Beautiful, beautiful book. James Markert masterfully painted a time and a place that most people would like to forget and made it a place we almost wished we could be. The TB epidemic was a plague, an almost certain death sentence, and yet there were those rare souls who believed it was worth chancing their lives so they could help the victims, possibly even save a few. And within that world, they had their own lives.
Wolfgang Pike is a musician and a doctor. He is also studying to be a priest. But above all he is a man. Emotions squeeze in when he should be thinking science, and bravery often takes the rightful place of caution. He believes in what is now called Music Therapy in a time when it was considered nothing more than folklore … and yet the quick rate of death around the sanitorium takes a little breather when he brings patients together to share music.
There are a few stories in this world where you really can say you laughed and you cried. This was one of those gems. Mr Markert's storytelling is wonderful, taking us from person to person, place to place, touching on such time relevant things as bootlegging, the KKK and extreme prejudice, jazz, the fallout of WW1 in the hearts and bodies of men … and leaves us with the timeless poignancy of love.
I am now going in search of his earlier books and can't wait to dig in.
What an amazing debut! Katherine Scott Crawford let herself sink deep into Keowee Valley — she must have, because every aspect of the book is beautifully done. Her characters were multi dimensional (including secondary characters) and believable, and even though there wasn’t one clear cut “evil” guy, there still managed to be some wonderful tension and scary moments. She wrote skillfully and lovingly of the beautiful, rugged Keowee Valley and its people, going so far as to include Cherokee language in places (just enough, not too much!) and even include an index for those of us who wish they could remember those sorts of details! Her descriptions of the countryside were like masterful oil paintings. Beautiful colour and style.
If you’ve read my reviews, you know I’m an “adventure” reader, not into fluffy romance and (what I call) overdone sex, but Ms Crawford’s sex scenes were wonderfully written. There’s no denying the passion sparking between the feisty and adorable Quinn and the yummy Jack Wolf, and when they finally get together, they are delicious as a couple. I love that she left the ending open for future novels, and I will be looking forward to reading her next book!
I was fortunate to receive a copy of Kaki Warner's first novel, "Pieces of Sky" when I was first introduced to Berkley/Penguin. I'll admit, I've never read westerns before and I was skeptical when I picked this one up.
Well, I was blown away. Ms Warner paints gorgeous images of the 1800's, love and adventure on the ranch, grudging heroes and their no-nonsense ladies. "Pieces of Sky" won the RWA Rita award for "Best First Book", and apparently Ms Warner was only getting warmed up. She has a couple of series out there, and they're all terrific.