Check out these reviews and pick up some good novels to read for your long weekend! Happy Independence Day!
John Jollife from The Tablet reviewed The Leaves Are Falling:
This is the story of Josef, a Jewish boy who miraculously escapes from the devastation of wartime Lithuania, having lost all his family through the twin genocides carried out by the Nazis and the Russians…. In an important sense, England was not a part of Europe during the war, but adjacent to it. However much we suffered in the bombing and the fighting, we never knew invasion or occupation, or had to face the terrible choice between resistance and collaboration. And, of course, thanks to the Americans and the Russians, we were on the winning side. The worst of the horrors took place in Eastern Europe, and since they were hardly reported here when other dangers and disasters were so much nearer at hand, we were able to turn a blind eye. So as well as being a sensitive and evocative story, Beckett’s novel is a salutary eye-opener on what the eastern half of Europe suffered, and on what moulded its future for the next fifty years. And although it is an acutely personal story, like her sensitive and gripping previous novel, A Postcard from the Volcano, set in pre-war Germany, it reveals more of the truth about the twentieth century than many a textbook collection of facts can hope to do.
You can read the rest of the review here.
Karee Santos, Jodie Brown and Sarah Duggan review Tobit’s Dog:
The Biblical story of Tobit’s marriage to Sarah, whose previous seven husbands had been slain by demons, has been cleverly reimagined in a new novel (released April 2014 by Ignatius Press) called Tobit’s Dog, by Michael N. Richard…. The novel Tobit’s Dog reawakens the sense of family members as blessings to one another. Tobit’s deep spiritual wisdom and his faith throughout his blindness inspire those around him…. The characters of Tobit’s Dog are uplifting examples of every-day heroes who change their corner of the world for the better and show us how we can do the same.
Read the rest of Karee’s review on her blog Can We Cana?
From the beginning, when Tobit rescues Okra and his siblings from drowning, Tobit exhibits strength of character that is inspiring. Tobit faces significant challenges—a crooked sheriff, blindness, persecution, and incarceration—and never opts for the easy way out. Tobit’s prayers remind us that God is not a wish granter, but we can rely on God to walk with us in our troubles…. Tobit’s Dog is a moving look at how a man’s faith sustains him. Tobit’s Dog reminds us that in an era of blatant racism, there are those who ignore the social customs and pursue decency in spite of the repercussions. Tobit’s Dog also shows that a just man’s involvement is justified in helping to see that a young boy’s cruelly motivated murder. Despite the sadness surrounding the story, there is an incredible light that emanates from the story, and this truly does imitate many of our own personal stories, making this novel a very good read.
Read the rest of Jodie’s review on her blog Literature & Writing Mama.
The book of Tobit is one of the most underrated apocryphal books of the Bible, which is a shame. It’s a fantastic, inspiring story with cinematic drama. It’s a parable of marriage (which is why I had a passage read at my wedding.) It’s also a road trip buddy comedy, with an inexplicable dog sidekick. There have been numerous references to this mysterious dog in later literature…. In his new novel Tobit’s Dog, Michael Nicolas Richard presents a creative retelling of the story that brings this canine companion to the forefront and even gives him a mystical role in the action…. At its heart, the story of Tobit is about dealing with the difficulties of life and about good overcoming evil. That is evident not just in Tobit’s family, but also in the lives of many supporting characters. Even the villains have graphic struggles with sin, weakness, and violence that flesh out the fable.
The rest of Sarah’s review can be read on her blog Catholic History Nerd.
Kara Prewett enjoyed The Rising:
The Rising has such an interesting narrative. Ovies writes in the third person from various perspectives. Each player in C.J.’s life speaks in their own voice and we gain an understanding of their thoughts and motives. Sometimes this is a really startling tool. One moment you’re reading from the perspective of a scared 9 year old. And the next you’re in the head of a narcissistic money grubber. And the next a desperate funeral director trying to save his livelihood. And the next a Catholic bishop trying his best to discern the source and intent of the power. I was really impressed with the author’s ability to capture so many different voices. He communicated the human condition alarmingly well. I spent half the book with my forehead in my hand, sitting on the edge of my seat. A barely tolerable anxiety kept me turning and turning the pages. Rarely have I read a book so capable of inducing emotion!
Read the rest of her review on her blog Mea Cuppa.