Showing posts with label jodi daynard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jodi daynard. Show all posts

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: The Midwife's Revolt by Jodi Daynard



Welcome to the next stop on the review tour for The Midwife’s Revolt by Jodi Daynard.

Title: The Midwife's Revolt
Author: Jodi Daynard
Publisher: Opossum Press
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Source: e-copy received from Novel Publicity tours for an honest review

Book Description:
The Midwife’s Revolt takes the reader on a journey to the founding days of America. It follows one woman’s path, Lizzie Boylston, from her grieving days of widowhood after Bunker Hill, to her deepening friendship with Abigail Adams and midwifery, and finally to her dangerous work as a spy for the Cause. A novel rich in historical detail, The Midwife’s Revolt opens a window onto the real lives of colonial women.

Jodi Daynard’s historical fiction The Midwife’s Revolt has eared a 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon and praise from libraries, historical associations and is even featured at The Museum of the American Revolution.

“A charming, unexpected, and decidedly different view of the Revolutionary War.”
—Publishers Weekly

“This humorous, exciting and touching story retells the familiar saga of the Revolutionary War in a stunning new way that feels fresh and alive.”
—Kirkus Reviews


My Review:
I used to read a LOT of historical fiction--I got especially hooked on the Tudors a few years ago, but after a while I felt a little burnt out in that genre.  However, lately I've been hankering to get back into it, and when I saw The Midwife's Revolt offered as a Novel Publicity tour, I couldn't resist.

This was a new foray for me in historical fiction, because I've never read anything in that genre focusing on the Revolutionary War.  This time period has always been interesting for me though, because I grew up right down the street from a Revolutionary War battlefield (where the Battle of Groton Heights was fought in Connecticut).  Also (coincidentally enough), last weekend my husband, Small Fry, and I discovered the Saratoga National Battlefield not a far drive from our house--and the Battle of Freeman's Farm (located there) is actually mentioned in The Midwife's Revolt!  So I was pretty fascinated by all the real-life history around me as I read this novel.
Saratoga National Battlefield (photo courtesy saratoga.com)
(And you're thinking, okay, great Kel, what about the book?)

The Midwife's Revolt does precisely what you want a historical fiction novel to do--it leaves you wondering where the fact ends and the fiction begins.  The protagonist, Lizzie Boylston, is surrounded by notable figures of the Revolution that you will surely recognize--John Adams, George Washington, Abigail Adams, etc.  The novel's central focus is on Lizzie and her personal journey throughout the war, but her interactions with these famous patriots lends the strong historical background that gives this novel its strength.  As a reader, I was constantly wondering how much of Lizzie's story (and the stories of those around her) were true, which kept me on my toes and wanting to turn the page.  (I won't spoil it for you, but rest assured that Daynard does make some notes at the end to let you know what was fact, and what was fiction.  Some of it is quite surprising!)

The storyline is complex; Lizzie goes through a lot in the many years that the novel covers, so it's quite epic in scope.  Despite this complexity, the novel never loses its feel of historical accuracy.  It's clear that Daynard did meticulous research to make sure that the book was fitting for the political and social customs of the period.  At times I will say it felt a little "textbookish"...there was so much historical detail, sometimes not interspersed with much personal dialogue, that it occasionally toed the line towards feeling like a nonfiction article.  This also led to the characters sometimes seeming a little flat, as it felt like they were trying too hard to be historically "true".  However, the movement of the plot always eventually got back on track, and Lizzie's story shone through.

Overall, I think The Midwife's Revolt is a good choice if you're looking for a historical fiction fix--especially if you have particular interest in the Revolutionary War.  History buffs will be impressed, and fiction fiends will enjoy the mysteries that Lizzie uncovers, as well as her personal struggles as a woman attempting to help the Rebel cause.  Lizzie certainly has a force of passion that makes her a unique character for this time period, and that alone should be a draw for many readers.

About the Author: Jodi Daynard is a writer of fiction, essays, and criticism. Her work has appeared in numerous periodicals, including The New York Times Book Review, The Village Voice, The Paris Review, Agni, New England Review and in several anthologies. She is the author of The Place Within: Portraits of the American Landscape by 20 Contemporary Writers (W. W. Norton). Ms. Daynard’s essays have been nominated for several prizes and mentioned in Best American Essays. She has taught writing at Harvard University, M.I.T., and in the MFA program at Emerson College, and served for seven years as Fiction Editor at Boston Review. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, The National Women’s Book Association, and the Author’s Guild. The Midwife’s Revolt is her first novel.

Prizes! Who doesn’t love awesome book themed gifts?  Jodi is offering A Kindle Fire to one reader as well as a Artemis Cameo Necklace, an American Flag Folk Art and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.  All you have to do is leave a comment and enter the Rafflecopter (below).  Of course, there are plenty of other ways to enter to win just by helping spread the word about The Midwife’s Revolt.

a Rafflecopter giveaway The Tour: Follow along and read more reviews of The Midwife’s Revolt.  You can see the full list of participating reviews HERE.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cannibals and Coasties and Cooking, oh my...


Hope you all had a great weekend!  What's everybody reading today?


I'm a busy reader these days.  Here's what I'm steeped in right now:

The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost

At the age of twenty-six, Maarten Troost—who had been pushing the snooze button on the alarm clock of life by racking up useless graduate degrees and muddling through a series of temp jobs—decided to pack up his flip-flops and move to Tarawa, a remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati. He was restless and lacked direction, and the idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic. He should have known better.
The Sex Lives of Cannibals tells the hilarious story of what happens when Troost discovers that Tarawa is not the island paradise he dreamed of. Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles through relentless, stifling heat, a variety of deadly bacteria, polluted seas, toxic fish—all in a country where the only music to be heard for miles around is “La Macarena.” He and his stalwart girlfriend Sylvia spend the next two years battling incompetent government officials, alarmingly large critters, erratic electricity, and a paucity of food options (including the Great Beer Crisis); and contending with a bizarre cast of local characters, including “Half-Dead Fred” and the self-proclaimed Poet Laureate of Tarawa (a British drunkard who’s never written a poem in his life). (from Goodreads)

I'm reading this for April's Around The World challenge (South Pacific), and LOVING it.  It's a hilarious travel memoir that's teaching me a lot about an area of the world I am unfamiliar with.  Oh, you thought all islands of the South Pacific were idyllic gems like Fiji?  Not so much.  Troost's travelogue is leaving me in stitches and I can't wait to review it.

Frozen In Time by Mitchell Zuckoff

On November 5, 1942, a U.S. cargo plane on a routine flight slammed into the Greenland ice cap. Four days later, a B-17 on the search-and-rescue mission became lost in a blinding storm and also crashed. Miraculously, all nine men on the B-17 survived. The U.S. military launched a second daring rescue operation, but the Grumman Duck amphibious plane sent to find the men flew into a severe storm and vanished.

In this thrilling adventure, Mitchell Zuckoff offers a spellbinding account of these harrowing disasters and the fate of the survivors and their would-be saviors. Frozen in Time places us at the center of a group of valiant airmen fighting to stay alive through 148 days of a brutal Arctic winter by sheltering from subzero temperatures and vicious blizzards in the tail section of the broken B-17 until an expedition headed by famed Arctic explorer Bernt Balchen attempts to bring them to safety.
But that is only part of the story that unfolds in Frozen in Time. In present-day Greenland, Zuckoff joins the U.S. Coast Guard and North South Polar--a company led by the indefatigable dreamer Lou Sapienza, who worked for years to solve the mystery of the Duck's last flight--on a dangerous expedition to recover the remains of the lost plane's crew.  (from Goodreads)

I'm at the beginning of this book, and already HOOKED.  I'm a bit of a Coast Guard groupie (both my brother and stepbrother currently serve) so this historical account of a World War II search-and-rescue mission is fascinating to me.  Plus, I love that the author got involved in the more recent search for one of the planes that was never found.  Adds a unique twist the story.

Weelicious by Catherine McCord

After her son was born in 2007, Catherine McCord sought out resources to teach her how to prepare fresh, healthy, appealing meals for young kids—but she came up empty. With culinary school under her belt and a hungry baby to feed, Catherine started Weelicious.com, a website that has since grown into a comprehensive offering of kid-friendly family meals.

Complete with beautiful color photos, tips and tools, lists of pantry staples, feeding plans, and more than seventy new recipes never before seen on Weelicious .com, Weelicious makes it easy to get kids eating healthy foods from their first bite. Catherine teaches parents how to turn their kids into great eaters who appreciate food and are open to exciting new flavors.  (from Goodreads)


You guys know I love Small Fry to pieces.  He's the shizzle.  But seriously, one of the hardest things IN LIFE is trying to feed him.  He is the world's pickiest eater, hands down.  I have been on a desperate quest for the last year to find foods that will appeal to him (other than PB&J and fruit...which in themselves are not terrible, but a good diet they do not make).  I heard amazing things about Weelicious and decided to give it a try.  It's been an interesting journey.  I only have the book for 2 more days from the library, so will soon be reviewing it and sharing my saga with you...

And my audiobook is still Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline--should be finishing up this week!

What will be coming up next?
The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting by Bunmi Laditan.  I've been trying really hard to delay this awesomeness until close to its release date, and that is quickly coming upon us, so this is next in my queue!  Others on the horizon include Jordan Freeman Was My Friend by Richard White (for this month's Keyword Challenge: friend), The Midwife's Revolt by Jodi Daynard (for an upcoming book tour) and Fly Away by Kristin Hannah (ARC that I'm pretty excited to review).

What are you reading this week, friends?
 
Imagination Designs