Friday, February 8, 2013

The Wings of Morning by Murray Pura - Review of the first book in the Snapshots of History series

The Whetstone and Kurtz families both joined the Amish about 10 years ago and during that time Jude Whetstone and and Lyyndaya Kurtz started falling in love. Jude also fell in love with aeroplanes and since they were new the church had not decided whether to ban the use of them so they allowed Jude to take flying lessons. He even gave every Amish member a ride that wanted one but when he took Lyyndaya up she asked him to do barrell rolls, dives and fly as fast as he could, she fell in love with flying too.

Lyyndaya's father forbid her to see Jude because he didn't approve of the flying and since they were new to the Amish he didn't want any problems if it was decided flying was not allowed. The young couple followed her father's rule and Jude casually saw Lyyndaya's best friend, but still truly loved his Lyyndy Lyyndy Lou from afar, and she loved him, but the words were never spoken to each other.

The Amish were exempt from serving in the Military but since some officers had seen how good Jude could fly they wanted him desperately. One day the army showed up and took several of the young men, including Jude, and told them they were being drafted because they had not been Amish long enough so the exemption didn't include them.

These young men were treated worse than the German prisoners of war, the longer they refused to enlist in the service the worse the treatment was. Jude couldn't take it any longer so he enlisted and the other boys were sent home barely alive. Lyyndaya was forbidden to write to him or to receive any letters from him. Any letters he sent had to be held at the post office and any sent to him were held there also. When he returned home they would each be given their rightful mail only if Jude would recant his enlistment.

While Jude was serving his time Lyyndaya turned to helping people with the Spanish Flu in Philadelphia on the weekends. When the flu hits her community she helps to nurse them including her own family. Once they were better she returned to Philadelphia to help, soon there were servicemen coming home and needed nursing and to her surprise Jude was one of them. She had thought he had died when his plane was shot down over France.

 Jude returned home accompanied by Lyyndaya. He was given two weeks to recant his enlistment or he would be placed under the ban. During that time things went back to the way they were before the war, all the while waiting for the dreadful day Jude would have to tell the church if he recanted his enlistment or not.

What will Jude do? Will he and Lyyndaya spend the rest of their lives together? Will the community ever forgive him?

This is the first book I've read by Murray and I will tell you that I really enjoyed this book, even though I did need a lot of tissues to get through it. I feel that anyone who can get this book in their hands will find it hard to put down, but be sure and have a lot of tissues handy. If you don't shed some tears I just don't know what to say. Wonderful job Murray!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley <> book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Courting Cate by Leslie Gould - Review of the first book in The Courtships of Lancaster County series

Cate Miller has raised her sister Betsy since she was very young, after the death of their mother and grandmother.Through the years Cate has become known for her sharp tongue and fiery temper. After all she was picked on all through her school years by Seth Martin and his twin brothers Martin and Mervin, or as she calls them M & M. When Cate and Seth got older he convinced Cate that he liked her and she agreed to court him, even accepted his proposal of marriage. That is until she found out he only wanted to marry her for her father's money, a well to do man in their community. After that she seemed to be even more bitter and had no desire to date, marry or have a family, she was resigned to become an old maid and start her own business.

Betsy on the other hand, was well liked, had lots of friends and considered by everyone as very pretty. There were a lot of boys wanting to court her, and she went through many. Betsy finally finds one, Levi, from a neighboring community that she wants to marry. There is one problem though, their father wants Cate to find someone to love and marry so she can have a family of her own first.

When Cate's father puts an edict into effect that Betsy can't court if Cate doesn't, and Cate must marry before Betsy can. This causes a lot of problems for the two girls. Pete Tregor, from New York, comes to Paradise, Pennsylvania and happens to be a cousin of Nan, the lady who brings the bookmobile to town and knows Cate well, you see Cate spends any spare second she has reading. Pete becomes friends with Cate, Betsy, Levi and M & M. Soon Cate finds herself being more attracted to Pete and goes on some outings with him. The attraction ends when she overhears M & M talking about paying Pete to date her, so now she realizes that Pete only likes her for her father's money also

Knowing Cate will do anything for her, Betsy tells her that she may be pregnant and needs to marry quickly. Cate will not only do anything for Betsy she will do anything to protect her family, even protect them from shame, so she talks to Pete and he agrees to marry her. They get married within two weeks. Pete was late getting to the ceremony and as soon as the service was over he tells her that they have to leave for his home in New York immediately, they couldn't even stay for the usual wedding supper, and as she's coming downstairs with her bag to leave she sees M & M hand Pete an envelope, his pay off.

After hitch hiking in the rain and getting soaked they arrive at his parents house, if you can call it that, in the middle of the night. They go to his old room and when she hears someone pounding on the door she finds Pete gone and hears her new mother-in-law, who she's never met, yelling at her to get up it's getting late. After she eats her breakfast she's instructed what her chores are to be for the day.

Cate goes from what is one of the best Amish homes there are with running water, an indoor bathroom and plenty of room to a home that is no more than a cabin with no indoor plumbing and being treated like a slave. She knows she can never divorce but when she finds out that Pete's brother is married to the woman Pete loved and is the reason he left, what will she do? Will Cate give up and go back to Pennsylvania by herself, how long can she live like this? Why isn't she hearing anything about Betsy's wedding and when it is, why does it seem everything is against her when all she tried to do her whole life is help her dad by raising Betsy and helping him in his business?

Leslie does a wonderful job of telling Cate's story, I found myself feeling her pain and wanting to tell some people off, especially Betsy, being the ungrateful person she is, after the edict is put in effect. You have to get this book so you can read everything that was done to Cate and how strong a person she is. Such a giving person, she deserves more than what she's getting and needs someone to stand up for her instead of against her, which is how she feels.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing me this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255