Review & Book Giveaway: Stillwater by Nicole Helget

Publication Date: February 4, 2014

Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages:   336p

Format:  ARC Paperback

Source:  Publisher & HFVBT

ISBN-10: 0547898207

 

Synopsis:

Clement and Angel are fraternal twins separated at birth; they grow up in the same small, frontier logging town of Stillwater, Minnesota. Clement was left at the orphanage. Angel was adopted by the town’s richest couple, but is marked and threatened by her mother’s mental illness. They rarely meet, but Clement knows if he is truly in need, Angel will come to save him.

Stillwater, near the Mississippi River and Canada, becomes an important stop on the Underground Railroad. As Clement and Angel grow up and the country marches to war, their lives are changed by many battles for freedom and by losses in the struggle for independence, large and small.
Stillwater reveals the hardscrabble lives of pioneers, nuns, squaws, fur trappers, loggers, runaway slaves and freedmen, outlaws and people of conscience, all seeking a better, freer, more prosperous future. It is a novel about mothers, about siblings, about the ways in which we must take care of one another and let go of one another. And it’s brought to us in Nicole Helget’s winning, gorgeous prose.
Review:
Stillwater is a sweeping story of mid-19th century struggles; a pioneer tapestry of building settlements, fighting for freedom, gaining independence, and seeking refuge from racial strife. These extraordinary decades are experienced through the eyes of fraternal twins. Abandoned and separated at birth, Angel lives an affluent life but one without the true lessons only a loving family can provide. Clement is destined for a life of hardship but thrives because of love of an unusual family. This is a gripping read with a hint of history, much intrigue, and the result is hours of entertainment. Nicole Hekgat is a skillful storyteller.
Giveaway Details:
Simply enter your email address in the comments section.
One random winner will be selected on July 1, 2014.
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HFVBT Book Blast: The Lost Duchess by Jenny Barden

Synopsis:

An epic Elizabethan adventure with a thriller pace and a high tension love story that moves from the palaces of England to the savage wilderness of the New World.
Emme Fifield has fallen about as far as a gentlewoman can.
Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, her only hope of surviving the scandal that threatens to engulf her is to escape England for a fresh start in the new America where nobody has ever heard of the Duchess of Somerset.
Emme joins Kit Doonan’s rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits bound for Virginia. But such a voyage will be far from easy and Emme finds her attraction to the mysterious Doonan inconvenient to say the least.
As for Kit, the handsome mariner has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish, and living as an outlaw with a band of escaped slaves; he has his own inner demons to confront, and his own dark secrets to keep…
Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh’s settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; ‘The Lost Duchess’ explores what might have happened to the ill-starred ‘Lost Colony’ of Roanoke.

About the Author:

I’ve had a love of history and adventure ever since an encounter in infancy with a suit of armour at Tamworth Castle. Training as an artist, followed by a career as a city Jenny (Portrait 2)solicitor, did little to help displace my early dream of becoming a knight. A fascination with the Age of Discovery led to travels in South and Central America, and much of the inspiration for my debut came from retracing the footsteps of Francis Drake in Panama. The sequel centres on the first Elizabethan ‘lost colony’ of early Virginia. I am currently working on an epic adventure during the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada.

My work has appeared in short story collections and anthologies and I’ve written for non-fiction publications including the Historical Novels Review. I am active in many organisations, having run the ‘Get Writing’ conferences for several years, and undertaken the co-ordination of the Historical Novel Society’s London Conference 2012. I am a member of that organisation as well as the Historical Writers’ Association, the Romantic Nevelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. I’ll be co-ordinating the RNA’s annual conference in 2014.

I have four children and now live on a farm in Dorset with my long suffering husband and an ever increasing assortment of animals.

I love travelling, art, reading and scrambling up hills and mountains (though I’m not so keen on coming down!).

Author Links

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Jenny Barden’s Blog
English Historical Fiction Authors Blog

 

Virtual Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, May 26
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Book Blast at Reading the Ages
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at Bibliophilia, Please
Tuesday, May 27
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Book Blast at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read
Wednesday, May 28
Review at Carole’s Ramblings and Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Book Blast at The Little Reader Library
Thursday, May 29
Book Blast at The Maiden’s Court
Book Blast at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Book Blast at Book Reviews & More by Kathy
Friday, May 30
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Book Blast at Curling Up by the Fire
Saturday, May 31
Book Blast at From L.A. to LA
Book Blast at Gobs and Gobs of Books
Sunday, June 1
Book Blast at Lily Pond Reads
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, June 2
Review & Giveaway at The Tudor Enthusiast
Book Blast at The Bookworm
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, June 3
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at West Metro Mommy
Book Blast at bookworm2bookworm’s Blog
Wednesday, June 4
Review at The Wormhole
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Kelsey’s Book Corner
Thursday, June 5
Book Blast at Books and Benches
Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise
Friday, June 6
Interview at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Book Blast at Kincavel Korner
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes
Saturday, June 7
Book Blast at Royal Reviews
Book Blast at History Undressed
Sunday, June 8
Book Blast at Book Nerd
Monday, June 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Book Blast at The Musings of a Book Junkie
Tuesday, June 10
Review at She Reads Novels
Book Blast at Just One More Chapter
Book Blast at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Wednesday, June 11
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Book Blast at Books in the Burbs
Thursday, June 12
Book Blast at Big Book, Little Book
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Notebook
Friday, June 13
Review at Susan Heim on Writing
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Saturday, June 14
Book Blast at Hardcover Feedback
Book Blast at One Book at a Time
Sunday, June 15
Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Monday, June 16
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Starting Fresh
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, June 17
Review at The Lit Bitch
Book Blast at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Wednesday, June 18
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Thursday, June 19
Review at A Bookish Affair
Book Blast at Girl Lost in a Book
Friday, June 20
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

 

 

 

 

 

CLP Blog Tour Review: Hold Me Down by Kathryn R. Biel

Synopsis:

Elizabeth Zurlo is lost. She’s a wife, a mother, a teacher, a PTA volunteer—but somewhere along the way, she’s lost herself. Depression and despair can lead to desperate measures and when she is pulled back from the brink of suicide, Elizabeth slowly tries to rebuild her marriage and reclaim her life. Just as she has finally started to put herself back together, a scandalous novel rocks her small town … and costs Elizabeth her social standing, friendships and ultimately, her marriage. However, the man who seemingly destroyed Elizabeth’s life, helps her realize who she is and what she needs to do to become the woman she’s not only capable of being, but the woman she used to be.

 

 

 

my book thoughts

I was drawn to this book because anything that has to do with mental illness, I naturally gravitate towards.  Being a family therapist, that always piques my interest.  However, this isn’t a book that dives too deep into that aspect and doesn’t go into much detail about her suicide attempt.  Kathryn Biel’s writing reminded me a lot of the movie, “Desperate Housewives”, all rolled into one book.

There is suspense, intrigue, love lost/regained, self empowerment, and the storylines flows well.  While this book could have easily dived into a darker side, Kathryn keeps this book to true “Chick-lit”, which balanced well.

I love the title, the storyline is really good, but I didn’t care much for the book cover.  It’s a “pre” Elizabeth, and not who she eventually becomes.  Otherwise, a good read!

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Kathryn Biel’s Blog Tour:

 

May 19 – Tabby’s Tantalizing Reviews – Review

May 21 – Chick Lit Goddess – Guest Post

May 22 – Authors to Watch – Review

May 26 – The East Village – Review

May 28 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews –  Excerpt

May 30 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews –  Guest Post
May 30 – Books in the Burbs – Review

June 2 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt

June 3 – Cupcake’s Book Cupboard – Review, Guest Post Q&A & Excerpt

June 4 – Two Children and a Migraine – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
June 5 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews – Review

June 6 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy – Guest Post

June 9 – Chick Lit Plus – Review

**Everyone who leaves a comment at CLP Blog Tours will be entered to win a print copy of the book! Please note this is open to US residents only.**

 

Author Bio:

Kathryn Biel hails from Upstate New York and is a spouse and mother of two wonderful and energetic kids. In between being Chief Home Officer and Director of Child Development of the Biel household, she works as a school-based physical therapist. She attended Boston University and received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The Sage Colleges. After years of writing countless letters of medical necessity for wheelchairs, finding increasingly creative ways to encourage the government and insurance companies to fund her clients’ needs and writing entertaining annual Christmas letters, she decided to take a shot at writing the kind of novel that she likes to read. Her debut novel, GOOD INTENTIONS, was released in 2013, and her second novel, HOLD HER DOWN was released in 2014. Her musings and rants can also be found on her personal blog, Biel Blather.

Connect with Kathryn!

Blog: http://kathrynbiel.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

TLC Book Review: One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date:  May 6, 2014

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 480

ISBN:  0062291882

Format:  Paperback

Source:  TLC Book Tours & Publisher

Synopsis:

The acclaimed novelist and prizewinning historian Simon Sebag Montefiore explores the consequences of forbidden love in this heartbreaking epic, inspired by a true story that unfolds in Stalin’s Russia during the bleak days after World War II.

A jubilant Moscow is celebrating the Soviet Union’s victory over Hitler when gunshots ring out though the city’s crowded streets. In the shadow of the Kremlin, a teenage boy and girl are found dead. But this is no ordinary tragedy, because these are no ordinary teenagers. As the children of high-ranking Soviet officials, they inhabit a rarefied world that revolves around the exclusive Josef Stalin Commune School 801. The school, which Stalin’s own children attended, is an enclave of privilege—but, as the deaths reveal, one that hides a wealth of secrets. Were these deaths an accident, a suicide pact . . . or murder?

Certain that a deeper conspiracy is afoot, Stalin launches a ruthless investigation. In what comes to be known as the Children’s Case, youths from all over Moscow are arrested by state security services and brought to the infamous interrogation rooms of the Lubyanka, where they are forced to testify against their friends and their families. Among the casualties of these betrayals are two pairs of illicit lovers, who find themselves trapped at the center of Stalin’s witch hunt. As the Children’s Case follows its increasingly terrifying course, these couples discover that the decision to follow one’s heart comes at a terrible price.

A haunting evocation of a time and place in which the state colluded to corrupt and destroy every dream, One Night in Winter is infused with the desperate intrigue of a political thriller. The eminent historian Simon Sebag Montefiore weaves fact and fiction into a richly compelling saga of sacrifice and survival, populated by real figures from the past. But within the darkness shines a deeply human love story, one that transcends its moment as it masterfully explores our capacity for loyalty and forgiveness.

my book thoughts

I first have to mention, how fitting writing this review is, today.  Today, is Memorial Day, an important date that Americans celebrate and honor the American soldiers who have fought bravely and lost their lives doing so, for our freedom and those of others.

One Night in Winter is the sequel to Sashenka, however is a book that can stand on it’s own.  The first scene that takes place, reminded me of a couple of fateful scenes in Romeo and Juliet, all rolled into one.  It’s the end of World War II, Stalin is in control of his country, and like any narcisstic leader-still demands the loyalty of the people.

Centered around young teens, who many are children of leaders in the political party, movie stars/entertainers, and fierce supporters of Stalin’s regime.  However, what became one tragic story, turns into a twisted and demented opportunity for Stalin to use this situation to his favor: put children against parents, parents against each other, and everyone’s loyalty is questioned.

This is a profound book that will have many crying, angry, sad, and think of this book for many days and years to come.  Simon is a gifted and talented author, who can write something so tragic and yet in the midst of it, give the reader hope, show the beauty in a time when things were bleak, and teach people what can happen when too much control is given to one person.  This is a fantastic story that would be wonderful for any high school or college course studying history, world events, character analyses, and would certainly make for an awesome book club pick!! The discussions would be endless for sure!

It’s a long read, but every page is worth it.  A great book to add to any TBR list for sure!

supreme cupcake rating 6

About Simon Sebag MontefioreSimon Sebag Montefiore

Simon Sebag Montefiore’s bestselling books are published in more than forty languages. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Sashenka. As a historian, his works include Jerusalem: The Biography, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, and Young Stalin, which was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, the Costa Biography Prize (UK), and Le Grand Prix de Biographie Politique (France).

Find out more about Simon at his website and connect with him on Facebook.

 

Simon’s Tour Stops

Wednesday, May 7th: Man of La Book

Monday, May 12th: 5 Minutes For Books

Tuesday, May 13th: Ace and Hoser Blook

Wednesday, May 14th: Dwell in Possibility

Thursday, May 15th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Tuesday, May 20th: More Than Just Magic

Wednesday, May 21st: Read Lately

Thursday, May 22nd: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, May 22nd: Walking With Nora

Monday, May 26th: Book-alicious Mama

Monday, May 26th: Books in the Burbs

Tuesday, May 27th: Bookfoolery and Babble

Wednesday, May 28th: The House of the Seven Tails

Monday, June 2nd: The Written World

Tuesday, June 3rd: Ageless Pages Reviews

Thursday, June 5th: Read. Write. Repeat.

TBD: Bibliophilia, Please

 

 

CLP Blog Tour Review: Redesigning Rose by Lydia Laceby

Synopsis:

Rose Parker’s husband has been lying. About everything.

When a conversation with her husband triggers questions, Rose Parker uncovers alarming answers that shatter her perfect life. But it is only when she shoves her belongings in her SUV and drives off that Rose realizes just how far from perfect her life actually was. She has nowhere to turn.

While debating between distressing sleeping arrangements–her mother’s house full of questions or a hotel room with too much solitude–Rose bumps into an acquaintance from her gardening class and allows bubbly, exuberant Becky to indulge her in a wild night full of whiskey, weeping, and whispered confidences. Suddenly, Rose has a new friend, a roof over her head, and two gorgeous men moving her out of her marital home.

As Rose struggles to settle into her new life, she remains determined to comprehend her past. And with time and distance and especially wine, comes knowledge. Frank wasn’t the only one lying to her. Rose was lying to herself.my book thoughts

I love the cover and title of this book, Lydia Laceby’s debut novel.  This is the kind of book that chick-lit lovers will love immersing themselves in. Rose is ever the optimist, in love with her husband, and is thrown for a huge curve ball, upon finding out about her husband’s unfaithfulness-in every way.

Rose leaves the comfort of her home, has a huge break down, and stays with a friend-who becomes her confidant, biggest supporter, and cheerleader through it all.  Rose has to figure out what to do with her life, as she picks up the pieces of her life and comes to the realization that her marriage was a sham.  While doing this, she becomes great friends with Becky, reconnects with her mother on a closer level, nurtures the hobby she had pushed aside (gardening), and befriends those in her life that she otherwise may  not have met through those connections with Becky and the gardening club.

It’s a light read, that Lydia Laceby is able to share with readers, while covering serious issues of marriage, infidelity, mother/daughter relationships, and new beginnings.  It’s a fantastic book that I loved reading and is one of my favorite books this year, in the chick-lit genre!

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LYDIA LACEBY is a co-founder of the fiction book blog, Novel Escapes. Since 2009, she has read and reviewed as much women’s fiction as humanly possible while designing, organizing and expanding the blog from two reviewers to seven.

In her spare time, she knits cute baby hats, would pick cheese over chocolate, and longs for the days she was able to cheat on her allergy free diet.

Lydia began her career writing a soap opera at the tender age of thirteen. It never aired. Redesigning Rose is her first novel.

 

 

 

 

Lydia Laceby Book Tour:

April 28 – Chick Lit Goddess – Q&A & Excerpt

April 30 – Change the Word – Q&A & Excerpt

May 2 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

May 6 – Chick Lit Plus – Novel Spotlight

May 8 – Crooks on Books – Review

May 9 – Karen’s Korner – Review

May 14 – Sweets Books – Excerpt

May 14 – Eat Write Love – Novel Spotlight & Q&A

May 15 – Julie Valerie’s Book Blog – Review & Q&A

May 16 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt

May 19 – Fiction Dreams – Q&A

May 20 – Little Whimsy Books – Novel Spotlight &  Excerpt

May 21 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy – Review

May 21 – Books à la Mode – Excerpt & Giveaway

May 22 – Books in the Burbs – Review & Excerpt

May 23 – Sammy the Bookworm – Excerpt

May 26 – The Book Geek Wears Pajamas – Review & Excerpt

 

 

 

 

 

 

TLC Book Tour Review: Cutting Teeth Julia Fierro

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Pages:  334

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press (publication date: May 13 2014)

Source: TLC Book Tours

Synopsis:

One of the most anticipated debut novels of 2014, Cutting Teeth takes place one late-summer weekend as a group of thirty-something couples gather at a shabby beach house on Long Island, their young children in tow.

Nicole, the hostess, struggles to keep her OCD behaviors unnoticed. Stay-at-home dad Rip grapples with the reality that his careerist wife will likely deny him a second child, forcing him to disrupt the life he loves. Allie, one half of a two-mom family, can’t stop imagining ditching her wife and kids in favor of her art. Tiffany, comfortable with her amazing body but not so comfortable in the upper-middle class world the other characters were born into, flirts dangerously, and spars with her best friend Leigh, a blue blood secretly facing financial ruin and dependent on the magical Tibetan nanny everyone else covets. Throughout the weekend, conflicts intensify and painful truths surface. Friendships and alliances crack, forcing the house party to confront a new order.

Cutting Teeth is about the complex dilemmas of early midlife—the vicissitudes of friendship, of romantic and familial love, and of sex. It’s about class tension, status hunger, and the unease of being in possession of life’s greatest bounty while still wondering, is this as good as it gets? And, perhaps most of all, Julia Fierro’s warm and unpretentious debut explores the all-consuming love we feel for those we need most, and the sacrifice and compromise that underpins that love.my book thoughts

The title of the book was quite interesting and rather reflective to what each parent experiences, during their weekend away.  Like a toddler cutting teeth, these parents experience their share of pain, numbness, growth, and new beginnings.  The cover of the book is “meh”.  I didn’t feel the book cover reflected the storyline in the way I would have expected.  The house where the couples stayed in, or the beach, maybe even the NY city view.  However, once I got passed that, it was a great read!

I always shudder when a book is quoted as being “One of the most anticipated debut novels of 2014″, because it really sets the author up for either sheer success or fizzled failure.  However, this book does not fail.  It reminded me of a drama sitcom, even the one I absolutely loved, “Thirty-Something”.  Remember that one? I absolutely loved it!!

This is a book filled with different scenarios, a variety of characters-who have their own set of issues, and how they all come together by being in a playgroup.  This a character driven book, with each character evolving over the course of the book (or do they?), and how each one faces challenges that cause each one to question their goals, their relationships, parenting, and how they adjust to change.  With a wide variety of couples (non-couples) and children, this is a book that deals with real issues of today.  It’s not a warm, fuzzy book, although there are moments of that.  Rather, it’s a glimpse into the real issues parents face and/or have wondered.

This is also a book that would make for a great character analysis in an English Comp or Sociology class, because of the different issues discussed in this book.  It’s a story that doesn’t have one main plot, but many sub-plots, and Julia is able to merge them all together into a book that reads seamlessly.

It’s an excellent book and one I enjoyed reading.

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*My thanks to Lisa for working with me on my schedule!!

 

 

About Julia Fierro

Julia Fierro’s debut novel, Cutting Teeth, was listed as one of the “Most Anticipated Books of 2014” by HuffPost Books, The Millions, Flavorwire, Brooklyn Magazine, and Marie Claire.  Her work has been published, or is forthcoming, in Guernica, Ploughshares, Poets & Writers, Glamour, and other publications, and she has been profiled in the L Magazine, The Observer, and The Economist.

 

Connect with Julia

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Julia Fierro’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, May 12th:  Books a la Mode – guest post

Monday, May 12th:  Ageless Pages

Tuesday, May 13th:  The Well Read Redhead

Friday, May 16th:  Books in the ‘Burbs

Friday, May 16th:  BookNAround

Monday, May 19th:  Bookchickdi

Tuesday, May 20th:  Book Chatter

Thursday, May 22nd:  Must Read Faster

Friday, May 23rd:  Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesdya, May 27th:  Bibliophiliac

Wednesday, May 28th:  My Bookshelf

Wednesday, May 28th:  Snowdrop Dreams of Books

Thursday, May 29th:  Anita Loves Books

Monday, June 2nd:  Literally Jen

Tuesday, June 3rd:  Books in the City

Thursday, June 5th:  Bibliotica

Thursday, June 5th:  Kritter’s Ramblings

Monday, June 9th:  A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall

Wednesday, June 11th:  River City Reading

Thursday, June 12th:  Sidewalk Shoes

Friday, June 13th:  Luxury Reading

 

TLC Book Tours Review: The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062244752
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction, Contemporary Literature
  • Source:  TLC Book Tours & Publisher
  • Format:  Paperback
  • Synopsis:
  • A luminous and unforgettable tale of two women, destiny, and identity in Afghanistan

    Kabul, 2007: The Taliban rules the streets. With a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can rarely leave the house or attend school. Their only hope lies in the ancient Afghan custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a son until she is of marriageable age. As a boy, she has the kind of freedom that was previously unimaginable . . . freedom that will transform her forever.

    But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-great-grandmother Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life in the same way—the change took her on a journey from the deprivation of life in a rural village to the opulence of a king’s palace in the bustling metropolis of Kabul.

    Crisscrossing in time, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell interweaves the stories of these two remarkable women who are separated by a century but share the same courage and dreams. What will happen once Rahima is old enough to marry? How long can Shekiba pass as a man? And if Rahima cannot adapt to life as a bride, how will she survive?

my book thoughts

The cover is stunning, absolutely beautiful!  I love the title and felt that it went well with the theme of the book.  If readers are aware of the traditional Muslim gender roles, in the Middle East, then this book shouldn’t be too much of a shock.  There were many times that my heart ached over the way girls were treated vs. boys, the family expectations of women and multiple wives, the devaluation of a woman and the importance of birthing sons, and the inability to walk outside their home without men/boys attacking or harming them.  While the religious culture is vastly different from that promotes gender equality, it is a story that needs to be told and highlighted to understand the themes in the storyline.

Nadia writes so beautifully and shifts between the past and present flawlessly.   Shekiba’s story is one that is filled with sorrow, sadness, but also has glimmers of hope and new beginnings.  Her story read almost like a folktale, that can be passed down from generation to generation for young girls to be inspired and create change.  I was so engrossed with Shekiba’s tale that it was hard to switch mentally to Rahima’s storyline.  However, both stories switched back and forth seamlessly.

Rahima is a little girl, who experiences both sides of the gender norms: as a boy and girl.  As a girl, she experiences being bullied by the boys her age, the inability to walk to school safely, having to wear her burqua, the disappointment she sees in her father’s eyes, etc.  As a boy, she experiences many freedoms of going to school without harassment, going to the story and bargaining/buying goods, having the time to socialize and play after school and not prepare meals, and the approval she gets from her father.

Rahima lives in a household where the country is changing, having to see her father leave for bouts at a time, and have him return to a drunken/drugged stupor.  She also hears the talks amongst the family in her house and their thoughts on family, politics/country, and the “girl talk” women have.

This is a long book.  It took me awhile to read, simply because it was so mesmerizing to learn and read about the culture in Afghanistan, the changing country, and how two families are impacted with gender roles, religion, and political climate change.  It’s a beautiful book and one that will easily be compared to Khaled Hosseini and his lyrical style of writing, in a practical format, that people of all backgrounds will enjoy, cry, rejoice, and remember for a long time.

excellent cupcake 5

About Nadia HashimiNadia Hashimi

Nadia Hashimi’s parents left Afghanistan in the 1970s, before the Soviet invasion. In 2002, Hashimi visited Afghanistan for the first time. She lives with her family in suburban Washington, D.C., where she works as a pediatrician.

Find out more about Nadia at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

 

Nadia’s Tour Stops

Wednesday, May 7th: The Gilmore Guide to Books

Thursday, May 8th: Lit and Life

Friday, May 9th: Books in the Burbs

Monday, May 12th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, May 12th: A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, May 13th: Drey’s Library

Wednesday, May 14th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books

Thursday, May 15th: West Metro Mommy

Wednesday, May 21st: Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, May 22nd: Time 2 Read

Monday, May 26th: BoundbyWords