Saturday, December 29, 2007

By Kathleen Y’Barbo

Reviewed by Marion Kelley Bullock

Isabelle Gayarre is determined to reach abolitionists in England. To that end, she risks her freedom and her life on this voyage aboard the Jude. Josiah Carter, captain of the vessel, is fleeing from his father and from God.

During the ill-fated voyage on a treacherous sea, Isabelle and Josiah battle storms, fire, and deceptions. Reluctantly, they fall in love, but their romance is ill-starred. For Isabelle is a runaway slave and can never be his. Unless God produces a miracle to save them, their lives and love are doomed.

The fascinating historical setting combines with colorful, complex characters to entrance and entertain.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

WILDFLOWERS, By Robin Jones Gunn

Reviewed by Marion Kelley Bullock

It’s a dream come true for Genevieve Ahren, when she buys Glenbrooke’s Wildflower Café. But it’s a struggle. Her husband, Steven, an international airline pilot, is away from home more often than not, leaving her to make all the important decisions. Decisions concerning her, their daughters, and her business. A silent hurt and anger settle over her. She has spent her life dreaming of an illusive happiness floating just outside her grasp. The same happiness she believed would flood her life when she, an idealistic nineteen-year-old, had married Steven and moved to the United States. Nothing has gone the way she imagined it would.

Genevieve remembers how it was when she first met Steven, the handsome, blue-eyed American. She used her well-practiced English to tell him what it was like to grow up in Zurich. He gave her her first kiss and with it his kingdom. His life. Even memories of their love’s first awakening fail to warm her spirit. All the doors to her heart are shut and the shades pulled down tight. As Genevieve gradually discovers friends she didn’t know she had and learns how to forgive, light begins streaming in through that door she thought she had locked and bolted years ago. And she realizes she’s fallen in love!

Still waters run deep, they say. Genevieve is portrayed with a deceptively calm façade. I imagine sticking her with a pin and barely seeing her flinch. She’s hiding inside her skin, being the perfect wife, mother, businesswoman. But without feeling. Seeing her come alive thrills my soul.