The Marriage Spell by Mary Jo Putney

Read: November 22 - November 27
Format: Audio 10 Discs equivalent 384 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Wizardy, Magic, regency England
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, TIOLI , AUDIO, SYLL
Category: Love is a Many Splendored Thing
Genre: Romance
Stars: 3½

Jack Langdon, Lord Frayne, is hunting with his friends when his horse stumbles and he is thrown. Severely injured he is taken to the home of a healer. The female wizard Abby Stanton, great healer of the region, conducts a healing circle repairing Lord Frayne's broken neck saving his life. But the payment that had been arranged was marriage.

Abby offers to release Jack from the promise, but being a man of honor, Jack maintains that he will wed her. Their romance is amusing and filled with the discovery of Jack's magical aspects. Though the Ton is not enamored of wizards, with Jack's and his sister's sponsorship, Abby is accepted into society.

This was my first book by Mary Jo Putney but I will definitely look for more.


If the South had won the Civil War by MacKinlay Kantor

Read: November 16 - November 18
Format: 127 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble
Subject: Civil War
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOSC
Category: Overflow
Genre: History
Stars: 3

Have you ever wondered if a decisive historical event had happened differently, how the world would have been effected? This tiny little book was filled with how one man pictured the world events that would have occurred if the South had successfully defeated the Union forces in the Civil War and won their independence.

MacKinlay Kantor takes two events, turns them around, and progresses from that point. The two events that the author changes are the Battle of Gettysburg and a riding accident of Ulysses Grant. The effects of Grant's riding accident is death several weeks before the Battle of Vicksburg. Having no other competent general, the Union forces are easily driven off and the Confederacy maintains its control of the Mississippi. The Battle of Gettysburg is a decisive victory for Lee and the Army of Virginia and they move on to Washington DC and capture Lincoln and the Nation's Capitol.

By the end of 1863 the War of Southern Secession is over and the Confederate States of America are recognized as an independent nation. The USA capital is moved from Washington DC to Columbus Ohio (renamed Columbia) and the CSA capital is moved from Richmond to Washington DD (District of Dixie).

Several other interesting projections are the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on the same day, different city, same assassin, Robert E. Lee's CSA presidency, the voluntary abolition of slavery by the CSA in 1888, Cuba as a member state of the CSA, and the eventual reunion of Texas Republic, CSA and USA.

I've never before read a book that was an "alternate" history so this was extremely thought provoking for me. I can't say that I believe that even if these two events had happened as projected that I would expect the history to happen as written here, but it definitely made me stop and think.


The Promise of Lumby

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Author: Gail Fraser
Read: November 1 - November 15
Format: Paperback 411 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble
Setting: Northwestern USA
Subject: exotic animals, prejudice, government auctions
Category: Love Is a Many Splendored Thing
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOSC
Stars: 3½

When your spirits are low, when you're feeling lonely or depressed, when just need to feel that there's a better place in this world other than where you are - pick up a Lumby book and your spirits will lighten, you'll laugh out, and you'll feel that indeed there is a better place if only in your imaginative travels to this quirky little town.

Ellen Campbell has been Lumby's vet for many years and now she's retiring - only the town doesn't seem to understand that fact. She's told her clients, the Town Council, even advertised her practice for sale, but the townsfolk just won't believe until she sells to Tom Candor and heads off into the sunset. But Tom, who has come to Lumby to hide away from his past, gets more than he bargained for - he finds his soul mate and the courage to face his past and move forward.

Lumby's regular citizens have are still as delightfully funny and refreshingly quirky as in the previous books. The process of gaining a new vet, losing a new vet, and persuading his return with his own zoo couldn't be told better. I've one more in the series and looking forward to it immensely.


Over the edge of the world:Magellan's terrifying circumnavigation of the globe by Laurence Bergreen

Read: November 1 - November 13
Format: Audio 14 CDs - equivalent 480 pages
Source: Public library
Subject: exploration and discovery
Category: Overflow
Genre: History
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, TIOLI, RTT,Endless Europe
Stars: 3

It's hard to believe that Magellan who was as important as he was to history, doesn't even get a first page hit in Google - if it's not a GPS, Magellan is nothing. Magellan was the first person who set out and proved that by sailing west you can get to the east.

At the time of Magellan's expedition that was a great rivalry between Spain and Portugal. When Magellan was denied support from his own country (Portugal) he turned to King Charles of Spain. With Spanish backing, Magellan's expedition was the best-equipped during the age of Discovery. Even with this only one ship of the 5 that set out returned filled with the spices for which they had searched. The captain was dead, more than 200 of the men had died either from scurvy, drowning, torture, or execution.

the story was filled with tales of mutiny, cannibalism, disease, orgies, superstitions, and religious zeal. I found it fascinating.


Seducing an Angel by Mary Balogh

Read: October 15 - October 25
Format: Audio 10 CDs - equivalent 567 pages
Source: Public Library (audio)
Setting: 19th century England
Category: Love Is a Many Splendored Thing
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, TIOLI, AUDIO
Stars: 3

Stephen Huxtable, the Earl of Merton, has the features and disposition of an angel but underneath he can be tough as nails when needed. While at a Ton ball he is accosted by Lady Paget, a notorious widow believed to have axed her late husband to death. Not fearful he decides to become the lady's protector and ends up delving into the circumstances that placed her in her situation of the day.

The story was entertaining, however, I found the characterizations were not the best of Mary Balogh. Lady Paget's companion does an about face in her opinion of the Earl of Merton in less than 30 pages - first refusing to meet him and then becoming his champion. Lady Paget also has characterization issues - at first filled with independence, then wimpy, then independent again. I got the impression that this book was rushed a bit and didn't get the full editing process.

Lincoln and His Admirals by Craig L. Symonds

Read: October 31 - November 10
Format: Hardback 366 pages
Source: Public library
Subject: Civil War, naval operations
Category: Civil War and its Leaders
Genre: History
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, TIOLI,
Stars: 3

When I chose this book to read, I didn't look very carefully and therefore, didn't realize that it was the same subject by the same author of Civil War at Sea. That said, the majority of the information included in this book was the same as CWatS just organized a bit differently with a few different events included. I would suggest reading one or the other, not both because there is basically little difference.


Winner announced!

The winner of the Halloween giveaway of The Lucifer Code by Charles Brokaw is.....

Mary D.

Mary D. has been notified and if no response is received by Saturday, November 6th, another winner will be chosen.

Keep you're eyes open for another giveaway coming soon!