This weekend I attended two very different events. The first was a gathering of Northern Colorado Woodcarvers. The second was a tech-toy open house at our local library.
At the first, wood carvers gathered to show their crafts, sell tools, talk techniques, wood qualities and sell their art. The attendees were mainly senior citizens. Many worked on projects right at their tables and were more than willing to tell us about their craft. There was even a soap station where kids could try their hand carving a cowboy boot or a fish out of a bar of Ivory. My kids have never smelled so clean!
The second event was filled with preschoolers using iPads to program robotic toys to dance, play music, shoot catapults and roll through obstacle courses. Without even knowing how to read, kids could figure out the pictograph-style instructions and build their inventions.
Both events were impressive in their own right, but the second did make me worry about the crafts we could lose in the future. Is there a need for woodcarving? Or crocheting? Or glass blowing? Can machines be programmed to create the same products? Is this what children of the future will do? Or will there still be weekend and after-dinner hours where crafters gather to knit or paint together?
And what of the conversations that take place between fathers and sons or mothers and daughters as crafts are passed on?
One of the reasons I love reading historical fiction is that it transports me to a time where life is different. Whether I’m reading about WWII, the Great Depression, or a wagon train on its way to Oregon, everything from food preparation to clothing to crafts is accomplished in a less technological way than what we do now.
Here are a few historical fiction novels that will truly take readers to a different time period:
In Watching the Water by Donna Gentry Morton, book 1 of the Heart Tide series, Julianna Sheffield is a rogue wave, one that doesn’t want to land on the shore it seems destined for.
It’s 1934 and the currents pushing her include an unscrupulous father determined to keep the family solvent during the Great Depression, a mother suffocated by the bubble of high society, and a greedy fiance’ named Leyton, who is proving why his name rhymes with Satan. Julianna longs to chart a different course. She wants to help the widows, farmers, and polio victims her family forced into the bread lines. She wants to exchange teacups for drinking milk from the jug. And she dreams of a man named Jace McAllister, another rogue wave who wants to love her but fights the seas bringing them together.
Jace also has a heart for those who are Depression-weary, but his method of helping includes retribution. His reasons are his own, but connected to Julianna’s family. For this seemingly doomed couple, moving forward brings on storms of rage, moral dilemmas, and difficult personal growth. Their love could be the kind that is impossible to live out. . .or the kind from which legends are born. The outcome of their journey depends on how carefully they navigate the waters.
“Seeking the Shore,” the second and final book in this series will release in Spring 2017.
A Buss From Lafayette by Dorothea Jensen: Fourteen-year-old Clara Hargraves lives on a farm in Hopkinton, a small New Hampshire town, during the 19th century. She has a couple of big problems. First of all, she has a stepmother, Priscilla, who used to be her spinster schoolteacher aunt. Clara, still grieving her mother, resents that her late mother’s older sister has not only married her father but is about to have a baby. To make matters worse, “Prissy Priscilla” keeps trying to make the rambunctious, clever, and witty Clara act like a proper young lady. Secondly, Clara has red hair, making her a target for teasing by a handsome older boy, Dickon Weeks, and by her pretty seventeen-year-old Dread Cousin Hetty. Clara, however, has a secret plan she hopes will change this.
During the last week of June, 1825, Clara’s town is abuzz because the famous General Lafayette is about to visit their state during his farewell tour of America. In those eventful seven days, Clara learns a lot about her family, Hetty, Dickon, and herself. In addition, she hears many stories from her family, neighbors, veterans, and from Lafayette himself. Through these tales, she comes to understand the huge and vital role the French aristocrat played in America’s Revolutionary War. She also comes to see that her problems might not be quite so terrible after all.
The Children’s Train – Escape on the KinderTransport by Jana Zinser: The Jewish children of Germany are frightened, and their parents are too. Hitler’s men have just broken their store windows, stolen and destroyed their belongings, and arrested many Jewish fathers and brothers. When England arranges to take the children out of Germany by train, the Kindertransport is organized. The train filled with Jewish children escaping the Nazis chugs over the border into Holland, where they are ferried across the English Channel to England and to freedom.
But for Peter, the shy violin player, his sister Becca, and his friends Stephen and Hans, life in England holds challenges as well. Peter’s friend Eva, who did not get a seat on the Kindertransport, is left to the evil plans of Hitler. Peter, working his musician’s hands raw at a farm in Coventry, wonders if they should have stayed and fought back instead of escaping.
That night the Coventry farm is bombed. The Nazis have reached England. Peter has nothing left. He decides it’s time to stand and fight Hitler. Peter returns to Germany to join the Jewish underground resistance, search for the mother and sister he left behind in Berlin, and rescue his childhood friend Eva.
All books by BQB and WriteLife Publishing are available on Amazon, B&N or can be ordered from your local bookstore.