(Review) The Watsons by Rose Servitova and Jane Austen

The Watsons FINAL

Publisher and Publication Date: Wooster Publishing. October 10, 2019.
Genre: Austenesque, Historical Fiction.
Pages: 256.
Source: I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Audience: Jane Austen readers.
Rating: Excellent.

Amazon (paperback) link
Amazon (kindle) link

Goodreads link

Rose Servitova headshot
Author Info:
Irish author Rose Servitova is an award-winning humor writer, event manager,
and job coach for people with special needs. Her debut novel, The Longbourn
LettersThe Correspondence between Mr. Collins and Mr. Bennet, described as a
‘literary triumph’, has received international acclaim since its publication in 2017.
Rose enjoys talking at literary events, drinking tea and walking on Irish country
roads. She lives in County Limerick with her husband, two young children and
three indifferent cats. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

EARLY PRAISE:
“A gift for Austen fans everywhere – full of wit, informed imagination and palpable
affection for Austen’s characters.” — Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen
Society
“Very satisfying, sometimes moving and often laugh-out-loud hilarious.” — Jane
Austen Regency World Magazine

The Watsons Blog Tour banner final

Summary:
Can she honour her family and stay true to herself?
Emma Watson returns to her family home after fourteen years with her wealthy
and indulgent aunt. Now more refined than her siblings, Emma is shocked by her
sisters’ flagrant and desperate attempts to ensnare a husband. To the surprise of
the neighbourhood, Emma immediately attracts the attention of eligible suitors –
notably the socially awkward Lord Osborne, heir to Osborne Castle – who could
provide her with a home and high status if she is left with neither after her father’s
death. Soon Emma finds herself navigating a world of unfamiliar social mores,
making missteps that could affect the rest of her life. How can she make amends
for the wrongs she is seen to have committed without betraying her own sense of
what is right?
Jane Austen commenced writing The Watsons over two hundred years ago,
putting it aside unfinished, never to return and complete it. Now, Rose Servitova,
author of acclaimed humour title, The Longbourn Letters: The Correspondence
between Mr. Collins and Mr. Bennet has finished Austen’s manuscript in a manner
true to Austen’s style and wit.

My Thoughts:
I love the character Emma. On her return home, Emma has no idea what her family is really like. She has no idea how they view her, because she’s lived apart from them and is now expected to blend back in with the family. She has a strong personality, yet she is amiable. Her strengths will be utilized throughout the story. Her ability to stand her ground when other people in the family pressure her to act. Emma is a character I admire. Emma is in sharp contrast with other personalities in the story. She shines brilliantly!
Dialogue is a strong element in The Watson’s. Whether the conversation is about gossip or information shared between confidantes.
Judging or forming an opinion is a theme. However, first impressions are not always what can be counted on as truth. People assume something and it’s not correct. Behind the story of The Watson’s is a teaching element based on the judging theme. I love stories that hold something for me to learn.
Other strengths in The Watson’s:
•Solid story portraying the culture and standards of this era.
•The bond of sisters.
•The struggle to make a right decision, yet be true to self.
•People who should be counted on as having a high standard of character fall flat.
•A steady pacing of the story.

Over-all I love The Watson’s. I became swept up in the story from the first page!

THE WATSONS BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:
November 18 My Jane Austen Book Club (Interview)
November 18 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)
November 19 The Lit Bitch (Excerpt)
November 20 Austenesque Reviews (Review)
November 20 vvb32 Reads (Review)
November 21 All Things Austen (Review)
November 22 My Love for Jane Austen (Spotlight)
November 25 From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)
November 25 Diary of an Eccentric (Interview)
November 26 So Little Time… (Excerpt)
November 27 Impressions in Ink (Review)
November 27 Babblings of a Bookworm (Spotlight)
November 28 More Agreeably Engaged (Review)
November 29 My Vices and Weaknesses (Excerpt)
November 29 The Fiction Addiction (Review)

(Review) Distant Signs by Anne Richter

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Publisher and Publication Date: March 7, 2019. Neem Tree Press.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 240.
Source: I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Audience: History readers of post World War II East Germany.
Rating: Very good.

The book was first published as Fremde Zeichen in 2013.
The translation to English is by Douglas Irving, 2019.

Link to the blog tour: https://www.hfvirtualbooktours.com/distantsignsblogtour/

Amazon
The book is not available in Kindle. The Hardcover was published March 7, 2019. The paperback was published November 21, 2019.

Distant Signs Poster_web

03_Anne Richter

About the Author:
Anne Richter was born in 1973 in Jena, in the former German Democratic Republic. Her degree in Romance languages and English included study periods in England, Italy and France. In 2011, Anne was nominated for the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, a highly regarded German-language literary award. Her debut novel, Distant Signs, was published in Germany in 2013. Anne is currently writing her second novel.
Douglas Irving is Scottish. He studied German and Spanish at Aberdeen University. In 2014, he completed a Masters in Translation at Glasgow University. His first translation, Crossing: A Love Story by Anna Seghers was published in 2016 in the US to positive reviews. His translation of Anna Seghers’ last work published in her lifetime, Three Women from Haiti, is set to follow.

Summary:
Distant Signs is an intimate portrait of two families spanning three generations amidst turbulent political change, behind and beyond the Berlin Wall. In 1960s East Germany, Margret, a professor’s daughter from the city, meets and marries Hans, from a small village in Thuringia. The couple struggle to contend with their different backgrounds, and the emotional scars they bear from childhood in the aftermath of war. As East German history gradually unravels, with collision of the personal and political, their two families’ hidden truths are quietly revealed. An exquisitely written novel with strongly etched characters that stay with you long after the book is finished and an authentic portrayal of family life behind the iron curtain based on personal experience of the author who is East German and was 16 years old at the fall of the Berlin Wall. Why do families repeat destructive patterns of behaviour across generations? Should the personal take precedence over the political? Can we rise above our histories and political identities to forge a new understanding of the past and to welcome change?

My Thoughts:
My first thought about Distant Signs is character study. This is a book strong in a character study of the protagonists.

The protagonists or main characters:
Margret
Hans
Sonja, Hans and Margret’s daughter
Johanna, Margret’s mother
Friedrich, Margret’s father
Lene, Han’s mother
Erwin, Hans’s father

The thoughts behind the characters are shared. So, I’m privy to the layers of thoughts and feelings behind the words and actions. However, there is an absence of completeness. What I mean is the characters don’t fully complete the thought pattern behind the feeling. So, if there is a feeling of sadness, that sadness is not addressed but pushed back. Each of them are affected by World War II. Even the family members who were born afterwards. Those who were living during the war are emotional vacuums. It’s a topic they don’t want to discuss, but its presence is like an elephant in the room. The people don’t feel the freedom to express what they really need to express. And, it’s possible they don’t know how. Yet, there is deep anger and sadness. Instead, they are stoic or detached. Needs and desires are stifled. Sometimes they don’t even look at one another, their eyes shift away to another object.

My second thought is Distant Signs showed me the shifting political ideology of the people. From the National Socialist German Workers’ Party or Nazi Party, to the German Democratic Republic or Communism. It’s interesting how people justify what role they portrayed in the war.

Distant Signs is a sad book with a glimpse of hope. I wanted to make this last point, because most readers want a book to have a positive conclusion.

Giveaway: This blog does not host giveaways. The giveaway is coordinated by another blog. Good Luck!
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of A Distant Signs by Anne Richter! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules:
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on November 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Direct Link to the giveaway: https://gleam.io/j4uyi/distant-signs

(Review) Anne Bradstreet by D. B. Kellogg

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Publisher and Publication Date: Thomas Nelson. 2010.
Genre: Christian Nonfiction. Biography. Poetry.
Pages: 192.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Very good.
Audience: Readers of poetry.

Amazon

The first thing I want to state about this book is it is a brief look at Anne Bradstreet’s life and poetry. Do you want to read more about Anne Bradstreet? I am currently reading another book about her and will post on the review soon. The title is Anne Bradstreet: The Works of Anne Bradstreet. Edited by Jeannine Hensley.
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Christian Encounters is a series of nonfiction biography books on historical figures. Christian Encounters is published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publishing company. Examples of other books are Jane Austen, Sergeant York, Saint Patrick and John Bunyan.

Anne Bradstreet was born in Northampton, England, 1612. She had smallpox as a young girl. She’d been educated well. She married at age 16; and, two years later Anne, and husband, Simon Bradstreet, and other family left England for the new land of Massachusetts Bay Colony. The year was 1630.
Bradstreet was a poet who wrote for pleasure. She wrote to express herself and the world she lived in. She was a Puritan, and, through her poetry we understand how a Puritan woman felt about life. She is considered the first published female poet in America.
The book creates an appetite to read another book about Anne Bradstreet. This is why I ordered from Amazon the second book: The Works of Anne Bradstreet.
Anne Bradstreet, a Christian Encounter shares about Puritan life. Its culture, church service, clothing, medical treatments, law, and its philosophy in general. The book doesn’t share detailed information about the sea crossing. The emphasis is on after the arrival, the other places they lived and life in general for Bradstreet.
A few lines of her poetry is included. My favorite is To My Dear and Loving Husband. It shows Anne and Simon had a close and loving marriage. It was affectionate and tender.
An undated poem, Contemplations, focuses on the Creator God and His creation.
“I wish not what to wish, yet sure thought I,
If so much excellence abide below;
How excellent is he that dwells on high?
Whose power and beauty by his works we know.”
The book edits the poem. The original is 33 stanzas. To read the complete poem: Poetry Foundation.
Chapter eight in the book is about Anne Hutchinson. She was a rebel with an interesting history. In brief, this chapter explains her life and circumstances.
Over-all the book is enjoyable and an easy read. It definitely left me wanting more. This is a solid first choice, but not a final choice on Anne Bradstreet.

(Review) Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger

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Publisher and Publication Date: G.P Putnam’s Sons. July 2, 2019.
Genre: Fiction. Detective. Mystery.
Pages: 276.
Source: Library.
Rating: Very good.
Audience: Readers who love a female crime solver.

Amazon

 

 

Summary:
Nell Flynn is a FBI agent with no real home address. Her dad (that she’s estranged from) had been a homicide detective in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York for many years. Her mother was murdered when Flynn was young. Her dad died in a recent motorcycle accident. Flynn returns home for the funeral. She believes the accident that killed her dad is suspicious. In Suffolk County, two women are murdered with ties to the same escort service. Flynn is asked to help investigate the case of the murders.

My Thoughts:
The first thing I love about this book is the layers of themes running in the book.
•Unanswered questions about Flynn’s mother’s death.
•The estrangement between Flynn and her dad.
•Another mystery woman. What relationship did this woman have with Flynn’s dad?
•Flynn’s PTSD.
•Is the Suffolk County Police Department good guys or bad guys?
•A mystery about her dad’s death.
•The mystery about who killed the women.

Girls Like Us has a solid pace or rhythm. It’s a story where it doesn’t get to ahead of itself, even during moments that are intense. It moves steadily along helping the reader stay tuned.

It’s a realistic story. I’ve read some detective stories that are too over the top with action and it comes across as not believable. Girls Like Us is believable; and, because it’s believable, the story has a dark and frightening atmosphere.

A solid tie-up or closure for the ending left me satisfied.