Friday, January 31, 2014
One morning in the small town of Coldwater, Michigan, the phones start ringing. The voices say
they are calling from heaven. Katherine hears from her beloved sister. Tess hears from her mother. Even the police chief hears from his son killed in Afghanistan. The messages are brief and reassuring: "The end is not the end." Can this be a miracle? Or is this some ones idea of a cruel hoax?
Sully Harding returns to Coldwater from prison to a small town that is gripped by "miracle fever."
Sully Harding's a disgraced ex-military pilot who unexpectedly is ask to take an assignment to ferry a jet cross-country. Making a stopover to meet his wife, Sully received incorrect instruction from ground control resulting in a midair collision. There were no serious injuries, but driving to the airport, Sully's wife was mortally injured in a car crash. She was hit by the controller attempting to flee his mistake.
Depressed after his wife's death, Sully's now home in Coldwater, Mich., selling newspaper ads just as Coldwater's spotlighted in an astounding news story: Residents are receiving phone calls from heaven. The message is always the same:"The end is not the end." Sully is determined to disprove the hoax for his young son, who carries a toy phone, hoping to hear from his mother in heaven.
As the calls increase, and proof of an afterlife begins to surface, the town-and the world-transforms. Only Sully, is convinced there is nothing beyond this sad life, digs into the phenomenon, determined to disprove it for his child and his own broken heart.
A beautifully rendered tale of faith and redemption that makes us think, feel, and hope-and then doubt and then believe, as only Mitch Albom can make us do.
Monday, January 27, 2014
by Amy Franklin-Willis
Books that are endorsed by authors Pat Conroy and Mark Childress get my attention. When Conroy describes a title as ‘A riveting, hardscrabble book on the rough, hardscrabble south, which has rarely been written about with such grace and compassion’- Well, that compels me to pick up the book and take it home. And that’s what I did and here is what I discovered.
This ‘hardscrabble’ southern story is told through the voice of forty-two-year-old Ezekiel (Zeke) Cooper and his mother Lillian who live in the stifling small town of Clayton, Tennessee. It is the classic struggle of those who vow to leave their small town life, only to find an unexpected obstacle thrown in their path. And so, they remain in a place they don’t want to be, living a life where they are not fully invested. Late in life and on the brink of death, we find Lillian who has a trail of regrets and her middle-aged son Zeke, who is experiencing painful regrets of his own.
Zeke and his twin brother Carter were inseparable – even when Carter is left mentally diminished from encephalitis that occurs as a result of measles at the age of two. Zeke’s loyalty to Carter grows even stronger and so, when as an adult, Carter drowns, Zeke is left with an emptiness and an overwhelming sense of guilt. That guilt affects his marriage, the relationship he has with his daughters and the growing bitterness towards his mother.
As a remedy to guilt, Zeke recklessly clears all former obstacles that prevented him from leaving Clayton. It is on this spontaneous journey that he finds himself in a place, where some twenty years before, had experienced a sense of purpose and peace. It is there that he gains a true perspective on where his life has been and what possibilities still lie ahead.
I enjoyed the characters in this book but the story, although compelling, was essentially another variation of man in mid-life crisis. But I agree with Pat Conroy when he says this book was ‘written with such grace and compassion.’
After older sister Ana Mae Futrell passes away, her three siblings return to North Carolina to pay their respects and square things away with her estate.
Ana Mae had led a quiet yet full life and she possessed her share of secrets, which her sisters and brother soon discover during the reading of Ana's will.
Surprisingly enough, it appears that Ana had a large lottery winning tucked away. Very large, indeed. And her millions will be presented to the sibling that can decipher the clues that she'd left behind in a quilt.
Failure would result in Ana's felines, Diamond Jim and Baby Sue and a certain Reverend inheriting Ana's vast fortune.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Carol Rifka Brunt's debut novel tells the story of 14-year-old June Elbus, who has a very special relationship with her uncle, the famous painter Finn Weiss. June is shy and doesn't make friends easily; with Finn, she finds not only a godfather but a best friend. He dies of a mysterious illness (AIDS) that June cannot really understand. She also doesn't understand who the strange man is she sees lurking at Finn's funeral. Turns out he's Finn's partner, Toby, who shared Finn's beautiful apartment and his life. Because June's mother demanded it, June was never told anything about Toby's existence. Finn went along with his sister's demands because he loved June so much and didn't want to lose the relationship he had with her. This is a bittersweet story of a child growing up into a world that seems dangerous and scary, and of finding a friend in Toby who can help her grieve for the man they both mourn. Highly recommended! This is the January title for the Delphi Morning Book Club, which meets in the library on Friday, January 25, at 9 am. Join us for a great discussion.
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Chloe Henderson is looking forward to a happily ever after life with her boyfriend, Trace, and their unborn child when Trace attempts to rob a convenience store. Three people are shot in the robbery.
Chloe believes that she has found the love she had been denied by both her dysfunctional mother and the foster homes that she grew up in. While she tries to nurse Trace's wound, she discovers that Trace has more difficulties than the robbery attempt. Is she now an unwitting accomplice? What will happen to her unborn child?
One of the other people shot is Roy Walker, a district attorney and the husband of Dianna Walker. While Dianna tries to protect her children and find out why Roy was shot, she discovers that he has been lying to her. Why was Roy in that part of town on the fateful day? The more Dianna discovers about her husband, the more difficult it becomes to continue to believe in his integrity as a husband, father, and district attorney.
Joel Richards, a frustrated small town journalist, sees his break when the bones of a young woman missing for twenty-five years are uncovered. The story takes him to San Francisco and into the lives of Chloe and Dianna.
As Chloe's and Dianna's lives become intertwined, they must come to grips with what their lives had been and what they each need them to become.
The story gets your attention from the first page. The characters unfold smoothly within the story.