Book Club: Estranged Family Author Edition

This month for the book club James Fox and I are in, we decided to each read a book written by someone who shares our last name. Luckily Fox and Ladd are both pretty common names, although Fox is maybe a cooler sounding pen name so I think he may have better choices than me. I was super excited to discover other Ladds who’ve written books! Maybe find some long-lost cousins or something. But, after exhaustively searching my library’s catalog for a whole twenty minutes, I’m not sure I want to claim any of these people as kin. Sorry, Cheryl Ladd, I just like to pretend the 70s are fictional. Here is my short list to choose from. Which one should I read?

Token Chick: A Woman's Guide to Golfing with the Boys by Cheryl Ladd (2006)


I knew Cheryl Ladd was a sort of famous actress (as seen on the original Charlie’s Angels), but according to Token Chick she is also really into golf and “is one of the most sought-after players worldwide”. This book apparently shares her experiences being one of the only female golfers and gives advice on how women can approach golf differently including a chapter called “The pre-menstrual swing” and an answer to the question “how can we make our breasts work for us in our golf swing?”. It has good reviews on Amazon, though mostly from people who are old enough to remember watching her on TV. Even though you know I can’t resist a celebrity author, I think I’ll have to pass on this one because if there’s one thing more excruciatingly boring than watching golf, it’s reading about it.

Thrive, Don't Simply Survive: Passionately Live the Life You Didn't Plan by Karol Ladd (2009)

“Whether you’re struggling with the big issues of life or simply overwhelmed by the demands of every single day, Karol Ladd’s powerful biblical principles will give you the help you need. In this book, you will discover how to redefine your unexpected life, and you’ll learn concrete skills that will help you move past simply surviving and into a thriving life that is lived passionately and with joy. New purpose and hope await you just beyond the cover of this book.”– from the Amazon description. The few reviews on this one are, again, all positive and from well-meaning middle-aged women who write things like “As women, we think we have everything under control…and then bang! Everything is out of control.” I hear that, sister.

Apparently this book covers the seven most common disappointments in a woman’s life, and, though I have no interest in motivating bible quotes, I’m filled with curiosity about what disappointments await me. As a woman. Probably something about your kids not appreciating you and your husband taking up WoW as a full-time hobby?

The Power of a Positive Mom by Karol Ladd (2007)

Yes, the library owns more than one Karol Ladd self-help book! This one is about how you as a mom can have a powerful impact on your family AND THE WORLD by following just seven family-shaping principles. Seven seems to be Karol’s favorite number. This one seems to have a lot more reviews (27), one of them lists the seven positive principles as “encouragement, prayer, a good attitude, and several others”. Unfortunately this book applies even less to my life than the previous one, so I may never discover how I can change the world around me. Sorry, Karol Ladd, but even the promise of having Ladd-solidarity with you isn’t enough to inspire me to procreate.

Sarah's Psalm by Florence Ladd (1997)


This book is fiction, so it automatically gets bonus points, since the main activity of book club is mailing each other ridic fanfiction. I’m not saying I couldn’t write fanfiction about a non-fiction book (I’ve got skillz, you guys), but it would certainly be easier with a plot and characters to work with. Sarah’s Psalm is about a girl growing up in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement who takes an exciting trip to Africa to write her thesis on a conveniently handsome Senegalese writer. Except she has a boyfriend (husband?) back home oh noes! I can’t tell if this is a historical fiction novel with a steamy love triangle or a steamy romance novel set in history.

A New Owner's Guide to Dachshunds by Kaye Ladd (1996)


Kaye Ladd was apparently a dachshund breeder (her business was called “Laddland” which is amazing). This book is pretty self-explanatory. Though I definitely want a dog (!!!) not sure if it will be a dachshund. Still, if I read this book, at least I will be prepared! Also there might be cute pictures!

White Lily by Linda Ladd (1993)

Who am I kidding, you guys. I listed those other books to be a good sport, but we can all see that THIS is the one I’m going to choose. Check the Publisher’s Weekly review:

Ladd ( Dragon Fire ) packs this lifeless historical romance, the first in a trilogy, with twists and turns that rarely make sense. In 1864 Union spy Harte Delaney rescues Australian maiden Lily Courtland from white slavers. Lily and two aboriginal boys she calls the Kapirigis have traveled from her family’s ranch to find Lily’s brother Derek, a ship’s captain whose last letter came from the Carolinas. Harte recognizes the name of her brother’s ship and realizes that Derek is a Confederate blockade runner. As it happens, Lily is clairvoyant and has been seeing explicit visions of Harte and herself for years. She does not intuit, however, that he is helping her search for Derek in order to imprison him. Aside from her special gift, Lily is a naive cipher while Harte is sullen due to his wife’s suicide and his estrangement from his family; both he blames on his controlling and wealthy grandmother. Attitudes towards the people of color in this book go beyond historical accuracy to offensiveness.

Civil War-era spies and blockade runners? Random Australian clairvoyants? Romance novel plots that don’t make any kind of sense? Racism beyond historical accuracy? Of course this is my choice!!!

Also I looked up “Dragon Fire” and my library unfortunately doesn’t own it (I, of course, refuse to pay money for such things–Ladd solidarity only goes so far). But sadly it’s not a fantasy romance about dragon people but another racially insensitive historical novel, this time featuring “a secret Asian sect”. Alas.

One response to “Book Club: Estranged Family Author Edition”

  1. I am super disappointed that Dragon Fire is not an even MORE ridiculous versiou of Firelight. Nevertheless I fully support White Lily!

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