Snippets

snippet n. a bit, scrap, or morsel; informal-a small or mischievous person. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition.

 

July 2010:

News Snippets:

In May Black Ribbon Affair won the Write Touch Readers’ Award for Best Romantic Suspense.  This well-respected contest is sponsored by the Wisconsin Romance Writers. 

 

 

In June Black Ribbon Affair won the HOLT Medallion for Best First Book.  This renowned contest is sponsored by the Virginia Romance Writers.

 

 

In September, I will be doing a presentation for the Kenosha Public Library system.  The topic is entitled: Up Close and Personal—A Writer’s Journey With Her Book.

 

 

Book Snippets:

The Lacemakers of Glenmara. Heather Barbieri. Harper. 2009. Hardcover and Kindle.

Being of Irish heritage and remembering that my beloved Grandmother made lace, I was immediately attracted to this book by its title. Then I read the blurb and bought it immediately. I wasn’t disappointed.

Think contemporary rural coastal Ireland. A small village facing problems of dwindling employment, an exodus of young people to the larger cities, the clashes that arise between clutching to the old traditions or adapting to new ideas. In the book, this major clash centers around the making and marketing of the lace and the tyranny of the village priest.

These simmering issues ignite around the appearance of an American woman on a journey to connect with her roots to find how best to reinvent herself. She’s welcomed by one of the lacemakers who’s also at a crossroads after her husband dies. Building the relationship between these two women, the lacemakers and other villages fills out the pages of this wonderful book. Learning a bit about the lace making brought memories of my watching my grandmother and her stories about her mother and grandmother who also made Irish lace.

If you want a novel rich in detail, characterization, great setting, and a good plot, look for this one. You won’t be disappointed.

Shanghai Girls. Author Lisa See. Random House. 2009. Available in hardcover, paperback and Kindle.

I have a master's in Chinese History. I was familiar with the events occurring in China during the time setting for this book. However, I learned a great deal about how Chinese lived and were treated in the US, particularly related to the California setting with this novel. Two sisters, born in Shanghai and consider themselves very modern in 1937 which is where the novel opens. Early on you see the sisters living a very cosmopolitan life in Shanghai right before the Japanese invasion. This life is contrasted to their home life with very traditional parents and household.

All too soon, because of their father's gambling debts, the girls entered arranged marriages to young men who have US citizenship but very strong traditional ties to China. The marriages are seen by their father as keeping Chinese traditions alive in America.

The girls are left in Shanghai to follow their new husbands and his father in a few weeks. Those weeks see the Japanese enter Shanghai, the death of their father and mother and the young women fleeing for their lives. What they endure to arrive in San Francisco and the humiliations they suffer during their internment on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay set the stage for the next several years when they are eventually re-united with their husbands and the family. They learn that in many ways the lives they live in the US are less free than the ones they had in China. Learning to adapt to the traditional ways of the new extended family and the expectations of them as Chinese wives engrossed me for the rest of the book.

Ms. See’s research in this area is well-documented and explained well in her extensive Acknowledgements and biography. A keeper of a book. With an ending leaving me waiting for her next one.

 

Read Past Book Snippets:

The Girls from Ames
The Secret of Everything
The White Queen: Novel: The Cousins' War
The Lacemakers of Glenmara
Shanghai Girls