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url 2018-07-08 17:15
Home Maids Cleaning Services Dubai

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review 2018-05-30 05:42
Maid of Baikal: A Novel of the Russian Civil War - Preston Fleming


War, no matter the countries or people involved, is always bad. There are always those among the troops on both sides having wicked hearts and use the excuse of a weapon in their hands to do the evil in their hearts. Then there are those that don't want to kill anyone, "enemy" or not but are unwillingly compelled to do their duty. 
Like many other books about a war, this one focuses on a handful of characters and how the war impacted them on a personal level. It tells of honest patriotism, betrayal, corruption, love, jealousy and hate-- basic human emotions that everyone in the world feels. Though Maid of Baikal is speculative fiction, many of the characters did indeed exist (photos of them included in book). The Maid, however, is fictional. The book spins a tale, asking what if Russia had had its own Joan of Arc during the Russian Revolution and would the outcome have been different? The Maid of Baikal, or Zhanna Stepanovna Dorokhina fulfills that role. She is just a young schoolgirl from a rural northern outpost in Siberia while at prayer hears a voice that tells her she has a mission to save her country and people from the cruel tyranny of the Bolsheviks. As days go by, angels and saints appear to her, guiding her and revealing more of her destiny and telling her of things that have happened that she could not possibly know otherwise. More and more people are convinced and she develops a following and troops of demoralized, disappointed soldiers are given hope by her message. After numerous victories liberating towns that amaze the military hierarchy, tragedy develops.
Maid of Baikal is a fine drama portraying those with pure hearts wanting only good for others, and those who have hidden agendas for their own careers, and willing to stoop to any evil deed to further that as well as protect the corruption they are involved in. It recounts the involvement of foreign nations bankrolling the war (Bolshevik and the White troops as well), with the aim being solely economic. 
Maybe I am much too an emotional person, but chapter 22 and into 23 had me weeping. Such betrayal! Such deceit! The author included a playlist (one song for each chapter) which I downloaded and listened to while reading the book to gain the full experience the author wished to impart. That in itself was a minor education (in a small way) of Russian classical music and composers. I did enjoy the book very much, and wish to thank the author for a copy of it in exchange for an honest review-- thank you!


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review 2018-05-22 00:38
Maid for Love (Gansett Island, #1) by Marie Force
Maid for Love - Marie Force


Maid for Love is one of those stories that sticks in your brain and lives in your heart. Maddie and Mac have one of the most beautiful yet heartbreaking romances ever told. Maddie has a beautiful heart, but a crappy life. Her days are filled with hard work, judgmental people and ugly lies. Despite the pain, she finds solace in her beautiful baby boy and a surprising white knight. Hometown hero Mac McCarthy. Amidst the hateful rumors and class distinctions they find something precious. LOVE. Marie Force leads with her heart and walks away with yours.

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review 2018-05-05 07:43
The Old Maid
The Old Maid (The 'Fifties) (Dodo Press) - Edith Wharton

"In the old New York of the ‘fifties a few families ruled, in simplicity and affluence. Of these were the Ralstons. The sturdy English and the rubicund and heavier Dutch had mingled to produce a prosperous, prudent and yet lavish society. To “do things handsomely” had always been a fundamental principle in this cautious world, built up on the fortunes of bankers, India merchants, ship-builders and ship-chandlers. Those well-fed slow-moving people, who seemed irritable and dyspeptic to European eyes only because the caprices of the climate had stripped them of superfluous flesh, and strung their nerves a little tighter, lived in a genteel monotony of which the surface was never stirred by the dumb dramas now and then enacted underground. Sensitive souls in those days were like muted key-boards, on which Fate played without a sound. In this compact society, built of solidly welded blocks, one of the largest areas was filled by the Ralstons and their ramifications. The Ralstons were of middle-class English stock. They had not come to the Colonies to die for a creed but to live for a bank-account. The result had been beyond their hopes, and their religion was tinged by their success."

It with this short novella that I dip my toes into the world of Edith Wharton for the first time. I've seen so much praise of the work - and from trusted friends and reviewers - that I just had to find out for myself what I'm missing out. 


What has held me back from picking up Wharton's work so far are really two things:


For one, I have always associated her writing with that of Henry James, which is not helped by an article in the Guardian I read a few years ago about the two of them - Wharton and James - on a road trip in England. This is, of course, hugely unfair towards Wharton, but sometimes that is how associations of the mind work. There is nothing for it but to go investigate and see if there is some truth to it. I just hadn't gotten around to that, yet.  


The second reason, is that I have always thought of Wharton as a kind of Edwardian author, in the same way that E.M. Forster was. But as I love Forster, his works are normally what I turn to for a fix of Edwardian drama.

Again, misconception is at work here. They may have written in the same time, but not about the same time ... or place. 


Anyway, time to put things right with Edith Wharton - not that I think she'd care... but I do, not least because I don't like having pre-conceived ideas that aren't founded on any actual research.


The Old Maid is the second of four novellas in Wharton's "Old New York" series, which features stories set in New York, one in each decade of the 1840s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. 


The Old Maid is set in the 50's and tells the story of two cousins - Delia and Charlotte, one who marries well and one who has a child out of wedlock. After several turns of fate, the cousins both end up bringing up the child, one as mother and one as aunt, but with a reversal of titles that sparks some resentment, misunderstanding, pretence of right, and other high drama until the end of the story. 


Without giving too much away, I really enjoyed how candid Wharton describes the circumstances of the family arrangement, how clearly she brings up how much misery is caused by a society that is so set on the illusion of propriety at all costs, and how unhealthy it for grudges to fester. 


I had no expectation of it, but the story of the cousins - neither of whom was a perfect human being - really drew me in. Wharton's writing was clear, concise, yet full of emotion, sensitivity, and even wit. 


The only aspect that I did not quite find convincing was that did not get a sense of place or time from the story. I just could not say what makes this the a story of "The 'Fifties" as the subtitle proclaims. 


I look forward to finding out if Wharton's other stories are similarly engaging.

As the truth stole upon Delia her heart melted with the old compassion for Charlotte. She saw that it was a terrible, a sacrilegious thing to interfere with another’s destiny, to lay the tenderest touch upon any human being’s right to love and suffer after his own fashion.

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review 2018-03-02 03:07
Interesting information on Carnegie family rise, but the romance didn't ring true.
Carnegie's Maid: A Novel - Marie Benedict

Carnegie’s Maid, Marie Benedict, author; Alana Kerr Collins, narrator This is the fictional story of Andrew Carnegie and Clara Kelley. When Clara disembarked from the ship taking her to America, as a stranger, with no one to meet her, she was shocked to hear her name called. She was further astounded to discover that there was an opportunity awaiting her as a lady’s maid, to Mrs. Margaret Carnegie, if she assumed the identity of another Clara Kelley, who had also been on board her ship. That poor young woman had died in an accident during the crossing. She shrewdly assumed the identity of that young woman, and although she had no experience or knowledge of the job being offered, and although she had no possessions except for her rucksack, she approached the well dressed stranger who was calling out her name. When he enquired about her luggage, she was quick witted and said it had been lost at sea. First and foremost, our Clara was loyal to her family and getting a job was paramount. She was in America to ensure their survival. So, from the outset, she was embroiled in a lie she had to perpetuate. It would eventually be her undoing, but her family’s salvation. The Carnegies, almost destitute, had come from Scotland to America. Andrew, a quick study, educated himself and had managed to keep his family’s heads above water with hard work and dedication. Eventually, their wealth grew, and they entered the upper class. In the magnificent Carnegie home, Clara and Andrew became good friends, and she seemed to become his muse, after a fashion, inspiring and encouraging his business ventures with her own brilliant ideas. Although their relationship grew deeper, it was kept secret to preserve her position with his mother so she could continue to support her family. Her first responsibility remained her family, and she would not jeopardize her livelihood which was so necessary for their day to day existence. The historic story of Carnegie’s rise in the world of business, his great philanthropy and his enormous wealth is non-fiction and was very interesting, but I found the romance between Andrew and Clara lacking in credibility. The entire relationship between Clara and Andrew took place over approximately four years. Her behavior and his, stretched beyond the realm of believability for me. She seemed out of character for a young lady without formal education, who was from the servant class. In spite of her meager background, she was somehow able to insert herself into the Carnegie home, educate herself, practically overnight, about her responsibilities as a maid, care for Mrs. Carnegie as no other lady’s maid had been able to prior, and then was also the genius behind Andrew Carnegie’s business ventures, future success and acts of kindness. Although Andrew married rather late in life, probably became the richest man in the world, even when compared to the rich of today, although he was a philanthropist of the highest order, I could not imagine such an unrequited romance being the reason. However, the factual information about Carnegie’s rise in the business world and the tales illuminating the dire conditions that had existed in Ireland coupled with the extreme poverty of the immigrants when they arrived in America, only to be subjected to further hardship, was very informative. The narrator did a wonderful job reading the novel, interpreting each character with authenticity. The author’s prose was outstanding and put the reader into the time and place of the novel. Although the fictional tale was unsatisfactory for me, the history was very interesting and the author’s ability to put magic into the words on the page made it a very good read.

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