Posts Tagged With: history

Book Review: Thousand Pieces of Gold – 3/5

Thousand Pieces of Gold by Ruthanne Lum McCunn

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My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s hard to rate these kinds of books anything by the highest rating. I mean, how terrible and calloused of me is it to rate a book about a young Chinese girl who is sold by her family only three stars? But I have to be honest – it just lost me after the first third of the book.

I’m just going to come out and say it. After Lalu gets to the U.S., her life just really isn’t that bad. Now before I start getting hate mail, I understand there was a lot of fear and challenge in her life and I absolutely marvel at that. I get that Lalu was an amazing and strong individual and this is the story of her life. I just felt like the first part, when she was really young, was the true essence of the story. She kind of found her happily ever after – so why did the book keep going?

That’s always my problem with biographies, in all honesty. We’re always forced to read right up to the very end. But someone’s death isn’t always the climax of their life. This needed to end far sooner and it would have proved to be, overall, much more entertaining and impactful.

I can’t say I’m sorry to have learned about Lalu’s life – I am glad that I know this woman existed. I just wasn’t entirely thrilled with the portrayal of her story. I’d only recommend this to someone who has a very keen interest in that time period and geography, otherwise it’s likely not worth your time.

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Book Review: I Shall Be Near To You – 4.5 of 5

I Shall Be Near to You: A Novel by Erin Lindsay McCabe

neartoyou

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This book is such a good example of why I love historical fiction. Historical fiction can take the liberties needed to craft a really excellent story, while still teaching me a little about the lives and actions of past history. For me, nothing makes things like love or loss ring more true than when I’m reading it in a historical context. McCabe does a truly wonderful job of making all that happen in this book.

I Shall Be Near to You is clearly well researched, but you’re not overwhelmed by facts. The book isn’t about the Civil War in of itself; it’s about Rosetta. She’s a feisty woman who wants nothing more than to run a farm with her husband, Jeremiah, a local boy she’s loved forever. Their lives promise to be happy, if it weren’t for the war.

Rosetta’s voice is incredible. McCabe does a wonderful job of using language of the time and of Rosetta’s upbringing (which would have consisted of only an average education). But her farm-like manner doesn’t hinder the reader from seeing how strong, resourceful, and passionate Rosetta is. And never, not for one moment, do we doubt her love for Jeremiah.

Romantic as it is, this isn’t a book for the weak of stomach or for someone who doesn’t have any tissues handy. About half of this book takes place marching or on the battlefield and McCabe provides us with a myriad of visions, sounds, and smells (especially smells!) of what is going on. It’s gut wrenching and I guarantee you heart is bound to break. In all honesty, I didn’t think what happened was going to happen and I was astounded when it did. I think it was best for the story, but I can tell you it was not what I wanted.

What can I say? This is a great story and adds just a little to what we know and think of when it comes to the Civil War. An excellent read.

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