This is an absorbing novel. It is the story of a house where true evil has resided and still lingers when a young couple buys it during foreclosure prThis is an absorbing novel. It is the story of a house where true evil has resided and still lingers when a young couple buys it during foreclosure proceedings. George Clare, a professor at a local college, knows the history of the house and chooses not to share that knowledge with his wife, Catherine. Catherine and their young daughter, Franny, bond with the Hale brothers who are all too familiar with the house. The plot lines in this book are well developed, as are the characters and their histories. I am avoidant of any book description that contains the word "ghosts;" however, there are believable spirits at work throughout this engrossing story that enhance the unfolding horrors. This is a novel that I won't easily forget....more
This well-written debut novel is set in London in the days preceding and during WWII. The Italian immigrant family at the heart of this book adds layeThis well-written debut novel is set in London in the days preceding and during WWII. The Italian immigrant family at the heart of this book adds layers of understanding to the events leading up to the internment of Italians and Germans at this time. The elder son, Antonio, is a talented singer who briefly meets a dance hostess, Olivia, at the Paradise Ballroom in 1937. They never forget each other despite a change in their personal circumstances and the rising unrest in London as the war progresses. The characters in The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom are well developed and the story line is engrossing. I am grateful to LibraryThing and to the publisher for the opportunity to read this as an ARC. ...more
I listened to this book rather than reading it; perhaps it is more believable in print rather than as an auditory experience. Marcie is a recently sepI listened to this book rather than reading it; perhaps it is more believable in print rather than as an auditory experience. Marcie is a recently separated woman "celebrating" her 25th anniversary in Ireland alone. She is convinced that she sees her daughter, Devon, from her seat at a pub and the pursuit of Devon begins. The only problem is that Devon died in a boating accident, which Marcie cannot accept. The accounts of Marcie's encounters simply aren't credible as she puts herself in very obvious danger time after time. This was a poorly executed plot with remarkably unlikeable characters. The only reason I gave it 2 stars rather than 1 star is that I love Ireland and its interesting history. ...more
In 1923, Vera Longacre Belllington, has been married for 10 years to Arthur Bellington, a successful businessman who is often absent physically and emIn 1923, Vera Longacre Belllington, has been married for 10 years to Arthur Bellington, a successful businessman who is often absent physically and emotionally distant when present. This book alternates between 1923 and 1913, the year that Vera was a senior art history major at Vassar and a pivotal year in her life. As a single child of very wealthy parents, Vera's life is controlled by an overbearing mother who never deviates from upper class expectations for her daughter. Arthur owns the building in which he and Vera live in the penthouse; the people who also live in the building provide Vera's social interactions. When an artist is hired to paint a mural in the building's pool area, Vera becomes increasingly involved with the man and his mysterious past. The novel provides an interesting look at the mores and conventions of that time frame. I am grateful to have received this as an ARC from Librarything.
This is an interesting, unique debut novel from a promising author. The characters are very well drawn, as are the descriptions of the location. ThereThis is an interesting, unique debut novel from a promising author. The characters are very well drawn, as are the descriptions of the location. There is an innate kindness in Ben Jones, the main character, that makes him so likeable. The bond he forms with the diverse group of people along his truck route is memorable; however, I found the plot to become increasingly weak as the characterizations strengthened....more
This is a cleverly crafted novel of suspense about Jeremy O'Keefe, a professor with dual citizenship who spent ten years teaching at Oxford before retThis is a cleverly crafted novel of suspense about Jeremy O'Keefe, a professor with dual citizenship who spent ten years teaching at Oxford before returning to the United States to teach at NYU. Told in the first person, it is the story of his suspicions that he is under surveillance, a theory enforced by his receipt of several boxes containing the history of his on-line and phone transactions, in addition to photographs, from a mysterious source. Jeremy descends into an absorbing paranoia that has him doubting every interaction, and the reader is left to wonder if his paranoia is based on fact or if, indeed, his fears are rational. He is being treated as if he were someone worth scrutiny, which makes the title "I Am No One" especially disquieting. Flanery writes with an adept intelligence about the far-reaching and thought-provoking issues of surveillance and security in a complicated world where we all have the potential to be vulnerable. I am grateful to LibraryThing for the opportunity to review this book as an ARC....more
In this latest book, Chris Bohjalian has taken on the most unsavory of subjects: sex trafficking of underage girls. Richard has no idea what life-alteIn this latest book, Chris Bohjalian has taken on the most unsavory of subjects: sex trafficking of underage girls. Richard has no idea what life-altering horrors he has unleashed when he opens his upscale home for his brother's bachelor party. Instead of a relatively harmless regulation stripper, two young women and their bodyguard thugs show up, resulting in an evening of debauchery that ends in death. His home, previously a safe sanctuary for Richard, his wife and daughter, becomes a crime scene covered in blood and gore with his life in shambles.
The story is told in alternating chapters with Alexandra, the Armenian girl tricked into sex slavery, relating her background and Richard and his family recounting the aftermath of the horrendous evening. It is a riveting story told in Bohjalian's masterful style. In the hands of a less gifted author, we might have missed the layers of pain behind the story. Bohjalian has added another voice to the concern about this growing international crime committed by the monsters who enslave children and the reprehensible pedophiles who abuse them....more
Most of us have had a Rose Pendlebury in our lives as a relative or neighbor. She is easily offended, terse, prickly and critical. In this book, MargaMost of us have had a Rose Pendlebury in our lives as a relative or neighbor. She is easily offended, terse, prickly and critical. In this book, Margaret Forster introduces Rose and her husband, Stanley, an elderly couple living in a suburban English neighborhood. They are virtual recluses among young families until new next-door neighbors move in with their toddler, Amy. Surprisingly, Rose is drawn to young children and her relationship with Amy and Amy's mother, Alice, provides a sense of temporary belonging that has been missing. Reading this book, I was reminded of Olive Kitteridge and Hyacinth Bucket on Keeping Up Appearances. Their husbands and Stanley seem to be typical of men married to women with this particular personality disorder - they are submissive, resigned to keeping the peace and and always alert to the nuances of their wives' moods. Margaret Forster has written a sad, poignant story with grace and sympathy. ...more
Sophie is a sardonic, often self-absorbed character who experiences many rites of passage in these pages. It is interesting to watch her transform intSophie is a sardonic, often self-absorbed character who experiences many rites of passage in these pages. It is interesting to watch her transform into a member of the working world after going through the normal angst and excitement of adolescence and college life. She is somewhat lacking in ambition as evidenced by her living with her brothers, grandmother and friend while job hunting. I think that few would envy that nomadic lifestyle that seemingly went on for a very long time. I wasn't convinced of the "truths" I found in this very mediocre book....more
Meticulously researched and filled with numerous historical details about Texas in general and Austin in particular, this book begins in the late-nineMeticulously researched and filled with numerous historical details about Texas in general and Austin in particular, this book begins in the late-nineteenth century with the brutal murder of a young black woman. Soon there was a serial killer rampaging through the Austin area killing women from diverse backgrounds. The term "serial killer" was unknown prior to the terror these events instilled in Austin citizens. Terrible crimes were committed by an unknown individual resembling the horrific acts of the infamous Jack the Ripper with interesting comparisons. It is reassuring that advances in forensic science have enabled investigators in the 21st century to identify perpetrators of horrendous crime much more readily than in the 1890's.
I did get a little bogged down in the extensive historical accounts of Austin from its origin since I have no connection with that city, but the pictures enhanced the reading experience. I am in awe of the research that went into this book. My thanks to LibraryThing for the opportunity to read this book as an Early Reviewer....more
When Lucy Barton is in a hospital following an appendectomy with an unexplained disease her husband, William, pays for her estranged mother to fly toWhen Lucy Barton is in a hospital following an appendectomy with an unexplained disease her husband, William, pays for her estranged mother to fly to NYC from Illinois to be with her. What follows is an exploration of the family history and a renewal of the mother-daughter bond. Lucy's family led a hardscrabble existence with an emotionally distant mother and an abusive father. Now a published author of fiction, Lucy is able to gain an added perspective during her conversations with her mother of everything that shaped her life and her writing. There are painful, poignant memories and there are reminiscences that evoke humor.
This is a powerfully haunting book about the effects of childhood on adult choices. It is told with a compassionate understanding that is present in all of Elizabeth Strout's books....more