Treat Yourself to a Great New Read: Weather of the Heart


All through her long busy life in America, Nora Percival felt impelled to learn about the family she’d left behind in Samara, the city on the Volga where she was born. After glasnost she was finally able to go there and find the places, though not the people, of her youth.Her search resurrected childhood memories of revolution, civil war, famine and exile, which she felt impelled to share, “to speak for so many others who have silently endured the loss of all they valued.” In her book the reader will meet the extended family who faced many trials in those chaotic years, and will be moved by their steadfast togetherness through want and woe. The reader will share the love and courage that sustained them and helped them survive hunger and despair, the humor that cheered dreary days and the strength that carried them through affliction and calamity. Readers will cry over their sorrows and enjoy their small triumphs, and they will live again in memory.


Nora Lourie Percival was born just after World War I in Samara on the Volga River in Russia. The revolution drove her father out of the country to safety, and her family lived through a civil war and a famine. These tribulations were recorded in “Weather of the Heart,” her first memoir. In 1922, the family was reunited in New York, where Nora grew up. The author’s career has been largely in the editorial field. She has worked for Random House, the American Management Association, and Barnard College. Now long retired, she is still writing and working as a freelance editor. An only child, she has raised five children and now has eleven grandchildren. She lives in the mountains of North Carolina, where she enjoys the natural beauty and is inspired by the literary renaissance in the South.

Read more about Nora Percival by visiting her website at


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BOOK REVIEW: Gail Briggs Nolen’s “Memories of Merritt Island: Birthplace of Ken

Memories of Merritt Island_Cover

Gail Briggs Nolen offers an intimate portrayal of her two bloodlines in Memories of Merritt Island: Birthplace of Kennedy Space Center. This story of Merritt Island is recounted through the lives of the Benecke-Briggs family.

Briggs Nolen shares the triumphs and failures of the homesteading lifestyle that was prevalent throughout Merritt Island. This rich history is brought to life with love letters, family photographs, government records, maps, and news articles. We learn about the struggles of a young German immigrant who yearns for financial stability and the warmth of his distant lover, become acquainted with the brave Aunt “alligator Lena,” and even told about the great family piano that not even Liberace could buy. The reader travels straight through this family’s lineage up until the eventful moment when their dreams were dashed by the United States government. Progress demanded change. John F. Kennedy ushered in the age of space exploration. Merritt Island was the location of choice.

Memories of Merritt Island is definitely a successful endeavor at passing on a special family heritage. The sentiments of the individuals who enjoyed the island before the Kennedy Space Center are quite clear. This historical piece is a gentle reminder that legacies are built on hard work, dedication, and ingenuity. Land lovers, adventurers, and history buffs can appreciate this work.

Kadier C. Carter, J.D.

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