A dramatic and messy high-profile divorce is told via documents which are facilitated by a twenty-something female attorney.
Description: Sophie Diehl is a young criminal defense lawyer who gets drawn into a high profile divorce case because the other lawyers who would normally cover family law are out of town. The wife from the wealthy couple seeking the divorce chooses Sophie even though the woman knows Sophie has no experience in family law. And the firm’s senior partner keeps Sophie on the case because the divorcing wife is the daughter of a favored and major client for the firm.
Told through emails, legal documents, personal correspondence, office memos, articles, and notes, the messy divorce, internal office politics, romantic entanglements and the main character’s personal growth dramatically unfolds.
Shellie’s thoughts: This is one of those intellectual chic-lit books which was very compelling for me because I love epistolary novels and enjoy legal aspects in my fiction reads. This may be a problem for some readers since the book is in part told via a number of legal documents, which for some may become tedious and boring. For me, contrarily, it was a book that I found difficult to put down (even including the legal documents) and I devoured it in a few sittings.
It gets predictably messy between the divorcing wife and the husband, with egos and revenge working in the emotional soup from the fall-out of the break up and the fight for legal custody of their daughter. It’s one of those stories that features a train-wreck-and-I-can’t-look-away aspect for the reader. But what becomes a key theme for the story is the internal workings inside the main character’s mind as she works on the case. She begins to question her own relationships and experiences growth in unexpected ways. This gives the book its traditional chic-lit connection.
A fun read although I am not normally a chic-lit reader. I would imagine that the book is not going to be enjoyed by many typical readers of the genre. And from looking at the reviews available for the book it looks like it’s a book that the reader either really liked or hated. I am from the former camp, it was a 3.5 star read for me. I liked it a lot. (less)
An elegant and literary whodunit, set against the backdrop of China’s brutal crushing of Tibetan society a...moreOriginal review posted at Layers of Thought.
An elegant and literary whodunit, set against the backdrop of China’s brutal crushing of Tibetan society and beliefs.
Description: Shan used to be a police inspector in Beijing, but was imprisoned in a remote Tibetan jail after he ran afoul of a powerful figure in the Chinese Government. After being unofficially released, he has to remain in Tibet without status or official identity, unable to return home to Beijing. He now lives among outlawed Buddhist monks, who he comes to admire and love.
While doing menial work as an inspector of irrigation and sewer ditches, he comes across a horrific crime scene, two unidentified men and a Tibetan nun murdered and displayed in a strange tableau in the grounds on an old Buddhist temple. Unable to prevent himself from getting involved, he soon realizes that the Chinese police seem more intent on covering up facts rather than solving the crime.
When the evidence leads Shan to a new internment camp for Tibetan dissidents, he finds himself in grave danger. While trying to find justice for the victims, he now has to navigate between the people running the camp, a local criminal gang, various different Chinese police and army factions, and the Chinese governments’ rabid pacification teams who are trying to stamp out local Tibetan customs and belief systems.
John’s thoughts: This was a very good read, a combination of a complex and interesting whodunit and a damning indictment of China’s treatment of Tibet and its people. Set in the remote and beautiful Tibetan countryside, you also get to learn a lot about Tibet’s traditional and gentle Buddhist communities.
The book is filled with many complex and interesting characters, starting with Shan himself who is torn between his personal beliefs, seeking justice, protecting his new-found Tibetan friends and trying not to endanger his imprisoned son. Among others featured in the story are peaceful monks, one of whom mysteriously commits suicide, Chinese intellectuals who have been banished to Tibet, and a Chinese Lieutenant who starts to help Shan despite the dangers involved.
The plot twists and turns and you cannot see how things are going to develop; though if I do have one small grumble about the book, the ending is almost too neat. But I’m being a bit churlish – this is a good read and I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone who likes complex whodunits and/or anyone with an interest in Tibet and what is happening to the beleaguered country. I’d rate this book four stars. (less)