July 9, 2016

read with us: a book we've already read

This month in the reading challenge, our category was A Book You've Already Read. However, life got in the way of our good intentions. As Susan put it when I sent out the email asking for reviews, "Just report that I am a failure."

But in reality, none of us are failures. Modern Mrs. Darcy is getting us to read things we wouldn't otherwise be reading, and, even if we don't finish those books, I still consider that a win. Plus, this month's category was "a book you've already read at least once," so the only thing we missed out on by not finishing our books was seeing these books through new eyes. And I would guess that each of us who didn't finish our book will do so at some time in the future.

We "read" The Robe, The Dandelion Field, Anne of Green Gables, and Pride & Prejudice.

The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas

Susan says: I read The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas. I very much enjoyed the first half of it, which is all I finished reading last month. This book was in my parents' library, and I was in about 7th grade when I first read it. It made such an impact on me that I purchased a hardback copy to put in my own library when I was in college.

The story is about Marcellus, a Tribune in Rome, who fell into disfavor with the Roman Prince Gaius and was sent to run the Roman Garrison at Minoa in southern Palestine. He was responsible to oversee the crucifixion of Jesus, whom he was convinced was innocent of the charges brought against him. He was the recipient of Jesus' robe, and after being coerced to put it on, became deeply emotionally disturbed and overwhelmed with guilt for his part in that terrible day.

Another important character is Demetrius, the Greek slave of Marcellus, who was his true friend and who was eager to find a way to heal Marcellus' sick mind. The robe itself was key in that healing process.

This book was interesting for its descriptions of the corrupt government of that time, and of the people who were either slave owners or slaves themselves. The story of people who believed Jesus was God and put their faith in him, in spite of severe persecution, resonates in our day and age.

I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars.

The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer
Becky says: This is another month when reality got in the way of my intentions. I really wanted to read Anne of Green Gables, but June actually turned into my month of previously reads, thanks to the INSPYs. I was a judge for the Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense category, and a whopping four out of five titles that made the shortlist were books I'd already read. (Maybe this means I just have really great taste?) So, I'm choosing to count The Dandelion Field, which is the book that won the INSPY, as my book for this month, even though I read it for the INSPYs and not for this challenge.

The Dandelion Field tells the story of single mom Gin and her teen daughter Raine as they try to build a life in Bannister Falls. It deals with some heavy issues like teen pregnancy, abuse, prejudice, and poverty, but it's also a very enjoyable story to read. And after you read it, you'll definitely want to go right into The Hearts We Mend, which I liked even more!

You can see my 5 star review here, and be sure to check out all the 2016 INSPY winners (and if you want to go even deeper, the shortlisted books)--you can find some great reads to add to your TBR pile!

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Val says: For June's reading challenge, I read (ok, am still reading) Anne of Green Gables.  I've seen the movies (with Megan Follows) approximately eleventy billion times and LOVE them, but I'd only read the book once.

June was a busy month - moving into a new house and closing on the old one plus the wedding of a dear friend meant that there hasn't been much time for reading. But that doesn't mean that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed the time I did spend rereading the first half of this book.  Anne is utterly endearing in her earnestness, her "all in" approach to life and friendships, and her expressions of priceless imagination.  My goal is to carve out some time this weekend to finish the book because I'm always glad after I've spent some minutes/hours with the gentle souls of Avonlea. 5 stars.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Steph says: This is a book that I have read more than any other. This go round is probably somewhere between my 10th and 12th time through the book since picking it up in high school. For years it was the book that I carried in my purse if I wasn’t reading another one. There are so many things I like about this book. Each time I read it there is some nuance that I notice for the first time. When I first picked up the book I loved the sarcasm and wit that Austen used to describe the ridiculousness in society on page one. Then I loved Lizzie and the way that she knew who she was and how she would stick to her guns against whatever the world might say otherwise. Then I loved the bond between sisters, between Lizzie and Mr. Bennet, between Collins and his benefactress Lady Catherine.

But what stuck with me the most is what I first loved about the leading lady—the way she could laugh at the ridiculous side of life. In the first few pages, Lizzie and company are at a ball. She overhears Darcy calling her “tolerable” and refuse to dance with her.  Her response, in the words of Austen, “She told the story, however, with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous.”  Rather than allowing her worth to be diminished by the opinion of others, she laughs at the ridiculousness of the situation and lives life to the fullest. I admire that so much, probably because it is very much how I would like to handle things.

As always, I would give Pride and Prejudice 5 stars. I loved it when I first read it, and I still love it now. It’s a great book for a glimpse at family life, ridiculous people, the bonds of friendship, and how everyone is a little bit stupid when it comes to love.

If you've read any of these books, we'd love to know your thoughts! Be sure to join us again at the end of the month--we're reading books that were published before we were born.


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