Tag Archives: Maine

Charley

Title: Charley
Author: Donna Marie Seim
Illustrator: Susan Spellman
Publisher: Peter E. Randall Publisher
ISBN: 978-1-937721-10-7

Being homeless and parentless as a young child can be scary, frightening and lonely. In Donna Marie Seim’s book, Charley, the topic of an orphan growing up a hundred years ago is told.

This one hundred and ninety-five page paperback book is targeted toward eight to twelve year old children who enjoy adventure, history and interesting family dynamics. Based on actual characters in the early nineteen hundreds, some of the locations, buildings and towns still exist today. With no profanity or frightening scenes but some slang and intentional misspellings for emphasis, the tome is covered in twenty-one chapters with a preface, and epilogue with author and illustrator biographies. There are very detailed charcoal/pencil illustrations by Susan Spellman in every chapter.

Charley Kimball Ryan is age twelve, living in Boston with his father, older brother, and younger brother and sister. After his mother passes away, his father tries hard to keep the family together but is forced to hand the three younger children over to the New England Home for Little Wanderers while he looks for work out West and the older brother is employed at the local factory.

Of course, Charley does not want to be in the orphanage, where manners are taught, children are well-behaved and rules must be obeyed. The only joy he finds is singing in the choir for Mistress Renee. And he sings wonderfully.

Thinking he is too old to be chosen for adoption, he watches his younger sister taken in by the “fancy pants” upper-class Bostonians and his younger brother sent to a family farm to be overworked. Determined, Charley knows he will find his own home someday as he tries to stay in contact with his siblings.

After singing a solo at church, Charley is selected to go to Greene, Maine to live with the Worthingtons, who have a son almost the same age as Charley, an active nine year old daughter and baby. He tries to blend in with the new family even though the brother resents him for his lack of farming skills and the granny mocks him as an Irish hoarder.

Through learning how to pick up chicken eggs, milk cows and keep them away from apples to cutting ice blocks and putting out fires, Charley reluctantly learns how to be a farmer and finds out who really cares deeply about him.

Even though it is an historical children’s fiction, this is an interesting read that could be enjoyed by all ages as it acknowledges the universal truth that every child needs a home and family. With its background research, it would make a good book report book on ways of life during the time period.

This book was furnished by the publicist for review purposes.

This review will be posted on Bookpleasures and Amazon with links on LinkedIn and Pinterest.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Childrens, Fiction

As It Is On Earth

Title: As It Is On Earth
Author: Peter M. Wheelwright
Publisher: Fomite
ISBN: 13: 978-1-937677-18-3

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is part of a well-known quote of the Lord’s Prayer in the Bible. In Peter M. Wheelwright’s fictional novel, As It Is On Earth, he captures mankind’s struggle between human philosophies, the art of science and the inborn knowledge of a Supreme Being who is control of the universe.

This two hundred and ninety eight page soft bound book has a photograph of a low profile island with peaceful waters in the foreground on both front and back jacket covers along with several paragraphs depicting the storyline and three reviews. There are five pages dedicated to Fomite books of the same genre that explores the human condition. Although no typographical or grammatical errors were noticed, there were a few possibly arguable capitalization issues.

Wheelwright weaves a tale of Taylor Thatcher, a young thirty something year old Hartford, Connecticut professor from New England who has a confusing genealogy and upbringing with a major religious chip on his shoulder. After his mother drowns in a river at a young age, his father remarries her look-alike sister, producing step-brother Bingham. Though a series of life experiences of witnessing his Biblically devout father’s indiscretions, fleeing to the Yucatan to avoid confrontation and to find himself, learning of his girlfriend’s abortion after their relationship demise, and coming to terms that his father’s friend’s daughter is actually his own sister, Taylor tries to decipher his own spiritual and emotional beliefs.

By writing in first person, present tense, the author is very good at describing the Maine and Connecticut landscape where he and his brother were raised and educated by family and friends, the differences marked between the Puritans, Reformed Protestants, and Chesapeake Catholics along with the different early and current American or Mayan Indians. The angst, confusion and resolution on how Taylor digests, accepts and moves on in life’s realities are easily understood.

As Taylor tries to better understand his parental and sibling relationships and how they are entwined, his confusing love for a new woman in his life or forgiving his own past, he comes to the realization that “history is just a pack of different lies and we each pick the one that suits us best” and perhaps it is God’s will that everything happens for a reason.

The author is thorough in describing his characters and their feelings but sometimes they can be confused with others due to their multiple name changes. The detailed, interesting topics on religion, science and history may deter the reader from the actual story of accepting one’s own frustrations and faults and focus on the future.

This review is posted on http://www.bookpleasures.com and http://www.amazon.com.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Fiction