Tag Archives: early-1900’s

Book Review: “The Melting of Molly,” by Maria Thompson Daviess


Genre: classic

Plot Summary: Molly, a young widow, has a problem: she needs to lose weight and fast!  An old beau is renewing his acquaintance by coming back to his old hometown where she still lives, but she looks nothing like she did 10 years ago.  The only one who can help her attain her goal is the next door doctor.  But he likes her as she is.  What’s a girl to do when several men start to pay her more attention?

My Book Review: This was a fast, enjoyable read!  I originally discovered it on Librivox (listen to it for free here) and soon after found an old copy of it at a library book sale.  I found it cute that, in a story about a girl on a diet, a bookworm chewed a neat little hole through the edges of the pages.  🙂

The story takes place in the Gibson girl era, where things were not much different than they are today in that a woman’s worth was often judged on the dimension of her waistline. Only they had corsets back then to help them out.  Molly is a delightfully funny character, honest and vain, but thoroughly woman.  I loved the old illustrations throughout the book as well.  And the doctor was a swoon!  Perhaps one can see the ending from the start, but poor Molly can’t and it’s fun to watch her transformation when all the time she has a good man’s unconditional love.

This book is a simple read. Don’t expect too much out of it.  But if you are wanting to get into a cute little love story, this entertaining novel will probably satisfy.  Just ask the bookworm.

I also recommend:

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Posted by on February 14, 2018 in Book Reviews


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C. S. Lewis Audio Drama

I wish it had not taken me so long to listen and pass this excellent audio drama on to you, but such has been my [lack of] blogging activity lately I’m afraid!  The Northern Irish Man in C. S. Lewis* stars Geoffrey Palmer as that famous author, who reminisces about his childhood in Ulster.  The acting felt very realistic and it was interesting to find the pieces of Narnia that inspired Lewis as a boy.  Settle in and enjoy, but don’t forget that this is only available for a limited time!

*For some reason cannot insert link to text, so click on picture to take you to the drama!

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Posted by on November 16, 2017 in Audio/Radio Dramas


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Book Review: “The Club of Queer Trades,” by G. K. Chesterton

18834844Genre: mystery; classic

Plot Summary: [from Wikipedia:] “The Club of Queer Trades is a collection of stories by G. K. Chesterton first published in 1905.  Each story in the collection is centered on a person who is making his living by some novel and extraordinary means…  To gain admittance one must have invented a unique means of earning a living and the subsequent trade being the main source of income.”

My Book Review: If you’ve come to this blog post thinking you were going to read something on sexual identities, sorry to disappoint.  Once upon a time the word ‘queer’ was used to mean ‘peculiar’.  (I suppose ‘peculiar’ means something else now, too.  We’re so creative as to assign a double meaning to every word that already exists.)

There are ordinary men who lead ordinary lives with their chosen ordinary careers. And then there are others who take a different route in life.  They are the eccentrics, the colorful, and the crazy.  …Or are we, as ordinary citizens, the crazies?

If someone asked you to invent a whole new career that had never been thought of before, do you think you could do it and make money from it? Not merely recycling an existing career, substituting one thing for another, but actually coming up with a line of trade that’s never been done before.  It’s harder than it at first seems.  Of course, there would have to be a market for it.  And in the case of many of the extraordinary tradesmen in this collection of short stories, their careers are kept secret either because of the nature of their work, or because they would be thought insane.

As one would guess, this leads to many bizarre circumstances of ordinaries encountering these oddbodies (or geniuses) in society. The facts are there in front of their noses, but they can’t make sense of them.  It takes a remarkable fellow straddling the best of both worlds to make sense of the mysterious cases brought before him.  It makes for a curious read.

4b4f62db81ff23d0d0a99f7b0870ecddAlthough I usually dislike short story collections, I was glad this was written as it was. I didn’t particularly feel in the mood for a novel-length Chesterton at the time.  Sometimes he’s best taken in ‘doses’ because he can be so thick in his nonsense.  🙂  Really, G.K. was such a Mad Hatter!  Chesterton is never for those wanting a nice little story.  And it definitely isn’t my favorite book of all time.  But I enjoyed reading it anyway, because he picks you out of the mundane and makes you view the world at a different angle.  It gives the brain a good exercise!

I would say my favorite chapter story was “The Adventures of Major Brown”, in which a man is caught in an awfully good escapade, but doesn’t realize how much fun it was until it was over! How often are we the same in life?  We read novels for “escape” or to pseudo-live other “experiences”, but when some adventure happens in real life we are too overwhelmed to enjoy it in the moment.  Then of course, there’s the debate over modern-day video games.  Guys are so eager to play at fantasy games because it feeds something deep in their souls- the need for adventure.  But what happened to living real life?  Life is full of exciting experiences if only we accept its opportunities.

You can listen to the audiobook on Librivox by clicking here.

If you liked this book, I also recommend…:

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Posted by on April 22, 2017 in Book Reviews


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Book Review: “Murder on the Lusitania,” by Conrad Allen

1246500Genre: mystery, historical fiction

Plot Summary: {from} September 1907. George Porter Dillman sets sail from Liverpool on the Lusitania’s maiden voyage. Hired by the ship’s captain to pose as a passenger, George is in fact a private detective for the Cunard Line. In the first days of his voyage, George only has to deal with a few petty crimes. But then an expensive piece of jewelry is reported stolen and a body is found. Working quickly to solve both crimes, George makes an unusual friend, Genevieve Masefield, and the two uncover secrets aboard the ship that prove explosive.”

My Book Review: This is the first in the George Porter Dillman & Genevieve Masefield mystery series and the first I’ve tried by this author (whose name is not really Conrad Allen, and also goes by a whole slew of other pen names).  I settled in for an entertaining read of sea voyage, adventure, romance, and suspense all set in a historical setting.

Did it satisfy? In a word, no, I’m sad to say.  Although it was somewhat amusing, it really failed to grab me with it’s characters.  The two main characters (George and Genevieve) were hard for me to like.  The mystery plot felt too mechanically churned out.  I was a little dejected to find that although the story does revolve around the historic ship Lusitania, the mystery actually takes place on its maiden voyage instead of its famed sinking.

Content-wise, this mystery is pretty clean. There isn’t much gore, neither is there oodles of romance.  However, there are subtle innuendos made throughout the dialogue of the characters.  It is implied that Genevieve is sleeping her way through high society.  A fortune-hunter pressures a wealthy heiress to sleep with him, while at the same time is cheating with another woman.  None of these situations are implicitly described, but it gave a worldly feel to the novel.

At the end of the day, I’ve decided not to continue on with the series, but this book may be of interest to those who like cozy mysteries in a swanky setting. Would make a fun vacation read!

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Posted by on January 4, 2017 in Book Reviews


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New Old Beatrix Potter Tale

d6dea6da476f84746801c68cfe8502dfDid you know there was a newly discovered Beatrix Potter tale recently published this fall?  This may be old news to some, but you can read more about it in this BBC article.  I came across this link while reading a commentary article on Think Christian.  The author of that article is Caryn Rivadeneira, who used to appear on Midday Connection before that program went off-air.  I enjoy the different points of view within the Christian world on Think Christian, and how they tie contemporary news into spiritual musings.  Not to mention, glad to learn something about one of my favorite children’s authors!

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Posted by on November 23, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Book Review: “The Agony Column,” by Earl Derr Biggers

3234828Genre: mystery; suspense; intrigue

Plot Summary: Geoffrey West is a young American staying in a rented flat in London when he meets another fellow American—the pretty daughter of a senator who is touring with her father. The year is 1914 and it is the hot month of July. Talk of war is in the air as the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand makes headlines. But there is another column in the newspaper that catches both Americans’ attention: the personal notices in the Agony Column. As Geoffrey communicates to Marian via this modern-day version of Facebook, he delivers an exciting narrative of mystery, murder and suspense that may threaten his life.

My Book Review: I found this vintage publication on Librivox and found it to be a short but cute read. Chapters are long, but the plot moves right along and it didn’t take long to finish. All of the fun melodramatic elements of a dime novel are present in the tale: murder, spies, ladies in black veils, strangers at a restaurant, espionage, cloak and dagger, shadow-filled alleys…

This wasn’t the classic of the century, but it made for some good entertainment. It certainly had a couple of huge plot twists towards the end that kept me on the edge of my seat! (Talk about a way to keep a lady’s attention!) If you’re in the mood for something light, fun, and adventure-filled, you may enjoy this WWI-era story.  I know that for myself, I plan on reading at least one other book by this author!

*This book was also published under a different title: The Second-Floor Mystery.  I believe it was turned into an early film by this name.

*To listen to the Librivox audiobook for free, click here.

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Posted by on October 25, 2016 in Book Reviews


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1st Dramatic Reading Scene & Story Collection- on Librivox!


Hi, there!  It’s been a little while since this was cataloged on Librivox, but I was saving it for spring to post on booklearned.  The project is Librivox’s first Dramatic Reading Scene & Story Collection (Vol. 001).  It isn’t too often that I get to take part in a dramatic project, so this was a fun opportunity to play a main role in one of the sections.  It was also enjoyable to discover a new author I hadn’t known too well of before this.  The short story I participated in was “The Garden Party,” by Katherine Mansfield.  I feel this is one of my favorite audio recordings to date, because I really sat down to analyze the story, the characters, their background, and how I interpreted the ending.  It really reminded me a lot of the book of Ecclesiastes, and it was from this viewpoint that I acted the part.

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.”  ~Ecclesiastes 7:2

Unfortunately, I began to experience audio technical difficulties around the time I recorded this, so the background is not the best.  I’ve also had to set aside my recording for lack of a place to record.  So frustrating!  But I know that God will provide when He sees fit.

I hope you enjoy it and many other fine stories in the collection, including several L. M. Montgomery stories, Sherlock Holmes, and children’s stories.

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Posted by on May 27, 2016 in LibriVox


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