Realistic Fiction Reviews

The Chosen One

[openbook booknumber=”0312555113″][rating:4/5]

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much – if you don’t count her secret visits to the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.

But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle – who already has six wives – Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.

This book addresses a very powerful and deeply controversial subject and in a surprisingly strong, vivid and heart breaking way for a YA novel. I think this book exemplifies one of YA’s true strengths in that way. Kyra is a young girl growing up in a remote compound belonging to a polygamist sect. She has grown up in a family with one father and three mothers and now has twenty siblings with two more on the way. She has known no other life and in fact finding out about other ways of life is next to impossible and is considered a sin. By chance Kyra discovers a mobile library and that discovery, along with a library card, opens up fresh new horizons for her and she discovers a world beyond the compound’s barbed wire fences and brutal attitudes towards freedom and independent thought.

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In The Bleak Midwinter

[openbook booknumber=”0312288476″][rating:4/5]

It’s a cold, snowy December in the upstate New York town of Millers Kill, and newly ordained Clare Fergusson is on thin ice as the first female priest of its small Episcopal church. The ancient regime running the parish covertly demands that she prove herself as a leader. However, her blunt manner, honed by years as an Army pilot, is meeting with a chilly reception from some members of her congregation, and Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne, in particular, doesn’t know what to make of her or how to address, “a lady priest,” for that matter.

The last thing she needs is trouble, but that is exactly what she finds. When a newborn baby is abandoned on the church stairs and a young mother is brutally murdered, Clare has to pick her way through the secrets and silence that shadow the town like the ever-present Adirondack mountains. As the days dwindle down and the attraction between the avowed priest and the married police chief grows, Clare will need all her faith, tenacity, and courage to stand fast against a killer’s icy heart.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved the setting, I loved the characters, I loved how the storyline pulled me in and didn’t let me go until the last page was turned. It had unique characters, well researched back story, and of course a killer on the loose to help spice things up as the death toll keeps climbing. Between the mystery and suspense surrounding this small baby abandoned on a church door step, to the believable relationship and build up between Reverend Clare and Chief Alystyne (will they? won’t they?) it ended up being quite a page turner and I was up late into the night on several occasions because I could not put this book down.

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