I hope the Christmas shopping is going well so far, and for my Jewish readers, I hope you all had a great Hanukkah!
I finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern recently, and started reading two more titles that I’d like to show you all!
So let’s begin!
Once Upon a Winter: A Folk and Fairy Tale Anthology is the first of four planned seasonal anthologies. This contains folk and fairy tales written by 17 authors across the globe, and they consist of different genres, adaptations of known stories, and original ones.
So far, this series is very intriguing. I read the first two stories in the anthology, and I like them very much. One is an original tale – The Biting Cold by Josie Jaffrey – that details the protagonist’s hermit life in the forest and their encounter with a special kind of monster. They realize that they have to depend on each other in order to survive. In a way, it’s a nice message to care for the environment since we rely on it a lot. The other is a twist on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Match Girl retold by Rebecca F. Kenney. It captures the spirit of the story of a girl trying to survive while selling matches. I won’t spoil it, but the twist is let us say enlightening.
Both depict winter as a harsh and even cruel season, so we’ll see how the other stories portray it.
And now, here’s our second and final book of this latest installment.
The Women of Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell is about Annie Clements – the American “Joan of Arc.” In 1913, having spent her entire life in the copper-mining town of Calumet, Michigan, she has seen enough of the world to know that it’s unfair. The men risk their lives while working underground each day and have barely enough food to put on the table and clothes on their backs. The women labor at home and dread the news of their husbands and sons not coming home. Annie decides to stand up for herself and the town of Calumet, but many people believe she’s bitting off more than what she can chew. In her hands lie the miners’ fortunes and their health, her husband’s wrath over her growing independence, and her own reputation as she faces the threat of prison and discovers a forbidden love. As she goes on her journey for justice, Annie slowly discovers how much she’s willing to sacrifice for her own independence and the families of Calumet.
I started reading this yesterday, and I really like it. Until now, the only other place where I’ve heard of Annie Clements (or Anna Clemenc) was in the Wild Women of Michigan book. For those who don’t know, she was a labor activist and an active participant in the Copper Country Strike of 1913-1914. I’ve never really heard of this event, but I’m really intrigued to learn more through this historical fiction novel.
Not much has happened so far, but from what I’ve read, it’s pretty good. There’s barely any dialogue, yet I don’t mind this. Russell introduces the main characters through their actions. For example, readers are introduced to Annie as she makes pastries for her boarders – three young Italian immigrants who work along side her husband. It shows how much she cares about the wellbeing of others. In addition, the thoughts and beliefs of James MacNaughton – the owner of the mining company in Calumet – are uncovered when he reads a newspaper in his mansion. They set up that he’s going to be our antagonist.
Cassandra Campbell is back as she narrates this book. Her vocal performance is good so far. She distinguishes characters of various ethnicities very well. We’ll see how she does with the main characters soon.
We have now come to the end of the twenty-fourth chapter of “What Am I Reading?”
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