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Ariana Mangum

x  $25.00 plus shipping

 

An Epic Story of One Girl's life during World War II

It is 1938.  America is keeping a wary eye on Adolf Hitler.  As the adults become more and more uneasy over the events in Europe, Catherine Dickson, a young girl we come to know as Doc, is unconcerned.  Europe is far away from the state of Virginia and she has no reason to believe that life will not go on as normal. 

When Hitler invaded Poland, Doc’s naivety disappeared when she witnesses an elderly woman’s reaction to this event.  The following lamentation made Doc realize that nothing would ever be the same again.  “I’ve lived through three wars and a depression.  The War Between the States destroyed my father’s family.  They lost everything:  their farm, their livelihood and six of their young men.  We were just getting back on our feet when the depression came.  When Yankee soldiers policed Richmond, men could no longer vote or hold office and we could hardly keep our families together.  We were poor, dirt poor.  I lived through those times and now in my nineties I am forced to live through it again.  I can’t face it at my time of life.  Oh God, it’s too much.” 

From this point on, Doc lived in two separate worlds. 

On the world front Erwin Rommel took command of the German Afrika Korps and began his deadly assault of the British.  The German propagandist Lord Haw Haw spewed forth his messages on the short wave radio to unnerve the Allied public listeners.   To counter act these depressing news broadcasts, the neighbors would gather around the village store and tell of the courage of their forbearers as they homesteaded Canada or crossed enemy lines in the Civil War.  Local folk tales about headless horsemen and coffins that jump out of the grave were repeated to the delight of the children. 

Pearl Harbor was bombed and all of a sudden the young men wore uniforms and went away to boot camp.  The work load increased for the people left at home.  Doc learns how to raise chickens and keep an egg route. 

The Japanese attacked Midway.  At home the ladies knit socks for the soldiers, roll bandages for the Red Cross, help spot airplanes and packs bundles to send to Brittan. 

In France, a neighborhood boy is missing in action. It would be months before his family learned that he was smuggled out of enemy territory by the underground resistance. Back at home,  the men left on the farm are making due with bad tires, gas rationing, and worn out work boots because there is no leather for shoes. 

To provide the stability needed to survive these turbulent events, Doc turns to her good friends Harry and Clara Houghton.  With their love, guidance and wisdom, Doc emerges from her childhood an extremely level headed young woman. She comes to grips with the moral issues of how to treat a prisoner of war, an indifferent mother, and a God who seems to let the destruction go on and on.   

By the time the last page is read, you realize three different stories have been chronicled:  a general overview of World War II,   a more detailed account of war on the home front, and an in depth look of country life in the early 1940’s. 

Ariana Mangum conveys completely the “can do” attitude that was common during the war.  She also captured the dignity, courage and ingenuity displayed by young and old in overcoming hardships.  These elements together with a skilful blend of historical data immediately captivate the reader and make this novel appear more fact than fiction.

 

b  $16.00 plus shipping

 Reviewed by Sybil Austin Skakle                 

 

        When the Goldenrod Sang in the Meadow, a new short story collection written by Ariana Mangum and published by Righter Publishing Company, Inc. of Timberlake, North Carolina, was released March 2009. The book of 240 pages is divided into four parts- “Grandmother’s Stories” are tales revolving around Ariana Mangum’s relationship with her grandmother; “Growing Up in Virginia” is a memoir of the author’s early life; and the third division is entitled Irish Stories. It involves the author’s stay in Dublin. The last part consists of children’s tales.

The collection of stories is written beautifully with a sense of reminiscence that infects the reader from start to finish.  The tenderness with which the author paints the characters, especially in the “Grandmother’s Stories” and “Growing up in Virginia,” is sweet and sincere.  The post-depression and World War II eras which the author writes about gives the reader a glimpse into a period of American history that is fascinating to many yet told in a personal way that paints a more intimate picture of the day-to-day life of someone caught up in the times.

My favorite story was in the third division—“A Day in Kerry Furnace.” The story is entertaining and the character, interesting. It is told in the third person and Rooster Reilly and his conversations with his friend Sean are amusing. They make you smile as they discuss the possible effects of the unclad figures of the Victorian Fountain where they begin each day. They are waiting for the betting shop to open and while they wait and talk, especially about horses, these characters begin to come alive for the reader. We meet Mildred Kennedy and her sister Bridget and become familiar with their cultural differences and expectations. There are others, such as Father Fred and a tragedy which occurred in Kerry Furnace that still influences their lives and the lives of other people in the town.

The print of the book on ivory pages is easy to read and the dark green cover with a picture of goldenrod is attractive.

 

 

   $15.00 plus shipping

Where The Butterflies Roam offers a refreshing departure from current instructional literacy practices by going back to the basics.  Within one book Mangum captures the potential all writers have to create meaningful, original poetry; incorporates fundamental grammar rules into easy to understand applications; and reintroduces the 'bricks and mortars' approach to reading acquisition.

Along with easy to learn lessons, Mangum delights us with heartwarming anecdotal stories from her adventures as a teacher.  A passion conveyed easily as she recounts specific students, teaching moments that constantly reaffirmed her occupational choice.  From experiencing the joys of opening up the English language to Vietnamese students, to trekking across the globe to Ireland in order to help special needs students, her stories as well as her individual approach to teaching are heartwarming.

Ariana Mangum embodies the true spirit of the unique individuals called to the craft of educating.  As the last page crosses the readers finger tips, lessons on how to conjugate verbs and lessons on humility will forever be impressed upon them through Where The Butterflies Roam.

 Jessica Feltner

 

b cx   $20.00 plus shipping

 

           In 1828, Robert Jones was injured when he fell in an unused mineshaft in Abergavenny, South Wales. He decided to accept a land grant in North Frederick County, near Winchester, Virginia. “I can’t go down in the mines again,” he told his wife Sarah. “And there’s a good hundred acres being offered in Virginia. We can go to America and start our lives anew with a farm.” Thus the family began an exciting adventure and their new life.

x z   $10.00 plus shipping

         Agnes lived in Richmond, Virginia, in the 1930s and ’40s. She grew up in nearby Ashland, where she attended a good high school. Agnes was awkward and did not fit in to the social world of Richmond. Although she tried, she was never entirely accepted into Richmond society.But she had a good time trying.