February Book Reviews by Robin

crow in fogThe Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh: It is very refreshing to read a book on a topic that is brand new to me. The language of flowers is NOT overdone in this story, as one might think a unique idea might be. Diffenbaugh is so skilled at building characters, moving the story of Victoria Jones—who spent her childhood in the foster care system—forward, building the mystery of the events which impacted her life, that I barely put this book down. Add the fact that the story takes place in San Francisco and Northern California, so that I am familiar with the places and climate and personality of the city and I loved it. Rate: 4.5

Death at La Fenice: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery by Donna Leon. This is the first in a series about Italian detective Guido Brunetti, and I will definitely be reading more. The story takes place in Venice, when a world renowned conductor is poisoned after the second act. Leon builds Brunetti’s personal and professional life, nicely intertwining the two. The facts are revealed at a great place and the reader moves back and forth in solving the mystery with Brunetti. Rate: 4.0

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty. Yes, another Moriarty book. I didn’t even have to reserve this one from the library, my mother just happened to pass along a copy. I still love her writing. I’ll have to check, but I must be close to having read them all, to my disappointment! I have to say that this story of Sophie Honeywell, pining for love, is different from Moriarty’s other work. As this one was written in 2005, I bet it came before some of the others I reviewed. Anyway, the main characters belong to one exteneded family, and all live on Scribbly Gum Island. An old mystery, that of a deserted infant her missing parents, engages the reader and moved the reader along as Sophie searches (and rejects) love. Rate: 4.0

The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran. Ahh…I have to stop reading my mother’s large print books. It makes it so hard to go back to paperbacks. This book wasn’t really as long as I thought, because I did read the large print version. In this story, which takes place in the late 1800s, Henry Oades takes his wife and children to a new job in New Zealand. Margaret isn’t particularly happy with the move, but when she is kidnapped by native Maori things get much worse. I won’t tell more, because it would be a spoiler (although the cover of this book tells nearly the whole story!) The last part of the book takes place in Berkeley – wonderful to read. Rate: 3.5

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