In an exclusive black community in the 50's South, a pair of twin girls decide one day they need to get out of town and find a bigger life. Soon they go their separate ways and lose each other's life thread. One is running away to live a "white" life while the other eventually returns home to the small town with her young daughter in tow. Years later, the next generation of these young women will find each other and reconnect their secret past. This beautifully told story reminds us that our history defines us, to look past stereotypes and how our own perceptions and attitudes can cloud our definition of who we are. It is the story of the same life each taking a different path. Fans of books that challenge racial and economic stereotypes such as LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE and A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD will appreciate Brit Bennett's quiet masterpiece. 4 stars
Ava moved from Dublin to Hong Kong to teach english to children. Her job is not rewarding and she clearly doesn't make enough money to live the way she would like. She meets Julian, a British banker who is content to share his big flat, easy going friendship and his big bed. She wants more but doesn't know what. Ava then meets Edith a Hong Kong native and falls head over heels in love, she thinks. The big dilemma is that Julian is coming back after months of business overseas, Ava is watching his flat and doesn't have anywhere else to go and Edith doesn't know or understand about her relationship to Julian. Decidedly Millennial- Ava wants it all , doesn't want any risk and still needs everyone's approval but a new voice suggests taking the leap of faith to find out what your heart really wants. 3 1/2 stars
3 1/2 stars
WWI has just begun and Georgie, a young woman of privilege wants to break free so she leaves for London and begins work at a hospital that caters to wounded officers. One of these officers falls hopelessly in love with her but she has her sights set on a much older prize - the poet W.B. Yeats. Yeats is a mess and pulls Georgie and her emotions all over the map. He introduces her to a secret society and the world of the occult that was all the rage back then. At some point Georgie must figure out what she wants in life and who can best give that to her. It pulls at your heartstrings as poor Lt. Pike tries every way he knows how to get her attention and Yeats seems to do just the opposite. It is a quiet coming of age story wrapped up in a cozy bundle of historical fiction.
When I finished the last page I took a huge breath and felt as though I had been holding it since I began, completely riveted by this powerful slim debut. It is centered on three characters whose lives are loosely intertwined but whose actions will have lasting consequences after a terrorist train attack in Bengal. Jivan is a smart girl who has found a way to raise herself up out of the slums. She has a chance to attend a better school, now works at a department store and is helping a social pariah learn English to help further her acting career. She has just purchased her first phone and is participating in social media. Sadly, she is in the wrong place at the wrong time and unknowingly gets pulled into a discussion online with a terrorist cell. Her innocent comment lands her in jail and the two people who can back up her story and help her, choose to take advantage of the situation and help themselves rather than fight for what is right. The author expresses so beautifully the speed and ferocity that fear can incite a riot, how a few moments of fame can alter a good person and how corruption can kill innocence for convenience. 5 stars
A superstar wedding on a remote island located off the coast of Ireland sounds like a fairy tale but soon turns into a nightmare. The bride is a stunner who has chosen her only bridesmaid to be her half-sister who is a train wreck. The groom is a survival tv star loved by his adoring fans and private school chums. It might not be the match made in heaven everyone thinks it is and there are more people than just the wedding planner who are worried, not to mention the approaching gale. Intense and full of shocking little twists, this book is like a wedding with Agatha Christie as the wedding planner. The lights go out and everything goes off the rails. From the opening paragraph we know something really bad is going to happen and we want to know what it is. Terrific thriller but not for anyone getting married in the near future. 4 1/2 stars
The Kleinmann family could be any Jewish family in Vienna during the war but their story took them on so many different paths. It is a story of family, hope and despair with a little bit of luck thrown in and it is one amazing journey. Based on Gustav Kleinmann's journal that he managed to keep secret in the camps, we learn of his and his oldest son's journey through some of the worst concentration camps. We also learn of Tinni Kleinmann's never ending quest to find safe places for her remaining children. Their youngest went to America and his older sister became a housekeeper in England then eventually moved to America. Jeremy Dronfield spares no one the horror of war, life in the camps nor does he overdo the frustration and hope of reuniting after the war but instead gives us a remarkable story of one family and the miracle of hope. 4 stars
Maggie gets the phone call we all dread - there has been an accident and your mother is dead. She flys home to organize the funeral, sit shiva and take care of her grief stricken father and younger brother. While reading the will she finds a packet of letters to mail to a group of men and decides to hand deliver them instead so she can find out their secret connection to her mother. This is a beautifully written story of connections between mothers and daughters, love and grief. It is about being able to understand and accept the choices that the people we love make. After reading this tender debut you will want to call your parents and ask them their secrets but don't forget to listen. You just might gain some insight before it is too late. This is perfect for readers who love complicated family relationships (aren't they all?) and authors like Ann Patchett.
4 1/2 fun filled stars.
Two authors end up as neighbors in a small summer beach town. January is there because the father she adored has died and left her his secret bungalow and Gus is there reeling from his own personal sadness. They do not click now just as they did not click the last time they met but they bet that each one can't finish a book written in the other's genre by the end of summer. Gus must write a "happy ever after" romance and January must tackle literary fiction filled with angst. As they give each other helpful lessons on writing their initial thoughts about each other change. Opposites attract but can they survive summer? Fun, lighthearted romance with clever banter that will brighten even the stormiest rainy day blues.
Isla comes home to Australia when her father is under suspicion for the disappearance of their neighbor decades ago. Mandy used to care for Isla and although she remembers very little of the time Mandy and her husband were neighbors she can't imagine her father to be anything but innocent. Tensions build as more questions are asked and others, including Isla's mother begin to have doubts.
The chapters alternate between the present and right before the disappearance in the 60's. For fans of dark mysteries from down under like Jane Harper and Candice Fox this is a must. 4 stars
A classic tale of an unhappy man who leaves his wife and two children for a younger, hotter version. I know you think you have read this tale a hundred times before but wait until you reach the ending which smacks you right in the face. You then remember that the authors have done this to you before. The pace builds at a nice rate, we have a love/hate relationship with many of them and then when you let your guard down - whammy! Thriller magic for all you readers of relationships gone oh so bad. 4 stars
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