Sunday, March 5, 2017

Grace

by Natashia Deón
Feb 15-Mar 4, 2017

I seem to be drawn to books about slavery. But then again, it also seems to be a popular subject among contemporary authors. It must be my love of historical fiction though, because there is no "easy reading" when it comes to the life of a slave and what they had to endure. Literally fearing for their lives every single minute of every single day, plus those of their loved ones. Not to mention rape, beatings, torture; the list goes on. I don't remember how Grace came to be on my radar – maybe it was the 4.1 stars rating on Goodreads – but this beautifully written novel was well worth every minute.

Grace was told from two perspectives: Naomi's life before her daughter's birth and Josey's life after her mother's death. This is no secret ... the first chapter reveals Naomi's murder. The two stories are told in parallel with more and more secrets revealed as the chapters flow from Naomi's "flashes" (the times before her death) to Josey's mental and physical struggles through the Civil War and the emancipation. The unique perspective of Naomi's spirit watching over her daughter was skillfully told and in no way portrayed as a cheesy ghost story (although some reviews I read disagree).
“It’s been said that justice is getting what you deserve. And mercy is not getting the bad you deserve. Grace is getting a good thing, even when you don’t deserve it.”
The conclusion was by no means neat and tidy, but in the end Naomi found a bit of peace.

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Girl Through Glass

by Sari Wilson
Jan 28-Feb 14, 2017

The world of ballet is beautiful to outsiders. But for those inside, it is competitive, grueling, manipulative and plagued by body dysmorphia. And I love books about ballet! Everyone has a dream job, something they always secretly wished for but knew there was no way to achieve it. Mine was, and will always be, a dancer. I clung to that hope all the way through college even though I knew it would never, ever happen. But I've loved dance in all forms since long before I can even remember.

So when I jump into a ballet novel, I'm immediately in the world I want to be in. This one started a wee bit abstract for me, but then I quickly figured out its pattern and got cozy. While I thought maybe the present Mira/Bella/Kate was a little disjointed in its telling, I totally related to the late 70s portion of the story. Mostly because of my nostalgia for that time in my childhood – right about when I discovered dance. But I also loved reading about Mira's dance classes, priding myself in remembering all the French dance terms and knowing the famous ballerinas referenced. Present day Kate was a bit all over the place with the super short-lived "affair" seeming not to add the proper depth to her character and be more of an annoying distraction.

And let's face it. Maurice was creepy AF. But, as he's described in his time with Mira, he's a super old, wrinkly, crippled man. Then the reader finds out he's about 48! Ha! But I guess we all thought people in their 40s were ancient when we were preteens. Without giving too much away, I think the author did a very tasteful job of describing the events that ended Mira's relationship with that weirdo.

Overall, I delicious indulgence into a world that remains very much unchanged for centuries.

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