Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys (182)

Here is another wonderful book by Helen Humphreys! This is a novel of regret, contrition and redemption.

Shot down on his first RAF mission, James Hunter, an English officer, spends the Second world War in a German POW camp. While other prisoners plan daring escapes, James begins studying a pair of redstarts near the camp.

His interest in the birds captures the attention of the Kommandant, giving James cause to fear for his life. Meanwhile, back in England, James’s young wife, Rose, falls headlong into a passionate affair with another man. When James’s sister, Enid, loses everything during the Blitz in London, she comes to stay with Rose, and the two women form a surprising friendship that alters the course of all three of their lives.

Humphreys, the award-winning and bestselling author of six novels and two works of non-fiction, returns to the second world war with her most exquisite, powerful novel yet.

I loved the story from start to finish!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. R


Posted in Author from Ontario, Fiction | Leave a comment

The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys (181)

In the last few weeks, I picked up a few books by Helen Humphreys.  What a wonderful week of reading it was. Now I will be reviewing them.

It’s spring 1941 and London is being destroyed by the Blitz. Gwen Davis, a young horticulturist leaves her beloved city for the Devon countryside, where she will instruct a group of girls in growing crops for the home front.

There on a beautiful but neglected country estate that seems strangely removed from the realities of war, she meets two people who will change her life forever.

Raley, a Canadian officer, awaiting posting to the front with his men, and Jane, a frail but free spirit whose finance is missing in action.

Shy and solitary, more at home with her Virginia Woolf novels and her gardening books, Gwen comes face to fact with both her past and her present. She comes to reflect on her unloving mother, her absence of family, her fear of intimacy, the sorrows she carries with her are lessened by the comfort of daily routines as she and her band of girls struggle to reclaim the estate gardens and to create their own sense of community.

When Gwen discovers a lost garden, overgrown and containing mysterious markers that speak of long-buried emotions, she finds a flowering of a different sort — her own profound capacity to reach for love, even in the face of pain.

As the distant war moves every closer, as people are pulled apart and lives destroyed, Gwen finds herself swept up u=into a world of passion and feeling that she had never imagined. Through Raley and Jane, she comes at last to understand the unbelievable joy and the unbearable risks of love.

This is a wonderful book! I love the story line. It is enthralling and mesmorising. I loves the book from start to finish!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Ontario, Empowerment, Fiction | Leave a comment

The History of Your Home: Researching Its Past by Lesley Ciarula Taylor (180)

Have you ever wondered who lived in your home before you bought it?  Do you wonder if it was inhabited by people who were good folk?

I always wonder who was here before I moved into our 100+ year home.  It is cozy and wonderful!  But one just wonders about some of the things in the home, and the reasoning behind why something is where it is.

If you live in an old home, this book is for you. It will give you a lot of information on how to do more accessing on the history of your home. The author will direct you to resources available through the Province of Ontario to solve any mystery that you may have.

Homes carry memories. They carry pasts. And they make lives what they are. The location of a home is also important. And the position of the home is too.

I loved this small book. But it was also an eye-opening book that I will remember for a very long time.

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


Posted in Genealogy of Canada and Ontario, Geography, History of homes | Leave a comment

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall (179)

This is a story that will make you pause and say, what?  But then, after the initial surprise, you agree with the story line that anyone is probably capable of unthinkable acts in a moment of insanity!

George Woodbury is an affable teacher and beloved husband and father. He is what would normally be called a good person and father until one day all of this changes in one moment.

George Woodbury is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loves turns on her.

Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years.

A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie outside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?

With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all American family on the brink of collapse.

I loved this story! It was quite spell-binding and thought-provoking.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


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Genealogy in Ontario by Brenda Dougall Merriman (178)

This is my second book about genealogy!  I loved this read a bit more because it is more detailed.

The author has been a board-certified genealogist since 1979 and served as a trustee on the Board for Certification of Genealogists for six years. She has served on various committees for OGS and on the boards of several international organizations. She was a founding director of the Friends of the Archives of Ontario.

Genealogy is family history. For the most part, these terms can be used interchangeably.

Novice genealogists are advised to collect family information from living relatives and other at home sources. We all must begin with who we are and what we know from readily available family sources. Ask, and look, for family memories, papers and artifacts. Learn how to interview elderly relatives, asking open-ended questions that encourage them to reminisce. Seek documentary verification of oral information whenever possible. Start filing the collected information into surnames and family groups. Your quest has begun. Proceed step-by-step from one generation to another in the past, documenting your progress.

The author traces a step-by-step methodology for doing our genealogy. It is a hard and detailed process in many ways. But if we really want to find out about our roots, it is the best way to do so.

This is a well-researched and trusted sources on all things genealogy! I recommend it to anyone who would like to get on the journey to finding out more about their roots and family background.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Genealogy of Canada and Ontario, Nonfiction | Leave a comment

The Beginner’s Guide to Ontario Genealogy by Fraser Dunford (177)

I got interested in Ontario genealogy just recently. It is a topic that always fascinated me. So, I took out 2 books from the local library.  This is the first, and I will be reviewing both here on my blog.

One always wonders, what’s in a name? New France, Quebec, Upper Canada, Canada West — the Province of Ontario has had many names since the seventeenth century. Parts even had names like Rupertsland, Northwest Territories, and Manitoba.

Ontario’s genealogical records are as complex as the name and can be daunting to the beginner.

This book is designed to help the beginner, like me! It carries on from the author’s previous book Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy.

In this book, you will find basic help with finding maps, censuses, religious records, civil registrations, municipal records, land records, newspapers, immigration/emigration records, and wills.

The author briefly discusses the Archives of Ontario and Library and Archives Canada and what holdings each might have. Then he points you where to go next.

This is a dry read. But it is very informative, and I loved it.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Genealogy of Canada and Ontario | Leave a comment

The Silver Lining by Amanda Spottiswoode (176)

This is a GREAT junior novel for kids 8 to 13.  I loved the story line and it was really an engaging story. I am glad that I picked it up at my local library.

It’s been two years since Sophie, Molly, Mark, Harriet, Leticia, and Posy made headlines when they uncovered Brother XII’s hidden treasure. Since then, life has been pretty uneventful for the intrepid crew, who feel more at home on the rolling deck of a sailboat than in their stuffy boarding school.

Once again, Captain Gunn comes to the rescue when he invites the gang to trade in their pirate caps for cowboy hats and head to Interior BC for a cattle drive. But when they run into a familiar villain, the trip takes an ominous turn, including a dangerous missing to an old mine. Will their adventurous ways get the better of them, or will fortune smile upon the kids again?

This was a great read! I look forward to reading more by this author in time.

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


Posted in Author from Vancouver, Fiction | Leave a comment