Friday Book Reviews: King, Fergus and Paretsky

Marilyn here. Today we’re adding a new Slut to our roster. Welcome Robyn Daniels, who’s going to share some of her recent reading experiences with us! Take it away, Robyn!

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Today we begin a new Friday book review. If you want a particular book reviewed please contact me. If you wish to review a book we ask that it not be your own work. Make review between 20 and 300 words. Scale between 1-5 stars with one being worst book you ever read. Five is for a best ever read. We reserve the right to edit reviews for length and content. The reviews are based on recent reads.

FRIDAY BOOK REVIEW

THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE by Jacquelyn King ***

The first book in the Grace Cassidy Bed & Breakfast series offers a slick little mystery. Grace’s intuition or instincts guide her to the solution. This reader looks forward to the next book.

Grace leads a sheltered life complete with the well-off lady naiveté’ until her husband and his secretary clean her out. This is a well written and comfortable book which begs reading sitting before the fireplace and sipping your favorite drink as you settle in for a cozy read. The characters were well developed and very likeable except one or two. Sam and Grace move toward their developing romance and mutual attraction.

I especially enjoyed Grace adapting to major life changes often defusing her stress with humor to stay the course

ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN (THE JOURNAL of MARY DODD) by Jim Fergus*

The basic premise for One Thousand White Women came from the Cheyenne Chief, “Little Wolf’s 1854 proposal” to trade 1,000 horses for 1,000 white women.  Chief Little Wolf understands the tribe needed to assimilate into a white world was the basis for this sensible proposal. From Chief Little Wolf’s historic proposal Fergus created this work of fiction. Fergus captures today’s politically correctness of the white society’s treatment of Native American and our nation’s shortcomings flagrantly disregarding treaty after treaty. Thus Fergus caricature and stereotypes of 1870’s America women slaps at deliberate.

Heroine Mary Dodd and the other brides are too one dimensional. Their boldness could step beyond polite society and be believable among the Cheyenne as so few of us know or understand that matriarchal culture. Granted the women who signed on to become brides did so for a variety of reasons. The writer’s stereotyping and clichés misses the opportunity to show the determination and fortitude of women. Omitted were the especially large number of Civil War sweethearts and widows who longed to be mothers. Writing about these marital sexual encounters, Fergus displayed no sensitivity to women readers. His characters were cardboard cutouts. When this book launched it did not do the business it now receives marketed to women’s book clubs. How sad we have missed what One Thousand White Women could have been.

BLEEDING KANSAS by Sara Paretsky****

Sara Paretsky took a departure from V.I. Warshawski and created a great novel which appears to have received reader fallout. The problem I suspect is that the private eye series is written in the first person and does not require concentration to ferret all the players. Paretsky weaves pre-Civil War Kaw (Kansas River) Valley and Lawrence, Kansas settlers into the lives of three founding families.

Jim and Susan Grellier with their teenage children Chip and Lara are modern farmers with solid values who still gamble on the crops the way it’s always been.

The fractured Schapens provide a religious perspective which I found frightening. The matriach actually blogs which goes against sterotype for the elderly. Her son is a mean deputy sheriff. Together they are raising his two sons, Junior and Robbie.

The Freemantle family once of great wealth have left the ancestral mansion standing empty for some years. A shirt tailed relative, Gina moves in to lick her wounds after a New York divorce. Her attempt to develop her interests catalyzes the story. Old diaries bind the past to present. Doomed young love raises the stakes. You can look forward to modern farm life, religion, Iraq War, and persecution in this read. Disclaimer: I believe Sara Paretsky may have taken artistic license to say KU was a hotbed in the 60’s and 70’s.
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5 thoughts on “Friday Book Reviews: King, Fergus and Paretsky

  1. The Fergus book sounds like it had a great potential. Can’t you imagine — a thousand love stories from one incident. Too bad it didn’t pan out.

    I loved THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE and can’t wait for the next one.

  2. Robyn,

    Sometimes an author takes a detour that is unexpected and the fans revolt. I was one of the ones who was devastated when Tony Hillerman abandoned the Navajo cops for a detour into Viet Nam. I can’t imagine picking up a Paretsky book and NOT getting VI Warshawski. I know she has the right to write whatever she wants… but sometimes the reader WANTS what they want. spw

    • Too true, Sandee. I didn’t read Hillerman’s Vietnam book. I wasn’t thrilled when Robert B. Parker set Spenser temporarily aside to do the Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone books, either. (Though I love the Jesse movies.)

      I can’t imagine JK Rowling ever doing anything non-Harry Potter that the fans don’t revolt.

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