“Miriam’s Song” by Jill Eileen Smith was an impressive book. As the author mentioned in her note at the end, not a lot is historically known about Miriam. Somehow, Ms. Smith managed to take the historical record, combine it with the records of Miriam’s contemporaries, and mix it all in with various other histories of those times and events, and end up with a story that was both fascinating to read and educational. While I was familiar with the basic details of Miriam’s story going in, I found I learned a lot about life in those times, and was provided enough information to really try to imagine what I would have felt and experienced had I been living then. It also left me with plenty to think about regarding the nature of God and his relationship with his chosen people. I’d love to discuss my thoughts with other readers.
The actual story was very interesting to read. Miriam is a great character, and although not much is known about her, the author did a great job in bringing her to life in a realistic way that felt true to both the known facts about her life and the events she lived through. I enjoyed getting to know her, and watching her grow from a brave little five-year-old to a mature woman of faith.
In reading about Miriam in between the major historical events she witnessed, I learned a lot about what daily life was like for the Hebrew people, both during their enslavement in Egypt, and after they gained their freedom and moved toward their new land. Reading this helped me to better understand some of the things that happened, and the mindset of the people that brought those events about.
I highly recommend this book. Read it for the quality storytelling. Read it for the in-depth character study of a lesser-known historical woman. Read it for the thought-provoking insights. Just read it. You’ll be glad you did!
“Cold Conviction” by Daryl Wood Gerber is the fabulous third book in the Aspen Adams series. Just when I honestly thought I couldn’t love the series any more than I already did, this book changed my mind. “Cold Conviction” offered up everything I love about the series, plus a few new elements:
- Great characters! Aspen, our heroine, is wonderful. She simultaneously comes across as likable, intelligent, brave (but not stupidly so), and honorable. Her PI skills are improving the longer she work for Aunt Max, and her confidence in herself and her abilities is increasing as well. Combined with her past career as a psychologist, Aspen has all the tools needed to effectively unravel mysteries. I was thrilled to see her really “coming into her own” as an investigator in this installment. We didn’t get as much of Nick, Candace, and Max this time around, but they all made appearances. We did spend a bit more time with Rosie (if mostly by phone), and got to meet plenty of new folks. We also got to know Aspen’s deceased parents (and grandparents) in more detail. Also: More of Antoine in the next book, please!
- The location! While I love reading about the Lake Tahoe area where Aspen lives, it was also fun to travel with her to the Bay area and learn more about it. I especially appreciated Aspen’s nostalgia for Lake Tahoe, even as she enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and places in her (temporary) new location.
- The mystery itself! This book addresses a critical cold case: the decade-old unsolved mystery of who killed Aspen’s parents. She was a college student at the time of the crime, and not able to do much more than try to get through the experience. Now, Aspen is proving to be a thorough and relentless investigator, and I appreciated the methodical way she worked through all the old clues and information. The plot was intricate and detailed, but everything fit together perfectly. I was able to figure out of it, but part of it came as a surprise…this is ideal…it means the author provided enough clues to point the reader in the right direction, but was clever enough not to make it too obvious!
- Hints of the future: This book wrapped up with some interesting developments. I won’t say more to avoid spoilers, but I can’t wait to see what happens in book 4!
Five out of delicious blocks of medium cheddar!