Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A few novels for your summer days...

There are so many books that I want to share, it is almost difficult to figure out just where to start.  In my first blog I shared my guilty pleasure for murder mysteries, so in this installment I am going to take a look at some wonderful novels.  These are all books that kept me up well past my bedtime and had me ignoring household chores just so I could stay lost in their pages for a little bit longer.  Now, I have read both of these books over a span of several years, meaning I had to have really enjoyed each in order for them to stick in my memory for this long.  I hope that by the end of this post you have discovered something special to enjoy on these wonderful summer days.

The first book is one of my true favorites.  The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue was suggested to me by another reader, and I can’t thank her enough.  I loved this book not only because of the main character, Razi, but also because of how the author seamlessly travels between 1920s New Orleans and 75 years later to the life shared by Amy and Scott.  Now, I am not giving anything away when I tell you that Razi’s great love affair with Andrew and promising career as a doctor are tragically cut short by her untimely death.  Not ready to leave Andrew behind, Razi’s spirit stays on Earth searching for a connection to him.  It is through this search that Razi finds herself inhabiting the home shared by Amy and Scott.  Domingue does a wonderful job pulling the reader into the story through vignettes into Razi’s past and the troubled life of Amy and Scott.  I cannot stress how much I loved the character of Razi.  To say that she was forward thinking for her time is a bit of an understatement.  In a time and place where a woman’s place was to be in the home raising babies, Razi instead was an aspiring doctor, took part in the women’s suffrage movement and flaunted the laws restricting the use of birth control.  I love that the characters and their stories become forever intertwined to the point where the ending will leave you yearning for more.  To put it simply I cannot say enough good about this book!

I have to admit, while I loved reading The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds, I am having difficulty writing about it.  I just don’t think that I am doing it justice.  I read this book while I was still an undergrad, meaning a long time ago.  I was so totally enthralled with this book that I sat in the back of my World Geography class reading it instead of paying attention to the professor (in my defense, he was a REALLY bad Geography professor who only talked about Hong Kong, Boston and MIT).  Over the years, I have cleaned off my book shelves many times, and Rapture is a book that I just haven’t been able to part with.  The book tells the story of Ninah, a teenage girl who lives in the community formed by the members of the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God’s Almighty Baptizing Wind.  The church and community are the creation of her Grandpa Herman, who uses his version of the Bible to control every aspect of life for the members of his flock.  To put it simply, the modern world contains nothing but sin, and there is a deep price for any sin that finds its way inside the community.  It is ultimately religion that brings Ninah’s downfall, for her and her prayer partner, James, share an attraction for each other that leads to them engaging in activities well beyond praying.  For her ultimate sin, Ninah’s life will be forever changed and it will leave her questioning everything she has ever known.    

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