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“As a child Amanda Lindhout escaped from her bleak, impoverished surroundings by immersing herself in the wonders and exotic locales in old National Geographic magazines she bought for herself with scrounged small change. As a young adult she found that she could make good money as a cocktail waitress and take herself to these same far away places for weeks and months at a stretch. Fearless, curious, hungry for experience and adventure she traveled the world, visiting dozens of countries, including Pakistan, Sudan, and Syria, making friends, taking lovers, taking risks, and making mistakes. It was when she decided to go to Somalia, 'the most dangerous place on earth', and convinced a former lover to join her there, that her hunger for adventure took her too far. Amanda and her friend Nigel were kidnapped for ransom and held in unspeakably awful conditions for over a year. Her memoir, A HOUSE IN THE SKY, recounts her ordeal, telling a tale of desperate men and boys who see the payoff as a way out of their own impossible circumstances, as Amanda and Nigel become weak, desperate and despairing, struggling to survive the horrific conditions in which they find themselves.
As hard as A HOUSE IN THE SKY was to read, I could not put it down. Beautifully told, with a happy outcome, Amanda Lindhout and her gifted co-author Sara Corbett take the reader to places one wouldn't likely find in National Geographic yet are so important to know about.”
— Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO
Isla Morley's The Last Blue takes place mainly in 1937 and a bit in the 1970s and is about Havens, a struggling photographer and his reporter sent by Roosevelt to document America’s working class. They are sent to Appalachia and encounter elusive-for-a-reason siblings who are Blue people. The photographer is instantly smitten, falls (literally) head over heels for Jubilee and tries to keep quiet about these folks in the hollers who are “different”. This historical fiction novel indicates clearly the depths of hatred some “right-colored” people have for people who are “different” (poverty, upbringing, skin color) from themselves but is finally, a luminous love story, with Havens learning to let go as Jubilee learns to stand up for herself. When I slow down my reading as I enter the last chapters of a book, I just want to stay within this book’s “walls” and not escape to the real world. - reviewed by Maureen