Little Sister by Barbara Gowdy – Book Review

Little Sister

I found this novel to be extremely interesting, since I’ve long had a fascination with lightning.  When thunderstorms hit, Rose Bowen finds herself inside another woman’s body, experiencing her life and living her emotions.  Is this only a migraine, as Rose’s boyfriend, the tediously boring Victor asserts, or is something else happening?

Rose’s life is the same, day-after-day, taking care of her mother who suffers from dementia, running the family classic movie theater, and sleeping with Victor on the same nights week after week.  Having a peek at another, more exciting life becomes an obsession for Rose.  She seeks our thunderstorms with the hopes of experiencing someone else’s life.

Lightningele

When Rose realizes that this is a real woman, whose life she is experiencing, she begins to track her down, for what reason, Rose is not entirely sure.  I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, so I’ll just leave it here.  However, I will say that this experience gives Rose the jolt (pun intended) that she has needed for a long time.  I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, Gowdy!

Barbara Gowdy

Barbara Gowdy

 

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton – Book Review

Pirate_Latitudes

If you are a fan of pirate tales, this is the novel for you.  There is the swashbuckling “hero”, Captain Charles Hunter, well on his way to being arrested for “pirating”, when in fact he is a “privateer” (simply a legal term for pirate).  Hunter is everything you would hope for in a pirate – he smells bad, he is a cad and a liar in the first degree.  He is also loyal to his crew, an intelligent man, and one bent on obtaining his goals – treasure hunting and stealing being the preeminent goal of a pirate, after all.  Just a note, this novel was published posthumously.

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I loved this story.  It had everything you could want in a straight-up pirate book.  A Captain on the search for revenge, treasure and having his name go down in history.  The novel moves along quickly, is a fast read, and is full of all the usual suspects.

I highly recommend this novel, as it is great fun.  Well done, Crichton!

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Michael Crichton

 

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff – Book Review

The Orphan's Tale by Pan Jenoff

This novel is wonderful.  It tells a story of World War II through the lives of Noa, a runaway who steals a baby from a boxcar full of Jewish babies left out in the elements, and Astrid, a circus aerialist.  It seems that everyone in the circus has secrets and more than one reason to be hiding in plain sight.

circus aerialist

I loved the story-telling in this book.  There were the efforts of Noa to become an aerialist in order to stay with the circus; the story of Astrid herself and her own closely-held secrets; the story of a circus trying to stay together during an increasingly stricter Nazi rule; and of course, World War II itself.

I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, Jenoff!

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Pam Jenoff

 

The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen – Book Review

The Land of Decoration

Ten-year-old Judith McPherson fills her free time creating a world in her room.  She takes left-overs from her late mother’s life, rubbish and recycling that she finds in the school-yard and sidewalks to create a miniature town that represents what she hopes her town will be like after Armageddon.

Judith is a lonely child, who is being raised by a father who seems to believe that the only socializing she needs is church and bible reading.  No wonder Judith begins to believe that she truly does have a personal connection to God.

In the interest of leaving the rest of the novel for you to discover on your own I won’t go into more details.  However, this is one novel that has stayed with me and has had me thinking about it since I read it.  I highly recommend this as it brings up quite a few questions concerning religion, school behavior and parenting.  Well done, McCleen!

The Promise Girls by Marie Bostwick – Book Review

The Promise Girls

This is a novel of secrets upon secrets.  Meg, Joanie and Avery were test tube babies raised by their homeschooling mother to be prodigies in the arts.  However, things didn’t quite turn out as planned.  After a fateful interview on live t.v., their mother Minerva loses custody of all three of them and life changes dramatically.  Meg, the oldest sister does her best to protect and “mother” her younger sisters.

I love the way this story is told.  The relationships between the three sisters is both filled with love, misunderstandings and secrets.  Their lack of any relationship with Minerva also takes it’s toll on their lives.

This novel is both interesting and filled with believable characters.  Minerva reminded me of all those news articles about “helicopter” and “pushy” parents (usually mothers), insistent on raising extremely talented children who are expected to become successful, as a reflection on themselves.  I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, Bostwick!

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Marie Bostwick

 

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate – Book Review

Before We Were Yours

This is a fictionalized account of the abuses suffered at the hands of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society (a real place, a real story) by stolen children and their parents.  From the years 1926 to 1950, Georgia Tann ran an operation that stole children from poor families to sell to rich families.  She also was engaged in blackmail and the deaths of approximately 500 children over those years.

In this novel, the story of Rill Foss and her four siblings who were stolen one night and later sold to rich families is told, while at the same time following the story of Avery, one of their descendants who uncovers this history while at home taking care of her senator father.  Avery at first is out to make sure that there will be no leaking of the story and no damage done to her father, or herself, since she is being groomed to replace her father in the senate.   However, as pieces of the story come to light, Avery begins to focus on finding out the truth of her own history.

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Some of the children from The Tennessee Children’s Home Society

I really liked this novel, although it was quite hard to read, since the history of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society is true, and the stories are heartbreaking.  I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, Wingate!

Lisa-Wingate

Lisa Wingate

 

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer – Book Review

TheGirlintheRedCoat

What I liked about this novel was how the story alternated between Carmel and her mother, Beth.  Eight-year-old Carmel is abducted by a man who tells her he is her grandfather and that her mother has been in an accident.  Therefore, he must bring her home with him while her mother recovers.  Of course, this story shortly begins to unravel, and even an eight-year-old can poke holes in it.

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In order to make money from Carmel’s perceived “holy” power, her Granddad spirits her away to the United States where he, his common-law wife and her two daughters make a living preaching.  At the same time, Beth blames herself for Carmel’s disappearance, and suffers from mental health issues.

I thought that the alternating chapters really gave a good description of the complicated love a mother has for her child, and the complicated love a child has for her mother.  I highly recommend this novel.  Well done, Hamer!

Kate Hamer

Kate Hamer