at hospitals improved greatly during this decade.

1. Cloche hats, those bell shaped hats you see flappers wearing. I seriously adjusted the year my story was set in when I discovered cloche hats were not popular until 1924.

Stephanie Morrill Low Res

Stephanie Morrill is the creator of and the author of several young adult novels, including the historical mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street. Despite loving cloche hats and drop-waist dresses, Stephanie would have been a terrible flapper because she can’t do the Charleston and looks awful with bobbed hair. She and her near-constant ponytail live in Kansas City with her husband and three kids.

Being a part of this hunt has been great fun. Write down the hint and head to the next stop. (Pst... if you can't find it, here's a hint--the text is a different color.) Onward and good luck!

Clue 1: Stephanie Morrill
Clue 2: Some Books Are
Clue 3: Gabriella Slade
Clue 4: Page by Page, Book by Book
Clue 5: Pens and Scrolls
Clue 6: Singing Librarian Books
Clue 7: Heather Manning
Clue 8: Annie Louise Twitchell
Clue 9: Noveling Novelties
Clue 10: Kaitee Hart
Clue 11: Classics and Craziness
Clue 12: Zerina Blossom
Clue 13: Rebecca Morgan
Clue 14: Keturah's Korner
Clue 15: That Book Gal
Clue 16: Anna Schaeffer
Clue 17: Hadley Grace
Clue 18: Lydia Howe
Clue 19: Ramblings by Bethany
Clue 20: Matilda Sjöholm
Clue 21: Lydia Carns
Clue 22: Broken Birdsong
Clue 23 & Clue 24: The Ink Loft
Clue 25: Roseanna M. White