Marlene’s June Book Reviews


The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler. Talk about a page turner!  This thriller is filled with drama, murder, mayhem and what all.  Well, that happens when you put a bunch of crazy people together.  Descriptions are so well done, you will want to remind yourself that “it’s just a story.”  The pace is quick and some of the characters will capture you. Of course, there are a few behaviors that I found quite unbelievable but then I haven’t had the same experiences (losing trust in a loved one.)  Very clever writing and integrations of streams of situations.  For those who like scary stories: a recommend

 Winter of the World and The Edge of Eternity  by Ken Follett.  This is the second and third of Follet’s Century Trilogy.  We are following the same  American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh families through time as they experience great social, political, and economic upheavals.  It gives me hope that civilization survived these awful times but of course the costs were astronomical.  Book 2  begins with the rise of the Third Reich, through the great dramas of World War II, and into the beginning of the long Cold War. Book 3 takes us from the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements, and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution—and rock and roll.  Well, if you are going to keep five families going and keep the story together you are going to have to make a ton of coincidences. That’s what moves the story along and connects the families so okay, I’ll go along.  But I was disappointed in a Follett book with the steamy sex scenes.  Did the publisher ask for those to become more explicit to entrap more readers?  They were unnecessary to the novel and detracted from the story.  There were characters that I became attached to but frankly only read on (and on!!!) because I was curious and also I like my history lessons with human stories behind them.  Although, with these books, I am tempted to read some REAL history.  A cautious recommend.


A Piece of the World by Christine Bake Kline. Oh my, such a sad tale but also a heart-warming one of friendship and loyalty.   It is based on some facts but basically an inspiration rather than a story-telling.   It is the author’s interpretation and imagination of the Andrew Wyeth’s painting, Christina’s World. It is a moving and beautiful story.  The descriptions and characterizations are so real and well-developed that you will feel you know these people and will recognize these places.  A RECOMMEND!!!

Kate’s Legacy by Jack Richeson I had to read the summary of this book to remember what it was about.  Yes, I know I am supposed to write these reviews right after I finish the book but this month got ahead of me.  So, here it is several weeks after I read this one. It did keep my interest while I was reading it but that’s the best I can say. Not a recommend solely on the fact it didn’t stay with me at all but Howard says it was worth a read.

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff.  Interesting look at WWII again but this time through the eyes of circus people. We are kept in suspense as to the identity of the narrator in the first chapter but you will soon be immersed into the characters and events. We will have the same horror of the hatred in the world and it was hard to read thinking of how my own government is handling itself these days.  You may have to stretch your credibility on the developing sequence but while it is not as great as The Nightingale it is a worthy read.  A RECOMMEND

The Baker’s Daughter D.E.Stevenson. Delightful story that led to the republishing of her earlier novels.  There are some endearing characters and some you’d like to bop on the head.  But it will keep you entertained as well as wanting to visit this part of Scotland. A recommend.

New York by Edward Rutherford.  Whew, this seems to be the month for sweeping novels that flash through world events, following different families.  This one concentrates on the City of New York and gives us quite an overview of the development of the city. Again, trying to keep the families moving along and interactions between them require a bit of stretched coincidences, some way out in left field. The city is the star and many world events are mentioned just in passing so one does have to pay attention to the chapter headings (year).  Because we are seeing so many characters there are many that are shallowly developed and we don’t get to know them.  It is a great tribute to New York City but I do think much of the emphasis on the social history is GREED.  So not much has changed!  I need to quiz my Spanish friend to get his viewpoint, however as an American, there was so much I already knew was going to happen that filling in the blanks wasn’t even conscious.  It was great fun to read about places in New York that I knew from the mid-60s in different time lines.  A cautious recommend just for the investment of time to plow though this long book!

DVDS and Films

“Jack Irish” We were introduced by my calabash cousin, to this series based on detective novels by Australian Peter Temple.  Jack Irish is a former criminal lawyer turned Private Eye, interspersed with a sideline as a debt collector.  It’s entertaining and well acted. The accent provides a challenge for some so next time instead of being interpreter, I will let H read the subtitles!   Boy, I learn something new every day.  There was a television series in 2016 but that’s not what we watched.  We watched the 2012 telemovie.  Guess that means longer-than-a- TV show but not a full length movie in the theater.  For those wanting a good detective story, a recommend.

“The Silence” Another masterpiece by Martin Scorsese has received high praise.  It is based on the 1966 novel by Shusaku Endo and purportedly took the director 28 years to bring the novel to life, in all its passion and horror.  It tackles the age old quandary of the meaning of faith. It seemed to drag in places and I think if one is not immersed in a life of devotion and strong faith, it might not seem like an engaging thread to follow.  It takes place when Christians were persecuted, tortured and killed in Japan. It relates the tale of two Jesuits who face the strongest test of their faith as they go to Japan to search for their missing mentor.  The acting is superb and the dark scenery and somber music lend much to the inner turmoil of the faithful.  A recommendation or not, according to your level of faith.

“Going in Style”  Okay, okay, it is full of corny jokes and stereotypes but very entertaining and you have some pretty good actors showing us that age can be no barrier to good acting.  Three men in need of money (dirty, ugly banks and greedy corporations) decide to fix the problem.  You’ll love it!  It’s a great escape movie and it even makes me grin as I write this.  A RECOMMEND