A beautiful story with a charming and very likable main character, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, who is living out his life sentence of house arrestA beautiful story with a charming and very likable main character, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, who is living out his life sentence of house arrest in the Hotel Metropol in Moscow. From the very beginning he accepts his circumstances and embraces his days with grace and integrity. Life inside the Metropol is a world in which the Count makes every moment matter, builds meaningful and loving relationships and lives a very full life without the freedom of stepping outside the doors of the hotel. I thoroughly enjoyed this book - it was light, entertaining and very well written. ...more
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is a delightful story that is both light hearted and intensely thought provoking. Touching upon issues that include troubMajor Pettigrew's Last Stand is a delightful story that is both light hearted and intensely thought provoking. Touching upon issues that include troubled father/son relationships, religious, race and age prejudices; and family traditions. It's about finding love in unexpected places, doing what's right and helping friends. It is really an enjoyable book to read....more
Sister of Mine is a fantastic historical fiction about the lives of two girls who share the same father - a Jewish plantation owner. Adelaide MannheimSister of Mine is a fantastic historical fiction about the lives of two girls who share the same father - a Jewish plantation owner. Adelaide Mannheim is Mordecai's daughter in everyday life and society - while Rachel is his daughter from a slave hand. Rachel is given to Adelaide as a young girl and in their innocent youth a sisterly relationship blooms. As life moves on and girls become woman, their relationship as sisters is tested as envy, jealousy, betrayal and fear lead to fractures in their close bond.
The question I kept asking myself was how could those who celebrate the Passover, the commemoration of the emancipation of the Israelite from slavery in ancient Egypt, not see their hypocrisy in owning slaves themselves? It was awkward and uncomfortable to read about the slaves preparing and serving the Passover meal while listening to the Haggadah as they stood quietly against the walls.
It is evident that Sabra Waldfogel has devoted a great deal of time researching the civil war period, the lives of slaves, the business of cotton and traditions of southern Jews. Her descriptions of plantation life are so vivid and her characters were very real to me.
I highly recommend this book - I wish I was still reading it!...more
I just couldn't continue. I made it over halfway through the book and each time I picked it up I had this feeling that I must have fallen asleep readiI just couldn't continue. I made it over halfway through the book and each time I picked it up I had this feeling that I must have fallen asleep reading the previous pages as I couldn't keep track of what was going on in the crazy story! I absolutely adore Scandinavian authors - they have amazing whit and humor. While I fully expect their books to be a bit "out there", I didn't connect with this one at all. It wasn't for not trying as I kept reading thinking we'd connect as I turned each page - only to be disappointed as the confusion continued!...more
I honestly feel bad giving poor reviews as I know how hard authors must work to put out a novel and I certainly couldn't do it myself, but I think it'I honestly feel bad giving poor reviews as I know how hard authors must work to put out a novel and I certainly couldn't do it myself, but I think it's helpful to share what I found difficult about a book as much as what I like about one.
That being said...I really struggled to get through The House By the Lake. The story was a typical present day grand-daughter searching back in time to unveil a well kept family secret from WWII. It could have been wonderful - with all the rich WWII history we have coupled with what started as a pretty intriguing plot and cool main character (I thought Max sounded pretty cool!). However... characters were numerous, uninteresting and flat. The main story was unattended and undernourished. It was chopped up so much so that when we got to what I assume was the climax I was jolted - "wait, what? seriously???". This terrible event came out of nowhere - no build up - no background - just "boom" - there you have it!
I thought her writing not only lacked originality but was was redundant and depended a great deal on common phrases and cliche's....more
So, here's the deal. Belgravia is a good read if, and only if, you understand it was originally published as a weekly series of 11 individual ‘episodeSo, here's the deal. Belgravia is a good read if, and only if, you understand it was originally published as a weekly series of 11 individual ‘episodes’ released each week via the julianfellowsbelgravia website. Therefore, each chapter reads like a one hour episode of....oh...shall we say....Downton Abby (which happened to be written, produced, etc. etc. etc. by Fellowes as well!).
Seriously though, it's a fun story line, opening on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 at a grand ball. The story follows two families tied together through an act of love and secrecy. Involving deception by spouses, servants and children, family members are pitted one against another with little to no knowledge of what they are fighting for or about.
I enjoyed the story line, suspense and drama. There were quite a few complicated characters that were not adequately developed, and some that were flat and unbelievable, but the overall story pulled together and kept my interest.
While overall a great read, Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty was annoying for a good part of the first third of the book. The main focus is an "inWhile overall a great read, Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty was annoying for a good part of the first third of the book. The main focus is an "incident" that takes place at a backyard barbecue. The "incident" is referred to a thousand times but not disclosed for what seems like an eternity. This incident affects all the characters in the book somehow and it drove me nuts trying to figure out what it was - it went on a bit too long for me. However, once through the "big reveal" the rest of the book moved smoothly.
I enjoyed the way Liane Moriarty presented the story with each chapter from a different character's perspective, turning from 3rd person into 1st person narrative. It provided for a deep understanding of the character's emotion, insight and interpretation of the event at the center of the story.
The book deals with many post traumatic emotional responses - self blame - anger - detachment - flashbacks - avoidance - isolation - self-pity. Nothing has changed yet nothing remains the same. The way they all see the world post incident is different.
This was the 3rd book of Liane Moriarty's I've read and although not my favorite, I have to say I enjoy her style and way of capturing the parts of human nature that are not always too attractive. ...more
A fun and easy mystery read, Her Royal Spyness Mysteries #1 introduces us to the quirky character of Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugine, 34th inA fun and easy mystery read, Her Royal Spyness Mysteries #1 introduces us to the quirky character of Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugine, 34th in line for the royal throne. Set in 1930 the story places Lady Georgiana in the middle of London on her own for the first time in her life without any servants. She has never started a fire, cooked a meal or even dressed without the constant assistance from her servants. Along with trying to make it on her own, Lady Georgiana runs head on into a major problem when she returns home one evening to find a dead man in her bathtub - a man who was trying to exhort her family estate. Knowing how devastating this will be when discovered by the authorities, she immediately sets out to uncover the truth behind the man's death. Filled with humor, quick wit and unexpected turns in the storyline, Her Royal Spyness is definately a book I recommend as a light read. ...more
Loved it! A charming multigenerational saga that included so many amusing characters. Taking place on the tiny island of Castellamare just off the coaLoved it! A charming multigenerational saga that included so many amusing characters. Taking place on the tiny island of Castellamare just off the coast of Italy, The House at the Edge of Night is filled with rich tales of family, friends, love, war, despair, and redemption. Old island widowers gossip, everyone knows everyone's business, but pettiness aside they stand together during times of difficulty and for the most part help one another in times of trouble...that's the island way. Navigating the modernization of times becomes difficult for the islanders as the other world makes its way across the sea. Accustomed to stuffing their money in jars, when a Savings & Loan opens on the island, the financial stability of their little economy starts to falter. Castellamare enjoyed autonomy from much of the worlds issues as well as its advances but it never could escape the financial crises especially when it was knocking on its door.
If I could be anywhere right now it would be Castellamare sitting at a table on the veranda of The House at the Edge of Night chatting with Maria-Grazia and Robert tasting one of her rice balls....more
My Lady Jane is a ridiculous book that is unbelievably charming and addictive! A must read for any avid Tudor Dynasty fanatics. It is the retelling ofMy Lady Jane is a ridiculous book that is unbelievably charming and addictive! A must read for any avid Tudor Dynasty fanatics. It is the retelling of Jane Seymour's notorious nine days as the Queen of England and the friendship between she and her cousin, Edward Tudor, the King of England. In this version, however, England is made up of two types of people, "ethians", those who can change from human to animal form, and verities, those who can not. It's filled with quick wit and laugh out loud humor and is well worth the read. It is reminiscent of "The Princess Bride" and I believe even references one of the notorious lines "as you wish"! A must for my historical fiction fans (those with a light heart and easy sense of humor)!...more
The Passion of Dolssa is a gripping tale of a young girl who is accused of heresy and condemned to death by fire. Given an opportunity to flee from heThe Passion of Dolssa is a gripping tale of a young girl who is accused of heresy and condemned to death by fire. Given an opportunity to flee from her sentence, Dolssa runs for her life and ends up in the care of three peasant sisters. Narrated by a number of characters, the conviction and heartfelt sincerity of the townsfolk and clergy is vividly conveyed. It is obvious all involved feels they are doing the right thing, either in helping Dolssa escape her death, or the clergy who are trying to wipe heresy out of their towns.
I appreciated the author's insight into how she came to know about and want to tell this story and the information about the historical facts used to tell this fictional story. Her writing was engaging and poetic at times. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and recommend it to Historical Fiction fanatics....more
I am hooked on Fredrik Backman As with his previous two novels, Britt Marie Was Here is a simple yet thought provoking book that delves into the livesI am hooked on Fredrik Backman As with his previous two novels, Britt Marie Was Here is a simple yet thought provoking book that delves into the lives of some rather ordinary and somewhat unusual people. The phobias, fears and insecurities of the remaining few residents of the small village of Borg are exposed, kicked around, and confronted until the characters are able to see the good in themselves and others. It is quite funny and refreshing - and Britt Marie is wonderful. Her transformation from a woman who tended only to her husbands wants and needs to a much respected and sought after friend is heartwarming. She gives of herself and gets so much back in return. Backman has an incredible sense of humor and can make you laugh out loud while wiping away some tears. I strongly recommend this book....more