I dare you to read the first sentence of Chapter 1 in the book In the Territory of Lies by authors Lois Stickell and Peg Robarchek and not buy the book.
Stickell and Robarchek got me on the hook with the first line, reeled me in with the first chapter, and before I even knew what happened, I was a dusty fish story by the end of their book. Seriously.
In the Territory of Lies, two women are ultimately brought together by genealogy, family history, and the internet. And, oh yeah. A family mystery to solve too.
Interestingly, the internet is the main setting for this book, but it's also a character in the book. And I would go so far as to say it's a literary device. [But only because I need to justify all that time and money to have that English degree hanging above me on my wall as I write this review. ;) ] This novel is uniquely written within emails and online message boards, and the 2 main characters are perfectly flawed as all good main characters should be.
When I began to read a sample of this novel sent to me by Peg Robarchek, one of the authors, I went from curious to laughing to oh-my-gosh-that's-not-so-funny-anymore by the end of the first chapter. I promptly emailed Ms. Robarchek back, and eagerly explained that I was going to buy it and review it, and she offered to send me a review copy, which I patiently waited for [Read: checked the mailbox twice daily.] until it arrived. Once I began reading it, I never stopped until I finished it less than 24 hours of receiving it.
Afterwards, I asked myself why I really clicked with their fabulous book and this is what I came up with:
- The book involves genealogy and family history. [No explanation needed on that one.]
- The book has a mystery to solve. And it does it so very well.
- The characters are raw and real, and that made me empathize with them oh so much more.
- It made me laugh.
- It took 2 very unlikely characters and brought them together.
- It happened on the internet in exactly the same way I've met people online while doing research. [Okay. Almost the same way.]
There are so many facets of this book that genealogy and family history researchers can relate to that even if you're not really into suspense mystery novels that weave genealogy and family history into their plots with deft finesse, you're going to want to read this 253-paged book of awesomeness.
I'm Forming a Genealogy and Family History Reader's Group
I really cannot say enough good things about In the Territory of Lies. [As if you couldn't already tell.] So. I thought of something cool for us to do.The authors included in the back of their book a reader's guide that contains a list of discussion questions for a reader's group.
And we're [me and the mouse in my pocket] are forming a genealogy and family history reader's group. [Ingenious. I know.] One book per month with a discussion done via my Spreecast channel. This way if you don't want to be on video [or don't have the equipment to do so], then you can participate via the chat room on my Spreecast Channel. This platform affords us ways to handle questions for those in the chat room as well.
As you've already guessed, I've chosen the first book to be In the Territory of Lies by Lois Stickell and Peg Robarchek. It's available from Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle editions at the product links listed below. If you don't have a Kindle, you can also download the free Kindle app for your smartphone, and that link is located on the product page once you click on one of the image links below.
If you are going to participate in the Reader's Group, please contact me, and let me know. This is not a big commitment. If you're there, you're there. If you're not, you're not. This just allows me the courtesy of knowing if I and the mouse in my pocket will be the only ones participating in my Reader's Group Spreecast. The date of which I'll set-up when we get a little closer to the one-month mark. [And don't worry. It won't be Memorial Day weekend. I'm going to be on a beach on an island that weekend. With a book.] Mainly I'm just looking for interest level in this kind of thing. However, the kicker is this: you must purchase the book, check it our from the library, or borrow it from someone AND you must read it before the Spreecast Reader's Group meeting in a little over a month.
So? In case you couldn't tell, I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone. It's that good. ;)
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Disclaimer: Peg Robarchek contacted me and provided me a copy of her and Lois Stickell's book to read and to review. All opinions of their book are my own and are not influenced by them gifting me their book. Their book is full of all kinds of awesomeness, and if it wasn't, I wouldn't have said it was. Additionally, I am an affiliate of Amazon.com, and if you click on a link or image advertising this book on my site and buy it [or anything else while you're perusing Amazon.com on that link click], I do receive a small commission for referring you.