Category: Quakers

Blog Book Tour | “Lilli de Jong” by Janet Benton

Posted Friday, 14 September, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “Lilli de Jong” direct from the author Janet Benton in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was inspired to read Lilli de Jong:

The premise is INCREDIBLY strong, fierce and very pro-positive for today’s cultural climate where women are *still!* fighting for their rights – I wish the stigmas were gone for unwed Mums! I love the fact it’s told through the character’s journal! Eek.

I was wicked thankful I could join this blog tour – not only to read and review the novel but to converse with the author about the subject(s) explored therein.

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Blog Book Tour | “Lilli de Jong” by Janet BentonLilli de Jong
by Janet Benton
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Philadelphia, 1883. Twenty-three-year-old Lilli de Jong is pregnant and alone—abandoned by her lover and banished from her Quaker home. She gives birth at a charity for wronged women, planning to give up the baby. But the power of their bond sets her on a completely unexpected path. Unwed mothers in 1883 face staggering prejudice, yet Lilli refuses to give up her baby girl. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep the two of them alive.

Lilli confides this story to her diary as it unfolds, taking readers from a charity for unwed mothers to a wealthy family’s home and onto the streets of a burgeoning American city. Her story offers a rare and harrowing view into a time when a mother’s milk is crucial for infant survival. Written with startling intimacy and compassion, this accomplished novel is both a rich historical depiction and a testament to the saving force of a woman’s love.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9780525563327

Genres: Current Events, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Social Science, Women's Fiction, Women's Studies


Published by Anchor Books

on 10th July, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 352

 Published By: Anchor Books (@VintageAnchor)

an imprint of Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom)

Converse via: #LilliDeJong, #WomensRights, #mumhood & #HistFic or #HistNov
Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Janet Benton

Janet Benton

JANET BENTON’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Glimmer Train, and many other publications. She has cowritten and edited historical documentaries for television.
She holds a B.A. in religious studies from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

For decades she has taught writing at universities and privately and has helped individuals and organizations craft their stories. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Lilli de Jong is her first novel.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 14 September, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Child out of Wedlock, Coming-Of Age, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Literary Fiction, Mental Health, Quakers, Single Mothers, Unexpected Pregnancy, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Right to Choose (Health Care Rights), Women's Rights

Book Review | “A Place Called Hope” (Hope series, No.1) by Philip Gulley A small towne fiction novelist I’ve been curious about reading!

Posted Sunday, 31 July, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, I started by reviewing two releases by FaithWords, their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been blessed to start reviewing for them.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Place Called Hope” direct from the publisher Center Street (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read a Gulley novel:

I cannot recollect exactly when I discovered the Harmony series by Mr Gulley, but it was during my wanderings at my local library, a book or two from the series kept winking at me to read! Similar to the novels by Ms Whitson, I simply never had the pleasure of soaking inside his novels!

I can honestly say, the most enjoyment I have had in recent years is being caught up inside ‘small townes’ in the fictional worlds authors are treating me to visit! Townes like Cedar Cove (Debbie Macomber), Serenity (Sherryl Woods), Lambert’s Corner (Rosina Lippi), Skye (Jessica Brockmole), Soda Springs (Carolyn Steele), Coorah Creek (Janet Gover), Butternut Lake (Mary McNear), Henry Adams (Beverly Jenkins), Dickinson (Larry D. Sweazy) and serial mysteries that feel like small townes for how much interplay there is with repetitive characters by such authors as: Susan McDuffie, Anna Castle, Susan Spann, Catherine Lloyd, Susanna Calkins, Charles Todd, Tessa Arlen and Anna Lee Huber!

The reason I love small townes has been expressed many times over, but at the heart of what draws me inside small towne fiction is the quirkiness of how the stories are told and the eclectic harmony of how the lead characters are attempting to find their footing or be ever present to the needs of their neighbours and community. Small towne fiction stories are a slice of life that is a step outside the harried pace of our normal lives (unless we’re blessed to live in a small towne where everyone champions each other in unconditional support) where life is a bit easier to take in and where not everything has to be done at the speed of a clock ticking off moments as if they need to be registered somewhere!

I also like the different interpretations of small towne life and how for each community I visit in fiction, I am hoping there are at least ten composite communities out there somewhere that are reflective of the community togetherness that is inside the novel at hand! I find you can dig yourself happily inside a small towne novel (as I mentioned a few one-offs above) or a series (a treasure of a find!) with the glowing joy of knowing your respite inside it’s chapters is going to make you feel light with euphoric happiness for your journey! I suppose in many ways, reading #smalltown #fiction is one of my guilty pleasures as a reader, because I simply find myself put in such wonderful moods after reading them!

Who wouldn’t want an uplift of joy on their bookshelf?!

And, so dear hearts, this is why I wanted to finally read my first Gulley novel! The chance to laugh, the chance to smile and the chance to see what everyone had previously found inside the Harmony novels, as I had a sense that his wit and charm would continue to enthrall us in the Hope series! There is simply something quite keen about finding authors who are writing such realistic stories set in townes that we can all identify with and find readerly happiness in reading!

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Book Review | “A Place Called Hope” (Hope series, No.1) by Philip Gulley A small towne fiction novelist I’ve been curious about reading!A Place Called Hope
by Philip Gulley
Source: Direct from Publisher

When Quaker Pastor Sam Gardner is asked by the ill Unitarian minister to oversee a wedding in his place, Sam naturally agrees. It's not until the couple stands before him that he realizes they're two women. In the tempest of strong opinions and misunderstandings that follows the incident, Sam faces potential unemployment.

Deeply discouraged, he wonders if his pastoral usefulness has come to an end. Perhaps it's time for a change. After all, his wife has found a new job at the library, his elder son is off to college, and the younger has decided to join the military once he graduates high school. Sam is contemplating a future selling used cars when he receives a call from a woman in the suburban town of Hope, Indiana.

It seems Hope Friends Meeting is in desperate need of a pastor. Though they only have twelve members, they also have a beautiful meetinghouse and a pie committee (Sam is fond of pie). But can he really leave his beloved hometown of Harmony?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781455586882

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


Published by Center Street

on 19th March, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 256

Published by: CenterStreet (@centerstreet)
an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteBooks) via Hachette Nashville

Formats Available: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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Hope series:

A Place Called Hope by Philip GulleyA Lesson in Hope by Philip Gulley

Readers are mentioning Gulley’s writing style in relation to Karon’s Mitford series; although I never read about Mitford, my grandmother loved reading the series before she died. We shared a mutual love of small towne fiction, and I believe our shared joy in finding small towne fiction to curl up inside is partially why I continue to seek out more from this lovely section of literature. She might not be able to travel with me as I visit each ‘towne’ but I know she’s smiling at me from heaven, happy I continued my adventures seeking writers who know how to write about the nuances of ordinary life!

A Place Called Hope | No.1

A Lesson in Hope | No.2 | Book Synopsis

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Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #QuakerFiction & #INSPYfiction

+ use these two in combo: #SmallTown #Fiction

About Philip Gulley

Philip Gulley Photo Credit: Matt Griffith

PHILIP GULLEY, a Quaker pastor, has become the voice of small-town American life. Along with writing Front Porch Tales, Hometown Tales, and For Everything a Season, he is the author of the Harmony series of novels. Gulley lives in Indiana with his wife, Joan, and their sons.

Photo Credit: Matt Griffith

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Posted Sunday, 31 July, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), CenterStreet, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Equality In Literature, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Modern Day, Quaker Fiction, Quakers, Small Towne USA

Book Review | “Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War” by Ruth W. Crocker

Posted Monday, 2 November, 2015 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: I was approached to read a different book than the one I asked to read, as the original choice the publicist made for me didn’t feel like a good fit, to be honest. I asked to receive “Those Who Remain” because I have a strong connection to the war eras as I regularly read war dramas and historical fiction set during this period; yet I do not often think to pick up a work of non-fiction that is connected to the eras. I was thankful I could step out of my comfort zone and read a creative non-fiction account set during the Vietnam War. I received a complimentary copy of the “Those Who Remain” direct from the publicist at Claire McKinney Public Relations, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why letters and correspondences interest me within a story of a war drama:

Oft-times letters and correspondences are all that will remain after a war between wives and husbands; daughters and fathers; sons and mothers, etc. as war is an uncertain time of unforeseeable tragedy. The words etched into postcards, pieces of paper or scribbled onto napkins or other bits of mail become a lasting tribute to not only the person who gave those words to their loved ones but to the receiver who knew a bit of their thoughts before they passed. Not everyone perishes at war, but for the families who lose their relatives, the sudden separation and the lack of a proper good-bye is mind-numbingly anguishing for many years.

When it comes to reading war dramas in fiction, I appreciate the writers who fuse history and fact into their stories, but also allow a breath of connection between those at the front and those back home. Finding letters caught inside the tethers of a war drama is one way to anchour me into that story because of how important those letters were in reality. I read quite a lot of war dramas per year, but I also appreciate certain tv serials who augment the same connections I find in their fictional counterparts such as Foyle’s War and As Time Goes By. The latter had the plot focused on a missing letter which was never delivered and thus, became the impetus of how a soldier and a nurse reunited years later in their golden years.

The novel which illuminated the necessity for correspondence at war the best, I felt, was Letters from Skye a novel writ around the letters themselves; taking me to a new vein of reality of how a novel can be told. Reviewing this novel twice was a way I could give the author a second note of gratitude for how convicting her story moved my emotional heart.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Book Review | “Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War” by Ruth W. CrockerThose Who Remain
Subtitle: Remembrance and Reunion After War
by Ruth W. Crocker
Source: Direct from Publisher

She was 23 years old when she was widowed by war and rather than bury her husband in his coffin, she buried every memory of their brief life together. Forty years later she exhumed the grave and came to terms with her loss and her grief.

Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2013 writer-teacher-actress Ruth W. Crocker brings her journey of love, loss, and inspiration to the page in her beautiful memoir THOSE WHO REMAIN: Remembrance and Reunion after War (Elm Grove Press).

Sometimes the reaction to loss is anger along with the need to be reckless and to search for meaning in what has happened. In THOSE WHO REMAIN, Ruth W. Crocker was propelled by her complex emotions at the time. On the one hand she needed to close the door on her previous life, and on the other she wanted to pay tribute to her husband's memory and escape from her grief. To this end she hiked up to the treacherous North Face of the Eiger, the most notorious mountain in the Swiss Alps, to spread her husband's ashes at the top of the climb they were supposed to do together.

Weaving her beautifully-written recollections with diary entries, letters between her and her husband, and conversations with his comrades, Ruth gives readers an intimate glimpse into the life of a woman who faced her fears and braved the forces of nature to learn that she could survive anything that came her way. A unique true story of grief and recovery with a surprising revelation, THOSE WHO REMAIN demonstrates the tenacious will of the human spirit to heal.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781940863009

Genres: Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, War Drama


Published by Elm Grove Press

on 13th May 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 294

Published by: Elm Grove Press 

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Ruth W. Crocker

Ruth W. Crocker

Ruth W. Crocker, PhD, is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominated author, writing consultant, and expert on recovery from trauma and personal tragedy. Her memoir Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War describes her experience following her husband’s death in Vietnam and how she found resources for healing.

Crocker’s essays have been recognized in Best American Essays and her articles have been
featured in the Gettysburg Review, Grace Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, O-Dark-Thirty, and T.A.P.S. Magazine.

She received an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Bennington College, a PhD in Nutrition and Human Development from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Education from Tufts University. Along the way she also became a Registered Dietitian.

Crocker worked in health care administration and clinical nutrition before becoming a full-time writer. Currently, she is the Writer-In-Residence at Riverlight Wellness Center in Stonington, Connecticut, where she teaches the art of writing memoirs and personal essays to aspiring writers who want to express their own stories. She lives, cooks, and writes in Mystic, Connecticut.

Why the past (and the memories carried therein) can rekindle hope and our humanity’s will towards accepting grace:

There is a point in the story where Crocker mentions the true blessing of living histories (what my family refers to as the stories of our relatives and relations throughout our ancestral past) where we become tethered to our family through the living memories of people who lived before our own time. Sometimes these can be peppered with your living relatives recollections of their lives in the decades before your birth, but generally speaking, it’s a way to keep a tangible impression of your family’s journey through time refreshed and known for the generations who are coming down the line.

I appreciated these stories because they clarified a few finer points of the historical past where I found a bit of fault with lessons in school; as I was being given a wider picture than the option only to recount facts and tidbits someone else deemed worthy of my attention. In a conversation on Twitter earlier in 2015 (believe during #HistoricalFix; follow @HistoricalFix), it was mentioned that if historical fiction was taught in school (especially the authors of today or yesterday who conduct such impressive research to ground their stories) we would have a whole new appreciation for history as a whole. I tend to agree with this sentiment whole-heartedly because when the ‘past’ comes alive for me as I read a novel, it is a kind reminder of how much the past was ‘alive’ for me through the stories of my family. We have a need to make connections whilst we’re alive, it’s not only how we process information and keep a stronghold of knowledge vibrant and a part of who we are, it’s a way of how we internalise what we’re experiencing.

If we start to forget to share the stories, we will soon find ourselves without a path towards reacquiring the hope of where we’ve been and the joy of where we are about to venture forward next. Read More

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Posted Monday, 2 November, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #NonFictionFriday, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Claire McKinney Public Relations, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, History, Indie Author, Memoir, Military Families of the Deployed, Non-Fiction, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Quakers, Special Needs Children, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data, The Vietnam War, Travel the World in Books, War Widow, War-time Romance, Warfare & Power Realignment