The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden

It’s been over a month since I posted anything. Not that I haven’t been reading, but it’s mostly been for my grad work in library science. Reading about research is not generally blog worthy. However, I may change my mind, and begin to blog about some of my learning. Shouldn’t be keeping all that to myself!

I did recently finish a book by a new author for me. The Lady of Bolton Hill is an historical novel set during the late 1800’s. Clara Endicott is raised by her preacher father and lacks for nothing. Through a mutual love for music, she becomes close friends with Daniel Tremain. Because Daniel is a poor factory worker, Clara’s father send her to England and does what he can to end their friendship.

Years later, Clara returns to American where Daniel has become a wealthy inventor and a leader in industry. When Clara & Daniel meet again, the sparks are still there, but there are still obstacles to their romance. One is Clara still doesn’t have her father (or her brother’s) approval, but even greater is the bitterness & unforgiveness that drives Daniel to seek revenge for the man he considers responsible for his father’s death.

I downloaded this book when it was free on Kindle; a good way to try out some new authors. This was an enjoyable read & a nice break from writing papers & studying research. I look forward to reading Camden’s latest book which you can read about on her website:

Leota’s Garden by Francine Rivers

Leota’s Garden is not the latest by Francine Rivers, but it is new to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

Leota is an 84 yr old woman, living alone, and estranged from her children. Her daughter, Nora, is very bitter towards her mother and has kept her children from getting to know her. However, Leota’s granddaughter, Annie, finds she needs to break away from her mother’s control over her life and seeks out the grandmother she has never really known.

Through getting to know her grandmother, Annie finds out the secrets of her grandmother’s past and the reasons for her mother’s misconceptions. In trying to live out her faith, Annie works to reconcile her family, helping them all to learn about love and forgiveness.

I liked this book because I could relate to the characters. I have seen how hurts and unforgiveness can be caused by not always

knowing the truth of other people’s lives. I appreciated the characters and the struggles they go through, and how Annie puts her faith into action. She has to step away from her mother’s control and stand up for herself, but she never stops loving her mother or trying to help her to understand how she feels.

Out of the Silent Planet–C.S. Lewis

Today is the birthday of C.S. Lewis.  I wrote a little about Lewis last week and today want to talk about the first book in his space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet.

I used this book while teaching literature to some high school students. There are themes running throughout the book such as the value of life, social Darwinism, and the spiritual battle of good & evil which make for very good discussion with this age.

In this trilogy, the main character, Ransom,  seems to be a lot like Lewis himself. He is a professor, an expert in languages and medieval literature, single, and was wounded in WWI, but Lewis always maintained that he fashioned Ransom after his good friend, J.R.R. Tolkien.

In Out of the Silent Planet, Ransom is kidnapped by some scientists who take him to another planet, Malacandra, believing they need him as a sacrifice. Ransom manages to escape after they land & begins to meet the inhabitants of this planet.  Though he is afraid of them at first, he soon learns that they have more intelligence, and certainly are more moral, than the scientists who have kidnapped him. He also discovers that Earth has been exiled from the rest of the solar system due to its fallen nature.

Ransom settles into a routine with these beings and has his ideas about life–mainly, religion and humanity–challenged and questioned. Before he can get too comfortable, though, he is summoned to meet the ruler of  Malacandra. Here, he is challenged still greater about his previous beliefs in God and his own planet, Earth.

Though Lewis was a genius at explaining God & theology in his non-fiction writings, his analogies and allegories are also amazing and thought-provoking throughout his fictional writings.

I used the literature guide from Progeny Press when I taught this book. I highly recommend all of their guides. They divide the book into readable sections with vocabulary and discussion questions. They have several others for books by C.S. Lewis including some of the Narnian Chronicles and The Screwtape Letters and are a Christian-based curriculum.

Happy Birthday, Professor Lewis!

Reinventing Rachel by Alison Strobel

I recently read this book & reviewed it on, so thought I would share it here, too.

In Reinventing Rachel , Rachel has been raised a Christian & has spent her youth & college years ‘living for God’. She believes she is doing all the right things & is living the perfect life, so when things begin to fall apart, she is devastated and feels that God has not ‘had her back’. So, she goes to Chicago to start a new life, away from God.Rachel makes new friends and tries a new life-style, but it’s not long before she finds that God is not so easy to get away from.

Strobel does a good job of presenting some normal frustrations and disillusions that some people have when they have their own ideas of how God should be, how He should behave, and how we should be treated by Him; especially if we have done all of the ‘right’ things and been a basically good person.

At first, I didn’t think I would like this book as Rachel was very unlikable in the beginning, giving a negative viewpoint of Christians that is too easy to find in secular fiction. But, as the story progressed, I could understand her struggles & felt she grew as a character in a believable way.

Here is a video introducing the book: