Blog category: Book Reviews
Published in 1875, The Hawaiian Archipelago depicts a far different Hawaii than the one we see in travelogues or the one made famous by Pearl Harbor. Ms. Bird’s work is significant because of the historical as well as personal perspective she offers. During Bird’s time, one primary concern about Hawaii was its dwindling population and abandonment of once-thriving communities. Her love for the islands and the personal healing she experiences, both physically and psychologically, leaves her in its thrall. Continue reading .
Today is the last day of Smashwords’ Read an Ebook Week promotion. All of our authors are participating, and deep discounts are involved! See the ebooks that we didn’t feature individually this week…. Continue reading .
Since this year marks the 150th year since the United States Civil War began, Portrait of the Past is an appropriate offering for our ebook catalog. Author Kate Halleron demonstrates a firm grasp of the storytelling process, and her studies into the psychological aspects of the storyline are intriguing. The year is 1880. Marguerite is an artist and former slave who is hired to paint a wedding portrait for a wealthy family. She soon finds that the family has close ties to her past from which she has constantly fled. Instead of fleeing again, she stays to paint a portrait of her former family, and in so doing she begins to understand the difficult choices her loved ones were driven to make. Continue reading .
Fans of the television show “Deadliest Catch” will recognize the setting of this novel. Drake Richards is a commercial fisherman who doesn’t trust women. Shawn Nilsen is a strong-willed woman who has just been jilted by her fiancé. Shawn flees to Alaska and is hired by Drake’s father to work on a crab fishing boat. There’s plenty of tension as Drake and Shawn come to terms with their preconceived notions of one another. Continue reading .
Radium Halos is a fictional story based on the true events of the Radium Dial Painters, a group of female factory workers who, in the early 1920s, contracted radiation poisoning from painting luminous watch dials with radium paint. Our narrator is Helen Waterman, a 65-year-old mental patient who worked at the factory when she was 16. She tells us her story through flashbacks, slowly revealing her past, the loved ones she’s lost, and the dangerous secrets she’s kept all these years. Continue reading .
Ellen Mitchell did not picture her life ending up this way. She did not imagine that she would be nearing thirty, dealing with her mother’s terminal cancer and taking life day by day with nothing to look forward to. This all changes with an email from Simon Avery, her former professor, who offers to help get her dream of writing off the ground. Their relationship had never been simple, and now she wonders if it’s time to tell him everything she never could. Or will she let the one who got away slip through her fingers again? Continue reading .
The House of Mirth, first published in 1905, is about New York socialite Lily Bart and her attempts to secure a husband amidst the social whirl of New York’s Fifth Avenue at the dawn of the Twentieth Century. Wharton pictures a new class of self-made millionaires created by Wall Street, casts a shadow over the tenuous position of those in the “leisure class” and offers a peek at the ascendancy of the self-supporting career woman. Continue reading .
Published in 1853, Villette is the story of the famously passive and secretive Lucy Snowe. After an unspecified family disaster, she travels to the fictional city of Villette to teach at an all-girls school where she is unwillingly pulled into both adventure and romance. If you’re expecting something similar to Charlotte Brontë’s more famous novel Jane Eyre, you will most likely be disillusioned with Villette–but that’s not to say you won’t like it. While both novels enjoy similar craftsmanship, the tone could not be more different. Continue reading .
First published in 1794 in four volumes, The Mysteries of Udolpho is a Gothic Romance set in the 16th century. The novel is unique in this genre in that its many mysterious and supernatural events are eventually given a rational explanation. While most famous today for being referenced in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, The Mysteries of Udolpho was wildly popular on its own account upon initial publication and in subsequent decades.Central to the plot is our beloved heroine, Emily St. Aubert. She is a young French woman who bears a striking resemblance to the heroine of Fanny Burney’s Cecila. She is an orphan, naive, innately good, yet preyed upon and at the mercy of many shady characters, many who are her own relatives. Like Cecilia’s favorite suitor Mortimer Delville, Emily’s true love, Valencourt, has the same emotional (some would say whiny) character and true heart. And like Cecilia, Emily’s story is long. Continue reading .
After the loss of her sister, Margaret Fairfax settles at Northbrook Hall – the country estate of her brother-in-law, Mr. Westfield, whose dislike of her is legendary. There she faces a major challenge of reconciling their many differences and proving to him that despite the rumours of schemes and scandals that followed her from London, she is worthy of his regard and affection. With time and many an exertion on her part and that of her new family, Margaret succeeds in altering Mr. Westfield’s opinion of her and attaching his heart, but she fears the worst when her deceitful friend arrives. Continue reading .