A fulfilling story about the efforts of one man to triumph over the corruption of big business.

NORBURY'S CONFESSION

A STORY OF THE ASBESTOS INDUSTRY IN AMERICA

A saga of two families from diverse geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds whose lives intersect because of the 20th-century asbestos scourge.

Privileged Robert Norbury has perfected the art of living well without doing a bit of work. His wealthy but distant parents enable his comfortable lifestyle…until his father discovers that he farms out his legal work to give himself more time to golf, and he summarily disinherits his loafing son. Robert, confident that he will win back his father, is stunned when his father succumbs to a heart attack or stroke. Robert changes his ways when his younger brother, an executive at Pittman-Simons, hires him as counsel. The newly impoverished son does everything in his power (he even hires some thugs) to ensure the financial well-being of his new employer. Despite his multitude of faults, bordering on the sociopathic, Robert remains likable; his charms make up for his flaws. In contrast, hundreds of miles away in Minnesota, the Lambie family lives simply on a farm outside Minneapolis. In the post–World War II boom years, Bill Lambie works in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. On at least one construction site, asbestos fibers rain down on him. Bill’s diagnosis of mesothelioma guarantees these two families will meet, and the fortunes of Pittman-Simons will change. Spanning the majority of the 20th century (and tracing the Norbury history back to 1815 Britain), the novel covers not just the history of asbestos use in the U.S., but World Wars I and II and accompanying social changes. The abundance of back story and tangents work well, and the inevitable lawsuit seems almost anticlimactic. The authors list the multitude of characters, many of whom are not necessary, in the back of the book (along with family trees). The narrative is far less political than the subtitle suggests and is an engrossing read.

A fulfilling story about the efforts of one man to triumph over the corruption of big business.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0964475175

Page Count: 330

Publisher: Louis Hubbard Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2012

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A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

BROTHERS IN ARMS

BLUFORD HIGH SERIES #9

In the ninth book in the Bluford young-adult series, a young Latino man walks away from violence—but at great personal cost.

In a large Southern California city, 16-year-old Martin Luna hangs out on the fringes of gang life. He’s disaffected, fatherless and increasingly drawn into the orbit of the older, rougher Frankie. When a stray bullet kills Martin’s adored 8-year-old brother, Huero, Martin seems to be heading into a life of crime. But Martin’s mother, determined not to lose another son, moves him to another neighborhood—the fictional town of Bluford, where he attends the racially diverse Bluford High. At his new school, the still-grieving Martin quickly makes enemies and gets into trouble. But he also makes friends with a kind English teacher and catches the eye of Vicky, a smart, pretty and outgoing Bluford student. Martin’s first-person narration supplies much of the book’s power. His dialogue is plain, but realistic and believable, and the authors wisely avoid the temptation to lard his speech with dated and potentially embarrassing slang. The author draws a vivid and affecting picture of Martin’s pain and confusion, bringing a tight-lipped teenager to life. In fact, Martin’s character is so well drawn that when he realizes the truth about his friend Frankie, readers won’t feel as if they are watching an after-school special, but as though they are observing the natural progression of Martin’s personal growth. This short novel appears to be aimed at urban teens who don’t often see their neighborhoods portrayed in young-adult fiction, but its sophisticated characters and affecting story will likely have much wider appeal.

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-1591940173

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

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A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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