Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Green means best in my opinion, purple means I have it, yellow means I would like to have it (a.k.a. wish list), turquoise means look for it to read.
To try:
  • Brand, Irene: Mountains Stand Strong
  • Prescott, M. Lee: A Friend of Silence (Roger and Bess mystery = 1st) 
  • Baker, Tace (Edith Maxwell): I read Speaking of Murder - ok; am interested in reading Bluffing is Murder
  • Maxwell, Edith: I read A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die (Local Foods mystery) - ok; I am interested in reading Delivering the Truth (Quaker Midwife mystery) from KDL, then Called to Justice.
  • Remmes, Brenda Bevan: Home to Cedar Branch (A Quaker Cafe novel #2) from KDL.
Already read: 
  • Turnbull, Ann. Quaker trilogy, #1 No Shame, No Fear, #2 Forged in the Fire, and #3 is Seeking Eden. These are about early Friends, 1860's-1880's, persecuted, beaten, jailed, transported from England. The 2nd deals with the plague and Great Fire in London. The 3rd is set in early Pennsylvania and engages the issue of slavery. Excellently-written historical fiction. I don't have the strength to do passive resistance as they did, though.
  • A compilation called The Quakers of New Garden (Romancing America series) has 4 stories of different generations:
  1.  Taylor, Jennifer Hudson: AWFUL! She clearly did not do any research and is a poor writer.
  2. Schrock, Ann E.: excellent story about the Underground Railroad, well written.
  3. Sanders, Claire: good story about a woman who stays true to her Quaker beliefs and practices even when "married out." 
  4. Williams, Suzette: a contemporary story, good, or even excellent until the end, when the protagonist leaves her Meeting to join an evangelical church - what about this makes it a Quaker romance? Williams puts herself on the same level as Beverly Lewis, whose so-called "Amish" romances all have the same message: Old Order Amish are not fine as they are but need to become born again--truly an evangelical message--so why not have the characters move to the Evangelical Friends branch if being Liberal (Friends General Conference) was too uncomfortable for the writer? 
  5. Schmidt, Anna: Peacemakers series (All God's Children = 1st, about being Quaker in WWII Germany, excellent, as was the 2nd, Simple Faith. Next, Safe Haven)
Just finished A Quaker Christmas (Romancing America), again with 4 stories:
  1. A Crossroad to Love by Lauralee Bliss.
  2. Simple Gifts by Ramona K. Cecil.
  3. Pirate of My Heart by Rachael Phillips
  4. Equally Yoked by Claire Sanders.
On the whole, a gentle collection of stories about 1800's Quakers, explaining that Friends consider each day as holy/sacred, which takes the pressure off the huge expectations of gifts, huge meals, etc. Sanders' "Equally Yoked" nicely demonstrated the dangers faced by abolitionists.

Some minor quibbles: one of the authors (Bliss, I think) used "thee" as the formal and "you" as informal and clearly didn't understand that "thee" was used in place of "thou" --the singular informal, and that "you" is the plural formal--considered incorrect to use when addressing one person, especially as used in 1600s England to address "betters" such as titled landowners and church officials. "Friend" was also used as a formal title used with the last name, again the opposite, as Friends don't use titles. To be formal, one uses first and last name: "John Davis" for example, or "Friend John."  

One major quibble: Phillips used the stereotype of Shawnee river cave pirates, which I found detestable. That is truly comodification - just trying to make money off of a bad idea. 

Cote, Lyn. Honor. About Quakers in 1819-20, slavery, and the Underground Railroad, I enjoyed the story. Cote used "thee" as the plural, when addressing multiple people. Clearly doesn't understand the grammar. Interestingly, in the Historical Note at the end, Cote mentions Elizabeth Margaret Chandler, an abolitionist and poet who moved to Michigan, and the first woman to write about abolition. Cote included one of her poems in Honor. I read the 2nd one, Blessing. Not sure if I want to read Faith, 3rd (KDL).

Ellis, Mary. The Quaker and the Rebel - I can see if the 1st few pages that she has done as little research on Quakers as she has on the Amish (the protagonist has ribbons on her dress, curtsies, uses "sir" and "ma'am" and the title of "Miss" to introduce herself. Meh. 

Allen, Irene: I read all 4 of her novels but didn't really enjoy them. 

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