The setting is post-war Germany. Fifteen-year-old Michael and Hanna (a woman twice his age) begin an affair after she helps him when he gets sick in fThe setting is post-war Germany. Fifteen-year-old Michael and Hanna (a woman twice his age) begin an affair after she helps him when he gets sick in front of his house. The affair lasts several months, and it ends only when Hanna suddenly disappears.
Several years later, Michael is in law school. His professor for a seminar class takes the class to see some Nazi war criminals being tried. Michael is shocked when he sees that Hanna is one of the women being tried. She has been identified as a concentration camp guard who was also responsible for guarding prisoners on a death march. Although it's above and beyond what is necessary for the class, Michael begins attending the trial every day. And he soon realises that he has information vital to the case.
I had seen the movie before I read the book, and I will say only that the movie is largely true to the book. There are really only three things that I could identify that differed, and two of them are really minor. The third is not particularly major, and it matters only because it would work better for movie purposes but makes no real difference in terms of the story.
The prose is gorgeous. It's slow and stifling when it should be, and it moves beautifully fast when it should. The story (like the movie) jumps back and forth a little bit, but (unlike the movie) not in a confusing way and not nearly as much. The VERY end of the book/movie are different, but I was very satisfied with the end of the book, as it gave a sense of closure....more
My second favourite Green book (Bookends being the first). What I like about this one (aside from the plot, of course), is the writing style Green adoMy second favourite Green book (Bookends being the first). What I like about this one (aside from the plot, of course), is the writing style Green adopts.
We get to see how each character is feeling, what they're thinking, where they're coming from. And she does so in a way that doesn't clutter the book, but give one additional insight. And I LOVE that doing so doesn't make the antagonists sympathetic characters; it just gives them an extra layer.
For a Brit chick lit book, this book has a lot of depth and several touching moments. ...more
After Packer's debut novel (The Dive from Clausen's Pier, which I enormously loved and HIGHLY recommend), I was really looking forward to reading thisAfter Packer's debut novel (The Dive from Clausen's Pier, which I enormously loved and HIGHLY recommend), I was really looking forward to reading this book (her third book, second novel). What a disappointment.
The story starts with Liz and Sarabeth as adolescents. They live near each other and their relationship is like that of sisters, owing in part to Sarabeth's mother's suicide.
The novel quickly flashes forward to the pair in their adult life. Sarabeth is single and has become estranged from the married man with whom she was having an affair. Liz is now married with a teenaged daughter (Lauren) and a son several years younger than Lauren (Joe). It soon becomes painfully obvious that Lauren is depressed and she attempts to kills herself.
This tests the relationship between Liz and Sarabeth, as the jacket copy promised. But it was in really ridiculous ways. To go into it further would spoil the utterly incompetently written book, but I'll say that it was as if the author tried WAY too hard to go out of her way to be unpredictable. But then she failed by ending the book in a completely predictable way, so I'm not sure why she wasted my time with those 300 pages in the middle.
Plus, it annoyed me that this book had a Lorelei, Lauren, and Liz, and Joe and a Jim, and a handful of other alliterative names. How difficult is it to come up with OTHER names? Throw me a Ralph or a Zelda!
I really hope her third novel returns to "Clausen's Pier"-level of writing....more
In the second instalment of the Flower Shop Mystery series, Abby's cousin Jill is getting married (well, maybe - she gets engaged a LOT). And not onlyIn the second instalment of the Flower Shop Mystery series, Abby's cousin Jill is getting married (well, maybe - she gets engaged a LOT). And not only is Abby serving as the wedding florist, but she's a bridesmaid and seemingly the only sane bridesmaid, at that. But when one member of the bridal party is murdered and another member of the bridal party is arrested for the murder, Jill asks Abby to serve as the bridal investigator, as well. Soon, Abby has all kinds of suspects, most of them other members of the bridal party.
In the meantime, Abby becomes convinced that the new massage parlour in town is really just a front for an illegal prostitution ring. She conspires with the hair salon owner (conveniently located next door to the massage parlour) to investigate this, too. I'm not sure that Abby has the most common sense as she decides the best way to investigate is by taking pictures of the men (and their license plates) going into the parlor in broad daylight and without bothering to be behind any kind of cover.
Once again, she is helped by Marco, the owner of the bar down the street. And her disapproving employees are there along the way, too, reminding her that meddling can only lead to trouble. Which, of course, it inevitably does.
But Collins writes in a light, entertaining, breezy way, and this makes for a quick, fun read. Especially if you don't mind reading about frat boys named Punch and Bertie....more
I read this book right after I finished Knit One, Kill Two, and it picks up right pretty much after the first books left off.
This time, Kelly has voluI read this book right after I finished Knit One, Kill Two, and it picks up right pretty much after the first books left off.
This time, Kelly has volunteered to escort a group of tourist to an alpaca farm only to discover that the farm owner has been murdered - oops. As a reader, I got the idea that Kelly wasn't particularly close to Vicki (the farm owner), but she was affected more because she was the one to find her body. At any rate, she once again begins to investigate, much to the clichéd annoyance of local authorities.
An interesting subplot of this book is that Kelly befriends another local alpaca farmer Jaylene, who is a recovering alcoholic. Jaylene is a very well-developed character who adds much more to the story, in a few different ways... which is about all I can think of to say without spoiling. ;)...more
This was an interesting read. My sister bought me this book for Christmas because she knows I tend to be a fan of chick lit, particularly of Red DressThis was an interesting read. My sister bought me this book for Christmas because she knows I tend to be a fan of chick lit, particularly of Red Dress Ink.
The book more or less starts when Eve, a grammar school teacher, leaves her boyfriend standing on the side of the road in NYC after they get in a fight. He's a busy, important person, and her job involves playing with kids all day. She escapes to Maine, where her friend from undergrad, Natasha lives. Later, Eve's boyfriend makes the breakup official, via a speakerphone conversation while he's conducting other business in his office, no less.
Meanwhile, Eve is trying to figure out what to do with her life now. Should she settle down in Maine or suck it up and return to New York? While she's deciding this, she meets Natasha's friend Kim, who is descended from a line of witches (or so she claims). One night, the three women drink an old bottle of, well, something from the wine cellar while making wishes about their future. Suddenly, the next day, their wishes start coming true. Of course, the wishes come at a cost, but they are blithely unaware of this until it's almost too late.
This book ended up being part-chick lit and part-paranormal (albeit very light on this), which I wasn't prepared for. If you like a bit of the sinister mixed in with your chick lit or a bit of "witches going after the Dark Forces" thrown in there, then this is the book for you.
This is NOT the book for you if you get distracted when narratives changes between first and third person. Generally the story was told from Eve's perspective, but every once in awhile, the narrative would change and be told in the third person when following Natasha or Kim.
All in all, this was a fun read with an interesting ending....more
In the third book in the Flower Shop Mystery series, Abby's cousin Jill FINALLY makes it to the alter (thank GOD!). However, drama ensues (shocking):In the third book in the Flower Shop Mystery series, Abby's cousin Jill FINALLY makes it to the alter (thank GOD!). However, drama ensues (shocking): a fight breaks out during the vows, the vows get delayed, the city's Fourth of July fireworks go on as planned meaning the vows get drowned out by the noise (rude!), and during the reception a dead body is found behind the pulpit.
Normally, Grace (one of Abby's employees) implores Abby not to meddle, but this time Grace all but begs Abby to get involved in the investigation of who killed Jack Snyder. Why? Because the person Grace recently started dating, Richard Davis, is the police's main suspect. Although there are several people with motive (Snyder wasn't the most popular guy in town), Davis doesn't have a great alibi, and he is one of the people with a great motive.
One of the funnier subplots is that Lottie's (Abby's other employee) son (well, one of her sons - Lottie has quadruplets) keeps hanging out at Abby's client's house. Abby suspects that he has a serious crush on the client, and soon enough, so does the client's husband. Abby finds herself playing marriage counsellor, as well as trying to run interference between the client and a hormone-fueled teenage boy.
As always, Abby gets an able assist from Marco (he reminds me a lot of Stephanie Plum's Ranger), and the two of them work together to figure out if Richard Davis killed Jack Snyder.
The best part was the surprising end. It had nothing to do with whodunit, but it really left me dying to read the next instalment (sorry about that pun; it truly wasn't intended)....more
This is the first book in the Yellow Rose Mystery series. Abby is described as being "out of school, out of work, and out of motivation."
When the bookThis is the first book in the Yellow Rose Mystery series. Abby is described as being "out of school, out of work, and out of motivation."
When the book opens, her gardener Ben approaches Abby and tells her that he needs to tell her and her sister Kate (her fraternal twin) something, but he wants to wait until Kate comes home so he'll only have to tell the story once. He seems really nervous and agitated, but Abby can't convince him to spill the beans early.
Abby takes a nap, but when she wakes up, Ben is dead. Since she was the only other person at the house at the time, Abby quickly becomes the primary suspect. Since she has no job (and no prospects), she begins to do her own digging, especially when she discovers that Ben wasn't actually Ben. It seems that he was there for ulterior motives, and he may have been involved in another murder. Abby in convinced that things are not what they seem, and she is determined to get to the bottom of things, even if the police are dragging their feet.
The other characters are her aforementioned sister; they were both adopted as babies by their late father. Steve, Abby's ex-husband, is still hung up on Abby and is determined to make her see that he's changed, no matter what it takes. And their aunt meddles in their lives as much as Abby meddles in the police investigation.
It all makes for an entertaining read, a great mystery, and wonderful cosy. I didn't figure out the culprit until Abby did, which is always satisfying, and the subplot was great. Sweeney's sense of humour is great, and she infuses her Southern charm into the characters with just the right touch without going overboard....more