A wonderfully layered story that shifts from the 9/11 Twin Tower destruction to the Spanish Civil War by way of a London based perfumery. A family stoA wonderfully layered story that shifts from the 9/11 Twin Tower destruction to the Spanish Civil War by way of a London based perfumery. A family story of love, loss, war, betrayal and redemption.
The book opens with the tragic end to a long affair with Joe the father of the child she is carrying in the Twin Tower disaster. One moment he is walking into the Towers for a meeting, then, nothing. Emma's mother has succumbed to a long struggle with cancer, she has left Emma her immense talent as a perfumer, her multinational perfumery, a stack of letters and a villa in Spain.
Because of Joe's shenanigans Emma knows she will lose the perfumery and decides to go to Spain and restore the Spanish villa. Her Grandmother Freya is against this for her own reasons.
Emma's time in the small Spanish town and her restoration of the Perfume Garden surrounding her villa slowly reveal the secrets of the devastating Spanish Civil War and Emma's own family.
Ultimately satisfying as all the strands of the story hesitantly come to light and make a way for Emma and her baby to find a home, a family and a place.
Caitlin is living in a tiny town with her Aunt, Uncle and cousin. She watched her dad die when she was five and tNotes based on an uncorrected galley.
Caitlin is living in a tiny town with her Aunt, Uncle and cousin. She watched her dad die when she was five and this last year Mom wasted away from cancer. Fully expecting to live with Gran, continue her clothing designs and move on to college, the rug has been pulled by social services and she is forced to live with her mother's estranged sister Rachel.
Caitlin is a walking, talking storm of rage. Her emotions run so high that she attracts the attention of a demon who will materialize to meet her. To prevent this, local vampires assign a high school age protector to Caitlin and the paranormal romance is off and running. Aidan is appealing,supernaturally attractive, caring, and intensely tormented by the circumstances of his life.
The story is engaging, Temple West has created characters that are interesting and she ties up the immediate crisis by the end of this book but the story appears to have more volumes to come. I for one am curious about many issues touched upon and abandoned. Why is Rachel estranged from her sister? Will Aidan defy the council? Will his father return? What does Aidan's father mean when he refers to what Caitlin is? And what is with the horrific dreams, is it just salacious horror or foreshadowing?
Billie and Liberty are likeable girls caught in an impossible situation. Mom has died(; hit by a Ford Explorer crossing the road, her neighbor Julie wBillie and Liberty are likeable girls caught in an impossible situation. Mom has died(; hit by a Ford Explorer crossing the road, her neighbor Julie who clearly has issues of her own steps in and looks after the girls. When she finds Liberty and Billie's dad's contact info she lets him know the girls need him and he shows up in his RV to collect them. Dad is an accomplished nature photographer who Mom refuses to talk about. The small family embarks on a summer road trip to photograph the desert near Four Corners.
The book opens when Dad abandons the girls at an isolated gas station in the desert when he has had enough and just cannot cope with the girls, the responsibility, and the pressure of having people (even family) around. We come to understand why Mom does not speak of him. Liberty has to summon every survival strategy she knows to head back to LA and Julie who for some reason is ignoring all their phone calls.
Certainly a story of resilience and love- but also harrowing as two young girls make their way across the desert finding unlikely help and ultimately finding a place to land.
Kids will read along and perhaps find a model for courage and character as they read Liberty's words. I feel like the grinch when I say the improbability and peril of the girls' situation troubled me. ...more
Dear Opl is an ambitious novel narrated by angry thirteen year old Opal who is struggling.
Dad has left, Mom is overworked, younger brother Ollie wearDear Opl is an ambitious novel narrated by angry thirteen year old Opal who is struggling.
Dad has left, Mom is overworked, younger brother Ollie wears women’s costumes every- single- day, (super creative ones) G’pa has moved in to help and is slowly crafting his place in the household.
What Opl describes is a family in pain. Dad did not leave, he died. Opal’s snarky humor and compulsive chocolate habit is her way of stuffing grief and loss out of sight and out of mind. Ollie’s dress up is not gender bending, it is a carefully crafted strategy for Mom. G’pa watches all this and waits for the best moment to carefully slip in a bit of his well-earned wisdom.
Even though Mom is swamped she is doing her best to nudge Opal from sweats into skinny jeans. She benignly ignores Ollie’s efforts. When Opl’s eating sends her blood sugar perilously close to a diabetic diagnosis, changes are out of Opl’s hands. At the same time Opl’s snark finally goes over the top and alienates her best and only friend. Alone and hungry Opl has time and space to make the changes she needs to inside and out.
Addressing pathetic American fast food/junk food habits, bullying, coming to terms with loss, family dynamic, the dinner table, self-image, snap judgements, surface judgements, friendship, homeless vets, yoga, and what bookstores bring to a community Shelley Sackier and her awesome editors have written a story to please kids and adults. ...more
Alanis, a name she chose when she walked away from her narcissistic (generous- maybe psychopathic)mother. WhoAmusing. Sort of hard bitten noir voice.
Alanis, a name she chose when she walked away from her narcissistic (generous- maybe psychopathic)mother. Who is now using (well used)the name Athena Passalis. As Alanis said to the attorney who called her; "Does she want money or is she dead?" When hearing that dear old mom has passed to her reward, Alanis asks, "How was she murdered?" Cynical, right?
Alanis (under many different names,she actually wonders what her name really is grew up on the road with "Mom" and Biddle running cons and scams across the country. When the cons turn too close to pandering, Alanis splits and leaves her mother to her own devices.
Fast forward 20 years, Alanis defines herself as Not My Mother which leaves a lot to be desired in a life. When Mom dies and leaves her of all things The White Magic Five & Dime Alanis decides to find Mom's murderer and ditch the Five & Dime.
So this noir is really 'closure' for Alanis who really is not sure what her name is, who her father is, or where she is going ultimately. As a woman who lives 'straight' but raised as a con artist she is uniquely skilled to find Mom's killer.
Many twists turns and surprises pop up as Alanis homes in on the killer. And really the reader starts to wonder if Alanis will survive the investigation.
I will be ruminating on this story for a while. Ostensibly it is the sensational story of two families, unknown to each other meeting at the funeral oI will be ruminating on this story for a while. Ostensibly it is the sensational story of two families, unknown to each other meeting at the funeral of the husband/father they share. Big Shock doesn’t touch the reaction.
The book starts with the inner lives of Simon’s wives, Selina and Lottie. These are women who spend much of their lives waiting for Simon in completely different ways. One wife is utterly controlled and material; while the other lives flamboyantly with her heart on her sleeve. As the story develops fundamental considerations of the nature of love, how we choose to live, our values and our beliefs about marriage, family, parenthood, honesty, money, materialism and self are probed. It does run long, but I kept with it because of the little insights that would pop up unexpectedly.
The ending is completely unexpected and again tugs at our foundational beliefs and assumptions.
Bailey has been fiddling to her sister Julie's guitar since they could hold the instruments. Trotted all around the south, her pushy, inconsiderate, dBailey has been fiddling to her sister Julie's guitar since they could hold the instruments. Trotted all around the south, her pushy, inconsiderate, dare I say cruel? parents have groomed the girls for country music stardom. By a crazy twist of fate when a record company sees the duet playing Bailey's songs, Bailey at 17 is kicked to the curb and Julie is signed for a record and concert deal. Part of the deal is that Bailey cannot play in public at all and in any way detract from Julie's certain success. Bailey's parents secure Bailey's cooperation by promising to withhold funding Bailey's college dreams. They also leave town, when Bailey acts out, they basically jail her at Granddad's house. Bailey is devastated that performing music has been ripped from her hands and heart. If Bailey's parents are grim, her ex, Toby is derisive scum bent on destroying any shred of self esteem Bailey might generate. Nuts. The action starts when summer break between high school and college provides an opportunity to play at the local mall. Apparently tribute bands rove the site playing standards: W. Nelson, J. Cash, D. Parton oh- Elvis is In the Building.. Bailey is a pro she can fiddle backup for anybody with perfect pitch to boot. The thing is if anybody - anybody gets wind of her fiddling her parents will pull All college funding and they remind her of this constantly. Did I mention they are Nuts? Enter serial heart breaker Sam part of a Johnny Cash duo that needs a fiddle back up. When Sam hears Bailey's fiddle he knows- this is the sound that will take his band to the top. A shameless flirt, Sam uses all his wiles to get Bailey to stick with the band despite the possible personal cost. When Sam realizes that Bailey's family has record company connections he turns up the heat and presses Bailey in terrible ways. Of course everything comes to a head and Bailey realizes that she will have to stand tall and call absolutely Everyone in her life on the BS they are slathering her with. Her stance is high stakes but necessary if she will ever be able to look in the mirror without crying. ...more
I almost gave up because of the jerky switches in point of view. But the plot and the various points Mr. Baldacci's characters make ended out interestI almost gave up because of the jerky switches in point of view. But the plot and the various points Mr. Baldacci's characters make ended out interesting me. Ultimately a tragedy with that one grand save....more