Saturday, March 9, 2013

Review # 287: Muck Blossoms by Juna Jinsei

Description: (from Amazon)

     Kathleen is a girl who learns as she transforms into a woman and raises her family on the wild Wyoming prairie that it is easy to get sucked into the stifling culture that erases one's individualism and true identity. She becomes aware that one has to learn how to maneuver within the realm of oppression to avoid torture and death. As her family grows she begins to realize her hopes and dreams from a happy childhood can blossom anew from the dust and decay of a broken home. As she faces grave consequences on a daily basis, Kathleen develops the insight to see that it is the struggles, suffering, and obstacles from which her patience, determination, and courage thrive and grow.

     Though she is a constant pawn controlled by the evil intent that surrounds her, and attempts made to smother her hopes and desires, Kathleen's strong will protects her from those who threaten to extinguish the flame of love and joy that reside within her heart. As a prisoner of happenstance, she fights to keep her sanity while protecting her children, until she reaches the point of complete uncertainty of whether or not she and her loved ones will actually survive in the dangerous lair of a beastly maniac.


Review:

     Muck Blossoms is a heart-wrenching, yet inspiring, story of the struggles faced by a young woman and her family on a ranch on the Wyoming prairie. The 1800's were a period of great change, but women were treated as property, and Kate was no different. The emotional circumstances surrounding Kate's story were sobering; the abuse, harsh conditions, grief, and violence she suffered made me glad that I was born over 100 years later, in a time of greater rights and acceptance. Kate's personality resonated with me, as I am sure it will with other readers. Her love of knowledge and family, as well as her perseverance in the face of adversity, added to the depth of her character. Many of the characters were well-developed and represented, but Kate and her father's interactions were some of the most abrasively affective. The plot holds plenty of  unforeseen twists, but also a rigid backbone. Once I started reading I couldn't stop, although some of the more violent scenes gave me pause. The descriptions were beautiful, and sometimes deadly, but the scenery added to the realistic quality of the reading. I appreciated the message that "love conquers all", and after reading and mentally experiencing Kate's trials, I believe it. I also agreed with the quote from the final page:
Only in service to others

 can you discover who you truly are
 and realize your full potential.
 When you learn how to give,
 you will know how to live.
A fitting ending for such an emotional and inspiring tale of a mother's strength and endurance against all odds - natural and man-made alike. Highly recommended!

Rating: On the Run (4/5)

*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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