Seek These Things

a blog discussing Celiac Disease, & the Gluten Free Diet, Books, Parenting, Politics, Religion, Pets, Product Reviews, and whatever else catches my interest

The Bracelet Series – Book Series Review March 3, 2009

The Bracelet Series

  • by Jennie Hansen
  • published by Covenant
  • 4 volumes
  • hardcover, softcover, and audio cd
  • $15.95 – $21.95 USD

This series, aptly named for the first book, follows a set of 5 jewels that are stolen, abandoned, and carried to the new world by a Mormon immigrant. Jennie Hansen is a prolific writer and weaves beautiful stories around the bracelet and each of its precious gems.  This is one series I would say truly can be read out of order. Each book relates the tale of new characters that live independent of the characters in the other novels.

While the series could easily contain two more books, both the author and publisher have announced The Ruby concluded the series, a pity. But if you like The Bracelet series, you may consider reading one or more of Hansen’s other 20+ books.

The Bracelet

  • 296 pages

This book tells the story of a girl named Georgiana, a servant in 1840’s England. Running from the antagonist of the story, her mistress’s son, to protect her life and virtue, she justifies stealing from the rich family. She sets precious gems in a worthless brass bracelet, a gift from the aforementioned villain.

Settings and descriptions are beautiful throughout the series, but especially so in this first novel. It also includes heartwarming conversion stories of characters who invite God into their lives through sincere repentance.

There were some unresolved threads in the first book that never get touched on in detail in the latter books.  

The Emerald

  • 248 pages

Picking up the story of the bracelet from when it was abandoned, a widowed Mormon immigrant and her two children protect the bracelet in hopes of returning it to the nameless woman who hid it in the baby’s possession. Running from the abusive home of her Scandinavian in-laws after her husband dies, Margarette uses everything in her power to keep her children from being reclaimed by detectives hired by her battering father-in-law to return his “property” to the old world.

Aided by a young English Mormon immigrant and a childless Scandinavian couple, Margarette’s family is finally able to make their way to Nauvoo where she finds employment as a housekeeper for a childless English widower.

When it comes time to flee the city, and she has been unable to locate the woman who abandoned the bracelet, Margarette separates the gems as she is inspired by God to part with them. The topaz is sent with a Mormon Quaker, to help a black family flee slavery. The diamond and ruby are traded to outfit her family for their journey to Zion. The sapphire is sent with the childless Scandinavian couple to help them settle in Salt Lake. And the emerald, the baby’s favorite stone, goes with the family as they march in the Mormon Battalion.

The Topaz

  • 289 pages

The Topaz tells the story of Serenity, Hannah’s daughter. Hannah was murdered and the topaz ring stolen while she was aiding fugitive slaves using the underground railroad. Serenity is desperate to learn what her father knew about the incident that brought about his own murder five years later.

Like approaching a rabid dog, Hansen is able to approach the unsavory topics of forced marriage, murder, attempted rape, abuse of spouse and offspring, and substance abuse without offending the sensibilities of her readers. This is true in all her tales, but the ability is best showcased in The Topaz.

The Ruby

  • 329 pages

This final novel details the story of Charlie Mae, who witnesses her father murder a non-mormon living in Nauvoo as a mob ransacks the city. Believing the man may not be dead, she goes to view her father’s handiwork and sees a coal that doesn’t burn out. She picks it up. Afraid her father or the other mobbers might return, she absconds with the ruby. Fleeing her abusive home with her brother, the novel describes her life as they make their way to California to find gold.

This last book is the most poorly edited. There are time sequence errors through the first 6 chapters. The sections are dated and in one part of the novel it says it has been 5 years when it has only been 2.

 

Hit the Road – Book Review February 20, 2009

Filed under: Product Review — seekthesethings @ 3:16 pm
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Hit the Road

  • by Caroline B Cooney
  • published by Delacorte Press (hardcover), Laurel Leaf (paperback & ebook), website: Random House
  • 192 pages
  • US $15.95 / CAN $21, hardcover; US $6.50, paperback & ebook

Sixteen-year-old Brit is compelled by her grandmother, Nannie, to participate in a senior kidnapping so that Nannie may attend a college reunion with her college roommates. When one of “the girl’s” violent adult sons learns his mother has been removed from the Nursing Home he has bribed to drug her and make her incompetent, a suspenseful pursuit ensues across state lines.

This book discuses some great issues. Often Brit’s new freedoms, a driver’s licence, making her own decisions, are contrasted with the older ladies losing theirs. Because these freedoms are so new to Brit, she is acutely aware of the pain it causes the older women when their grown children intrude into their lives– sometimes with pure motives, and other times with covetous greed.

The story ends abruptly, like the author ran out of pages to fill. It’s hard for the reader to believe that the villian which so doggedly persuied his runaway mother would roll over in submission once she got the tiniest bit of leverage against him.

But I liked the book. I think most girls who has reached a certain level of maturity (middle school, jr. high), when they have been given some new freedoms from their parents, would be able to relate to the main characters feelings and would enjoy the book too.