It Takes A Village

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I thoroughly enjoyed “Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes” by Betsy Woodman.  A fictional book about a small village in India during the 1960’s, full of color and character. I really enjoyed the glossary for the language of India in the back of the book. It is frustrating in books when you don’t know the word meanings.

This author spent ten years, as a child in India, with her sisters and diplomat parents. Ms. Woodman’s best  childhood friend was a Muslim princess and they also lived next door to neighbors who kept a tiger in the back yard, as a gift for Jacqueline Kennedy! Her father’s approach to diplomacy was to make friends, and make friends they did! Her colorful life will be the foundation for a promising new series.

Jana (Janet) Laird decides to retire in a faraway Indian hill station, left to her by her grandfather, rather than Scotland, where her son resides. She moves in with her cheeky parrot, Mr. Ganguly and a cast of endearing villagers. I found the book a bit slow in the beginning. This isn’t a page turner, but more a meandering read. Pull up a blanket, a cup of tea and enjoy.

Speaking of which, I also enjoyed “The Color of Tea” by Hannah Tunnicliffe. A married couple transfers from London to Macau, China, loaded with emotional baggage. Grace and Peter are forced to tackle infertility, infidelity and the ghost of Grace’s mom, in a culture far from their own. Grace decides to open a small cafe to escape her unspoken grief and meets a wonderful cast of female characters. The only thing I didn’t like were the letters to her mom that are intermingled throughout the story, I found them distracting.

This author writes in tight, short sentences but is wonderfully descriptive about the sights and sounds of Macau. Both stories reminded me of how important the people we surround ourselves with are; and how much they can influence our experience… if we let them. It was a nice trip around the world!

“The Evolution of Faith” by Philip Gulley was as good as I expected. I’ve read all of his other work and really admire the way he cuts through all the crap and gets to the point about the problems most people have with Christianity today. If you have ever had questions about what it is to be a universalist, this is the book for you.

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