Category: Philosophy

Book Review | “Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace” by Andra Watkins Autobiographical account of a daughter & father

Posted Thursday, 15 January, 2015 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

Last year, I participated in an epic historical fiction blog tour on behalf of a novel I was itching to delve into ever since it was first offered to me to review for the tour itself! The novel I’m referring to ended up being one of my Top Picks for 2014 (which is included on my End of the Year Survey for 2014; not yet released at time of this posting) due to the breadth of the story combined with the scope of a story-teller who left me ruminatively happy! “To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis” changed my perception of historical fiction as much as “Inscription” by H.H. Miller. Both writers wrote genre-bending narratives that etch themselves into your mind and heart, to a level that sets the bar quite high for others who follow suit.

I was captured by the journey Ms. Watkins was taking on the Trace, camping out in front of a computer with my Mum & Da, watching her videos like you might serial tv! Each video was honest and shot straight from the Trace itself! The only takeaway we wished we had of that experience is the little green calling card for “To Live Forever” which Ms. Watkins held up during each video! She captured our spirits by her unwavering honesty and her cheeky humour which gave us a lift of joy! Whilst she was on the Trace, I hosted her for a review and an interview (the latter of which she replied to at a stop!), but I knew then, what I know now… Ms. Watkins was one author I would support throughout her career. She has something quite special to share with the world and I knew I had discovered something quite extraordinary!

I was contacted by Ms. Watkins who put me in touch with her publicist in regards to reviewing her first non-fiction release, an autobiography of her journey on the Trace and the time she spent with her father. I was honoured she had reached out to me and I quite happily returned a reply to accept. I received a complimentary copy of “Not Without My Father” from Word Hermit Press in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

On my connection to Ms. Watkins: 

I felt connected to Ms. Watkins before and after I read her debut novel, “To Live Forever” whilst attempting to keep in touch with her via her blog. Life ebbed and flowed in the months between when I first met her through the blog tour and January 2015 when I am hosting her for the second time, but one moment in particular I remember we both experienced the same agony at the same time! In July 2014, we were both bitten by spiders and equally allergic to them! We had a lovely conversation about it on Twitter, and I couldn’t help smiling realising despite the miles, she understood what I was going through! She’s an incredible writer and motivating spirit — a person I am genuinely thankful my path has crossed with and of whom I am thankful to interact with during the year.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her through her blog as much as I enjoy our random conversations on Twitter. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time.

Book Review | “Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace” by Andra Watkins Autobiographical account of a daughter & fatherNot Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace
by Andra Watkins
Source: Direct from Publisher

Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero? Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.

After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.

As Watkins trudged America's forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humourous and heartbreaking memoir that asks is one can really turn I wish I had into I'm glad I did.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis,

Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction


Published by Word Hermit Press

on 15th January, 2015

Pages: 238

Published By: Word Hermit Press, 15 Janaury, 2015
Converse via: #NotWithoutMyFather | #AndraWatkins | #NatchezTraceWalk444miles
Available Formats: Paperback

About Andra Watkins

Andra Wakins

Andra lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University. She's still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she'd end up starring in porn films.

In addiction to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed first novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014.

Read More

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Posted Thursday, 15 January, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, ARC | Galley Copy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Father-Daughter Relationships, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story, Memoir, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Natchez Trace, Non-Fiction, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Seclusion in the Natural World, The Natural World, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Vignettes of Real Life, Walking & Hiking Trails

Blog Book Tour | “Softly Falling” by Carla Kelly

Posted Saturday, 22 November, 2014 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Softly Falling by Carla Kelly

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #SoftlyFalling, #histfic, #diverselit

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: 

I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Softly Falling” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I simply adore historical romances, and I have a soft spot for Westerns! I love the intensity of the moment where the two main characters find themselves in a place where they have to fight alongside each other for survival! A great place to curate drama and romance!

Blog Book Tour | “Softly Falling” by Carla KellySoftly Falling
by Carla Kelly
Source: Direct from Publisher

Lily looked at the vastness of the plains, full of cattle, and then up at the sky without a cloud in sight.

"What's going to happen, Mr. Sinclair?" she asked.

"What do you know?"

Fresh off the train from New York City,  Lily Carteret arrives in picturesque Wynoming only to discover that her wayward father has lost his cattle ranch to a lowly cowboy in a card game!

Determined not to let her father's folly ruin her life, Lily becomes a teacher on the ranch. There she learns that the handsome cowboy, Jack Sinclair, has made some wild predictions about the upcoming winter - that it will be unlike anything Wyoming has ever seen. Lily must either cast off her skepticism to work with Jack or risk losing everything she holds dear.

This latest novel by bestselling romance author Carla Kelly is sure to please new and old fans alike. Stirring, tense, and filled with swoon-worthy moments, it's a delectable read that will leave you begging for more!

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462113958

Also by this author: Summer Campaign, Courting Carrie in Wonderland, A Season of Love

Genres: Historical Fiction, Western Fiction


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 11th of November, 2014

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 288

About Carla Kelly

Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from Romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America. She is also a recipient of a Whitney Award for Borrowed Light, My Loving Vigil Keeping and Softly Falling.

Photo Credit: Marie Bryner-Bowles, Bryner Photography

Rugged yet full of Heart: the American West was for spirited survivors:

One of the reasons I love snuggling into a historical fiction drama set within the Rocky Mountain range of majestic jeweled peaks, is because I love the ruggedness of the land with the warm fire of spirit of the people who call the territories home. This was a portion of America where only the rugged at heart could carve out a living and find the joy in the seasons, as hard as they were to survive on little to no means of surplus provisions. This is where the men and women who dared to thrive found themselves in pickles when the heaviest of the storms plundered down around them in the Spring and Winter.

I have always been encouraged by their fiery spirit and their camaraderie to find sparkles of happiness out of a rough-hewn life forged out of necessity and honour. They could teach the art of simplicity and the wealth of faith rooted out of everyday joy and celebrations. Reading stories underlit by raw courage and a sense of instincts labouring to endure whatever nature could see to challenge them with is one reason I find myself drawn into the Western genre; soaking inside one story after another, and gaining a bit of insight into the way the West was settled.

My Review of Softly Falling:

Miss Lily Carteret has not had an easy upbringing; she is the daughter of her father’s heart, but her family in England was quite proper and never fully accepted her uniqueness as a quality they could appreciate. Her grace of statue and her calm fire in spite of such uneasy attitudes gave her a bit of a headway into understanding how to survive in a world of injustices. The colour of her skin held within it’s own beauty of her spirit and the compassion of her mother of whom she rarely speaks of but intuitively knows she had gained a grounding of character. Lily is a formidable woman in an age and time during our historical past where women were not given many opportunities nor a chance to define their lives on the merits of their own capabilities. Yet, due to a change of circumstance in both her station and in her location, Lily not only accepts her plight but shines a light on what is possible inside her mind’s eye.

The story begins on a premise of words whispering out of Thomas Edison about how never to compromise a defeat if you haven’t first uncovered every stone cast against your path. The strength of the quotation is explored through Lily as much as it is in Jack; two unlikely souls finding themselves in the same bit of Wyoming territory where a harsh clime and an undying level of optimism can take you further than a stubborn attitude against change. They each are residing near a rambling ranch where a lone schoolhouse looms silent within a stone’s throw of a towne with less than a dozen children residing inside it. The potential for what the schoolhouse could give Lily is enough of a will for Jack to encourage the lass to consider all options outside the box in an attempt to inspire her forward when life has left her feeling as though she is slowly falling into a vacuum. Neither moving forward or backwards, but rather sliding into a part of her life where uncertainty rules the roost of the early dawn.

The schoolhouse not only offered shelter for a small group of knowledge thirsty children to gain insight into how to read, write and do arithmetic but it sheltered them from a blizzard which arrived without warning and without a whispering sound! Snow funneled down to the earth in such earnest strides towards whitening out the entire ranch, giving Lily only time enough to assess her supplies and attempt to bring a bit of normalcy to the growing tension rising between her and the children. Her mind was filled with concern for her father (recently enroute to the city) and for Jack (elsewhere at the moment) whilst the world turnt dark, cold and frightening otherworldly. The snow’s wrath and extended conditions reminded me of the snowstorm greeting the Northern Tier of the states and provinces of Canada this November of 2014!

In the very beginning of the novel, Jack proffered Lily a premonition of what might come as soon as Winter set in on this small portion of the Wyoming Territory; knowing his intuition was set to rights was one thing, watching it arrive before her eyes was nearly too much weight for Lily to bear. She had grown not in years but in depths of what she was individually capable of achieving since she first arrived off the train; she had taken the bleak situation presented to her and turnt lemons into lemonade. She found her true calling in life (teaching) and she found self-worth was never too far away if you had a bit of ingenuity up your sleeve. Her presence warmed the hearts of the ranch hands and the help of the ramshackle ranch; where even the children learnt prejudice of others had no place in their world. She was not the only multicultural resident, but she was the one who breathed acceptance and tolerance into a slice of the territory which had long since needed to evolve past ignorance.

What I loved the most about Softly Falling is how the pieces of Lily’s life started to fall as soft as early Winter snowflakes, gentle and soft; warming to the spirit and endearing to the heart. She found she was never quite as alone as she felt she were in the world and that suddenly you can find yourself in a well sprung of kindness you never knew you had aligned on your path. The charming bits of the story remind me of a true epic saga, where you tuck yourself into the lives of the characters in such a way as to firmly and rather stubbornly do not move an inch off your seat until your fingers move the very last of the pages forward to gleam what is awaiting you in the ending paragraphs!

Softly Falling reminded me a bit of Love Comes Softly on the level where true love is not always a shower of sparks or lightning bolts, but a reassurance of commitment, trust, and compassion developing into something more solid as hours slide into days and days into months. Love isn’t always a firecracker explosion but true love can fall as softly as a snowflake and endure a soul to another as surely as a thousand year old oak can withstand a blizzard. A testament of strength irregardless of the ills and adversities of life; love can gather itself in thin soil and thrive in a pasture of a fertile harvest.

A soulful grace of story-telling where the characters alight naturally into view out of the pen of Carla Kelly:

Carla Kelly shines her soulful grace of the craft of story-telling within this novel, which accomplishes much more at it’s core than merely telling us a story wrought out of the Western genre within the folds of a Historical Fiction. No, this novel seeks a gentle truth towards telling a story rooted in the realism between the continental divides of race, identity, and personal worth as related to station, lifestyle, and locale. She interweaves a gentle hand of guidance within the minds of her characters, but it is how each of her characters bespeak of their innermost beliefs I found endeared me the most to the novel itself. A prime example of this is how Jack took awhile to realise his fond affection for Lily was far deeper than he was allowing himself to believe and yet, every chance he had to convey his thoughts to the reader, his love shone as bright as the Northern Lights:

My favourite passage from Jack relaying his thoughts on behalf of Lily & her mother:

He had no family, and the two women – one of color and the other of a creamy blend – filled his heart more than he knew at the time. They were ladies of quality but suspended in an unkind world, because they fit no mold.

– Jack from page 50, Chapter 7 of “Softly Falling” by Carla Kelly; see sources below

Kelly has captured my heart for the American West and given me a novel fully supported of cultural integrity and diversity of spirit, soul, heart, and the pursuit of finding your own path when life gives you an intercession of pause to choose how you want to live rather than having a life dictated to you.

An additional note on | character descriptions (per a convo I had on #K8Chat):

If I hadn’t ducked in on the lively and open-minded chat via #K8chat whilst I was working on this book review, I might not have thought to broach this subject, as part of the discussion was focused on how characters of race are presented within descriptive narratives. Specifically how writers tend to lean on descriptive choices pairing food with personal appearances as a method to convey differences in culture, race, and ethnicity. During the chat, I had expressed my thoughts on the topic by mentioning that oft-times when I find descriptive choices that lean on this writing technique to be of a ‘falling short of grace’ for me. Of course, within 140 characters I had to get a bit creative in how I expressed this but suffice to say, most choices come across as contrite, predictable, cliche or used in a way which does not befit the character nor the representation of the diversity the character is illuminating.

However, I said it does depend on context and content, as much as the story itself and not every writer writes the same way per each situation this would arise. Or at least, it was my intention to point this out, but chats on Twitter are such a rapid fire explosion of tweeting, you’d have better luck playing Quidditch! What I mostly have found though is that if you are limiting a person’s outside appearance to being described solely upon shapes, food, or discernible attributes which barter on a consensus of commonality within the trade of books — I feel as though the industry is simply missing out on the opportunity to use a palette of words which befit characters as defined as we would describe someone we met in real life.

I  personally do not see colour nor culture – I see people and their stories; stories yet to be shared or known, but everyone who walks earth has a story to tell. We are as diverse as the four winds, we are as colourful as a kaleidescope and we are as wonderfully unique as we were bourne to be. I always champion writers who find a way to allow their characters to be naturally wrought out of the text of their stories, emerging into the scenes as if they were not only living their truth but they were owning it at the same time.

In the opening chapters of Softly Falling, we are greeted by Lily’s disheveled and disillusioned father, who has never quite turnt an honest wage into an honest living irregardless of which country he’s living inside. A man whose soul was hinged to the bottle and a heart without the will to see past his daily tasks. His greatest gifts of love and joy were his wife and daughter, yet both were ethnically different from himself. Sadly, he was never quite the man either one of them deserved. Rather than establish a line of clarity on what his daughter would appear like disembarking from the train to the man he entrusted to collect her, he relates her origins in direct comparison to a specific type of tea.

What I appreciated seeing how Kelly treated the scene from two different points of view – that of Lily’s father (Clarence) and from Jack, is that Jack felt her appearance and her essence were not being properly voiced. He was embarrassed by the frankness of her father and of the method of his ability to describe her. Jack had more sense in his head than a father could bestow on his own flesh and blood. The dichotomy of their choices proved a telling point — no matter which era we call our own, there are always ripples of indifference in regards to who we are on the outside without seeing our beauty from the inside. I felt Kelly approached this quite well and I sided with Jack instantly on his compassion and his acceptance of Lily.

During the #K8Chat, I was surprised on how lively the discussion had become but one that was full of respect, innocent encouragement of exchanging ideas and an open forum for acceptance on both sides of the topic itself. Some voiced concerns over how descriptive narratives are used or how they are interpreted by readers whereas some who might have felt everything was acceptable were given fodder to chew at the end of the hour. To me the best way forward in a diverse world of literature is where every person (and their character counterpart) has the breathing space to become a part of the world stage of stories — we each have to remain open and honest about our thoughts, our impressions, and the believably of how stories are told. If truism and realism are important, even as book bloggers it would benefit us to remember to voice any concerns we might have as we read diversity in novels as much as celebrating the writers like Carla Kelly who get it right.

Don’t forget to give a nod of gratitude to her publisher, Sweetwater Books/Cedar Fort as well!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

(read more of the convo) (read the chat transcript)

(the chatter who sparked the topic : Melissa Robles (@MeliRobles) | The Reader & the Chef)

(read my essay from #atozchallenge: Letter E The World is a Melting Pot)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

 Be sure to follow the rest of the blog tour:
Softly Falling Blog Tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & Media
This book review is being cross-promoted via:

#IndieWriterMonth Blog Feature of Jorie Loves A Story, badge created by Jorie in Canva

Return May, 2015 to see my second book review on behalf of a Carla Kelly novel:

Summer Campaign Blog Tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

{SOURCES: Book Cover Art for “Softly Falling”, author biography, book synopsis, blog tour badges and the badge for Cedar Fort Publishing & Media were provided by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media and used with permission. Permission granted in notice of copyright for ‘brief passages embodied in critical reviews’ which is why I selected a small quotation to share on my review with the permission of the publisher. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. #IndieWriterMonth badge created by Jorie in Canva. Cross-Posted badge for Riffle created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The live reading tweets in regards to “Softly Falling”:

{ favourite & Re-tweet if inspired to share }

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Saturday, 22 November, 2014 by jorielov in #K8chat, 19th Century, American Old West, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Cats and Kittens, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Clever Turns of Phrase, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Farm and Ranching on the Frontier, Father-Daughter Relationships, Geographically Specific, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Homestead Life, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Lyrical Quotations, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Native American Fiction, Old West Americana, Passionate Researcher, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Spontaneous Convos Inspired by Book, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Western Fiction, Western Romance, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Wyoming

Blog Book Tour | “Proof of Angels” by Mary Curran Hackett

Posted Friday, 21 November, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 7 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Proof of Angels by Mary Curran Hackett

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #ProofofAngels

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Proof of Angels” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Blog Book Tour | “Proof of Angels” by Mary Curran HackettProof of Angels
by Mary Curran Hackett
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

From the critically acclaimed author of Proof of Heaven comes an unforgettable tale that asks the question “Are there angels among us?”

Sean Magee is a firefighter—a hero who risks his own life to save others, running into dangerous situations few have the courage to dare. While fighting a horrific blaze, Sean becomes trapped by flames and is nearly overcome by smoke. Just when it seems that all is lost, he’s led to a window, by what he swears is divine intervention. And then he jumps . . .

. . . into a new life. For years, Sean has shut down his feelings, existing in a state of emotional numbness. Coming through that fire, he knows he can no longer be that man whose heart is closed to the world. But before he can face his future, he must confront his past and everyone in it: the family, the friends, the woman—and the love—he carelessly left behind.

Read the Author's Note to her Readers : on behalf of 'Proof of Angels'

Places to find the book:

Series: Proof Of,


Published by William Morrow

on 4th November, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 320

About Mary Curran Hackett

Mary Curran Hackett lives with her husband and children in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Photo Credit: Laura Winslow

Find out more about Mary on her website, like her on Facebook, and connect with her on Twitter.

My Review of Proof of Angels:

When I was younger (perhaps a bit too young even), I saw the film Backdraft when I was thirteen years old, and the film was so chokingly gutting of emotion – raw reality of the life of a firefighter, I truly felt bereft with a soul-wrenching anguish I could not quite describe but felt to my very core. Comparatively, the lesser known (and sadly short-lived) Rescue 77 was by far my favourite firefighter and medic tv series, as it combined the reality of the job with the humanity side of living your life outside of the firehouse. I also appreciated the family friendly film Firehouse Dog, but what gave me a chilling sense of Hackett’s personal style of telling a firefighter’s story was etched inside an emotionally charged scene of faith with a seed of hope writ inside the opening pages of Proof of Angels.

We enter into the story directly at a flash point of death centering it’s flickering breath onto a firefighter trapped inside a fire which wants to claim his life; yet Sean Magee has a destiny outside this fire, this hell of flame. We enter the story through his internal thoughts and his near-prayer clarity of understanding bare bone truths in the height of a personal descent into a medical emergency where his calm attitude will ultimately give him a balm of peace to survive. His emotions and his actions have an acute sense of urgency, but Hackett honours the situation and the vehicle of the crisis by writing in a realistic portrait of how fire and man can find themselves in a fight against time.

As Sean emerged out of his injuries and was on the road towards recovery, but only just — he made a phone call to his brother-in-law Gaspar, the one person who thankfully understood him and could accept his insecurities. Sean is a hardened man in a lot of ways, bent against his own shoulders for a life he lived where circumstances had taken the better part of his spirit. Gaspar is a saint of a brother-in-law in many ways, as he was the encourager to set a bridge between a brother whose sister was anguished without hearing of his life; a brother like Sean who walked out one day and refused to knit together any lasting ties outside of the odd phone call. It is only fitting I thought as I read these passages, that the one person Sean can rely on in time of need is Gaspar; the brother-in-law he wasn’t even sure had accepted him.

The most soulful insight threaded throughout this novel are the heartprints – the little moments where our hearts have a way of guiding us through a truth only they can see and hear. Our heart is such a powerful source of knowledge, it is well known and recorded how heart transplant parents start to take on the personality and acquire the life goals of the person who gave them them the heart. Our heart is a vessel of our emotional soul, it grieves and it ignites through our experiences, our sorrows, and gather happiness through our laughter. The heart stores everything we are inside it’s small vessel but it’s reaction to who we are and how we live that curates our ‘heartprints’ — invisible impressions etched into our heart speaking the language of the soul itself.

This is a story where choosing to acknowledge a deeper level of meaning out of your life when an intervention alights on your path is the cosmic way of signaling your course is making an about-face turn. Your heading on a new course, charted by where your heart and soul always knew you were meant to tread but where your mind talked yourself out of your own living truth. Proof of Angels is a testament of one sign of how we’re never quite as alone as we feel nor are we ever quite out of step with the path our lives are meant to take. We simply have to remain open to where the guidance we receive is leading us to travel and to be vigilant in understanding the depth of how one life can change another’s path.

I have observed many angels on earth because at any given point of time, each of us has the capability to be an angel to someone else; an unexpected mirth of goodwill or a shelter from a rising storm of anguish. We’re interconnected but there are times where fear and anxiety can overrun the logic of trusting who cares about you during a time of adversity. The pebbles and rocks which jut into our lives can metaphorically represent the little corkscrew knots of life lessons interceding on our journey to teach us something we have not yet come to understand. So too, can we receive the blessing of a gift disguised as adversity, crisis and trauma. Sometimes you have to stand still in order to move forward.

Writ inside Proof of Angels are eight original key signs (and 11 extraordinary new ones) which have the greatest impact on Sean, but they are a clue to the reader of how to re-see what is already known within their own life. To see past where our sight is limited and to truly see what is stitched around us as we walk, live, and breathe.

On the introspective writing style of Mary Curran Hackett:

I loved the fact as soon as I started to dig inside Proof of Angels, the author did not disappoint me; not even once, where she could have taken the lighter road towards telling Sean’s story, but if she had it would only have led to a half-truth. No, Ms. Hackett knitted into her novel (the sequel to Proof of Heaven) a confluence of how the human condition within all us attempts to process, accept, and forge a new path out of the ashes of what our previous life contained when everything is lost. We have seasons within our lives, where we go through different cyclic motions of changes but there are critical life affirming and life altering seasons where true growth is only obtained by living through a moment of time wherein we live on faith and through faith alone.

Hackett conveys the discovery period of what a mind and heart can resolve as much as how much strength is required to see past the injuries and the flawed remains of where our bodies heal yet require a bit of re-understanding on how to live a well-rounded life. She dives straight into the spirit of where our soul and mind are fused into one; breathing alive a narrative that gives reflective pause and angst out of emotional recovery: a chance to knit inside your own heart and transform your thoughts on a subject you may or may not have considered.

The greatest struggles all humans have is belief without proof – to trust without sight and to walk without a path. Hackett exemplifies this through teaching through her character Sean how everyone can become whole again after tragedy and how time is a bit more forgiving than anyone would ever dare hope possible. She’s a story-teller who I know I will be seeking more stories to read (the first of this series most definitely!) and an author I am blessed to have found whilst hosting her on a blog tour! How blessed indeed!

I personally adore stories such as these which speak directly to your heart, leave you ruminatively pensive, and create such a living well of joy from having read the story, as to uplift you as only a well-crafted story can! I am ever so thankful to have been in the position of receiving such a beautiful bounty of William Morrow stories this year — their P.S. Editions have given me such a pause of thought and head full of imaginative blissitudes, I am dearly full of gratitude for their keen choices of gracing us with incredible authors who pen incredible stories!

Follow the tag “P.S. Edition” or the posts should generate below this review to see where my thoughts alighted on the other lovelies who have alighted in my hands!

A note on the vulgarity in the story:

I did not attach a ‘Fly in the Ointment’ on this novel for vulgarity inclusive to the story, because I do have one ‘free pass’ for vulgarity in literature which is when a character is going through an emotional upheaval and/or a psychological trauma; to where it is only befitting and honest to say the character(s) are not always going to use ‘calming language’ nor are they going to be blessedly delighted by the changes in their life nor the circumstances that upturnt their internal and external lives. Therefore, despite the vulgarity, it is blessedly apt where it appears and not sprinkled on every page, for which I applaud Hackett for her choices and her infrequency. If you’d prefer not to read any vulgar words (which is my general rule of thumb myself!), I would not advise you to pick this one up as it is a colourful novel in this regard.

Notation on Diversity in Lit:

I was so engrossed with this novel from the start to the finish, I had barely had the proper chance to realise Sean’s brother-in-law was Indian! He had this entire life in India before he transitioned stateside and had a second chance at love with Sean’s sister Cathleen. Gaspar is authentic on the level his ethnicity isn’t out of step with who he is nor is his character’s presence one that feels out of step with the story’s heart. I loved Gaspar’s inclusion into the story because he had to learn a few things alongside Sean; both had fractured pasts and emotional angst to recover from but it was how he was written to reflect a doctor’s point of view on the art of healing – not just by spirit and emotion but by physically allowing yourself the grace to heal was a lift of spirits. He was humbled enough to realise he did not understand everything but his character had a growth spurt in transitioning out of a mindset where only his thoughts and/or impressions on a subject were the only ones logical and acceptable.

As an extension of the #K8Chat (read the transcript; or my review of “Softly Falling” where I wrote a bit more about it), Thursday night on Twitter I made the choice to start to remember when I find diverse characters alighting in the stories I am reading where the characters are honestly represented as natural as if they walked off the page and sat down next to you in real life sharing a cuppa java to include a note on my reviews! I can attest, Gaspar feels natural and real to me; he has a special part in the story and I was thankful to make his acquaintance!

(threaded throughout my blog is the tag “Equality in Lit”
my preference for showcasing #diverselit)

(a note on the missing links: will update the transcript & review links as they post)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This blog tour stop was courtesy of TLC Book Tours:
{ click-through to follow the blogosphere tour }

TLC Book Tours | Tour Host

See what I am hosting next by stopping by my Bookish Events page!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Proof of Angels”, author photograph, author biography, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The live reading tweets in regards to “Proof of Angels”:

{ favourite & Re-tweet if inspired to share }

Comments on Twitter:

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Posted Friday, 21 November, 2014 by jorielov in Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), Angels, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Equality In Literature, Firefighters & Paramedics, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Medical Fiction, Modern Day, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Public Service | Community Officers, Realistic Fiction, TLC Book Tours, Uncategorized, Vulgarity in Literature, Writing Style & Voice

Book Review | “The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton” an anthology collection of ghost stories writ with a Victorian era curiosity on specters and parapsychological stories #OTBHorrorOctober

Posted Tuesday, 28 October, 2014 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Horror October 2014

Parajunkee Designs

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton

Borrowed Book By: 

After I compiled my reading list for Horror October (of which I blogged about on my post about being a Cosy Horror Girl), I knew that I wanted to borrow this particular collection from my local library. The best resource I have always enjoyed in my life are local libraries, as they have a beautiful outreach for materials outside their collection through the ILL services they provide with other libraries. (I shorten “inter-library loan” to ILL) In my particular case, my local library is part of a consortium of libraries from a portion of the libraries within my state. This means that I can draw books out of collections from larger cities as well as from University libraries. I borrowed “The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton” and elected to blog my ruminations without any obligation to do so. The hardback edition arrived to me via a Community College library within the consortium via ILL.

Encouraged to Read By:

This was one of the novels that was compiled on the List I asked (Mr.) Gregory Fisher @ Riffle Horror to curate for me as a way for me to seek out the cosier side of the Horror genre. I have always had a pure fascination for ghost stories, as there is always such a curious route the individual writer can take as they yield to the supernatural and the presence of each ghost they bring to life on the written page. I personally have a preference for spunky & cheeky ghosts as much as spirits of the recently deceased who are in seek of help from living persons who can either aide them towards finding peace, redemption, and/or justice as a way to transition forward in peace. (I spoke more about this on my review of Lost in Thought)

I have been wanting to read more Classics since 2014 began, as I had all these wicked happy ideas of where I could soak inside the works of the writers’ who not only championed the cause for well-written fiction but who were dedicated to the craft of writing in such a way as to illicit immediate respect and admiration. When I was finally able to join tCC (the Classics Club : my List), I thought for sure each month I’d be reading at least two classic novels! Clearly my year did not pan out as I had forethought it would but that doesn’t discount the fact I knew during Horror October I could finally introduce myself to the writing style of Edith Wharton! As Wharton is already listed on my Classics TBR List due to my interactions with an after canon author during a 2013 blog tour!

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton
by Edith Wharton
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Laszlo Kubinyi
Source: Borrowed from local library

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton are a collection of Gothic Literature Shorts set around the parapsychological phenomenon of hauntings by way of ghosts & spirits who are attached to either physical properties, (i.e. houses) or living persons of whom the ghostly spirit has found an attachment. Each of the short stories transcends what is popularly disbelieved and unwilling to become accepted as bonefide fact that there are experiences past our vision of acceptance where the supernatural lies just outside the stretch of the living soul's observational mirror.

The setting of choice for Wharton to place these stories was inside three distinctly different locales: England, Normandy, & America. Her preference was for the inclusion of a family estate to be the central focus of where her characters not only interacted with the ghosts but where the action of the story itself takes place.

Illustrative plates are included per short story to help the reader fuse directly into the heart of where Wharton hoped to take her readers with the vision of the supernatural she wished to convey.

The following short stories are included in this collection:

  • The Lady's Maid Bell
  • The Eyes
  • Afterward
  • Kerfol
  • The Triumph of the Night
  • Miss Mary Pash
  • Bewitched
  • Mr. Jones
  • Pomegrante Seed
  • The Looking Glass
  • All Souls'

Other Works by Wharton listed inside the collection are:

  • The Moose Marathon
  • The Mudslipper (Children's Lit)
  • Mistress & Other Creative Takeoffs (Short Stories)
    with Desmond Sim & Kwan Loh

This summary of a synopsis was written & composed by Jorie @ Jorie Loves A Story.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Ghost Story, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Suspense


Published by Charles Scribner's Sons

on 1973

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 276

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 28 October, 2014 by jorielov in #HorrorOctober, 19th Century, Anthology Collection of Stories, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Discussions, British Literature, Classic Mystery, Classical Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Cliffhanger Ending, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, England, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Library Find, Literary Fiction, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Mental Health, Motion Picture Adaptation, Parapsychological Suspense, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Reading Challenges, Short Stories or Essays, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, tCC The Classics Club, the Victorian era, Writing Style & Voice