Monday, September 26, 2016

The Brothers' Keepers by Matthew Peters

The Brothers' KeepersThe Brothers' Keepers by Matthew Peters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Brothers' Keepers is a fast-paced thriller about a race to find someone named Jezebel, who has great significance to the Christian faith. Matthew Peters' novel pits an American president, two factions of the Catholic Church's hierarchy, and the remnants of a Christian movement from the thirteenth century known as the Cathars, against each other, all in pursuit of Jezebel.

Nicholas Branson, the main character in the novel, is in training to become a priest. He's also an expert on Christian history, which has made him an important person to all the forces in search of the critical document. Branson teams up with Jessica Jones, a woman he meets in the reading room of the Thomas Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress. They set out together to find Jezebel.

Although the pace of the writing alone makes this book a worthwhile read, the two aspects I found the most fascinating were :

1. The Cathars and their beliefs. I had never heard of this movement. They believed in both God and Satan and attributed the creation of the material world to Satan. They believed the path to God was found in the renunciation of all material things.
2. The book presents a view of the apostles much different than anything I've ever thought about. To avoid spoilers, I won't say more than that, but I will say the book made me think and I love that in any novel.

The Brothers' Keepers starts with multiple murders and never slows down. There are gun fights, car chases, and dangerous journeys to treacherous places around the world. It's an exciting and fun read.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul, White Horse Regressions, and Hopatcong Vision Quest

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Friday, September 2, 2016

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Language of FlowersThe Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The title of The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh emphasizes the idea in the novel that is catchy enough to draw readers. I didn't know meanings were assigned to flowers in nineteenth century England and America before I read this book and I appreciated what I learned about this interesting part of our past. While reading the story, I went out to a few websites to see if this fact was real or fiction, and it is real.

The main story in the novel is about a person, rather than a secret language. It's about Victoria, a naive, uniformed girl who is totally unprepared to make her way in the world. The narrative bounces back and forth between her life as a foster child at age 10 and her life after she's aged out of the system at 18. Much of what happens to Victoria after she's a young woman is predetermined by what happened to her as a child. So telling the story in this non-linear way reveals her background slowly and keeps the suspense well.

Victoria has a hard life, but some things work out for her. She is placed in the home of a woman who owns a vineyard. This woman, Elizabeth, has also had a hard life and understands Victoria's behavior in ways others can't. It is Elizabeth who teaches Victoria about the language of flowers. Later, at age 18, Victoria takes a job working for a florist, Renata, who also turns out to be a caring person.

The theme of The Language of Flowers can best be summed up by this quote from the book: Perhaps the unattached, the unwanted, the unloved, could grow to give love as lushly as anyone else.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul and White Horse Regressions

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