So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Besieged, set in 1630's Ulster area of Ireland, is the first of Small's Skye O'Malley series I have read which is a matrilineal historical romance series. It tells the romantic story of Skye's granddaughter Fortune Lindley and Kieran Devers, she a Protestant and he a Catholic, in a very intolerant world. They are faced with the classic “A fish could marry a bird, but where would they live?"

While Small does a fairly good job of portraying the conflict between the local Irish Catholics and their new Protestant landlords, Fortune's family is painted as the only tolerant Protestants in the book. The noble Irish under the cruel Protestant yoke makes the story a bit one sided. Kieran's brother William is a nasty, obsessive villain as is his stepmother, Lady Jane Devers, who marries a poor Irish lord for his land and covets Fortune's large estate.

It is in romance where Small excels and Fortune and Kieran are inspiring lovers. Their passion and devotion are well-portrayed. Her sex scenes are excellent examples of women's erotica, although they are less prominent in this book than they are in works like Love Slave.
Last Dance For Grace : The Crystal Mangum Story — By Crystal Mangum with Vincent Clark

Crystal Mangum was a student at NC Central who in 2006 worked as an exotic dancer. In March of that year she went to a house to dance for a bachelor party being held for Duke University students. She claims she was raped by three people while there. The District Attorney had to withdraw from the case & was disbarred. The Attorney General took over and dropped all charges. She never had a day in court.

Working with Vincent Clark, a documentary film maker, this book is the story she would like the world to know about her. While there are two chapters about the events of March 2006 and one about the legal struggle that followed, the heart of the book is a six chapter biography and a final chapter on how she is putting this event behind her.

Her story is wrapped in three chapters by Vincent Clark who describes the Crystal he met in working on this project. A Foreword by Myra Shird, an NC A&T professor, looks at the broader implications and compares Crystal to Nathaniel Hawthorne's Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter.

If you are wanting to know what really happened that night in March 2006, this is not the book that will help you. If you want to know more about "the accuser" Crystal Mangum from her point of view, not that of the press or the Blogosphere, this is her story.

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