Robin’s February Book Reviews

img_1014Then You Came by Jennifer Weiner. Another book from my mother. She really liked this one, but I was not so sold. The topic is somewhat unique: surrogate birth and egg donation. Each chapter is from a different woman’s perspective, so the reader follows Jules, the donor, India, the woman who will get the actual baby, her stepdaughter, Bettina and the surrogate, Annie. Because I just finished taking an on-line writing class in which we had to distinguish womens’ voices, I was sensitive to the technique. I had a difficult time distinguishing the voices and often had to flip back to the front of the chapter, which conveniently listed who was talking, as all were first person. There was nothing memorable about any of the characters and this led to a very un-engaging read. The characters felt slightly staged to me: the abused, the poor, the rich, the beautiful, the chubby. Very genre and not very deep. Sorry, Roberta, I give it a 2.5.

Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey. So, the next time I went to see my mother I told her I didn’t like the book. She said “Oh, that was the wrong one. Here is the one I meant.” And yep, I loved this one. Written in 1950, but if I didn’t know the publishing date, I wouldn’t have guessed. A well done mystery (although I did figure it out quite early on) with lovable characters, horses, wealth, lies and just the right amount of British flavor. Brat Farrar enters the Ashby family pretending to be the long lost brother, who of course is due to inherit everything. Rate: 4.0 and I’m going to look for more from this author.

The Lady in Blue by Javier Sierra. Yes, I have commented on this book in the past. But Marlene gave it back and said she couldn’t finish it, so I read it again to see if I was way off base in liking it. (That is how much I trust Marlene’s judgement!) But….I still liked it a lot. I can see how some folks would have a hard time. I recommend you keep track of the characters, maybe even with post-it notes, because there are a lot and they live in different time periods. But the chapters are marked, and there is no head hopping, everything is tidy. Religion, magic and New Mexico, what more could I say? Well, this one has a lot about the Catholics, the secret mysteries of the church and the conversions of the natives in New Mexico. I do have to say that with this reading I knew that Javier Sierra has a television program in Spain which delves into mysteries, and I saw his character in the story. Rate: 4.0, for me, but not for everyone.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker. As noted earlier, I decided to read this one again after reading Possessing the Secret of Joy. Walker is such a subtle, excellent writer. The nuances, the changing in “who” the letters are written to, the length of the letters. These are all those things that make you read through the night. I read the book in less than twenty-four hours. If there is anyone out there who hasn’t read it…READ IT! And it is well worth reading again in light of the recent occurrences in our nation. Rate: 4.5