Full of magic!
Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for the opportunity to read and review The Black Witch by Laurie Forest!
Elloren and her brothers, Rafe and Trystan, have lived with their Uncle Edwin since a Keltic attack killed their parents years ago. He treats them well. Uncle Edwin is also very protective of Elloren and wants her to have every advantage in life that her brothers have, but he’s also hiding information about Elloren’s abilities. A missing girl calls for Elloren through a Watcher, a perceptive white bird, and gives her the mythical White Wand. Sage, the missing young woman, fears for her baby’s safety and she claims that the Council is coming for him because they believe he’s evil, then she disappears into the forest once again. Elloren visits Aunt Vyvian, keeping the White Wand a secret. Aunt Vyvian wants to use Elloren for her own political goals while she attends University and she wants Elloren to be wandfasted (engaged) immediately to the young man of Aunt Vyvian’s choosing. Elloren is in danger everywhere she goes and suffers several attacks her first day at University. It seems that she’s assumed by everyone to be prejudice just like her famous grandmother, the Black Witch, who Elloren resembles completely. Elloren’s eyes are opened to the prejudices and violence in her world and Aunt Vyvian is at the top of the worst of it. The dynamics of the characters build the story line into intrigue and complexity. Genocide is threatening on the horizon and Elloren forms loyal relationships with many people who she’s been taught not to trust. I’ve grown to care about these characters and I’m anxious to read the sequel, The Iron Flower. 5 stars for this fantasy full of magic!
Jo Napoli. This historical fiction tale of the year follows the aftermath of the potato blight in Ireland, 1846-1847. Once again the potato crops aren’t doing well and people are contemplating leaving Ireland for a more hopeful and prosperous land. The sentence describing the people’s worries about traveling to other countries, where guns are needed to fight off criminals, and how they were so shocked by this idea was an eye-opener. How times have changed. The story takes us through how tenants rebel against the landlords and how people die from starvation, injuries from fighting and also sickness. The postscript states the fictional and true parts of this story and recalls the horribly high death toll because of the potato blight and how the suffering continued for several years. The author’s note explains the reasons for the blight and the timeline of Ireland to the famine’s end starting at prehistoric times up to 1851. I appreciate the author taking the time for extensive research into Ireland and its history and for describing what the Irish people went through when their crops were devastated. 4 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for the opportunity to read and review Votes for Women! by Winifred Conkling which tells the story of events that took place between the beginning of the women’s rights movement in 1848 and when women were given the right to vote in 1920. The appendix includes a list of the primary sources used for this book’s research and there’s also a timeline included. The preface describes how women from both sides of the suffrage movement approached a political candidate for his support in 1920. I’m shocked that some women were actually against having the right to vote! The story opens with an eleven year old Elizabeth Cady (eventually Elizabeth Cady Stanton) mourning the loss of her twenty year old brother Eleazar, the last male heir in the family. Her father is inconsolable and she makes it a mission to be everything her brother was and this became the beginning of Elizabeth’s goal towards learning and courage. The support for women’s rights is impressive and includes Frederick Douglass (an escaped slave and civil rights leader), Sojourner Truth (an escaped slave and strong speaker) and Susan B. Anthony (abolitionist) and many more supporters. A march for the suffrage movement in 1913 became so powerful that a mob forced the marchers into a single file. The marchers suffered from police brutality and this brutality was helpful to the movement because women gained public sympathy and attention. Picketers in 1917 took their stand in front of the White House and were arrested for “obstructing traffic”. These protesters were released eventually because the government was worried that the women would become martyrs. Later in this same year, picketers were sent to workhouses with unsanitary conditions and mistreatment. Alice Paul, the suffrage leader during this time, was severely mistreated and began a hunger strike which many other protesters joined. By 1920, the Senate approved ratification of the 19th Amendment. This is a definitive account of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s and Susan B. Anthony’s and many others’ actions towards women’s rights that will be a perfect source for research. 5 stars!