Friday, April 19, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Mattie by M. Ann Rohrer


ABOUT THE BOOK

MATTIE is a sweeping historical novel based on the life and times of Ann Rohrer’s maternal grandmother, who was born and raised in Colonia Juarez, one of 13 Mormon settlements in Mexico—the same one where Mitt Romney's grandfather lived.

Covering the time between 1902 and 1917 which includes an up close and personal view of Pancho Villa and the turbulence of the Mexican Revolution, we follow Mattie through crisis of faith, adventures, romance, and coming of age as she learns to cope with her world.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martha Ann Robinson Rohrer was born in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. At age nine, she moved with her family to Toquepala, Peru, South America, where they lived for ten years. After attending Juarez Stake Academy in Mexico her sophomore year, she returned to Peru and finished her junior and senior years through correspondence. In 1965, the family returned to the United States, settling in Tucson, Arizona. Ann served a two-year mission to Mexico City, Mexico Mission. She is married to John Rohrer and they live in Pasco, Washington. They have five boys, one daughter, and at present, thirteen grandchildren.

REVIEW

This book provides a powerfully emotional read.  The characters have depth and personality and seemed very real. Maybe the fact that they are based on real people helps. Mattie is especially vivid with her fieriness and her very real struggles. I enjoyed getting a glimpse of her through her childhood and growing up years, it helps explain her feelings and struggles as she grows up.  Like many of us, Mattie struggles to find her faith after losing people she loves. And then a traumatic experience sends her into a nosedive and only by turning to God does she survive. I also really enjoyed reading about Mattie's and her husband-to-be's courtship (I won't say who it is, it would spoil the fun).  It seemed a lot more realistic than a lot of relationships I read about.

One of the aspects of the story that I found especially fascinating was the parts involving the Mexican revolution. I haven't read much about it so it was eye-opening to do so here. I appreciated the end notes the author included explaining the historically accurate parts of the story. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that so many innocent and not so innocent people got hurt, wars are like that, but I empathized with the fear and conflict that Mattie and her family had to deal with.

A great read and one I thoroughly enjoyed. The only things I would have liked better would have been more showing and not so much telling, although covering as much time as she does I can understand why the author had to simply explain some things. The other thing I would have liked better would have been a longer story. ;) I would have liked to know more about Mattie's life experiences. Overall, a great read and one I can recommend with pleasure.

EXCERPT

 
“Mattie pounded her pillow then rolled over and stared at the ceiling. She hated the interfering throngs of people. She hated the mountains of food. She hated the stupid whispering downstairs.

She hated God.

Gentle rains made little difference in the suffocating heat this first day of summer, yet eleven-year-old Martha Ann Sevey shivered. The pungent smell of death, mixed with sweet carbolic acid and saltpeter, seeped through the high-ceiling parlor below. It wafted up through the wood floor right into Mattie’s bedroom invading her olfactory senses. Worse than the odiferous scent was the ghastly vision of her father (she refused to think of him as “the body”). Laid out on a board supported by two sawhorses, he was covered with rags drenched in the offensive mixture. To slow decay, her mother had explained, which conjured dreadful pictures in Mattie’s young, imaginative mind.”

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