Category: Judaism in Fiction

Book Review | “Tea & Crumples” by Summer Kinard

Posted Sunday, 29 May, 2016 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: Whilst participating in #LitChat last Summer [2015] about Indie Publishers and the stories they publish, I found two publishers in attendance. Light Messages Publishing happily corresponded with me a bit after the chat concluded. Whilst in communication with their publicity department, I was encouraged to look through their beautifully lovely catalogue and see if one of their upcoming releases might suit my bookish curiosities. This selection was suggested to me due to my appreciation for tea: “Tea & Crumples” by Summer Kinard, who had attended the chat. If your curious about the Small Press Showcase #LitChat I attended you can replay the conversation in whole by visiting the Nurph Channel for LitChat where it’s archived.

This marks my second review for Light Messages Publishing, as I began reviewing for them with my review of “The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley” of which I loved! I received a complimentary copy of “Tea & Crumples” direct from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I applaud Light Messages as an Inspiring Publisher of Realistic Stories:

Of the two stories I picked to read first by Light Messages, it was Tea & Crumples I nearly felt I might not have the strength to read as I knew it hit on a harder story arc than I generally allow myself to read. I am mindful of my emotional sensitivities as much as other ‘triggers’ in fiction that are outside of what I can tolerate to read (most of which are listed on my Review Policy; but a few surprises still can happen despite my self-control to recognise what will affect me) – however, with this story, I felt a connection to the novel’s heart as I read about it’s premise. It’s hard to describe – sometimes I feel like I’m guided by grace and the faith I lean on everyday – my entire blog life (and my activities in Twitter) have been a walk of faith in other words.

I get certain intuitive glimpses about stories – sometimes it’s a miss on my judgment calls, but more times than naught when I feel especially keen on a story such as this one, I decide to trust that instinctive nudge to read a story! I should have realised Light Messages would challenge my heart in a good way rather than an adverse one – as despite my trepidation, as soon as I settled into the narrative and the graceful textured style Kinard’s writings spilt out into the novel – I found myself comfortably relaxed inside where Tea & Crumples would take me!

This was quite similar to how I felt wrapped up inside The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley, as I could not take my eyes off the text nor fully yield to pull myself out of the world Örnbratt created! The writers being published at Light Messages have an intuitive way of alighting their readers inside a fully conceptionalised story with strong inspirational messages and lives backlit by faith, love and hope. It’s a pleasure for a lifelong reader of INSPY fiction to discover but moreso than that, I applaud the strength of the stories they are publishing as a whole.

My third author I’ll be reading is Deborah Hining – I have a feeling she’s going to leave an equally strong impression on me, as all three authors combined have a bit of a common threading between them, if you think on it a bit! Laughs. I am simply drawn into lives of strong women who have an obstacle in life or faith affirming moment arising out of their ordinary hours to embrace. I love finding INSPY stories who have a textural element of insight of real-life inside them – where they broach inside what I refer to as INSPY Realistic Fiction as they are such hearty composites of our modern lives or the historical past; depending on the story.

I also like writers who stitch together the faith of their characters through their internal thoughts and show how faith is a cornerstone of their lives; as natural as breathing and as readily important! Thus far, I am happily soaking inside the works by Light Messages authors – finding the publisher truly understands what modern INSPY readers are seeking and how blessed we are the authors are writing such grounded stories of strength and perseverance!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Book Review | “Tea & Crumples” by Summer KinardTea & Crumples
Subtitle: faith, tea, love : a novel

“Tea is how I love people.”

Welcome to Tea & Crumples where tea brewed strong with grace has the power to bring people together. The click of chess pieces and susurrus of fine papers mingle with aromas of warm pastries, tea,
and the caramel of hospitality. Through it all, the steady love of God pours out in daily rituals.

Meet Sienna, whose spiritual gifts are the heart of the shop. Walk with her as she struggles to believe in miracles even while she walks in the shadow of death under the weight of temptation.

Tea makes Sienna remember. She remembers pain in order to hold fast the joy of her lost daughter and happiness gone in order to hold fast to Peter’s love. Tea is there with Sienna when every bit of her has
been poured out. So are her friends. They keep vigil when all that’s left is faith, tea, and love.


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-61153-123-7

on 2nd November, 2015

Pages: 314

Published By: Light Messages Publishing (@LMpublishing)

Author Page @ Light Messages Publishing
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #TeaAndCrumples

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

About Summer Kinard

Summer Kinard

Summer Kinard is the mother of five, a tea lover, soprano, and author of inspiring novels and curricula for active learners.

She writes about faithful people overcoming trials with the help of tea, friendships, and love. Summer’s first novel, Can’t Buy Me Love, was a USA TODAY Happy Ever After pick for Women’s Fiction. Her paranormal Orthodox Christian romance, The Salvation of Jeffrey Lapin, has received glowing reviews from readers.

Summer writes about faith, tea, and love in journeys of healing. Follow her family’s journey with tea at TeaAndCrumples.com. You will find up to date posts on her writing life at her site: WritingLikeAMother.com, or follow her on Instagram for up to the moment updates. All links are below.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Balancing Life Amidst Chaos:

Although I have taken up java since I turnt twenty-nine (soon to be eight years past), there is something quite authentic about how ‘tea’ can calm your ever last nerve; the aromatherapy notwithstanding; when you brew a cuppa tea – it’s almost as if the act itself has a calming effect long before the brew sets the leaves into the water. I could readily see why Kinard showed how tea fused serenity into Sienna’s life and how the art of tea-drinking was a ritual she appreciated with her husband Peter. Tea has this way of encompassing more of your life than it detracts. I even know java won’t last as long as tea in my drinking habits, except for a return to the ‘green bean’ of Yirgacheffe (the one brew of java that tastes like tea!)!

If tea can help purport balance into one’s life, it’s healthy attributes for your wellness is equally as keen! Sienna knows tea is only one component, she leans hard on her faith even during the hours where her mental focus is off-kilter; she prays as readily as I used to find meditative bliss in the motions of Tai Chi Chaun! Sometimes your prayers change through how you approach a prayerfulness in your life’s activities; ebbing in and out of you as you find new ways to sort through your thoughts and become mindful of your spirit’s rhythm. Read More

Divider

Posted Sunday, 29 May, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #LitChat, 21st Century, African-American Literature, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, ARC | Galley Copy, Author Found me On Twitter, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Bread Making, Cancer Scare, Christianity, Clever Turns of Phrase, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Foodie Fiction, Gluten-Free Foods, Healthy Baking, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Judaism in Fiction, Judiasm, Life Shift, Light Messages Publishing, Loss of an unbourne child, Medical Fiction, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Nurses & Hospital Life, Parapsychological Gifts, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, Using Natural Sweeteners, Women's Fiction, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, World Religions, Writing Style & Voice

+Blog Book Tour+ The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman

Posted Wednesday, 24 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman

Published By: Ecco (@eccobooks)

an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Official Author Websites: Site@sbfeldman  | Facebook
Available FormatsHardcover, Ebook

Converse via: #TheAngelOfLosses

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Angel of Losses” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher Ecco, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I am always seeking stories which will challenge my mind and take me somewhere completely outside of where I have travelled before in literature. I had a sense that this was a story that I would devour — a story which would alight inside the vast plane of my imagination and give me something hearty to chew on afterwards. It was a premonition of a reaction long before the ARC ever arrived by Post. Do you ever find yourself stumbling across an author or a novel that you simply ‘know’ will leave an etched impression on your mind?! This is what I felt when I read the premise of Feldman’s novel and as I read the final words cast on the final page of the last chapter, I knew my premonition was true.

A notation on the cover art design:

The cover art for The Angel of Losses is a mosaic of the visual representations and clues of where the story leads you to follow it’s epic conclusion and of whom you need to pay particular attention to as the story evolves. Pictorial stimulating clues that you will only recognise as you alight on the pages in which give you the insight to understand the circle of their presence. The story is nearly a riddle when all is said and told – a riddle of a theory and a puzzle of an ancient truth aligning forward out of history.

+Blog Book Tour+ The Angel of Losses by Stephanie FeldmanThe Angel of Losses
by Stephanie Feldman
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

The Tiger’s Wife meets A History of Love in this inventive, lushly imagined debut novel that explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters.

When Eli Burke dies, he leaves behind a mysterious notebook full of stories about a magical figure named The White Rebbe, a miracle worker in league with the enigmatic Angel of Losses, protector of things gone astray, and guardian of the lost letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God.

When his granddaughter, Marjorie, discovers Eli’s notebook, everything she thought she knew about her grandfather—and her family—comes undone. To find the truth about Eli’s origins and unlock the secrets he kept, she embarks on an odyssey that takes her deep into the past, from 18th century Europe to Nazi-occupied Lithuania, and back to the present, to New York Stephanie FeldmanCity and her estranged sister Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli’s past.

Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can—and cannot—escape.

Author Biography: Stephanie Feldman is a graduate of Barnard College. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and her daughter.

Genres: Magical Realism



Places to find the book:

Published by Ecco

on 29th July, 2014

Pages: 288

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Elements of Folklore, Mythology, & the Craft of Stories within a Story:

One of the most beautiful additions to a story I am reading is the otherworld presence of either folklore, mythology, or the craft of how stories are told as they are passed down from one generation to another; oft-times referred to by myself as ‘living  histories’ as they truly are ‘the living history’ of a particular family. Inside Feldman’s novel, you gather a proper sense of time, place, and the stability of connection between the sisters and their grandfather was unified through the genesis of his art for story-telling. Their connective bond was untethered as they grew apart as they aged, but what I loved is seeing how the grandfather’s stories took such a central focus and method of shifting the story forward as I read deeper into the novel itself. To the level that his handwritten stories and prose scribbled into his notebooks were shared with the reader from one chapter into another. It felt very natural to go from an ordinary day out of Marjorie’s life, straight into a piece of this story she only had a peripheral knowledge of before finding one of her beloved grandfather’s notebooks.

My Review of The Angel of Losses:

Such a haunting and riveting opening of a Prologue for The Angel of Losses as we are caught inside of a memory of two sisters who are transfixed and spellbound by their grandfather’s tale of a land far away where a magician knows part of the truth of a missing son of a King. What implored me forward from there is this sense of foreboding, where did the tale leave off from the lore of the bedtime story and where did reality step forward out of the tale? I love feeling an undercurrent of suspense when I read a novel, and as this is my second Magical Realism with an under thread connection to Judaism (as the first was The Golem and the Jinni) I was mesmerized! Entering the story out of the Prologue, time has shifted forward for both sisters, as Holly (the one who was horridly afraid of her Grandfather’s story) switched religions and lived an orthodox life whereas her sister had grown into a bittersweet version of her younger self soured on how the loss of her sister has affected her heart. Her sister is still living, mind you, but the version of Holly as an adult is a far cry from the sister Marjorie knew as a child. The two are living worlds apart rather than mere blocks or cities separated by streets and the swirl of modern life between them.

I loved seeing the larger sense of their familial bond being tested by how one half of their connection is being shattered by the inability to have compassion outside of religious grounds. In this instance, I am referring to Holly’s husband is not accustomed to a non-Jewish family nor does he condone non-religious texts inside his home. A home that was inherited to Marjorie but on loan to Holly; the mere fact that Marjorie has to refer to Holly as Chava is another wrinkling thread of Marjorie’s disfavour of Holly’s choice in husband. You gather the sense at this point in the story where Marjorie is attempting to lock a hold of her past into her present, that the sister’s disconnection was already occurring long before Holly made her choice in marriage. There is an absence of words and an absence of sisterly compassion between both of them, and it points to a larger issue at hand that is slowly unfolding in the narrative itself. I like being caught up inside of a family drama, watching everything unravell as the story unfolds on its own timeclock.

Feldman has a gift for narrative voice stemming out of a wordsmith’s spirited soul for visceral imagery – she innately has gifted us with a special treat of a story, giving us a full-on adventure as we hug to the coattails of Marjorie as she pieces together the legacy and the history of a fabled Magician and the true meaning behind where the lore was always meant to take a believer; the latter of which she never felt she could ascertain on her own behalf. It is a true quandary of a problem – how to root out the history of a theory she has nibbling inside her own mind which other scholars were equally mystified about themselves? Her journey towards understanding edges her further into the mythes and pathos of ancient ruminations.

There are moments whilst I am reading I have gathered a proper sense on how each novel I consume is a building block for another yet to be known novel I will pick up in the future. As if I were stitching a tapestry woven exclusively with the threads and stitches of knowledge itself and of wisdom flowing out of the stories by which have enchanted my mind and enraptured my heart. Each story which slips into my mind’s eye has allowed me to grow, to transcend where I was before I read the story and to appreciate a bit more than I had already before the characters had lived their lives as a shadowy presence inside my own spirit. As I went deeper inside this story, I noticed little nuances of memory flittering through my internal memory files; automatically opening, closing, and filtering as I read Feldman’s prose. I had not realised I had amassed enough knowledge of the religious past to propel myself forward through this story at such an alarming clip of a pace! I cannot wait to re-read this novel when time is not extinguishing off the clock whilst a deadline was passed and overdue.

The researcher in me was happily appreciating the sections devouted to Marjorie’s attempt to research her thesis as much as research further into the legacy of her grandfather’s story. As she was always on the brink of realising that the story itself was much more than it first appeared to be. Being hunkered inside a library, piles of books atop of a table, and pages littered with bookmarks, post-it notes, and notebooks clotted full of scribbled ‘spur of the moment’ notes is what makes my own writerly heart go aflutter! Research is in part how I fell in love with writing, and it is research of another writer I treasure whilst I am reading their own stories cast out into the world for us to find. There is an electricity of excitement reading The Angel of Losses,…

At some point I started to read on autopilot, willing myself past sleep and choking myself a bit on exhaustion, but I simply needed to know how this story, this novel was going to end. I was a bit worried it might end on a cliffhanger, as I never take too kindly to ambiguous endings of stories; especially without the foreknowledge of a pending sequel. Two hours blinked off the clock and I’m at a loss for words — I’m so absorbed into this story, I feel as though I am the one pursuing the research to understand what is just outside of my own memory. This story is not like any other I’ve read and I will never quite forget it either. It is meant to be absorbed and illuminated inside the reader’s mind without revealing everything to the next reader who comes across it. For each of us has to read it ourselves and satisfy our own curiosity,… especially if we’re a seeker of stories and understand the greater meaning of what stories can give us all.

Stephanie Feldman gives her readers a window into a portal of time:

We are stepping through a veil slit into a portal of time made available through an opened window which is the novel inside your hands as your reading The Angel of Losses. Two stories came to mind as I started to read this fantastical journey: The Golem and the Jinni (novel) and The Neverending Story (film) as they are akin to how it feels to step through this world Feldman has provided us to discover. She gave us the same vehicle Bastian had in The Neverending Story, to become one within the story as it unfolded and to live as one with the character as she found where she was going herself. I loved this aspect of the novel because all of reality around me dissolved as I was wholly consumed by the voice of the evoking narrator and the clarity of Feldman’s vision for this unique novel which bent genre and illuminated the world half out of mystic history and half out of the truism of where faith can take anyone if only they were to believe in what is not yet seen.

On the footheels of consuming The Ghost BrideI felt honoured to have had the chance to read Feldman’s tome of esoteric concentration of mystic Judaism cross-sected with religious ancient truths. The suspension of reality and the generous backstories of where the mytho origins of the story can be traced was a treasurement to fall in front of my eyes. I devourted this novel as readily as if I were astride a thunderbolt – even knowing I was outside my intended deadline (as the moon had long since waned and the midnight hours had tilted into a crescendo) I could not yield to sleep. I had to consume the text as quickly as I could process the words on the pages themselves, as my mind was lit aflame by the creativity and the ingenuity of how the historical arc was interlaced into the present of the character’s lives.

Fly in the Ointment:

I counted the words this time and there were less than a dozen splintered out across the whole of the novel. I wasn’t happy to find them; this is an intellectually stimulating piece of literary fiction and they felt misplaced amongst the rhetoric. I am not even sure why they were included in such a brilliant spec of literary voice. They degraded the quality in my eyes, as not only could this stomach their expulsion it was necessary to keep in tact the gift Feldman had writ.

A small explanation on my tardiness:

I had lost hours whilst being needed at the hospital in visitation of my neighbour (as previously disclosed here & here) as much as I was out of the house on another appointment that could not be detained. I attempted to revive the lost hours and run into my deadline without passing through it — but alas, I am quite human and not as immortal as the character inside this novel. Time can be bent but time cannot be recaptured once lost. I apologise for the delayed response, but my tweeting at least was a small clue at my enjoyment whilst I read. I am attempting to make the rest of my scheduled book reviews & tour stops to be alight earlier in the day / evenings from here on out; barring any further unexpected life emergencies, crises, or unplanned events such as lightning storms. 

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This blog tour stop was courtesy of TLC Book Tours:

TLC Book Tours | Tour Host

click-through to follow the blogosphere tour.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

See what I am hosting next:

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, and although I had happily made sure that I could reacquire the WP Comments where you can leave me a comment by using: WP (WordPress), Twitter, Facebook, Google+, & Email a java glitch disrupted my plans to have these activated! Therefore, I had to re-instate CommentLuv, which only requires Email to leave a note for me!

Kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon! 

Reader Interactive Question:

Have you ever alighted inside of a novel that you unexpectedly were swallowed up inside? Taken root inside the shoes of the character, where their life was full of emotional upheaval and partially an exploration of how to create a life shift that will alleviate their disillusion with where their life was heading; to find a different way of living and carve out their own little peace of happiness? Did you ever read a novel that surprised you?

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Angel of Losses”, author photograph, 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. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The ‘live reading’ tweets I shared as I read & reviewed “The Angel of Losses”:

{ favourite & Re-tweet if inspired to share }

Divider

Posted Wednesday, 24 September, 2014 by jorielov in Agnostic (Questioning & Searching or Unsure), Angels, Biblical Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Browse, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Bookish Discussions, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fantasy Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Genre-bender, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Mystery, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired By Author OR Book, Judaism in Fiction, Judiasm, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Literary Fiction, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Magical Realism, Modern Day, New York City, Psychological Suspense, Reincarnation, Religious History, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, TLC Book Tours, Unexpected Inheritance, Vulgarity in Literature, World Religions

+Blog Book Tour+ The Duel for Consuelo by Claudia H. Long

Posted Monday, 1 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Duel for Consuelo by Claudia Long

Published By: BookTrope (@booktrope)
Official Author Websites: Site | Blog@clongnovels | Facebook
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #DuelForConsueloBlogTour & #TheDuelForConsuelo

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Duel for Consuelo” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Claudia H. Long, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

+Blog Book Tour+ The Duel for Consuelo by Claudia H. LongThe Duel for Consuelo
by Claudia H. Long
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

History, love, and faith combine in a gripping novel set in early 1700’s Mexico. In this second passionate and thrilling story of the Castillo family, the daughter of a secret Jew is caught between love and the burdens of a despised and threatened religion. The Enlightenment is making slow in-roads, but Consuelo’s world is still under the dark cloud of the Inquisition. Forced to choose between protecting her ailing mother and the love of dashing Juan Carlos Castillo, Consuelo’s personal dilemma reflects the conflicts of history as they unfold in 1711 Mexico.

A rich, romantic story illuminating the timeless complexities of family, faith, and love.

Genres: Historical Fiction



Places to find the book:

Series: The Castillo Family,


Published by Booktrope Editions

on 2nd of June, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 231

Author Biography:Claudia H. Long

Claudia Long is a highly caffeinated, terminally optimistic married lady living in Northern California. She writes about early 1700’s Mexico and modern day and roaring 20′s California. Claudia practices law as a mediator for employment disputes and business collapses, has two formerly rambunctious–now grown kids, and owns four dogs and a cat. Her first mainstream novel was Josefina’s Sin, published by Simon & Schuster in 2011. Her second one, The Harlot’s Pen, was published with Devine Destinies in February 2014. Claudia grew up in Mexico City and New York, and she now lives in California.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The breadth of history knitted into the text:

I will admit, part of the reason I was drawn into reading this novel, is because although I have travelled to Mexico in my youth, I haven’t had the proper chance to seek out Mexican stories in fiction since the days I spent climbing pyramids and enjoying the local cuisine. I always appreciate stories whose characters are not only culturally diverse but religiously diverse as well – we live in such a beautiful melting pot of a world, that through literature we can all enlarge our compassion and empathy for others simply by picking up books whose characters have strong historically enriched backgrounds and are set during times in the world’s history that may or may not be highlighted in schools. I will admit, very little was covered about the Mexican history concurrent to the Americas time-line, outside of the more well-known events that are briefly covered. I was always a bit curious about our neighbour to the South, wondering about their own historical stories and the growth they had endured as their country grew through the centuries. I thankfully have started to make a bit of headway on my quest to seek out literature of Mexico and South America, as I previously read City of Promises.

I made an exception to read this novel out of sequence from its series, as when I read the full descriptions of the previous novel and cross-compared it with this novel, I felt this second novel was a better fit for me overall. I liked how the story was centered around a tumultuous slice of history with the family’s struggle for balance in a world that is fighting against their very will to find a measure of normalcy.

My Review of The Duel for Consuelo:

As soon as I opened the pages of The Duel for Consuelo, I was greeted by a passionate story-teller who wanted to not only impart the history of the time the story is set but to curate a connective thread to the family within the story itself. In the Prologue, there is a full sense of urgency to gain freedom on distant shores where both time and distance can help restore a blight on a family’s heritage moreso than staying where they have always lived. In this story, there appeared to be an issue of religious heritage that was giving the family a bit of grief, but as the next generation moved forward with their own life lived in the Americas, a sense of compassionate forgiveness was evident as was the hope for a new day for a family I had just barely begun to become acquainted with as the clock moved forward a century.

Yet, as I am settling into the story, the voice of Rosa’s granddaughter comes out quite strong as the narrative vehicle for which this story revolves; through her eyes it is evident that compassion and acceptance is still quite far away from being given. Through her maternal line of origin there is a history of Judaism, a reverence for Jewish culture and faith which is not aligning well for her family during the Spanish Inquisition. Her father comes across rather bearish as his ideal capitalistic pursuits are less shallow than his vain attempts to clarify his role in the community. Consuelo herself feels pulled through this duality of purpose – to be the daughter her father can be proud of and the caregiver of her mother, whose health is not as well as it had been in previous years. She is tied to the home, yet her dreams carry her outside the walls as she goes about her daily routines.

The most sinister moment was when it was revealed that despite her father’s efforts to quiet a blackmailer, his efforts were found out and his family was thus unprotected by the wrath of justice that would follow if he did not find a way to amend for his actions. This was a curious sideline of the opening structure of the story, as he barely agreed to the blackmail on one breath and he was found in the wrong on the next. I had almost felt that this might have carried forward as a dark secret for the duration of the story, but instead, it flickered and died.

Consuelo’s own gift was in her nurturing attentiveness to those who were ill and her maternal instincts to care for those who needed assistance. Although, I gathered she would have preferred to do more in her life than care for her mother, it was in so doing that she learnt her greatest gift was in the understanding of apothecarist healing practices and the strength of herbs. Her life was overshadowed by the forbearing presence of her father, a man who ruled his roost with a strong hand, and yet, never gave much consequence to his daughter or wife. He was much more interested in keeping up the appearance of who they were rather than being honest inside his relationships and business affairs.  How she found the strength to rise above each adverse and brutal moment of shocking distrust is a credit to her confidence in herself. She was not dealt an easy life nor one that aligned with how she believed her life would fall together – in life as in love, she was betrayed and it was through anguish she started to rise again.

Her father’s inability to forestall the Inquisition’s ransom and blackmail demands (although earlier I felt they were relieved of) played a larger part of the trials in which Consuelo found herself in the middle of succumbing. Her life was not necessarily her own, and her choices although valid in their own right, rarely had the light to shine on their own accord.  The most distraught part of the story is watching Consuelo attempt to right her stars only be dragged by through the mud carved out of her father’s transactions and misdirections of attempting to escape a worser fate. She was used as though she were a pawn, and despite that, she always had the hope for a future she could no longer envision probable. The acidity of rumours and insinuated falsehoods plagued her from the very start, as where truth and lies forged together as though welded in steel, it is within this nest of vipers Consuelo truly had to find a sword stronger than her entangled woes.

On the writing style of Claudia H. Long:

Long tells the story from different points of view which lately I am appreciating being given the opportunity to read with such frequency; as I originally only occasionally had come across this style of the craft. Each sequence is broken down into each of the character’s mindfulness of the events or the daily trials as they arise. As you shift through their connective chapters, you draw out more insight into how the family structure is maintained and who has the keener knowledge of what is actually going on. The ailing mother for instance is given reflective chapters where you are reading her internal thoughts rather than her spoken words in the moment. This is a bridge to understand and accept her husband and daughter, as she is revealing a bit of the unspoken truths that the other two leave amiss.

Long has infused her historical novel with such a breadth of history, you cannot help but acknowledge the dedication she had to researching this part of Mexico’s 17th and 18th Century past. She stitches into the everyday dialogue bits and bobbles of Spanish as well, and as I always lament, I appreciate when a native tongue can be included as it helps to strengthen the picture we have in our mind of the characters whose heritage is not only important to their identity but helps visualise who they are as they live inside the story.

The story is truly emotionally gutting in its intensity throughout the narrative arc, as the story is rooted in the historical knowledge of the time in which the events unfold. The brutal injustice and the prejudicial judgments of those who did not understand a different in faith and belief is quite shocking to read; even if the knowledge of the era is already known. The hardest part for me, was shifting through the more difficult passages to entreat back into the light and to see where Consuelo found her resolve and the strength to carry-on. I credit this to Long who gave her readers resolution even with the realisation that many might not have found the same in real life.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com
Blog Book Tour Stop,
courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Virtual Road Map of “The Duel for Consuelo” Blog Tour found here:

The Duel for Consuelo Virtual Tour via HFVBTs

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

see what I will be hosting next for

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in CanvaHistorical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT

and mark your calendars!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Duel for Consuelo”, author photograph, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
Divider

Posted Monday, 1 September, 2014 by jorielov in 17th Century, 18th Century, Apothecary, Blog Tour Host, Christianity, Civil Rights, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Cultural Heritage, Domestic Violence, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Geographically Specific, Good vs. Evil, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Judaism in Fiction, Light vs Dark, Medical Fiction, Mental Illness, Mexico, Psychological Abuse, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, World Religions

+Blog Book Tour+ Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

Posted Thursday, 3 July, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 3 Comments

 Parajunkee Designs

Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

Published By: Alfred A. Knopf (),
an imprint of DoubleDay and part of Random House Publishing Group 1 April, 2014
Official Author Websites: Site | Twitter | Facebook
Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook, Ebook Page Count: 334

Converse on Twitter: #LoveandTreasure & #LoveandTreasureBlogTour

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Love & Treasure” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary hardback copy of the book direct from the publisher Alfred A. Knof, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comBook Synopsis:

A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes, Ayelet Waldman’s Love and Treasure weaves a tale around the fascinating, true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in the Second World War.

In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles of fine gold watches; mountains of fur coats; crates filled with wedding rings, silver picture frames, family heirlooms, and Shabbat candlesticks passed down through generations. Jack Wiseman, a tough, smart New York Jew, is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure—a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust. Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of previous generations, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, and charges her with searching for an unknown woman—a woman whose portrait and fate come to haunt Natalie, a woman whose secret may help Natalie to understand the guilt her grandfather will take to his grave and to find a way out of the mess she has made of her own life.

A story of brilliantly drawn characters—a suave and shady art historian, a delusive and infatuated Freudian, a family of singing circus dwarfs fallen into the clutches of Josef Mengele, and desperate lovers facing choices that will tear them apart—Love and Treasure is Ayelet Waldman’s finest novel to date: a sad, funny, richly detailed work that poses hard questions about the value of precious things in a time when life itself has no value, and about the slenderest of chains that can bind us to the griefs and passions of the past.


Praise on behalf of the novel:

“Love and Treasure is something of a treasure trove of a novel. Its beautifully integrated parts fit inside one another like the talismanic pendant/ locket at the heart of several love stories. Where the opening chapters evoke the nightmare of Europe in the aftermath of World War II with the hallucinatory vividness of Anselm Kiefer’s disturbing canvases, the concluding chapters, set decades before, in a more seemingly innocent time in the early 20th century, are a bittersweet evocation, in miniature, of thwarted personal destinies that yet yield to something like cultural triumph. Ayelet Waldman is not afraid to create characters for whom we feel an urgency of emotion, and she does not resolve what is unresolvable in this ambitious, absorbing and poignantly moving work of fiction.”
—Joyce Carol Oates

Author Biography:

Ayelet Waldman Photo Credit: Reenie Raschke
Photo Credit: Reenie Raschke

Ayelet Waldman is the author of the newly released Love and Treasure (Knopf, January 2014), Red Hook Road and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Her radio commentaries have appeared on “All Things Considered” and “The California Report.”

For more information please visit Ayelet’s website . Her missives also appear on Facebook and Twitter.

Her books are published throughout the world, in countries as disparate as England and Thailand, the Netherlands and China, Russia and Israel, Korea and Italy.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

My Review of Love & Treasure:

Of all the ways in which I had an illusion of how this novel would open and begin, I think the first paragraph for me was an eye opener, as it did not quite match where my mind felt this novel would start. The rest of the first page was a bit jolting as well, as I found I had trouble finding my feet in the narrative. Where I thought the narrative voice would be empathic and soft, I found myself reading a sharpened edge of sound and vision. When Waldman starts to focus on the heart of the story centered around the lost possessions and valuable heirlooms of the Jewish families from World War II, her writing finds its clarity and knits together in a way that is a bit more fluid for me than the opening bits of dialogue being exchanged between a grand-daughter and her grand-father. She writes more into the historical bits than the everyday moments, which lends me to thinking her writing voice is hitched inside the historical elements to where she could write full-on historicals without the modern era attached.

The most tender scenes were exchanged between Jack Wiseman and Ilona Jakab, as each of them during the war were attempting to keep their sanity intact by not losing their humanity. Wiseman deferred to showing kindness during the rehousing of those who were returning from internment camps, and Ilona was electing to show her true strength and spirit, but deflecting her fears as she interacted with Wiseman. I appreciated how they met quite accidentally due to the train Wiseman was in charge of shifting its cargo to a warehouse. It reminded me a bit of a ‘meet cute’ in motion picture, despite the tragedy of their paths crossing during the Allied Occupation of Hungry. They each took each other by a surprise which refreshed their spirits and gave a kind grace to their situations.

I kept finding myself falling in and out of step with this story, because I am not one for crude humour nor crude expressions, and as I tried to continue to read the story with an open mind towards the time and era the story is set, I kept finding myself wishing Waldman had chosen different ways to express what was happening. I have read plenty of stories set during both World Wars, and the writers were not buckling down to this level of bare boned narration. The bits and bobbles I appreciated were starting to grow pale against the increasing tide of what either made me flinch or had my eyes adverting reading the paragraphs completely.

For me the story is told in a bit of a gritty and stark reality vein of dialogue and narrative voice; which made this difficult to read for my own readings tend to be towards a different vein of tact. I appreciate stories set during the wars, as war dramas and war romances are ones I tend to gravitate towards, but there is something different inside this one. I felt there was an undertone that I could not quite put my finger on but it wasn’t something that I felt I wanted to continue to read. I left the story fully intact without reaching the middle because to do so would have not proved enjoyable. I believe this story is best for readers who can appreciate the tone and dictation of action with a language presence that would not affect someone as much as it did me. I was truly disappointed as I was hoping to discover a historical mystery inside of a war drama; leading me through passages of research and provenance of personal property and giving me a historical epic of humanity.

Fly in the Ointment:

There are times where I give a pass on vulgarity but in this particular instance, the inclusion of strong language does not sit well with me because I could think of at least a handful of expressions or phrases to elicit the same manner of empathsis as found on page 6. The most obvious word instead is ‘muddled’. I am not an advocate for vulgarity in literature, and the few times I have given leeway to an author’s choice of inclusion is few and far between; the reasons were valid and if you go through the “Topics, Subjects, & Genres” cloud in the lower sidebar area of my blog, you will discover the reasons why I find strong language offensive and why in certain instances I did not wrinkle a brow over them. This novel kept pushing my envelope for tolerance.

I happen to know a bit about the setting of the story (the state of Maine) and what disrupted me a bit were the observations knitted into the backdrop, most especially about Bangor. I found myself with conflicting information, to where I was thinking to myself, that’s not true! The way in which Maine is represented in the book and specifics such as only one restaurant is open in Bangor during the long Winter months, in all honesty surprised me? I felt like there was a ‘fictional’ representation of Maine happening in this book, rather than an honest window into life in Maine.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis book review is courtesy of: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Virtual Road Map of “Love & Treasure” Blog Tour:

Love & Treasure Virtual Tour with HFVBTs

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comas I am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTPlease visit my

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva

to stay in the know for upcoming events!

Previously I  hosted Ms. Waldman in an interview attached to this tour!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Love and Treasure (book trailer) by Ayelet Waldman via KnopfDoubleday

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{SOURCES: Book cover for “Love & Treasure”, Author Biography, Book Synopsis, and the quoted praise by Joyce Carol Oates  were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.   Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. The book trailer for “Love & Treasure” via KnopfDoubleday had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Divider

Posted Thursday, 3 July, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Aftermath of World War II, Art, Blog Tour Host, Book Trailer, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Judaism in Fiction, Maine, The World Wars, Vulgarity in Literature