Jazz Files By Fiona Veitch Smith

Reading this book was like stepping back into the “Roaring Twenties”! Twenty-two year old Poppy Denby is a sheltered obedient Methodist pastor’s daughter. The extent of her work and life experience is working in a charity store and food kitchen. Her wheelchair bound aunt, Dot, has requested Poppy to come and be her paid companion. Dot is quite a flashy, feisty lady. She was an actress and radical suffragette in her youth, and her condition and age has not lessened her passion for the cause.
Upon arrival Poppy finds that her aunt already has a dear friend and companion of many years. Grace is totally Dot’s opposite in every way, other than their shared commitment to the women’s movement. The whole job offer was a ruse to get Poppy out from under her parents and start a life and career of her own. She is hired at a local newspaper as the editor’s assistant. Her dream job was to become a journalist. After the death of one of the reporters, Poppy steps into his job. This exposes her to all sorts of danger and wickedness that is out of her experience level and innocence.
I like the way the author alternates between a mysterious events 7 years ago and Poppy’s adventures. It adds to the suspense of the story and made me wanted to hurry it along to learn more about what happened!
Historical fiction is one of my favorites. I have read only one other fiction book about this period. It is a time I did not know a great deal about other than generalities and specific events. Ms. Smith totally changed that! This book was entertaining but it is also packed with details about lifestyle, attitudes, and social issues. I got a fun read and a history lesson too!
I admired Poppy’s confidence and enthusiasm despite her sheltered life and being thrust into so many new situations. Bolstered by her aunt’s belief in her and her youthful zeal, she does not hesitate to face everything head on! The author brought to life the struggle of society to cope with so many changes in all areas. I was amazed at the expectations and roles of women. How strange to think of a time when a woman wanting to vote or have a career was considered almost immoral and unacceptable! All the characters are interesting and well developed. I can’t wait to read more of Ms. Smith’s books!
I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are my own.

Still Restless Conversations That Open the Door to Peace By Jan D. Hettinga

People are seeking peace in all areas of life. In our chaotic world today the search is even more intense. The author shares how we make our lives more distressed by seeking the peace we so greatly desire in all the wrong ways. The more we try the more elusive and distant it becomes. We attempt to create our own world based on what we believe will make it perfect. Of course anything we do is far from that. It takes a while for us to learn (and some never learn) that a relationship with Christ and turning control of our lives over to Him is the only way to have a peaceful, purposeful life.
The first part of the book addresses attitudes and actions toward God that will hinder us from having that tranquility and harmony within that we crave. Mr. Hettinga uses different people from the Bible that are an example of wrong approaches and shows us how to examine ourselves. I liked his illustrations showing how the “Kingdom of Self” operates differently than the “Kingdom of God.”
The second part of the books reveals what we must do to end our vicious cycle of restlessness and futilely searching. As in the first part, we learn from men and women in Scripture the ways to end our pursuit and have the peace God intended for us to. This book is not only a good study book, but it also gives you a lot of food for thought.
I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I expressed are my own.

Saints and Sailors The Dunbridge Chronicles By Pam Rhodes

This was my first book to read by Pam Rhodes. I have a mixed review. The story centers around an Anglican priest who joins his previous and new church members on a cruise that highlights historic religious locations.
I had a lot of trouble getting into parts of the story. There were far too many characters, and I had difficulty keeping them straight, even with the list of their names and descriptions at the front of the book. It was not until the middle of the book that I was able to keep them straight. Also, the accounts of the special sites they visited on their tours, did not interest me.
Don’t get me wrong, the book was well written. In spite of a very large character cast, I enjoyed the glimpses into their personal lives and struggles. There was a wonderfully board representation of the varied personalities people possess and how they interact or in some cases clash when put together. All of them had different reasons for taking the cruise. There was humor, sadness, personal discovery and even tragedy scattered throughout. I found it true to life and very interesting how the characters appeared one way in public, careful to hide actual problems and emotions from their fellow shipmates. I reminder that we have no clue what others are facing their private lives. I thought it was very clever of the author to cast herself as a character using her real name and doing what she does in real life!
I received this book at no charge from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.