Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
This book is filled with fully formed characters and beautiful prose. In fact it earned the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded biennially to a first literary novel that addresses issues of social justice. If you are looking for a tidy and sweet read, this is not it. But if you are longing for a page turner that brings you face to face with a story wrought with tension and memorable characters, this could be it.
Friday, December 02, 2011
Scott Spencer's beautiful tale, Man in the Woods, is the story of a quiet, gentle, responsible man, who in one chance encounter in the woods, commits a crime--a violent crime--with no one to witness it except a dog he takes home and names Shep. He did a very wrong thing--but for a right reason. (I can't tell you more without giving away a core piece of the story!) What would you do if this happened to you? If you thought you could absolutely get away with it? Could you live with it? Paul thought he could, and in the moments immediately after the incident, he panics and feels he has no choice. But he bears this terrible burden, and it dramatically affects his life with his lover Kate and her daughter Ruby. He is not a religious man, but he is a thoughtful, considerate one, and the guilt is overwhelming. Spencer is so elegant about telling a story and detailing his characters. He must be an animal-lover, because he did a great job portraying Shep, who has withstood abuse and cruelty and yet retains a sweet and loving disposition. The book is suspenseful, because you don't know whether Paul will be found out. And by the end, you sincerely hope he won't be.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding. Dr. Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to return home to Jacksonville, FL for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day. When the last outgoing flight is canceled due to a broken do-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently. And then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness--one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.
Ben, who has broken ribs and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilot's dog are faced with an incredibly harrowing battle to survive. Fortunately, Ben is a medical professional and avid climber (and in a lucky break, has his gear from a climb earlier in the week). With little hope for rescue, he must nurse Ashley back to health and figure out how they are going to get off the mountain, where the temperature hovers in the teens. Meanwhile, Ashley soon realizes that the very private Ben has some serious emotional wounds to heal as well. He explains to Ashley that he is separated from his beloved wife, but in a long standing tradition, he faithfully records messages for her on his voice recorder reflecting on their love affair. As Ashley eavesdrops on Ben's tender words to his estranged wife she comes to fear that when it come to her own love story, she's just settling. And what's more: she begins to realize that the man she is really attracted to, that man she may love, is Ben.
As the days on the mountains become weeks, their survival becomes increasingly perilous. How will they make it out the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever?
Both a tender and page-turning read, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Over five years in the writing,
The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.
In 70 C.E., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman’s novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by what they have witnessed. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and an expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power.
The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love. The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
It's 1926 in Achinson, Missouri and fifteen-year-old Iris feels like a shadow in her own home. Her mother died of tuberculosis when she was five and since then, her father has remained distant from her and has poured himself into his shoe store. Iris doesn't seem to fit anywhere in his life. Her father decides to send her away for the summer to be the companion of Dr. Nesbitt's elderly mother in rural Wellsford while he goes to Kansas City to open up a new shoe store in that booming town with his new fiance, Celeste. Iris and Mrs. Nesbitt soon learn they have much in common; they are both mourning lost loved ones in their lives, Iris her mother and Mrs. Nesbitt her other son Morris. Together they learn to " dust off the memories" and a deep friendship forms between them. Dr. Nesbitt is kind, calm, understanding and teaches Iris to drive his Model-T so that she may take Mr. Nesbitt on errands. Iris feels welcomed in their home but misses the companionship of her best friend from back home, Leroy. Cecil, the Nesbitt's tenant farmer, and his daughter Dot, who does their laundry every week, are disturbing elements in Iris' life. Cecil is menacing and makes Iris feel very uncomfortable when he is around. Dot is prickly and antagonistic to Iris. Dot says her mother, Pansy, has "passed on". Mrs. Nesbitt says Pansy has merely left Cecil and run away unable to stand living with Cecil any longer. When tragedy happens, Iris must look inside herself and find the courage, cunning and will it will take to stop this evil man from destroying his daughter's life. Warm and humorous, this story tells how one girl discovers her inner strength and beauty and ultimately finds new hope, a new home and love.
Monday, October 17, 2011
An honest account of a life reaching for that peace that puts a heart at rest. You'll grow to love Ira Wagler and want to know more about him!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Monday, October 03, 2011
A Stolen Life is a memoir by Jaycee Dugard who was normal kid until the summer of 1991 when she was abducted. For eighteen years she was a prisoner. She was an object for someone to use and abuse. For eighteen years she was not allowed to speak her own name.
Her life was stolen one ordinary Monday morning as she was walking up the hill to catch the school bus in June 1991. She was coming to the part of the hill at which she had been taught to cross to the other side by Carl (her step-father) and her mom who had decided this was the best place to stand and wait for the school bus. As Jaycee is walking she heards a car behind her, she looks back expecting the car to pass but to her surprise the car pulls up beside her. The driver (Phillip Garrido) rolls down his window and leans slightly out of his car and starts to ask her for directions. His hand shoots out of the window so fast she barely registers that he has something black in his hand. Jaycee hears a crackling sound and she feels paralyzed. She tries to get away but can only scoot away to the bushes at the side of the road. Jaycee's life will suddenly change not for the better. For eighteen years she was a prisoner. She was an object for someone to use and abuse.
Jaycee's story is refresing in that it's written by her, and not from a co-author. Much of the book are pages and pages taken from the actual journal entries she wrote while in her backyard prison.
On August 26, 2009, Jaycee took back her name. She doesn't think of herself as a victim. She survived to tell her story.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
With fall being back to school season for many, it's the perfect time for those of us who are no longer students to pursue reading one of the classics that we may have missed in our own student days. The Delphi Morning Book Club is reading Emma, by Jane Austen, this month. In some ways, Emma is like other Austen books in that it focuses on courtship and marriage, social status and manners. But this book's heroine, Emma, is a bit different from Ms. Austen's typical main character. Emma is financially secure and not really interested in marriage for herself--she doesn't need a man for her financial support, which puts her in an enviable position. Emma, however, is interested in marriage when it comes to other couples. She sees herself as a matchmaker, protector, and counselor for a young girl, Harriet Smith, who in turn idolizes her. The entire book is about misinterpretations and misunderstanding concerning who wants to, who should, and who is able to marry whom. It's quite amazing that a book first published in 1816 could be so funny and appealing to modern readers. We have multiple copies of Emma available. Stop by the library to pick one up, and retreat to the 19th century for a while.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Theodore Boone is back! When author John Grisham introduced the "Kid Lawyer" last year he suggested that he intended to write a series of juvenile books featuring the 13 year old legal whiz. His purpose; open up his main genre to a younger audience. The pay off: another generation of readers to get turned on to the likes of The Firm & The Pelican Brief as they get older. Perhaps he's onto something.
In this episode, Theo's girlfriend & classmate, April Finnemore, is missing. The entire town of Strattenburg turns out to look for her & is turned upside down as information begins to surface. Distant relative & general reprobate Jack Leeper has coincidentally escaped from prison in California, has been seem in Strattenburg, & has been known to correspond with the eight-grader. Police find in him a perfect suspect. Theo's Uncle Ike offers another choice for the eight-grade boys to focus on: April's rarely seem, washed out musician father.
Action begins with the first sentence of the book: "The Abduction of April Finnemore took place in the dead of night...."& continues page after page. Young adult readers will enjoy it; intermediate readers will, too. In fact, Grisham fans of all ages will like the fast paced stories featuring Theo Boone. Can not wait for the next story starring the whiz teen-aged lawyer.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Eleanor Henderson's debut novel, Ten Thousand Saints, is a take on two unusual families living in Vermont and New York in the late 1980s whose lives become linked forever. We first meet Jude and Teddy, 16-year-old high school buddies who seem to spend much of their time getting high or figuring out how to get high. But don't judge the book just by that fact. We know from the beginning that Teddy will die from an overdose at the end of the day (New Year's Eve, 1987). After that occurs, the rest of the book is the story about how the survivors go on. Jude's adoptive parents are divorced, and his dad has moved to New York. His girlfriend's daughter comes to town on New Year's Eve and initiates the chain of events that leads to Teddy's death, and Jude's subsequent move to New York to live with his father. Another family member key to the story is Johnny, Teddy's older brother, a New York tattoo artist who Teddy and Jude had idolized. Jude soon takes up with Johnny and his friends, who are "straight edge," meaning no drugs, alcohol, meat, or sex. Are you thinking right now that this book is not for you? Well, I understand, because I was hesitant of the subject matter, too. But let me tell you that Henderson so skillfully devises her characters that I came to empathize and understand them, even though I didn't relate at all to their actions. She delves into issues such as tattooing, heavy metal music, music raves (at which people slam into each other as a form of dancing), straight-edge lifestyles, homosexuality, teenage pregnancy, and drug addiction--all big issues in and of themselves--with an approach that is nonjudgmental but cuts to the chase. I learned a lot about lifestyles that are completely foreign from my own and watched these characters live and learn and grow from it. Isn't that what a great novel should do? Read it, and I believe you won't be disappointed.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
The Dry Grass of August, By Anna Jean Mayhew, tells the simple story of thirteen-year old Jubie Watts, a privileged white Southern teen whose eyes will soon be opened to the racism of the 1950s.
Jubie leaves Charlotte, North Carolina, with her family for a Florida vacation. The year is 1954. Crammed into the car along with Jubie are her three siblings, her mother, and the family's black maid, Mary Luther. Jubie can't help but take note of the anti-integration signs they pass, and the racial tension that builds as they journey further south. When the trip takes a shocking turn, Jubie is faced with deciding where her own convictions lie.
This novel is many things: well-written, enjoyable, bearing a story line and well developed characters that live on long after the final chapter is laid aside, better than The Help, and finally, effective to remind us (shock us) of a time not so long ago. Glad I read it!
Monday, August 08, 2011
Connie has her own troubles for her husband, an architect, died of cancer and now her only daughter is no longer speaking with her. Connie and Meredith try to mend their relationship after Meredith moves in with her at Nantucket Island. Many themes present themselves in this novel--Greed, Betrayal, and Deceit. All three were ruining many lives. As you read this book, you will start to ask yourself: Do I really know the people I have in my life relationships? Hopefully we do.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Nobody could have foreseen what would happen the day that Rose McKenna volunteers as a lunch mom in the cafeteria of her daughter's elementary school. Rose dose it to keep a discreet eye on her third grader, Melly, a sweet, if shy, child who was born with a facial birthmark that has become her won personal bull's-eye. Melly has been targeted by the mean girl at their new school & gets bullied every day, placing Rose in a no-win position familiar to parents everywhere: Do we step in to protect our children when they need us or does that make things worse?
When the bully starts to tease Melly yet again, Rose is about to leap into action - but right then, that unthinkable happens, Rose finds herself in a nightmare, faced with an emergency decision that no mother should ever have to make. What she decides in that split second derails Rose's life & jeopardizes everyone she holds dear, until she takes matters into her own hands & lays her life on the line to save her child, her family, her marriage and herself.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Jennifer Haigh's new novel, Faith, is further proof of her amazing talent. Faith looks at one family and examines their faith in God, family, and the world through the lens of a scandal that has become all too familiar in the last few years. The narrator, Sheila, leads us through the story of how Arthur, her brother and a Catholic priest, is accused of inappropriate sexual activity with a young boy. All through the book, we accompany Sheila, Arthur, and their brother Mike on this journey through their childhood and subsequent years, seeing Arthur as the family knows him and also as the world views him. Sheila and Mike are sometimes at cross-purposes, and their faith in Arthur tips and sways throughout. The reader is taken along on this emotional ride and allowed to speculate on the truth until the final pages. The book is heartbreaking, sensitive, and somewhat critical of the Catholic heirarchy, but readers of all faiths will enjoy it.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Thursday, June 02, 2011
This Scandinavian mystery is touted as being the next "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" sensation. It start off with a grisly murder--that of three out of four members of a family. Should the survivors be afraid of the murderer or are they in fact responsible for the deaths of the rest of their family? The detective Joona Linna demands to be given the case. He pushes a psychiatrist who specializes in hypnotherapy to use this technique on the boy as soon as he comes out of a coma. Previously Dr. Bark had promised never to use hypnosis again and in doing so he lets loose a terrifying chain of events.
The first third of this book is a page turner. The next third is definitely slower and confusing at times especially during the hypnotherapy sessions conducted by Dr. Bark. Detective Linna shows himself to be pretty arrogant; he takes on two overlapping cases with help only from a secretary who has a crush on him. There doesn't seem to be other detectives. He also goes over his bosses' heads without a thought and is rude and pushy with the superintendent.
Dr. Bark takes all kinds of drugs on a regular basis and yet no one notices this at the hospital where he works. His wife--the woman with two names--does not demand that he seek rehab. In fact, in spite of the drugs, he bikes all over the city and helps solve the crime. Basically the only likeable character is Dr. Bark's son.
My other problem with the book: except for the snow it could take place in any country. I enjoy Scandinavian mysteries and this one has no sense of place or people. You never find out why the original murders take place and who exactly is responsible for them. In no way does it come close to the novels of Steig Larson, Henning Mankell, or Karin Fossum.
Enjoy it for being a fast read, but don't expect much!
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
One day an American whaling ship passes near the island and take the castaways aboard. Manjiro's curiosity overcomes his fear of the "barbarians". He joins in the work of the whaling vessel, eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Over the next ten years, Manjiro is adopted by the Captain of the ship, travels the high seas, visiting places he never dreamed existed, including America. It is a time filled with new experiences and adventure as well as friendship and treachery. Manjiro sustains himself on a dream of returning home and somehow--though he knows it is impossible for a simple fisherman--becoming a samurai.
Will he ever be able to go back to his native land? And if he does, will he be welcomed or condemned?
This Newbery Honor book written by Margi Preus, tells the story of the first Japanese boy to ever set foot in America, Manjiro Nakahama. Her careful research paints a poignant picture of this young man's experience and the effect he had when he returned to Japan and eventually helped to open the communication between America and the isolated nation of Japan. This book has photographs of Manjiro and drawings by Manjiro, whose American name was John Mung.
Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus is found in the Teen Room! Check it out!
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Lloyd C. Douglas' classic, The Robe, is an excellent novel providing an insightful perspective of the early Christians and the rise of a new religion. The story begins near the time of Jesus' crucifixion when a Roman soldier, Marcellus, wins Christ's robe as a gambling prize. Because the robe has an unexpected affect upon him, a year later he sets out on a quest to find the truth about the Nazarene who wore the robe-a quest that takes him to the very heart of Christianity. An extraordinary story with strong characters, this book is the May 2011 selection for the Faith-Inspired Book Club at Delphi Public Library!
Sunday, May 08, 2011
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
R, a young zombie who shuffles endlessly around an empty airport, resides in a deserted airliner and listens to Frank Sinatra on an old record player, has dreams. He may not have memories, an identity or a pulse, but his dreams fill him with hope and longing. A longing that there might be something out there worth changing in the ruins of what once was America.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Now, on what would be Matthew's fifth birthday, photos surface that seem to show Zan kidnapping her own child, followed by a chain of events that suggests somebody has stolen her identity.
Hounded by the press, under investigation by the police, attacked by both her ex-husband and a vindictive business rival, Zan, wracked by fear and pain and sustained only by her belief, which nobody else shares, that Matthew is still alive, sets out to discover who is behind this cruel hoax.
Even Zan's supporters, who include Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner and amateur detective, and Father Aiden O'Brien, who thinks that Zan may have confessed to him a secret he cannot reveal, believes she may have kidnapped little Matthew. Zan herself begins to doubt her own sanity, until, in the kind of fast-paced explosive ending that is Mary Higgins Clark's trademark, the pieces of the puzzle fall into place with an unexpected and shocking revelation.
Deeply satisfying, I'll Walk Alone is Mary Higgins Clark at the top of her form.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
What Secrets Lurk Deep Inside Harmony Grove?
Philadelphia advertising executive Sienna Collins learns she is under investigation by the federal government for crimes she knows nothing about. Suspecting the matter has something to do with one of her investments, the Harmony Grove Bed & Breakfast in Lancaster County, she heads there, only to find her ex-boyfriend dead and the manager of the B & B unconscious. As Sienna's life spins wildly out of control, she begins to doubt everyone around her, even the handsome detective assigned to the case.
As Sienna searches for the truth and tries to clear her name, she is forced to depend on the faith of her childhood, the wisdom of the Amish, and the insight of the man she has recently begun dating. She'll need all the help she can get, because the secrets she uncovers in Harmony Grove threaten not just her Bed and Breakfast, but also her credibility, her beliefs, and ultimately her life.
Overall, this book was a really good mystery and suspense novel. It has great build up and lots of suspense about what was really going on at the bed and breakfast. Well written and enjoyable to read. If you are in the mood for a good mystery, with a touch of history, this is the perfect read for a Saturday afternoon.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Joyce Maynard has written another winner. Her novel The Good Daughters features two families whose lives interact in surprising ways. The Planks are farmers, living and working the land on a New Hampshire farm that has been in their family for generations. The Dickersons are more of a fly-by-night family, who drift from place to place depending on their moods, dreams, and the next big idea. We learn at the beginning of the novel that Ruth Plank and Dana Dickerson were born on the same day in the same hospital, so Ruth Plank's mother Connie calls them "birthday sisters." She makes sure that the families stay in touch after the Dickersons move away, and at least once a year drags her family to visit the Dickersons wherever they currently have taken up lodging. This is a strange thing for Ruth and Dana, who don't have much in common and don't care much about each other at all. In alternating chapters, we hear from Ruth and Dana as they live their separate and different lives, and see how the strands that weave their families together are tangled and significant. Maynard is a sensitive, smart writer, and provides multidimensional characters and beautiful descriptions of the landscape in which all of the characters live. The result is a wonderful book. Read it.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
In many ways, Jack is a typical 5-year-old. He likes to read books, watch TV, and play games with his Ma. But Jack is different in a big way--he has lived his entire life in a single room, sharing the tiny space with only his mother and an unnerving nighttime visitor known as Old Nick. For Jack, "Room" is the only world he knows, but for Ma, it is a prison in which she has tried to craft a normal life for her son. When their insular world suddenly expands beyond the confines of their four walls, the consequences are piercing and extraordinary. Despite it's profoundly disturbing premise, Emma Donoghue's "Room" is rife with moments of hope and beauty, and the dogged determination to live, even in the most desolate circumstances. A stunning and original novel of survival in captivity, readers who enter "Room" will leave staggered, as though, like Jack, they are seeing the world for the very first time.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
This month, the Delphi Morning Book Club is reading Ladies of the Lake, by Haywood Smith, who you may recognize as the bestselling author of The Red Hat Club. With Ladies of the Lake, Smith continues exploring women's relationships--this time among a group of sisters. Dahlia, Iris, Violet, and Rose, all with grown children of their own, have a complicated relationship. Their grandmother, in her will, grants them a nice inheritance with one catch: they must spend the entire summer, just the four of them, at her camping lodge on the lake. As you might expect, tempers sizzle and secrets are disclosed, which is possibly what Grandma wanted all along. This is the perfect book to read as the weather is heating up towards summer. Join us on March 14 for our discussion of The Ladies of the Lake.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Eventually, they moved in with an aunt and uncle in a small village. Tamare became bored and found some interest in a traveling library. There she came upon a leather bound book with a gold clasp and padlock - no title or author. She pries it open only to find entries in her own handwriting.
This is a very unique and interesting story with a little mystery and magic included.
The ending will surprise you.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Emma Rose is married to a powerful televangelist (Abel Howard - sincere and moral) who wields his power to boycott immorality in movies, televisions and books and who holds steadfastly to the idea that the "rot" of the world must be fleshed out. Emma Rose, the wife by his side doing all her wifely and pastoral duties to her fullest, has a past that was never discussed with her husband. (Not necessary, he said.) One day she receives a note-- A mysterious 28 year old man wants to meet her and she knows now her buried youth will not be buried much longer. She questions how will this affect the ministry and how will she share all the sordidness that was her existence before -- before her life was transformed?
A good read found in the religious fiction section of the library! This book is also the March 2011 selection for the “Faith-Inspired Book Club” of the Delphi Public Library.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Allison Glenn, once the golden girl in her parents eyes, is being released from a women's correctional facility after serving 5 years for a horrific crime that she committed at the age of fifteen. Reluctantly, she enters a halfway house that her attorney has found for her and soon finds employment at a local book store. Allison so desperately wishes to put her past behind her, but the taunting behavior of her fellow halfway house occupants and the indifference that her family portrays leaves her heavy-hearted and doubtful.
Allison's younger sister, Brynn, has always hovered in the shadow of her near-perfect sister. Yet after her sister's arrest and conviction, she shoulders the burden of her sister's sin alone and soon self-destructs. Brynn is sent packing to her grandparents where she begins to thrive. She wants to forget Allison, yet is unable to do so.
Claire Kelby owns the local book store and hires Allison Glenn as a part-time employee. Claire and her husband, Jonathan have an adopted five-year-old son, Joshua. As an infant, Joshua had been left abandoned at the Linden Falls fire station.
Charm Tullia, a young woman in her early twenties, lives with her stepfather, Gus, a retired fireman who is terminally ill with lung cancer. She chose to stay with her stepfather after her mother decided to leave Gus. Charm continues to care for him as his illness progresses, all the while attending nurses' training courses.
A heart-wrenching read in which four female characters weave a tale of secrets, secrets that entwine and eventually unravel.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
In the second book, he asks for her help in investigating the disappearance of two children from a Catholic orphanage in 1973. At a construction site, a headless skull is found beneath a doorway and Ruth is asked to determine if they are recent. Could it be one of the missing children?
You will enjoy the characters in this series. Ruth is a smart and quirky woman who does not mind being thought of as eccentric. She also has very eccentric friends including one who labels himself a druid. She and the married Detective Nelson have a great regard and affection for each other. Both books contain archeological and historical facts to entertain you and the mysteries will keep you turning the pages.
Author Elly Griffiths' husband gave up a city job and became an archeologist. Her aunt lives on the coast of Norfolk. This is where she gets her inspiration.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
It's the fall of 1920 and Leah Breckenridge's life has changed so much the last year that she is basically lost. Her husband was killed in a train accident, and then her baby son dies from the influenza. If that isn't enough to overwhelm her she couldn't pay her rent, and has found herself along with her six year old daughter Eliza, homeless. She can't go back home to her parents, her mother is dead, and her dad had never really made her feel welcome. The only option she has is to go to Illinois to stay with her husbands Aunt Marigold who runs a boardinghouse. The only issue is Leah has a terrible fear of trains, and that is the only way for her to travel, so she must put her fears aside and do whats best for her daughter.
Upon arriving in Illinois she meets Josiah who offers to take her the boarding house only to find out that he actually lives there with Marigold. Turns out he was a childhood friend of Leah's husband and a distant relative of Marigold. Leah and Josiah don't hit it off at all, she gets the feeling he doesn't want her there, but unknown to her is the fact that he is dealing with his own grief..
This was an amazing story, Lisha Kelly really knows how to draw you into a story and hold your attention until the end. She tells this story from a perspective of two people, Leah and Josiah. In telling the story this way you get swept away with both characters feelings, their pain and grief literally jump off the page. The nightmares and the fear of trains that had plagued Leah most of her life draws us in with a bit of mystery which isn't resolved until the end of the story. The characters develop very well and you quickly become immersed in their stories.
Leah has lost so much, even her faith in God, but her daughter had enough for both of them, and when they get to Marigold's house and see what a kind, compassionate woman she is, they were relieved that they might find a home.
I can easily see how there could be a sequel to this book, I really hope that's the case because I want to read more about the people on Malcolm Street.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
It's difficult to believe that this is author Susanna Daniel's first book. She writes about a marriage spanning 30 years, and I had to keep looking at the author's photo on the book jacket to see if she was old enough to KNOW all this about long-term relationships! She looks too young for those experiences, but somehow she gets it, and she writes about it beautifully. Frances, the main character, travels to Miami, Florida, to a wedding, and meets two people who will become essential to her life: Marse, who becomes her closest friend, and Dennis, who becomes her husband and partner for life. The book doesn't really have much of a plot, other than tracking Frances's life as a wife and mother. I can't stress enough, though, how sensitive and eloquent the author is as she unravels the story of Frances. I truly felt that I knew and loved Frances, and felt her joys and disappointments. South Florida plays a big part in the book also, so much so that I would consider it another character in the book. The title, Stiltsville, refers to a small community of houses built on stilts out in Biscayne Bay. Dennis's parents own one of these houses, and eventually give it to Dennis and Frances. Some of their fondest memories take place there, and Frances grows to love Florida as her adopted home. I have a new appreciation for that part of the country, especially as it was 30 years ago. If you like character-driven books with depth and sincerity, pick up Stiltsville. It won't disappoint you.
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Publishers Weekly Review