Life in Park Slope, Brooklyn is anything but dull in Amy Sohn’s edgy, tantalizing novel Motherland. Fol...moreI reviewed this book for www.luxuryreading.com.
Life in Park Slope, Brooklyn is anything but dull in Amy Sohn’s edgy, tantalizing novel Motherland. Following five parents as they struggle with identity and happiness, the reader gets a voyeuristic look into the lives of a group of privileged yet ultimately unfulfilled and unhappy people struggling to find themselves amongst the strollers littering their lives.
First off, I must warn anyone preparing to read Motherland that it is incredibly racy and, at times, raunchy. Any reader shy about sex in any and all its forms should prepare themselves before turning the first page. While this didn’t particularly bother me I can see how someone caught unawares might be turned off by it. I also don’t think the typical reader will be able to relate to this over privileged lifestyle that kept reminding me of a smarter version of Desperate Housewives. How can a typical person relate to someone panicked that her child support has dropped from $5,000 a month to $4,000, with that amount not even including her mortgage? Or the constant name dropping of celebrities and New York elite that had me constantly googling names every few pages? Not this reader!
With that being said, Motherland does have quite a few snarky, funny bits that kept it enjoyable as well as an underlying theme of loss of self and loneliness that most parents and married people can relate to. Most of us have felt like a bad parent or spouse at some point and can sympathize with those feelings of regret and guilt even if we can’t relate to the fancy living or hugely selfish ways of coping some of the characters engage in.
Motherland is fun escapist reading for those not bashful about the more risqué aspects of life and those looking for a peak into the entitled world most of us only read about in magazines. Just don’t expect all the characters to have learned from their mistakes by the end. (less)
Goddess Born is a remarkable amalgamation of historical fiction, fantasy, mystery and romance quite unlike anything I have read before. For much of the story, Selah reminded me of an Austenesque character - plucky, determined and sardonic while also being kind and joyful - and if the story stayed within these lines it would have been enjoyable enough watching Selah try to solve her problem with the odious Nathan Crowley by marrying the handsome stranger Henry Alan, only to find herself, against her wishes, falling head over heels for him. Add on to this her heritage as the descendant of the goddess Brigid and her preternatural gifts of healing and we are in a whole new ballgame! I really enjoyed seeing how the author carefully dealt with this otherworldly element with such a tender hand that it never came across as hokey or beyond belief. It seemed quite plausible that Selah and her ancestors could have this gift and just as plausible that there would be those who would suspect something evil from it and plot against her for their own selfish reasons.
The element I did not see coming at first but which was just as enjoyable was the mystery of who was working within Selah's home as well as without to help Nathan Crowley expose Selah as a witch and potentially kill her. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my initial suspicions were incorrect (at least partly) and I was shocked at the web that the more dastardly characters had woven around Selah and her home and just how far reaching their madness went. There are so many characters keeping secrets throughout the story - Selah, Nathan, Henry, others that I won't name in case I give something away - but it was this darker hidden fear and anger directed towards Selah and the vicious actions against her that really drew me into the story.
While I can't say that I am a huge fan of romance in books, I have to say that watching the back and forth between Selah and Henry as they fought their frustrations and feelings towards each other and then the inevitable love that sprouted, the I'll-give-up-everything-for-you kind of love, was very satisfying and makes me eager to see just how far they really will go for each other when the pitfalls that stand in their way aren't so easily traversed. The book ends on a delicious cliffhanger so I am very excited to see how they handle what lies ahead.
Goddess Born is a hard novel to classify but is easy to recommend because it is such a gratifying experience to read it. There really is a little something for everyone to enjoy. For someone like me who reads for pure enjoyment and escapism into history and a life unlike my own I couldn't ask for much more from this story. I am biting at the bit to read the next installment in this series!(less)