Wednesday, June 7, 2023

May Reading


May's reading was good. I would rank three as my favorites for the month and the other three were good.

The Secret Book of Flora Lee by Patti Callahan Henry was my favorite, not just for the month, but also one of my favorites for the year.  It is a lovely story about two sisters and a book of stories that the older sister had written for the younger sister.  The younger sister tragically disappeared, seemingly in a flooded creek. Years later the older sister was working in a bookstore and a book with similar stories showed up. This novel is a very touching and well-written story.

Another favorite book read was Maureen by Rachel Joyce. Oddly enough, I was just perusing the bookstore and saw it.  I had no idea that there was another Harold Fry story out! This one is about Harold's wife Maureen, who still grieves for her son years later. She does not take a walking pilgrimage like Harold did, but she does get into the car and travels to see Queenie Hennesy's garden, hoping to "find" her son's spirit there. She, and the reader, was surprised at what she did find there.  It's a touching story to finish out the trilogy.

I also really like One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. In her twenties, Emma Blair married her high school sweetheart and they traveled the world together. On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse left on a helicopter that went missing over the Pacific and was never found. Years later, Emma has finally let herself find love again with Sam and became engaged to him. And suddenly, Jesse was found alive. After years of being gone.  And he returned, expecting that he and Emma would return to their marriage and their old life. Thus is the conundrum. Can you love two men at the same time? What should Emma do? It was a good story.

I read two books by Pam Jenoff this past month and liked one, but the other left me wanting. I liked Code Name Sapphire. The story took place in 1942 when Hannah Martel's ship was turned away when she was trying to escape Germany and was headed to the United States. Hannah did not know of anyone who could go to until she recalled that her cousin, Lily, whom Hannah had spent summers with was living in Brussels. She contacted Lily and Lily took her into her home. Soon Hannah found a group working in the underground, called the Sapphire Line, who were taking people in danger to safety. One day Hannah used Lily's identification card and soon Lily, her husband, and her son were arrested and all were placed in Auschwitz. Hannah is torn between loyalties. This was a good book, based on true events. Ms. Jenoff does an excellent job at finding and researching her stories. The second book that I read by her was The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach. I had a hard time engaging with this story. It began in 1941 when Addie was sent to America by her parents to escape what was happening in Europe. She went to her aunt and uncle and at their beach house, she met the four Connally boys. As America got pulled into the war, the Connally boys were pulled in also. The rest of the book is about Addie running from herself, first to Washington DC, then to London, and finally back to America, I just never really got into the story.

And lastly, I read Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult. It was a book club read. I was surprised at how little I liked it because I usually love her books. The story was just okay for me. The dad was someone who would go off to live with wolves for long periods of time. He was obsessed with wolves. He basically considered the wolves his family, rather than his wife and two children. The wife and the son were who I found quite interesting. Both the son and daughter were keeping secrets that were long overdue to be shared.

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