Tuesday, March 4, 2014

GoodReads Review: Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Under the Wide and Starry SkyUnder the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Robert Louis Stevenson has made a dramatic impact on our global history - in literature, as well as poetry, essays, and so many other versions of the written word. To hear an historical fictional account of his life, his love and his work was truly inspiring.

The story of Robert Louis Stevenson - Louis - and Fannie Osbourne's lives, as they collided and then collaborated, is a monumental tale about two people, their predispositions (a little pride, a little prejudice), and how love truly can be a force that changes lives, if only you are willing to follow your heart and take the risk to love fully. Not only did this theme play out within their relationship, but within themselves, as well. Each had a dire situation to overcome which was somewhat self-imposed (Louis' desire to write against the wishes of his father and his diminishing pocketbook and Fannie's desire to be free to be an artist and create a life of happiness amidst the persecution of divorce, adultery, and long before women's suffrage or rights), based upon the love they felt within themselves for what they truly were and who they wanted to be. The inspiration of this intimate love story follows the life and adventures of a sickly Louis and a fiery Fannie each not wanting to stop until their life is truly their own, something they achieve together.

A beautifully written character-driven book with little to no angst or external hardship beyond the contrary of their lives, it's masterfully told, beautifully set forward with interspersed prose and poetry written by RLS himself (and a little Fannie too), and achieves the ultimate goal: captivate you into living life alongside a set of dreamers who dreamed their lives into reality. Sometimes, it is about love, and sometimes, it is about passion.

Beautiful story. Highly recommended.

Rated PG-13 for theme, sexual situations, and some language.

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GoodReads Review: The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of DespereauxThe Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sweet and charming, The Tale of Despereaux weaves a lovely tale about a mouse who loves another and to what lengths he will go to preserve that love. With metaphoric meanings of love, light and dark in this book primarily written for children from a narrator's point of view (who speaks directly to the reader), Despereaux finds his way into the heart of the readers as well as his one true love.

Rated PG for mildly dark thematic material.

Audiobook side note: This book is captivating to listen to. It's really well read, nice tone, with little drag. Great way to listen with kids.

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