(Review) Julie by Catherine Marshall

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Publisher and Publication Date: Republished by Evergreen Farm, April 2017. Originally published 1984.
Genre: Fiction.
Source: Complimentary ebook from Just Read Tours and Evergreen Farm. I was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Very good.

Landing page for the book tour @Just Read Tours.

Links for purchase:
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Author Info:
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Catherine Marshall (1914-1983) is The New York Times best-selling author of 30 books, and is best known for her novel Christy. Based on the life of her mother, Christy captured the hearts of millions and became a popular CBS television series. Around the kitchen table at Evergreen Farm, as her mother reminisced, Catherine probed for details and insights into the rugged lives of these Appalachian highlanders. Catherine shared the story of her husband, Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the United States Senate, in A Man Called Peter. A decade after Dr. Marshall’s untimely death, Catherine married (1959) Leonard LeSourd, Executive Editor of Guideposts, forging a dynamic writer-editor partnership. A beloved inspirational writer and speaker, Catherine’s enduring career spanned four decades and reached over 30 million readers.

Summary:

*A New York Times bestseller*

Will the dam hold?

Julie Wallace has always wanted to write. Trying to escape the Great Depression, Julie’s father buys the Alderton Sentinel, a small-town newspaper in flood-prone Alderton, Pennsylvania, and moves his family there. As flash floods ominously increase, Julie’s investigative reporting uncovers secrets that could endanger the entire community.

Julie, the newspaper, and her family are thrown into a perilous standoff with the owners of the steel mills as they investigate the conditions of the immigrant laborers. As the Alderton Sentinel and Julie take on a more aggressive role to reform these conditions, seething tensions come to a head.

When a devastating tragedy follows a shocking revelation, Julie’s courage and strength are tested.
Will truth and justice win, or will Julie lose everything she holds dear?

My Thoughts:
Recently, I read and reviewed the first fiction book Catherine Marshall published, Christy. Christy and Julie have both been republished by Evergreen Farm. Christy is based on Marshall’s mother, and Julie is based on Marshall’s life. The time period for Christy is 1912. The time period for Julie is 1934-35.
It’s been a while back, but I read a nonfiction book about the Johnston Flood of 1889. Later, I found out a family friend had relatives who survived this flood. She grew up in this same area of Pennsylvania. I have seen photographs of her relatives who lived to tell their own harrowing stories of survival. There were several floods in this same area. One of the floods was in 1936. A worse flood came in 1977. More people died during the horrific flood of 1889, than the 1900 Galveston hurricane. I wanted to mention these statistics and history, because a significant part of Julie’s story is centered on a flood. Even in the first pages of the book, Julie begins her story with a heavy downfall of rain, the lake and the spillway. Throughout the book, there is a feeling of dread about the terrain, lake and dam. The references to these worries builds to a crescendo. This is a large plot in the story: “will the dam hold?”
Julie is 17-18 years old in the novel. She is the oldest child of three. Her father had been ill. Their family moved to a new state and began a new life. Her father is now the publisher and owner of a struggling newspaper. These are the years of the worst of the Great Depression. People her age had a maturity that future generations did not have. The maturity shows in Julie. She is a young woman who cares about her looks, boys and life after high school. She has experiences that cause angst. However, she feels a strong responsibility to her family and to do the right thing. I love it that she too is a writer, poet, and proofreader for the newspaper. Her personality is a blend of resilience, beauty and intelligence. She has emotion, but she thinks logically.
In Julie, I saw the town and its people. This includes the steelworkers, and those men who run the mill. The politicians of the town and what control they had over it is displayed.
References are made to the southern state they’d lived in. The racial divide and the problems it caused in their home church. This incident had left bad memories.
Sharing stories like racial discrimination, poverty, economic class levels, education, employment, travel, and the culture of the 1930s gave me a well-rounded view of this era.
A strength in the writing style of Marshall’s is the descriptions of scenery and people, and because of this the story came alive, and I felt an investment in Julie and her family.

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(Review) Little French Bistro by Nina George

9780451495594

Publisher and Publication Date: Broadway Books. 2017.
Genre: Fiction.
Pages: 368.
Source: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
Rating: Good.

Blogging for Books is no longer in the book review business. For several years, I’d signed up for books through their program. This is the last book and review I’ll do for them.

Amazon

Summary:
Marianne is age 60. She’s been married to Lothar for 41 years. They don’t have children. They live in Germany. She has one friend. Marianne’s life is void of intimacy. She is in a dark place. To say she is unhappy is an understatement. Lothar is selfish and controlling. He’s treated her as chattel. She and Lothar travel to Paris, France. She attempts suicide by jumping into the Seine River. She is rescued and hospitalized. In an impulsive moment, she leaves the cruel life behind and relocates to the Brittany coast.

My Thoughts:
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, Marianne’s life and turnaround kept me immersed. I read this book in about two days. I had to know what would happen to this little mouse of a woman. I wondered if she had the perseverance to reinvent her life? I wondered if she planned to attempt suicide again? I wondered if she would eventually return to Lothar?
Another aspect of the book I loved is the opening line:

“It was the first decision she had ever made on her own, the very first time she was able to determine the course of her life.”

I loved the scenery descriptions of Brittany, the coastline, and the town where she resides.
What I did not like is the predictability of the story. What I hoped to read is she reinvented herself internally without the need to find happiness in another person. In my opinion, there is joy in life without depending on a romantic interest. She had a wonderful vocation, friends, and a dreamy place to live. She had a new outlook on life and a new view of herself. She had the chance to enjoy understanding who Marianne is at this point in life. I am disappointed she focused outside herself to find that happiness. Stories like this are a dime a dozen. Why not have a heroine who becomes strong without depending on a man? Why not focus on her developing character?
I want to clarify. I love romantic stories, but Marianne had spent over 40 years in an abusive relationship. I feel she needed to find herself, and drink in the life she’d not even noticed before.

My favorite quote from page 24.

My husband neither touched my soul nor charmed my body.