Monday, December 31, 2007

Bride of Fortune

by Harnett T. Kane

Rating: 4/5
Grade: C - 14 and up (weighty themes involving war, slavery, and childhood death)

This book is a what I consider a fictional biography of Varina Howell Davis. She was the wife of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy. I was highly impressed by the amount of research, and first-hand sources that went into the writing of the book. Ten years of research, studying diaries, letters, etc., visiting all of the places in the book, interviewing surviving family members; all combined to make a novel with a very real sense of setting and character. The book was well written, and carried me along swiftly, I finished it off today while I should have been cleaning the house, and finishing Christmas preparations. I gained a new appreciation for the ideals, admirable personages, and struggles of the south during this time. Growing up in Idaho, and with all of my ancestors coming from Northern states, I'm afraid I haven't given much thought to the the views that led the southern states to succeed. The book was very much a view of Jefferson Davis, through the eyes of his wife. I would have appreciated a bit more insight into the life of the family, and more said about the couples children, but the book was written by a man who was trying to stay very true to the facts he had before him, and, presumably, not much was written about the children.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew

by Daniel Pool

Rating: 3.5/5
Grade: B - 8 and up

This book is a good resource to have on hand. The author delves briefly into many subjects brought up in 19th century English lit. Includes quotations from books written at the time as examples. The last part of the book is a glossary of terms, which I found very helpful. Not the sort of book I would sit down and read quickly through, but interesting to pick up and read by subject.


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