Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book reviews for Outdoor Women – Strong female characters, Adventure, Travel…Fun

The Handmaiden’s Tale – A review

This distopian tale is an unsatisfying story. I feel as though I’ve been preached to, without a solution offered or any redemption possible.

Society’s downfall is brought about by the excesses of modern living in America: nuclear waste, consumerism, freedoms, literacy, contraceptive use by the white population, insecticides, abortion issues, biological hazards, and Playboy bunnies. Continue reading

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Review: The Shoemaker’s Wife

The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Triogi

If you’re of Italian descent, you’ll love The Shoemaker’s Wife. If your ancestors came over as immigrants, you’ll enjoy the story. If you love opera, you’ll get a thrill. If none of the above, you’ll still learn a lot.

This historical novel, based somewhat on the author’s own family, was popular with our book discussion group. Most said that it was a fast read with an engrossing story. I, too, read it quickly, but by skipping over wordy or repetitive passages. The story could have been tighter, especially toward the end. Perhaps the author tried to do too much by spreading the story over too many generations.

Readers will be very interested in the character’s lives and will learn much about the immigrant experience, about village life in Italy, the Italian culture, and even the Metropolitan Opera in and about 1920. I enjoyed that very much.

One club member mentioned that there were too few “bad guys”/ antagonists and that there were too many goody-two-shoes characters. To be fair there were several bad guys, but they were dealt with quickly and posed no sustained threats to the main characters.

The author uses wonderful imagery which drew me in at the beginning of the story. She also described Enza’s (the shoemaker’s wife) reaction to the death of her little sister very well. Therefore, I was disappointed in Enza’s reaction to the death of her husband for whom she had pined for most of her life. There are a few other inconsistencies or soft spots, but they shouldn’t deter a perspective reader from enjoying the story as a whole.

One quibble: Why that cover? I understand that it is a photo previously used in Harper’s Bazaar in 1949. What does that depiction have to do with the gist of the story? The heart of the novel is much more earthy and familial than the fancy woman in the image would suggest.

Read and enjoy.

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Review: The Green Tunnel

The Green Tunnel-An Appalachian Trail Diary was a great adventure.

I love backpacking and have always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail, but most likely never will, certainly not the entire route as the author did. His account of his months on the trail is the closest I’ll ever get to that accomplishment.

Patrick Bredlau’s diary of his hike covers his hardships, his victories, and what it took to accomplish the feat . . . without bravado. It is not fictionalize or embellished like “Wild” or “A Walk in the Woods,” yet he held my interest throughout.

Bredlau relays his story with many bits of fact mixed with personal introspection, observations, and tidbits of gossip, all of which gives the reader an intimate feeling for the trail and the hiking culture. I wished at times he was able to delve further into the stories behind the many hikers he met, but that’s not the nature of the trail.

Well done, Patrick Bredlau. Congratulations on both the amazing hike and the account of the feat.

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Review – The Doctor’s Wife

 

The Doctor’s Wife by Elizabeth Brundage is is an intriguing story, though I felt brutalized by the reading of it.

It is a tangled web of emotions and relationships from which none of the characters will come out whole. Continue reading

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Review: All the Light We Cannot See

I went into this story, by Anthony Doerr, not knowing what to expect; perhaps a love story between the German boy and the blind girl; perhaps a fantasy about the magic or curse coming from the diamond; perhaps a lesson about greed, or violence, or duty.

As it turns out, all of those were small elements. The story rolls along through those themes and through the history of the times and the geography of places with beautifully Continue reading

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