5-Star Reads: No More Mulberries and Atonement, Tennessee

My writing break has freed up some precious time for reading, and Iย have two more reviews to share. These books are quite different. I hope you give one or both a try. ๐Ÿ˜€

Click on Cover for Global ย Amazon Link

No More Mulberries

by Mary Smith

My Review: Where do I even start with all the things I loved about this book? The story is about Miriam, a Scottish midwife who first fell deeply in love with an Afghan and then with his country. Itโ€™s a story about love and loss, fear and courage, and the strength of family and the human spirit.

In many ways, this story could be told anywhere in the world as individuals, couples, and families arenโ€™t that different from each other no matter where we find them. Miriamโ€™s story and her emotional struggles are deeply relatable. Her search for self, her struggle to balance her various roles, to fill expectations and have her expectations filled, and her commitment to her family and community could be anyoneโ€™s story.

But Miriamโ€™s tale doesnโ€™t take place anywhere in the world. It unfolds in 1995 Afghanistan. The book portrays a multi-dimensional country with remote villages that havenโ€™t changed in hundreds of years to more modern communities with a forward-leaning vision of the future. And though itโ€™s clear in the story that love is love, family is family, and people are people, the narrative reveals the stark differences in the lives of those people marked by isolation and all it entails, and those who have high hopes for education, healthcare, and their country. Miriamโ€™s story is deftly intertwined with the story of a country and its people, and I loved it all.

Smith’s years in Afghanistan give the read it’sย undeniable authenticity, and her skill as a storyteller shines. She doles out the backstory details in small doses. Theyโ€™re little gems that slowly illuminate the present story and build understanding while increasing tension and a desire for resolution. Settings are well described, the pace is steady, and characterization is flawless. I stayed up late and lost some sleep over this one.

One beautiful book that I highly recommend.

Click on Cover for Global Amazon Link

Atonement, Tennessee

by Teagan Geneviene

My Review: Esmeralda is a new arrival in the town of Atonement. Sheโ€™s purchased an old estate that comes with its own cemetery and some interesting trespassers โ€“ a marvelous gang of gal-pals, an irresistible florist/handyman, and a mysterious, handsome neighbor. The magic starts off almost immediately while โ€œRaldaโ€ waits for the moving van and starts settling into her new life.

The tale is full of whimsy as ancient magic threads through the home and cemetery. Ralda is curious but not particularly fearful, and I enjoyed her level-headed, low key approach to the strange noises and events happening around her. The story is told mainly from her point of view. The exception is Lilith, her cat, who witnesses some of the magic but isnโ€™t able to fill her owner in on the details.

For me, the best part of the book was the characters. If you enjoy strong female characters and genuine friendships, you wonโ€™t be disappointed. Ralda has a wry sense of humor and authentic voice. Geneviene does a great job with her internal dialog and with character interactions as a whole. The gal-pals are a delight, well-rounded individuals with a nice balance of wit and sensitivity.

Alongside the unfolding mysteries that inhabit the property, a second plotline centers on a darker โ€œrealโ€-life theme, which wraps up cleanly in the end. The main plot around the homeโ€™s magic and Raldaโ€™s role in the mystery leaves a few loose ends and questions that might lend themselves toward a sequel. The minor danglers did not impact my delight in the overall story.

A light and magical read for all ages.

I’ll be taking a short break (offline) to head north and visit family.
Have a great week. โค

140 thoughts on “5-Star Reads: No More Mulberries and Atonement, Tennessee

  1. reocochran says:

    The first book “No More Mulberries,”
    has a touchingly, (achingly) real story behind so many lives of couples who start out in love, but bring their families together, seeing differences and building bridges in their relationship over time.
    Her midwife experiences in different levels of families would certainly bring out without proselytizing, how health and income impact an agricultural, remote society.
    The 1995 setting of Afghanistan would certainly impact on the two cultures. Sounds thought-provoking, Mary.
    Lovely book review, Diana. ๐Ÿ™‚
    The second one, “Atonement, Tennessee,” intrigues me, with your description of the female characters being supportive and the magic including the town, new resident and cemetery.
    I cannot believe how many posts I missed. I apologise, Diana. Thanks for sticking with me. xo โค

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Bel says:

    This looks like awesome reads and I’ll just add it to the pile. Btw, let me know once you read Gaiman โค๏ธ Enjoy your offline break and I’m looking forward to hearing/reading about it when you get back!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by to check out the reviews. Both books were highly entertaining and I’m a picky reader, I’ll admit. Yes, Gaiman is on my list. I’m beta reading a couple books right now that will take me a bit, but after that! Happy Travels. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  3. As always, thanks for sharing these wonderful reviews. Hope you have a wonderful visit with your family! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bpsenapati says:

    Great reviews, Diana! Safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the summer reading! Good to be in your energy field again. โค๏ธ

    Liked by 2 people

  6. These both sound like gems, Diana! I love books with tales of magic and who wouldn’t love moving to a town called Atonement? ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Lavinia Ross says:

    Both are wonderful reviews! I am already a fan of Teagan’s and have read ‘Atonement’. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

    ‘No More Mulberries’ sounds very intriguing!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on Art by Rob Goldstein and commented:
    Book reviews from D. Wallace Peach

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thank you for the reviews. I’ll check out Mary Smith. I’m fan of Teagan’s work. Your review is excellent.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. If I lose sleep over a book, then it’s definitely a great book! I know I lost some sleep over a few of yours! And Teagan’s book was a magical delight to read, for sure. I thoroughly enjoy her writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Two superb books and well deserved 5 star reviews.
    Have a wonderful trip Diana โค

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Already have No More Mulberries on my Kindle. This just bumped it up. I’ve seen Teagan’s book around but love this review. Ancient magic, cemeteries, cats… Sounds like a great read! Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a lovely week with your family.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Ali Isaac says:

    Two excellent reviews that have me reaching for my kindle… Thanks Diana!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Both are so good, Ali, and different! I have trouble turning off the inner editor and yet both of these books carried me away. Hope you’re having a relaxing, peaceful summer (if that’s possible). Enjoy. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Temi says:

    Wow, the two books are really interesting especially the Atonement, got me glued, adding it to my lists, thanks for sharing and have a nice trip.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. These both sound enticing, but especially Miriam’s story. Afghanistan does seem beautiful in its starkness and honesty. I’m drawn to Miriam’s experience falling in love with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. These both sound like great reads, especially Atonement, TN. Adding to my TBR list. Hope you have a great trip, Diana!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Two good reads as described by D. Wallace Peach.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out these 5-star reads as recommended on the Myths of the Mirror blog.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. paulandruss says:

    Two wonderful reviews Diana which brought each book vividly to life.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks so much, Paul. I enjoyed both immensely and I’m a tough critic – it’s hard to turn off the “editor mode” when I read. These were both a pure joy. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for visiting!

      Liked by 3 people

      • paulandruss says:

        You know, I’m a tough critic too and I think we need to be…not so much for others but for ourselves.
        But it is great when you like someone’s work so much you don’t have to be. I think Mary is such a beautiful writer from what I have read of hers.

        Liked by 2 people

  20. arlene says:

    I hope I could find copies of these too.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. dgkaye says:

    Fabulous reviews. So nice to see Mary and Teagan garnering great reviews. Enjoy your time out Diana. โค

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Tina Frisco says:

    Diana, you write such brilliant reviews. If I were to read every review you ever wrote, I’d be broke with downloading all of them ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Christy B says:

    How exciting! Both books are on my to-read list and you give them 5 stars so I already know amazing reading awaits me ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m giddy with the good news for Indie writers ~ We’re kicking a$$ xxxooo Great you’re enjoying your reading time, Diana โค

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Christy. I love picking up indie books and finding them just a good as traditionally published books. If the trend continues, indies will claim larger and larger chunks of the market. Both of these are wonderful. I think you’ll enjoy them ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 2 people

    • Mary Smith says:

      I hope you enjoy them when you get to them, Christy. I know how long tbr lists can get. My pile is in danger of toppling over – or would if the books weren’t on my Kindle. Reviews like Diana’s do give indie authors such a boost.

      Liked by 2 people

  24. Mary Smith says:

    Thank you so much, Diana, for such a fantastic review. I’ve not read Teagan’s but can’t resist after reading you review. Have a great week away.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Both wonderfully reviewed, Diana. Enjoy your time with the family. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Super reviews. I have read Atonement Tennessee and gave it Five Stars.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Two wonderful reviews, Diana. I have just bought Mary’s book and have another book of Teagan’s that I am going to read.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Congratulations dear Teagan…..I am just starting to find my way back and so what a lovely way to start by seeing this. All the accolades in the world are so well deserved my friend. Sending hummingbird hugs. Janet xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  29. D. Parker says:

    Agree, agree, Diana, having read both and enjoyed immeasurably I was so happy to see (and share) these excellent reviews.
    Have a safe and wonder-filled trip.
    Big hugs xoxox

    Liked by 3 people

  30. olganm says:

    I’ve also enjoyed Teagan’s book and must push Mary’s to the top of my list (I’ve only ever read great reviews). Thanks very much!

    Liked by 3 people

  31. iArtichokeu says:

    Have a good time visiting family!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Cloud Walker says:

    Have a wonderful trip๐ŸŒป

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Teri Polen says:

    I haven’t read Mary’s book, but I certainly enjoyed Teagan’s (still waiting for Lilith to get her own book) – wonderful reviews for both, Diana!

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Great reviews! Sharing…

    Liked by 3 people

  35. Mae Clair says:

    Insightful and engaging reviews of two vastly different works, I like the idea of the old estate and cemetery in Teagan’s novel.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Reblogged this on Teagan's Books and commented:
    What a wonderful surprise! My novel, “Atonement, Tennessee” was just reviewed by Diana Wallace Peach. I’ve closed comments here, but I hope you’ll visit her blog, because she has another wonderful review in the same post.
    I hope to see you all in Thistledown again this weekend. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Diana! What a wonderful surprise. I’m just plain gobsmacked. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this thought-filled review. I really value what you said about my characters in “Atonement.”
    You are right about the loose threads — A sequel is in the works, so I’m glad you mentioned that here. However, it has been for so long that I am embarrassed to mention it…
    Okay — I’m going to print this review and hang it on my office wall. (I’m not kidding.) โค Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Wonderful reviews, Diana. The cover for No More Mulberries is quite intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. balroop2013 says:

    I agree with you Diana, ‘No More Mulberries’ captures the courage and culture extremely well. I finished reading this book last week and found it too good. Your review is brilliant! I must check Teagan’s book if you recommend, it must be equally good. Thanks for sharing the reviews. Have a nice, relaxing break. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  40. Safe travels. Recharge. And thanks for the heads-up about the book

    Liked by 1 person

  41. michnavs says:

    Great reviews..and enjoy your break..

    Liked by 2 people

  42. calmkate says:

    two most interesting books, thanks .. safe travels ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Great reviews, Diana. Enjoy your trip. ๐Ÿ™‚ — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

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