Monday, January 31, 2011


One of the characters in the novel I'm writing for my next series adopts a stray collie-type dog. Please help me name him--the dog, not the character! The time frame of the story is 1866, in Missouri, so the name should fit the era.
The winner of the contest will receive:
1. A signed copy of Book 1 in the At Home in Beldon Grove series;
2. An extra entry in the SPECTACULAR contest I'll be announcing in late February to celebrate the release of The Dawn of a Dream, Book 3 in the series;
3. and, the winner's name will be added to the list for a free copy of the new book, plus listed in the acknowledgements when the book goes to the publisher.
I'm looking forward to some great suggestions! The contest ends Friday, February 4, at midnight. Please go to my Ann Shorey Author page on Facebook to post your suggestions, or leave them as a comment on the blog. The winner's name will be posted on the Ann Shorey Author page, as well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

THE HELP, by Kathryn Stockett

Reading The Help is like a personal tour behind the headlines of 1962 Mississippi. Told from three points of view: Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter's, this story is in turn humorous, heartwarming, and incredibly sad.
Skeeter comes home after graduating from Ole Miss and finds she's begun to view the status quo in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, through the eyes of an outsider. The petty cruelties some of her friends inflict on their Negro maids stands out sharply in Skeeter's new view of her hometown.
Aibileen has spent most of her life working for white women in Jackson. She's a keeper of secrets, a compassionate woman, and a grieving mother.
Minny is mouthy, stubborn, and one of the best cooks in town--when she’s not being fired for being outspoken.
The Help brings these three women together in a relationship that changes all of their lives. One of the interesting sidelights to the novel is the way Stockett makes historical events come alive by showing the reactions of the characters as they live through Rosa Parks' courageous bus ride, the murder of Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and President Kennedy's assassination.
I don't want to make The Help sound like a political novel--it's not. It's a look at three women who come to understand and care for one another despite the vast cultural barriers of the times. It is said that the mark of a great story is one that makes the characters so real you think they're alive. After I finished reading The Help I thought about Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny for days--wondering how their lives went after the book ended.
I can't recommend The Help highly enough. It was on the best-seller lists for a couple of years, and with good reason. It’s one of the best books I've read in a long time, and will go into my "keeper" collection.
(The Help is general market fiction, so it does contain a minor amount of mild profanity.)

Monday, January 3, 2011


The Frontiersman’s Daughter is set in Kentucky in 1777. Drawing upon historical events, Frantz has woven a fascinating tale of Lael Click, who is the daughter of a celebrated frontiersman.
The Frontiersman’s Daughter is historical writing at its best. The details of backwoods life fill the story with authenticity. The characters are created with originality--there are no stereotypes in this book. The reader will be drawn into the daily drama of survival in a time when settlers had nothing but their own resources upon which to rely.
The story begins with Lael as a thirteen-year-old, and follows her life into young womanhood. How she triumphs over the trials of her family issues, Indian threat, and romantic entanglements forms the basis of the story, yet it’s so much more. I'm avoiding saying much about plot specifics because I don't want to spoil any of the events in this engrossing novel.
I loved this book and recommend it highly. If you haven't read Laura Frantz's books yet, make it a New Year’s resolution to do so! I’ll be reviewing Courting Morrow Little, her next story about early Kentucky, soon.