Thursday, September 12, 2019

Historical Book Review: In A Gilded Cage by Susan Appleyard

In A Gilded Cage by Susan Appleyard
Self-Published 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
pages: 320
Available in paperback and ebook

Reviewers note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. If you are interested in seeing more about this book, click on the cover above and it will take you to its Amazon page.

PLOT: In A Gilded Cage is the story of Elizabeth, known affectionately as Sisi, born in 1837 into the royal Bavaria house of Wittelsbach. Raised in a family with a forward thinking father and a reluctantly indulgent mother, Sisi has a delightfully unconventional childhood. At the age of 16 she travels with her older sister who their mother hopes will catch the eye of their cousin, Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria. To her surprise, it is Sisi who wins the heart and hand of the most powerful monarch in Europe. But, Sisi, is unprepared for the strict environment of the Hapsburg court, where every move and word is analyzed and one misstep can bring unhappy consequences. 

CHARACTERS: Elizabeth is a complicated character and Appleyard does a good job of bringing her to life. From petulant child-bride to a woman fighting for her place in the world we follow the evolution of Elizabeth as she comes into her own as Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary. Her battles with her controlling mother-in-law and her dedicated but emotionally detached husband pull the reader into her world. Despite being one of the most admired and talked about women of her age, her life is miserable and those of us along for the ride feel pity for the woman she becomes.  

HISTORY: Meticulously researched, the waning days of the Hapsburgs and the Austro-Hungarian empire spring from the pages of this book. From the stiff court manners. the exhausting schedule of balls and social events to the daily routine of dressing, we become intimately acquainted with her world. I enjoyed the political/military history of the region as well, especially the description of the Hungarian fight for autonomy. 

WRITING: The writing is good, the pace is steady. I was never bored and found myself surprised that I had reached the end of the novel. Some of the themes are a bit repetitive but did not distract me from enjoying the book. 

CONCLUSION: Although a work of fiction, this is a serious look at the life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, biographies, and royalty.

I rate this book 4 Stars!


My Ratings: 

1  Star: Not good at all, do not read!

2  Stars: Read only as a last resort, no other books available

3 Stars: Good, enjoyed it, will recommend with reservations

4 Stars: Really good, read this book!

5 Stars: So good, I might read it again sometime! Highly recommend

Monday, September 9, 2019

Roger and Sarah Eastman: English Immigrants to Salisbury, Massachusetts

Photo by Johannes Plenio

english origins
Roger Eastman of Salisbury was the ancestor of wealthy Eastman-Kodak founder George Eastman. George hired a genealogist to trace his English ancestry. Since then various publications have made claims to his ancestry. In 1901 Guy Scooby Rix printed his version of the Eastman lineage. He claimed that Roger Eastman was born in 1611 in Wales and that he was the son of  John Eastman of Romney, Southampton, England whose will was written September 24, 1602 and proved on October 22, 1602. [1] Now, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see why this cannot be true. He is also the first reseacher who pinned the surname 'Smith' on Sarah Eastman, stating only that it was a tradition.

In 1915 an article was published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record [2] by author Charles Eastman. His assertion was that Roger was a descendant of the Eastman family of  Charleton, Downton, Hampshire who could be traced to a John Eastman who died in 1565. John was followed by son Roger who died in 1604, then his son Nicholas and his wife Barbara, parents of the immigrant Roger. [2] 

Nicholas and Barbara has a son named Roger baptized on 4 April 1610. [3] But a book published in 1938 disputes the solidity of the proof that links Roger to the Downton Eastmans. And he points out flaws in the original analysis of the family relationships.The author admits that the baptism put this Roger in the right time frame but points out that Roger Eastman of Salisbury did not name a child either Nicholas or Barbara, which would have followed a very common naming pattern for Puritan immigrants. [4]

Some note that several other families from this area immigrated to Massachusetts and settled in Salisbury including John Rolfe and John Saunders of Landford, Wiltshire who brought his servant, Roger Eastman.

This evidence does not appear to be sufficient for Robert Charles Anderson of the Great Migration Project who states that the ancestry and origins of Roger Eastman are unknown. [5]

All that being said, if you want to believe that Roger was the son of Nicholas Eastman and his wife Barbara, I won't hold it against you.

I am happy to confirm that Roger sailed to Massachusetts in 1638 aboard the Confidence from Southampton along with many Wiltshire families. [6] Based on depositions he was born between 1611 and 1613, but it was not uncommon to round up your age for depositions. Roger and many of his shipmates settled in Salisbury.

In 1639 Roger married a woman named Sarah. Most early genealogist state her surname is unknown. But in a 1952 book, a descendant claims her name is traditionally given as Smith. He gives no other sources. [7] This is not good enough for me so I going with Sarah Unknown. 

In 1640 the town of Salisbury began to divide up its land, Roger was given a house lot at that time. He received a second division in 1643. His name is found on tax lists and according to Hoyt, he was a house carpenter by trade. This must have proved very useful in a land with no houses! [8]

In 1646 Roger took the Oath of Fidelity, before Lt. Pike, the ranking military officer. This oath was required of all men. In 1664 he was recorded as serving as a juror and again in 1667, 1676, 1677. In 1669 the court discharged him from the duties of serving as constable of Salisbury, no explanation offered. In 1671 Roger and Sarah were both deposed in court about a case that involved the Martin/North families. Roger gave his age as 'about 60' and Sarah was 'about 50'. 

In 1672 the Eastman family was deposed again in court. Their son, Nathaniel had married a woman named Elizabeth Hudson on 30 March 1672. She had previously given birth to a child out of wedlock. In court she claimed that Joseph Hall of Lynn was the father. Joseph was found to be the childs father by the court and ordered to pay Nathaniel maintenance for the child and to pay her father for 'enticing her and frequenting her company despite her father's warnings'. Elizabeth, herself was ordered fined or whipped for having sex before marriage.

In a 1682 court case, Roger made his mark, he could not write his name, apparently.

Roger and Sarah had eleven children:

*John, Captain and Planter of Salisbury, b.9 March 1640, m. 27 Oct. 1665 Hannah Healey, 5 Nov 1670 Mary Boyton. All children (7) by second wife. Will written in 1715 & 1720.

*Nathaniel Planter and Cooper of  Salisbury, b. 18 May 1643, m. 30 April 1672 Elizabeth Hudson. (10) children, d. 10 June 1716.

*Phillip, Haverhill and Woodstock. b. 30 Dec 1644, m. (1) unknown, (2) 22 Aug 1678 widow Mary (Barnard) Morse, (3) Margaret Unknown, (5) children, captured by Indians in King Philip's War in 1676, d. 1714.

*Thomas, Haverhill, b. 1646, m. 20 Jan 1679/80 Deborah Corliss, soldier in King Philip's War, d. 29 April 1688, (4) children, (1) k. by Indians in 1696.

*Timothy, Salisbury and Hadley, b. 1648, m. 16 May 1682 Lydia Markham, d. 1 April 1733, (4) children, outlived only by an unmarried daughter.

*Joseph, Weaver of Suffield and Hadley, b. 1651, m. Mary Tilton, soldier in King Philip's War, d. 1692.

*Benjamin, Tanner of Salisbury, b. 12 Feb 1652/3, m. (1) 5 April 1678  Ann Pitts, w/o Sam Joy, (2) Naomi Flanders, (3) twice widowed Sarah.  will proved 4 March 1727/8.

*Sarah b. 25 Sept 1655, m. (1) 13 June 1678 Joseph French, (2) 4 Aug 1684 Solomon Sheppard, d. 1 Dec 1748.

*Samuel, Salisbury, b. 20 Nov 1657, m. 4 Nov. 1686 Elizabeth Scriven, d. 27 Feb 1725.(12) Children.

*Ruth b. 21 March 1660/61, m. 23 May 1690 Benjamin Heard

My ancestor is Ruth Eastman who married Benjamin Heard,  widower from Dover, New Hampshire. 


[1] Rix, G. S. (Guy Scoby). (1901). History and genealogy of the Eastman family of America: containing biographical sketches and genealogies of both males and females. Concord, N.H.: [Press of I.C. Evans].Great Migration Newsletter, V.1-20.(Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2018.)

[2] The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. New York, NY: New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 1870-. (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.)

[3]"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2018, Roger Eastman, ); citing item 1, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 1,279,375.

[4] Pillsbury Ancestry

[5] Anderson, Robert Charles. Great Migration Directory (The). Immigrants to New England, 1620-1640. A Concise Compendium. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015: "Eastman, Roger: Origins Unknown; immigration 1638 on Confidence; Settled in Salisbury. sources: Drake's Founders 58; SyTR 7; NYGBR 46:58-62; Pillsbury Anc 111-15; Guy S Rix History and Genealogy of the Eastman Family of America 2 volume publ 1901.

[6] (Roger came in 1638 on The Confidence.

[7] Charles Eastman, That Man Eastman, (Self-Published, 1952) 4. see book here.

[8] The old families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts ... v.1. Hoyt, David Webster, 1833-1921.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Simon Thompson (1610-1675) of Ipswich, Massachusetts

Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

english origins
Simon Thompson/Symon Tompson was born about 1610 based on his age (about 50) given at a deposition in 1660. This would give his a birth year of around 1610. Simon likely married and began his family in England. His ancestry in unknown. The name of his first wife is unknown. 

Simon and his unknown wife were the parents of two known children, both daughters: 

1. Mary/Mercy; who married Isaiah Wood in January of 1653. She was likely born about 1633 in       England. 
2. Sarah; who married Abraham Fitts in 1655 and was likely born in England in 1635. 

Simon is known to have been in Ipswich in 1638 when he was recorded as having received 20 acres of meadow and upland at the New Meadow. He later bought additional land and houses. He is recorded as being a rope-maker who lived near Rocky Hill. In 1640 he was named a 'Cowkeeper'. His name began appearing in court records as a juror in 1646. We know from 1652 court record that Simon had an apprentice. In 1654 he took a neighbor, John Leigh, to court for impounding his calves and won. John Leigh's name appears frequently in the records, he was not a nice person. 

His first wife died by 1656 and Simon remarried. His second wife was Rachel Glover, probably the sister of Henry Short's wife Sarah Glover. He (Henry Short) refers to his wife in a deal with Simon and the use of Sarah's inheritance.

In 1657, in response to orders by the General Council to get a handle on bad behavior during Sunday service, Simon was appointed to keep 'a watchful eye upon the youth'.

In 1660, Simon accused John Leigh of killing one of his pigs, at the same time a second man accused Leigh of killing his ox. 

In March of 1662, a woman named Mary Shefield charged that Mercy Thompson Wood's husband, Isaiah, had lured her into his barn and had his way with her. She claimed her child was the result. He, of course denied it. Other witnesses claimed it was that no good John Leigh who was really the father. But, another young woman, Mary Powell, also testified that Isaiah Wood was a cad and had put the moves on her as well. Mary Shefield was whipped for fornication. Isaiah was put in jail and ordered to pay 3d. a week for the upkeep of the child until a later court hearing. 

Simon and Abraham Fitts stood in surety to Isaiah Wood. In April of 1664, Simon was in court with Isaiah and he was ordered to pay 18d. a week for his child by Mary Shefield

In 1665, Abraham Fitts, took Simon to court, claiming he owned him  £40 which was promised if Abraham and Sarah Thompson Fitts moved from Salisbury to Ipswich. The case was pretty complicated and in the end Simon won. 

In 1666, Simon made his mark on an inventory he took for probate, he could not write his name. In 1668, three siblings, Joseph, Sarah and Rachel Brabrook, petitioned the court that Henry Short and Simon Thompson become their guardians. 

In 1672, Simon was in court to stand bond for his grandson Simon Wood who was charged with stealing a gallon of wine along with a second man. The wine was consumed and somehow a poor sheep got involved and found itself butchered. Simon was found guilty along with a host of others and was sentenced to be whipped  or pay a fine. 

Simon Thompson wrote his will in 1675. He named his wife Rachel, his grandchildren Mary, Simon, Samuel, William, Thomas, and Joanna Wood, grandson Abraham Fitts, and his daughter Mary Wood. Joanna Wood and Sarah Fitts are mentioned in an addendum presented to the probate court.  The inventory was taken of 20 November 1675. His total estate was valued at over £926, quite a sum. The will was presented to the probate court in March of 1676

It seems clear that he had no sons, at least none that lived to adulthood. Only his daughter, Mary/Mercy, was alive at the time of his death. He contracted his son-in-law Abraham Fitts to pay him an annuity of £6 per annum, which led to the court fight which he won.

See this blog article on Abraham Fitts, husband of Sarah Thompson.


*  (link to Hathi Trust edition of Records and Files of the Quarterly Court of Essex. year 1660 page 201)

* Great Migration Newsletter, V.1-20.(Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2018.)

* New England Marriages to 1700. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as: New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015.

* Great Migration 1634-1635, T-Y. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012.) Originally published as: The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume VII, T-Y, by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.

*Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)

*Waters, Thomas Franklin, 1851-1919, John Wise, Sarah Goodhue, and Ipswich Historical Society. Ipswich In the Massachusetts Bay Colony ... Ipswich, Mass.: The Ipswich historical society, 190517.

Historical Fiction Book Review: The Ship's Carpenter by D.E. Stockman Adventure on the High Seas

The Ship's Carpenter by D. E. Stockman 
Published September 2019 by Fireship Press
Pages: 219
Genre: Historical Fiction, Nautical, Military 
Available: Paperback and E-book

Reviewers Note: I was given a free advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. If you are interested in purchasing this book, I have created a link to it's Amazon page, just on the book cover above. 

The Plot: Set in the tumultuous mid-1700s the story follows Abraham, a ship carpenter, as he seeks employment on both sides of the English Channel. Abraham's dream of a peaceful life with his love Yvette is swept aside by the vagaries of war. From Brest, France to London and on to the North American continent, Abraham crosses paths with dashing naval captains including French brothers Francois Saint-Aloüarn and René-Louis Saint-Alouarn, English Captain, Washington Shirley and one of the most famous sailing ships of his time,  the Renommee. There are some side-plots which, although somewhat interesting, were not intrinsic to the storyline, and felt forced into the plot. I also felt the story ended rather abruptly. It was a 'wait, what just happened' moment for me, but I suppose that's the nature of war.

This book is the first of a series of three books. The story of Abraham continues in book 2. 

The Characters:  Abraham, the ship's carpenter, plays a central role in the story.  He is a man caught between, two belligerent superpowers; England and France. The author introduces additional characters as the war progresses, who grow in importance as the story unfolds. I think Stockman did an excellent job fleshing out his male characters. My biggest quibble with the book is the female characters, especially Yvette. I found her flat, one-dimensional and not authentic to the time period. That being said, the main characters in this book really are the ships themselves. You get a sense that the author loves these sailing ships and all things nautical. The human characters are secondary.

The History: The author, David Stockman, spent 10 years researching this book, and it shows. I don't know a mizzen mast from a poop deck, but Stockman takes you on a tour of his ships from their beginning in the shipyards of France and England to their final destruction in battle. The time period covers what historians call the War of Austrian Succession in Europe and King George's War in North America. It lasted from 1740 to 1748. 

The Writing: The writing was very good and the book well editing. The pace is fast, and the book is a quick read. 

Conclusion: I really enjoyed reading this story. I love history and appreciated the research and effort that went into this book. For a first-time author it's excellent work. Although there is a love story in the background, there is little of what I would consider Romance in this book. 

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction, military history, especially those who love all things nautical and fans novels such as the Horatio Hornblower series. 

You can buy The Ship's Carpenter here.

I rate this book:  4 1/2 stars 


My Ratings: 

1  Star: Not good at all, do not read!

2  Stars: Read only as a last resort, no other books available

3 Stars: Good, enjoyed it, will recommend with reservations

4 Stars: Really good, read this book!

5 Stars: So good, I might read it again sometime! Highly recommend


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Abraham Fitts (c.1630-1692) of Salisbury and Ipswich, Massachusetts

Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

Abraham Fitts was born about 1630 in England in the years just prior to his father's immigration to New England. Although many claim the family originated in Fitts-Ford, Devon, there is nothing that would substantiate this claim.

Abraham's father and uncle arrived in Massachusetts by about 1639. His father, Robert Fitts settled in Salisbury and uncle, Richard Fitts in Ipswich. The two towns were about 13 miles apart. Abraham was his father's only surviving child. On the 1st of May 1655, Abraham married Sarah, the daughter of Simon Thompson of Ipswich. The pair initially settled in Salisbury. According to court testimony, Simon convinced Abraham and Sarah to resettle in Ipswich. He said he would pay Abraham the sum of  £40 if they did so.

In the 1664 court case, Abraham testifies to the promise which Simon denied. His attorney is the case was his uncle Robert Lord, brother of his mother Grace Lord Fitts. Simon claimed to have given Abraham cattle, sheep and the rent free use of some land in place of the money. Simon produced an agreement in which Abraham promised to pay for half the cost of the house, which Simon had purchased from Humphrey Griffin. Abraham agreed to pay Simon £5 per year in rent for the rest of Simon's life and then £4 per year to Rachel, Sarah's mother if she still lived. Later that year, Simon was released from militia training, which usually occurred when a man was about 60 years of age. Simon was clearly using Abraham as his retirement plan. Abraham lost his case.

Abraham and Sarah had three children:

1. Sarah b. 21 Feb 1657 d. 14 June 1660
2. Abraham d. 1714
3. Robert b. 30 March 1660 d. 15 June 1661

Sarah died 5 June 1664. Abraham married  7 Jan 1668 to the widow Rebecca Birdley. He had three more children with her.

4. Robert b. 28 May 1670 d. young
5. Richard b. 26 Feb 1672
6. Isaac 3 July 1675

Abraham took the Freedmans oath in 1674. The following year he was impressed for the Narragansett Expedition. This was part of King Philip's War which nearly wiped the English from the face of the North American continent.

Abraham appeared in the courts;
1660: deposed in a case involving John Lee and his abuse of other men's cattle. Simon Thompson also testified against John Lee saying Lee threatened him with a hoe. Lee sound's like a nasty fellow as most the town seems to have testified against him.
1664: his case against his father-in-law
1667: His mother Grace to Edward Gove, a tenant to court for payment. Abraham testified. This is interesting to see a female as the plaintiff.

Abraham died on 27 March 1692 leaving behind his widow Rebecca and two living children, Abraham and Sarah. Abraham made provisions for Rebecca in his will, including her widow's thirds. His estate was divided between his son and Sarah's husband, William Baker. His estate was inventoried and valued at £267.

I am descended from Sarah Fitts Baker.

See this post on Abraham's father Robert Fitts
See this post on William Baker, husband of Sarah Fitts
See this post on Simon Thompson, his father-in-law


Hoyt, David Webster, 1833-1921. The Old Families of Salisbury And Amesbury, Massachusetts: With Some Related Families of Newbury, Haverhill, Ipswich And Hampton. Providence, R.I.: [Snow & Farnham, printers], 1897-1917.

Massachusetts. County Court (Essex Co.), and George Francis Dow. Records And Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts. Salem, Mass.: Essex institute, 1911-1975.

Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Robert Fitts of Ipswich and Salisbury, Massachusetts (1600-1665)

Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

english origins
Robert Fitts immigrated to New England in the late 1630s, the exact year and ship are unknown. We think he came with his brother Richard. According the genealogist James Hill Fitts, the brothers hailed from Fitz Ford, Tavistock, Devon in England, based he said on family tradition. Cutter offers an unsourced pedigree, but I can find no proof of it. [1] I don't think there is any genealogical proof to make a claim of descending from the Fitts/Fitz family of Tavistock in Devon, England. 

Robert was married in England to Grace Lord, the sister of Robert Lord. There is speculation that he was the Robert Fitts on the manifest for the William and John which sailed in 1635 to Barbados but there is nothing that would make us believe that this is the same man. There was also a Robert Fitt who immigrated to Virginia by 1650, again not the same man. [2] In any case Robert and Richard were in New England by 1639. [3] Richard settled in Newbury. 

new england
Robert received land in Salisbury in the first division and again in 1640. He was taxed in 1650 and 1652. He signed the agreement in 1654 which set Amesbury off as a separate town and left Salisbury for Ipswich in 1658. He also owned a share in Plum Island. 

He died in Ipswich on 9 May 1665. Robert left Grace his widow and one child, a son named Abraham. [4] 

Richard Fitt of Newbury died childless and left his entire estate to Abraham, son of Robert. 

According to Cutter, Robert was first married to a woman named Anne Barnes. In his will Roberts describes his land as that 'he purchased of his brother William Barnes.'

See this post on his son: Abraham Fitts


This is an interesting story about a member of the Fitz Family of Fitz Ford, Tavistock, Devon. Sir John Fitz


[2]The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2018.)

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Book Review: Queen of the Flowers by Delia Cerpa

Queen of the Flowers, Memories of a Puerto Rican Girl by Delia Cerpa
Published 2019 by 3L Publishing
Genre: Memoir, Coming of Age
Pages 236
Price: $19.95

Reviewers Note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Plot in brief: This is the story of Delia Cerpa, known to her family as Garin, the youngest of 10 ten children. Garin’s father commits suicide when she is just a baby, leaving her mother to raise her kids and run their small family farm alone. Garin’s world is a tropical paradise, despite having no electricity or running water. Her book describes a life of subsistence farming in a close knit family, supported by their local community. Garin shares the story of her life in Puerto Rico until she and her mother immigrated to New York, when she was 13 years old, to join her siblings already living in the Bronx.
Characters: Garin shares her family with us, especially her mother, the Widow Cerpa, a strong woman, who survives in a male-dominated culture. We get to know her siblings, from the oldest, Juan, who takes over as head of the family to the second youngest Maria Mercedes, as they grow to adulthood. We also meet many relatives, neighbors and teachers along the way. Cerpa describes a unique way of life, almost unknown in our busy modern world. Despite being poor, they were rich in love and family.

The Writing: So what’s not to like about this book? In a word, the prose. The book reads as if written by the 13-year-old Delia and not a woman with a PhD. Is this intentional? I’m not entirely sure. There are numerous typos throughout the book. The storyline bounces from paragraph to paragraph. One paragraph might be about planning a party and the very next about sugarcane harvesting with no clear section break. The author repeats herself endlessly, and the grammar is atrocious. For example: Maria Mercedes looked at me with her shaven head. And: Neighbors and relatives began to arrive. Julio and Don Cruz Munoz went to get the house building materials in town. Neighbors and relatives began to arrive early in the morning with building tools and gathered around the tobacco ranch.... Students who had worms were administered medicine for worms. Okay last one: The hens and chicks kept feeding where they were already eating. Ay, Dios Mio, I wanted to poke my eye out by the end of the book.
Conclusion: If the writing style was intentional, I didn’t like it. If it wasn’t, then shame on the editor. $19.95 is a lot of money for an ill-written book. I don’t feel I can recommend this to anyone unless the price drops significantly. If I wasn’t reviewing this book, it would have been a DNF for sure.

I rate this book 2 Stars

My Ratings: 

1  Star: Not good at all, do not read!

2  Stars: Read only as a last resort, no other books available

3 Stars: Good, enjoyed it, will recommend with reservations

4 Stars: Really good, read this book!

5 Stars: So good, I might read it again sometime! Highly recommend