Book Reviews

Reviews of books by MWSA members. Reviews appear in reverse chronological order, with the most recent review posted appearing first.
Note: Some older reviews are being reposted to this site and those will appear out of order.

Piddingtons, The

Title: The Piddingtons
Author: David Michaels
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewer: Joyce M. Gilmour

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0988503204

THE PIDDINGTONS is the third book of the TRAIL COOK trilogy. The first book, TRAIL COOK, deals with young Able Piddington, his adventures and his struggles getting from London, England to America's Wild West in 1875. His many adventures are published in the newspapers, making him a legend in his own time. The second book, THE TRAIL COOK CHRONICLES, picks up where the first book left the legendary traveler; on his way to escort the last band of Apache to the Mescalero Indian Reservation. While there, he marries his traveling companion, Kirsten in a traditional Apache ceremony. Together they make their way through hostile territory until they reach the town of San Diego, where they book passage on a steamship bound for San Francisco to visit Kirsten's family Because of strained relationships the couple decides to take an extended cruise around the tip of South America and across the Atlantic to visit Able's family in London. The news that Kirsten is carrying a baby is welcomed by Able's family but she is not emotionally ready for motherhood. Four years later, when their son, Gilbert Gopher Piddington, is old enough to sail the Atlantic and trek across America, the three of them leave for Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the couple first fell in love and where they hope to build a thriving restaurant business. Finding a suitable location is a problem but with the help of the local Monsignor, a solution is reached. Now Able must design a proper sign to adorn his run-down adobe building that once served as the region's church. Travel across America in 1881 is much more comfortable and civilized. But the character they meet along the way haven't changed much since their last visit to the Southwest. Graft and corruption of the New Mexico Territory causes difficulties in getting settled and becoming solvent. Trains now make difficult journeys easy. While waiting for his restaurant sign to be built and painted, Able and his family decide to take a side trip to re-visit their Apache friends. But a few vengeful rouge warriors kidnap their son and hide him in the mountains, just to spite the whites that they have grown to hate-or to enslave the boy. Former Apache enemies become allies as Able and Kirsten undertake the desperate search for their son.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Michaels, David

Wedded to War

Title: Wedded to War
Author: Jocelyn Green
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewer: Joyce M. Gilmour

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0802405762

It's April 1861, and the Union Army's Medical Department is a disaster, completely unprepared for the magnitude of war. A small group of New York City women, including 28-year-old Charlotte Waverly, decide to do something about it, and end up changing the course of the war, despite criticism, ridicule and social ostracism. Charlotte leaves a life of privilege, wealth-and confining expectations-to be one of the first female nurses for the Union Army. She quickly discovers that she's fighting more than just the Rebellion by working in the hospitals. Corruption, harassment, and opposition from Northern doctors threaten to push her out of her new role. At the same time, her sweetheart disapproves of her shocking strength and independence, forcing her to make an impossible decision: Will she choose love and marriage, or duty to a cause that seems to be losing? An Irish immigrant named Ruby O'Flannery, who turns to the unthinkable in the face of starvation, holds the secret that will unlock the door to Charlotte's future. But will the rich and poor confide in each other in time?

Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey's letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Green, Jocelyn

Donors, The

Title: The Donors
Author: Jeffrey Wilson
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror
Reviewer: Joyce M. Gilmour

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1936564467

An evil force is at work at the Hospital where Nathan is recovering from injuries he received at the hands of his Mom's abusive ex-boyfriend. Demonic looking men with pale faces and glowing eyes lurk in the shadows. Someone is harvesting skin and organs from living donors against their will.

In his dreams, Nathan can see these demons in their true form -- evil creatures who feed on the fear and hatred they create in their victims. Nathan's only ally is the Doctor who cares for him. Bound together by their common legacy, they alone seem to share the ability to see the demons for what they truly are.

Together they must find a way to stop these creatures before they, and their loved ones, become the next victims.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Wilson, Jeffrey


Title: Luzon
Author: Richard Whitten Barnes
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewer: Joyce M. Gilmour

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1613099037

It's 1941, and Riza Manceda, a beautiful American intelligence officer, needs someone to impersonate a Japanese officer for a dangerous mission to her homeland of the Philippines. Her search uncovers the ideal man in Daniel Suhiro, a first generation Nisei with perfect credentials for the job...but maybe not so perfect. The mission is to prevent the Japanese from discovering the Allies have broken their "unbreakable" Purple code. This secret could shorten - or lengthen - the war by years, and is known by an officer captured in Luzon. Riza and Daniel train to either rescue the officer or, if necessary, assassinate him. The compelling story of their harrowing venture meticulously comes to life as the pair becomes drawn closer to each other and then thrown headlong into incredible peril.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Barnes, Richard Whitten

No One Else to Kill

Title: No One Else to Kill
Author: Bob Doerr
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Reviewer: Terry Shoptaugh

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1590954238

In this book, Jim West travels to a small, remote hunting lodge in the Pecos Wilderness area in New Mexico to rendezvous with an old friend and do some hiking. His friend stands him up, and Jim is about to return home when a murder occurs in the lodge. Law enforcement jumps in, and Jim’s early departure plans are scrubbed. When a second murder occurs less than twenty four hours later, things really start to get dicey. Both crimes were intricately planned to mislead the authorities, no one appears to have a motive for the killings, and everyone has an alibi. Up against a wall with time running out, the deputy-in-charge asks West to be their man on the inside, but West is adamant that this is not his case to solve. Since his retirement from the Air Force, however, Fate has had her own plans for West. Why should this be any different?

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Doerr, Bob