Robin’s January Book Reviews

Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh. Wow! I’ll tell you right up front, this book was a 4.8 star for me…I loved it. Couldn’t put it down. The writing is great, but in addition this is a topic I was pretty ignorant about..the uprising in Kenya in the 1950’s. Rachel, age eighteen, has just returned from England, where she was sent away to boarding school after her mother’s death. Spending her first twelve years of life in Africa…this is her home, her country, her people. This is the story of Rachel’s budding awareness of her own misinterpretation of life for the native Kenyans. The characters are well explored, the descriptions are just right (I don’t like endless descriptions)..these are to the point and poignant. I think I read McVeigh’s The Fever Tree, but I’m going to read it again. I really hope she is still writing! Rate: 4.8

A Breath of Fresh Air by Amelia Malladi. This was her first novel and it has a unique flavor and voice that I liked. Her later work might be sharper, but with it was a loss of some of the smooth human qualities that this short book transmitted to me. The story of a couple in India..Anjali and Sandeep…she has been divorced, the unheard of, and suddenly her ex-husband is back in her life. We get different chapters from different points of view, so we see her current husband’s struggles, as well as a few other characters. It is a sad book, just warning you, but you’ll know that right away. Rate: 3.8

A House for Happy Mothers by Amelia Malladi. Yes, I’m binge reading this author and I thought this was a sequel to The Mango Season by the same author because in the description the main character is once again Priya….but this is a different woman. Kind of strange to have two books with the same name for different characters. My Google search didn’t come up with any answers…other than this character needed a name that meant hope, and I guess because she had already used in many years prior she didn’t feel bad about using it again. Anyway…this is the story of an American couple who use a woman in India as a surrogate. Interesting topic and the problems of the characters are very real…but there aren’t really any surprises in this book. So..yes, it is well written technically, but it felt a bit slow to me. Not to the point where I would quit reading, but when I was finished there was no big feelings. Rate: 3.0

The Unremembered Girl by Eliza Maxwell...this author is a member of a Facebook group I belong to, one with lots of members. But before I left on my road trip she mentioned her book was featured in the Kindle First program so I downloaded it. Wow! What an excellent writer and a tense story. Maxwell is great and putting you inside each character, leaving you guessing and never easing up on the tension. The story of Henry, his love for a girl he tries to rescue, family dynamics of adult children…there is just so much here. Rate 4.0

The Outside Man by Richard Patterson North

I have a stash of random paperback books in the RV for road trips and on this one I read every single book. This is your standard genre…predictable story of a southern lawyer and his wealthy family murders. Good distraction. Rate 3.0

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 wast your time.