Chicago in the early 70's and women are celebrating a new sense of independence. It is the start of the Feminist Movement and there are more career women than ever before. There is one thing standing in their way - the power over their own bodies and the decisions on when or if to have a family. Abortions are illegal and it isn't easy to get contraceptives so a group of women started an underground society to offer advice and safe procedures. Of course they did so at great risk to their own careers and jail time if they were caught. The novel highlights a group of women (and a few men) in the Jane Collective to those who were helped by it featuring a glimpse of the political climate and viewpoints. One can't help but see the parallels to current events. There were many characters and while it is impossible in the span of a novel to show every viewpoint and roadblock, I wish the author had dug deeper into a fewer number of characters. 3 stars (pub. date Sept. 19)
Happy book birthday to UNTAMED SHORE by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
I have enjoyed the author's other books which bring a touch of horror to Mexican history but this book is a departure. This story takes place in the late 70's in Baja Mexico. Viridiana doesn't want to marry her boyfriend and spend the rest of her life working in the family business in between spitting out babies. She is self educated and speaks multiple languages and these skills are why she finds herself with a summer job working as an personal assistant to a wealthy American toying with writing a book and helping him, his wife and his wife's brother interact with the locals. Baja is small so anything that happens is known to all and will get back to Viridiana's strict mother. She begins to see the brother as a way out and tries to balance her reluctance to giving in totally with her growing infatuation. But what does she really know about any of them and can they be trusted? When something bad happens innocence is lost and she begins to see them for who they really are.
Coming of age story that shows how the wealthy tourists support the economy but at a high price. Her fans will enjoy this and she will gain new fans who don't typically read horror. 4 stars
(pub. date- Sept. 19)
The history of a house in the woods of Massachusetts from the first settlers to modern day. The caretakers of the land and the home on it are illuminated by gorgeous prose that depicts the wonder and violence of nature in language that fits the time period. Daniel Mason dissects the comings and goings of the people as well as a beetle, panther and apple seed. There are heroes and average people trying to make a living represented. This is a must for every New Englander as well as lovers of old houses and their secrets. Fans of Jamie Ford and Maggie Shipstead will appreciate this saga. 4 stars (Pub date: Sept. 19)
John Chenneville newly discharged from the Civil War comes home to find his sister, her husband and baby brutally murdered. Determined to find whoever is responsible he sets out to dispense justice in what seems a lawless land -Texas. He is a gentle soul suffering from the aftermath of such inhumanity and violence and he tries to do good on his journey to stop someone bad. Paulette Jiles has a gift of taking a rugged landscape filled with honest down to earth good people caught in situations not of their making. She gives us tragic and brutal stories with a soft underbelly. Do I want this to be a movie with Tom Hanks as the star - heck yes! For lovers of all quiet westerns with unforgettable characters like her other books and those of Larry McMurtry. 4 1/2 stars
The Thursday Murder Club is on a new case sadly following the murder of a friend. He was executed over the small matter of an antique box full of heroin that was entrusted to his care. Of course the police are not overjoyed that this lively group of elderly armchair detectives are getting cozy in the caution tape. They should be because this bunch is very good at finding things that others miss even if they do tend to find themselves on the wrong end of a gun barrel. On a side note the great love between Elizabeth and Stephen is coming to an end as he is sliding downhill rapidly due to dementia. It and the grief from both parties is handled well as is the friendship between the club members and those closest to them. A bit of danger, a bit of mystery and a lot of fun crime solving as we have come to expect from this series. 4 stars
Welcome to the world of Gods and the unlikely companion group of three mortals and a little god who share the road. They are on this quest for different reasons but all have been hurt over time and are distrustful.
The kingdoms are at a crossroad of chaos and it will take a fierce Godkiller, an ousted knight trying to help a friend and a young girl alone in the world except for the little god of white lies who is bound to her. The world building is top notch, the characters are well developed in that we care about them and feel their loyalty, bravery and hope even when the future looks bleak. I hope this will be the first of many Godkiller stories. Fans of Robert Jordan, Patrick Rothfuss and THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE will not be able to put down this fantasy with touches of medieval and norse mythology down. 4 1/2 stars
The ill fated love story of Romeo and Juliet is well known but perhaps we don't know the whole story at all. What if Romeo was a seducer" the ultimate love em and leave em all around bad guy" and a thief to boot? What if Juliet's older cousin fell for Romeo and discovered his true nature and decided to put a stop to it before he ruined any other lives? Natasha Solomons gives us a classic story of controlling men and the women whose fate is decided by them leaving them powerless and dependent. This might be their story but these women have strength and a community all their own. Readers of classic retellings where an altogether different story may be told depending on the narrator will fall in love with the fair and savvy Rosaline. 4 stars
One young servant girl travels with a minister of means, his wife and their special needs child to the New World colony of Jamestown. All is not wondrous there and instead the colonists are plagued with unfriendly native people, sickness and starvation. In a desperate act she grabs her few belongings and flees to the wilderness. Amazingly, this slight girl manages to escape her pursuers and without full knowledge of survival skills and the vast wilderness -survive. In her solitude she ponders God, her former master and mistress and the fate of every girl to "be a vessel made to hold the desires of men". Danger from which she fled into more danger in the wild but also experienced the raw beauty of nature. Groff's prose is breathtaking from Zed's fierce determination to survive to her new found acceptance and inner peace of a life of solitude. The perfect companion for a long hike in the woods. 4 stars
The perfect couple move into their perfect house and begin a family a bit quicker than planned.
Essie's pregnancy is anything but easy and she is plagued by nausea and nightmares. Her husband starts out at her side but soon is spending more and more time in the attic. Essie's mom and grandmother fear the worst - that the family curse is once again coming true. Essie will fight the darkness and the two women who began the curse for her husband. Creepy curses and a haunted house theme that also touches on the fears and paranoia that can come with pregnancy. 3 stars
Amelia derails her career, ends her relationship with her ex and runs from her best friend's wedding to flee to Europe on a non-refundable vacation. She needs the three months to regroup and is finishing it off on a tiny island in Greece. While there she and the only other hotel guest James drink too much, get married and inherit the hotel where they are staying. It is either a gift from the Gods or a huge mistake but they agree to finish off the season before making a decision. The beauty of Greece and its colorful and vibrant inhabitants are on full display along with a "Mama Mia" and UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN kind of expat crumbling hotel owner story. Light romance and all about following your heart instead of your guilt to find happiness. Fans of Emily Henry romances and those of us who dream of living every day in a vacation spot will enjoy this. 4 end of summer stars
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