The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek

From Ginny  Pisciotta
Author:  Jane Myers  Perrine
The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek
The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek is a light-hearted look at small town life.  It focuses on the newly  arrived, newly ordained minister Adam Jordan. As he adjusts to small town life, he must learn to deal with Miss Birdie(who he nicknames “ the pillar”, a kind hearted but pushy and outspoken widow who feels it’s her job to train him in how to be a proper minister.  One of Birdie’s chief jobs as a member of “the widows” is matchmaking.  She takes this role very seriously.  She does not believe ministers, or anyone else of marriageable age for that matter, should be single so Adam must learn to deal with her not so subtle attempts at matchmaking.  Another  of the widows’  pet projects is matching up a marine who lost his leg in Afghanistan and is dealing with post-traumatic stress and depression with a recently divorced physical therapist with 2 sons.

The book maintains a humorous and light-hearted tone, even through sad or serious storylines.  It is similar in substance and style to Phillip Gulley’s Harmony series. You grow to love all the characters, even with their flaws and eccentricities.

The next Butternut Creek novel is titled The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek.

Love amid the ashes : a novel

From Ginny Pisciotta
Author:  Mesu Andrews
Love amid the ashes : a novel
Love Amid the Ashes is a fictionalized account of the biblical story of Job, as told through the eyes of Dinah, daughter of Jacob. Dinah, according to apocryphal writings, became Job’s wife after his first wife Sitidos died.  Early in the story, Dinah travels with Job’s caravan to Uz to become the second wife of one of his sons.  As Job loses everything, including all his grown children, Dinah stays on as part of his household faithfully tending to the needs of Job and his wife.  She uses her knowledge of herbs to care for Job medically.

In this gripping novel , familiar biblical characters are mixed with fictional characters and become more alive with the added detail.  We see bits and pieces of the lives of other biblical characters woven into the story of Job.  The continuing rivalry of Jacob and Esau, the treachery of Simeon and Levi, even Joseph finds his way into the story as Jacob’s family travels to Egypt for survival.

If you enjoy biblical fiction you should like this book which is full of intrigue and suspense.  You will hold your breath at times, even though you know the final outcome for Job is good.

What Darkness Brings: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery

From Rosemarie Jerome
Author:  C.S.  Harris
What Darkness Brings: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery
A wealthy gem merchant, Benjamin Eisler, is found dead in his decrepit home filled with priceless works of art. Russell Yates, a pirate, is found standing over his body. The case is solved, the trial is pending and his execution is a sure thing. Sebastian St. Cyr is asked to investigate the murder, the accused is the husband of his former lover and Yates claims to be innocent. Sebastian soon discovers that the victim was a vile swindler and blackmailer and the list of suspects rapidly increases as well as the danger. People are lying, others are dying and the clock ticks towards Yate’s demise. This is the eighth book in the suspense series that takes place in Regency England. I look forward to the 9th; the drama between the main characters and their secrets are so compelling.

Dying on the Job: murder and mayhem in the American workplace

From Andrea Kalinowski
Author:  Ronald D. Brown
Dying on the Job: murder and mayhem in the American workplace
Dying on the Job is not a read for the faint of heart. It discusses the rise in workplace violence and explores some of the possible reasons for this increase. The spike is attributed, in part, to the economic downturn, the scarcity of employment opportunities, the threat of losing the employment, etc. Due to the scarcity of employment and the increase in debt,  debtors’ prisons  are being revived in some states. The author, in addition, investigates the difference that gender plays in how much force and how quickly that force is deployed against coworkers and employers. Women, it turns out, are much quicker on the trigger but they carry less weaponry into the workplace. Men, if they decide upon an act of violence in the workplace, come armed to the teeth. They usually bear several arms, some knives and extra ammunition. This book was an eye-opener. As a somewhat informed person, I was aware of workplace violence but somehow only on the periphery. Reading this tome made me more cognizant of the fact that violence can occur anywhere and at any time.

Lost Boy

From Ginny Pisciotta
Author:  Brent W. Jeffs
 Lost Boy

Lost Boy is a fascinating but horrifying account of life as a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, known a FLDS, a polygamist sect that broke off from mainstream Mormonism.

Brent is the nephew of Warren Jeffs, the jailed “prophet” of the group and the grandson of former ”prophet” Ruland Jeffs.  Brent shows how it is not only the girls and women who suffer in this lifestyle, but also the boys, many of whom were sexually abused, and pushed out as they got older so that the young girls could be given to the prophet and older men  who were in his favor.

Warren Jeffs, a sexual pervert, seized more and more power  till he had total control.  Everyone lived in fear that if they disobeyed any of the arbitrary rules, they would not only lose their salvation,  they would lose their homes and family.  Jeffs, who arranged every marriage, could take wives and children from a man and assign them to someone else.  He could take away homes.

Many of the boys who left, either because they were forced out or because of the miserable circumstances,  were ill-equipped to handle the outside world and became addicted to drugs and alcohol.  The author lost 2 brothers -one committed suicide and the other died of an overdose that may have been intentional.  The author also resorted to drugs, suffering greatly from repressed memories of the sexual abuse he endured as a child from his uncle. Brent eventually initiated the legal action against his uncle.

The book presents all too clearly the dangers of absolute power.  You wonder why people would stay and live under such conditions, but Brent Jeffs shows exactly how people can be brainwashed little by little until they can no longer think for themselves.


A Small Death in the Great Glen

From Eileen Effrat
Author:  A.D. Scott
A Small Death in the Great Glen
For an atmospheric portrayal of 1950’s Scotland, this is a good pick. As Scotland struggles to adjust to a post World War II world, a young boy is found murdered in a canal. Suspicion automatically falls on the town’s “outsiders” —refugee Poles, an Italian restaurant owner, and a band of Gaelic tinkers. As the investigation proceeds, it begins to reveal some very unpleasant secrets concealed by the very “pillars of the town”. Scott’s sequel, A Double Death in the Black Isle, is just as enjoyable.

Savage Summit: the true stories of the first five women who climbed K2, the world’s most feared mountain

From Jackie Cantwell
Author:  Jennifer Jordan
Savage Summit: the true stories of the first five women who climbed K2, the world’s most feared mountain
This is a well-written group biography of the women who climbed the world’s second tallest mountain: Wanda Rutkiewicz (a Pole); Liliane Barrard and Chantal Mauduit (both of France); and Julie Tullis and Alison Hargreaves (both British). This book covers the climbers’ early lives as well as the years 1986 to 1995 which encompasses the summits.

The women climbers faced sexism, infighting, abandonment by fellow climbers, sabotage of their encampments, etc.. Hargreaves got flak for being a mother and risking her life climbing. Mauduit is accused of using her sex appeal to get men to prepare the ascent w/ fixed lines, and that porters (or sherpas) did most of the work and heavy lifting. Some even accused her of not summiting, if she could not produce photographic evidence. Barrard was accused of being passive and dependent on her husband, Maurice. Similar criticism was aimed at Tullis and her male climbing partner. Rutkiewicz suffered the accusations of not summiting the mountains she really did summit as well as fellow climbers abandoning her on the mountain. She had to become a climbing “free agent” of sorts, because her strong and opinionated personality alienated many.

This is a very suspenseful account that rivals Jon Krakauer’s classic “Into thin air”. The author’s research included interviewing scores of acquaintances, family members and friends of the women. My problem with the book is that Ms. Jordan attributed thoughts and feelings to the subjects, which she couldn’t possibly know, no matter how much research she conducted.

A glossary of climbing terms and a timeline would have been helpful.