Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review of Romance and Mystery Under the Northern Nights by Authors of the Northern Lights Writers.

Book Review of Romance and Mystery Under the Northern Nights by Authors of the Northern Lights Writers.

Book Description

From back of the book:
In For A Penny - Lori Ness
A couple who believes their marriage is irrevocably broken finds healing, life lessons and hope during a visit to an eccentric relative.

Hot Shot - Denise Devine
When Megan Bristol's fiancé jilts her via a text message, her plans to get even with him lead her right into the arms of another man.

Shadow Trail - LuAnn Nies
A quiet romantic weekend in the north woods of Minnesota turns into a dangerous adventure that Crystal hadn't bargained for.

Count the Days - Diane Pearson
Mary never expected her life in a north woods resort to turn to isolation and include an oppressive marriage. When she gets mail and reconnects to an old friend, the door opens to revenge, murder, and escape. Letters tell the story.

Love, Fish and Fangs - Edna Curry
Detective Bob and his family go on vacation and discover a murder. Paperboy son, David, recognizes a customer at the scene. Is David in danger?

Heal My Heart - Shirley Olson
17 year old Julie, unable to take the abuse of her mom and step-father, escapes her prison and grabs a train for Duluth. Searching for a new life, while encountering dangers and problems, she finds a real family love and trust when she finds God.

Candlelight and Silverware - Edna Curry
When Bob invites his world traveler boss and his wife to dinner, his Minneapolis suburban housewife, Carol, panics. How will she measure up?

Night Magic - Nancy Pirri
In depression era Minnesota, Helen Swenson inherits her deceased parents' dream resort--six cabins in need of repair near the Canadian border. Lumberjack Riley Flaherty has recently lost his job. When Helen offers him a job as one as her 'handy man' he gladly accepts, smitten by her beauty. When wild animals in the northern Minnesota woods threaten them into leaving, they don't give in, but discover true love beneath the northern lights.

Breath of God - Lori Ness
A girl on a Minnesota farm in the early 1900's has been forced into a woman's responsibilities too soon. Betsy's struggle to come to terms with what her mother planned for her and the expected roles for women brings her into conflict with both family and community expectations. Memories of the love between her parents and her mother's love help Betsy make the decisions she needs to face the future.
 
Leona's Review:
I found a clipping from the newspaper about these authors who meet in a place near me in Wyoming, Minnesota so I had an interest in the local authors. I checked out this book from my library in North Branch, Minnesota.
This book is a selection of short  stories and all include the Northern Lights and stories based in Minnesota.
This group of authors is called The Northern Lights Writers of Minnesota. http://www.northernlightswriters.org  
After each chapter is About the Author.
Denise Devine
LuAnn Niles
Diane Pearson
 
Shirley Olson http:/www.Skalpinolson.com
 
Nancy Pirri  www.melange-books.com
 
I enjoyed this book of Minnesota short stories and will give it a 5 star rating.
 
Leona Olson
www.mnleona.blogspot.com
 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Get to Know Mary by Nancy I. Sanders






MaryGet to Know Series

By Nancy I. Sanders
Published by Zondervan


From booksneeze.com:

Chosen by God, Mary was more than the mother of Jesus. She was a hero of the Bible. She said “Yes!” to God. Learn about Mary and her exciting place in history. Discover what it was like to grow up in Israel and be a part of Jesus’ life on earth. Mary - part of the Get to Know series - will teach you everything you need to know about this young woman whom God used to do great things!



Leona's Review:



This book is about Mary, the mother of Jesus. 

The book is dedicated to: Gertrude Toppin- at 94 the sweetness of Christ from your ever-present smile just as brightly as ever!

There is a Table of Contents which has 12 chapters, Timeline of Mary, Glossary, Selected Bibliography, Source Notes, Student Resources, About the Author.

The chapters are: A Daughter in the House of Jacob, Engaged to Be Married, Birth of the Firstborn Son, The Newborn King, The Town of Nazareth, Mary and Joseph's Home, Sharing Faith with Her Family, Holidays are Holy Days, Life and Death, Dealing with the Messiah, At the Cross and A New Beginning.

Get to Know Mary in the first chapter has Mary as a young girl. It gives the reader information of what life was like during this time.


Some facts about the Jewish people at this time are some poor people lived in caves; there were different coins, Jewish, Romans and Greek; a large stone jar weighed about 1000 pounds; there are seven main Jewish Holidays or Feasts, the marketplace could be on any day except the Sabbath and in Jewish tradition, a new day started at sunset and lasted until sunset the next day.


Get to Know This Book has features that are circles and inside the circle a symbol such as an oil lamp  or scroll. They are: Scripture, look for an oil lamp to read a Scripture from the Bible ; Bible Hero, look for a sandal for information about a Bible hero; Eyewitness Account, look for picture of an eye each time someone who saw what happened tells about it; Did You Know?, look for a clay jar to learn fun facts; and Word Bank, look for a scroll to learn the meanings of new words.   It is a great teaching method for the children and also adults.

I learned quite a bit of the Jewish people. It is a good book for young people. I suggest reading a chapter at a time. 

There are maps and pictures which are always appreciated by this reader.

I am giving Get to Know Mary a 5 star rating.  I received a complimentary copy from booksneeze.com to read and review. The opinions are my own.

Nancy Sanders may be reached at reached at www.nancyisanders.com.
Leona Olson

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Voyage of Strangers by Elizabeth Zelvin


   

VOYAGE OF STRANGERS

What really happened when Columbus discovered America. Diego Mendoza, a young Marrano sailor with Columbus, returns from the voyage of discovery to find that his sister Rachel is in danger from the Inquisition as a secret Jew. After failing to find safety in Spain, they sail with Admiral Columbus on the second voyage to Hispaniola, where they must struggle with divided loyalties as the Spaniards' greed for gold and conquest clashes with the local Taino people's way of life. Both Diego and Rachel find courage, love, and heartache as they come of age in a doomed paradise. Sequel to Zelvin's Agatha-nominated mystery, "The Green Cross."
Leona's Review:
 
Voyage of Strangers by Elizabeth Zelvin
This book is based on the sailings of Christopher Columbus and the sailings to the Americas. The book is in first person by Diego so we see one viewpoint of what happened.
The main characters are a brother and sister, Diego and Rachel Mendoza. They are Jewish and from Spain during the time of the Inquisition. Diego especially seems to have a hatred for Christians because most are cruel in their actions. Because they are Jewish, they keep it a secret from all except Columbus. Diego sailed with Columbus on his first voyage to the Americas and convinced Columbus to take his sister as a cabin boy on the second voyage to the Americas so she could leave Spain.
Lots of history but I found a dark novel based on fact and fiction. I was not aware in all my readings of the slavery from the Islands in the Caribbean. The book had a lot of light moments and love is also part of the book. I learned a lot the area, food, hardships and cruelty to the local people. As readers we see, with the eyes of Diego, customs and ways of life of the Taino Indians.  I also learned more about the Jewish people and some of their customs.
The author has done her research. She has included a dateline of events which begins with the prologue December 24, 1492 and ends February 24,1495 with chapter 36. The list of characters include 28 people known to history and 38 fictional characters including Rosa, the mule, and Baxtalo, the dog. I like maps and would have liked to have seen one included in the book. I have been to most of the places so I could picture them and the route. Little tidbits of information were useful to read like using a lemon to clean teeth and help prevent teeth rot.
There is an Afterword which is about the book and the facts and fiction of the novel.
She has a list of acknowledgements of people who have helped her in this writing.
The Green Cross was the first book Elizabeth Zelvin wrote about Columbus so I will also have to read that one. This book can be read without reading the Green Cross first.
I downloaded this book from amazon.com.
I give it a 4 star rating because of the history and research by the author.
Elizabeth Zelvin may be reached at www.elizabethzelvin.com.
Leona Olson

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Merlin's Nightmare by Robert Treskillard

   
 
 
 
 
 
Merlin's Nightmare by Robert Treskillard
"Arthur, now eighteen, is missing, and Merlin must find him before a shadowy pursuer catches him first.
With the High King and his kingdom caught in a trap of sinister deceit, Merlin has to find a way out before all is lost. Having everything to fight for, and almost nothing to fight with, Merlin and Arthur must rally Britain’s warriors against three overwhelming enemies: Saxen hordes in the south, Picti raiders in the north, and a chilling new enemy that has arisen in the west. At the same time, Morgana brings Merlin’s deepest fear to life and sets a horde of werewolves loose to destroy Britain. But when the secret purpose of this nightmare is finally revealed, will Merlin and Arthur find a way to survive—without unleashing an even greater evil?"
 
Leona's Review:
 
This is the third book of the Merlin series by Robert Treskillard.  The others are Merlin's Blade and Merlin's Shadow.
In this book Merlin now has two children by his wife, Natalenya.  The years have passed from the first books.  Any of the books can be read on their own. The author has The Story of Book 1, Merlin's Blade and  The Story of Book 2 , Merlin's Shadow  at the beginning of Merlin's Nightmare so the reader has an idea of what has happened in the previous books.
 
Robert Treskillard has such full descriptions of what is happening especially in the battles. This book had more war then the other two but necessary to accomplish the mission.  A werewolf is also part of this book which is interesting and unusual in the Arthurian books but the Voice is also different.
The reader finds many of the same characters in the first books of the Merlin Series.  Arthur, Merlin, Natalenya, Dwin, The Voice and Morgana. I liked the addition of the children in this third book; it helped make the book more personal.
 
Part One : Fear's Glance (page 21)
Ash, smoke, and flame: the young one looming.
Sin, spite, and hate: the sly shade luring.
Hand, soul, and heart: the black choice making.
Snare, lash, and trap: the death power waking.
Orb and fang, there at the dark demise.
 
Part Two: Terror's Grasp (page 159)
Battle, noise, and dust: the young one fighting;
Holy, pure, and strong:  the good God calling;
Spirit, hand, and heart: the white path choosing;
Gauntlet, shield, and torc: the kingship taking;
Skinned in death, there the moon will rise.
 
Part Three: Nightmare's Gallows (page 283)
Faster than crow, the bleak night coming;
Blacker than coal, the dread oath binding;
Stronger than steel, the great claws gripping;
Sharper than flint, the long teeth gnashing;
Sword and stone, there the prophet outcries.
 
Dedicated to: For Samantha Adele, Leighton, and Ness. Psalm 5:1-12
 
God is also a big part of the book as the characters pray often.
 
One similar chant I remember  when we spoke Latin in Church:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus-Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.
 
A response in British:
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord-the God of mighty warriors.
Heaven and earth are filled with Thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is He who cometh in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
 
There are maps in the beginning of the book and a glossary in the back (page 408). I used the glossary many times because  of so many names.  There is also a pronunciation guide. (page 407)
 
This was a harder book for me to read than the other two books in the series. It was good but so many names and activities. It still will get a  5 star rating.
This is not the end of the series; it continues with the  Pendragon Series.
 
I received a complimentary copy from booksneeze.com to read and review. The opinions are my own.
 
Robert Treskillard may be reached at:
 
 
Many characters and happenings  are based on  legends and history but Merlin's Nightmare is fictional. It is good reading for  young people as well as adults.
Leona Olson
 
 
 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Streusel Rhubarb Bread/ Muffin Recipe

   
 

Streusel Rhubarb Bread/Muffin Recipe

I found this recipe on the Taste of Home site.

I made 18 muffins instead of bread as they can freeze and I can also share. Everyone seems to like them. I baked for 40 minutes in 350* oven. I used fresh rhubarb from my garden.
Leona
Streusel Rhubarb Bread Recipe
 
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 1 hour + cooling
MAKES: 32 servings

Ingredients

  •   1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  •   1/2 cup canola oil
  •   1 cup buttermilk
  •   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •   2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  •   1 teaspoon baking soda
  •   1 teaspoon salt
  •   1-1/2 cups chopped fresh or sliced frozen rhubarb
  •   1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  •   TOPPING:
  •   1/2 cup sugar
  •   1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •   1 tablespoon cold butter
 

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 slice) equals 138 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 8 mg cholesterol, 131 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 2 g protein.

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and oil. Beat in egg. Beat in buttermilk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into brown sugar mixture just until combined. Fold in rhubarb and nuts. Pour into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans.
  2. For topping, in a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and butter until crumbly; sprinkle over batter.
  3. Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Cut with a serrated knife. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).
Editor's Note: If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.
Originally published as Streusel Rhubarb Bread in Quick Cooking 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Book Review of Sugar Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke


Book Review of Sugar Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke 



 From goodreads.com:  

"The holidays are the icing on the cake for bakery owner Hannah Swensen. Surrounded by her loved ones, she has all the ingredients for a perfect Christmas until murder is added to the mix...
When it comes to holidays, Minnesotans rise to the occasion and the little town of Lake Eden is baking up a storm with Hannah leading the way. The annual Christmas Buffet is the final test of the recipes Hannah has collected for the Lake Eden Holiday Buffet Cookbook.
While Hannah is baking the day s goodies at The Cookie Jar, the evening s plans begin to jell. Start with the best Lake Eden culinary creations, add two of Hannah s sometime boyfriends, a pinch of her ready-to-pop pregnant sister, and a dash of her mother and new significant other, an actual British lord, and what do you get? A recipe for disaster, but the juiciest ingredient is yet to come...
The recently divorced Martin Dubinski arrives at the buffet with his new Vegas showgirl wife all wrapped up in glitter and fur. His ex-wife, however, seems as cool as chilled eggnog. And when Hannah s mother s antique Christmas cake knife disappears, its discovery in the d�colletage of the new and now late Mrs. Dubinski puts the festivities on ice.
With everyone stranded at the community center by a blizzard, Hannah puts her investigative skills to the test, using the ingredients at hand: half the town of Lake Eden and a killer. Now, as the snowdrifts get higher, it s up to Hannah to dig out all the clues and make sure that this white Christmas doesn t bring any more deadly tidings.
Includes over twenty-five original recipes for you to try! 
(less)

Paperback352 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2004)"
Leona's Review of Sugar Cookie Murder

This was a fast read by Joanne Fluke of another mystery from the Hannah Swensen series.  Hannah has once again found a dead body and begins to help solve the mystery.  This is the 6th book in the series and I have read many of then but not in order. It is a quick read especially when the same characters are in the books. I have the hard copy book that I checked out from my library. There are 341 pages in the book but the mystery part of the book is 168 pages and the rest are recipes.

Today, I made the Rhubarb Bar Cookies I found in the book and the rhubarb is some I picked from my garden this morning. It is good.
I have enjoyed the books by Joanne Fluke and now living in Minnesota helps me relate to the many references to the state. The cold, getting stuck in the snow, hotdishes and potluck dinners are a few.
I loved it when Hannah says that "we" are not pregnant because only the woman is pregnant and I fully agree. We can be expecting a baby but the woman is the pregnant one.
I also loved it when they commented that people in Lake Eden did not steal but there is always a murder.
This is a good read as a cozy mystery. I will give it a 4 star as I enjoyed it very much.
Joanne Fluke may be reached at http://www.joannefluke.com/.   I have emailed her in the past and she did respond.
Leona Olson
 
This is one of the recipes in the Sugar Cookie Murder Book. Yes, there is also a recipe for a sugar cookie.



"Cherry Bomb Cookies
Preheat oven to F*, rack in the middle position.
This is my Grandma Ingrid's recipe. She used to make it for special occasions.
3 cups flour (no need to sift)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup white (granulated) sugar
2 jars (16 ounces each) maraschino cherries WITH STEMS (about 65 cherries)
small bowl with powdered sugar (confectioner's) sugar
Drain the cherries. Leave them in the strainer while you make the cookie dough.
Put flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir with a fork until throughly mixed. Cut in the softened butter with two forks, continuing to cut until the mixture looks like coarse corn meal. (You can also do this in a food processor with the steel blade, using cold butter cut in 1/2 inch chunks)
Beat the eggs in a medium-sized bowl and combine them with the sugar.
Add the egg and sugar mixture to the rest of the ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Extract small bits of dough with your fingers and wrap them around each maraschino cherry, leaving the stem sticking out. Press the bottoms of the dough-wrapped cherries down slightly on a greased baking sheet (4 rows of 4 cherries works nicely).
Bake at 350*F. for 10 minutes (Cookies will be white-if they start to brown, reduce the baking time). Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet. Then dip them in the powdered sugar so that the entire cookie part is covered, but not the stem.
Yield: 5-6 dozen cookies.
Kids love these because they can pick them up by the stem, pop the whole cookie in their mouths, and pull off the stem.
For Christmas, I make these with one jar of red maraschino cherries and one jar of green. Once they're arranged on a platter lines with a paper doily, they're really pretty."
((Leona's idea is I think these would be fun for the 4th of July using the red cherries))

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Review of A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander


   
 
Book Review of A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexanear.
 
From goodreads.com:
From the USA Today bestselling author of To Whisper Her Name and A Lasting Impression comes a moving historical novel about a bold young woman drawn to a group of people forgotten by Nashville society--and to the one man with whom she has no business falling in love.

Eleanor Braddock, a spinster--plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty--has long since dismissed any hope of marriage. But when a dying soldier whispers his final words, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. But this compassionate deed takes a harsh turn, and Eleanor finds herself dependent upon the richest woman in America and the most despised woman in Nashville--her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, mistress of Belmont Mansion. A clandestine act of kindness leads Eleanor to an unlikely path for her life--building a home for destitute widows and children from the Civil War. And while Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve.

Gerhard Marcus Gottfried, Archduke of the House of Habsburg and fourth in line to the Austrian throne, arrives in Nashville in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Collaborating with botanist Luther Burbank, Marcus seeks to combine his own passion for nature with his expertise in architecture. But his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widow's and children's home run contrary to the wishes of practical, frugal Eleanor, who sees his ideas as costly nonsense.

Yet as the construction project continues, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground--and a love neither of them expected. But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor to marry, and even if he were, someone who knows Marcus's secrets is about to reveal them all.(less)
Paperback484 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Bethany House Publishers (Baker Publishing Group)
original title
A Beauty So Rare (Belmont Mansion, #2)
ISBN
0764206230 (ISBN13: 9780764206238)
edition language
English
series

Leona's Review:
The book begins with the prologue on December 15, 1864 with Eleanor helping a Confederate Civil War soldier who is dying. He thinks she is "His Mary" and gives her a hankie that is stained with his blood. I found the mission of Eleanor to find Mary is a important part of the  book. Yesterday, I attended a class at our local library about Civil War sewing kits that were give to the soldiers by women who made the kits. The kits also carried pictures and mementoes for the soldiers. A story the presenter, from the Minnesota Historical Society, told was of a soldier who died holding pictures of three children in his hand. An artist at the newspaper drew the faces for the paper and a woman who saw the paper knew it was her husband who had died. I am sure there are many stories like this.
Chapter one begins September 2, 1968.
Eleanor's mission is to open a restaurant but with her father ill of dementia, she finds she may not be able to open one. She moves in with her wealthy aunt while her father lives at the insane asylum.
The friendship of Eleanor and Marcus increase throughout the book. When they first meet, Eleanor thinks he is a undergardner but soon finds he is a botanist and later  finds he is also an architect. Together they work to build a home for the widows and children of the soldiers of the war. Both have a secret they do not want known.
Marcus is working on producing a rose for the aunt, Adeclicia Acklen; she wants certain colors for the rose.  We also find the potato an important part of the story.
Find some recipes on Tamera's blog site from some of the characters.
The  book is dedicated to: For my readers, who not only take these journeys with me, but who add joy and beauty to my own.
It is a historical romance book by an award-winning author, Tamera Alexander. I give it a 5 star rating. I enjoyed it so much, I woke the next morning disappointed I had finished the book.
I won this book from LibraryThing.com. A review was requested but the opinions are my own
A Beauty So Rare is full of history, love, loss, family, hope, God, friendship, compassion, Civil war, cooking and recipes.
A Beauty So Rare is the second book of the Belmont Mansion Novels. The Belmont Mansion is in Nashville, Tennessee. See http://belmontmansion.com/.
For a trailer on A Beauty So rare visit http://belmontmansion.com/2014/02/15/a-beauty-so-rare-trailer/
You can find Tamera Alexander:
Her blog:       www.tameraalexander.blogspot.com
Twitter:          www.twitter.com/tameraalexander
Pinterest:      www.pinterest.com/tameraauthor/
Leona Olson
.


Contest by Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander is running a lovely giveaway for her latest book, A Beauty So Rare. Click here to enter! http://prmo.me/Q2nQhl

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy Higley

   
 
 
 
 
 

The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy Higley

From goodreads.com:
"From the servant halls of Cleopatra’s Egyptian palace to the courts of Herod the Great, Lydia will serve two queens to see prophecy fulfilled.

Alexandria, Egypt 39 BC

Orphaned at birth, Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra's palace, working hard to please while keeping everyone at arm's length. She's been rejected and left with a broken heart too many times in her short life.

But then her dying mentor entrusts her with secret writings of the prophet Daniel and charges her to deliver this vital information to those watching for the promised King of Israel. Lydia must leave the nearest thing she’s had to family and flee to Jerusalem. Once in the Holy City, she attaches herself to the newly appointed king, Herod the Great, as handmaid to Queen Mariamme.

Trapped among the scheming women of Herod’s political family—his sister, his wife, and their mothers—and forced to serve in the palace to protect her treasure, Lydia must deliver the scrolls before dark forces warring against the truth destroy all hope of the coming Messiah."
Paperback400 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Thomas Nelson
ISBN
1401686842 (ISBN13: 9781401686840)
edition language
English
 
 
 
Leona's Review:
 
I thought I had read Tracy Higley's books in the past, but find this is my first read by her. I always like to read historical fiction and this book did not disappoint. It is full of history and gave me some more knowledge of the times and people. I did not know that Cleopatra, for example, had sisters. There is a map of the Mediterranean area in the front of the book and the family charts of The Hasmonean Dynasty and also Herod's Family.
 
The book is dedicated to: For Steve Laube. In gratitude for nearly a decade of unwavering support, wise guidance, and genius friendship.
 
The book begins in Alexandria, Egypt on January, 39 BC.
 
Lydia is the handmaid to Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt. She is to become the handmaid of Herod's future wife Mariamme and so travels to Jerusalem.
The journey is long but on the trip Lydia becomes acquainted with David, who is younger than her.
 
Lydia's mentor, Samuel, was killed but before he dies he had passed the scrolls from the prophet Daniel to Lydia with instructions where to deliver and to whom. The scrolls are usually passed from father to son but these were now for Lydia to deliver. Lydia must carry the scrolls with her and keep them a secret and so they are hidden most of the time
 
There is a lot of warfare in this novel with some descriptions of death but fits the story and the history of the wars at that time.
 
The Queen's Handmaid is full of history and of the Jewish religion and beginning of the Christian religion.
 
I give this a 5 star rating. It is a historical fiction book with some romance. The author, Tracy Higley, shows she has done extensive research to write this novel. The end was unexpected for me but I was pleased with it. This is a book that can be re-read for those interested in history.
 
I wish there had been a list of the characters and the places in the book. There were many and I think it would have helped the reader.
 
Read more of Cleopatra on this site:
Read more of Octaavian, Antony and Lepidus
on this site:
 
There is a study guide at the back of the book. Two questions are Question Number 2: Lydia struggles throughout the book with issues of identity and feelings of worthlessness. Do you relate to her struggles? In what way? And Question Number 9: How do you feel about the author's portrayal of spiritual darkness in the story? Do you believe that people like Salome may have been in touch with evil powers at this time in history? How about now?
 
I received a complimentary copy of The Queen's Handmaid  to read and review from Litfuse Publicity Group and Thomas Nelson Publishers. The opinions are my own.
Leona Olson
 
Tracy Higley may be reached at www.TracyHigley.com
 
 
List of some characters:
Lydia- The main character. She is an orphan and does not know anything about her parents.
Simon- Ran the palace staff at Jericho
Cleopatra Philopator- Queen of Egypt
Herod- The Galilean governor but he is not Jewish
Mariamme- Wife if Herod
Banafrit- In charge of Cleopatra's kitchen
David- Lydia meets him on the boat after leaving Egypt.
Samuel- A Jewish man who taught Lydia about the Jewish religion and who gave her the scrolls.
Marc Antony- Lover of Cleopatra and father of her twins
Caesar- Ruler of Rome
Caesarion- Son of Cleopatra and Caesar; also under the care of Lydia when she lived at Cleopatra's palace.
Ha Shem- Name of God in the Hebrew Bible
Octavian-Nephew of Julius Caesar
Octavia- Sister of Octavian and wife of Marc Antony
Joseph- Herod's brother
Salome- Herod's sister
Jonah and Ester- Friends of Simon
 
Some places in the book are:
Egypt
Jerusalem
Masada
Temple of Cybele
Temple of Ceres
Kidron Valley