Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Edith and the Mysterious Stranger: Review and Giveaway

It was an offer I couldn't refuse.

Having read the first book, Melinda and the Wild West, I looked forward to continuing my adventures with the second book in this series by Linda Weaver Clarke, Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, published in 2008. When the author graciously offered to send it to me, I jumped at the chance.

Set in 1904, this story takes place seven years after the end of the first book. Melinda is "with child", and having a difficult pregnancy. She's supposed to stay in bed and off her feet as much as possible, although she can't stand the restrictions. Her cousin, Edith, a nurse living in Salt Lake City, Utah, decides to visit her parents in Idaho and help Melinda get through her precarious pregnancy.

While caring for her cousin in Paris, Idaho, beautiful and "spunky" Edith attracts the attention of more than one suitor. Whereas Melinda and the Wild West focuses on the romance between Melinda and Gilbert, this book focuses on multiple romances. The first is the continued romance between Melinda and Gilbert, married now and more in love than ever. There's also a budding romance between Jenny and her father's young helper, David. Last but not least, admirers have taken a romantic interest in Edith. The first is Henry, a school administrator, who's educated and polite, but who believes a woman's place is in the home. Also interested in Edith is Joseph, a farmer and cowhand, who's self-educated and plays the guitar. But Edith is extremely picky when it comes to men.
"Many men had courted Edith, but she inevitably found fault with each one. Either he was too shy or too bold, too ignorant or too proud, too arrogant or too quiet, too short or too tall, too old or too young."
~Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, Linda Weaver Clarke
Edith begins to get letters from a "mysterious stranger", and she shares these romantic letters with Melinda. The author based this story around the courtship of her parents, who wrote letters to each other before they ever met.

As with the first book, history is woven into the story. I learned that Irish immigrants brought the concept of dressing up on Halloween to America, and about the opening of the New York subway in 1904, a response to the terrible blizzard of 1888. An important aspect of this book, also evident in the first book, is the value of equality between the sexes, the emergence of early feminism, and the right to vote in some states. In these books, the central women have professions. Melinda is a teacher and Edith is a singer and a nurse. Traditional women's work--taking care of children and a home--is also appreciated and valued as real work. Even though his tone is stern, what Gilbert says here made me cheer:
'Don't talk to me about these so-called wifely duties. If a man can't help with the household chores, then what kind of husband is he, anyway? I tell you this, I enjoy helping and serving whenever I can. A man who comes in the house after his job is done and then sits down to read a newspaper while his wife is fixing the meal is no example of a husband who truly loves his wife. Why can't a husband help? Is there a written law that wives should wait on their husbands? I don't think so.'
~Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, Linda Weaver Clarke
This book is an enticing combination of genres--Wild West, historical fiction, romance, Christian, mystery--that any reader age twelve and older should enjoy. I certainly did, and look forward to reading the third novel in the series, Jenny's Dream. Linda Weaver Clarke's books are fun to read, and full of adventure and romance.

Exciting news! The author is giving away one autographed copy of Edith and the Mysterious Stranger.
  • To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment after this post.
  • For an extra chance at winning, become a follower of this blog. If you're already a follower, please indicate that in your comment.
  • For an additional chance, post about this giveaway on your blog or Twitter, and let me know.
Enter by Sunday, November 8, 5PM PST. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Monday, November 9.


  1. Great review - this sounds like a fantastic book! I would love to be entered in the giveaway.


    I am a follower.

  2. This sounds like a fun series Suko. I like that the author weaves history into it. And that theres love letters included with the romance, theres nothing sweeter than love letters :)
    I like that quote about wifely duties!
    Great review!

  3. This sounds like a very interesting book-for some reason I have never been yet drawn to read a historical novel set in the American west -excellant review

  4. SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT BOOK!! I really would Love to win this intriguing novel. Please enter me in the contest!

  5. Wow! i am so glad you got to the 2nd book as well. I remember your review of the 1st one..and I liked that one too.

    Enter me in this giveaway!
    givingreadingachance AT gmail.com

    I am a follower, you know right :)

  6. I love the quote on your sidebar-

    "What makes the desert beautiful", says the little prince, "is that somewhere it hides a well."
    ~The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  7. Gilbert's my kind of man, too! This sounds like a great book. Would love to read it!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting, Suko!.

  8. This series of books sounds fascinating to me, and I loved both of these reviews. I like that there is an element of historical accuracy in them, and that you can learn a lot while still enjoying the story. They sound like great books, and I'd love to be entered in your giveaway.


    I am a follower as well!

  9. I am currently reading Melinda and the Wild West which I won earlier this month. I absolutely love it. Based on your review of this second book, I know that I would love it also. Linda Weaver Clark knows how to combine history with women's issues and a little romance.

    Please enter me in this great giveaway.

    bstilwell12 at comcast dot net

  10. I tweeted about this giveaway.

    I am already a follower of your blog.

    bstilwell12 at comcast dot net

  11. Wow! Many of you have already commented (thanks!) and will be entered in this giveaway.

    More comments welcomed of course. :)

  12. Thanks for another great review Suko. This sounds like a fabulous series.

  13. I have never read anything by this author but this looks super! I love historical romance! I'm going to add these books to my wishlist right now!

    I'm an old follower ;-)

    xoxo~ Renee

  14. Hi, Suko! I recently read Melinda and the Wild West, and I would love to continue the story with "Edith". I would encourage everyone who loves historical detail and thoughtful characterization to become a follower of Linda Weaver Clarke. When she tells a story, you feel as though she is telling it directly to you! If you start with "Melinda", you will be hooked and have to read the rest of the series!

    I am a new follower : )
    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  15. Thank you for dropping by All GOD's creatures.
    I am going to join to follow your blog. I look forward to getting to know you.

  16. Kim, thank you!

    Renee, good luck!

    Virginia C, you are so right. Linda Weaver Clarke is an excellent storyteller. I may read the entire Bear Lake series! :)

    Andrea, thanks so much for stopping by. :)

  17. This really sounds pretty great; please enter me:

    bibliophilebythesea AT gmail DOT com thanks

  18. I LOVE these books!! I've finished the 4th and 5th book of the series and will hopefully be posting reviews for them over the weekend (First 3 reviewed at my blog too). "Jenny's Dream" is my favorite of the 5...so enjoy!!! Linda Weaver Clarke is a great author and person!!!
    (you don't need to enter me.already have the book)


  19. Thanks for another great review.

    I am a follower of your blog & would like to be added to your drawing.

    Helen Kiker

  20. Great review - I have Melinda and the Wild West and I'd love to have Edith.


    clenna at aol dot com

  21. Hello Susan. Thanks for such a great review. One thing that I love about your reviews is that you put quotes from the book. I love that. Quotes help others to get into the mood of the novel.

  22. Diane, Jay, Helen, Clenna, and Mystica, thanks so much for stopping by!

    Allison, I can't wait to read Jenny's Dream after your endorsement. I'll stop by your site soon to read your reviews of this series.

    Linda, thanks! Quotes do help others get into the mood of a novel. Well-said.

    More comments are welcomed!

  23. I have the first book and it is next on my reading list, so I'd love to win this one. Thanks for the chance!

  24. I tweeted this giveaway!


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