Sunday, October 21, 2012

Two Carolina Novels

Break out the broom, I need to sweep away the dead moths and cobwebs. My, I do let too much time pass before stepping on the porch. Two new novels written by Carolina authors brought me out on this occasion. They're not front porch fiction, but both are set in North Carolina, so who cares. Pull up a chair and I'll tell you about them.

Still Life in Shadows by Alice Wisler

This novel has one of the most intriguing covers I've seen, so it immediately caught my attention. As I soon learned, what lives on the pages within is as artistic and thought provoking as the graphics on the front.

But I have to admit the story was a bit different that I expected. From the promotional blurb, I assumed I would be reading about a man fighting against a legalistic establishment that forced others to live within its strict and solitary confines.

But Alice took a more focused approach by introducing us to Gideon Miller, who left the Amish order as a teen because of his oppressive, abusive father (who represents the unmerciful, legalistic order as a whole). However, while Gideon helps others escape that life, he clings to positive aspects of the Amish culture. This is shown in his love of apple butter and blackberry pie, and his work ethic.

Alice didn't stop there. After introducing us to Gideon and his desire to help others find freedom, she narrows the focus even more, asking the question what could happen to a young man suddenly thrust into a lustful, indulgent world after living in a sheltered environment devoid of Biblical instruction? From there, Gideon has to learn a few lessons about wisdom, control, and playing savior.

Readers will enjoy the story on the surface, but I recommend digging for the deeper truths the story tells. On a humorous note, I had a little fun while reading this novel. I carried the book with me wherever I went, and took pictures that corresponded with various points. The link is below. Start with this photo and click next. Warning: the photos contain spoiler alerts!

Still Life in Shadows Photo Journal

I'm reviewing this novel both as a paid customer and as a reader who received a copy in exchange for a review. When the novel released and my copy had yet to arrive, I assumed another reviewer wasn't needed, so I downloaded a copy to my Kindle. Guess what arrived the next day!

Freefall by Jodie Bailey
Love Inspired Suspense

I love stories with a romantic element, but I generally don't read Romances. I volunteered to receive a copy of Freefall in exchange for a review because the story is set in North Carolina and because I was curious about the parachute on the cover.

One generally doesn't see parachutes on the cover of Romances. I was intrigued.

As it turns out, the novel is centered around the parachute rigging operations at Ft Bragg, with a scenario those in the upper ranks should seriously consider. But the military slant and rigger operation isn't the only unexpected element in this story. Instead of a young couple finding their way to one another, the main characters are divorced, and their relationship is as volatile as the explosion that throws them back together in the first pages.

I loved the twists, some quite innovative, but I was dismayed when I finally realized the story was a suspense (clearly I did not pay attention to the entire cover). I usually read at night, so I avoid that genre, and sure enough, there were times I had to put the book down. *shudder*

A strong debut for Jodie Bailey.

Congratulations to both ladies. North Carolina should be proud!