Miranda’s Extraordinary Life: The Beginning of the End, by Amanda Byrd

6_6_17 Miranda's Extraordinary

4 stars


Dreaming a dream is one thing. Dreaming a reality is a whole other thing.


Miranda’s Extraordinary Life: The Beginning of the End, feels like exactly that. So many questions remain that it has to be part of something bigger. And, given her situation, actually might be the beginning of an end. The author manages to set up a lot about the characters and their conflicts in such a short amount of time. It has a whimsical, daydreamy tone that starts with a sense of longing. As Miranda changes, so does the tone of the narrative. It’s a good, quick read.


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Mercer Street, by John A. Heldt

4_24_17 Mercer Street

4 stars


Mercer Street is a heartwarming tale of three women that get to travel back in time.


Susan, Elizabeth, and Amanda. Mother, grandmother, and daughter. After tragedy strikes the family, the women get the opportunity to travel to the late 1930’s. Like any good, sensible people would do, they look the chance. A chance to visit a time when Germany was about to go to war? Why not?


Armed with enough supplies to last their visit, they set out on an emotional journey.


Continuity is important when it comes to time travel. Many suffer with convoluted storylines, plot holes, and more questions asked than answered. Mercer Street did the opposite. Grueling attention to detail was very much a cornerstone of the tale.


I loved the family dynamic. They usually don’t fight. They get along. Sort their problems in a civil manner. They respect each other, even when things get difficult. And they’re always there for each other. No matter what life throws at them: Nazi spies, Albert Einstein, or Eleanor Roosevelt.


For the most part, the writing is solid. The style and the tone suit the story.


My major problem with the novel was that everyone sounded too polite. Too formal. Long sections of dialogue got dry quick. Dialogue told most of the story, and as such things got awkward and clunky.


External conflict was also on the low side. Situations felt a little too easy for the characters. They didn’t usually fumble. They were too knowledgeable. Near-perfect memories. Visitors to another era and they blended in no problem. If something did happen, the next paragraph solved the problem. Given the nature of the novel, though, internal conflict seemed appropriate. It helped convey the depth of emotion the novel was going for.


Along the way, each woman got a very satisfying storyline. All were different, but tied together. Each one served to further their character in different ways. And they were all important, not thrown in because the author could.


The ending was a touching one as well. Most of it was predictable. Not a bad thing, because it was satisfying and appropriate. The author still managed to slip in a bit of a surprise at the very end, one I didn’t see coming. I’m always happy when that happens. With the way the loose ends tied up, most things about this novel were solid. Worth the read.

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