Bethlehem's Baby is set in history, built on what science can discover, and firmly anchored in the Bible. It's made up of five-minute read-aloud stories for children, so maybe that makes it juvenile historical fiction. At a recent writers' conference I was asked what genre I write in, and I wondered how to answer with one word, or even three... because, after all, my spiritual speculative novellas are neither juvenile nor, technically, historical (though they do have historical elements), and my present-day dramatic novel spans only a single generation. Ah well. My favorite reading genres are just as mixed up, so here are some more book reviews, with recommendations for mixed up coffees too. Choose your brew to fit the style, and please remember the numbers are never ratings--I'm not qualified to rate.
Today's books start, like Bethlehem's Baby, in history, with Indian Summer, by Dellani Oakes. Set in Florida under Spanish rule, with the British planning to invade, and Indian tribes resolving to live in peace, it tells the tale of a young girl's coming of age, falling in love, staying pure, and learning the ways of men, soldiers and politics. The dialog's sweetly enticing. The action's fun and fast. And the story's an enjoyably youthful romantic suspense, best enjoyed with a well-balanced smooth cup of 3-star coffee.
Moving forwards to the early 1900s, Brandon Daily's A Murder Country is set to be released by Knox Robinson in 2014. It tells the intersecting tales of wounded characters in a wounded land, haunted by their sins, and each seeking some kind of redemption in good deeds, vengeance, or the short-sighted quest for success. Through it all, the country suffers, and the paths of unwary travellers intersect. There'll be some dark intense 5-star coffee waiting when this one comes out.
Continuing with dark themes into the present day, Children of the Knight, by Michael J Bowler, will be featured on my blog on Thursday. Blending Arthurian fantasy with gangs of LA, it tells the tale of King Arthur returned to the lost children of LA's underground. By turns fanciful and gritty, it offers tough authentic insights into child abuse, gang life, and rebellion, quirkily blended with simple idealism, matching teen gang dialog against a rather tortured American version of ancient English. With its dark themes, this one will be best enjoyed with a 5-star dark intense coffee.
Christmas Carol, by Michele Gorman, blends realism and fantasy in a sweet romantic novella set in Scotland, where Carol faces the ghosts of boyfriends past who all seem to have been invited to her sister's wedding. The voice is authentically youthful and English. And wise lessons are offered in this short tale, best enjoyed with a well-balanced 3-star cup of coffee. Look for more information when A Christmas Carol features on my blog on Saturday!
Finally, moving into the very near future, Division, by Karen A. Wyle, tells the story of twins, so close they cannot move apart, but so different that a lifetime of compromise can't keep them together. With courtroom drama, convincing scenes of family life, tourist's stares and human affection, this novel's got plenty to intrigue the reader, and offers a wealth of questions for debate. It's rich, elegant and complex, well deserving a rich elegant complex 4-star coffee.