Posted by Literary Titan
Reagan didn’t know what to expect when she accepted a job as governess to a pair of mischievous 8 year olds. As a Christian employed by an esteemed Jewish family, she was doubly unsure of how the summer might pass. Any misgivings she had, however, were greatly reduced by the splendid beauty of the Thousand Islands… and the easy charm of Daniel, another employee of the Bernheim family. As Reagan struggles to become accustomed to her new charges and downplaying her own faith in front of the Bernheims, she also has to deal with her growing feelings for Daniel, complicated by their own difference in religion.
Set in the summer of 1912, Reagan’s Reward, by Susan Mathis, is a heartfelt story about apprehension in the face of new experiences, and the struggles that so often occur between the heart and the head. While Reagan is sure of where she stands in her beliefs, finding out how those fit in the lives of the people around her becomes a challenge she isn’t used to facing. Her growing attraction to Daniel, and his obvious attraction toward her, brings about the jealous animosity from another staff member, which is yet again a new experience. Set in the picturesque region of the Thousand Islands, an area that straddles the US-Canada border, Mathis makes the scenery and atmosphere come alive as it must have been at the height of its popularity as a destination for the wealthy. Because of the novella length, there isn’t much time for heavy character development, and because of that, Reagan, Daniel, the twins, and each of the other characters are basic and the story seems rushed. However, the glorious depictions of the life and sights in the area make up for that fact, and the Thousand Islands are very nearly the main character themselves.
Faith is definitely the most prevalent theme in Reagan’s Reward, as it colors every thought and action in Reagan’s life. She relies on it when searching for patience with the twins, Jacob and Joseph, and understanding of her new circumstances. It is also the reason she is reluctant to initially admit her feelings for Daniel, as he proclaims he is Jewish, despite not actively practicing. Ultimately, too, it is a leap of faith that brings about the eventual resolution.
I enjoyed this book and Mathis skillfully crafted that time and place in such a way that it truly came alive. I wish the book was longer so that we could explore ideas and characters more. I liked Reagan and Daniel’s relationship, but I definitely wanted to see it explored in more depth. Reagan’s Reward is a compelling historical fiction romance novel that tells an emotional and heartfelt story that readers will enjoy.
Pages: 189 | ASIN: B08MDNM82L
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Posted by Literary Titan
War is never pretty. It’s a gruesome, deadly instrument used by those seeking something. Whether they seek power, reassurance or a misguided view of peace depends on those orchestrating the show. In Paracelsus by James Powton we see the horrors of an ongoing war of subterfuge and nuclear consequences as it spans nearly fifty-years and the entire world. When does one war end and another begin? These are questions that cannot be answered concretely. Powton uses this as he spins his tale of destruction with the backdrop of the world’s worst atrocities post World War Two. This story begins like several different threads spread out until you delve deeper and see that they are all entwined together into the perfect knot.
It is important to note that the story tells a slightly alternate history to the one that we have been taught in schools. It begins in 1969 and continues on until a time in our very near future. While it seems logical to assume that none of the characters in this tale truly existed, a reader can’t deny that reality is often stranger than fiction. If these characters did or do exist, let us all hope it is not in the same capacity as Powton has had us read.
Think of a world where nuclear weapons have been compartmentalized on a smaller scale to fit inside a briefcase. This unlocks a multitude of possibilities: none of them good. Powton uses this concept to his advantage as he paints a picture of a bloody war that the average person would know nothing about. This is not a war for the television or the media until things go too far. It’s definitely a thrilling ride as you read on, wondering how the characters will be connected in pages to come. Powton wraps all his threads up quite nicely.
There are a few stylistic errors and spelling mistakes that crop up in Powton’s work. The issues are not so substantial that they detract from the story itself. Because the story can be quite complicated it is impressive to see such organization and careful storytelling, which is where the real challenge is.
It is always interesting to read a piece of fiction that uses a real event as a back drop. By looking at past events with new eyes and a different idea of what potentially happened brings such an interesting twist to the history we have all been taught. Paracelsus does just that and takes the events further by covering a time frame in the not-so-distant future. With the world being slightly unstable at the time of writing, it is almost terrifying to think that James Powton’s idea may become a reality. If you are in the mood for intrigue and the blurring of historical lines, this is definitely a tale for you.
Pages: 316 | ASIN: B01MU6S0P5
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