Publisher and Publication Date: Penguin Books. 1974. First published 1849. Genre: Classic literature. Pages: 622. Source: Self-purchase. Audience: Readers of the Bronte authors. Readers of classic literature. Rating: Very good.
Summary: Reading the summary of the book at Amazon leaves one lacking in what the story is really about. Goodreads shares more information. Shirley’s time period is during the Napoleonic Wars, Luddite riots, and economic hardship (1811-1812) in England. Shirley is the name of one of the female characters: Shirley Keeldar. The first four chapters show the tension and situation of the small town in Yorkshire where this story takes place. Mr. Moore is a young man who has a business, a mill. He is unmarried and prefers to stay that way. He is an ambitious man by modernizing his home and business as money allowed. He didn’t consider that by modernizing the mill it put people out of work and without income. The two female lead characters are Shirley and Caroline.
My Thoughts: It took a while to become invested in the story. For me, the first few chapters crept along until chapter six. The second paragraph of the first chapter tells me not to expect a romance. I was told to “calm my expectations.” However, I don’t feel this statement is entirely correct. It is a subdued romance, but there is romance in the story. I immediately felt compassion for Caroline Helstone. She lives with her uncle who gives the strong impression he is indifferent to her plight as a single young woman. He has negative views on marriage that doesn’t help Caroline. She befriends a young woman named Shirley Keeldar. Shirley has money. She has a governess, Mrs. Pryor, who still lives with her. Caroline represents women of this era, because she does not have money of her own. She doesn’t have the ability to secure an income and independence. She is dependent on an uncle. Shirley represents women who have money and thus more freedom. I wanted to point these things out because they influence the women’s personalities, demeanor, and future. Themes in the story are love, ambition, romance, honesty, perseverance, and compassion. A strong plot is the relationships between men and women, love, and marriage. But, it is also Robert’s mill and how he handles his business ambitions and dealings that is against the people in the community. Both of these are conflicts that carry the story. I learned to love this story, not at first, but a slow love of endearment. What enticed me is the conversations by women about men.
An important note about Shirley is the actual background of the writing of the story. All three of Charlotte’s surviving siblings died when she was writing this book. She didn’t want this information told to her readers even though her publishers wanted it in the preface. She said, “I can shed no tears before the public, nor utter any groan in the public ear….” Page 17.
Branwell died 24 September 1848 Emily died 19 December 1848 Anne died 28 May 1849
Favorite Quote: “If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.”
Publisher and Publication Date: Interstice Press. December 20, 2019. Genre: Historical fiction. Pages: 294. Source: I received a complimentary Apple eBook copy from the publisher, I was not required to write a positive review. Audience: Readers of women and literature, historical fiction, and espionage/spy stories. Rating: Very good.
Book One: Promise Season Book Two: Promise Thief Book Three: Promise Dream
About the Author: Lee Evie is a historical fiction author. She writes with a focus on Korean history and loves dark adventures with a heavy dose of danger, mystery and romance. When she’s not writing, Lee Evie can be found watching drama, which she will do for hours on end. She believes drama watching is the ultimate joy of life. Even when they make her cry. An avid photography and travel lover, Lee Evie thinks stories are the most precious gift to the universe. Website/Newsletter/Instagram/Goodreads
A slave. A spy. A promise.
Joseon Dynasty, Korea: A humid summer storm rages across the Pavilion, the greatest entertainment house in the sprawling city of Hanyang. Within its stifling walls a gisaeng slave girl hides a fugitive in her bed, unexpectedly saving the life of a young man who is not all he seems.
Immediately Seorin is thrust into a razor-edged world of conspiracy and spies, doomed rebellion and murky intrigue. For the first time in years, she glimpses an opportunity for change.
Yet it is not her freedom Seorin so desperately desires, but something far more precious. She will risk anything, even death, to gain it.A dark and romantic historical adventure set in old Korea.
My Thoughts: This is the second story I’ve read by Lee Evie. I’ve loved both of them! Jang Seorin is a young woman who became a servant (not of her choice) and has made the best of the situation. She learned to play a musical instrument which helps her position and status. She is wise and shrewd, but takes chances. She has courage. She is able control both her speech and emotion. She is a person who despite hardship has made wise decisions. However, through a chance encounter she makes a pivotal decision that changes her life. Seorin is a character who rises above her station. She is a character I admire. She is a character who propels me to read through to the last page. I enjoyed reading about the culture of this period in Korea even though I’m unclear of the specific date of this story. The time period is the Joseon Dynasty covering the years 1392 to 1910. I researched a little online about the Gisaeng women. They were prevalent during the Joseon Dynasty. Examples of themes in the story: loyalty, ambition, love, courage, bravery, and perseverance. The plot is easy to follow and makes for a compelling and original story, because of the setting and time period. The pacing suits the story. It is not rushed nor is it sluggish. I love this story and recommend it.
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Promise Season! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Paperback giveaway is open to the US only. – 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.
Publisher and Publication Date: Race Point Publishing, an imprint of The Quarto Group. 2015. First published in three volumes in 1811. Genre: Fiction. Women and literature. Pages: 357. Source: Self-purchase. Audience: Readers of Jane Austen. Rating: Excellent.
This is the third time I’ve read this book. The cover of the book is not my favorite.
Summary: Early nineteenth century England. Mr. Henry Dashwood died leaving a wife and three daughters without a secure financial future. His son, John Dashwood, from a first marriage became the inheritor of the estate. The family continued to all live together in the estate in Sussex for several months. During the period of time when all the family is living at the estate, John Dashwood’s brother-in-law came to visit. His name is Edward Ferrars. Edward and Marianne became friends and an attachment developed between them. Edward’s sister is not pleased. It had already been difficult with all of them living together, but the time came when it was unbearable. A relative of the widow, Mrs. Henry Dashwood, offered the women a small cottage in Devonshire. The women left Sussex and began a new life in Devonshire.
The three sisters are Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret. Elinor is nineteen. She has a calm and quiet demeanor. She is cautious, level-headed, a peacemaker, and prudent. Marianne is sixteen. She has a passionate personality. She is an emotional person and those emotions at times overtake wisdom. Margaret is thirteen. She is more like Marianne than Elinor. Her personality is still developing.
My Thoughts: Sense and Sensibility is my favorite of Jane Austen’s works. The main reason I love this story is it is four women (one a child) who come to terms with the sad events of their life and create a new life for themselves. A second reason is I love the sisterly relationship. I have two older sisters who I am close to. The three of us have different personalities. We don’t always agree. Sometimes we have misunderstandings. Yet, we love each other and we’re completely devoted to one another. The romantic interests of the two older sisters is a strong storyline, but it is not a reason this is a favorite story to me. I’ve read various readers pronounce Marianne’s final love choice as terrible. They think she settled. So much we don’t know about Marianne’s final romantic decision. However, she experienced some things that brought about a different perspective. The different perspective gave her a new perception and realization about love. Romantic love doesn’t always look, progress, or settle in the places we expect. I’m guilty of having the thought, “love must look like this.” Especially when I was young. Sometimes we see what we want to see. We also see with a vision that can be obscured. I’ve been both Elinor and Marianne. I can relate to both women. This is another reason I love this story. As a woman, I can identify with the heroines. I was reminded (while reading this story) at how much thought and energy women spend wondering what men are thinking. Why men say or don’t say certain things? And, why do women wait for men? I’ve known women wait many years for a marriage proposal. I know one woman who waited 15 years!
Publisher and Publication Date: Square Fish/Farrar Straus Giroux. 1962. My paperback copy was published in 2007. Genre: Science fiction. Fantasy fiction. Young adult fiction. Pages: 247. Source: Self-purchase. Audience: This book is a gem for young adult to adult. Rating: Excellent.
Amazon link The paperback today is $5.35. The Kindle eBook is $6.99.
Link @ Amazon for a biography on Madeleine L’Engle. I have this eBook but haven’t read it. The title is A Light So Lovely.
Summary: The Murry family has an absent family member: the dad. He is a scientist and disappeared on a mystery assignment. The mother is also a scientist. The children are Meg, Sandy and Dennys (twin boys), and Charles. Charles seems to know what Meg and their mother is thinking, and what they need. He is a young child but has a mature countenance; and, he has remarkable and uncanny abilities. Charles introduces Meg to the three Mrs. W’s. Later, a teenage boy named Calvin joins the group in their adventure.
My Thoughts: I’ve read this book a few times. I’ve lost track with how many times I’ve read it. At least twice as an adult. Why do I reread books? I read them again, because with each reading I learn something I didn’t know previous. Plus, I love them and they are a joy to read. Reading a book as an adult definitely gives me a different perspective than when I was a child. Meg is a character I can relate to at any age. She wants to connect with another person. Meg is lonely. She needs a comrade. She needs a friend. She needs a person who will enjoy being with her through shared experiences. The absence of her dad is troublesome, embarrassing, and it adds to the other stressful stuff in life. Meg is a character who has not found the right place to fit. She feels different, and is not exactly sure who she is yet. Meg also needs a purpose. All of her needs and desires will be examined, explored, and met in the adventure. What I learned in this book….this reading, is the loneliness of the mother. It is easy to focus on the children, but what about their mother. She has a purpose, she has a job/career, she has a home, but she misses her helpmate, friend, and partner in life. Later in the book Bible verse references are included. This is something people may find unexpected. However, they are not pasted, they have a purpose. I love the imaginative story. I love the wise quotes left here and there. I love the teachings in the story. I love the bond of love in the family and through friendship.
Part One of interview with Barb Roose: If COVID-19 has taught us anything so far, it’s that we are not in control. When life gets hard, aspects of the future are uncertain, and we’re at the mercy of other’s decisions, we want more power over the situation. However, those are precisely the times when we need to learn how to surrender, just like Jesus did. In Surrendered: Letting Go & Living Like Jesus, Barb Roose leads readers in a study of Jesus in the wilderness to show that when our need to fix things takes over, that’s when we need to embrace God’s plans rather than our own.
Surrendered: Letting Go & Living Like Jesus A Study of Jesus in the Wilderness By Barb Roose
Link at publisher for more information and with the ability to watch a video session.
Roose wrote the Surrendered Bible study for the weary woman who needs to let go of control-loving behaviors and learn to live like Jesus in the midst of the hard times or during the heartbreaking circumstances each person will face at some point in life. There are problems in life that can can’t be fixed no matter what we do, and living out the phrase “Let go and let God” is much easier said than done. She asks readers to consider if it is possible that giving up on what they can’t change is God’s path to peace for their life.
Q: There may literally be no better time for this specific Bible study to release! Tell us about the theme of your new study, Surrendered.
In light of what our world is experiencing right now, I would totally agree! Who knew that toilet paper would become the hottest commodity in America?
My new Surrendered study is written for the weary woman who needs to let go of control-loving behaviors and learn to live like Jesus in the midst of hard times or during heartbreaking circumstances that we all face at some point in life.
Q: Surrendered focuses on Jesus’s time in the wilderness. How do you use the wilderness as a metaphor for the reader?
The wilderness is a spiritual symbol for those long, difficult and uncomfortable seasons in life. I’ve never heard anyone say, “Yes! I’m in a wilderness season. This is going to be great!”
Usually triggered by change, our wilderness seasons are often characterized by spiritual confusion or a long-lasting situation that seems to press the “pause” button in our life. Wilderness seasons are frustrating because there are no quick fixes and we often have no control over how long it will last or ultimately, how that hard situation will turn out.
Yet, the wilderness season is a beautiful invitation for us to experience God in new and powerful ways. As we travel through hard days or heartbreaking times, the wilderness is often a place where we experience God’s might power, abundant provision and comforting presence in ways that we never have before.
Remember that both Jesus and the Israelites spent time in the wilderness. Jesus’ forty days model for us how to live by faith during his wilderness seasons while the Israelites forty years teach us valuable lessons on what can happen when we allow fear to overrun our hearts in hard times.
Q: It’s not a sin to be tempted, so why do we feel so much shame and guilt because of our temptations, after all, Jesus was tempted?
While it’s not a sin to be tempted, we’re often feel shame around the source of our temptation. Once we feel shame, silence and isolation quickly follow. Satan loves to show up in our spiritual isolation, but that’s when his lies stick the most. As long as we’re silent, we’ll struggle against Satan’s assault on our own—and that’s dangerous for us!
However, Jesus showed us that we can find victory over temptation and avoid getting trapped in spiritual isolation by fighting back with scripture and relying on the Holy Spirit.
Q: We’re seeing a lot in the news about stockpiling due to future uncertainty. Let’s talk more about God providing what we need for today, and how you began practicing your “Principle of Daily Bread.”
I believe that God takes care of His children at all times, especially hard times!
When my adult children were young kids, I used to panic if I couldn’t immediately repurchase or replace something that broke or ran out. One of the ways that I used control to push back against the panic was to join the coupon craze. I’d spend hours each week clipping coupons or printing them. I’d haul home handfuls of free toiletries or snacks and store them in a closet that I called “my stockpile.”
However, a season of life came when I couldn’t even afford the newspaper to clip the coupons. Eventually, my stockpile went away, and I hit a spiritual rock bottom. I began to reflect on Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:11, “give us this day our daily bread” and realized that I’d placed my faith in a stockpile, not in God.
The “Principle of Daily Bread” means that I will trust that God will provide exactly what I need for the day in front of me. Like the Israelites had to wait for God to provide manna each day, I learned to wait for God to provide and stop letting the amount of food in my cupboard or the amount of money in my bank account, determine my level of peace or joy.
Q: How is Surrendered designed to be used? What other resources are available to groups?
I wrote the Surrendered study for the control-loving woman who is exhausted from trying protect what she loves, fix what’s broken or trying to get everything in her life back on track. This six-week Bible study invites participants to follow Jesus’ footsteps into the Judean wilderness and immerse themselves in studying how Jesus overcame those trials and temptations.
As I dream about the control-loving woman who knows that she needs to let go, I dream about a supportive community of friends who will take this journey toward surrender along with her. Surrendered is a study that should be experienced and shared with others!
The Surrendered Study includes a participant workbook, leader guide and DVD.
Q: What are the components of each week’s study? Are there daily lessons too?
Each week’s study includes specific letting go topics as well as application exercises and various. There are five lessons combining study of Scripture with reflection and application. As part of the study content, you’ll find Extra Insights; a weekly Memory Verse; a Daily Surrender Prayer and short, memorable Surrender Statements to stock your Surrendered toolbox.
Throughout the study there are practical exercises that will provide you with real-time opportunities for reflection and create next-step action plans for your life, whether that might be working on a spiritual breakthrough, destroying a mental stronghold, or following through with a Spirit-led act of obedience that God may be asking you to do.
Each daily lesson should take about twenty to thirty minutes. These lessons will help you prepare for the discussion and activities of your weekly session, if you are meeting with a group. Though you can do the study individually and reap benefits, it is designed to be done with a group for encouragement, support, and accountability. As you gather to watch the Surrendered DVD, you also will have the opportunity to share what you are learning and pray together.
Each video message is designed to follow and complement the content that you have studied during the week. Whether or not your group watches the video, it’s so helpful to share your struggles and victories in your journey to surrender. As you do, you’ll encourage one another and find strength to complete the study and put into practice all that you’re learning.
Ultimately, women can discover that the blessing of living a surrendered life is a healed heart, a calmer mind and open hands that willingly accepts or surrenders whatever God allows.
Q: What are some ways women can creatively come together to do the study as a group, even if they aren’t able to meet in person?
While I hate the difficult circumstances that the COVID-19 outbreak has created around the world, but I love seeing how God dropped some opportunities in place before we realized that we needed them. Here are a few wonderful opportunities that are available during these wild times:
Here’s some exciting news! One of the ways that I want to serve women in the midst of the virus crisis is to provide an online gathering for them to do the Surrendered study. So, I’m hosting the Surrendered Online Study beginning on April 22. I’ll be doing live teaching on Wednesdays in a private Facebook group and then, Thursdays will be our group discussion day. I’m excited about this because many women can’t meet with their groups, and I don’t want that delay to keep them from experiencing the Surrendered study. More information is available at barbroose.com/onlinestudy/. ***Sorry but this study event has already happened.
Here are a few other ways that women can experience the Surrendered study:
AMPLIFY – To help groups stay connected and continue to study the Bible together during this time of social-distancing, Abingdon Women and Amplify Media are making the video sessions of Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus available for free for group members to watch at home from any device. Sessions will be available free of charge from April 7 to June 30, 2020.
Amplify Media is a streaming service allowing churches large and small unlimited video access in order to discover, customize, and share diverse resources that encourage deeper discipleship and equip churches to pursue their mission with greater impact. Learn more at AmplifyMedia.com.
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD – Each individual session of the Surrendered study is available for digital download at cokesbury.com/surrendered.
ONLINE GROUPS – I’m so encouraged and inspired by women’s Bible study and small group leaders across the country who are so dedicated to leading their groups in these challenging times. I’m also a group leader at my church, too! Like many group leaders, our group is leveraging technology like Zoom, Facebook Groups and other platforms to meet together online.
Part 2 of an Interview with Barb Roose, Author of Surrendered
Are you facing a problem in life that you just can’t fix, no matter what you do? Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “Let go and let God.” But it’s easier said than done. Is it possible that giving up on what you can’t change is God’s path to peace for your life? In Surrendered, Barb Roose’s new six-week Bible study of Jesus in the wilderness, she explores Jesus’ time of testing and contrasts it with the Israelites’ failures in the wilderness.
As readers learn from Jesus’ example, they’ll discover six principles that will equip them to let God lead them to victory despite their circumstances as they deal with the problems and pain they are facing.
Learn more in this interview with Barb.
Q: What are the six surrender principles and when should they be used?
Letting go of control-loving behaviors isn’t a switch that we can just flip. Rather, we need a new set of tools.
Those new tools are six Surrender Principles that we can activate and apply whenever fear flows through our hearts or we’re tempted to flee, fix or force a solution. Each week, participants learn a new principle:
I am not in control of others or outcomes.
I choose to live by faith, not rush to follow my feelings.
I can always let go and give my problems to God.
Trusting God’s promises will bless me, but pushing my plans will stress me.
When fear tempts me to flee, fix, or force my way, I will choose to stop and pray.
Surrender is my only path to God’s peace, power, and provision.
Q: Why is it so hard to trust God to take care of us when he promises that is what he will do?
I don’t know about anyone else, but I expect that God will do things like I would do them. So, when I’ve got a problem that I can’t fix, and then God either seems to delay or doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it, I get disappointed. I’ve learned that disappointment is often the doorway that leads to distrust.
However, Isaiah 55 reminds us that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. So, in my experience, wilderness seasons have lasted a long time because it takes me a long time to let go of my expectations and learn to wait in anticipation.
Here’s a big lesson for me: wilderness seasons have taught me to trust God’s heart in hard times.
In fact, I introduce what I like to call the three “Wilderness ABC’s” for when we’re in a wilderness season or facing a difficult trial:
You are ALWAYS loved.
BELIEVE that God is for you.
CHALLENGE yourself to trust God and let go.
Q: What are some of the lessons that trials can teach us?
While some people may not agree, I’m not a fan of the saying that “everything happens for a reason,” which many mistakenly believe is the message of Romans 8:28. When we try to apply earthly explanations to everything that happens, that approach could lead people to feel that God intentionally causes bad things to happen in order to teach a spiritual lesson. God doesn’t do backhanded blessings.
However, God does redeem our trials when we keep our eyes on Him in the midst of what we’re walking through.
Q: What are some of the things we need to let go of in our lives?
The reality is that our hearts have to let go of the situations that we cannot control.
In the Surrendered study, I identify five control-loving behaviors (SHINE behaviors) that we need to let go in order to live like Jesus and experience God’s power, peace and provision.
Those SHINE behaviors are Scorekeeping, Helicoptering (Micro-managing), Interrupting, Nagging and Excessive Planning/Stockpiling. When we use these behaviors in our attempt to control others or outcomes, we’re shining the attention on ourselves and what we want instead of trusting that God knows what’s best.
Q: What are the steps to letting go?
Letting go or surrender is a prayer and a process. Rather than identify steps, I identify four questions in the “Letting Go Loop” that equip control-lovers to not only identify their control-loving behaviors but also identify God-honoring and life-giving next steps toward letting go and living like Jesus:
⦁ Awareness – Am I trying to control others or outcomes right now? ⦁ Arrest – What do I need to stop trying to protect, fix, or force to make happen? ⦁ Acceptance – Where do I need to acknowledge the reality that I do not have control, but God can handle it? ⦁ FaithFULL Action – How can I show love, kindness and wisdom without control-loving behaviors?
As the questions are answered, the Letting Go Loop reveals where we need to open our hands and turn toward God instead of trying to fix or force the solutions for ourselves.
Trials can teach us to worship God more, depend on ourselves less and to become more like Christ. Even though those lessons are tough to learn, the blessings that we receive during our wilderness season and on the other side is absolutely worth it!
Q: We’re all familiar with the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.” How can that apply to us in a spiritual context?
There have been a few times in my life when I used control-loving behaviors to get what I wanted, only to discover that my prize wasn’t God’s best.
In my early 20’s, I wanted to buy a home. While I didn’t have all of the resources that I needed, both in money and wisdom, I pushed forward and pulled out all the stops to buy that house. Even though it was a lovely home where I raised my family, there were many times over the years when expensive repairs and other home-owner related issues popped up as a consequence of forcing my way into a property that I probably should have asked a few more questions about.
More than 20 years ago, I began praying John the Baptist’s prayer in John 3:30: “He must increase. I just decrease.” Back then, my life wasn’t perfect, but I had a great career, happy marriage and healthy children. However, my faith tended to fall behind everything else in my too-full-of-good-things life.
God has been answering that prayer in big and small, happy and heartbreaking ways. The most powerful way that God has increased in my life came as a result of a long-term addiction issue in my household that led to the devastating end to my 26-year marriage. However, I could see and feel God’s power, presence and provision throughout that painful experience. He has increased in my life in ways that I am eternally grateful.
Q: What are some ways women can creatively come together to do the study as a group, even if they aren’t able to meet in person?
While I hate the difficult circumstances that the COVID-19 outbreak has created around the world, but I love seeing how God dropped some opportunities in place before we realized that we needed them.
Barb Roose is a popular speaker and author who is passionate about connecting women to one another and to God helping them apply the truths of God’s Word to the practical realities and challenges they face as women in today’s culture.
Roose enjoys teaching and encouraging women at conferences and events across the country, as well as internationally, including national platforms such as the Aspire Women’s Events, She Speaks Conference, and the UMC Leadership Institute.
She is the author of the Surrender: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus,I’m Waiting, God: Finding Blessing in God’s Delays,Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle and Beautiful Already: Reclaiming God’s Perspective on Beauty Bible studies and the books Winning the Worry Battle: Life Lessons from the Book of Joshua and Enough Already: Winning Your Ugly Struggle with Beauty. Her writing has been featured in many magazines, and she also writes a regular blog at BarbRoose.com. She is the host of the bi-monthly “Better Together” podcast.
Roose lives in Toledo, Ohio, and is the proud mom of three adult daughters. Her perfect day includes sleeping in, taking a long walk outside, shopping for shoes and eating two big bowls of chocolate peanut ice cream.