Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT @BrittanygReads reviews #KidsLit Muffy & Valor by @KarlBeckstrand

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading Muffy & Valor by Karl Beckstrand


Muffy and Valor: A True Story is an illustrated children’s book about two dogs.  The story especially excels in the character development of Muffy, a small dog who lives in fear of other dogs after she is seriously injured by a dog bite. The book successfully creates a heartwarming ending about the importance of friendship and trust that I enjoyed discussing with the four-year-old with whom I read the book.

The plot has a clear and well organized progression.  The opening page read awkwardly for me, especially the following line: “[Muffy] really loves her friend Carlos (almost as much as she loves cheese).” Afterwards the rest of the story read quite smoothly. The illustrations are unusually dark for a children’s book.  I read the Kindle edition and had trouble seeing detail in the dog’s expressions.  The four year old who I read the book with enjoyed seeing all the illustrations of the dogs and liked talking about the emotions on the dog’s faces.

The events in the story follow true events that happened during the author’s childhood.  The book is marketed as nonfiction, but the fact that the events in the story really happened did not enhance my reading of the story. Emotions and cognition are attributed to dogs in the story, so “Based on a True Story” would be a more accurate description for Muffy and Valor rather than “A True Story.” Overall, this is another solid piece of children’s literature from Karl Beckstrand. As always, he includes a positive moral lesson in a well written story.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Book description

(Nonfiction, dogs) After a painful injury, a little dog named Muffy learns empathy for a German shepherd that has been hit by a car. Illustrated dog book teaches compassion, friendship, courage, and trust (kids ages 4 – 7). 700 words in dyslexic-friendly font.

Karl Beckstrand is the award-winning and bestselling author of 18 multicultural titles and more than 50 e-books (reviews by Kirkus, The Horn Book blog, School Library Journal, ForeWord Reviews). Beckstrand earned a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a certificate from Film A. Academy. Once a technical recruiter in Silicon Valley, Beckstrand’s early work was produced by two publishers (the first died the day they were to print his book!). Since 2004 he has guided Premio Publishing & Gozo Books. An engaging speaker and workshop facilitator, Beckstrand has experience in high tech, public policy, film, and broadcasting. He teaches media at a state college—including TV/radio scripts and Web content—and contrasts traditional publishing with digital book publishing.

Karl Beckstrand

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Elephant And The Sheep by @PatFurstenberg #KidsLit

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs at

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading The Elephant And The Sheep by Patricia Furstenberg

The Elephant and the Sheep takes place in South Africa and is about the friendship of an orphaned elephant named Themba and a sheep named Albert.  The book particularly excels in creating a sense of carefree joy that surrounds Themba and Albert’s friendship.  There is also a strong sense of place throughout the story.  There are charming touches that mention the weather and baobab trees, which help establish the African setting.

The story is written as a poem. The rhyme and meter are a bit inconsistent, but overall they help create a story that is fun to read aloud to children. The illustrations are attractive and colorful. Some of the clip art pieces were a bit blurry, but the four-year old I read the book with did not mind at all.  She very much enjoyed looking at all the bright, cheerful illustrations, especially the colorful suns

The names of the main characters are not mentioned for several pages. The main characters are originally referred to as “two tails”, which could be disorienting for children reading the book alone. The reader learns that Themba sleeps all night under the tree where Albert and Themba play, but it is never directly stated that Themba is an orphan who does not have a home.  Younger children will likely need an adult who can explain Themba’s situation to them. The ending of the book lends itself nicely to further discussion with children about the importance of kindness, family and generosity.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Book description

The story tells of an elephant calf Themba and a lamb called Albert, they meet at a puddle during the big bad thirst. They shared the puddle equally so that neither one would go thirsty. Then from that moment in time they became the best of friends. What follows is a tale of friendship beyond words and a fabulous happy ending. This story will teach children about sharing, caring and most of all what true friendship is really about. A tale of innocence and unconditional love.

Patricia Furstenberg came to writing though reading, her passion for books being something she inherited from her parents.
She won two key legs (chapter six, “Someone is Missing” and chapter nine, “Reconstruction of the Crime”) of the Write Your Own Christie Competition and was runner-up for chapter four.
When she’s not writing Patricia likes to read, read, read, drink coffee and listen to music.
One of the characters portrayed in her children stories is Pete, the yellow toy elephant. Not many know, but Pete exists and lives in Pat’s home.
This Romanian born writer is living happily with her husband, children and dogs in sunny South Africa.

Rosie’s Team #RBRT @BrittanygReads #NonFiction How To Manage Techno Tantrums by @davidboyle1958

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading How To Manage Techno Tantrums by David Boyle & Judith Hodge

Techno Tantrums: 10 Strategies for Coping with your Child’s Time Online

by David BoyleJudith Hodge

  • Title: How to Manage Techno Tantrums: 10 Strategies for Coping with your Child’s Time Online
  • Author: David Boyle and Judith Hodge
  • Published: 2017

How to Manage Techno Tantrums: 10 Strategies for Coping with your Child’s Time Online is a parenting self-help book about how to manage your child’s screen time.


Image via Goodreads.

The stated purpose of Techno Tantrums is “to set out the knowledge that is out there and list some of the strategies that other parents have used.”  The authors hope is for the book to be empowering to parents, and I believe it succeeds.  It is a quick read that’s organized into four sections and an introduction.  The book begins with a fascinating hook. As it turns out there are many high ranking tech and gadget professional who strictly regulate the use of screen time in their own homes.

Where I think the book could most improve is in the first two sections, especially the section “From Fasting to Chilling”. An overview is given of several common concerns about the impact of too much screen time. Techno Tantrums does a great job of citing specific studies and each study’s results.  I appreciated having some understanding about the scientific evidence for each concern raised, including cutting off social interaction, suppressing emotion, decreasing the ability to relax, etc. But overall I found the explanation for each of these issues too cursory to be worthwhile. A full page or two of discussion about each issue would allow the reader to feel more informed about the current social research and whether or not it is conclusive.

An entire section is dedicated to the experiences of other parents who try to promote restricted or healthy screen time for their children.  I found this section to be incredibly helpful, and I plan to revisit it repeatedly as my child continues to grow. The book ends with an outline of ten strategies parents can use to setup a home life where screen time is regulated. It is stressed that parents must follow these regulations as well.  For example, if phones should be off and charging for the night by 8pm, that means everyone’s phone in the family needs to be off and charging, including mom and dad.

I have not come across any other books on this topic before. How to Manage Techno Tantrums clarifies that it is not about online safety, but rather about how the manage the time in front of online games and screens. It is an excellent resource for parents looking for ideas about where to start.

Star Rating: 4/5 Stars

Techno Tantrums: 10 Strategies for Coping with Your Child’s Online Time is available to buy as a paperback or an e-book from Amazon UK or


Thanks for reading! This is another #RBRT review.  Thanks to Sue Fuest for sending me a free e-book copy to read. If you enjoyed this review, please share or follow for more book reviews.


Book Description

This book argues that parents have been abandoned to deal with the lure of the online world alone, the games and social media, with advice about safety but no other support. This is a guide to help navigate the research and pitfalls, written by parents for parents.

They face the sheer power of the internet companies all by themselves, fighting for influence over their children’s minds. When schools and governments alike encourage children to spend their lives online, yet many of the internet founders themselves – including Steve Jobs himself – rigorously restricted their own children’s online access time.

This isn’t a guide to online safety, which is well-covered elsewhere. It is a guide to online obsession. It helps navigate research, some of it alarming, some of it reassuring, with clarity and sanity, to help parents find a way through – so that children can avoid addiction, enjoy the world around them, but also enjoy themselves online.

About the author

David Boyle

David Boyle is the author of Blondel’s Song: The capture, imprisonment and ransom of Richard the Lionheart, and a series of books about history, social change and the future. His book Authenticity: Brands, Fakes, Spin and the Lust for Real Life helped put the search for authenticity on the agenda as a social phenomenon. The Tyranny of Numbers and The Sum of Our Discontent predicted the backlash against the government’s target culture. Funny Money launched the time banks movement in the UK.

David is an associate of the new economics foundation, the pioneering think-tank in London, and has been at the heart of the effort to introduce time banks to Britain as a critical element of public service reform – since when the movement has grown to more than 100 projects in the UK.

He is also the founder of the London Time Bank network and co-founder of Time Banks UK. He writes about the future of volunteering, cities and business.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Gone: Catastrophe In Paradise by @OJModjeska #NonFiction

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading Gone: Catastrophe In Paradise by Obelia Modjeska


Gone: Catastrophe in Paradise #RBRT

  • Author: OJ Modjeska
  • Category: Nonfiction
  • My rating: 5 stars out of 5

Gone: Catastrophe in Paradise by OJ Modjeska is the true story of the deadliest aviation accident in history. In 1977, the main airport in the Canary Islands was bombed by a separatist group seeking independence from Spain.  When the threat of another bombing occurred, the decision was made to divert all air traffic to Los Rodeos, a small regional airport on a different nearby island. Los Rodeos was understaffed and ill equipped to handle the influx of planes.  The events leading up to this catastrophe are explored and presented to the reader with an overwhelming sense of dread, like watching the chaotic elements of the universe come together to form a terrible evil. The result was the Tenerife Airport Disaster which killed 583 people, making it the deadliest accident in aviation history.

Under 100 pages in length, Gone: Catastrophe in Paradise focuses on the topic of examining how events came together to result in the Tenerife Airport Disaster, and the author’s attention is not diverted. Modjeska provides a thorough and succinct examination. She has a methodical approach to her research and provides images and diagrams to support her writing.  Transcripts between pilots and air traffic control to support an examination of the key players in the disaster.  The writing goes beyond a straight narration of events and attempts to understand the perspectives of the pilots, crews and air traffic control.  Modjeska takes the reader from what appears to be a possible terror threat from the Canary Islands Independence Movement, to language barriers between pilots and airport staff, possibly worst-ever timed chance radio glitches, a lack of standardized aviation terms, and terrible weather conditions.  In this brief book, Modjeska particularly excels in creating a mounting sense of doom and dread.  I was on the edge of my seat despite obviously knowing how the story ended.   It was the same type of suspense that comes from reading a horror novel.

Because the accident happen on a Spanish territory, Spain managed the accident investigation. The investigation concluded that the fundamental cause of the accident was that Dutch KLM Captain Veldhuyzen van Zanten took off without clearance. The Dutch authorities were reluctant to accept the Spanish report blaming the KLM captain for the accident, and Modjeska provides a balanced perspective of why blame deserves to be shared with chance and all those involved.

I received this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team

Book Description

A mass of European and American tourists descend on an idyllic tropical island for the holiday of a lifetime. Within hours, hundreds are dead. What happened? The true story of one of history’s most tragic and shocking disasters…in which aviation, terrorism, a sudden change in the weather and plain old bad luck made for a ruinous mix. This gripping novella length work unravels the mind-boggling facts of this catastrophe as a compelling, action-packed and haunting tale of the human condition that will have you turning the pages to the very end.

About the author

Obelia Modjeska

OJ Modjeska is a criminologist, historian, blogger and author. She graduated from the University of Sydney with a PhD in Modern American History in 2004, and received her Graduate Diploma in Criminology from Sydney Law School in 2015. In 2015 she was awarded the JH McClemens Memorial Prize by Sydney Law School for her scholarship in criminology. Before pursuing a writing career she worked for many years as a legal writer and editor. OJ runs a blog about narcissism, psychopathy, politics and culture. She writes books of narrative non-fiction true crime and disaster analysis. Her books are suspenseful narratives which draw on her insights and expertise into history, criminal behaviour and psychology. British crime author Pat McDonald writes: “fascinating reading and exceptional writing”.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Kids, Camels and Cairo by @jilldobbe #Travel #Memoir

Today’s team review is from Brittany , she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading Kids, Camels and Cairo by Jill Dobbe 


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Kids, Camels & Cairo by Jill Dobbe is a lighthearted memoir about an American family’s experience living and working in Cairo, Egypt for two years. A husband and a wife who were living comfortably in Wisconsin accepted teaching positions together in the same international school in Cairo.  It was their oldest child’s first year in college.  He remained in the States while his parents and younger sister moved to Cairo.

The memoir provides fascinating insights about Egyptian culture.  The memoir especially excels in providing the perspective of an American woman trying to adjust to social limitations a woman faces living in Egypt, and her experiences were often notably and interestingly different from her husband’s. Other insights include Egyptian attitudes on education, cuisine, immigration, and extreme poverty and extreme wealth living together in one country. I appreciate the author openly sharing her observations.

The writing style of the memoir is casual, and portions of the book read like an email from a friend.   It took a while for me to adjust to the casual style, I appreciated Dobbe’s down-to-earth and straightforward writing.  For the most part the book is organization chronologically, though the writing is a somewhat stream of consciousness, expounding on events out of order if they tie into something that reminded the author of it.  The memoir may have benefited from being organized by different themes or types of insights.  For example, taking her daughter to Cairo, poverty in Egypt, learning to live in a Muslim county, adjusting as a woman in Cairo, etc.

The year the Dobbe’s moved to Cairo was their daughter’s last year of high school.  This was hard for me to read about, because it did not entirely seem in the daughter’s best interest to be uprooted from her educational and social support in Wisconsin. And it is unclear why the Dobbe’s could not simply wait one more year to work abroad after their daughter completed high school. It was mentioned that at times the daughter would cry in her room in Cairo and did not wish to attend her own graduation in Cairo because she never developed a fondness for the school or her classmates. I must admit this left a sourness for me that hung throughout the book.

The Dobbe’s had several opportunities to travel throughout the region, including the great pyramids and the Red Sea.  It was a delight to see some photography from their travels.  Kids, Camels and Cairo is recommended to anyone interested in traveling to Egypt and an absolute must read for anyone looking to travel to Egypt to teach.

I reviewed this book as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Book Description

Each morning my eyes popped open the second I heard the call to prayer resound through the air. At 7:00 A.M., I walked out onto a rare quiet Cairo street and waited for the school van to pick me up. Climbing onto the van, I found a seat alongside the foreign and Muslim teachers, where I was only one of a few women not wearing hijab. It was Sunday morning, the start of another Islamic week of trying to discipline rich and apathetic students.

Traveling across the globe to work in an international school in Cairo, Egypt, was not exactly the glamorous lifestyle I thought it would be. I cherished my travels to the Red Sea, delighted in visiting the Pyramids, and appreciated the natural wonders of the Nile River. However, I also spent days without electricity or internet, was leered at by rude Egyptian men, breathed in Cairo’s cancerous black smog, and coaxed school work from students.

KIDS, CAMELS, & CAIRO is a lighthearted read about Jill Dobbe’s personal experiences as an educator abroad. Whether you’re an educator, a traveler, or just a curious reader, you will be astounded at this honest and riveting account of learning to live in an Islamic society, while confronting the frustrating challenges of being an educator in a Muslim school.

About the author

Jill Dobbe

Jill is an international educator and published author who writes about her experiences living and working in schools and countries around the world. She presently lives in her seventh country, Honduras, with her husband, Dan, and her Yorkie-Poo, Mickey. While working as an elementary principal, Jill also writes, reads, takes photos of the beautiful people and countries of Latin America, and muddles her way through the Spanish language. Jill loves her life as an international educator, and most days, feels like she is living her dream.

HERE WE ARE & THERE WE GO is Jill’s memoir/travelogue written about her family’s first ten years overseas and the humorous, crazy, and sometimes scary adventures they found themselves in.

KIDS, CAMELS & CAIRO is a book about Jill’s two years living and working in a Muslim school in Cairo, Egypt, where she lived and worked alongside Egyptians who taught her about their Islamic faith and reminded her when she was making another cultural faux pas.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Fractured Memories by @EmilyPageArt23 #Dementia #Memoir

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading Fractured Memories by Emily Page


My rating: 4 stars out of 5

Fractured Memories: Because Demented People Need Love Too by Emily Page is a profoundly raw account of one family’s experience of caring for a father with frontotemporal dementia (FTD).  The story is told from the perspective of an adult daughter (the author) who is caring for her father along with her husband and her mother. The book has three parts.  This first part of the book is much like a traditional memoir, with the author’s experience recounted in a narrative.  The second part of the book reads a bit like a series of journal entries, raw and largely unedited recounts of caring for her father.  The author is an artist, and the third part of the book is a series of paintings she created out of her caregiving experience.

The author’s love for her father is the greatest testament of this book.  Yes, the author becomes angry, emotionally frayed and anxiety-ridden in the seven years she cared for her father, and sometimes those emotions are even directed at her father.  But she never walks from the situation. Underneath all the difficult emotion was an abundantly present love of a daughter. The first chapter recounts her father’s life before his diagnosis. It’s a beautiful celebration of his life before dementia, including his sense of humor, his extraordinary passion for trains and music, and his time as a First Lieutenant in the Vietnam War.

Frontotemporal dementia is described as disease of a thousand goodbyes, like slowly losing the person you love in stages.  The author writes:

“When I got home, I, of course, got online and started researching the disease. What I saw was not good. Asshole internet, which so very often lies, refused to lie to me that night. The symptoms all matched: odd social behavior (disinhibition), inability to make changes or follow complicated instructions, heightened emotion, depression. Treatment was aimed at managing symptoms, not slowing or stopping the disease. There were no medications for that. Prognosis: death two to ten years after diagnosis, probably from pneumonia after aspirating food because of muscle failure. Two to ten years. Two to ten years. Two to ten years.”

This book leveled me.  I openly wept several times while reading it, especially in the second part of the book that read like a series of mostly unedited journal entries. I learned a great deal about the impact dementia has on a family. I also learned a great deal about how to advocate for someone living with this terrible disease.

The writing style is casual, and portions of the book read like an email from a friend.   It took a while for me to adjust to the casual style. I very much enjoyed the artwork throughout the book.  The author uses images of elephants to portray herself, her father, and dementia itself because “an elephant never forgets” and “An elephant’s faithful 100 percent.”  The book ends with a list of songs, a playlist of the music that was mentioned throughout the book and has a special meaning or memory tied to the author and her father.  Fractures Memories is a must read for anyone who loves or cares for anyone living with dementia.

Book Description

In 2009, Emily Page’s father was diagnosed at the age of 65 with frontotemporal dementia, a form of dementia that strikes earlier and progresses more quickly than Alzheimer’s, and for which there is no treatment to slow the progression of the disease. Being so young, Page hadn’t had much experience with dementia, but she began documenting, in writing and art, her family’s heartbreaking and hilarious experiences.
As a professional artist, she had often turned to art as a self-prescribed therapy to help deal with life’s trials. This battle was no different. She utilized the elephant as a symbol for dementia, and incorporated sheet music into the paintings because her dad had been a jazz musician. Eventually, Page created 40 paintings that are included in the book. She also began blogging about the range of issues that arose daily as the disease progressed, documenting everything from her own fear of getting dementia, to her dad’s transition to diapers (and the various places he opted to drop his drawers and just “go”), to combatting his compulsions like the need to “clean” the cars with steel wool, to an exploration of how he might have gotten the disease, to finding the right dementia care facility, to the best ways to make him giggle. Page approached the disease from the fresh viewpoint of a younger caregiver. As her blog following grew, so did the suggestions from readers that she turn the blog into a book. After hearing too many horror stories about traditional publishing contracts, she decided to self-publish. She ran a fundraising campaign for her book, Fractured Memories, and presold over 500 copies in less than a month.
“My dad was my best friend. He embraced the ridiculous, looked for the good in people, and mentored and helped people whenever he could. Following his diagnosis, when people asked how he was doing, he’d answer, ‘Not bad for a demented guy.’ He looked for the light hiding amidst the pain. He chose to be very open about what he was going through in the hopes that it would help other people cope with their own diagnosis or a loved one’s diagnosis. Writing this book seemed a fitting way to honor that legacy.”
Page doesn’t shy away from the ugly, raw emotion of life with dementia, but she also looks for the laughter where it can be found. Rest assured, you will love her father as much as she does when the book is done, and perhaps gain some insight about how to cope with your own loved one’s dementia or how to support a caregiver.

About the author

Emily Page

Emily Page is a professional artist and part-time writer. Working out of Raleigh, NC, Page spends most of her time elbow deep in paint, but comes up for air periodically to share her art and thoughts on her blog. She translated her ridiculous musings about her family’s journey through her father’s dementia into a book, Fractured Memories: Because Demented People Need Love, Too.

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Rosie’s Review Team #RBRT The Bridge Of The Golden Wood by @karlbeckstrand #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading The Bridge Of The Golden Wood by Karl Beckstrand


The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living

by Karl Beckstrand, illustrated by Yaniv Cahoua

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars

The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living is a children’s book for ages 5 and up written by Karl Beckstrand and illustrated by Yaniv Cahoua. Set in the Far East, the book is about a boy who chooses to help others and finds treasure as a result. It begins with “There once was a boy who loved to make things,” and the tone of an old parable is maintained throughout the story.

Beckstrand was inspired to write The Bridge of the Golden Wood after visiting several schools and realizing there was no curriculum provided to young people about ways to earn money. The message from The Bridge of the Golden Wood is a positive one: helping others for free gives you experience, a good reputation, and can lead to an idea for ways to make money. The events in the story are sweet and simple. However, the main character’s particular experience is not be something modern children could re-create for themselves. What pushes the book all the way up to five stars for me is the discussion guide at the end.  Children are guided through ways to look for opportunities in everyday problems and provided examples of ways to earn income by serving others and solving problems.

The Bridge of the Golden Wood is recommended for ages 5 and up.  I read this book with a three-year old and she loved the soft, cheerful illustrations. She was especially interested in the animals in the story.   I do think the money-making lesson largely went over her head, though we did talk about the importance of helping others.  She was also fascinated by some of the mysterious aspects of the parable. I read this book with her knowing the story is targeted towards older readers. Overall, The Bridge of the Golden Wood is a very welcome addition to children’s literature.

Book Description

A child with a knack for solving problems helps some hungry fish and finds a treasure. Illustrated folk tale teaches how to spot opportunities to help people and make money. Comes with money-making activities; ideas for businesses; and online resources on finding customers, managing money, and moving up in an organization (for ages 5 and up). Young children will be captivated by the story; older ones will want to apply the things they learn.

About the author

Karl Beckstrand

Karl Beckstrand is the award-winning and bestselling author of 18 multicultural titles and more than 50 e-books (reviews by Kirkus, The Horn Book blog, School Library Journal, ForeWord Reviews). Beckstrand earned a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a certificate from Film A. Academy. Once a technical recruiter in Silicon Valley, Beckstrand’s early work was produced by two publishers (the first died the day they were to print his book!). Since 2004 he has guided Premio Publishing & Gozo Books. An engaging speaker and workshop facilitator, Beckstrand has experience in high tech, public policy, film, and broadcasting. He teaches media at a state college—including TV/radio scripts and Web content—

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Warrior Princess of Deheubarth by @laurelworlds #TuesdayBooklog

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading The Warrior Princess Of Deheubarth by Laurel A Rockefeller


Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: The Warrior Princess of Deheubarth by Laurel Rockefeller

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars

Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: The Warrior Princess of Deheubarth is the sixth installment in Laurel Rockefeller’s The Legendary Women of World History series. It is a brief novelization about the life, legacy and fighting spirit of a Welsh princess (Gwenllian frech Gruffydd) who led her people into battle against the Normans. I have long been an avid reader of historical fiction, and this story is a welcome addition to the genre.

The story excels in portraying the world of Wales during the 1100’s. Simple descriptions about the daily life, the surrounding regions and annual celebrations ground the reader in the time period. Rockefeller also keeps the reader grounded in understanding how the shifting politics throughout the region and in London in particular impacted the Welsh. The most shocking part of the story was the betrayal Gwenllian faced.

Rockefeller’s love of the Welsh language is evident throughout the book. The use of the Welsh names and locations added to the authenticity of the story. However, beyond names and locations, the use of the old language caused confusion for me. Gwenllian frech Gruffydd’s native tongue is frequently interspersed throughout conversations. At one point Gwenllian sings a song while playing the harp, and the song is written entirely in her native language. A typical reader will find this incomprehensible.

The story is brief and lingers longest on the battle and events leading up to Gwenllian frech Gruffydd’s death. She was a heroic fighter and through Rockefeller’s portrayal is it easy to see why the Welsh cried her name into battle for centuries to follow. The ending of the story beautifully nods to the lineage that followed Gwenllian frech Gruffydd and muses what her option on it must be. “Surely in some place beyond this physical world, Princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, the warrior princess of Deheubarth watched the coronation of Queen Elizabeth Tudor, a woman born of her blood and legacy, and smiled.”

After the story there is a timeline of Welsh history from 844 to 1282 and an extensive suggested reading bibliography that provides a wealth of information for those looking to research the topic further. The timeline was thorough and interesting. In future installments in this series, I would love to see the selected events spaced along a horizontal line. Images of Wales and any remaining structures from the story, as well as artistic renderings of the individuals discussed would also be a most welcome addition to the story.

I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team

Book Description

Princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd’s fascinating and tragic true story comes to life in this special bi-lingual Welsh-English edition!
Born in 1097 in Aberffraw Castle, Princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd ap Cynan was always destined for great things. Beautiful, kind, and one of the finest archers in all of Wales, Gwenllian’s courage against the Norman Conquest of Wales has inspired generations of Welsh for nearly one thousand years.

About the author

Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller is author of over twenty books published and self-published since August, 2012. A dedicated scholar and biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education and improving history literacy worldwide. 
With her easy to understand fireside storytelling style, Laurel A. Rockefeller is the historian for people who do not like history. 
In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels, attending living history activities, travelling to historic places in both the United States and United Kingdom, and watching classic motion pictures and television series.

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