A Diary With a Difference by Martin Line
As far as book titles go, some are fitting to the text they serve, while others are misleading in some way. The title of this particular piece, however, is both at the same time. A Diary With a Difference by Martin A. Line consists of not one diary, but two, and each stands out as ‘different’ for what it covers, what it conveys, and how it is told. The main voice in the novel is that of a young woman named Judith Thomas, who receives two books from her parents. One is a diary of blank pages, which she sets out to fill—and the other is a copy of a seventeenth-century testament written in Welsh, which her father asks her to translate into English. The testament was written by one Jane McCarthy, whom Judith’s father believes to be their ancestor, though Judith is somewhat skeptical of this fact. So too she is skeptical of doing the translation itself—that is, until she undertakes the task. As Judith works on the testament with the aid of those in her Welsh language class, a centuries-old saga of hardship, controversy, and desperate measures unfolds. At the same time, Judith’s life begins to take on new shape, and her once bland existence is spiked with some challenges of its own. From witchcraft, civil war, terrorism, and untimely death, to romance, familial integrity, divine gifts, and much more, the tale of these two ladies, taken together, carries readers throughout history and recent current events, across a veritable landscape of human emotion, experience, and thought.
Harrowing, yet hopeful with each turn of the page, A Diary With a Difference is a completely captivating chronicle that’s sure to enlighten readers as it entertains. Alternating between the past and present, great detail and care are given to the unique circumstances and concerns of each woman—and, in the end, the novel speaks as much to our collective history as it does to that of the characters whose stories are told. A considerate, clever tome, A Diary With a Difference’ is highly recommended for anyone looking, quite simply, for a good read.
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