The New Diary by Hanna Kraft

Well, we’re back to the blog tour for The New Diary by Hanna Kraft! For the final day, I’m posting a review of the book. Enjoy! 🙂

The Review

Title: The New Diary

Author: Hanna Kraft

Series: Heritage Diaries, #1

Genre: Semi-Biographical Historical Fiction

Era: 1930 (early Great Depression)

Setting: New York, United States

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 4/5

The New Diary by Hanna Kraft

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One Summer Sunday in 1930, Carol Ayers decides to keep a diary. She records many life changes over the days, weeks, and months. Can Carol and her family accept, and even like the changes, and at the same time continue their traditions?

The New Diary, a fictional account, contains actual excerpts from the real diary of Carol Ayers, the author’s great-grandmother.

Add on Goodreads

The New Diary by Hanna Kraft is a very sweet, entertaining story. At first, I didn’t quite realize that it was based off her grandmother’s journals (I’m not a detail person …) and expected more of an average historical fiction novel, but it was much more than that, and I really enjoyed it!

Plot {4/5}:

All of the little stories in this book were so great! Some were funny, some intriguing, and all were entertaining and interesting. I will say I would have liked more of a solid plotline, but this was actually a nice change. I’m sick of the formulas, anyway, and as it’s semi-biographical, it’s understandable.

Characters {3/5}:

I admit I spent most if not all of this book with the characters mixed up in my head. If I were the author, I might try making a ‘characters’ section at the beginning of the book so readers could refer back to it and figure out who’s who. I had the feeling that I walked into a room where everyone knows everyone … except me, who knows no one. Of course, that makes sense, as the author really does know some of these characters (in a way)!

However, the characters I did remember (Carol, Pete, Maggie, etc.) were all very vivid and real. I enjoyed them. Pete was my favorite. Or Maggie. Or Edythe. But I liked Carol, too …

Setting {4/5}:

The setting was amazing! I really got immersed in the era (and I sure didn’t want to leave!). I especially loved when they went shopping and were looking at clothes.

I think the description of characters and places, however, could have used a little work … but not much. I could feel hot summer days or rain drizzling on my back sometimes, too. 🙂

Writing {4/5}:

Light and entertaining and never focusing on anything longer than need by, the writing kept the book going. It could use a little work on minor things here and there, but I shan’t dwell on it … mostly because I can’t remember what they were and my notes are hazy. XD

Content:

I think maybe there was a little girl-talk about boys and crushes and stuff, but that was maybe two paragraphs and so innocent (it’s the 1930s!). Not at all like the silly stuff you hear from your average middle-schooler/high-schooler nowadays. I can’t remember anything else, though.

Okay for all ages without parental guidance. Probably best for girls aged 8-14.

Overall {4/5}:

The New Diary gives us a good glimpse into life in the early 1930s for your average family and community, and I really appreciate that (this being among my top ten favorite eras … and yes, I couldn’t narrow it down to less than ten … even that was a stretch …). It was also a great story about a great family who stuck together in an increasingly troubled time. Looking forward to the next book! 🙂

About the Author

Hanna Kraft, an introverted Christian Homeschooler, is very grateful to have the opportunity to learn at home, and desires to spread her love of Jesus to others. Every day she sees new ways the Lord has provided, blessed, and cared for her and those she cares for. Hanna enjoys writing much more than any of her five siblings, and has enjoyed it for several years. When she realized her ability to publish The New Diary, she decided to pursue writing as a bit more than a mere hobby.

Besides reading and writing, Hanna lives in the country with her family, and enjoys playing the banjo, swimming, listening to much Southern Gospel music, and watching college basketball.

The Tour Schedule

Wednesday the 1st

-Kellyn Roth @ Reveries Reviews (kick-off/author interview)

Friday the 3rd

-Megan @ A Barefoot Gal (author interview)

-Kellyn Roth @ Reveries Reviews (excerpt)

Saturday the 4th

-Kellyn Roth @ Reveries Reviews (review)

-Angela R. Watts @ The Peculiar Messenger (review/author interview)

-Anika Joy @ Anika’s Avenue (review/author interview)


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the other posts!

~Kellyn Roth

A Peek into The New Diary {Excerpt}

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Today I decided to post an excerpt of The New Diary. This is my personal favorite scene … and one of the author’s favorites, too!


“I could use that piece of angel food cake left over from supper,” Carol agreed. She opened the door, and started for the kitchen.

“Carol! Wait!” Pete hissed, causing Carol to turn around.

“What?”

“We need to have a plan. In case those People catch us,” Pete’s whisper turned mysterious and mischievous.

Ethel giggled, and Pete shushed her.

“We need to be very quiet. Any unnecessary noise will bring the People in here, and ruin the raid,” Pete cautioned.

“If we’re going on a raid, we need to have code names,” advised Margaret, joining in the game.

“Okay, well, that’s easy. I’m Crackum. And Pete’s Pete,” Carol said. Crackum was Carol’s old nickname.

“Pete’s not a code name,” replied Pete. “I’ll be Repeat.”

Pete’s sisters burst into giggles. “Shh! You’ll wake the People!” Pete hissed. But Carol could tell that Pete was trying to hide a smile.

Maggie also saw the hidden grin, and renewed her laughter, and so Carol and Ethel laughed again. All the giggling finally made Pete laugh, which brought fresh rounds of mirth.

When the girls finally sobered, Pete resumed her instructions.

“Okay, I’m taking roll call. Captain Repeat?” Pete looked around, and said “Here.”

Ethel snorted, but the rest were able to refrain from laughing while Ethel regained her composure.

“Crackum?”

“Right here, in front of you,” replied Carol.

Margaret burst into giggles, and the girls were helpless with laughter for another two minutes.

Finally, Pete cleared her throat. “Peg?”

“If that’s my code name, I’m here,” Maggie replied.

“Snooks?”

At the mention of her nickname, Ethel stepped forward and saluted. “Here, Captain Repeat.”

“All right, here’s the plan. We enter the kitchen on tip-toe. This is how you walk on tip-toe.” Pete demonstrated. “Then, Captain Repeat- Oh, that’s me!- silently opens the pantry. She takes out the food, and gives it to Crackum. Meanwhile, Peg and Snooks find silverware and plates. Is that clear?” Pete then added, “And one more thing: no loud talking or laughing.”

Carol, Maggie, and Ethel immediately disobeyed the last rule by laughing. It was another five minutes before they executed the plan.

“Wait, we forgot an important detail,” Maggie said. “What food shall we take?”

“Well, Crackum wanted angel food cake, and I want raisin bread,” Pete replied. “Do you want anything else?”

“Nope, not really.”

So they put the plan into action. The girls tiptoed into the kitchen. Carol tried hard not to laugh, as she followed Captain Repeat to the pantry in the dark. She was sure Maggie and Ethel were also forcing themselves to keep silent. Carol was glad for the dark; she couldn’t see the others’ faces.

“Crackum?” Pete felt for Carol’s hands, and then shoved a loaf of bread into them. Then she hissed, “Peg? Snooks? Have you finished your mission?”

Margaret’s whisper came through the dark kitchen. “With all due respect, Captain… I can’t find the silverware drawer.”

Carol couldn’t hold it back. She burst into giggles, and laughed so hard, tears streamed down her face.

Of course, Maggie and Ethel had been on the verge of laughing, too, so they soon fell to the floor, laughing and gasping for air.

Carol heard Pete gasp like a real captain might do when a mission failed, but she succumbed to the humor of the situation, and laughed right along with them.

But then, a lamp light moved toward the kitchen. Mother’s oil lamp lit up the kitchen, and she skeptically viewed the howling girls. “What is going on in here?” she exclaimed.

Pete regained her composure first, so she tried to explain. The giggling of her sisters interrupted her many times.

“You see,” she said, “We were hungry, and wanted some food.”

Snorts from Ethel and Carol brought frowns from Pete. Margaret still lay on the floor catching her breath.

“And you didn’t bring a light because…?” Mother inquired.

“That would have been too easy, I suppose,” Carol said. She quickly added, “It’s all Pete’s fault, Mother.”

“I see,” Mother shook her head wearily. “Well, did you find everything you wanted in the dark?”

“No, because Margaret couldn’t find-” Carol broke off, as Margaret and Ethel started laughing; it was contagious.

Pete tried. “She couldn’t find the-” and she failed.

Mother folded her arms. She failed to see the humor, so Margaret hurried to finish the sentence. “I couldn’t find the silverware!” she burst out, before she convulsed into more giggles.

Mother shook her head, and left them to find the silverware in the lighted kitchen.

The girls ate their fill, then went to bed. In spite of the darkness in the house, Carol found a lamp, and wrote the events of the day in her diary. She smiled and chuckled, not too loud for she didn’t want to disturb Maggie, as she recalled their silly antics, just an hour ago.


Excited to read it? Add it on Goodreads here!

– T h e  S c h e d u l e –

Wednesday the 1st

-Kellyn Roth @ Reveries Reviews (kick-off/author interview)

Friday the 3rd

-Megan @ A Barefoot Gal (author interview)

-Kellyn Roth @ Reveries (excerpt)

Saturday the 4th

-Kellyn Roth @ Reveries Reviews (review)

-Angela R. Watts @ The Peculiar Messenger (review/author interview)

Anika Joy @ Anika’s Avenue (review/author interview)


Thanks for reading and God bless,

~Kellyn Roth

The New Diary Blog Tour (Kick-Off and Author Interview)

thenewdiaryblogtour

Well, guys, today we’re doing something a little different … a blog tour! That’s right, I’m hosting the blog tour of my dear friend, Hanna Kraft! It’s a small blog tour (in length and participants), but Hanna and I hope you’ll enjoy it. 🙂

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~ About the Book ~

One Summer Sunday in 1930, Carol Ayers decides to keep a diary. She records many life changes over the days, weeks, and months. Can Carol and her family accept, and even like the changes, and at the same time continue their traditions?

The New Diary, a fictional account, contains actual excerpts from the real diary of Carol Ayers, the author’s great-grandmother.

Find it on Goodreads

~ About the Author ~

Hanna Kraft, an introverted Christian Homeschooler, is very grateful to have the opportunity to learn at home, and desires to spread her love of Jesus to others. Every day she sees new ways the Lord has provided, blessed, and cared for her and those she cares for. Hanna enjoys writing much more than any of her five siblings, and has enjoyed it for several years. When she realized her ability to publish The New Diary, she decided to pursue writing as a bit more than a mere hobby.

Besides reading and writing, Hanna lives in the country with her family, and enjoys playing the banjo, swimming, listening to much Southern Gospel music, and watching college basketball.

~ The Interview ~

Why did you decide to write your great-grandmother’s story over just some random fiction tale?

 All the credit goes to my mom, actually. See, this book was a school project. Therefore, my mom had an invested interest. She knew that Grandma Carol (her grandmother) has written diaries, and that my grandma had kept them. She suggested that I use that for my project. I thought it was a great idea; plus, it wasn’t like I had any other good ideas of a ‘random fiction tale.’

When you started writing The New Diary, did you ever think you’d share it with anyone other than family and close friends?

When I realized that I would be writing a book, I dreamed that I would become a (famous?) author. With The New Diary, though it was primarily for my family, I knew I would want to share it with others.

Do you have a favorite character?

 Ah! I do love them all, as I’m sure all writers can understand. I think Carol ends up being my favorite, since she is my great-grandmother. I did enjoy writing scenes with Irish, Pete, and Edythe, though.

If you could tell people one thing about The New Diary to interest them in reading it, what would that be?

Hm… maybe that Pete’s daughter said that is was like reading the Little House books? Maybe I would rephrase my statement and say that I ‘modeled’ it, in a way, after the Little House books.

What was the hardest thing about writing The New Diary?

I would say the hardest thing about writing it was keeping it historically accurate and diary-accurate. The research was not easy at all, either! (Try searching for “Rural 1930 life in New York” in a search engine, and see what comes up! Not much.)

About how much of The New Diary is fiction and how much is nonfiction?

I would like to say 100% is nonfiction. That is not true. However, almost every scene is based off of what Carol mentioned in her diary. Even Carol’s visit to the Shelps was mentioned in her diary; although her conversation with Gertie about Carol’s many siblings was fiction, it is fact that she visited the Shelps on that particular day. Sometimes I have detailed facts- for instance, that make-up woman in the tent really was smoking a cigarette!

Do you see writing as a hobby … or could it become a future career?

Both! I love writing, and therefore it is a hobby. I do want it to become a ‘career’ of some sort, although I believe I shouldn’t focus on doing only that with my life.

Do you snack while writing? Do you listen to music?

Snacking? No. Listening to music? Yes, if possible. While writing my first draft of The New Diary, there was no way to listen to music: I wasn’t near a computer, nor was there a nearby CD player. With Book #2 of The Heritage Diaries, however, I hope to listen to music while writing.

Is there a special place you go to write?

Not really. I like writing on my bed, but I can easily write anywhere.

What’s your next writing project going to be?

The next big, publish-able project will be Book #2 of The Heritage Diaries, which I plan on starting this Summer. (So excited!!)


Well, that was a fun interview, wasn’t it? Pumped for the blog tour? Well, I am! 😛

Over the next couple days, there will be some great posts. Here’s the schedule so you can find out where and when:

Wednesday the 1st

-Kellyn Roth @ Reveries Reviews (kick-off/author interview)

Friday the 3rd

-Megan @ A Barefoot Gal (author interview)

-Kellyn Roth @ Reveries Reviews (excerpt)

Saturday the 4th

-Kellyn Roth @ Reveries Reviews (review)

-Angela R. Watts @ The Peculiar Messenger (review/author interview)

-Anika Joy @ Anika’s Avenue (review/author interview)


It’s a short blog tour, but hopefully it will be a really fun one! 🙂

~Kellyn Roth