Monday, April 18, 2011

A Heart Most Worthy - Siri Mitchell

"A Heart Most Worthy" is a historical fiction set in 1918 in Boston and written from the perspective of three Italian girls ranging from late teens to mid-twenties. One creative spin that makes this book unique is the storyline. Instead of being based on one main character it is based on three main characters. Each main character has their own antagonist and supporting actors. While the characters are friends/acquaintances, it is not until later in the book that you can see how their personal stories intertwine. This is what makes the book so well crafted.
The author takes a different approach by writing a portion of the book - including the opening - in second person (as if a narrator is speaking to you). She switches back and forth to third person, so you can still enjoy the traditional reading style of third person. I am not a fan of reading a book written in second person, but am glad the author chose to switch gears each time just before I became disinterested.
The author chose to include a character list in the front of the book. I skipped this, believing that I could follow the story line without it. I was correct. The book was not overly complicated, and the character list proved to be unnecessary for me.
Overall, I enjoyed the book but found it a little less entertaining that I had hoped. It took a little longer than I would like for the plot to become apparent. I prefer having some direction right from the start.
"A Heart Most Worthy" is the third book that I have read that was written by Siri Mitchell. The other others, "She Walks in Beauty" and "A Constant Heart" were both historically accurate and detailed, as was this one. Of the three, I most highly recommend "She Walks in Beauty"; it was by far the most enjoyable to read.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for an objective review.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Lightkeeper's Ball - Colleen Coble

As the third and final book in the Mercy Falls series by Colleen Coble, this mystery-slash-romance is just as intriguing as the two that preceded it. Historical fiction is not Colleen's genre of choice, but I am so glad she went for this -- and three books straight in a row! For those of you who love mystery but don't want to sacrifice a good romance, this book will fill that niche.
My only complaint is that this mystery, like most books authored by Colleen Coble, is unsolvable until the villain is revealed. My personal preference when reading a mystery is that all clues be given throughout the book so that, if you are an excellent Sherlock Holmes, you can have a decent chance at solving the puzzle. I love the feeling of having a mental list of clues and valid suspects then narrowing them down when new facts are released. A good example of an author who writes a challenging mystery but still gives the reader an opportunity to solve the riddle is Mary Higgins Clark. After reading most all of Mary's books, I cannot help but feel that Colleen Coble has also done so, and is working toward this end.
All this said, Colleen Coble is the Mary Higgins Clark of women's Christian fiction. I always enjoy her books, and when you combine her mystery writing skills with a historical setting, you simply cannot go wrong. Thank you, Colleen, for adding this historical set to your repertoire!