I liked this book. It had an interesting plot and the vintage aspects were fun, but there really weren't any twists and you were always vaguely sure w...moreI liked this book. It had an interesting plot and the vintage aspects were fun, but there really weren't any twists and you were always vaguely sure where things were going next. Phoebe's best friend from childhood, Emma, has died tragically and way too young; and Phoebe feels guilty and in a way responsible for what ultimately happened. Emma & Phoebe had been estranged after, Guy, a man Emma liked very much met Phoebe at one of Emma's dinner parties and fell for her. Emma said it was fine, but pulled away from their relationship. After Emma's death, Phoebe decided to quite her job at a prestigious auction house and open a vintage clothing shop. The story circles around the people who come in and out and how they affect Phoebe's life where she has now focused on work in an effort to block all the emotions that are running so deeply around the loss of Emma. At an appointment to look at some vintage clothes she meets Mrs. Bell, an elderly lady who is dying and wants to sell some of her beautiful things so that others can enjoy them. Mrs. Bell was originally from Avignon, France but married and moved to England as a young woman. The old woman senses some sort of kinship with the young woman and then, when Phoebe asks about a child's blue coat that sits in her closet and also mentions that she makes regular trips to Avignon to purchase vintage clothing, Mrs. Bell decides to tell her the story of the coat. It involves the old woman's tragic loss of a friend when the Nazis arrived in France during WW II and her immense guilt related to what happened. They are kindred souls in a way and become instant friends. There are side stories related to Emma's break-up with Guy, her romance with an older man named Miles, her budding friendship with offbeat Dan, and her parents marital woes. As all of these minor plots move forward, the underlying theme is her relationship with Mrs. Bell and the blue coat. It is well written, so knowing that somehow things will work out is not as annoying as it sometimes can be. Worth the read.(less)
This book is simplistic with a weak storyline that uses a few crisis events to shore it up. Predictable, weak character development and jerky writing....moreThis book is simplistic with a weak storyline that uses a few crisis events to shore it up. Predictable, weak character development and jerky writing. As you read, suddenly you're somewhere forward in the story and the only reason seems to be that the writer couldn't be bothered to build a bridge to that place. A fluffy, overly gushy offering that, in my opinion, is not worth reading. I only bought it because it was on sale for $1.99 on Amazon and it wasn't worth that.(less)
It was a good quick-read book - the kind you know will have a happy ending for the too perfect main characters. Mikaela (Mike) has been married to Dr....moreIt was a good quick-read book - the kind you know will have a happy ending for the too perfect main characters. Mikaela (Mike) has been married to Dr. Liam Campbell for 10 years and is deeply involved in working with horses. They have two children...Jacey from Mike's previous - unspoken about - marriage and 9 year old Bret together. One morning Mike falls from her horse as Bret looks on in horror from exercise track fence. Her life hangs in the balance in the beginning and then she improves a bit, but remains in a coma. Liam is devastated, as are the kids and Mike's Mexican immigrant mother, Rosa. They all rally to help her awaken, but when Liam goes into her closet to get something for Jacey, he discovers just who the husband is...Julian True. The first time he says this name in Mike's presence she blinks and he knows he must get Julian to come to her bedside. The story of just who Julian is and what happened to the marriage is key to the story and how Mike and Jacey (he's her father) react to Julian's presence in their little town is an interesting aspect that in the end feeds the outcome. To say more would ruin what's left to learn about whether or how Mike recovers. I will say that like her other novels the writing is pretty good and the character drawing is quite good. Worth a read.(less)
I really thought this was a 4.5. Yes, it was a love story. Yes, it explored death, change, relationships and other interesting themes. But, you are co...moreI really thought this was a 4.5. Yes, it was a love story. Yes, it explored death, change, relationships and other interesting themes. But, you are constantly saturated with the fundamental life issues...love and fear. The writing is brilliant, the characters are full-blown and open to the reader. In mid-life, motivational speaker, CeCe Ross is mourning the death or her best friend, Penny and struggling with where she is going in life. As she mulls over the things that Penny had been urging her to change about her life, things suddenly become clearer. In a rash move, she sells her house and most of its contents and moves in with three other women...a doctor, a chef and a columnists who answers questions from readers. The fit is good and as they settle in and CeCe plans a road trip, they all decide to join her. By the time they leave, the trip is routed so that three of the four will try to reunite with people from their pasts...CeCe with a love she let go, Lise with her ex-husband, and Renie with a child she gave up for adoption. Chef, Joni, has just quit after verbal abuse from her boss at a fancy restaurant...she is trying to figure out her next move. The story line is simple and rather straight-forward and sprinkled with ups and downs, but the thrust of their thoughts, and interactions is powerful. Well worth the read.(less)
This book was a little gem. Katie and Diane are teens living on base with their widowed father who is in the military. Their mother has died and Dad i...moreThis book was a little gem. Katie and Diane are teens living on base with their widowed father who is in the military. Their mother has died and Dad is bitter, angry and still messed up by his own difficult childhood. Their parents were very much in love and their mother was able to keep life smooth, but her passing at a young age creates added turmoil in him. The girls learn to live around him, but the clashes come if they are not careful. They can only cling to the love they remember from their mother and in living they way she has taught them. One day he comes home and says he has been transferred from Texas to Missouri and the will be leaving in three weeks...six weeks before the end of school when Diane will graduate. Katie is heartsick at leaving her best friend, Carolanne, and the house where they were living when her mother passed away. Dianne doesn't want to leave her boyfriend, Dickie, and wants to graduate with her class. The novel follows the family's story as they deal with all of this and the girl's coming of age. It's beautifully written and heartfelt in so many ways without being heavy-handed(less)
I had a hard time fitting this book into the bookshelf categories in Goodreads. Although I like the writing style, I found some on the shifts from one...moreI had a hard time fitting this book into the bookshelf categories in Goodreads. Although I like the writing style, I found some on the shifts from one era or character to another jumpy, especially when it occurred within a chapter. I also thought the story line was a bit far-fetched. The main characters in my mind were actress Dee Morney (real name Debra Moore) and Pasquale Tursi, an Italian man who is running a hotel in a remote and stark area on the rugged Amalfi coast. Dee, who is ill, arrives at the hotel to wait for her lover who will escort her to a clinic in Switzerland to get treatment for cancer. The actress and the hotel keeper connect in a lovely way, but these young people have very little time together as they are both swept in different directions by circumstances. The story is hard to outline without revealing what makes the story interesting, but I can say it follows these two during into the latter part of their lives; and in the process, we learn what happens as they unpeel the layers of their lives. I thought it was enjoyable and the characters appealing. worth a read. (less)
This was okay...the story rather contrived and with few exceptions easy to figure out. It's the story of a widow whose nasty, wife-beating husband was...moreThis was okay...the story rather contrived and with few exceptions easy to figure out. It's the story of a widow whose nasty, wife-beating husband was killed in a car accident Likely the accident was murder because of something he stole and an evil guy called The Dentist was after it. Now the bad guy thinks the widow has it, so Bessie and her young son pack what they can in their junk of a car and flee Belfast, Ireland. The goal is to reach get to safety at her sister's house and then to her uncle in England, but her car breaks down in a small country town called Talilorstown. Help comes in the form of a crusty mechanic named Gusty who says he can't fix it right away and sets her up in his late Aunt Dora's cottage. I'm not going into more character detail or story line because it would mean revealing the whole plot. Bessie gets involved with the townsfolk and learns one of them is also on the run from The Dentist. We discover how The Dentist situation plays out and in the end...all is right with the world. One really enjoyable aspect of the book is the Irish folks,,,the whimsical ways, their fun way of talking and their zest for like. It's worth a read.(less)
I loved this book, which is set in modern day Sydney, Australia. It was well written, had interesting characters, a storyline that was creatively exce...moreI loved this book, which is set in modern day Sydney, Australia. It was well written, had interesting characters, a storyline that was creatively excellent and filled with a kind of tension from which you knew would not find relief until the last few pages. Cecelia is a supermom to her three daughters and the perfect wife to John-Paul, she also has a wildly successful Tupperware business and is very involved in the Catholic School that her daughters attend. Cecelia lives her life in a structured aura of achievement in all of those roles. Then one day, she is searching for something in the attic and discovers a letter written to her by John-Paul which is sealed and instructs that it only be only be opened in the event of his death...therein is the husband's secret. Tess, her husband, Will, and her cousin/best friend, Felicity, own a marketing firm that is just getting off the ground in Melbourne. Out of the blue Will and Felicity confess to Tess that they are in love. Tess takes her young son, Liam, and flies to Sydney to stay with her mother who has just broken her ankle...her thought is to let them play it out on some level. Rachel is the secretary at the Catholic school where Cecelia's daughters attend and where Tess enrolls Liam after her arrival in Sydney. She is wrapped up in her grandson Jacob, but much to her upset she's just learned that her son and his wife are moving to NYC for a few years because the wife has a fabulous job offer. These women know each other perfunctorily, but soon their lives will collide in unexpected ways that are harsh but stand to remind us that a moment can shift everything. There are other details that would color ones reading of the book, so I will simply say they are dramatic and nuanced, giving the story a richness. It is well worth reading and as always with a good novel there are life lessons to be learned.(less)
I adored this book...found it hard to put it down. Carrie Bell has been engaged to Mike Mayer, her HS sweetheart for 5 years, but in the past six mont...moreI adored this book...found it hard to put it down. Carrie Bell has been engaged to Mike Mayer, her HS sweetheart for 5 years, but in the past six months she has started to realize that things are unraveling a bit. She's the one having the problem, feeling bored and trapped. Mike is a lovable, kind, sweet guy and he's started to feel uneasy with her distance. On an annual picnic trip with their friends to Clausen's Reservoir, she feels herself drifting even further away and when Mike challenges the guys to a dive off the pier, it seems like he's showing off a bit to get her attention.
The other guys decline, but Mike dives and misjudges the shallowness of the water. He breaks his neck and ends up in a coma for weeks. When he finally awakes and discovers what has happened to him, he's devastated. His family and friends rally around him, as does Carrie, but very soon she has started to struggle because she still feels distant and trapped and now she's expected to be his rock. Mike keeps trying to figure out if she will stick by him and she tells him she loves him. They dance around this issue until at some point when they are alone a brief exchange of words makes him realize that it's over.
Carrie goes back to her apartment, packs everything up and leaves Wisconsin for NYC. She doesn't tell her mother, her best friend, Jamie, or Mike...she just goes. Carrie has a gay HS friend, Simon whom she has recently reconnected with who lives in NYC. She also got talked into a dinner party by her co-worker at the University of WI library and there she met Kilroy who was visiting from NYC. Kilroy struck a chord with her in their brief interaction.
She arrives on Simon's doorstep and he lets her crash for free in his loft. She has decided to live off her savings and as she wanders the city she is enchanted...all of the stuff re: what she has left behind swirls around in her head, but she still doesn't let anyone know where she is. Soon after arriving she locates the pool hall where Kilroy had mentioned he hung out and they reconnect. Before long, they are involved in a passionate love affair; but Kilroy is very elusive about who he is.
The story line is so rich that it would be hard to tell it all here. Of interest is that her love and talent for sewing floats all the way through the book and adds a welcome dimension that provides more insights into who Carrie is. There are ups and downs with Kilroy as she learns what drives him and something happens back home that leads her to visit. It is a fascinating tale of deep love, learning to find a place in life and self-discover. Don't miss this one.(less)
I didn't like this book except for the British cultural aspects. It seemed like a monologue that jumped around; and, although it tied together the tie...moreI didn't like this book except for the British cultural aspects. It seemed like a monologue that jumped around; and, although it tied together the ties never deepened. In the end I felt as if I was in a travellog where I only knew the people superficially.(less)
I wasn't crazy about this book. It's about two sisters...a teen and preteen, Carly & Jen, who set out on their bikes to escape being turned over t...moreI wasn't crazy about this book. It's about two sisters...a teen and preteen, Carly & Jen, who set out on their bikes to escape being turned over to authorities after their mother has been killed when her boyfriend drives them both over a cliff in his truck. The bicycles don't last long and they begin a long journey on foot to try and find their mother's previous boyfriend, Teddie who is in California. Their mother had left Teddie because he tried to molest Jen, but Carly never believe it and thinks Teddie will save the day for them. Their journey is incredibly hard to the point that it become a bit unbelievable. Eventually they arrive on Wakapi Indian (fictional) lands; and; as they break into someones hen house try to steal a few eggs, the owner, a blind 92 year old Wakapi woman named Dolores, catches them. While pointing a rifle at them, she says they have to stay for a week and work off the damage to her hen house. She will provide shelter and food. Jen warms right up to the old lady, buy Carly seeks a way to escape. The local tribal cop, Alvin, stops by every day to check on Dolores and he tries to help Carly find Teddie and offer any other advice he can. He makes Carly promise she will not take off, but that very night she tells Jen to pack up her stuff so they can get out - she's afraid Alvin will turn them over to children's services. Jen refuses and Carly finally goes on to find Teddie in Northern California where she has learned he's now located. She walks, she hops a train, she meets up with an old woman and her senile husband and they give her a ride to Fresno. The old women buys her a bus ticket and gives her money for the last leg of her journey. Another almost unbelievable trip which brings her to Trinidad, CA in one piece, but just about (she is bruise, scratched, exhausted and filthy dirty. She finds Teddie pretty easily and that is a story I wont tell because if I do reading the book is really a waste of time. The characters are lightly drawn and one note. You like them, but you wish you knew them better and you also wish the story had more depth. Their mother died horribly after telling her boyfriend that she was leaving him because of his abusive ways, but if the girls are in mourning we don't get a clear sense of it. The story just rushes forward in a muted way. Wouldn't recommend it.(less)