Monday, November 23, 2015

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

Oh my goodness, I loved The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy!  I have read The Unlikely
Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce twice and loved it more each time.  Reading this sequel, was wonderful!

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy focuses on Queenie, the old friend that Harold Fry was on a pilgrimage to visit.  This book tells the story of their friendship and of the pilgrimage from Queenie's point of view.  Turns out that Harold had been unaware of a great deal when he and Queenie worked together those 20 years ago.

In the novel, Queenie was dying of cancer and was waiting for Harold to end his journey to visit her.  The staff at the hospice encouraged her to write a long letter to Harold to tell him all that she needed/wanted to say. Through her writing the letter, the reader learned more about Queenie's feelings about Harold and about her relationship with his son, David.  The other patients in the hospice became engaged in the story of Harold's journey to visit Queenie as it unfolded, and it was interesting to read how the story of his journey affected them.

I thought the book was absolutely beautiful!  Can't wait to read it again!

The Barter

This will be a very short post...I read The Barter, a debut novel by Siobhan Adcock, for book group. 
I may have been the only one of the group who read the whole thing.  Others gave up on it early in to it.  It has had some very good reviews, but I certainly missed what the book was really about.

The novel is divided by chapters about two different characters who lived many years apart.  One of the characters was Bridget who was a new mother, and who began to be aware of a frightening presence in her home that no one else could sense.  The other character was Rebecca who had become a mother in 1902, and had struggles with her marriage.

Other than both characters being new mothers and dealing with difficult issues, I never really got the connection.  I will say that I enjoyed reading Rebecca's chapters....I found her story quite compelling and interesting, but I found Bridget's chapters harder to take. I would be interested to hear if anyone else has read this and what their thoughts on it are!

Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Kitchens of the Great Midwest is a debut novel by J. Ryan Stradal. I read it as the November book
group's choice.

The novel is about Eva Thorvald.  Eva's parents separated when she was an infant and her mother abandoned Eva and Eva's father.  Shortly after that, Eva's father died, and so she was raised by her father's relatives.  Eva's father had been a chef and, even as an infant, Eva was introduced to good food. She grew up only wanting to work in restaurants and to cook. 

This novel is actually like several short stories that intertwine with each other.  The chapters are: Lutefisk, Chocolate Habanero, Sweet Pepper Jelly, Walleye, Golden Bantam, Venison, Bars, and The Dinner. And each chapter is narrated by a different person. And the chapters all tie into Eva.  It is very interesting and impressive how well the author did this! And the last chapter ties each chapter's food title into The Dinner chapter. A very well-done novel (no pun intended!).

This book made for a great book group discussion and everyone loved the book.  That in itself says a lot for this book! Different, but very good read.