Review: Black Death at the Golden Gate; The Race to Save America from the Bubonic Plauge by David K. Randall

Review by Amy H.

Overall this book was rated a 7/10

A detailed account of the bubonic plague outbreak in California during the early 1900’s. Includes a history of the public health of the United States, political cover ups and early bacteriology.

Review: Very well written with very detailed explanations of the plague and the country’s response. Written for the general reader to understand. Sometimes reads like a good mystery rather than a non fiction book. As I read the book it was interesting to note that the United States response to unfavorable circumstances has remained almost unchanged. The political world sought to cover up the possibility of the plague spreading throughout California just as it directs attention away from certain current day issues. Anyone interested in medical mysteries or a general US history interest will enjoy this read.

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Review: Lost Roses by Marth Hall Kelly

Review by Karen B.

Overall this book got an 8/10

Lost Roses is the Sequel to Lilac Girls

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly takes place in the years just before, during and after World War I. The book follows 3 women- Eliza, a New York heiress, Sofya a cousin of Tsar Nicholas II and Varinka a Russian peasant. Friends Eliza and Sofya are in St Petersburg just before the war breaks out. When Eliza leaves to return to New York Sofya and her family are unable to leave Russia and are forced to retreat to their country home outside St Petersburg. While there Sofya hires Varinka to work for the family and care for her young son, Max, a decision that has unforeseen consequences. Meanwhile, Eliza works in New York to assist Russian’s who have managed to escape the war torn country. When all contact with Sofya stops, Eliza is worried for her safety and works to uncover the mystery of what happened to Sofya and her family. Lost Roses travels from the court of Tsar Nicholas II to the wilderness of the Russian forests and from New York society to the streets of Paris. Eliza, Sofya and Varinka all deal with personal challenges, difficult decisions and heartbreak as they face the many casualties of war and find their lives intertwining in unexpected ways.

Lost Roses is the story of 3 young women during World War I. It is a prequel to Lilac Girls and is the story of Eliza Ferriday, the mother of Caroline, a character in Lilac Girls. The other 2 main characters are Sofya, a relative of the Tsar, and Varinka, a young Russian peasant girl. Lost Roses was slow to get started as each of the 3 characters’ stories are developed. However once the story starts to unfold it was a quick read. The book has a strong sense of place that contributes to each of the 3 main story lines. The setting includes the Russian royal court, Southampton and the streets of New York and Paris. This book would be perfect for fans of historical fiction and of course for the many readers who loved Lilac Girls.

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Second stop

Last month we took little tour up north and Star Books was our second stop and Jody (I’m hoping I remember your name right but now I’m second guessing myself) greeted us with a nice smile and lots of help and suggestions.

I didn’t get many photos but this shop is definitely worth visiting. Shelves are neat and there are quite a few of them- the last picture only shows bout 1/3rd of their store front. They’ve got these magnificent cards to help customers find new authors they might like. I’m looking forward to visiting them again in the future!

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