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Book reviews for "Sickels,_Noelle" sorted by average review score:

The Shopkeeper's Wife
Published in Hardcover by St. Martin's Press (1998)
Author: Noelle Sickels
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Beautifully written -- charming and engaging novel.
Noelle Sickels has the most amazing way of bringing characters to life. I ended up reading this whole novel in one day because I couldn't put it down once I got involved with the characters. There is a warm and touching story here within the backdrop of the superbly-researched setting of late-19th Century Philidelphia. Sickels takes great care in making each character -- even the most minor of them -- come alive and seem like real, well-rounded individuals. There are no flat characters within this book. Each character is given unique qualities through not only description from the narrator, but through their dialogue, their actions, and their interactions with other characters. For example, the reader is able to see the character of Mr. Edwin not only as the narrator's employer, but as a husband, a shopkeeper, a son, a brother, and so on. Also, there are such vivid details (like his rotten teeth/foul breath, his sketches of window displays, and the way he likes his wife to hold his foot) that really make him seem like a real person and not just a fictional character. The attention to details that Sickels has mastered blows me away. She paints a complete picture of so many layers of this story all unfolding at once. There are many descriptions of places and events that stand out in my mind. Also, there are so many touching moments in this story, and the way in which Sickels presents emotional issues from blossoming romance to suicide is wonderfully understated. She does a great job of not falling into the trap of over-dramatization. One of the most amazing parts of the writing in this novel is the way that the author turned a murder case into a fight between different realms of social thought. I was impressed by the author's ability to incorporate such heavy issues as those involved in the birth of women's rights into such a well-crafted story. I do not think that writing with such an agenda often works for writers (whose works sometimes read like info-mercials), but Sickels handles this beautifully. She lays out all sides of the issues so well and, yet, does not let it overpower the story as a whole. Her balance and control of language impresses me beyond words. This book has it all: mystery, suspense, drama, history, tragedy, romance, and friendship -- all intertwined with gender issues in a beautifully written novel that unwraps itself slowly and carefully to stay with its readers long after it's been read.

Walking west
Published in Unknown Binding by Ariadne Press ()
Author: Noëlle Sickels
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Average review score:

Great book for a sequel!
It's been about five or six years since I read this book, but I really enjoyed it. I liked that it was from the women's point of view rather than the rough and rowdy men's point of view (which we get entirely too often). Women had far more to do with settling the west than they have ever been given credit for. Though this novel was not action-packed it was quite enjoyable. There was not a single part during the entire book that I was "bored." It took off and historically rendered a phenomenon that has not been written about enough either in fiction or non-fiction--the woman's impact on the westward movement. I am still, however, awaiting a sequel. I was hoping the oldest girl's boyfriend (I can't remember her name) would eventually come back for her once he has made it on his own. I would also like to see the matriarch become a power in the early west. Come on, Ms. Sickels. Please get a sequel going.

Wow...There is a beauty and precision in this langauge that is so rare. This book is brimming with unforgettable characters and settings and scenes that will take you on an emotional ride. The way Sickels is able to bring each and every one of her characters to life is so refreshing. She is able to involve her readers by getting us attached to even the most minor of characters. This book is full of family, love, joy, hardship, pain, and loss -- all come full circle with a strong basis of impressibly well-researched history and well-developed settings. This is a book about strong women and strong wills. This is a book that will break your heart but also warm it. Noelle Sickels is an amazing writer with not only an obvious passion for the beauty of the written word, but also a way of carefully weaving an intricate and well-developed story that stays with us always.

beautiful and inspirational
I found this to be one of the most intriguing and inspirational books that I have recently read. The characters are vivid as are the hardships that they endure. I could not put this book down. The sad moments are unbelievably touching and the happy moments brought tears of joy to my eyes.

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