Do you have books you keep? Books you re-read? Books that are dear to you?
I do. I have books I remember- not because of the great writing or the author- but just because of how they made me feel. I have some I read this month that I want to share with you.
These just might be books you want to save and keep nearby.
It is 1939 on a riverboat in South Carolina. “River gypsies” is the name one of the children calls her family. Briny and Queenie and five children. Tragically, Queenie is struggling to give birth on the boat and the midwife discovers there are twins. Briny has to take her away to a doctor leaving the other five alone.
The second day the children are alone a group arrives and takes the kids.
They are taken to The Tennessee State Children’s Home, an orphanage run by a couple of truly evil women. It turns out that children that arrive there are frequently adopted and sent away to new homes – even though their real parents are still alive. The treatment of the children in the home is unspeakable.
Now, right in the middle of this story you also learn about Avery whose dad is a senator. Avery visits a nursing home as part of her job and meets May Crandall. May seems to recognize her and calls her by another name. Avery is confused by May’s story and begins to delve a little into that story and also the story of her own grandmother.
This book is told in alternating chapters from Avery to the children’s home. You will be puzzled and angry and on the edge of your seat to find out how Avery’s family is part of this story and also what happened to those five brothers and sisters stolen from their parents. There is also a side story of Avery and her fiance and someone she meets that helps her investigate her grandmother’s past.
I would give this one 5 stars. Definitely, one I will save.
Promise me, Dad by Joe Biden
There is a point in this story where you will cry. Real tears of empathy and sadness and knowledge of how much this family loved Beau Biden.
If at all possible, I would advise you to listen to this book as it is read by Joe Biden. How on earth he kept his composure to read the details of his son’s passing are just beyond comprehension. But he did and I cried. And you will, too.
It’s also the story of the years that Biden was the Vice President and then his subsequent decision to not run for president in the aftermath of his son’s death. I learned so much! Mr. Biden is a gentle and calm man with a great sense of humor and an honorable demeanor that will impress you. His relationship with Barack Obama is astounding and makes this story all the richer.
Read it for the history of a few years of our country. But, read it more for the story of the Biden family, their love for one another, and the ways in which they were able to get through the tragedy of losing a beloved son. Five stars for this one.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This is a frightening look into a dystopian future in which women are controlled and kept captive to do their duty, whatever that might be.
The story unfolds slowly as you meet Offred and hear how she lives. Wearing only red clothing and a bonnet that prevents her from seeing things around her Offred is one of the handmaids. There are other women, too, with similar descriptive names that play roles in the new world. There are servants, elderly women, and wives. There are also women that are sent away because they cannot bear children. Everything is strictly controlled.
The handmaids have nothing to do- except be ready for their Commander and bear children if they can.
About midway through the book more of the history begins to be told so that you learn more about how the world came to be this way and where other people may be. There is also a scene of childbirth that is maddening in the way this society has taken such a beautiful event and made it an automaton setting- with no real joy.
The book is mesmerizing and well written. The details will keep you reading, but I expect you will be angry one minute and perplexed the next. Five stars for this one. But it is still scary. And worth re-reading…and saving.
Now That You Mention it by Kristan Higgins
To be very honest, after reading the first three books of this post, I was ready for something more lighthearted and fun. Just fluff.
Oh my, I loved this book. Now, mind you, it is what I call fluff. Some people call them chick books. But, when they are well written and enjoyable, fluff books are fabulous reads! And, this one was!
Dr. Nora is a gastroenterologist in Boston. An ER doctor is her boyfriend and they share a rescued dog named Boomer. All seems well until Nora steps off a curb and is hit by a van. She ends up in the ER where she regains consciousness only to hear her boyfriend hitting on a nurse.
Nora decides to return to her childhood home to recover from her injuries and the breakup with the boyfriend. Home is Scupper Island off the coast of Maine. Nora arrives there injured and miserable and finds her mom is still the gruff, distant, and unhappy woman she remembers. Also, her niece (named Poe) is living with the grandmother since her mom is in jail.
More background is revealed- including Nora’s teenage years when she was overweight and unpopular and bullied by the local girls and one boy. It seems that Nora was the top student in the high school and competed for a prestigious scholarship against the boy (Luke).
Also, making this puzzle even more perplexing is Luke’s brother, Sullivan, and a mysterious event that happened to Nora in Boston. Complicated? Yep, but somehow all these stories come together.
And here’s the thing about this book—- it has some laugh out loud moments. Yay! I read it quickly and enjoyed it. A lighthearted, fun book that doesn’t leave you thinking about for days afterward (Handmaid’s Tale will do that for you!) I would give this one 5 stars! Not sure I would keep this one nearby, but it was a fun read and exactly what I needed.
The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
I found this book accidentally- like meandering down the book aisle at Target. And it turned out to be one of the best I have read in a while- those above notwithstanding!
Dr. Ben is traveling by plane and so is Ashley. (They do not know each other but meet briefly.) The airport is closing quickly due to an oncoming storm and they are stranded. As they head out to spend a night in the airport Ben sees a chartered plane service and talks to the pilot, Grover. Grover is an older man and quite a character.
Grover agrees to fly Ben out ahead of the storm and Ben heads back to see if Ashley wants to ride along. She does because her wedding is in two days.
And off they go headed into a mountain wilderness trying to get to Denver. The plane goes down atop a mountain peak and they are stranded. Ashley is badly injured, Grover is dead, and Ben is left to get them out alive.
I read this book in one day. I could not put it down. It is well written in the descriptions of all the things the two go through and you will laugh out loud at some of their jokes. I am not revealing any more of the story. Just go read it. And, by the way, it did not end the way I expected! I added this one to my bookshelves and promptly ordered another book by the same author!
This month’s books are ones that will stick with me for a while! I like the last one the best, but the first one was also very good! Try them all!
Before We Were Yours is one of my top picks for this year!
Carol Davis says
I agree! I loved it but was scared through the whole book about what might happen! Thanks for visiting!