Book Reviews July 2020

Light on Snow by Anita Shreve. I’m working my way through the stacks of books passed along by my mother. I like Anita Shreve and this one from 2004 is great. A twelve year old Nicky, who has lost her mother and sister to an auto accident and now lives with her father in a remote New England farmhouse, happens upon an abandoned baby. Not going to say much more, other than true to her skills Shreve weaves a story with unexpected twists and turns. Rate: 3.8

When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson. I love this author. A mystery, with police detective Jackson Brodie playing a small part, about Joanna Mason, a doctor who’s family was murdered when she was a small child. There are twists and turns and we are introduced to police detective Louise Monroe, but my favorite character is sixteen year old Reggie, mother’s helper to JoAnna. I listened to the audio version and loved the narrator. Rate: 3.9

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase. Audio. This was recommended by my author friend, JoAnn Mapson. As I was stuck at home, painting and sewing, another audio seemed good. Nice narrator and engaging story. I did guess, but not very easily, so the foreshadowing was just right. The story is English, with a young woman seeking a venue for her upcoming wedding. She discovers an old house that feels familiar. Chase does a great job weaving past and present and different characters’ point of view. I will definitely look this author up for more reads. Rate: 3.9

September by Rosamunde Pilcher. Genre work by a prolific Scottish author. This book introduced so many characters at the beginning I was a bit bogged down…and relieved I was reading and not listening so that I could flip back and forth. Just a coincidence that I am reading so many UK books in a row! The story was a bit more engaging once I sorted out the characters. I guess I was very frustrated that three main women were named Violet, Virginia and Verena…makes it all the harder to keep track. But the last third of the book had me very engaged and eager to see the outcome. Rate: 3.0

Such Devoted Sisters by Eileen Goudge. Hmmm….this one kind of wanders around between two sets of sisters and the relationships that ebb and flow…parallels between the generations, but it never really goes very deep..it’s a bit genre and Hollywood. The younger set (daughters of one of the older sets) runs away from Hollywood and goes to New York. Luck is with them and they somehow survive with no money and no one questions why an eleven year old doesn’t have parents. There were just too many “off” things for me…e.g. a second grade boy who acts like he’s five (loves Sesame Street at that age? Right….) anyway, I did finish it, but if the library had been accessible and I wasn’t just reading through the books I have stashed, I probably wouldn’t have. Rate: 2.0

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. This amazing author of “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” caught my eye once more. I don’t know how I missed this one the first time around, as it was published in 2013…my life just flies past me! Anyway, this is the story of multiple characters who’s lives intertwine in unexpected connections. Moving around in time a bit, the reader does have to attend to the dates on the chapters. There is heartbreak, of course, as the setting is Afghanistan. I learned a lot about history while reading this, and had my usual, pause and look things up behavior. I love his work because the characters are deep, but in a simple, understandable way. Older brother Abdullah and his three year old sister, Pari, are torn apart by circumstances which certainly could have been avoided. The reader moves through the Point-of-view of the uncle who set things in motion, the young poet who reacts impulsively, and Pari herself. Rate: 4.5

Key for my personal rating system:

5.0 – A book I will never forget, will quote, will tell everyone I know they MUST read it.

4.0 – An excellent book, but doesn’t quite make the best books of all time list.

3.0 – A recommendation, good read, decently written

2.0 – Some redeeming qualities, I finished it, but I’m not likely to seek out more by the author

1.0 – Don’t waste your time.