December brought about the reading of only five books, but two of those were stories that I have been excited about for months.
1. The Adversaries by Jack Cavanaugh 4/5 – This fourth book of Cavanaugh's American Family Portrait Series is set during the Civil War and follows four siblings, as brothers J.D., Marshall, and Willy enlist in the Union Army, while sister Sarah goes to New York, wanting to become an author like Harriet Beecher Stowe. The book actually focuses very little on the war itself, at least in comparison to other Civil War books I've read, and instead tells a story about forgiveness and letting go of resentments. I remember really enjoying this book when I was a little younger. I'm not as keen on the writing style now, but the story was still good.
2. A Light to My Path by Lynn Austin 4.5/5 – This third book finishes Austin's Civil War trilogy by focusing on the story of two slaves – Kitty, a gifted artist who doesn't know how to think of herself as worthy of freedom, and Grady, sold as a child and deeply resentful toward white men. As the Union Army draws ever closer to them, Kitty and Grady will have to learn that freedom is much more than a physical thing.
3. The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron 4/5 – To be perfectly honest, I still don't really know what kind of rating to give this book. It's set during the 1920s in the Big Top Circus of the Ringling Brothers, focusing on a gifted bareback rider from England. But it also tells a story from a couple decades earlier, gradually overlapping the two in the world of the circus. The story is poignant and raw and beautiful, definitely Cambron's style. Yet I felt there was something that I missed in the story, places where it seemed that a really important scene never happened. It felt like it was trying to be several different stories at once, honestly. And, while it's attached itself to my heart, I find myself confused by it.
4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke 4.5/5 – This is the second time I've read this book, which tells the story of a girl, Meggie, and her father, Mo, who can literally read things out of books and into real life. Though a magical talent, it results in trouble for Meggie and Mo and sends them on a terrifying adventure in which they will have to fight for their very lives. Inkheart and its two sequels tell a really innovative, intriguing story. Though they're considered children's stories, I find that they're a little dark and contain some language.
5. Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin 3.5/5 – I was so excited when I bought this at Barnes and Noble the other day, and I stayed up until an unearthly hour reading it. It's set in 1897, in the resort town of Holland, Michigan. While young socialite Anna tries to recover from a broken engagement and a heart full of questions, the much-older resident Geesje writes a memoir of her journey from the Netherlands 50 years earlier and the resulting struggles in her life. It was a really beautiful story, but I had the climax figured out really early on. Unfortunately, the end itself wasn't particularly satisfying to me. If it turns out to be a series, I could definitely see room for an improvement in my opinion, but, for the moment, I'm rather disappointed.
Have you read any of these books? Did you get any interesting books for Christmas? Let me know in the comments!