Ramblin Hamlin

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Category Archives: Ballantine Books

Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society Review

Title: Before and After: Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society Review
Author: Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate
Type: Non-Fiction, History
Pages: 320
Rating: 4/5

When I read Before We Were Yours while incredibly sad, I loved it. When I make the recommendation that people should read it, I’m often met with “I can’t read anything where children are harmed.” I understand. I struggle with this too. Many people told me that Before We Were Yours broke them. As mother, it certainly made me hug my children extra tight.

In regards to Before We Were Yours, I often say, “Yeah, this story this sad and this story is hard to read but this happened and these children deserve to have their story told”

I was excited to read this novel because it went deeper. I was able to read about real stories as a result of Georgia Tann and TCHS. Many people read Wingate’s novel and were survives of TCHS. They related to the story and wanted to share how TCHS and Georgia Tann impacted their lives. If it wasn’t survivors of TCHS then it was the children of those survives, who wanted to know family history. I painful reminder of how the decisions of Georgia Tann will impact generations to come.

I enjoyed reading about their stories, oftentimes, the adoptees felt sad about missing out on relationships with siblings or half siblings but grateful for the life they did live. I highly recommend this one if you have read Before We Were Yours.

Category Archives: Ballantine Books

The Other People

Title: The Other People
Author: C.J. Tudor
Type: Mystery, Thriller 
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: 2020
Pages: 327
Rating: 2/5

What is this book about?
When Gabe is on his way home one evening he notices an old car. He sees a little girl peer out the window and she looks just like his daughter Izzy. Then he sees the girl mouth the word daddy. He pulls off the road and calls home only to find out that it appears his wife and daughter have been killed. Gabe spends the next 3 years driving on the highway searching for his daughter because he was sure he saw her. Fran and her daughter Alice are on that same highway but they are on the run. They know the truth about what really happened to Gabe’s family. Gabe wants the truth and his search eventually leads him to The Other People. Who are The Other People and how might they be related to Gabe and Fran?

What did I think?
The plot was weak and disjointed at times. The character development was just ok. The overall idea of The Other People was neat and different but the delivery of the story just fell flat for me. One piece of the ending left me feeling confused. There were certain parts of the story that I felt weren’t needed and others were I struggled to find how it all connected. I think I just need to accept that I am not a fan of this author, unfortunately.

Category Archives: Ballantine Books

Two Lives of Lydia Bird Review

Title: Two Lives of Lydia Bird
Author: Josie Silver
Type: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: 2020
Pages: 432
Rating: 4/5

What is this book about?
Lydia and Freddie have been together for over a decade. They are engaged when the unthinkable happens and Freddie dies in a horrible accident. Lydia tries to move through her grief with her family and friends by her side. She finds a way into parallel universe in which Freddie didn’t die as has an opportunity to visit him which is both heartwarming and difficult for her.

What did I think?
The book is listed as also being a romance but I don’t really think it should be classified as one. There isn’t a whole lot of romance in the book. I still really enjoyed it though and thought it was a wonderful book about moving through and past the death of a loved one. A book about managing and dealing with grief. Superb character and storyline development. I loved the ending.

Category Archives: Ballantine Books

The Book of Lost Friends

Title: The Book of Lost Friends
Author: Lisa Wingate
Type: Historical Fiction 
Publisher: Random House/Ballantine Books
Published: 2020
Pages: 352
Stars: 5/5

This book comes out April 7, 2020

Thank you NetGalley and Random House/Ballantine Books for an advance copy of this book an exchange for an honest review.

“We die once when the last breath leaves our bodies. We die a second time when the last person speaks our name. The first death is beyond our control, but the second one we strive to prevent” 

What is this book about?
Post Civil war in Louisiana 1875… Three woman head to Texas for different reasons. Lavinina, a former slave owner, Juneau June, her free-born half sister and Hannie, Lavinina’s former slave. For the sisters, they are trying to find their father to see what his final wishes are regarding his land and who is suppose to inherit it. For Hannie, she is desperate to find her 8 siblings and mother who she was separated from before the war ended. Is her family alive and will she find them? Post civil war is dangerous in the south. Will these women find their way safely?

Louisiana 1987 Benny Silva is a first year teacher taking a job in a rural town in Louisiana. As she finishes her first few weeks she’s not sure she’s cut out for what the job entails. The students don’t trust her, they aren’t respectful, they don’t care about learning and many live in poverty. Benny is determined though and the students begin to learn about the towns rich history and the students become engaged and they become excited to go to her class.

What did I think?
Wow! Wow! Wow! It’s hard for me to articulate how much I loved this book and how much it made me think. The story goes between two different time lines. One is post civil war and the other is late 1980’s. Being born in the mid 1980’s it really put into perspective how slavery really wasn’t that long ago. It seem like we are so far removed from it but in reality its only been about 150 years. The story articulates well what the time period was like in the south post civil war and how dangerous it was for freed slaves. I also had no idea that many freed slaves wrote letters to a newspaper looking for their loved ones. It pulled at my heart strings. I can not image my boys being ripped out of my arms and sold. Wingate included these letters within her book and it was both beautiful and heartbreaking. Lastly, Benny’s storyline, a teacher in the 1980’s and how she ends up connecting her students to the towns history is just amazing. I felt so connected to these characters that I cried several times. Great read!!

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