"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Thursday, December 31, 2020

December Books


Things We Didn't Say by Amy Lynn Green -- I wasn't sure at first if I'd like this book since the story was told by letters and newspaper columns, but it ended up being pretty interesting. Johanna returns to her hometown in order to be a translator at a German POW camp. The prisoners are there to help farmers with their crops, and Johanna has to translate for the Germans as well as censor their letters if necessary. Pretty cute story.

A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham -- After finding out a shocking secret surrounding her birth, Agnes left her life in Buffalo for the Dakota Territory where she's lived 6 years and taught the area children. When a new doctor comes to town, Aggie is stunned to find it is the sweetheart she left back east. An OK story; pretty good. I thought the part about scarlet fever and quarantining was interesting in these covid-19 times.

Island of Lost Girls by Jennifer McMahon -- While at the store one day, Rhonda watches someone dressed up in a bunny costume lure a little girl away from her car. This book was a bit bizarre at times, but fairly good in a weird way.

The Invitation-Only Zone by Robert S. Boynton -- "the true story of North Korea's abduction project;" this was one of Bridget's recommendations from last year that I got for my birthday or last Christmas and finally took the time to read. I am not overly-familiar with this region of the world, but found the background and information about the abductees interesting! I'm still not exactly sure why these people were targeted, but the explanations provided make some sense.

An Everyday Hero by Laura Trentham -- An ok book about Greer Hadley, thirty years old, forced to do community service at a music rehab place near Nashville, Tennessee. She helps out a teenager who lost her military father, and also rides out to meet Emmett Lawson, who is also suffering due to his military experiences.

Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas -- another book in the Lady Sherlock Series. This time Sherlock Holmes with the help of his clever sister, Charlotte, and her companions are asked to help in the case of Inspector Treadles as he is charged in a double murder.

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty -- This book features triplets - Lyn, Gemma, and Cat - and the adventures of their 33rd year. Pretty cute story.

The Paris Hours by Alex George -- Snippets of the lives of an Armenian puppet maker, a maid to Marcel Proust, a struggling artist, a novelist with dreams of America, but who must stay in Paris because of his search for someone - a lovely book.

Foreign Correspondence by Geraldine Brooks -- I am more familiar with this author's late husband as I've read most of Tony Horwitz's books in recent years. But I've read a couple of her books as well, and saw this non-fiction book was available at my library. I enjoyed reading of her growing-up years in Sydney, Australia, especially since I met my Aussie/Greek relative Kos about three months ago. It was interesting reading the author's version of events and thinking, "I wonder what Kos would say about this." The two of them are not very far apart in age, though he is an immigrant to Australia (arriving as a baby from Rhodes) whereas in Geraldine's case her American-born father is the immigrant. (Her mom's family is Irish Catholic in case you were curious.) Geraldine writes of wanting to learn more from pen pals in the US, Israel (a Jew and an Arab there), France, and even a girl on the nicer side of Sydney. Later in life, she travels to find these friends or their families.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline -- I've read a few novels about orphan trains, but somehow had never read this one. Niamh comes to NYC from Ireland hoping for a good life for her family, but after a fire, she is sent to Minnesota where she's taken in by a couple who want her to work (sew) for their business. In more current times, Molly is part of a foster family and has to do community service at Vivian's house where she's helping the 90-year-old sort through her attic. Good story. 

The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson -- The author pretends that Marie Antoinette kept a diary starting when she was 13 years old up until her demise. Pretty interesting way to learn more about this historical character, even if most of it was made up.

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon -- There is a bit of a creepy factor to this book about Rose and her older sister Sylvie, growing up at a motel in Vermont before the highway came through and ran them out of business. The books flips from Rose and Sylvie's childhood to Rose's daughter Amy and her two friends Piper and Margot; to modern times when Amy is thought to have killed her family and Piper and Margot investigate. Pretty good story.

Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout -- This author writes in a folksy, intimate way...I detected this in her other novels which I read this year. This book dealt with single mom, Isabelle, and her teenage daughter Amy. Pretty good story.

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin -- It took me a while to get through this book. Not because it's heavy; just I read it during the Christmas season and I kept getting distracted. This is like a modern-day (well, World War II) telling of Esther, but instead of the story of Haman and his plot to kill the Jews, it was a story of a ghetto and a young Jewish woman. Pretty good story.

Blue Monday by Nicci French -- first in a series starring psychoanalyst Frieda Klein of London. In this book her client's dream of a son sounds eerily like a recent kidnapping. Frieda shares her concerns with the local police detective and ends up getting involved in the case to find the little red-haired boy. 

A Good American by Alex George -- Frederick and Henrietta called Jette leave Germany for America after they do something that disgraces Jette's family. While they had thoughts of New York in mind, the only ship sailing from Bremen was headed to New Orleans. There the family meets folks who lead them towards Missouri where they chance to settle down in a little place named Beatrice. This book is told by Frederick and Jette's grandson James; a pretty good tale by this British-born author to end the year 2020.