You Carried Me by Melissa Ohden Review

/ June 16, 2018
Published UK Monarch Books, October 2017
USA Plough Publishing House, January 2017  
Print and Ebook 

What happens when an abortion survivor finds her birth mother, who never knew her daughter was alive?

Melissa Ohden is fourteen when she learns she is the survivor of a botched abortion. In this intimate memoir she details for the first time her search for her biological parents, and her own journey from anger and shame to faith and empowerment.

After a decade-long search Melissa finally locates her birth father and writes to extend forgiveness, only to learn that he has died without answering her burning questions. Melissa becomes a mother herself in the very hospital where she was aborted. This experience transforms her attitude toward women who have had abortions, as does the miscarriage of her only son and the birth of a second daughter with complex health issues. But could anything prepare her for the day she finally meets her birth mother and hears her side of their story?

This intensely personal story of love and redemption illumines the powerful bond between mother and child that can overcome all odds.

My Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


I don't often read biographies, but chose this one because it sounded so interesting. Indeed it was. The writing style might not always be according to everyone's taste, but Mrs Ohden's story is one that needs to be told.

Abortion is clearly one of the great taboos of our day: survivors who share their story should not be attacked and despised in the way Melissa has been.
Sadly, this will always happen as long as stories like hers prick the collective conscience. Especially when that involves highlighting the actions of the popular: such as the advert Melissa took part in making which revealed how Senator Barack Obama voted 'to deny basic constitutional rights to babies born alive after failed abortions' four times.

Yet her story also cannot fail to incite compassion, rather that judgement. Often, this whole subject is reduced to a simple matter of 'choice' by people on both sides of the ideological divide. In fact, many women and young girls are coerced or pressurized by those more powerful than them, including parents, or 'deceived' into thinking that 'the price of their happiness is the life of their child'. These women are also victims.
It makes you think that abortion is not simply an act of violence: it is the ultimate abuse of power over the powerless. Both women and their unborn children.

Above all, this is the story of a survivor, who not only survived, but learned to forgive, overcome and find what she most wanted in the end. It carries many important lessons to impart to the rest of us. Recommended.

Published in the UK by Monarch/Lion Hudson, from whom I requested the PDF on Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive one and all opinions expressed are my own.

Published UK Monarch Books, October 2017
USA Plough Publishing House, January 2017  
Print and Ebook 

What happens when an abortion survivor finds her birth mother, who never knew her daughter was alive?

Melissa Ohden is fourteen when she learns she is the survivor of a botched abortion. In this intimate memoir she details for the first time her search for her biological parents, and her own journey from anger and shame to faith and empowerment.

After a decade-long search Melissa finally locates her birth father and writes to extend forgiveness, only to learn that he has died without answering her burning questions. Melissa becomes a mother herself in the very hospital where she was aborted. This experience transforms her attitude toward women who have had abortions, as does the miscarriage of her only son and the birth of a second daughter with complex health issues. But could anything prepare her for the day she finally meets her birth mother and hears her side of their story?

This intensely personal story of love and redemption illumines the powerful bond between mother and child that can overcome all odds.

My Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


I don't often read biographies, but chose this one because it sounded so interesting. Indeed it was. The writing style might not always be according to everyone's taste, but Mrs Ohden's story is one that needs to be told.

Abortion is clearly one of the great taboos of our day: survivors who share their story should not be attacked and despised in the way Melissa has been.
Sadly, this will always happen as long as stories like hers prick the collective conscience. Especially when that involves highlighting the actions of the popular: such as the advert Melissa took part in making which revealed how Senator Barack Obama voted 'to deny basic constitutional rights to babies born alive after failed abortions' four times.

Yet her story also cannot fail to incite compassion, rather that judgement. Often, this whole subject is reduced to a simple matter of 'choice' by people on both sides of the ideological divide. In fact, many women and young girls are coerced or pressurized by those more powerful than them, including parents, or 'deceived' into thinking that 'the price of their happiness is the life of their child'. These women are also victims.
It makes you think that abortion is not simply an act of violence: it is the ultimate abuse of power over the powerless. Both women and their unborn children.

Above all, this is the story of a survivor, who not only survived, but learned to forgive, overcome and find what she most wanted in the end. It carries many important lessons to impart to the rest of us. Recommended.

Published in the UK by Monarch/Lion Hudson, from whom I requested the PDF on Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive one and all opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading
That time of the week again! Today I am featuring a non-fiction book. I don't tend to read much non-fiction except history and poetry: or the other genre which I like, which is biographies and autobiographies.

I requested this one on Netgalley months ago, and I've only just recently started reading it. In fact, I forgot to send it my my Kindle, and had to download it again. 

You Carried Me by Melissa Ohden 

Melissa Ohden is fourteen when she learns she is the survivor of a botched abortion. In this intimate memoir she details for the first time her search for her biological parents, and her own journey from anger and shame to faith and empowerment.

After a decade-long search Melissa finally locates her birth father and writes to extend forgiveness, only to learn that he has died without answering her burning questions. Melissa becomes a mother herself in the very hospital where she was aborted. This experience transforms her attitude toward women who have had abortions, as does the miscarriage of her only son and the birth of a second daughter with complex health issues. But could anything prepare her for the day she finally meets her birth mother and hears her side of their story? 

This intensely personal story of love and redemption illumines the powerful bond between mother and child that can overcome all odds.



The first two lines read:
A Thick Manila Envelope arrived at my home in Sioux City with the afternoon mail one sunny day in May 2007.  I knew even without looking at the return address that it came from the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City and contained the medical records that would answer some of the questions I had been agonizing over most of my life.

 Now you can comment with your own First Line, and see what the other members of this group are reading by clicking the Meme 

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Is it already Friday again? The weeks are flying by: and the first day of June this year. There are 4 birthdays in my family this month, and father's day in the UK falls in June as well. Its going to be so busy. 

Today, I am including another book that I have had on my Kindle Cloud reader for years, as I am attempting to clear my Kindle backlog. I did not buy it directly from Amazon, but from the Publisher's website, because Amazon UK's price was extortionate.
Although its fantasy, Dawnsinger by Janalyn Voigt is supposed to be inspired by 13th century English history. 

Dawnsinger, Tales of Faeraven: 1

The High Queen is dying... At the royal summons, Shae mounts a wingabeast and soars through the air to the high hold of Faeraven, where all is not as it seems. Visions warn her of danger, and a dark soul touches hers in the night. When she encounters an attractive but disturbing musician, her wayward heart awakens. But then there is Kai, a guardian of Faeraven and of Shae. 

Secrets bind him to her, and her safety lies at the center of every decision he makes. On a desperate journey fraught with peril and the unknown, they battle warlike garns, waevens, ferocious raptors, and the wraiths of their own regrets. Yet, they must endure the campaign long enough to release the DawnKing and the salvation he offers to a divided land. To prevail, each must learn that sometimes victory comes only through surrender.



The first two lines read:
"The crosswind caught Kai's wingabeast as lightning flared too near. Shrilling, the winged horse tilted in flight, and Kai's stomach lurched'.

I may not be posting much this month, or my postings may be late, because I have a lot of commitments coming up.

As usual though, you can comment with your own First Line, and click the meme below to see what other members of the group are reading. 

https://hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com/category/first-line-fridays/


Sword and Cross Chronicle #1
HopeKnight Press, July 9th 2015, 218 Pages 
Print and Ebook 


 With the death of her husband, independent Lady Breanna Durville is finally free of male control and happily waits the birth of her child…alone. But her late husband’s cousin, Lord de Beaufou has come to claim his rights to Durville Keep and to her hand in marriage. If that is not enough to deal with, her brother has sent a peasant to watch over her. She has but one plan. Get rid of them both!

Tormented by is past, Royce Canwell leaves the unrest in the Holy Land and returns to England to fulfill an oath to a friend—go to Durville Keep and ensure all is well with the man’s sister. But upon arrival Royce discovers Lady Breanna’s situation is more precarious than he expected. Though he longs for a simple life in which to heal his wounded soul, he finds himself sacrificing his hopes, his dreams, and even his heart to give Lady Breanna the future she wants and deserves.

My Thoughts: ⭐⭐⭐


This was a frustrating book, so full of contradictions. I neither totally loved it nor entirely hated it, and it did improve towards the end, but there were a lot of things which annoyed me.

For a start the heroine Breanna. I think with hindsight that I found her an inconsistent character. She's supposed to be a strong and independent woman: in fact so much so that she does not even have an Steward, an official who was essential to the day to day running of a Medieval estate. Instead she does all the accounts herself, and takes a personal interest in the finer points of farming. Something which Medieval Aristocrats would not have been personally involved in.
So she's stressed out an doesn't have much time: but doesn't need a man's help, thankyou very much!

She's also supposed to be so 'feisty' and strong that could flatten a man with a single punch, and at one points, picks up a bench and hits a male character with it. Which would suggest she possessed a remarkable degree of physical strength.
Yet for all this, she was apparently 'ruled' by a husband for years, and is virtually helpless against the machinations of the villain.

I don't accept that her helplessness was the result of repressive social customs which stripped her of power. As a noble widow, she should not have lost everything: she would be entitled to dower. Contrary to what the characters thought, a girl would also have been eligible to inherit: Eleanor of Aquitaine inherited the Duchy of Aquitaine from her father.

The passage about the villain trying to undermine her with allegations of witchcraft really got to me: spreading rumours that she was a witch because she put benches in the chapel. Seriously? Like Medieval people thought chairs were of the Devil or something. Even the part about holding prayers in English did not entirely ring true, unless it was done for the benefit of the servants, since most nobles would have spoken Norman French as their first language.
Yet for all this, a character very publicly announcing that he rejected the tenants of Christianity and making some rather profane statements was no problem but putting benches in the chapel was WITCHCRAFT! 

This novel was given a 'historical' feel with the characters speaking a type of pseudo-archaic English: 'mayhap' and 'methinks' and 'ye', although it was still peppered with modern Americanisms such as 'whomever' and 'smart'. 
As with other such novels the business of the characters was of such import as to warrant personal involvement by the royal family: which seems odd.
Even if a claimant to the estate was a friend of the King, Henry II ruled most of England and a good proportion of France: you'd think he'd have more important things to worry about with than who the widow of a country baron married, and who owned a castle surrounded by a few farms.

Yet for all that: I can understand why such content was included. It was necessary to build the story. Which was did have some well-written scenes with plenty of adventure. Even the romance between Brianna and Royce was interesting , if rather explosive at times. Their tempestuous relationship allowed for some comical moments, if nothing else. After about the midway point I cared enough to keep reading to see how it ended.

So I suppose this book is a good choice if you want a vaguely romance which is vaguely historical and isn't too taxing. Its not bad for a first novel, either.

Sunrise at Normandy #1 
February 6th 2016, 386 Pages
Print, ebook and audio

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a 'Wren' in the Women's Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France--including those of her own family's summer home--in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin's practiced pen with this powerful new series

My Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


 I don’t read a lot of novels set during the Second World War (less than I could count on one hand, probably), but I saw that this one was very popular. Also, one major attraction was that unlike a lot of novels and movies set in this period is that it didn’t just involve on US Army. Sorry everyone, but there is a bit of an American-centric focus in a lot of these things.

I can be a slow reader when it comes to books from Netgalley, so I confess, I cheated and finished this one on audio. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised: the relationship between Dorothy and Wyatt developed slowly from friendship, so it was not instalove. What’s more the protagonists had lives outside the romance. We could read about what they were up to when they weren’t together, which was nice.

Also, the story didn’t get bogged down with details about the Normandy landings and the events of the war. Which is not to say the historical details were ignored, they were just worked well into the story, and all seemed authentic to me. I also liked he treatment of the central themes with two flawed characters who were struggling with personal tragedy and duty.
For one, in increased his faith, and for the other, drove her away. Wyatt was patient and genuine with Dorothy, not preaching at or bashing her, but rather making her think, and allowing for her religious doubts.

My only complaints were the usual Americanisms coming from the British characters. One said ‘gotten’ and another said ‘sidewalk’ at one point. Which was unfortunate but kind of expected.
Overall though, I really enjoyed the book, and would recommend to all lovers of Historical Fiction and WW2 novels.

I requested a copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley/Revell Reads. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
Today I am featuring a book I purchased a few years ago because it related to something I was working on at the time, but did not get around to reading. The author Alfred Duggan was a 'British historian, archeologist and novelist' who died in 1964. He was described as 'one of the best historical novelists' of his century.

Leopards and Lilies is one of his less well known novels, and is out of print except as some older versions, my edition dates from 1975. It small, creased, yellowed, and has a slight hint of that musty book smell.
It bears a mention here that none of this author's books were not explicitly Christian, but they did reflect the religious beliefs and convictions of the periods in which they were set, which in the case of his Medieval novels, would have been Catholic. 
I've also found that novels written before the 1960s tend to me more on the clean side (though not always). 



The first line is rather long, written in the old fashioned style. In fact, I'm going to share the first two lines, because I think the second is interesting too. I hope its not too much to read:

"For more than ten years, since the King returned in defeat from Normandy , England had been restless; order never quite broke down, but in castles and walled towns there had been gatherings of armed men, blustering and exaggerating their strength to overawe their opponents, then dispersing to meet again at some other stronghold of faction. 
Now at last the crisis had come and passed; in may the Exchequer closed and the judges ceased to sit, an official acknowledgement that the country was at war; then in June the King met his enemies in a meadow between Windsor and London, granted all their demands, and to everyone's surprise appeared to be keeping the engagement he had sealed"

Well, that's my rather wordy contribution for the day. 
Now share your own first line or click the button to see what others in the group are reading. 

https://hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com/category/first-line-fridays/


Thomas Nelson, April 10th 2018 
320 Pages 
 Print, Ebook and Audio

Kate’s loyalties bind her to the past. Henry’s loyalties compel him to strive for a better future.

In a landscape torn between tradition and vision, can two souls find the strength to overcome their preconceptions?

Loyalty has been at the heart of the Dearborne family for as long as Kate can remember, but a war is brewing in their small village, one that has the power to rip families asunder—including her own.

Henry Stockton, heir to the Stockton fortune, returns home from three years at war hoping to find a refuge from his haunting memories. Determined to bury the past, he embraces his grandfather’s goals to modernize his family’s wool mill, regardless of the grumblings from the local weavers.

Henry has been warned about the Dearborne family. Kate, too, has been advised to stay far away from the Stocktons, but chance meetings continue to bring her to Henry’s side, blurring the jagged lines between loyalty, justice, and truth. Kate ultimately finds herself with the powerful decision that will forever affect her village’s future. Born on opposite sides of the conflict, Henry and Kate must come together to find a way to create peace for their families, and their village, and their souls—even if it means risking their hearts in the process.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Sarah E Ladd’s first standalone novel was quite marvelous. The cover and description of ‘A Regency Romance’ might give the impression that it’s a quaint and slightly whimsical story when its anything but. In fact, parts of it reminded me of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell- although that was set several decades later. Those who are acquainted with me may know that BBC adaptation of North and South is one of my all-time favourite historical dramas, starring one of my favourite actors.

So that’s a good start. Needless to say, the historical backdrop of the novel made for a lot of drama and intrigue. We refer to the protestors who broke up machinery and attacked mills in the second decade of the nineteenth century as Luddites. Their principal motivation was that they believed the machinery would replace them and take their jobs: and there were also concerns about exploitation of workers who operated said machinery, with small children working long hours in unhealthy conditions.

So, The Weaver’s Daughter is the story of two conflicted characters, overall, I thought it was a beautiful tale about love, duty and friendship in turbulent times with a host of very interesting minor characters who might deserve their own stories, in spite of some rather inconsistent actions and attitudes in places.

It could have been perfect, but there were two issues. One was pointed out by another reviewer, was the characters strange take on morality. Henry’s sister was pregnant outside marriage: yet most of the characters acted as though her lying about being a widow to save her reputation was more objectionable than the sin which got her into that situation in the first place.
The second issue was with certain American speech patterns and mannerisms. There were several references to characters eating with only a fork, in the modern American manner and using words like ‘gotten’ which weren’t common in Britain at the time.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this title via Booklook Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own. My copy has now been added to the shelf with my other Sarah Ladd books to be reread in future.