Read for work. Enjoyable women's fiction about marriage and love. Sullivan tells the story of four different couples at in different time periods (197Read for work. Enjoyable women's fiction about marriage and love. Sullivan tells the story of four different couples at in different time periods (1972, 1987, 2003, and 2012) and at different stages of their married/romantic lives. The couples are united by their possession of a diamond ring. She also interweaves the story of Frances Gerety, an advertising copywriter in the 1940s, who wrote the copy, "A diamond is forever," at version points throughout her professional life.
The chapters of a female copywriter at an ad agency were reminiscent of Mad Men and a nice contrast to all the couples in the other chapters. Sullivan does an excellent job of creating engaging characters and evoking different settings (lower middle class Boston in the 1980s, elegant Paris in the early 2000s). Smart beach book....more
Women's fiction that touches of themes of forgiveness, family, love, and motherhood. This was a quick read and I enjoyed learning about the meanings VWomen's fiction that touches of themes of forgiveness, family, love, and motherhood. This was a quick read and I enjoyed learning about the meanings Victorian society gave flowers. However, I found certain aspects of the novel too unrealistic (some of it came close to magic realism) and this hindered my enjoyment. The diction of the first person narrator seemed too refined for a woman who was largely self taught.
I can understand why readers love this book -- the emotional story line, the elegant, beautiful language, and the hopeful ending -- but it didn't do much for me. ...more
Good women's fiction about family life. I especially liked the sense of Irish Catholic American culture that the author got so right. I know familiesGood women's fiction about family life. I especially liked the sense of Irish Catholic American culture that the author got so right. I know families like this (although with less money than the richer members). Very enjoyable audiobook.
I liked the multiple threads of the story with the focus on different generations and how the author showed that a family member's individual hurts can effect everyone.
I will definitely read other books by this author....more
**spoiler alert** Historical fiction about the life of an old Hollywood movie star, Laura Lamont. Beginning life in Door County, Wisconsin as Elsa Eme**spoiler alert** Historical fiction about the life of an old Hollywood movie star, Laura Lamont. Beginning life in Door County, Wisconsin as Elsa Emerson, Elsa has an idyllic childhood as the youngest daughter of a local community theater director until the unexpected suicide of her oldest sister, Hildy. This early loss informs her life and is the impetus to her leaving Door County for Los Angeles. The rest of the novel traces Laura's early unhappy marriage, discovery by a famous Hollywood producer (and a happy marriage to him), the heights of movie star fame in the 1940s and the decline into obscurity and has-been status in the 1950s and 1960s before an eventual return to the theatre in her old age.
I liked the book but I found the narrative style (3rd person limited) to distance me from the characters. Laura was the protagonist and heroine but her inner life seemed limited and the plot seemed to be hitting the high points of her life without going deeper. It was fun to guess at the real life inspirations for several of the characters: her husband, Irving Green was obviously based on Irving Thalberg, and her best friend Ginger was based on Lucille Ball. Since I grew up watching old MGM movies, I was interested by the setting of old Hollywood but didn't feel the author went as deep into the world as she could have.
I would recommend this novel to readers who like Old Hollywood movies and stories of women's lives. ...more
A good novel about the Chinese immigrant experience in contemporary America (I think much of the story was set in the 1980s). Narrated in the first peA good novel about the Chinese immigrant experience in contemporary America (I think much of the story was set in the 1980s). Narrated in the first person by the naive but very intelligent Kimberly Chang, the novel immersed the reader in the daily life of poor immigrants in New York City -- from the slum apartment with no heat, to the sweatshop in Chinatown. Kim was a sympathetic heroine and I really enjoy reading stories about immigrants. The novel was a fast read and the story flowed easily. I had major reservations about the ending and didn't particularly care for the romance with Matt, the Chinese immigrant boy she meets at the factory.
This is a good adult book that will appeal to teenage readers both stylistically and with the teenage protagonist. ...more
**spoiler alert** A fast quick read that was enjoyable standard chick lit. Anne Blythe (named after the heroine in the Anne of Green Gables books) is**spoiler alert** A fast quick read that was enjoyable standard chick lit. Anne Blythe (named after the heroine in the Anne of Green Gables books) is the typical chick lit heroine--journalist in a big (yet unnamed city), with close friends and bad luck with men. After finding a business card for what she thinks is a dating service she ends up signing up with an arranged marriage service. After some therapy sessions with the company's designated psychologist, Anne travels to Mexico and the next day marries Jack, her arranged husband.
The marriage comes a third of the way into the story. The rest of the novel concerns Anne falling in love with Jack (despite the company's argument that marriages should be built on friendship not romantic, sexual love), his betrayal (he is writing a tell all book about the company) and their reunion at the end of the story.
The premise of the story is intriguing and the book does raise issues of how to blend lives together, romantic love versus friendship, and breaking patterns of past unhappiness. The book is a good example of the genre and readers who like chick lit will enjoy this. Anne is an appealing heroine and the call backs to Anne of Green Gables are charming. This is some good witty banter between Anne and Jack and requisite happy ending. ...more
Spanning from 1969 to the early part of the 21st century, Stiltsville is the story of a quiet life filled with a deep abiding love. Frances Ellerby trSpanning from 1969 to the early part of the 21st century, Stiltsville is the story of a quiet life filled with a deep abiding love. Frances Ellerby travels to Miami in 1969 for a friend’s wedding. She finds herself spending a day in Stiltsville, a collection of houses built on pilings in Biscayne Bay. Frances falls in love with Dennis, a law student whose family owns one of the houses. She soon moves to Miami and marries Dennis. They raise a daughter, Margo, and deal with problems that face most couples: money, child rearing, and wandering affections. When Dennis and Frances are facing the prospect of an empty nest after the marriage of their daughter, Dennis develops ALS and Frances and their friends and family gather to care for Dennis until his early death.
Narrated in the first person by Frances, this is a simple story of ordinary people. Unfortunately, Frances’ average life does not make for an interesting story. For a main character she is incredibly passive and never seems to feel passionately about anything–her husband, a career (she has a series of jobs but never one that gives her a sense of fulfillment or enjoyment), politics, etc. Frances seems to go along easily through life and is defined by the people in her life–her husband, her daughter, her sister-in-law, and more dynamic best friend.
The strength of this book lies not in the characters or story but in the author’s ability to vividly capture the lush subtropical landscape of South Florida. Daniel does an excellent job of describing the stilt house in Biscayne Bay, the Florida weather (“In July in South Florida, the sunlight fusses and adjusts a hundred times over the course of the day. By mid-afternoon, hours from sunset, the blue of the sky was rich and dense, as if a dusting of powder had been wiped from its surface.” p. 12), the characters’ hobbies (fishing, boating, tennis) and daily life in Miami in the 70s through the 90s. Sadly the dull characters and slice of life narrative drag the novel down. I enjoyed reading about South Florida but found this novel meandering and boring. ...more
**spoiler alert** Another Jodi Picoult book that explores hot button contemporary issues and includes a court case. I read this book in a day and it w**spoiler alert** Another Jodi Picoult book that explores hot button contemporary issues and includes a court case. I read this book in a day and it was fast paced and a good comfort read. I think I am gradually tiring of the Picoult formula but this book was entertaining. Some of the characters were too one note and I had some problems with the main character, Zoe. The way Picoult describes her music therapy sessions at the hospital I had an image in my mind of her bursting into hospital rooms with her guitar asking "Can I help?" (somewhat like a comedy sketch, although this says more about my mindset than the flaws of the book). The music therapy sessions with Lucy, the suicidal teen girl, were too unbelievable--I don't think a public high school would allocate the time or money to bring in an outside music therapist for weeks just to work with one student and Lucy was more a plot point than an independent interesting character. We never really learn what happens to her at the end or what causes the accusations that Zoe was sexually inappropriate with her (did her stepfather make her do it, did he lie entirely about it, was Lucy a lesbian who came out to her family?). I also don't understand why when Zoe fell in love with Vanessa she immediately identified as a lesbian; since she was attracted to and in love with a man for many years wouldn't a bisexual identity be more accurate? The ending was far too pat and convenient and the afterward where Max, Zoe, and Vanessa seem to be successfully joint parenting a little girl did not make sense given the animosity earlier during the court case....more
I couldn't get into this novel. It was about the struggles of a 40 something single mother with two teenage daughters. The Shakespeare connection is tI couldn't get into this novel. It was about the struggles of a 40 something single mother with two teenage daughters. The Shakespeare connection is that every summer there is a production of a Shakespeare play and professional actors come in for the major roles. I found the author's choice to refer to the actors by the name of the character he/she is portraying to be annoying. The main characters were not sympathetic or interesting enough to capture my attention. ...more
I'm sorry I picked this book for the library book discussion. I didn't think the combination of humor and serious subject matter (a woman dealing withI'm sorry I picked this book for the library book discussion. I didn't think the combination of humor and serious subject matter (a woman dealing with her husband's death) worked. The cosmetics storyline did not interest me; I didn't believe I was getting a real insider's view (i.e. The Devil Wears Prada)and I don't have much interest in the cosmetics industry to begin with. Part 1 (where Anna is wondering why her husband isn't contacting her and no one discusses his death with her) wasn't suspenseful but bizarre. There were some good messages about moving on after loss and the importance of family and friends but I wouldn't recommend this book.
It should be an interesting book discussion. ...more
I enjoyed this book more than I was expecting. It was a good, quick read about the power of female frienships and how women struggled to create new roI enjoyed this book more than I was expecting. It was a good, quick read about the power of female frienships and how women struggled to create new roles for themselves during the second wave of feminism. I am grateful that I have the career possibilites that weren't open to the characters in this novel. I did think the end was too pat and a few scenes were unbelievable. I think it will be a good discussion....more
Overall this book wasn't very good. It is a romance with some light paranormal elements. The male hero, Daniel, is reincarnated over and over again asOverall this book wasn't very good. It is a romance with some light paranormal elements. The male hero, Daniel, is reincarnated over and over again as he searches for the love of his life, Sophia. The other storyline follows, Lucy, a young woman who is the reincarnated version of Sophia, as she becomes aware of her past lives with Daniel. There is also a villain who keeps Lucy/Sophia and Daniel apart in both the present and the past.
(view spoiler)[Lucy and Daniel do find each other (and have sex on the beach)and improbably escape the evil Joaquin by swimming away. They then separate while Daniel will presumably stop Joaquin and the ending sets up a possible sequel. (hide spoiler)]
There isn't much depth given to the historical time periods but the main flaw for me was that Daniel was creepy and obsessive. He ends his life several times (whether through dying in a war or suicide) so he can find Sophia and then when he does find her in the present, he avoids her for years since he is afraid. I don't believe in reincarnation or find the idea of searching for one true love through centuries to be romantic, so I am not an ideal audience for this book. Readers who like romance with lots of obstacles and don't mind paranormal elements will probably enjoy this book. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I started this and just could not enjoy it. I skimmed through the rest of the novel and speed read it--it reminded me of a romance novel (without theI started this and just could not enjoy it. I skimmed through the rest of the novel and speed read it--it reminded me of a romance novel (without the happy ending) and the plot was just preposterous. ...more