Book Review: The Stolen Marriage

Book Review: The Stolen MarriageThe Stolen Marriage
by Diane Chamberlain
on October 3, 2017
Pages: 384
Published by St. Martin's Press
Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction

In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the town’s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not? Feeling alone and adrift, Tess turns to the one person who seems to understand her, a local medium who gives her hope but seems to know more than he’s letting on.

When a sudden polio epidemic strikes the town, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess, who has a nursing degree, bucks Henry’s wishes and begins to work at the hospital, finding meaning in nursing the young victims. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle her husband’s mysterious behavior and save her own life?

My Takeaway “Even though I couldn’t have him or touch him or talk to him or even look into his eyes. I needed his presence. I needed him close by.” Diane Chamberlain, The Stolen Marriage You know a book is good when you contemplate taking the day…

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Euridice GusmaoThe Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao
by Martha Batalha, Eric M B Becker
on October 10th 2017
Pages: 240
Published by ONEWorld Publications
Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Multicultural

Euridice is young, beautiful and ambitious, but when her rebellious sister Guida elopes, she sets her own aspirations aside and vows to settle down as a model wife and daughter. And yet as her husband's professional success grows, so does Euridice's feeling of restlessness. She embarks on a series of secret projects - from creating recipe books to becoming the most sought-after seamstress in town - but each is doomed to failure. Her tradition-loving husband is not interested in an independent wife. And then one day Guida appears at the door with her young son and a terrible story of hardship and abandonment. The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao is a wildly inventive, wickedly funny and keenly observed tale of two sisters who, surrounded by a cast of unforgettable characters, assert their independence and courageously carve a path of their own in 1940s Rio de Janeiro. A deeply human and truly unforgettable novel from one of the most exciting new voices in world literature.

My Takeaway “When Euridice set her mind to something, the rest of the world became smoke.” The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao, Martha Batalha, (Translated by Eric M.B. Becker) The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao is a humorous and quirky novel. What originally caught my attention was…

Book Review: The Blackbird Season

Book Review: The Blackbird SeasonThe Blackbird Season
by Kate Moretti
on September 26th 2017
Pages: 338
Published by Atria Books
Genres: Fiction, Mystery/Crime

New York Times bestselling author Kate Moretti’s latest is the story of a scandal-torn Pennsylvania town and the aftermath of a troubled girl gone missing.

“Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…

Until, of course, a more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.”

In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.

Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alicia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alicia to wonder if her husband has a second life.

And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.

Told from the alternating points of view of Alicia, Nate, Lucia, and Bridget, The Blackbird Season is a haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns.

My Takeaway “Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…” Kate Moretti, The Blackbird Season The Blackbird Season has been receiving lots of buzz and I was expecting to love it, but the book just didn’t quite…

Book Review: Sing, Unburied, Sing

Book Review: Sing, Unburied, SingSing, Unburied, Sing
by Jesmyn Ward
on September 5th 2017
Pages: 285
Published by Scribner
Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Multicultural

A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.

Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she's high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie's children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward's distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.

My Takeaway “Sorrow is food swallowed too quickly, caught in the throat, making it nearly impossible to breathe.” Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing Though I finished this book days ago, I have taken my time writing this review because I want to do it justice. Sing, Unburied, Sing is unlike…

Book Review: The Child Finder

Book Review: The Child FinderThe Child Finder
by Rene Denfeld
on September 5th 2017
Pages: 256
Published by Harper
Genres: Fiction, Mystery/Crime

Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight years old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope.

Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl too.

As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?

My Takeaway “No matter how far you have run, no matter how long you have been lost, it is never too late to be found.” Rene Denfeld, The Child Finder The Child Finder was a captivating novel with impeccable and poetic writing. Though, I felt the flow of the story…