This will be a longer post than usual. As you know, I am an avid reader and love to share some of the books I have enjoyed from time to time. If you are interested in hearing about some good books, grab yourself a cup of coffee and make yourself comfy for awhile!
The subject at the heart of this book by Claire Kells is Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Avery Delacorte and members of her swim team traveling home for Thanksgiving are in a plane crash. Avery and a couple other individuals survive and the novel is the story of how Avery struggles to find her place in the real world after this earth shattering event. It was an absorbing story, and as the Amazon review says: "In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but".
Our Souls at Night
I adored this very short book by Kent Haruf. It was the last book he wrote before passing away not too long ago. If you haven't read any of his other novels, you should. Elderly widow Addie Moore and her neighbor widower Louis Waters only knew each other slightly when their spouses were alive. One night around bedtime, Addie turns up on Louis' doorstep with an interesting proposal. That they sleep together. Not in a sexual manner, but to provide each other with conversation before they fall asleep. The two embark on an unusual friendship and help each other alleviate the terrible loneliness they both feel at night. The town is full of gossips, and all kinds of trouble results, but this is a wonderful and very unusual story.
A Fall of Marigolds
This novel by Susan Meissner takes place on Ellis Island in September 1911. A nurse named Clara Woods, who has suffered a terrible loss, is caring for a fevered immigrant in the Ellis Island hospital. She has a dilemma forced upon her which forces her to confront some assumptions she has made about the man. There is a parallel story running through the book about a female character in the present day who lost her husband in the September 11 Twin Towers attack. The two women suffered similar losses and are in need of feeling hope again.
This was a really good story, and it kept my attention throughout.
This was one of those riveting novels which has an unreliable narrator. Estelle Connor suffers from Postpartum Depression and her daughter Mia goes missing. Then, Estelle is in a terrible automobile accident and cannot remember anything that happened in the days leading up to the accident and her daughter's disappearance. She doesn't believe she would have harmed her baby, but finds herself the prime suspect in the disappearance. Fast paced plot, twists and turns in the storyline and an ending I didn't see coming. This one was definitely a page turner!
This novel by John Green has been a popular book club selection. The storyline involves a young man smitten over an unattainable, unpredictable teenaged girl, a crazy road trip and a clever mystery. The book is aimed at young adults I think, but was well written and entertaining for me to read. Our protagonist Quentin's musing on how we can never really completely know another person was thought provoking.
Circling the Sun
Another book club selection is this book about Beryl Markham, the famous female aviator who grew up in Kenya and was part of the Out of Africa love triangle of Isak Dineson and Denys Finch Hatton (the Meryl Streep and Robert Redford characters in the film). An engrossing love story set in Colonial Africa--this book was sort of like Great Gatsby goes to Kenya. It turns out Finch-Hatton was quite the womanizer in real life, and was involved with both these accomplished and unusual women at the same time. Beryl Markham was a trail blazing feminist, way ahead of her time. She trained race horses and flew airplanes, both activities just not done by women at the time. I definitely recommend this one!
It took me awhile to get into this book, the first of a trilogy by Petra Durst Benning. The book is about three sisters from the little German town of Lauscha, where all the men have been glassblowers for centuries. The girls' father dies and they need to find their way in a man's world. I was frustrated by the dumb decisions all three characters made, but did get caught up in the story. It was interesting to learn about the development of glass blown Christmas ornaments and how they were all shipped to America at first, but then caught on with other countries in the world.
Jo Jo Moyes: After You
JoJo Moyes is an enormously popular British novelist. I had previously read You Before Me, a very thoughtful novel on the subject of assisted suicide. This book is the sequel, concerning how Louisa carries on with her life after Will's controversial death in a Swiss clinic. Anything by JoJo Moyes is well written and engrossing. I highly recommend her.
Susan Wiggs: The Apple Orchard and The Beekeepers Ball
A lot of you are going to love these books by Susan Wiggs. She is a very prolific author and her books are romantic and full of wonderful details and conversations between the characters. The discovery of this author is going to thrill those of you who enjoy this type of novel. Landscape and setting are integral to all of Wigg's books, and this series (The Bella Vista Chronicles) is set in Sonoma, California, amidst vineyards, charming towns, and apple orchards. It is a family saga with a message of how important loyalty, friendship and family are. There is romance for sure, and you will get so caught up in the author's descriptions of things. The main character is a red-headed antiquities assessor from San Francisco who finds out she has a family and sister in Sonoma, and part owner of an apple ranch. The story is set in the present day, but there is a subplot about the Danish resistance in WW2.
The second book in the series is The Beekeeper's Ball, which concerns the life of the sister, who plans to start a cooking school in the large family home in the country. Interesting characters and a fun read. Predictable, but that's ok. The road to getting to the end you know is coming is very enjoyable.
That's all for now. Hope you enjoyed my little synopses and will be encouraged to read some of these books!