The Island of Sea Women

The Island Of Sea Women by Lisa See. New York: Scribner, 2019. 374 pages. *****+

Set on the Korean Island of Jeju, Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls from very different backgrounds, form a friendship that is tested over many decades. Both girls are members of a Haenyeo community, an all-female diving collective, which supports their family with what they retrieve and sell. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, which forever sets her apart from the others, and Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother's position as a leader. The girls are inseparable until they come of age and marry their arranged husbands. Their friendship and the lives of the women on the island are chronicled through the Japanese colonialism of the 1930s and 1940s, World War II and the Korean War. Can a friendship survive betrayal, death, and jealousy?

See's wonderfully written saga of these strong, united women will grab you and keep you reading until the very end. The dangers of diving in extreme cold and the hazards of being attacked by sea life are vividly portrayed and haunting. Young-sook and Mi-ja each have their own obstacles in life, which sets them apart from each other, however, each one maintains a connection to the other throughout their lives. I highly recommend this book and can't stop thinking about it, always the sign of a good book. Prior to this novel, my favorite book by See was Snowflower and the Secret Fan. I enjoy historical novels, which transport me to an unfamiliar culture and place in time. See never disappoints and this novel is an excellent choice for Book Clubs to read and discuss.

Lisa See is a New York Times bestselling author. She is the author of on Gold Mountain, which tells the story of her Chinese American family's settlement in Los Angeles. She was the recipient of the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California and the Historymakers Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was also named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.

For more information on Lisa See:  Facebook.com/LisaSeeBooks, www.LisaSee.com

#historicalfiction #theislandofseawomen #haenyeo


Hope on the Inside

Hope On The Inside by Marie Bostwick. New York: Kensington, 352 pages. Discussion Questions. ****

Hope Carpenter's four children are grown and her husband recently accepted an early retirement package, Hope struggles to find meaning in her life. She recalls her mother telling her "Make up your mind to be happy, Hope. Whatever comes your way, find the happiness in it. That's the real trick of life." When downsized from her job as a Family and Consumer Science teacher and faced with dwindling resources, Hope and Rick decide to sell their house and move from Portland to Olympia to be closer to their daughter, McKenzie. When they buy a condo, life seems even more restrictive, due to the lack of outdoor activities and the loss of friends. When Hope accepts a job as a craft teacher at the local prison, Hope has to deal with the prison rules and Rick with the idea of his wife earning the money to support them. The idea of teaching women to quilt and to help the women develop a skill draws Hope closer to them. It's a win-win situation until one of the inmates is cut with what looks like a rotary cutter blade from the sewing room and Hope violates the prison rules.

Bostwick writes realistic stories about the complexity of relationships and the curves that life throws at each of us. It's how we respond that proves who we are and shows our resourcefulness. Hope is such a likable character and anyone who quilts can relate to her passion in teaching the inmates to sew. A thoroughly enjoyable book!

I received a digital copy for a review.

Other books by Marie Bostwick:

The Promise Girls

From Here to Home

Marie lives in Oregon with Brad, her husband of thirty-five years. When not writing, she enjoys quilting, reading, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and especially playing with her grandkids. Marie travels extensively, speaking at libraries, bookstores, quilt guilds, and at quilt shows. She has been a featured speaker at the Paducah Quilt Festival and the Houston International Quilt Festival and has given keynote addresses at both the Florida Writers Association and La Jolla Writers conferences. To learn more about Marie Bostwick, visit her website.


While You Sleep

While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt. New York: Pegasus Crime, 2019. 315 pages (electronic edition) ****

"It begins, they say, with a woman screaming " Zoe Adams has traveled from Connecticut to a remote Scottish Island in the hopes of finding herself and reclaiming her life as an artist. At the local Pub the townspeople hint at stories better left unsaid which only serves to pique Zoe's interest. Zoe found the McBride house to rent on the Internet and is bemused to find out that since it has been remodeled, she is the first tenant. Zoe is so exhausted from her trip that she falls asleep fully dressed only to wake from an erotic dream to find herself naked in another room. How did she get there, it was a dream wasn't it? Zoe seeks to uncover the secrets of the old house and discover what happened to Ailsa McBride and her mysterious son over a century ago. Just last year a boy disappeared while he and his friend dared each other to go into the house late one night. Alisa's husband dabbled in the occult and have the two of them unleashed a demon attached to the house? The townspeople relish their superstitions about the past and gossip about Zoe while ignoring the signs of evil around them. Zoe is determined to prove that she is not unstable and that there is a human behind the pranks being played on her in the house.

Part gothic novel, part mystery, complete with romance, sex, ghosts, murder, and demons. Merritt hints at past actions overshadowing the present, but in this breath-taking novel, she keeps us guessing at who is to blame. This is one of those books when finished, the reader says, "I didn't see that coming."

I received an ecopy for a review.

"Stephanie Merritt has worked as a critic and feature writer for a variety of newspapers and magazines, as well as radio and television. Writing as S. J. Parris, she is the fastest-growing historical crime writer in the UK, with her series of thrillers set in Tudor England selling over half a million copies. She currently writes for the Observer and the Guardian. Her first novel, Gaveston (Faber), was published in 2002 and went on to win a Betty Trask Award. She followed it with Real (Faber) in 2005, which she adapted for film for Gabriel Byrne’s production company, and her first non-fiction, The Devil Within (Vermilion), a memoir of depression and recovery that was shortlisted for the 2008 Mind Book Award.
In 2008 she decided to combine two of her literary passions, history and crime, and started writing Heresy (HarperCollins), the first in her series of historical thrillers under the pen-name S.J.Parris, featuring the 16th century heretic philosopher and spy Giordano Bruno. It was published in 2010 and was followed by Prophecy, Sacrilege, Treachery and Conspiracy, and a novella, The Secret Dead." To learn more about Merritt. 

#whileyousleep #gothicnovel 


2019 Monthly Color Challenge - March

March - Love in a Mist (Navy Blue)

This month's block is navy blue, I probably should have looked at pictures of the flowers before I chose my fabric colors. You can find the pattern and directions at Patterns by Jen.

I love Grunge dots and the fabric seems perfect for this square.

  • My favorite marking tool for dark fabrics is the Chaco Chalk Pen. It was perfect for these blues.

  • Remember a scant 1/4 inch seam 

Frankie likes all of the blocks, but her favorite is February!

If you haven't yet, make sure you join Quilt and Learn with Patterns by Jen on Facebook. It's a great place to ask questions and receive help. It's an amazing Show and Tell every month with everyone's blocks.

Check out the March Bloggers:

Patterns by Jen Sewing With Katie 
Everyone Deserves a Quilt
Kentucky Whittaker Creations
Masterpiece Quilting 
Kathy's Kwilts and more 
So This Is Kentucky

Follow me on Instagram 

#2019monthlycolorchallenge #marchnavy #loveinamistnavy