Monday, December 13, 2010

Two Sisters’ Journey: From Darkness into the Light

Christi Rohan and Juli Rohan
Outskirts Press (2010)
ISBN 9781432750244
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (11/10)


By writing "Two Sister's Journey: From Darkness into the Light," sisters Christi Rohan and Juli Rohan reminisce about their lives with their loving father and how they pulled their family together to get over the pain of losing him.  Juli begins by telling her story.  Being in her mid-20's, she is caught up in getting settled in her career and a new marriage. Juli's life is very hectic.  Although her busy life kept her from getting home as much as she would have liked, she was there the day that her father suffered a fatal heart attack.  This event was incredibly devastating to her.

To grow in her relationship with her husband, they both had to get past the pain of losing her father, and deal with the other stressors that were present in their lives at the time.  This was not easy, but when the two hit a point where they were having difficulties, they realized that they had to stop and focus on their relationship.  I can't help but think that her father's influence as a parent and a role model helped prepare her to pull herself together and learn to refocus on her marriage. 

Next, Christi tells her story from her perspective.  She is happily married and has some very special children.  On the day that her father suffered his heart attack, she was there to perform CPR on him.  Unfortunately, he was not able to pull through.  Once her father passed on, Christi was there to help her mother and her children deal with the grief over losing both a husband and a grandfather. She also had to handle her own grief as well.  While her husband was there to give her support right after his death, when he is deployed to Iraq, she has to rely more upon herself.  Being very proactive, Christi set out to finish up a project that their father had planned with their mother.  It involved extensive remodeling to the family home.  Christi gets the family together to work on this project.  Keeping it a secret from her mom, they have nine days to complete this project while she is away on vacation.

As the family and friends join together to complete this project, it also brings them closer together.  As an outsider looking in, I really felt that their willingness to be involved with this project further demonstrated the incredible legacy that their father left in having played a part in creating such a wonderful family.  Even the grandchildren got involved.  This had to have played a huge role in their healing. In spite of this, both sisters still find themselves having to deal with irrational fears of being hit with something happening to one of their loved ones.  This obviously was an understandable reaction to the suddenness of losing their dad.

"Two Sister's Journey: From Darkness into the Light" is a wonderful tribute to the life of a very special man. Throughout both sisters' stories, it is obvious that he affected the lives of many people, not just those in his family. As I read this book, I felt that three very important lessons stood out to me. The first lesson involved recognizing the importance of getting on with your life, after losing a loved one. As the family suffered, it was obvious to me that this is not what their father would have wanted for them. By being proactive, the family was able to move on with their healing. The second lesson that stood out was the question of how I want to be remembered when I am gone. So many people stepped forward to honor their father, after his death, I felt inspired to try to live my life so that I will be remembered for having to touch the lives of others. The third lesson in this story involved the importance of stepping in and being there for friends and family when they suffer a loss. I usually let people know that I am there for them and am praying for them, however, when the sisters wrote about how much the help of others meant to them, even if it was just making a dinner for the family, I realized that I need to do a lot more for others. My only recommendation for this book would be to have it professionally edited. By cleaning up the grammatical errors, there will be nothing to distract from their story. What a beautiful legacy this book will be to the family members who had such a wonderful man touch their lives.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

The Bleeding Hills: A Novel

Wilfried F. Voss
Copperhill Media Corporation (2009)
ISBN 9780976511649
Reviewed by Richard R Blake for Reader Views (11/10)

From the opening scene of "The Bleeding Hills" I found myself engaged in the underlying issues of the cause of the Irish Republican Army. Wilfried F. Voss has captured the sense of urgency faced by his protagonists in their fight for freedom from the supremacy of Britain's uncompromised rule. I was stunned by the emotions generated as Voss described the aggression of misinformed, misdirected, relentless youth in the horror of unabated mob violence.

With evidence that Whelan is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland British Intelligence has devised a plan to lure Finn back to, Northern Ireland. Conspiracy, personal vendettas, and double agents all add to the mounting suspense of Voss's complex compelling plot. Hidden clues and fast-moving action keep the reader turning pages to the final unexpected climactic conclusion of this important glimpse into the issues behind the War in Northern Ireland. Voss capably covers the history of the Irish War through the forty-year fictional career of Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran, receiving exile protection in the United States.

Voss's creative imagination and careful attention to detail are remarkable. His research and career background in electrical engineering and electronic components add depth and authenticity to the technical information provided in the story detailing surveillance techniques and security procedures.

I enjoyed Voss's writing style, his unique narrative approach, character development, dialog, and his wonderful descriptions of Ireland's unique beauty, its geography, people and culture. "The Bleeding Hills" is a must read novel for anyone interested in the recent history of Irish politics and the cause of the Northern Ireland.