Friday Book Whimsy: Temple Secrets

searchIn the way that I become aware of books to read (Amazon recommendations, daily deals offered by Book Bubs and Goodreads, regular emails from a variety of publishers), Temple Secrets by Susan Gabriel was somehow brought to my attention. My interest was captured because of my love affair with Savannah, GA, a city I have only once visited but that is the location of many books I choose to read. Think Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Only don’t think Midnight when it comes to this book. I wanted to like it a lot more than I did. The premise gave me great hope.

In this novel, the Temple family has been an influential part of Savannah’s history for generations. One of the reasons they keep their stature and influence is because going back as far as the Civil War, they have been keeping a written history of the indiscretions of the most well-known people of the city. Knowledge is power, as they say.

The book has been safely kept in a safe deposit box until suddenly, one-by-one, the secrets are being printed in the daily newspaper. No one knows who is responsible, because it certainly isn’t matriarch Iris Temple, the keeper of the book. Nor is it her half-sister Queenie, the daughter of one of Iris’ mother’s black housekeepers who has the same father as Iris. Queenie currently lives with Iris and cares for her. Nevertheless, Queenie, along with many others, becomes a suspect because it seems Miss Iris is an irascible, nasty woman with many enemies.

When Iris suddenly dies from a stroke, likely related to her concern over the release of the secrets, her estranged daughter Rose comes home from her ranch in Wyoming to bury her mother. She didn’t expect, however, to begin to see the family unravel as more and more secrets are revealed, some of which deeply affect those she loves.

Gabriel’s characters are interesting, and I rather enjoyed the descriptions of voodoo and Gullah magic. It just seemed that some of the situations were unbelievable and the characters, though interesting, didn’t seem realistic.

I would read another book by Gabriel as she writes primarily about the south which is my interest range. Still, it wasn’t the best book I’ve read about either Gullah magic or racial inequities.

Here is link to the book.

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Friday Book Whimsy: The Lost Hours

imagesA terrible riding accident brings Piper Mills’ hopes of an Olympic medal to a screeching halt. As she struggles to get her life back on track, her grandfather and grandmother, who cared for her after her parents died when she was very young in a car accident, both pass away. Piper remembers a box she helped her grandfather bury when she was 12. She digs up the box, and mystery ensues.

The box contains pages from a scrapbook, a charm necklace, and a 1939 newspaper article about finding the body of an African American baby in the nearby river. Piper’s subsequent actions eventually take her to a small town outside of Savannah where she tries to solve the mystery of her grandmother’s life.

In the book The Lost Hours, author Karen White tells a beautiful story about friendship, love, and forgiveness, all the while reminding her readers what life was like prior to the Civil Rights movement. She introduces us to some unforgettable characters and a way of life we can only read about. It’s a love story and a history lesson all in one.

White is quite prolific, and I have only recently discovered her. I am enjoying reading her books. I find her books almost always have a significant message. The Lost Hours is a powerful reminder that we can’t take our important relationships for granted, but must love and forgive every single day.

In addition to the wonderful story, I enjoyed the southern setting, both when the story takes place in Savannah and when we are transported along with Piper to the small town where most of the tale takes place.

Though the story hits on serious issues such as racial discrimination, the KKK, Alzheimers, and equal rights, overall it is a beautiful story that kept me reading without stop until the book was finished.

I highly recommend The Lost Hours, which, by the way, is such a wonderful title for this book.

Buy The Lost Hours from Amazon here.

Buy The Lost Hours from Barnes and Noble here.

Buy The Lost Hours from Tattered Cover here.

Buy The Lost Hours from Changing Hands here.