I am playing a bit of catch-up; so I am reviewing 4 books on this artful blog for the Artful Reader’s Club. By the way, for those who don’t know about The Artful Reader’s Club (ARC), it is an ongoing art challenge where you read a book a month, review it and create artwork; then you blog about it and share the blog in the Artful Reader’s Club on Facebook (linked). Darcy Wilkinson of ART and SOLE inspired this group and housed a blog hop on her blog, ART and SOLE (check it out) until this year. Feel free to join in our fun on Facebook. (LINK to FACEBOOK GROUP)
The books I am reviewing for The Artful Reader’s Club for December 2013, January – March 2014 are:
1. DYING TO BE ME by Anita Moorjani (2012)
2. THE MULBERRY TREE by Jude Deveraux (2002)
3. SECRET PREY by John Sandford (1998)
4. INVENTION OF WINGS by Sue Monk Kidd (2014)
I recommend all 4 books, as I enjoyed them all for different reasons.
DYING TO BE ME is a book written by Anita Moorjani about her journey from cancer to near death to true healing. Moorjani is very transparent in her courageous account with her underlying message of becoming fearless.
In this truly inspirational memoir, Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body—overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system—began to shut down. As her organs failed, she entered into an astonishing near-death experience where she realized her intrinsic worth . . . and the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Moorjani found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was able to be released from the hospital within weeks without a trace of cancer in her body!
In the beginning of this book, Moorjani recounts her history from her childhood in Hong Kong to adulthood where she challenged cultural tradition to establish a career and find true love. As part of a traditional Hindu family residing in a largely Chinese and British society, she had been pushed and pulled by cultural and religious customs since she had been a little girl.
After years of struggling to forge her own path while trying to meet everyone else’s expectations, she had the realization, as a result of her epiphany on the other side during her near death experience, that she had the power to heal herself; furthermore, she learned that there are miracles in the Universe that she had never even imagined. Moorjani freely and openly shares all she has learned about illness, healing, fear, “being love,” and the true magnificence of each and every human being! I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially those who need a spiritual/psychological boost. Moorjani’s remarkable experience is truly uplifting and inspiring.
THE MULBERRY TREE is a light read, a mystery with a bit of romance written by the talented Jude Deveraux. The main character reinvented herself from an unassuming wife of a self-made billionaire and becomes an empowered woman who is determined to make a life for herself as she unravels the demise of her rich husband’s untimely “accidental death”; furthermore, she is left with nothing except an old farmhouse in a small town in Virginia.
The mulberry tree on the property serves to ground her as she learns to support herself as she becomes familiar with the community, starts a successful business, and finds a second chance at love. But, how much can she reveal about her former life to her new love interest; and, what was her former husband’s connection to this small Virginia town?
SECRET PREY is part of the John Sandford thrilling and suspenseful Prey series of murder mysteries. Detective Lucas Davenport, the main character who has been molded and developed through the series, finds himself in the most twisted and complicated case, yet. A corporate leader is shot in what was set up to look like a hunting accident; but, with so many suspects, this was no accident. Upon checking out each, Davenport gets in deeper and deeper into the well of confusion as more murders are committed; and, his former fiancée’s life becomes endangered. But, why? Revenge? Could it be related to the current case? But how?
THE INVENTION OF WINGS by Sue Monk Kidd is a well-written historical fiction (richly based on the true historical figures, Sarah and Angelina Grimké) that takes place in Georgia during pre-civil war America. The story unfolds in the voice of a young black female slave named Handful to her mother (and Hetty to the Grimké household). As Handful fondly describes her relationship with her mother, she relates how her mother would weave tales of her ancestry, a rich imaginative tale of how her people had wings and could fly. Handful’s mother was also a talented seamstress, who created magnificent quilts (as well as clothing for the household); but, her mother was also highly spirited. Will her mother’s talents outweigh her resolve? Handful’s tale was told in every other chapter, while the other main character, Sarah Grimké, one of the daughters of the slave owner gave her perspective in the other chapters.
Sarah Grimké had a great mind and great ambitions (as she wanted to be a lawyer like her father) but a meek voice as she had difficulty forming words during stressful times (as in The King’s Speech) after witnessing a horrific punishment of one of the household slaves as a toddler. When Sarah turned 11, her parents gave her the “human present” of 10-year-old Hetty to be her handmaid. Sarah willfully rejected this, but was met with consequences. In defiance to slavery and a way to keep her promise to Hetty’s (aka Handful’s) mother, Sarah taught Hetty to read to give her another kind of freedom.
(In the real history of the slave girl, Hetty… this act of rebellion was met with punishment so severe that the slave girl died of “an unspecified disease” shortly after her beating… Kidd knew then that she had to bring Hetty back to life in this historical fiction). The tapestry of this story is rich with details of struggle and courage, as Sarah goes beyond everything a woman of her breeding could do to have a voice to abolish slavery. Handful’s spirit is equal to Sarah’s, as Handful’s determination and resolve drives her in the story. Kidd trades chapters between their voices across decades as both characters transform into iron-willed and gutsy women. Kidd did an amazing job of bringing her characters to life during a tumultuous time in American history.
Below is my artwork for the 4 books. I used mostly watercolor in my art journal and permanent marker: