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Saturday, November 20, 2010

THE LEGACY OF A BRIGHT SHINING MOMENT: CAMELOT -- A REVIEW

In a compelling and page-turning memento to a long-ago dream—of the iconic Jack and Jackie and the legend of Camelot—this story begins with the parents, spotlights Caroline and John-John as they grow up in the eye of the public, and then outlines their individual quests for privacy amidst the media storms that surround them.

Much of the early part of the book was familiar to me, having read several other Kennedy family chronicles, but it is in the second half that I really came closer to knowing more about Caroline herself. The tragic princess who faced life's tragedies with dignity, and yet who was forever the well-behaved and good girl member of the family, displayed her only rebellions when she, like her mother before her, sought an independent life whenever possible.

At times, I found myself tearing up as I relived some of the moments played out for the public's eye, like Jackie's death; John's tragic plane crash; and the constant barrage of paparazzi and stalkers that became as much a part of Caroline's life as the famous name and the legacy that shrouded her life and prevented any attempts at normalcy.

In the final pages of Sweet Caroline: Last Child of Camelot, the author really grabbed me with these passages:

"Perhaps more than any other American's, Caroline's personal life paralleled that of the country. Her private tragedies were our national ones—from the assassinations of her father, Jack, and her Uncle Bobby to the untimely deaths of her mother and her brother. John would be remembered for delivering history's most famous salute at their father's state funeral, but it was Caroline who would remember it all, and become a repository of her family's—and the nation's—grief...."

And in this excerpt: "As the public got to know the grown-up Caroline better, it became increasingly clear that, like Jackie, she displayed what Arthur Schlessinger called `a certain gallantry.' She could not escape her destiny any more than her father, mother, and brother could escape theirs. From the beginning, Caroline was—and remains—America's daughter."

There is nothing more that I can say to convey how touched and affected I was by this story. Five stars seem inadequate. This is a book I would highly recommend for anyone who enjoys tales of family, of obstacles, and of the American political life and its iconic figures.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

LOST FAMILY CONNECTIONS

Alone and fragile, Piper Mills does not know what to do next in her life. After her parents died when she was six, and her grandparents took her in, she had found something special in riding horses; she even dreamed of becoming an Olympic equestrian. But then another tragic accident shattered those dreams.

So when her grandfather dies, soon followed by her grandmother, she is almost entombed in the Savannah home where she grew up. Then the family lawyer brings some strange legacies—an angel charm, an old key, and a mysterious hint of more treasures to find.

As she begins searching through an old box she recalls her grandfather buried, she is led to a mysterious room in the attic and more secrets begin to surface.

Her search leads her to an old horse plantation and one of her grandmother's childhood friends. As she begins to unlock the secrets in some scrapbook pages—each of the three girlhood friends kept a set of pages—the pieces gradually fall into place.

But will the secrets shed more light on her grandmother's life, or will they only resurrect more pain? And what will happen to the new bonds forming between Piper and her grandmother's friend Lillian? Will romance follow?

I loved the characters, the settings, and the way the secrets were revealed through old letters, as well as stories told by Lillian Harrington-Ross.

The Lost Hours is a memorable tale that continues in the wonderful tradition of this author to bring evocative family moments to light. 4.5 stars.

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Mary Ann in Autumn: A Tales of the City NovelHanna's DaughtersMiss Hildreth Wore BrownElizabethSolomon's OakSolomon's Oak

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