Spirit of the North by Tyler Tichelaar

1291646_10151663792218201_1120710923_n SPIRITIt’s time for bed and I’ve been reading a bit of this story every night.  I just reached for the book and realized I finished it.  What a letdown.  The characters were part of my bedtime routine, but they are all busy in their own world within the pages of the book.  I wonder how Barbara and Adele would be doing now.

This is the second book I’ve read by Tyler Tichelaar.  I have to say, that it was as equally charming and quaint a tale, of days gone by, as “The Only Thing That Lasts,” which was the first book I read.  What really caught me up in the story was the daring and tenacity that these two girls showed by trying to live in their uncle’s abandoned Michigan cabin for a winter.  There’s something that touches my heart about women who brave the odds and stick out the hardships of surviving against nature as if it were no more difficult than missing a bus and walking to work.  However, for Barbara and Adele, it was not very easy—yet, they did survive.  Of course, they had a bit of help from time to time from some local loggers who turned out to be a bit more intriguing than the first blush of fascination young girls have for young men when they meet.

Somehow this story reminded me most of “A Girl of the Limberlost” by Gene Stratton Porter, and I’m trying to figure out why.  The two stories had nothing to do with each other except perhaps the years the stories were set in.  I think, that maybe it was the comparison of Elnora in “Limberlost” with Barbara in “Spirit of the North.”  They were both fighting battles, and in a slim way, both were fighting to stay alive and succeed with nothing more than their wits and good common sense.  Elnora had to survive her mother’s mental illness and the two girls, Barbara and Adele had to survive their dead uncle’s mental illness and how it affected their survival and happiness.   The women had grit and spunk and determination—so much so—that nothing was going to stop them, not illness, not love, not isolation/fear/money.  These are all the traits women had to have to survive around the turn of the last century.  And, I think, this is why I’m so drawn to that time period.

Overall, the story was a fun read and I really enjoyed it.

My thanks to the author for this lovely copy of “The Spirit of the North” and to Review the Book.com for this opportunity to review the book.

 

SPIRIT OF THE NORTH–AT AMAZON

  • File Size: 686 KB
  • Print Length: 314 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0979179068
  • Publisher: Marquette Fiction; 1st edition (March 19, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007MTPFDE

The Only Thing That Lasts by Tyler R. Tichelaar

1080472_10151663791618201_1297244887_n ONLY THING

An Endearing Tale of a Simpler Time

 “A true library inside a home!  To possess a library was the only reason I could think of for why anyone would want to be rich.”

Okay . . . I’m hooked!  How could I not fall in love with a boy (or anyone) who loves books that much?  Just getting to page 85 to see the excitement on Robert’s face as he sees all those beautifully embossed books lining the shelves in that massive library and knowing that as a solid defining moment in his life is worth the five stars to me.  Life was so different around a hundred years ago, and without television, telephones, computers, gadgets–I imagine to a young boy who wanted to find adventure and the mysteries of life, books would seem to hold the magic keys to the world.

Some people have compared this story to Twain’s scallywags Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.  I don’t see that here.  This reminds me more of a story like  Little Women with all the homespun charm of the Little House books, except from a boy’s point of view. For this, I’d like to thank Tyler Tichelaar’s brother for requesting an “old fashioned story.” (Dedication page)  And, I’m a sucker for this type of tale.  It is so refreshing to not have all the people being murdered, being put into jail, doing drugs, or plotting revenge tactics.  This is just an easy story about a young boy’s fictional life in historic Marquette, Michigan.  Robert has more than his share of hardships and emotional adjustments for a young teen during the war, (and, as a young man) yet, he always seems to find the bright spot in things even if it is only for a short period of time as is evidenced in this passage, “And so, whenever life has felt close to falling apart, I think back on that day and think of the blue and the green, the two colors that made my soul leap up in me, that made me feel like I had a deeper, inner life I was only beginning to understand.” (P. 139)

Sprinkled throughout the book were historical facts about Marquette and Mackinac Island. It was so much fun to look up these places on the Internet.  I have to agree with the author that the Grand Hotel is the most impressive hotel I’ve ever seen.  It looks like an amazing place as does the island itself.  All this history added so much enjoyment to the story and made it really come to life.

The Only Thing That Lasts was such an enjoyable read that I’m certain I’ll be enjoying other works by Tyler R. Tichelaar.

I’d like to thank the author for this lovely copy of his book and also Review the Book.com for this opportunity to review this book.

 

THE ONLY THING THAT LASTS–AT AMAZON

  • File Size: 881 KB
  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Marquette Fiction; First edition (March 31, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0023RRRJU

Penny Necklace by Kathrine Grey

Penny Necklace Cover

Oooh!  This was just like fine candy.  I so needed a break, a rest, a nice long train trip.  Clickity-clack. Clickity-clack.  The train runs down the track. . . .

I tried hard to parcel out this story.  You know . . . take a little time to enjoy and savor.  I did pretty well, too, until I got to the middle of the book.  Then, I couldn’t stop.  It was too much fun!  I had to eat up the rest of the whole story all at once.

This was a romance with a dream; a dream a 15-year old girl would have when she met a boy that drove her to distraction.  He was an older boy–just passing through town—decided to stay a while and woo a pretty young girl.  It was that summer that Aisley Sullivan fell in love with a boy who wouldn’t tell her his name; he just said, “Call me David.”  Little did she know she would be dreaming of that summer for most of her young adult life.

And, what was so good about this book, what it had that captured me–is that it was all believable.  It wasn’t the mushy, sappy type of romance that makes you either swoon or puke.  It was more nostalgic; the kind of story that brings sweet remembrances of a time long ago when your emotions are so strong and alive and everything is brilliant like the sun.  It kept reminding me of the risky things I did at that age, like having a boy/girl slumber party and everyone told their parents that they would be at their “friend’s” house for a sleep over.  It was dangerous and exciting—well, exciting back then . . . but all we did was play music, kiss, and everyone kept their clothes on.  We thought it was dangerous and exciting, though.

Somehow Katherine Grey knew what I did when I was a young girl of 15.  She knew how I felt, and how powerful a brand new love can be at that age. She’s managed to take me back there tonight and has put a smile on my face with her simple sweet story.

Thank you Katherine Grey and Review the Book for this complimentary copy of Penny Necklace. It was so nice to get away for a little bit. . . .

PENNY NECKLACE

  • File Size: 453 KB
  • Print Length: 215 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477655123
  • Publisher: Kathrine Grey (June 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008EKVRTQ

♥-♥ ♥ About Kathrine Grey ♥-♥ ♥

Kathrine Grey holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. All of her story titles are contrived from R.E.M. lyrics (ever more avowed since their disbandment). When she is not writing, she manages a popular Italian restaurant near Lake Michigan. She is graciously allowed to live in Mishawaka with her husband and their kitten by the two adorable bunnies who rule the house.

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