Time for some Fall book reviews! I read these books in October, November and December and hope you will enjoy some of them as much as I did.
By the author of "Wayward Pines", "Dark Matter" is a suspenseful and strange novel that takes place in not just one, but several parallel universes. I've never read anything quite like it. The main character wakes up in a world where his wife is not his wife, his career is not his career and his house is not his house. If you have ever pondered the paths not taken and the the choices we make in life, you might find this book a real treat. It is science fiction, which is not my typical chosen genre, but I found I quite enjoyed it.
Tracey Rees is the author of "Amy Snow", one of my favorite books read in 2015. I loved "Amy Snow" so much I re-read again this year. "Florence Grace" is similar in that it is also romantic fiction, and spans some years detailing the life of a spirited young woman who rises above many obstacles. Florence is a girl living in Cornwall, when through a series of circumstances finds out that she is related to a very wealthy family who wants to take her in and "improve" her. Great cast of characters, some of which are quite detestable. I chose the audio version, and enjoyed many hours engrossed in this story.
Now this was a strange book. "The Wonder" is the story of a nurse trained by Florence Nightengale, who is asked to be an "outside observer" of a young Irish girl who supposedly has not eaten in four months. Is she getting food from somewhere? How can she survive? Is it a hoax? The young girl is touted as a miracle who is surviving on her faith alone, and many amongst her family and community believe she is a saint. The story changes as the child begins to decline and the nurse (who is not supposed to interfere) becomes obsessed with keeping the child from dying of starvation. This book was richly layered-it is a mystery, but will provoke your thoughts on the issues of religious fanaticism and how we influence young children intentionally or not.
This was a spooky Southern gothic page turner. The main character works for a magazine and is asked to travel to an eerie Southern plantation to investigate a 30 year old mystery involving the disappearance of a 3 year old boy. Lots of eccentric characters, plot twists and atmosphere. If you enjoy a good mystery with a good story and not much violence, this will be a winner for you.
You might remember how much I enjoyed another book by this author, called "Apple Tree Yard". This book was quite different from that more contemporary novel, and I suppose I have to say I didn't enjoy it quite as much. Nevertheless, it was a very interesting tale of the lives of four generations of Romany gypsy "travelers". The characters really do come to life, and if you are curious about the lives of these gypsy travelers in 20th century Europe, your eyes will really be opened if you read this book. It is unique. (And only $3.34 on Amazon Kindle).
Ruth Ware wrote "The Woman in Cabin 10", which everyone has been raving about this year. I read that book, and was intrigued to pick up something else by the same author. This was also a psychological thriller, where the main character is, under the guise of a "hen party", is lured back to revisit some old "friends" she would just as soon never see again. The setting really is in an isolated cabin in the woods where the cast of characters gathers to celebrate the upcoming marriage of one of them. As the story unfolds, you will be turning the pages as fast as you can.
The main character in this book is Nina, a librarian who is known for matching people up with the perfect book. She loses her job and buys a van and moves to a sleepy village in Scotland where she sets up a mobile bookshop. This story was sweet, but rather insipid. Predictable and not enough about books. It also had some very random plot twists that made no sense what so ever. I had high hopes for this one and felt rather let down.
A young girl from an affluent family is a victim of a violent rape. She is given a controversial drug to make her suppress the memory of her traumatic attack. In the weeks after the event, the victim heals physically, but struggles with her emotional memories. Her father becomes obsessed with finding the perpetrator and a psychiatrist is brought in to help uncover any memory clues that would bring the attacker to justice. Why does the girl's mother want to pretend the event never happened? And Is it a bit of a conflict of interest that the psychiatrist's son was a little to close the crime scene? Thought provoking plot, which made me wonder at how a psychiatrist could manipulate the "memory" of his patient. You won't see the end coming. Some not so likable characters and some description of unpleasant violence.
Another book about memory loss. In this one, the main character had an "accident" which caused her to have a strange type of amnesia. Her memories disappear every time she goes to sleep. She doesn't know her husband, her home or her past. Every morning she starts all over, having to have everything explained to her all over again. With the help of a psychiatrist, she starts a journal she can refer to in order to find her place in her world. However, she begins to have deep concerns as to whom she should trust. It was an unusual and twisted plot and I was enthralled up until the last page.
This trilogy is a real departure for me! It is a fantasy called "The Farseer Trilogy". Fitz, a royal bastard is adopted by his grandfather King Shrewd. Fitz has a number of magical skills, some of which he manages better than others. He is trained to be the royal assassin, protecting the realm against the Red Ship invaders. Fitz is destined for many adventures over the years of his young manhood, and I am thoroughly enjoying reading about them. The description of the kingdom and countryside is very rich and detailed, the many characters are so well drawn you will feel like you know them, and the action scenes will make you hold your breath. Each book is 500-800 pages, so prepare yourself not to get very much done for awhile if you begin the series!
Hope you enjoyed hearing about my fall reads. Check back this week for my yearly overview--what was my favorite, what disappointed me, which books I enjoyed that were out of my usual comfort zone.