Look Mom--I Read A Whole Book!!!  

Posted by Heidi in


I think I might have mentioned once or twice that since I started blogging nearly a year ago I have only read two or three books—and that was when I was in bed too sick to blog (yet strong enough to hold a Stephenie Meyer tome aloft. Apparently.) So, when I was asked by Annette Lyon to review her book, Tower of Strength, I felt trepidatious (probably not a real word but it sounds all historically and TOS is an historical book so it’s staying). (Okay, I looked it up—it WAS a real word but isn’t anymore. Meaning, it is no longer in the dictionary because it’s old and archaic--just like me.)

Also, I don’t read LDS (Mormon) fiction even though I am, indubitably, a Very Nice Mormon Girl. Since I know, to my intense personal sorrow, that a review from a reader not familiar with a book’s genre can be very ugly indeed, I fretted about reading and reviewing it to the point that I came to think of this book (completely unconsciously, I might add) as Tower of Terror. In point of fact, I was so terrified to read it that I didn’t actually do so until after church yesterday (instead of blog-reading. Who knew I could read an entire book in the same amount of time I blog? EVERY day?)

However, now that I have read it, I can say that Tower of Strength has quite a bit in common with Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind, a book that is amongst my favorite ever (and not just because I wrote it). Let me explain: both books have a tight-in-the-mind narrative which us allows us to know, first hand, what the characters are thinking and feeling. I love this! Also, this book has a cravat in it. And a heroine who is strong and a bit ahead of her time who values her intergrity above the opinions of others and who doesn’t know how to tell a male horse from a female horse. Other things this story has in common with Miss D: a run-in with chicken pox and the use of the phrase “to boot”, one of which I am quite fond.
As a bonus, my great great great great grandfather ran a newspaper in Beaver, Utah right about this same time period so it was extra fun to read about that aspect of the story. As another bonus, the Manti temple, the temple featured in this book, is one of the few Utah temples I have been inside and it is gorgeous!

This book was not written strictly as a romance novel, however it is satisfying as one. The truth is, a book about a temple can’t be without a romance, if you know what I mean. If you don’t, you probably ought to skip this one unless you are way into learning about the life of the Utah Pioneers and the beliefs of the Latter Day Saints (also known as Mormons) in general. (If you DO know what I mean, then you should just go for it.)
Coming Wednesday: My thoughts on "Big Love"

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 22, 2009 at Sunday, March 22, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

28 wise, witty and wonderful comments

I love cravats. Especially English ones as those silly french have no sense of fashion. ;) (S.P. Gotta love that Anthony Andrews. *Sigh*)

Yay for Annette! I'm liking this book so far. =]

March 22, 2009 at 10:34 PM

Oh man, I actually went to Borders last night with the express intention of buying -- and reading -- this book, but they didn't have it! I was so disappointed.

Fun review. I LOVE that it became "Tower of Terror". And I'm with you. I haven't delved into the Mormon Lit genre, but am willing to give it a shot because I've heard so many good things about this book.

March 22, 2009 at 10:37 PM

You are so funny Heidi. Love your humor too.

I really enjoyed the book too. I don't read mormon fiction either. But this may have changed my mind.

Good on ya girl. Momma will be proud :)

March 22, 2009 at 11:11 PM

Cool the similarities between Annette's book and yours. And I also loved the "tight-in-the-mind" narrative. Makes me even more excited to read yours!

March 22, 2009 at 11:38 PM

How fun that you got to review a book!

March 23, 2009 at 4:41 AM

Interesting. Though I'm not a mormon, a lot of the friends I grew up with are, and I even went to Ricks College for a semester. I might read this one -- after reading yours. Which I still haven't the chance to pick up. I'm thinking I'll be able to read it on vacation next in May! Woohoo.

And I am mighty impressed that you know anything at all about your great great great great grandfather! Amazing. I've heard that the LDS church has the worlds best genealogy history - and I guess they aren't kidding!

March 23, 2009 at 5:01 AM

Sounds cool. I really really like historical fiction, and have found the pioneer saga to be so overwhelmingly inspiring. Gotta read this! Thanks, Heidi.

March 23, 2009 at 6:07 AM

I have heard so many great things about this book! I'm going to have to go pick it up. So many books, so little time.

March 23, 2009 at 6:22 AM

Great review, Heidi! Even if it was terrifying at first.

And I use the word trepidatious all the time.

March 23, 2009 at 6:57 AM

Thanks for the recommendation. I've read a few LDS fiction authors. Some definitely hold up better than others. The increasing number of LDS women who are getting published in the mainstream would certainly indicate that the talent is there, and I think there is a place--perhaps even a need--for well-written LDS fiction.

I find that I can read a whole book in just the amount of time I should be spending cleaning my house each day....

March 23, 2009 at 7:17 AM

i'm not much for lds fiction as i find it generally corny. but i might look into this one. :)

March 23, 2009 at 7:21 AM

I just finished the book over the weekend. I was impressed with how the author added in all those old-time phrases into the dialog. And I liked the change in "Mother" Hall's character--where I hated her in the beginning, and then sympathized with her by the end.

March 23, 2009 at 7:47 AM

Annette is an excellent author, and it's an excellent book. And I love that you had only read 2 books in a year!

March 23, 2009 at 7:49 AM

Well, I am intrigued about the book, and I have never read any mormon-type fiction...is it similiar at all to general christian fiction? Anyway, I am curious to see what you think of Big Love on Wednesday....it is one of my favorite shows....but I do not think it is a realistic take on the mormon lifestyle at all. I just find it entertaining and well done.

March 23, 2009 at 7:53 AM

Laura--Anthony Andrews--Yes! Sigh! Charette--I would just like to point out to anyone reading this that C read my review Saturday night--so she means she went to go buy it on Saturday. Yep, just clearing that up . .. Jan--I'm sure there is plenty more good stuff like it out there. Lisa--I tried not to be self serving but I did want people who had read Miss D to know that about TOS. Heidi--yep! Christy--really? How cool! Yes, we know a ton about most of my Baldwin ancestors, esp. since they have been Mormon (and doing their geneology) since Joseph Smith's time. This same ancestor Daniel Tyler, wrote the book The Mormon Battalion so he's kinda famous and it's easy to find all sorts of info about him. Kazzy--you're welcome! Scarlet--no doubt! Lara--really? Trepidatious? I need to use it more in conversation, I can see . .. Pam--you clean house a whole lot faster than I do! Jessica--I didn't think this was corny in the least. Heather--first of all, I won your book Abinadi via the LDS publisher contest in December and my husband LOVED it. I, of course, have not read it yet but I plan to. Kristina, well three as of yesterday. Christine--it's good to know there are people out there who understand that.

March 23, 2009 at 8:10 AM

Congratulations, you read a book!

How cool that you have the personal Manti temple and ancestral newspaper office tie-ins. And so many similarities with Miss D to boot.

(Did I use "to boot" correctly? I like using archaic words whenever possible.)

March 23, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Heidi, thanks for letting me know about your husband liking Abinadi. It seems that most of my fans are men :-)

I just put your book on my to-read list.

March 23, 2009 at 9:20 AM

So, trepidatious cannot be an archaic word because I totally know what it meant and I'm not THAT old. Really. What is becoming of the English language?!

I've half-way made up my mind to buy and read that book. But I'm still waiting for Mrs. D to come in the mail and read that first, and well, I have to finish the brothers k. That dostoevsky is slowing me down!

I enjoyed your review.

March 23, 2009 at 9:45 AM

Annette isn't just a writer, she's an artist. I heartily agree!

March 23, 2009 at 11:09 AM

Great review! I loved the book, almost as much I love it's author!

And how on earth did I miss that you are a writer, too?!
I'm going out to get your book right now, to read!

March 23, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Jami--yes I was tickled by the Miss D similarities! Heather--wow! Thanks! As long as you know it ISN'T Jane Austen--just the same time period. It's a romance and I know that's not everyone's thing an' all. . . .Heatherlyn, oh my, Miss D will certainly be a change of pace from the Brothers K! Kim--what you said. Sher--hey, thanks! See comment to Heather . .

March 23, 2009 at 4:55 PM

Well, crumb, how do authors find time to read?? I am suprised you have enough time to do much of anything.

March 23, 2009 at 7:29 PM

You read Annette's book! I have seen links to this on various blogs, but really enjoyed reading how it compares to the fabulous Miss D.

Oh, and believe that I will be back for your Big Love post. That shows is so confusing to me!

-Francesca

March 24, 2009 at 2:00 AM

Wendy--good question! I do read a lot of blogs so that sucks up tons of time--but I am finding that making time for fiction is really hard right now. Francesca--I'll do my best to de-confuse you!

March 24, 2009 at 8:10 AM

Nice job, Heidi!

March 24, 2009 at 4:41 PM

How come I feel like I'm the only one who hasn't read this book, and how do I get on Annette Lyon's list??? I love her books.

Love the review!

March 24, 2009 at 5:22 PM

Speaking of books, where will you be in Utah in April? Let me know, so I can get there!!!

March 24, 2009 at 10:29 PM

I love the word trepidatious and I plan to start using it immediately!

March 30, 2009 at 2:59 PM

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