December 2019 Book Reviews

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser. I met this author at a writers conference in New Mexico. I was interested in her book because of the genre it was classified….”domestic fiction” and I was curious about what this really meant. I guess it means fiction about relationships between husband and wife? Not sure. Anyway, this novel was about a couple who meets in a “meant to be” way, but things fall apart when he suddenly leaves…taking their three year old son with him. There is some suspense, the story is told from three points of view: Violet, her husband, Flynn and a friend of both of theirs, Caitlin. Rate: 3.0

The Sisters of Alameda Street by Lorena Hughes. This book has been on my “to buy” list because the author is in a Facebook group I’m in. Imagine my surprise at the conference in New Mexico to discover that she was the conference organizer! I had lunch with her and bought the book. This is an Ecuadorian tale, which takes place in the 1960’s and the different culture was well written. The story of a complex relationship between four sisters, whose names all begin with “A” and the young woman who discovers that one of them is her mother. Long covered secrets make for a story with an emotional grasp. Rate: 4.0

The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen. I have read quite a few of this prolific author’s war novels. They are all unique, but somewhat “cliche” but that is not to say I don’t enjoy them. This one is the tale of Emily Bryce, upper crust (although not really!) who joins the “Land Girls” to help with the war effort. There is love, death, birth, betrayal…yep…pretty standard. Rate: 3.0

The Tale Teller by Anne Hillerman. For those familiar with the characters of Tony Hillerman’s detective series there will be some enjoyment in the fact that daughter continued where father left off….BUT…she is a good writer who needs to bid goodbye to these characters and find her own way. This book was poorly edited and there are so many characters and different threads I felt the need for a whiteboard to keep track. I’m not saying I wasn’t engaged…just disappointed. Rate: 3.0

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman. As I got into this book the story was so incredibly devastating I had to look it up to see if it was based on true events…I was appalled to find out that it is. In Quebec thousands of orphans were declared mentally ill, an effort by the Catholic Church and the government to increase income of the care of these poor children. I like the changing point-of-view between chapters, Maggie, who gave birth at a young age, and Elodie, the baby she gave up. At times the timeline was hard to follow (and seemed a bit off, but I didn’t go back to check). Goodman is a fine story teller. Rate: 4.0

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Bell. So…I have had complaints about the twists at the ends of the novels I write. Now I know how those readers feel. I’ll try not to spoil things for you. This book is a psychological thriller, with the protagonist a school psychologist! Her husband is killed in a plane crash, and she is soon alerted to the fact that he is not who she thought he was. No more spoilers, it’s a pretty good read. Rate: 3.5

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.