This month has a fabulous collection for you! I loved all of these and can recommend them to you! It was a month of very good reads!
Speaking of good reads… Do you ever re-read a line or a paragraph? I sure do! When the words are just striking all the right notes, when they sing with anxiousness or reach a high note of suspense…it’s music. Don’t you agree?
Books are like music- for those who listen!
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The five books I am sharing today all resonated with me in some way- I know you will love them, too!
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Four siblings hear about a fortune telling woman that lives nearby. It’s 1969 in New York City when the brothers and sisters, Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya visit the apartment to find out their date of death. The prophecy, or at least the possibility, of this date of death being true now defines their lives. Each of their stories is told in the sections of the book. Equally heartbreaking and hopeful, their stories were mesmerizing.
Simon, at age 16, know he is gay, but in the early seventies, a gay lifestyle was not an open situation. Simon travels to San Fransisco with his sister Klara. They each take on whatever odd jobs they can find and are quite destitute at times. Simon’s main job is that of dancing in a bar and he also finds a lifestyle he can become part of. It is the dawning of the Aids epidemic and I think you can guess what happens.
Simon’s story leads directly into Klara’s and then the others. Their stories are just as profound. All are always affected by the date they were given. They are *perhaps* obsessed with this knowledge. There are a couple of improbable things that happen (with Daniel’s story), but given that the book is about a fortuneteller’s prophecy you will likely breeze right over that part.
The Immortalists is beautifully written and reminds me just a little of Stephen King. There is a quality of the unknown in this book that you might find in his novels- although not on the level of Pet Sematary!
Read this one! You will turn the pages fast- just like I did. 5 stars!
The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey
It is 1944 and Fiona is planning her future. She has a job and a fiance (Danny) and great friends. Then she learns that Danny has been declared missing in action on the war front in Germany. She decides to do whatever she can for the war effort.
Fiona and her two friends, Dottie and Viviana, volunteer as Red Cross Clubmobile girls.
They arrive in London for training and quickly learn about buzz bombs and how to take cover. They also learn how to make donuts to serve to soldiers from the club-mobile. The three encounter many situations that are all new to them- like learning to drive and helping wounded soldiers.
Eventually, they are sent to France and continue with the Red Cross program along with finding romance along the way. The story is delightful, full of hold-your-breath moments as they run into problems, and you will love the three women.
The Beantown Girls is not a book I would normally have chosen, but Audible suggested it to me! I listen to audiobooks all the time and this recommendation came in an email. The ratings for the book and the book narrator were excellent and I am so glad I tried it! I enjoyed the book and the woman that read it- she was a great actress!
Have you tried Audible? I can highly recommend it as a source for affordable audiobooks!
We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt
This is a beautifully written, yet heart-breaking story of a young couple with a very ill child. Rob and Anna’s story is told with some flashbacks to their initial meeting and how they fell in love. I loved Anna, a CPA, who thought only in terms of being very organized and efficient. Rob was silly and funny and easy to like, too. The best part was how much he loves Anna, despite her quirks.
After having two miscarriages, Anna and Rob have Jack. Rob is a fantastic father for Jack and gives him the gift of a camera one day. This will be something that turns out to be a cherished item, along with the photos Jack takes.
There is a melancholy feeling overlaid throughout this story. I did read some reviews that described the book as missing emotion. I disagree. I think the emotion is laid bare. You do feel like Rob is holding back as he tells the story of Jack’s illness and his eventual treatments that make him so sick. But it reminds me of someone giving a eulogy at a funeral- just barely keeping it all together as they speak of the beloved deceased person.
We Own the Sky will resonate with you after you finish it. It has some sadness to it, of course, but you will be like me in wanting Rob and Anna to get through it and come out doing as well as they can. 5 stars.
Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams
It is 1966 when Pepper Schuyler meets Annabelle Dommerich. Annabelle is purchasing a 1930’s Mercedes Roadster that Pepper has restored. It turns out the Annabelle was the first owner of the car and from there, her story unfolds and fits neatly into Pepper’s story.
Pepper is a mid-twenties woman that is very pregnant with a child conceived with a married man. She is determined to have this baby despite his efforts to thwart her. Pepper takes refuge with an aunt that has the car in a storage building. She restores the car and offers it for a large amount of money and Annabelle comes into her life. Annabelle is an older woman with a mesmerizing past.
In 1930’s France Annabelle meets Stefan, a young German who is Jewish. They fall in love and make plans to continue the relationship. In an effort to clear up some outstanding situations Stefan returns to Germany and Annabelle finds herself in Paris without him and impetuously marries someone else. (Well, there is a reason for this, but I cannot let you know!)
Annabelle’s story is told in alternating sections with Pepper’s story. I really cannot reveal too much more without spoiling Along the Infinite Sea for you! It was a lovely book! I enjoyed the writing style and descriptions of the life events of these two women.
The ending was not what I expected at all! Beautifully written and a book I missed once it was finished! 5 stars!
A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
At a Women’s Clinic in Mississippi, a man is buzzed in the front door. Inside, the receptionist, Vonita has been talking with patients. This includes Wren, who is there with her aunt Bex. Another patient, Joy, is there due to an unwanted pregnancy. Janine is in the back about to have an ultrasound.
The nurse, Izzy, is there for the day to help the doctor. Dr. Ward has another nurse in a room with a patient.
It all seems so normal until that man is let in the door.
It turns out that he has a daughter that has just undergone an abortion and he has stormed into the clinic with a gun. The shooter’s name is George and his entry into the lobby becomes a hostage situation.
Outside the clinic are police officers and hostage negotiators. This includes Hugh McElroy, whose daughter is inside the clinic.
This story unfolds over the period of one day and it is written in reverse. It sounds confusing and it was a little bit, However, as you read you will begin to piece together the story of each of the people involved, what brought them to the clinic, and how each hour of the day happened. It was a quirky little way to write the story, but I enjoyed it.
Like all of Ms. Picoult’s books, this one is well written and researched. Your ability to like this book is going to depend on your opinion of abortion and women’s rights. I think it is a great read that gives some understanding of both sides of the issue.
You also need to know that Ms. Picoult’s style can be quite amazing, but I do find myself re-reading sentences due to their absurdity. Here is an example of one that makes me shake my head:
“He was electric with frustration.”
I read that three times and hated it every time. It wasn’t even necessary to the paragraph and was so distracting.
Yet, here is an example that makes me love this author:
“Her mother said, “You don’t look at another person’s plate to see if they have more than you. You look to see if they have enough.”
Overall, I did like A Spark of Light. I loved all the characters and couldn’t wait to see what happened in the end. There is an interesting little twist at the end (that I totally saw coming). 4.5 Stars for this one!
It was a great month of books! Read-Read-Read!
*PHOTO CREDIT: I took that amazing shot (the one with the quote on it) in a little town called Assisi in Italy. We spent nine days on a fabulous tour (in December 2016) and this tiny hillside village was one of my favorite places.