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review 2019-10-30 13:32
Recommended to lovers of historical fiction, pioneer narrations, and women’s stories
Not My Father's House: A Novel of Old New Mexico - Loretta Miles Tollefson

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team, and I freely chose to review an ARC copy of this novel.

When I first read about this book, I was intrigued by the setting (one I must confess I’m not very familiar with but I’ve always been interested in) and the period of the story most of all. I’ve become an eager reader of historical fiction, and I’ve learned plenty about times and places I knew nothing about. This is another perfect example of the way novels can inform and entertain at the same time, immersing us on a time and place completely at odds with our everyday experience. This is book two in the series of novels of Old New Mexico, and although it can be read independently, I must admit I would have liked to be better acquainted with the previous lives of the characters.

Suzanna is very young. Newly wed and only sixteen, she is thrown in at the deep end. She is not very domesticated for a woman of the period (the story is set in the early XIX century): she does not know how to cook, and she was brought up by her father to love books rather than other more feminine tasks, although she does sew, cleans, and knows how to keep a house, more or less (but she did have help back at her father’s house, in Taos, and she still has some help here, because Ramón does the cooking, otherwise they’d die of hunger). She loves to be outdoors and grow plants and vegetables most of all and that is another source of irritation for her in her new location, as this is high mountain territory, and neither the weather nor the seasons are as mild as what she was used to at home.

Suzanna finds fault with everything and she is not the most likeable of characters to begin with, although as we keep reading, the sheer drudgery and harshness of her life, and her brave attempts at making the best out of it end up by endearing her to the reader. We also come to understand that there is something more behind the changes in mood and she needs help, although it is difficult to imagine what form it could take at that point and in that place. Gerald, her husband, does his best and tries to understand her, although he has little time and no workable solutions to make things better. Ramón is a quiet presence and a likeable one, as he is always at hand to help. A perfect example of the strong and quiet type, Mexican style. He and the main characters in the novel experience major and very traumatic losses, and they use different coping strategies to deal with very difficult circumstances. There are other very colourful characters that make their appearance in the book, including Native Americans of different tribes, trappers, Mexican Army soldiers, and assorted animals as well. Some of them, as the author explains at the end of the book, where real historical characters, and they seamlessly mix with the fictional characters whose story we are reading.

The story is a slow burner, rather than a quick page turner, and it is narrated in the third person, mostly from Suzanna’s point of view, but also from a pretty nasty character’s viewpoint (I’m trying to avoid spoilers, although the description will give you a fair idea of the plot), that gives us a different perspective and also creates a fairly uncomfortable reading experience, as we get to share in the thoughts of a man who does not seem to have a single redeeming feature. The author does an excellent job of capturing the natural rhythm of the seasons, and we experience the harshness of the natural environment, the difficulty of coping with extreme weather conditions and having to survive on one’s own wits, but she also brings to life the beauty and the joy of the landscape and the location.

Another very strong point of this novel is the way it reflects the mental health difficulties of Suzanna. Her dark moods, the way she is influenced by the seasons and the lack of light and exercise in the winter months, her irritability, her difficulty explaining her feelings, and how she is further hindered by several losses throughout the book and the effect the birth of her children has on her already fragile mental health are explored and made palpable. Because we share in her perspective, although at first we might think she is just too young and immature for the situation she has landed herself in, we later come to see how hard her circumstances would be for anybody. And when her father visits and explains that she’s always had difficulties in certain times of the year, but they’d managed it well, we understand that she had not been aware of these problems until she had to face them by herself, in more extreme and tough conditions. The author explains her research on depression (post-natal depression and also seasonal affective disorder) and provides the historical context as to how the condition would have been dealt with at the time, in her note at the back of the book. From my experience as a psychiatrist, having talked to and looked after many patients suffering from similar conditions, her portrayal is realistic and vivid, and it reflects well the feelings and desperation of the sufferers.

I learned plenty about the New Mexico of the era, its inhabitants, its customs, and its politics. The author’s research shines through, and she makes an excellent use of it without overbearing the reader. The book also includes an index of the sources used, and a list of the historical characters that make an appearance in the series.

I would recommend this book to anybody who loves historical fiction of this era and location, in particular people who enjoy books about the pioneers and the settlers of the Southern United States. It is not a book for people looking for constant action or for a light read. There are humorous moments, and there is light relief (mostly provided by the dogs. I loved all the dogs, although my favourite was Chaser), but there are also sad and scary moments, and although the book is not terribly graphic in its depiction of violence (and there is no erotica at all), there is violence and a sense of menace and threat that permeates a lot of the novel. If you are fans of Little House in the Prairie and prefer narrations that build up slowly but have a realistic feel, you must check this novel out. I am intrigued by the series, and I hope to learn more about the further adventures of Suzanna and her family.

 

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review 2019-10-27 23:00
J. N. Loughborough: The Last of the Adventist Pioneers
J. N. Loughborough: The Last of the Adventist Pioneers - Brian Eugene Strayer

An Advent preacher when he joined the embryonic Seventh-day Adventist movement in 1852, John Norton Loughborough would spend the next 72 years as a preacher and administrator before being the last of the pioneers to pass leaving lasting legacy to the denomination only behind Joseph Bates and the Whites.  Brian E. Strayer’s J. N. Loughborough: The Last of the Adventist Pioneers is the first major biography of influential preacher, missionary, and Church historian that was a little man who cast a long shadow.

 

Strayer begins with an impressive family history that gives background not only to Loughborough but how he was raised, including the influence his grandfather had on his spiritual life, and how in his youth he was influenced by the Millerite message.  Loughborough’s resulting spiritual wandering in the years after the Disappointment before deciding to become a “boy preacher” at age 17 among the Advent Christians then his introduction to Seventh-day movement and later conversion to Sabbath were give significant time as well.  Yet 85% of the book took up Loughborough’s 72 years among the Seventh-day Adventist movement covering his time as a preacher, president of numerous conferences, missionary to fields both domestic and foreign, and finally Church historian who was the last link to the “early days” for 3rd- and 4th-generation Adventists in the late 1910s and 1920s.  Throughout Loughborough’s relationships with other important and influential denominational leaders was examined including Ellen White whose admonishments were welcomed by Loughborough in contrast to other Adventist leaders some of whom would later leave and attack not only the denomination and White.  Strayer covered in detail Loughborough’s fight against apostacy and his role as the first Church “historian” as well has the lasting influence he had in both areas among Adventists.

 

Given the place in denominational history that Loughborough, Strayer used a wide range of sources to give a thorough look at his subject including what surviving letters he could find (Loughborough burned his own) and Loughborough’s own diaries (that was saved by a nurse instead of destroyed upon his death).  Unlike the only other biography of Loughborough that followed the subject’s own apologetic look at Adventist history, Strayer brought a critical eye to his subject including Loughborough’s Church history books that influenced Adventist historiography for half a century.

 

  1. J. N. Loughborough is a well-written, well-researched look at the last pioneer of the Seventh-day Adventist movement. Brian Strayer showed the large footprint and long shadow this “little man” had had until this very day. This is a highly recommended biography for anyone interested in Adventist history.
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review 2019-06-07 04:59
Drifting From Deadwood (The Pioneer Brides of Rattlesnake Ridge #6) by Ramona Flightner
Drifting From Deadwood (The Pioneer Brides of Rattlesnake Ridge #6) - Ramona Flightner

 

 

Drifting from Deadwood is the story of two searchers, trying to find their way home. Eleanor is left blowing in the wind after her husband dies. When Lance enters her life, her trust is at an all time low and her heart is determined to stay under lock and key. Can a wandering man, show her the meaning of true love? Emotion is at the forefront of this final book in the Rattlesnake Ridge series.
 
 

 

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text 2019-05-10 07:38
Improve Your Driving Experience by Having a Quality Car Sound System

Like many car owners, you may take car stereos for granted—until you find yourself constantly stuck in traffic and wanting to listen to good music, that is. A high-quality car stereo can keep you entertained and focused while driving. By playing music through your car sound system, your mood up is lifted. You can keep your cool despite the exterior factors that may be ruining your day, such as heavy traffic congestions and road constructions. In fact, studies show that listening to certain types of songs help drivers stay alert and increase their reaction time. This is especially true for long-distance trips.

 

Do you want to ensure that every drive is enjoyable? Then it’s time to invest in a quality car sound system. Improve your driving experience with Pioneer car stereo.

 

High-end systems from trusted brands like Pioneer are set apart from others. They have advanced features and an easy-to-use interface. Aside from producing quality sounds, another biggest benefit of using a high-end system is their user-friendly function. You can play songs with ease, switching from one source to another—be it from a CD player, radios, or iPod. You can also focus more on driving since you won’t be busy dabbling with external connections.

 

The latest car stereos are also outfitted with audio tuning features. This means you can customise the tuning settings based on how you want the quality of sound to turn out. You can adjust the bass level, Band-EQ, and the time alignment as you wish. That way, you'll have a more enjoyable listening and driving experience.

 

If you are looking to replace your car audio system, make sure to find Pioneer's partner stores in the Philippines and buy from them. That way, you can save money on free installation.

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url 2018-08-25 19:49
100 Books for a Lifetime of Eating and Drinking
All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China - Carolyn Phillips
How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food - Mark Bittman
Gordon Ramsay's Home Cooking: Everything You Need to Know to Make Fabulous Food - Gordon Ramsay
Larousse Gastronomique: The World's Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia, Completely Revised and Updated - Librairie Larousse
My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories - David Lebovitz
The Fannie Farmer Cookbook: Anniversary - Marion Cunningham,Fannie Merritt Farmer,Archibald Candy Corporation
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays - Ree Drummond
Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine - Madeline Puckette,Justin Hammack
Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook - Thug Kitchen, LLC
The Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco's Beloved Restaurant - Judy Rodgers

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