The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright – Book Review

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This is a novel based on the true story of Taj Rowland.  Taj was an “orphan” adopted by a couple from America at the age of seven.  Once he is able to speak and understand English, he insists that he’s no orphan, has a family in India and was kidnapped.  Although his adopted parents try to find information about who he is, and where he came from, they hit dead ends.  Taj (his birth name was Chellamuthu, but his adopted parents suggested he change it due to problems with bullies in school), he finds it easier to “forget” about his life in India and eventually goes to England where he is thrown into the culture of India.

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Taj and his wife Priya

As Taj begins to remember his early life, he is saddled with uncomfortable memories and feelings.  I won’t tell any more of the plot, as I would like for you to read this novel yourself.  I found this novel to be completely compelling, not in the least because my nephew was adopted from India as a baby, and now I wonder if he was indeed an orphan as my sister and her husband were told.

The way that the novel was written, the true (though fictionalized) way the story was told were all so interesting.  I loved how I learned more about the culture and life of India than I had known before.  I highly recommend this book.  Well done, Wright!

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Camron Wright

 

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa – Book Review

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This novel tells the story of two 11-year-old girls from two different eras.  Hannah Rosenthal is a Jewish girl in 1939 Berlin.  She spends her days running through the city with her best friend Leo, hiding from the “Ogres” and worrying about their future.  Anna Rosen is a girl in modern-day New York city living with her depressed mother who is still dealing with the aftermath of 9/11.

Hannah and Leo are the “lucky” ones and are able to pay for passage on the cruise ship SS St. Louis, bound for Havana.  Because of the war, no one wants them, and only a small number of passengers are allowed to land in Havana.  The others try for permission to land in the U.S. but are refused entry and end up back in Europe.  England takes some and the rest end up in France, Belgium and Holland.

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SS St. Louis

I loved these novel, as it is quite obviously sad and moving.  Hannah was a strong woman who tried to have a good life, although her past cast quite a shadow over the rest of her life.  Anna as a young girl is still hopeful for the future.  I also thought that it was a relevant novel for this time of so many refugees.  Before reading this book, I didn’t know about the St. Louis at all, so it was both interesting and enlightening at the same time.  I highly recommend it.  Well done, Correa!

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Armando Lucas Correa

The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter by John Pipkin – Book Review

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I must say that I absolutely loved this novel.  It takes place during an extraordinary time (late 18th century) of advances in science.  Arthur Ainsworth becomes intrigued with observing the skies, looking to find new comets.  He moves with his wife to a decrepit estate in Ireland for the clearer night sky to help with his observations. When his wife dies in childbirth along with her twin babies, Arthur raises an orphan he names Caroline as his own daughter.

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Pipkin not only gives us insight into the “new” science of astronomy, but also the interesting various scientific rivalries, by bringing in another astronomer located in England, along with his sister who has the same role of assistant as Caroline.  Pipkin also brings an understanding of what happens to a country under colonial rule, from the poverty to the hopelessness of the Irish people.  I must add that this part of the Irish story isn’t all that well-known to most people, so it made me pretty glad to see it told here.

This is a fabulous story.  Caroline is a wonderfully drawn character, from her impoverished beginnings, to her ability to create a life of her own after the death of her father.  This wasn’t her only reincarnation, and they were all heroic.  This was another novel that I couldn’t put down.  I highly recommend this book.  Well done, Pipkin.

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Always Reading

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I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been sick all year.  Well, that’s not something a person gets to say too often, I hope!  I’ve been sick since the end of last year, and haven’t really been able to do much besides read and watch the X Files.  It took me a few days to be able to even read, but I have finished three books which I’ll be reviewing in the coming weeks. Hopefully there will be a review up next week.

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I hope that you’re all enjoying the New Year, and reading, reading reading!