A Diary's House is about adventure, lost love, and the hope that dreams, even those in the final years of life, can at last prevail. It is of a young boy’s attempt to become a man, the once-lost secrets of a diary, a sweeping romance which transcends time and place. It is more than a boy’s journey into manhood, but the mysteries of so many lives unknowingly intertwined, now brought together in a climatic ending; all from the engrossing world embedded in a forgotten diary; a diary of a woman.
Born in the vast and looming mountains of North Carolina during the 1870’s, Landon Hampshire always remembered the folklore and legendary tales his father told him during his early childhood; about the people of the Kituhwa (Cherokee) and the birth of this tribal nation – an enchanting story he could never forget. Incorporating the aid of an eccentric old French trapper (old man Montague), Landon and his friends set out on an adventure, their initial intention is to discover treasure and become men. But what Landon will eventually come to discover is more than he ever bargained for.
Landon didn't realize his boyhood adventure would yield the incredible journey he ultimately experiences - going down the mysterious and mystical Randola River. At the base of the river is an island even more mysterious than the Randola itself.
The island releases many of its mysterious, yet even many more are created when Landon discovers, on the island, a diary of a young woman who lived forty years prior during the 1830’s (Trail of Tears). The diary entries are hopeful, though haunting. It reveals, in intimate detail, the life and dreams of this very special young girl who is turning into a woman of beauty and adventure, her love for a Cherokee boy, and the trials she will ultimately face. Her story unfolds through the reading of her diary, and Landon suddenly finds himself caught up in a sweeping, empowering world of re-invention and ultimate redemption.
A Diary's House by C. David Murphy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This is an interesting coming of age story. I really enjoyed it.
Landon Hampshire is a very interesting character. He is a thirteen year old son of a well respected family living in Windrow Heights in North Carolina. I really liked this young lad. He is a curious and sensitive boy, but in a hurry to grow up. In the process, he ends up in the biggest adventure of his life.
I was not sure, when I was approached to read this book, whether or not to read it, as this type of story is not my normal genre. I decided to give it a try however, and I was pleasantly surprised because I really did enjoy it. I did find the story a bit slow and laborious, especially at the beginning and I nearly gave up on it, but I kept going. The second half of the story gathers pace and gets quite exciting! I know that people, way back in time, had a totally different attitude and even a more formal speech pattern to today, but I found Landon's "voice" seemed older than it should have been. Granted, this may have been because he was an older man recounting this tale. However, the formal speech did help me get into the time frame better, even though sometimes I felt like I was wading in treacle and feeling a bit lost. The scenes were written with a wonderful descriptiveness that brought it to life. I really loved the Randola raft scene; it was exciting and nerve wracking. The only problem I had was trying to decide if this story was an adventure, horror, ghost story or romance, as there were all of these elements mixed in it, which took me on a roller coaster ride of emotion. This book also has a lot of myths and history of the Cherokee people who lived in the region 50 years previously. Landon, during one of his adventures, finds a diary of a young woman. This diary is, in it's own way, a historical account of what happened to the Cherokee nation in what would be later known as the "Trail of Tears", though it is first and foremost a memoir of a young girl growing up and falling in love. However, the diary is much more than that and, as I read the entries, together with Landon, I finally understood the significance of it and Landon's relationship to it, as well as his destiny. I did find myself in tears on more than one occasion, so I recommend having a tissue handy. There are several twists and turns in this tale that surprised me and, by the end of the book, I was an emotional wreck.
C. David Murphy has written a coming of age story that touched me deeply. I didn't really care for the rather slow start to the story, but the second half's exciting pace made up for it. This difference in pace also slightly affected the flow, but once the author gained confidence in his writing, the flow evened out beautifully. I would definitely consider reading another one of this author's books in the future.
I recommend this book if you love YA/coming of age, adventure, romance or historical fiction genres. - Lynn Worton
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