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

Saturday, April 1, 2023

March Books


The Retreat by Sarah Pearse -- I read about this English detective, Elin, in this author's debut novel. This time Elin is called to an island that the locals avoid due to its sketchy past. Elin is investigating a murder, but while she's there another murder takes place. Meanwhile travel influencer Jo is traveling to this retreat with her sister, cousin, and a couple of their boyfriends.

The Dressmakers of Prospect Heights by Kitty Zeldis -- Bea uproots her life to move from New Orleans to Brooklyn, New York, after a detective is certain that he's traced the daughter she gave up for adoption over twenty years before. Alice, the girl she's raised for years, is puzzled why they have to move so suddenly. Meanwhile Catherine and Stephen are hoping for a baby, but that dream eludes them. Pretty good story.

The Sisters of Sea View by Julie Klassen -- The first in the "On Devonshire Shores" series. When their father dies without a male heir - and you know how those entailed estates go with hereditary requirements - Mrs. Summers and her four daughters have little choice but to open their house as a guesthouse for those wishing to visit Sidmouth. This alternates between the sisters, mostly Sarah, Emily and Viola and their houseguests. I like these types of books if I can keep all the characters straight so I enjoyed this book.

Shadow Creek by Joy Fielding -- Val is ready to spend some time with her friends in New York City while her teenage daughter Brianne heads to the Adirondack mountains for a camping trip with her father and his fiancée, Jennifer. Only Evan doesn't show up on time and somehow Val and her friends end up in the mountains with Brianne and Jennifer. Weird, I know. Well, then some folks are murdered and people go missing and, yeah, it was quite a mystery.

Run Time by Catherine Ryan Howard -- Adele is a former Irish soap star who escaped her country due to some humiliating work-related things. She is in Los Angeles auditioning for commercials when someone from Ireland calls asking her to have a lead role in a horror film. This book alternates between the set in a heavily-wooded area, and the script... why are there so many similarities between the two anyway?

Code Name Sapphire by Pam Jenoff -- After Hannah flees Germany for Cuba, but is denied entry, she makes her way to Belgium where her cousin Lily takes her in. Eventually Hannah helps the Resistance despite the risk of involving her cousin and her small family. This book also is about Micheline and her brother Matteo. Pretty good.

The Couple at the Table by Sophie Hannah -- A whodunit mystery surrounding a lovely, couples-only resort in England. Lucy is there with her fiancé Peter, but also in attendance is her ex-husband and his new wife, the latter couple being on their honeymoon. Awkward! But when the new wife winds up dead, yet everyone seems to have an alibi or are excused due to forensics ... what in the world happened to Jane?

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman -- Harriet Reed is an English novelist engaged to an American from a super-rich family in New York. When she's finally invited to meet the Holbeck family, Harry (as she's called) is dismayed at her soon-to-be father in law giving her a cassette tape that sounds like a confession of murders. Pretty interesting story.

The Curator's Daughter by Melanie Dobson -- Hanna is a museum curator tasked by the Nazis to record what has been collected so that it can be hidden and protected before the Allies bomb Germany. Years later her daughter, Lilly, is up in years, living in Massachusetts, and wondering about these flashbacks and nightmares she has from her childhood. Ember is on a quest of her own, and travels to Nuremberg to hopefully find some answers.

You Will Never Know by S.A. Prentiss -- Jessica wants to improve her chances for advancement, but is the worst bank teller at up-sells. Meanwhile her husband Ted's real estate business is struggling. What else could go wrong? How about her former sister in law having her investigated in her first husband's death plus...oh yeah, her daughter Emma and stepson Craig disappeared for a few hours the night one of their classmates was murdered. Huh.

The Transformation of Things by Jillian Cantor -- I usually don't care for books that have a lot of dreams, but this one was pretty good. Jennifer is at the salon getting her hair washed when news breaks that her husband, a judge, was indicted for bribery. She had no idea he was in trouble, and thus begins a book about how her country club friends react to her new status, especially when she refuses to leave her husband. Meanwhile she visits her herbalist and, whew, those new herbs are relaxing, but sure do cause vivid dreams - that seem to predict the future.

Our Last Goodbye by Shirley Dickson -- May Robinson lost her mom in a tragic accident while they were out in the dark one night during World War II. I could relate to some of the pangs of grief throughout this book, especially perhaps in chapter two. Even the part about someone being gone just about five months and how you avoid people offering compassion sometimes and all. Well, I just related to some of that. Anyway, May decided to train as a nurse, and I enjoyed her time with the other nurses and the patients. A few times I lost the train of thought, but overall, I enjoyed this book. I was even looking up the Geordie accent because of it.

The Picture Bride by Lee Geum-yi -- this book was translated from Korean by An Seonjae, and the note at the end of the book explained the translation and something I puzzled about for a page or two.I was trying to keep characters straight and it started talking about Willow, the main character, meeting Julie's mom. So I thought maybe I daydreamed during the part about Julie and missed who that was. Looked back. Nothing about Julie, But then I realized it was one of those things people did in some cultures. Kind of like Arabs who are Abu Samer and so forth, I guess. Though it was translated as "Julie's mom" or "Dusun's dad" occasionally. This book was about a few Korean teenagers who became picture brides for Korean men who had moved to Hawaii around the early 1900s. The book focused on Willow and her new husband though a couple other picture brides made multiple appearances. Pretty good book overall.

An Elegant Woman by Martha McPhee -- A pretty good book though at times I lost who was telling the story. Isadora is with her sisters looking through her grandma Katherine's (also known as Thelma (her real name) or Tommy (her childhood nickname)) belongings after her grandma's death. Tommy and her sister's upbringing was difficult with a mother who went to teach in remote areas, but left her little girls to fend for themselves. Tommy did her best raising her sister Katherine. Oh, yeah, when The Original Katherine graduated from school, she changed her name to Pat and went to Hollywood while Thelma (better known as Tommy) used Katherine's school records to win a spot in New York to begin nursing school. So that's how Thelma/Tommy became Katherine. Whew.

The Widow by Kaira Rouda -- Jody is a Congressman's wife who loves all the happenings in D.C. and the perks related to her position. Yet when her husband doesn't toe the line, she's not totally sad about his demise. Meanwhile Mimi, their mutual friend from law school, has her own say in things. Quick read, and pretty good read on a lovely day!

The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle -- Alex is a social media influencer, but when one awful post goes viral, she's trying to control the damage to her image. Except her assistant AC is missing. Is the lady in trouble or is she behind this damaging post? Pretty good book from a new-to-me author.

East Winds by Rachel Rueckert -- "A Global Quest to Reckon With Marriage" ; I saw this book on Myrna's blog last year, and decided to put it on my Amazon Wishlist. The author grew up in a Mormon household where her parents were divorced. I used to think divorced Mormons were rare, but she claims it's not that much below the national average so I guess there are more of them than I expected. Possibly due to her upbringing in a split household with a mom who badmouthed her when she decided to live with her father due to his home being closer to her work (and she was fifteen and unable to drive at the time), Rachel has major issues with the thought of marriage (especially since Mormons believe marriages that have been sealed are forever) and what will be expected of her (homemaking, babies, no traveling on a whim.) But when she meets a guy, Austin, who seems okay with her thinking and her fears - and who loves her, they marry and take a trip that she'd saved for. And this is no ordinary trip: it's practically a year of honeymooning while traveling to a bit of South America, parts of Asia, and along one path of the Camino de Santiago. While in these places, she talks to people about marriage in their cultures and constantly questions her own thoughts of marriage and if she'll change her mind about being married to Austin (which that part was a bit tiresome to me after about 200 pages.) Otherwise, this was a pretty interesting story. I especially enjoyed reading about the people she met on the European pilgrimage and her experiences - like wearing sandals while hiking in the snow! Also, jeans. On a thirty-something day hike. Maybe I'm just weird, but I rarely see people hike in jeans, but maybe this is a southern oddity.

What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall -- Naomi returns to her hometown where as an eleven year old, she was attacked in the woods. Pretty good.

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