Book Review: The Greenest Branch by P.K. Adams

the greenest branch pk adams book review

The synopsis on the back of the book:

The year is 1115, and Germany is torn apart by a conflict between the Emperor and the Pope over who should have the right to appoint bishops and control the empire’s vast estates. In that atmosphere, young Hildegard is sent to the Abbey of St. Disibod in the Rhineland as her parents’ gift to the Church in accordance with a custom known as the tithe. 

Hildegard has a deep love of nature and a knowledge of herbal healing that might make more than one Church official suspicious of witchery, and she hopes to purse medical studies at St. Disibod. But no sooner does she settle into her new life than she finds out that as a girl she will not be allowed to attend the monastic school or use the abbey’s library; instead, she must stay at the women’s convent, isolated from the rest of the community and from the town. 

When Hildegard’s reputation starts to spread throughout the Rhineland, Helenger’s persecution escalates as he fears losing control over the women’s community. But that is not the only challenge she must grapple with. She has also developed feelings for Volmar, a fellow Benedictine novice, that force Hildegard to re-examine the fundamental assumptions she has made about her life. Is the practice of medicine within the monastic confines her true calling, or is a quiet existence of domestic contentment more desirable? 

  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Published: 6/18
  • Pages: 279
  • Goodreads Rating: 4.75 Stars
the greenest branch p.k. adams book review
The world [is] a whole, every element connected, all infused with vital energy of creation.
— Hildegard

Why I Chose This Book

P.K. Adams reached out to me to review her book. I have never read a book set during the 12th century so of course, I signed up to see what it's all about! 

First Initial Thoughts

Hildegard is a 10-year-old girl in a well to do family and because she is the 10th child in the family, she must follow the tithe custom. A tithe is where the 10th child in a family will go to a convent and serve the Lord for the rest of their days. I couldn't imagine being 10 years old and being separated from your family (most likely to never see them again) to go serve the Lord in a convent. And not only that never see the outside world, to never go wander the woods or experience life in the village. Hildegard was very mature for her age but again she was just a child. 

She had to deal with a lot of challenges when she first came there. She didn't really understand all of it and struggled with many of the daily rituals. She also experienced Sister Jutta Self Flagillating herself. That must of been traumatizing. To not fully understand why she was doing that and to be worried for her at the same time. Soon Hildegard is inflicted with horrible headaches - or what we now know them as Migraines. 

Brother Wigbert is the convent physician. I think without him Hildegard would be stuck in that convent inside all the time. He grew attached to Hildegard when she came to the infirmary when she became sick with her migraines. He persuaded the parish to let Hildegard to study alongside him. I really liked Wigbert - he was a forward thinker and I liked that about him. 

   Photo Via How Stuff Works

Photo Via How Stuff Works

Setting

It is hard to imagine what life was like during this time. P.K. Adams did her research and definitely created a world that we could visualize in our mind. I kind of know what a convent is like - from books and movies but Adams introduced us to the world of St. Disabod and what it was like to live in one in the 12th century. 

It is the natural order of things…that women should rear children since they are the gentler and more nurturing of the sexes. …I pondered this, frowning. But if women are better at caring for others, they should make better doctors, too, shouldn’t they?
— Wigbert and Hildegard

Final Thoughts

This book moved slowly but covered A LOT in the short pages. Typically when the story moves slowly I get bored quickly. However, with this book it was different. P.K. Adams had a way of telling the story that was engaging and inspiring. It made me want to keep going to see what Hildegard was up to on a daily basis. 

Hildegard faced tremendous criticism for her wanting to be a physician. For one, women were not expected to do anything but bear children and be a wife. It was literally unheard of women having a career. She was far ahead of her time. She was a bright person and very determined to create a life of her own. 

This was also based on a true story. Hildegard was a real person. Her painting is above. Even though some parts may be fictional, her life story was true. When I read true stories I find them to be very inspiring. Especially in the case of Hildegard. It's inspiring for me to see a lady of her time, despite adversity, created a life she wanted despite what others said. It inspires me to follow suit! 

Would I Recommend? 

Definitely! It's not labeled as a Christian book but it is set in a convent so please bear in mind that there is a lot of religious content. I think anyone interested in this time period and what life was like in a convent will really enjoy this book. 

 

You can purchase the book ---> HERE

Do you also find the 12th century interesting and completely foreign as well? I hope you check out the book to read! 

the caffeinated bibliophile

NOTE: I was sent this book to review by the author. All opinions are my own. 

Taste of Tea June Subscription Box Review

taste of tea june subscription box review

I love tea or any caffeinated drink that is. As I am sure you can guess from the title of this blog. Tea and books just go hand in hand! Taste of Tea reached out to me to review their subscription box. I am so excited to go over their box and introduce you to their teas. I also have given a few suggestions on what books to pair with each drink! 

So what is Taste of Tea all about? Taste of Tea brings you 4 different teas each month from all around the world. And not just any tea as well. They only source the best with all natural ingredients. Each shipment comes with 60 grams of tea or about 25 cups of tea. 

Specifics: 

  • Starts at: $15
  • Ships on: The 10th of every month. Cutoff Date for next month delivery is 2 business days before the last day of the month. 
  • They also do have an online shop so if you like one of their teas you can buy it again! 

Here are the teas included in this month's shipment

Jasmine W/Flowers. This is a tea mixed with Green and Jasmine tea. 

This tea definitely has a green tea flavor to it but with a hint of floral (probably coming from the Jasmine). I really enjoyed this one. It would be perfect for a morning or afternoon tea. This was my second favorite! 

I think this tea would suit a mystery or fantasy book well! Recommended Books: 

Provence Rooibos. A blend of lavender, rose, and different kinds of berries. 

This tea was very sweet with hints of floral notes. I found this tea to be strong- so if you are new to tea, this might not be the right choice at first. I did really enjoy it, however. 

I think this tea would suit a romance book perfectly! Recommended Books: 

Serenity Herbal. This is a blend of mint, spearmint leaves, rose, ginger, and other herbs. This tea has a very calming effect. 

This tea was very minty and fresh. It has a soothing and calming effect as well. This tea is perfect for the evening. This was probably my favorite out of the four! 

I think any kind of redeeming story would suit this tea wonderfully. Recommended Books: 

Very Berry Herb and Fruit. A tea deep with berry notes infused with notes of burgundy. This tea has a good strength to it. 

This is the only tea that I didn't like. I am not a big fruity tea kind of person. Which is odd because I love fruit! I just found this to be too sweet and fruity for my taste. However, those that like this kind of tea will love it- and it's perfect for fall! 

Therefore, I think any Biblical story or book with a strong female lead would pair perfectly! Recommended Books: 

taste of tea june subscription box

 

Verdict: 

I really like this subscription. It has a wide variety of teas in the box so you can try new flavors every month. The box is shipped and packaged nicely. Nothing was spilled or spoiled. You will need to have some kind of tea container as the tea comes in plastic bags that wouldn't keep it fresh for too long. The value is great too- you get 25 cups of tea for $15. That averages out to be 1.70 per cup. Which isn't too bad! 

 

I hope you found that helpful and are interested in purchasing their box. 

You can subscribe to their box ---> HERE

Are you also a tea lover? If so share your favorite kinds in the comments! 

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Book Review: Forsaking All Other by Catherine Meyrick

forsaking all other book review Catherine Meyrick
Forsaking All Other Blog Tour Banner

The synopsis on the back of the book: 

Love is no game for women; the price is far too high.

England 1585.

Bess Stoughton, waiting woman to the well-connected Lady Allingbourne, has discovered that her father is arranging for her to marry an elderly neighbour. Normally obedient Bess rebels and wrests from her father a year’s grace to find a husband more to her liking.

Edmund Wyard, a taciturn and scarred veteran of England’s campaign in Ireland, is attempting to ignore the pressure from his family to find a suitable wife as he prepares to join the Earl of Leicester’s army in the Netherlands.

Although Bess and Edmund are drawn to each other, they are aware that they can have nothing more than friendship. Bess knows that Edmund’s wealth and family connections place him beyond her reach. And Edmund, with his well-honed sense of duty, has never considered that he could follow his own wishes. Until now.

With England on the brink of war and fear of Catholic plots extending even into Lady Allingbourne’s household, time is running out for both of them.

You can read the first chapter here.

The beautiful cover for the novel was designed by Jennifer Quinlan of Historical Fiction Book Covers

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2018
  • Courante Publishing
  • eBook & Print; 291 Pages
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
Forsaking all other catherine meyrick book review
Tomorrow the fox will come to town.
Keep, keep, keep, keep, keep.
Tomorrow the fox will come to town
To keep you all well there.
— Tomorrow the fox will come to town (Thomas Ravenscroft)

Why I Chose This Book

I am part of the Historical Fiction Book Tour program. When I was sent an email about this book, I knew I had to read it. I always love a good story set during Tudor times. 

First Initial Thoughts

First off, how gorgeous is this cover?! I really liked the fact that the main lady on the cover (which I am assuming is Bess) is dressed in the traditional wear of that time. It gave me confidence that this was going to be a well researched and historical book. 

Bess is a young woman who is a waiting woman for Lady Allingbourne. When returns home for a visit she is surprised to learn that her father has arranged a marriage between her and her elderly neighbor, Master Litchfield. Yep- an elderly man - old enough to be her grandfather. The part in the story when they first talk alone with each other, and the description Bess gives Master Litchfield, and his reaction towards her, let's just say.... 

Girl, I don't blame you for running away back to Lady Allingbourne. I grew attached to Bess right away. She was a dutiful daughter but she also wanted a life of her own. She didn't want to marry a man she did not love. She was spunky and intelligent. She was not a typical woman of that time who just desired to marry and have children. She wanted more. 

Edmund is a young man who is pressured to marry from her mother. However, he wants none of it. He would rather fulfill a military life. He also didn't find any attraction towards the women his mother picked. He didn't find them wanting to be spontaneous or engage in an intellectual conversation. 

Setting

What I love about this book is the historical accuracy. Catherine really did her research about the particular time period. You get a good visual sense of what it was really like during that time, and I appreciated that! 

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
— Ephesians 5:31

Final Thoughts

This story emphasizes the hardships woman had to go through during this time. They often had to marry for financial or political reasons. They also got married very young, around age 14-15. I couldn't imagine living that kind of life. 

I really liked Bess and Edmund's love story. I found that it wasn't steamy or the typical romance, but one of trust, admiration, and warming. Bess was just the woman Edmund wanted. Their first meeting was kind of hilarious and I cherished those pages! 

Even though this story was a fictional one, the historical occurrences were true. During this time England was on the brink of war and the terror of the Papist. It was a time when both Catholics and Protestants were tortured and punished. It was a fearful time and tumultuous time.

I appreciated that it wasn't strictly a romance story. There was political intrigue with daily Tudor life in the court and countryside. I always enjoy a rich engaging story, and this was it! 

Would I Recommend? 

Yes definitely! Although this isn't a Christian historical fiction, it is still a clean read. I would rate it a PG-13. I absolutely enjoyed this story and think that anybody interested in this time period would love this story as swell. 

About The Author

Catherine Meyrick

Catherine Meyrick is a writer of historical fiction with a particular love of Elizabethan England. Her stories weave fictional characters into the gaps within the historical record – tales of ordinary people who are very much men and women of their time, yet in so many ways not unlike ourselves.

Although she grew up in regional Victoria, Australia, she has lived all her adult life in Melbourne. She has worked as a nurse, a tax assessor and finally a librarian. She has a Master of Arts in history and is also a family history obsessive.

For more information, please visit Catherine Meyrick’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

GIVEAWAY TIME!! 

Win one of 2 paperback copies of Forsaking All Other! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

 

You can purchase the book here: 

AMAZON (KINDLE) | KINDLE (PAPERBACK) | BARNES AND NOBLE | KOBO

Do you also love a good story set during the Tudor times? 

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Children's Book Review: Daniel in the Lion's Den & Miriam and Pharaoh's Daughter by W.C. Bauers

I usually don't review Children's books on here but when these two books were delivered on my door by the postman I couldn't resist sharing them! They are just too adorable. I know that some of my readers have children or know those with children, so I know that some may find these useful! 

Tiny Bible Tales, a series of board books, shares the stories of the Bible's bravest heroes with gentle, rhyming text and gorgeous illustrations.

  • Genre: Christian Children
  • Ages: 5-7
  • Pages: 14
  • Published: 5/22/17

Daniel in the Lion's Den

daniel in the lion's den by w.c. bauers

Synopsis:

When Daniel is thrown into the lion's den, it will take all of his prayer and faith to save him. This board book combines quiet, rhyming text with simple and colorful art to tell one of the Bible's most treasured stories.

Miriam and Pharaoh's Daughter 

miriam and pharoh's daughter w.c bauers

Synopsis: 

To save baby Moses, Miriam and her mother place him in a basket and set him adrift on the river. As Miriam watches from the reeds, she hopes that someone will find and rescue him. And someone does--Pharaoh's daughter! This board book combines quiet, rhyming text with simple and colorful art to tell one of the Bible's most treasured stories.

What I Thought: 

Aren't these books just adorable?! The cover and interior art are just too cute for words. They are colorful, fun, and entertaining for children. I really appreciate that there are more illustrations than text so that children can get a visual sense of the story. I remember when I was a child I remembered the illustrations more than the written word. 

These books are great for children to be introduced to the people of the Bible and their stories. I remember when I was a child it was overwhelming learning about all the people and stories of the Bible in Sunday School. These books would definitely make it more easy and fun! 

Would I Recommend?

Yes! I think any little girl or boy would cherish these books! 

 

Other Tiny Bible Books By W.C. Bauers

 

Do you also love Children's books - even as an adult? Share in the comments! 

the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I was sent these books by the publisher to review. All opinions are my own.